Saturday, August 24, 2013

When Education, Stereotypes and Ignorance Collide

I was reminded today of what happens when stereotypes and ignorance collide and the danger that such a collision represents when it infiltrates our education system.

I was attending a public function in Calgary today when a lady approached me and presented her business card, indicating that she was running as a candidate for public school trustee.


I thanked her but indicated that I supported the Roman Catholic school system.  She replied that at least she didn’t support a school system that restricted how people think and which minimized their potential to learn.  She then proceeded to bash the Roman Catholic system.

“Ah”, I thought.  “One of those.  Time to move on.”

I thanked her and moved on but she followed me and made some comments about our tax system and its failure to provide for adequate education and health support systems, to which I agreed that we did indeed have challenges.  I also indicated that having consulted to many government groups over the years in multiple countries, I was fully aware of the challenges that we faced.  She replied that I didn’t know what she knew.

Fair enough. I moved on.


Ten minutes later, she approached me again to lecture me about how the tax system in Canada didn’t work and I replied that having worked on Wall Street for many years, I was very familiar with the system and its pros and cons.

She then made a very interesting observation:

“So you worked on Wall St, did you?  Well that says a lot about the type of person you are, doesn’t it?  In fact, it says everything about your character.”

She then proceeded to belittle me (or least attempt to), basically equating anyone who has worked on Wall St. with the scum of the earth.  After having had her say, she left.

As I was discussing this with the other people sitting at my table, someone at the next table overheard me and expressed his story.

Ms. Mowat had approached him earlier and at one point made a derogatory comment equating his darker skin with the likelihood that he would be voting for Mayor Nenshi, merely because they shared a darker skin color.

She also suggested that this was a natural thing to do since they were probably from the same part of the world anyway.

This gentleman’s ancestry is from the Philippines while Mayor Nenshi’s family traces its roots back to Tanzania.

Oh well, close enough.  They are from the same planet after all.

He had another story to share as well that I won’t share here but involved dialog she had with children under age that were in his care and his temptation to call the police as a result.

The ignorance that this woman demonstrated doesn’t surprise me.

The fact that she exhibited such ignorance publicly while running for office does surprise me.

That fact that she is running for office where she will have an opportunity to influence the education of young people frightens me.

We can’t always dictate the nature of the people who enter our sphere of influence nor should we try.

Not only do we not have the right to do so but in fact, we would become exhausted in attempting such a feat.

However, when said nature is blatantly ignorant and attempting to gain a position of authority and influence in our education system, then that’s another thing.

I’m damn proud of my career on Wall St. and have met many fine people there.  The Filipino gentleman I met today, focused on helping youth, is also a very nice guy.  I suspect he and I have each discovered a new friend today.

Ms. Mowat, however, needs to learn that a Life well spent is easier and more fulfilling when we spend our time building bridges instead of burning them.

How the next generation grows up to assume the mantle of authority in the world is a reflection of what we teach them, what we demonstrate to them through our own actions ….

…. and what we allow them to be exposed to.

When people like Ms. Mowat come along, if we don’t call it like it is, then we are allowing our children to be exposed to a less than ideal environment, one focused on ignorance and stupidity when we should be focused on respect and collaboration.

Closing thoughts

On the back of her business card, it says:

Our Goal: Build Schools Now!

I shudder to think what kind of schools she believes need to be created.

One final note. I went to her website to see what she stands for and was greeted by a template that said “This site is under development”.


Truth be told, I don’t need a website to tell me what she stands for.

She’s too busy shoving it down our throat.

In service and servanthood,



After some additional research, I see why she worked very hard to pick a fight with me today. 

It is because I am the enemy. :-)

On this website, she describes herself as the following:

Helen Mowat is a dynamic teacher, a visionary thinker and an integrative researcher. She loves connecting the dots, common sense, and seeing the BIG PICTURE. 

I love reading, researching and understanding social and political issues. I am whole, complete and a very open-minded person.

But it’s her recommended reading list that appears most interesting.


On her recommended reading list, one can find these tidy little items – How the Elite Play God, Is the New World Order Jewish and the conspiracy ramblings of Alex Jones.  It also has links to anti-vaccination ramblings, material tying the American Pledge of Allegiance to the Nazis  and a whole pile of other “curious” reading.

What is ALSO intriguing is that her recommended reading list includes a link to John Taylor Gatto where the site owner “challenges the myths of modern schooling” – a curious website recommendation from someone running for school board trustee.

And for those who don’t know what her recommendation for is all about, Rational Wiki describes it as:

The prevalent conspiracist strand relates to global power-elites (primarily governments and corporations) and their New World Order.  Specific featured conspiracy theories include those addressing 9/11, vaccines, genetic modification, Zionism, HAARP, global warming, and David Kelly.

And finally, she recommends that people read John Kozy’s material which can be found here.  Mr. Kozy describes the purpose of his website as:

Expose the Bull: A site devoted to the logical analysis of the lies, prevarications, and nonsense being fed to the American people by government, business, and the mainstream press. Topics include American society, culture, government, law, Supreme_Court, education, economy, economic_theory, economics, foreign_policy, religion, and more.

