By Letter to the Editor on July 21, 2021.
Statues of dead white people are falling down and some people say “You can not cancel history.” I agree. History must not be forgotten. Every historical figure should be remembered. But the question is who should be honoured. Some must not be forgotten but without honour. Hitler must never be forgotten but never honoured.
The problem is those guilty are remembered because they were white Europeans. The people who fell victims of inhuman acts were often forgotten because they were from other racial groups.
John Newton was a slave ship captain for almost his entire life but he is remembered lovingly just because of the hymn he wrote, “Amazing Grace.” He wrote it later in his life after he became an abolitionist. However, does anyone remember his victims and record the names of those who were kidnapped and separated from family, chained and traded like animals, and during the storm thrown into the ocean as cargo in order to save the ship?
Rendered nameless is the same as murdered but worse because they are not remembered.
I was once gullible enough to send more than $200 and spit as a DNA sample asking for information about my origin. After a month the result came back.
I found that I was an East Asian and my ancestry came from somewhere north of Malay to the northern Hokkaido island; west of Mongolia to the eastern edge of Honshu Island of Japan, the area bigger than North America. Of course I knew that without paying 200 bucks. I guess they did not have data for a person who looked like me. Isn’t this called systemic racism?
We need a new system where every human is remembered by name. However, we have a problem. We don’t have a record. The system had not thought to count everybody worth remembering, like thousands of children buried unmarked under the ground of former residential schools. They were priceless beloved children of parents and community. They all had names. I can not imagine the sleepless nights of agony waiting for them to come home, who never did.
Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui