I was reminded of a valuable lesson a few weeks ago - to never judge a fellow human being by their skin colour or nationality.
A full explanation as to what happened would probably exceed my word count.
I know in some people's eyes the East Indian community has struggled with its public image partly due to some of the high profile crimes involving young South Asian males in the Lower Mainland.
Recently, I was having supper in a local restaurant in Abbotsford and the kind waitress wanted to share some insights.
She said: "The only bar fights we've had in our establishment have been with East Indians."
With this cemented in my mind, and only a few short days later, I witnessed in incident where a South Asian male threatened someone with a baseball bat.
My next step was to go to Facebook and vent about what I had heard and seen to all my so-called friends
This is what I posted: "Just witnessed a young South Asian (East Indian) male threaten another driver with a bat and take off over nothing at all and shout how powerful he is. The aggression and violent nature that took place showcased to me first hand why we have such a violent community and in particularly with our South Asian males. Sorry to say."
After receiving 37 'likes' and 120 comments, many of them mixed opinions, I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong in posting this and should have expressed it differently.
As one writer stated: "This sort of attitude lets other members outside of our community get the wrong idea and impression. I think you are a very active member of our community and what you say reaches many people, so in my own opinion, I believe you could have expressed your frustrations in a more positive proactive way."
Sarina Di Martino Derkesen posted: "With all due respect, bringing someone's race or culture into the equation immediately deepens the divisions, and all the work that has been done on the topic of diversity takes a step backwards.
"I think we need to as a society deal with the behavior and the lack of values behind the action. We need to stop labeling people and instead take them for who they are in front of us, and deal with the behaviors as a 'person' instead of attributing it to their culture or heritage.
"If we continue to say that black guy, that white guy, that brown guy, that Muslim, that Hindu, that Catholic when referring to the person in question, the divisions will continue.
"Instead, we need to start referring to the person as 'the man' or 'the woman' in question or simply 'the person' and not by their race or religion."
Through my post I unfortunately marginalized East Indian males and painted them all with the same dirty brush. I am extremely sorry for this.
These kinds of responses affect people in their daily lives.
When speaking on topics of racism/stereotyping we need not be emotional, but remain factual to get to the truth of the matter.
? Ken Herar is a freelance columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: kenherar@ gmail.com.