The USA is a-changin'
Make no mistake about it. Noah Kilpatrick is a victim of discrimination.
The 15 year-old student at the Faith Fellowship Christian School in Waterdown, New York has been relentlessly bullied and denigrated, not just by his fellow students but by members of the school faculty.
“They told me that (my people) were all stupid,” Kilpatrick recalls. He says they insulted his home and made fun of his country.
It’s a familiar story, alas. First Nations people know the experience only too well, as do Latinos and blacks. I grew up in a time when Italians were routinely referred to as wops, Frenchmen were frogs, Chinese were chinks and the English were limeys (or, to my Oz friends, Pommy bastards).
But that’s not Noah Kilpatrick’s problem. He’s not First Nations or of European extraction. Nor does he have roots in Africa or South America.
Noah Kilpatrick’s lineage problem is — he’s Canadian.
For some reason, two of the teachers (one of them is also the principal) started ragging on Noah because he was born in Canada.
“They’d say things like ‘Canada’s full of communists. They club baby seals.’ That my opinion doesn’t really matter because I’m a Canadian.”
Not to be paranoid or anything, but you have to wonder if somebody isn’t slipping moron pills into the Faith Fellowship School water supply. Quite apart from the fact that this is a ‘Christian’ school in ‘the land of the free’ persecuting a 15-year-old kid, it’s just plain, well...out of date.
The trash talking students and faculty are seriously behind the American learning curve.
They may snicker at Canada but the rest of the USA is running as fast as it can to catch up to us.
Consider: in the past few months American legislators have been locked in courtroom battles to legalize gay marriage, marijuana use, and amnesty for immigrants.
Canadians? Been there. Done that.
Gun control? Wild West insanity in the U.S. while in Canada — no problem, eh? We don’t Go Postal about our ‘right to bear arms’.
Are we different than Americans? You bet your Health-Care card and Cowichan sweater we are.
Two researchers, Canadian Michael Adams and American Celinda Lake, have been studying attitudes in the two countries for the past twenty years. They have concluded that we are indeed drawing closer to one another.
Ironically, the change is almost exclusively on the U.S. side.
Americans (notwithstanding neolithic loons like George W., Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party) are systematically embracing more liberal-social values every year.
Americans have seen the light. They’re becoming more like us.
But not fast enough for the Kilpatricks. Even though they’ve lived in Waterdown for a decade, his mother has pulled Noah out of school.
“No 15-year-old should have to question his self-worth at the hands of a teacher,” she says. He’ll finish his Grade Nine at home. After that, they’ll probably move back to Ottawa.
Good move, folks. Seems like your slice of America is just a little too backward to ‘get’ Canada.
Arthur Black is a regular columnist. He lives on Salt Spring Island.