I see a lot of conspiracy stuff and very little useful, pro-school, pro-education, pro-children stuff.

It’s also odd to see someone promoting anti-establishment material while running for the establishment at the same time.

I would recommend that people who are considering voting for this person or any person truly understand their candidate’s background and beliefs first … and then make the choice from an informed perspective.


  1. Interesting. Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, it was started by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist,[3] and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). Now while there may be similarities and ideological connections with the Nazis, being the National Socialism, the question becomes: How MUCH were there similarities or influence from one to the other? There ARE similarities with the Bellamy "salute" and that of the Nazi salute. Only good research would find out how much did Hitler use from Bellamy, if anything?

    Regarding vaccines, while in the infancy of vaccines, yes, wonders were worked, but today's vaccines are becoming questionable as to their veracity and effectiveness, because of the number that kids get and how they are administered. Questioning is not conspiracy, finding facts is not a conspiracy, but to label all questioning and fact finding as a conspiracy and the "move along" comment means something might be fishy. How one connects the dots with the facts determines whether or not it's truth or not.

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    My issue is that when I attend a public function where soliciting is not permitted (as I was informed later) and someone approaches me with nothing but condemnation for my religion, my career, my career locale or my character or condemns someone else for the color of their skin (all unprompted, may I add), I don't give a rats behind for what they believe in or what facts they MAY have because I have already stopped listening.

    The people who are like this don't look for facts when questioning vaccines and the like. They are taking an ignorant, conspiracy-laden, hate-filled position as this woman demonstrated .... facts are less important to them than the opportunity to drive their petty or paranoid agenda down the throats of others.

    If I had asked her for any facts on any of her stuff, she wouldn't have had any to give ... so there was no opportunity for an intellectual exchange. As I noted in my blog, when I attempted to engage her on facts, I was informed that I didn't know what she knew and she cut me off.

    A person with facts shares them. A person without facts resorts to taunts or suggestions of aloofness / superiority / mystery in order to avoid being exposed for not having any facts.

    As you know, I am ALL for facts and don't make any recommendations without all the examining all the data available. And when I decide to make a presentation based on the facts, I do so with all respect to someone's backgrounds, beliefs, vocation, race, creed, nationality, etc.

    I know how to present my case.

    I know the appropriate time to do it.

    And I know the appropriate audience to make my presentation to.

    It is because while I like to share, inform and learn, give and take must always be done with grace and respect.

    She exhibited neither ... which prompted my thought "Ah ... one of those ... time to move on".

    Create a great day, Kevin - thanks for sharing.


    1. "without examining all the data available" ... I wish Blogger allowed one to correct spelling / grammar errors after a post was posted. :-)

  3. Oh, totally agree with your thoughts about her and her presentation of shoving her thoughts down your throat.

    As I have come to state: Engage. Educate.

    That seems to be the best way of tackling an issue with someone. I have had some tough conversations with libertarians (there are libertarians, Libertarians, and LIBERTARIANS by way of ranking their "passion" about politics). Even though LIBERTARIANS are passionate, I look for the facts amongst the emotion to see what I can glean. Too often their emotion turns others off and I work to see past it and listen for the facts. It's not easy, that's for sure, and I have come to some new realizations about the subjects you mentioned because I have not turned them off, but parse through emotion to find the facts.

    Let me clarify something. You stated, "A person with facts shares them. A person without facts resorts to taunts or suggestions of aloofness / superiority / mystery in order to avoid being exposed for not having any facts." I shared a while back some facts with a friend (A), not connect the dots reasons, but just plain facts about an issue. I was labeled a conspiracy nut and told to get rid of my "tin foil hat" and get real. Another friend (B) that saw my frank and fact based discussions were thought provoking, as I was not making any conclusions, just stating facts and asked them (A) to reach their own conclusion. For that, I was unfriended and banned from a FB group. So, things go both ways. One's personal beliefs can be shaken by new information, so there is a tendency to disbelieve the facts. Scientists do it all the time when faced with data that is counter to what they expect.

    Keep up the good work, Harry. You're doing good.

  4. Kevin,

    You are a long way from being a conspiracy nut or a "tin foil hat" guy.

    The great difficulty we have with society is multi-fold ...

    1. People are afraid of facts - the truth makes them uncomfortable

    2. People are waiting for other people to fix the world's problems instead of recognizing their own responsibility / contribution to the problems AND the solutions

    3. People would rather spend their time numbed out

    4. There ARE a lot of conspiracy people who are so off-the-scale nutbar-like that they discredit others who have facts that we need to pay attention to

    People who don't take the time / have the courage to learn what's developing around them will at some point be very surprised by what's unfolding in the world.

    I just don't want to hear any complaining ... especially if they find themselves on "the outside".

    Create a great day, my friend. Thanks for the follow-up comment.


  5. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your experiences with this woman. It does terrify me that she would have access to young minds at all.

    Susan Knight

  6. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your kind words. It does pay to understand who is influencing the future generations, doesn't it?

    Create a great day!