Road Today - - Guest Column -

It has been a rough sum­mer on the front of racism, di­ver­sity, and in­dif­fer­ence. Re­marks from Pres­i­dent Trump on the sit­u­a­tion of the Char­lottesville ri­ots that hap­pened in Au­gust have set off a num­ber of sim­i­lar protests across North Amer­ica. Of­ten we talk about these is­sues be­ing in the United States only, but the truth is that it is hap­pen­ing around the World. We are see­ing is­sues in Canada with the burn­ing of churches, at­tacks on Mus­lim in­sti­tu­tions, and the gen­eral public of var­i­ous races be­ing the tar­get of hate writ­ings. We think we are pro­gress­ing for­ward, but on the hu­man side we seem to be go­ing back in time. For those of you that re­mem­ber 60’s and early 70’s you will un­der­stand what I mean.

I started truck­ing in the 80’s and at that time it was a pre­dom­i­nately white male in­dus­try as many were farm kids that had been driv­ing trac­tors and were now long haul truck driv­ers. There was racism back then and I have my own sto­ries of be­ing a coloured kid in school and even in my ca­reer in truck­ing. I have never been sub­ject to the type of racism seen in Char­lottesville, but racism comes in many forms. My ex­pe­ri­ence has al­ways been lighter with jokes on colour and sce­nar­ios thrown around that can be quickly di­verted. Cer­tainly noth­ing like what we are see­ing in the news these days, but of course I was a Cana­dian born kid.

In the early 80’s the in­dus­try started chang­ing with peo­ple com­ing in from other coun­tries such as In­dia, Asia, and the Caribbean and be­gin­ning to work in the trans­porta­tion in­dus­try. Sure, back then there were in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments from many driv­ers and a strong re­sis­tance to the jobs they were seem­ingly tak­ing from Cana­dian born chil­dren. We didn’t know these peo­ple.

The same thing has hap­pened to women in the in­dus­try. Back in the 80’s there were very few women driv­ing trucks. It was con­sid­ered a man’s in­dus­try. Truck driv­ers were tough strong men driv­ing big equip­ment. Those days were dif­fer­ent, you had to be strong to drive back then as we had manual steer­ing. Women can’t han­dle trucks they said! That’s a lie of course. I know women that not only out drive some of the men, but do a great job on all fronts and have a softer com­po­nent that wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily seen in the past. There is now a huge push in the in­dus­try to get women in­volved and many groups such as The Women’s Truck­ing Fed­er­a­tion of Canada, Women in Truck­ing, and Truck­ing for a Cure have all been at the forefront of help­ing and cel­e­brat­ing women in the in­dus­try.

To­day truck­ing is a very dif­fer­ent place. There are all races and gen­ders in­volved in the in­dus­try and I am proud to call many of them my friends. I have ex­pe­ri­enced the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of women in the in­dus­try on the road and at in­dus­try func­tions. I have many friends from In­dia and South Asia that I con­sider top qual­ity peo­ple and I am proud to be part of an in­dus­try that al­lows for di­verse com­mu­ni­ties to work to­gether in one in­dus­try.

What changed for me over the years from those early days in the 80’s when I started in the in­dus­try

Bruce Outridge Bruce Outridge drove trans­port trucks across North Amer­ica for over 25 years. He now runs his own busi­ness as an en­tre­pre­neur and is a pro­fes­sional car­toon­ist, au­thor, and con­sul­tant for the in­dus­try. You can learn about Bruce on his web­site at www. bruce­outridge.com and you can im­prove your ca­reer by lis­ten­ing to his pod­cast for the truck­ing in­dus­try at www.the­leadpedalpod­cast.com

to to­day is that I have had the chance to know these peo­ple. I do my best not to paint ev­ery­one with the same brush. We still have prob­lems in the in­dus­try and I am sure we will in the fu­ture. Let’s not al­low the com­ments and ac­tions of some to ruin the progress we have made over the years in our in­dus­try. Septem­ber is Driver Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Month and a time to cel­e­brate the peo­ple that keep prod­ucts on our shelves. If you are Mus­lim, a Woman, Black, White, or from another Na­tion cel­e­brate the good work you do. You are an im­por­tant part of the lo­gis­tics chain and we need to work hard to im­prove that and not break it down be­cause of race, colour, or gen­der. Thank you driv­ers for all the hard work you do in keep­ing our lives filled with the im­por­tant items we need to sur­vive. No mat­ter what your role in the trans­porta­tion in­dus­try, what your gen­der, or race we are work­ing to­wards a com­mon goal with one com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor, de­liv­er­ing freight in a safe timely man­ner. We are the trans­porta­tion in­dus­try!

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