Posted by Phil Andrews
We've just received a powerful letter to the editor submission from a U of G grad upset by an experience in the community on a recent return visit to Guelph.
I expect it will generate a lot of conversation and maybe lead to some good.
Here's that letter:
I recently spent a weekend in Guelph for a close friends' wedding party and while I was in town, decided to visit a few of the places I had previously frequented while completing my undergrad at the University of Guelph.
One of the many traditions my friends and I had, after spending a few hours downtown on the weekends, was to head over to a local Chinese food establishment to get some takeout for the walk back to campus. So, seeing as I was in town again, I decided to grab some takeout and relish the memories of my student years. Unfortunately, the good memories were quickly marred by what I was about to see and hear. I was absolutely appalled by the blatant prejudice I encountered by many of the patrons in line with me!
I overheard and witnessed a mix of both students and adults mocking the Chinese language, some directly in front of the restaurant owners. Yes, alcohol was most certainly involved. But I have never witnessed such a grandiose display of prejudice in my entire life.
I remember Guelph as a place where diversity and inclusion were celebrated, multiculturalism was embraced, and liberal values were espoused. If these are the values Guelph wishes to be known for now and into the future, these public displays of intolerance cannot continue or go unchallenged.
I also expect more of today's young adults, considering they've grown up in a society that openly condemns racism and prejudice in all forms. If these are our leaders of tomorrow, and of this community, then we are in for a big problem.
While I do recognize this situation may have been a one-off, my heart went out to the owners of this establishment and I felt it necessary to call this out. Without these sorts of situations being aired as the dirty laundry they truly represent, nothing will change. And perhaps it's time for us to question our assumption that today's youth are programmed to be open and inclusive.