Monday, August 25, 2008

Vandalism and Prejudice

Among the interesting things that happened last weekend in Vancouver, was the apparent vandalism of my car. The passender-side mirror was busted off and left dangling by its wire.

There's no way to know what the person's motivation was. They might just hate red cars. It was parked on the correct side of the street, with the passenger side toward the curb, so this was done by a pedestrian. None of the other cars on the block were disturbed, just the one with Washington plates.

Over the last seven plus years I've dealt with only a small amount of anti-American prejudice pointed directly at me. I have, however, listened to many hours of it from Lingoman's friends and relations pointed more generally at Americans.

It was such a shock after having been raised with a very positive attitude toward Canada to find out that our 'friends' up North take every opportunity they can to slag us off. I try to warn people who plan to vacation in Vancouver not to expect anything but their money to receive a warm welcome.

I guess being the child of immigrants with relatives in three countries, I have always felt able to separate my opinions governments and people; to acknowledge national stereotypes but not use them to evaluate actual human beings. I find it ironic that the Canadians I frequently hear lumping all Americans together under very ugly names are themselves indulging in stereotyping and prejudice.

It reminds me of 9/11 when a Canadian said to me "Well, that's awful, but America deserves it." I replied, "So, that young married couple who chose between being burned alive and jumping to their deaths holding hands deserved it because they stupidly allowed themselves to be born in America?"

OK. I need to stop writing about this for a while; I'm getting too mad. I've also met lots of Canadians who aren't like that at all.


Hippy Goodwife said...

It seems the small minded and provincial live every where. Prejudice and stupidity are not just American traits.

Sorry you and Lingoman ( in absentia) have to deal with crap like this.

michael sean morris said...

In my experience as a security professional, car thieves often target out-of-province vehicles, assuming the follow-up will be lacklustre. In lieu of anything to steal, they will simply vandalize. This is because they are idiots. Or it could simply be the same drunks who wander up Broadway knocking over newspaper boxes for something to do deciding to take a side street home instead.

I fear that I am one of these anti-American types you encounter, although even my attitude has greatly improved, since meeting you seems to have given my own evolutionary process the kick start it needed.

Now, before I write anything critical about the United States (whether valid or not), I find myself thinking "What would Seumas do?" and act accordingly.

(At least I'm not as bad as Raymond!)