Never forget what makes us who we are

Exclusion can be a result of this process and can be deadly to the vitality and heart of a community.

A week or so ago I became engaged in a short discussion involving the use of statistics.

My disclaimer at this point is to say that there was a very good reason I chose to study the arts and not mathematics and science, which of course are also fundamental to knowledge and to the health of any culture. I admire the mathematicians and truly dedicated scientists but I just don’t have the chops to go there in my right brained mind.

My eyes glaze over when I look at statistics and experiments. Where I connect is when I see how it all relates to humanity, and I can get really excited over new discoveries about the universe based on the hard work of these brilliant minds. But let’s get back to the subject of statistics.

Being an oddball from birth, I have experienced that statistical information can be nearly irrelevant to those of us who are far off the average point on a chart. Demographics are “the quantifiable statistics of human population” according to Wikipedia and are meant to give a snapshot of an identified subset. Well, I’m afraid I have a wee problem when the snapshot is not used as intended, which is to say that it is used to manipulate rather than inform.

Here’s where I sense things go off the rails. I know all about the mythical “average person” and that in a group large or small, there is only one average person and all the rest are either to the right or to the left on the chart. I get that. I also get that we need to identify general needs and wants of a population. Successful community visioning depends on such information gathering and consultation. Where I become very uncomfortable is when demographics can evolve into a dehumanizing tool to oversimplify and restrict the potential of valuable members of such a demographic.

Exclusion can be a result of this process and can be deadly to the vitality and heart of a community.

One of the fundamental reasons I value Princeton is that we have managed to accommodate many legitimate views in most cases without exclusion or restriction. We are remarkably strengthened by the empathy we feel for our exceptional folks who reciprocate by sharing their joy. We have spats with folks of opposing ideas, certainly, but in the end, we all breathe the same air and when it counts, we pull together with one mind and one heart.

Do you remember the grief we all shared when we lost Cindy Parolin, or when the two abandoned babies were discovered at Allison Lake Campground? Remember the way the entire community pulled together during the flood of 1994 or the fires in 2001? And can you still feel the exhilaration we felt when we were chosen as the BC town having the most community spirit during the 2010 Olympics?

How on earth could we fit our diverse views and our unusual people into a list of statistics without naming the characteristics of kindness, helpfulness, enthusiasm, joy, creativity, leadership and wisdom? These are the things that matter. They give a detailed portrait rather than a snapshot of who we are. Because these characteristics are not easily quantified, they are missed when a community is evaluated by statistics.

Our history and our strength of character are what make us who we are. Let us never forget that.

 

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: And if a council meeting was like live theatre…

A news reporter cannot cover a municipal council meeting as if it… Continue reading

Rattlesnake bites dog

Anti-venom used to save pooch

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Unsettled skies dominate the week’s forecast

A chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for much of the Okanagan-Shuswap.

B.C. Premier Horgan to make announcement in Keremeos

B.C. Premier John Horgan is scheduled to make an announcement in Keremeos

Princeton RCMP make arrest in “smash and grab” crimes

Police have made an arrest following two “smash and grab” thefts in… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Two mudslides close Seymour Arm road in North Shuswap, no one injured

Slides hit Seymour Arm Main Forest Service Road halfway between St. Ives and Seymour Arm

“Our community has had its heart broken”: South Okanagan celebrates life of David Kampe

Community and families members who knew Kampe give tearful addresses

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

Lower lake levels could create bumper crop of invasive milfoil

The CSRD board received an update on efforts to suppress the invasive aquatic plant

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Vernon and Sicamous cannabis stores get provincial nod

Spiritleaf in Vernon will be the Okanagan’s first cannabis store.

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Most Read