Pass The Hand Sanitizer

Late August 2017 Lethbridge, Alberta, a perfect morning to watch the Whoop Up Days parade. We settled curbside, seated among families, senior care home residents and a smattering of tourists.Very much a regional celebration, sprinkled with local politicians,dance academies, beauty schools, financial institutions and community services. Local children came prepared for handfuls of candy along the route, loot bag bulges rivaled Halloween.

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Along came a multicultural community group – dark skinned children carrying baskets of wrapped candy, beaming generous delight at outstretched hands. The family seated next to us let their children accept multicultural candy, then it got weird. The rising voice of Mom sent chills through an otherwise perfect morning. She meant business, Mom didn’t have to snarl twice – “get over here right now!” – plucked her children from innocence to realities of hand sanitizerย  brandished with alarming urgency. Rabid purpose dispatched healthy dollops into outstretched hands.

Caught in my stare, Mom blithered half hearted platitudes – “the street is dirty, don’t want them to get sick”. Speechless, I turned away. Refusing to look back when snippets of insane jibber-jabber revealed Mom’s overwhelming need to explain hand sanitizer for strangers on the other side.

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This Canadian is grateful for hand sanitizer parade morning. As Canadians we possess an infinite capacity to finger Trump’s America, oblivious or politely indifferent to reality of racism in our back yard. I saw beautiful children full of hope and promise, hand sanitizer Mom saw dirty, inferior children who posed a risk to her family. As Canadians, regardless of faith, demographic or political affiliation, we have to stop hand sanitizing Moms. Next time I won’t look away.

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10 thoughts on “Pass The Hand Sanitizer

  1. Ugh. Here on the east coast, we had a Proud Boys display . . . sigh. . we like to think, here in Canada, that those sorts of things are not happening. But they walk among us, I’m afraid.
    I suppose nobodysreadingme has never heard of ‘dooryard’ either?
    Perfect English around these parts! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Doesn’t matter the nation: racism and humanity go hand in hand. Canada, as I have personally experienced, is certainly not immune to that endemic and virulent curse. Knowing what I know now, I certainly would not have looked away, but called a spade, a spade, whatever its colour. I am wary of those who believe that by virtue of being Candians, or living in Canada makes them somehow better than others. Canada’s rather bland global reputation is not due to any particular virtue but simply to the fact that it has so little social impact upon the rest of the world. Despite all of that, as a naturalized Canadian citizen I consider Canada one of the best places left to live in… though for how long? There is no doubt that the Americanization of Canada, or the creation of “Americanada” is speeding up. It may yet result in some kind of military “Aunshluss.”

  3. I am glad you made the mother feel uncomfortable and at least she knew how you felt. IF she that everyone around her wouldn’t tolerate her bigotry she wouldn’t feel entitled to exercise it. I wonder where she came from and where she developed those ideas? See I can see , but not agree with, the bigotry handed down from those in the USA whose parents were raised in it. As the younger generations move from that pervasive stifling home life, some move past it. I can not count the many times I have seen people be super embarrassed by an older families bigotry and even speak up about it. Be well. Hugs

    • If Canada had a “South” it would be southern Alberta. This woman wasn’t a anomaly,nobody else batted an eye. I can’t imagine why she blithered an explanation to those on the other side, but am certain the one directed at me had a lot to do with the fact my black husband sat beside me. I should have spoken my mind, but all it would have done is create a scene. Lethbridge is a place where driving into town the first thing you see is a massive cross on the water tower with a pro-life message. The city painted a rainbow crosswalk, it was vandalized every night until guarded by university students 24/7.Bigotry thrives wherever Christians are the dominant political voice and population base.

      • Wow you are very correct. Still I wish I could have seen it , her face must have been so messed up trying to be a bigot not being a bigot. Best to you, your husband and family. Hugs

  4. I live in rural Alberta and am often shocked at the racism I encounter. But sadly, I’m not surprised. In general, we’re not diverse out here. Nor are we open-minded or tolerant. We like our trucks jacked up, our beer cold, our politicians conservative, our necks red and our population white. We need more Brad Paisley, less Toby Keith.

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