As protests continue in the U.S. following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, graffiti on student painting in one of the Highway 1 underpasses in Salmon Arm serves as a reminder the Shuswap is not immune to issues around intolerance. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Editorial: Intolerance not contained by borders or travel restrictions

Intolerance known to rear its ugly head in the Shuswap

Once again we bear witness to a maelstrom of protest over racism and intolerance in the U.S.

Setting off this latest uprising was the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd – a victim of police brutality prompted by his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill.

Beneath this quake of civil unrest, pressure has been steadily building, as intolerance, division and economic disparity – injustices long present but no doubt exacerbated by recent events – are fueled by the country’s current commander-in-chief who appears, through his steady stream of incendiary commentary, to have little issue with violence as a solution provided those causing the violence are in line with his precarious point of view.

Read more: PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Read more: ‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

As of June 1, more than 4,000 people were reported to have been arrested during nationwide protests. And, as suggested would happen by the U.S. president (“…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”), there have been related shooting incidents, one of which was reported to have resulted in the death of a man in Louisville.

To many the Shuswap may feel far removed from any of this. But intolerance is not bound by borders or travel restrictions.

Intolerance is not foreign to Salmon Arm. One more recent example was the vandalism that was quick to occur to the rainbow crosswalk by Blackburn Park. Another would be the racist graffiti that, as of May 29, was written over a painting in the Highway 1 underpass near Bastion Elementary. Interestingly, the original expletive-filled bit of vandalism questioning when in the world did it become OK to be of a particular colour, has itself been vandalized with a rewrite asking when when did it become OK to be filthy rich?

No doubt the second question is one that’s being asked by many south of the border.

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