LETTERS: Our history shapes our values

The elimination of racism will take a concerted effort over generations


We all wish it was this simple – tear down a few statues, rename a few buildings, streets, breakfast and beauty products – and racism would disappear through the elimination of history.

However, my opinion is that the elimination of racism will take a concerted effort over generations by parents and educators.

My father had a few choice words when referring to Germans and Italians when I was growing up, but when I confronted him, I understood that his opinions were shaped by the experience of his father in the First World War and his own horrific experiences in the Second World War.

In spite of that, he and my mother both ensured that I understood that colour or nationality was no way to assess a person. Rather, it was how that person treated others that really mattered and I must say that all my friends that I have encountered and kept through my 73 years meet that set of criteria.

We have passed this approach on to our son over his 36 years and he and his wife have a multi-racial, multi-national set of friends who are giving and considerate and it appears that our grand-daughters are taking the same approach in daycare and in school.

I don’t believe that a child is born with prejudice and hate. They are shaped mostly by the values and comments of their parents and whether they are taught to accept responsibility for their actions.

We need history to be able to shape our values and begin to understand where the racial and ethnic ignorance began.

There is no one of any colour or nationality that has a pristine history. We are all human, with human failings, and if taking the negative view, we can find fault with all of them.

Wayne G Mercer, Surrey

Letter to the Editor

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