We often read the local news and shake our heads at the decisions made by those in power. I lament the inclinations of some politicians to create an “us and them”mentality between the Caymanians and the expats. I often wish I could vote so my opinion would count for something when local surveys are conducted.
Then I have days where I am happy to sit on my island, under the world radar, far from the madness that has taken hold in many parts of the world. I am grateful for the fact that although we share influences of both, we are not American or British. We also share influences of Canada, Jamaica, Central America and Italy, as well as many other countries. Our population, now at 60,000, is a sort of “united nations”, muddling through and trying to find the balance between issues like immigration and employment, tourism and the environment.
When I watch the news on the US networks I want to weep . I see posts on Facebook that have gone viral, often titled “Meanwhile in Canada” or something similar, showing happy mixing of races and harmony in the streets. I feel momentary pride in my country, until I read about police shootings in Toronto, or hateful tweets from a special interest group. All lives matter.
Our children attended a high school in Calgary where they were colour blind. They would come home and talk about friends and classmates by name. They never felt the need to describe them as “my Chinese friend” or “mixed race Irish-Indian classmate”. They simply talked about them as personalities who had been part of their day, perhaps to joke around with in class or possibly as part of the group working on a project together. I like to think that the products of these high schools represent our future.
Recently we attended a major sporting event in California. I looked around the stadium at the spectators and thought, this is America. The crowd was not white or black or yellow or brown. You could say it was all of those, or you could say it was just a crowd of people, watching their favourite athletes.
Where does the hate come from? I want to believe that we don’t have the race problems in Canada, but I know that’s not quite true. However, we don’t have the problems that seem to be taking over the news in the US lately. Their country seems to be imploding. Britain has their own problems, too. One thing I believe, is that for all our problems in Cayman, race is not one of them.
Last night we heard of the attack on people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. More madness, more hate.
So while the world goes mad around us, let’s enjoy our beautiful island and the people we encounter every day; Caymanian, Canadian, British, American, Jamaican, Filipino, European. Let’s set an example for the world.