We’ve all heard the typical Winnipeg stereotypes. The whole North End is a ghetto. All the people who live in River Heights are snobs. Wolseley is filled with nothing but granola-crunching tree huggers and Transcona is trash.
I used to believe that as I got older I would hear these community stereotypes less and less. Unfortunately, in my experience, this has not been the case.
My most recent experience came when I was reaching out through social media, looking for material for this column, when an old acquaintance jokingly responded, "Transcona has a newspaper? What’s the literacy rate there anyway?"
And so came the topic for this column. Now, I know the person didn’t mean anything by it, but I was still mildly offended.
I was offended because blanket statements bother me. I still find them rude. I feel they’re statements that paint distorted pictures of a community and its people. That being said, I chose not to engage in the online smack talk and didn’t respond at all, believing I was taking the high road. In hindsight, I would have acted differently given the chance.
I’d do it differently because I was guilty of not speaking up and I believe not speaking up doesn’t help fix the distorted pictures some individuals have of communities or large groups of people.
Granted, I realize people form opinions based on their own personal experiences but it isn’t fair to judge people as a whole. I’d still like to believe that the majority of us don’t stand by quietly when someone smack talks us or our neighbours.
I realize there are larger stereotypes in our communities and greater issues in our city than what other individuals in our neighbouring communities think of us and vice versa — but I feel the smallest of changes in perspective can lead to big changes in bringing communities and their people together.
The reality is that the whole North End is not a ghetto. All the people who live in River Heights aren’t snobs. Wolseley isn’t filled with nothing but a bunch of granola-crunching tree huggers and Transcona isn’t trash.
See how changing a few small words in that paragraph changes its perspective?
Adam Petrash is a community correspondent for Transcona. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.