Bountiful, British Columbia, Canada
by Adam Goodwin | 2013
Some of the Canadian students in the UK recently found out I was from British Columbia. Of course, being shameless, I will use this to slightly interrupt my blog post to say how beautiful the province of British Columbia is and how you must visit if you have not had the privilege of visiting, yet.
Many are from Ontario. There are a few from British Columbia.
Those from Ontario asked if the town of Bountiful, British Columbia actually exists and if the stories are true. Of course, a simple Google search would reveal the truth to the students so I knew there was no point trying to change the subject or topic of discussion.
Once the students had done a bit of research, a few were giving me a hard time about being from a Canadian province that allows polygamy. This is okay with me. It was in a fun manner and not meant as malicious or hurtful. As I always tell them, if you give it, you must be able to take it (i.e., giving others a hard time for things in a friendly manner).
This made me think about stereotypes and clumping individuals into boxes.
I think it is important not to judge someone based on where they live and come from. If the students were saying, because you live in BC, you must support polygamy, they would be very wrong. They weren’t. But I believe it is easy for humans to think and say this about other humans.
In Canada, on a daily basis, Canadians make general statements about Canada’s Southern neighbor – the United States of America. We see them all as one large group – gun-carrying, war-loving, gay-marriage-bashing, individuals. If you know any Americans, you of course know this is not true for a large segment of the population. Perhaps there are some individuals with these beliefs. However, I imagine, many Americans do not believe these ideas.
Just like how I have no control over my province’s laws surrounding polygamy, many individuals who have been stereotyped into a box, have no control over the very things that have landed them in a this paradigmatic box. Through no fault of their own, they are called stupid or dumb or worthless based on their gender or religions, etc.
Your Call To Action
Pledge a day of action. For a full day, break down your stereotypes of some of the world’s populations and boxes and find a different perspective and a different lens to look at the person/object/event. Instead of when you see a girl crying, you think, oh she’s such a girl, instead think – I wonder why this individual with a beating heart is crying and how I can help.
These are one person’s thoughts and opinions. I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.
Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog