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Mixed Messages - Letters to the Editor

by Ed Z.

from where I'm sitting all is not well in the land of multiculturalism. I recently read a letter to the editor in my local paper which bashed the idea that Sikhs should be exempt from wearing a bicycle or motorcycle helmet due to their turbans. This was only for starters. Instead of making a quick point and backing it up with good reasoning he went on and on about issues that were more about race than about safety or the law.

The big problem with the letter was that the guy thought that whenever someone came to Canada they give up all of their culture for that of Canada's. Culture? Canada? Have I been asleep for some time or am I mistaken in thinking that 'Canada' is a concept based on the idea of retaining cultural identity. This person's idea of Canada is apparently one run by a bunch of white guys who were here first.

Of course this idea of an anglo-saxon Canada is completely absurd. How can white folk like this be so stupid as to think that whites have some sort of ownership over Canadian culture? Here are a few points he should consider:

1) Aboriginals were here long before european culture and disease.

2) Cultural superiority is a stupid concept which only perpetuates war.

3) He is dumb.

He then had the audacity to bring up irrelevant issues such as whether Sikhs can wear turbans in the Legion or RCMP. Well I can at least take on the Legion issue. Sikhs were there fighting along beside 'Canadian' soldiers. Were they wearing their turbans? Damn straight they were. Should they be allowed to wear them into the Legion halls? Give me one good reason why not, and racist crap passed off as an argument doesn't count.

Now that I've vented let's swing back to the issue of turbans and bicycles or motorbikes.

There is good reason why there are laws demanding protective headwear be worn while riding a bike. It's called a massive head-injury. Something tells me that turbans do a bit to protect a person's head upon impact, but surely would prove completely ineffective in a high-speed accident. On a motorcycle it would seem logical that a turban wouldn't do much if you are thrown from your bike or end up in a collision. The law is there to protect riders and to help prevent any hospital bills that we can. Mostly it is there, as stated, to protect riders. No one wants anyone's melon crushed when it could have been protected better.

I realize I've mixed issues here, but that is partly what I wanted to point out about many letters to the editor. Quite a few people use a letter to the editor to complain about one issue, often very legitimately, but then end up bringing up several other irrelevant examples which act to undermine their main point. In the case I'm thinking of, it's someone going on and on and sounding like a big racist instead of making a short and simple point about head-injuries.

Ed Z. is canadian content's interplanetary correspondent.
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