Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
- Monday, Nov. 21: Arts Assembly – Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 24– Saturday, Nov. 26: UCC/BSS co-production of True West – Lecture Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
There’s been a lot of post-U.S. election discussion over the past week or so; at every turn people are talking about what happened and what the result might mean for the future of North America. I intentionally avoid writing about politics in these missives, but a lot of the talk I’ve heard in recent days revolves around the President Elect’s stated views on non-U.S. citizens and people from other cultures.
How people react to others who are different is a relevant issue for any community, and I’m very proud to say that here at UCC we value and appreciate diversity. I think our focus on increasing available financial assistance clearly speaks to our desire to be more accessible to more people. I’m not suggesting we have everything figured out in this area. Indeed, we are far from perfect, and will need to continually strive toward honouring the uniqueness of every member of our community, and genuinely celebrating the diversity within it. Achieving such a goal requires patience, understanding, and at times courage, as it’s often necessary to put aside preconceived notions and step out of one’s comfort zone.
A few years ago, the Carlsberg Brewery Corporation created a powerful ad about overcoming fear and appreciating diversity. In this commercial, a movie theatre with a capacity of 150 people is filled with 148 men who look like members of a motorcycle gang: lots of leather, tattoos and mean looking dudes. I must admit, even watching it online was a bit intimidating. Here’s the premise: the only two unoccupied seats in the cinema are right in the middle of this threatening group of men and the camera records the reactions of couples who enter the theatre space after having paid their admission.
As you can anticipate, a good number of the unsuspecting viewers have difficulty with the composition of the audience and many choose to walk out rather than seat themselves amongst the leather-clad bikers. However, the couples who don’t seem bothered at all or have managed to overcome their trepidation and sit down are greeted with an uproarious cheer as all of the seemingly surly theatre patrons raise a bottle of Carlsberg to celebrate their notable act of courage. The tag line follows: “That calls for Carlsberg.”
While clearly its intent is to increase beer sales, the commercial asks an important question: “What would you do in this situation?” It’s a simple question, but it’s likely one that involves a more complicated response. I think we could replace that audience of bikers with any number of other homogenous groups, cultural ones or socio-economic ones and, if placed in the same position as the couples looking for a seat in a crowded movie theatre, I wonder how we’d react. This video might be an effective springboard for a conversation with your son about our perceptions of those who may be different in our own community and about how we need to overcome the fears that come along with preconceived notions and stereotypes.
Here’s a link to the ad… Enjoy.
Thanks for reading,