Multiculturalism

So, those who know my husband and me, know we are massive geeks. We’re all about Anime, superhero movies, and video games. We started watching the newest season of “Supergirl” on Netflix and we couldn’t help but notice the very heavy-handed underlying tone of racism. Sure, they’re talking about actual aliens and not illegal immigrants, but it is very easy to make the jump.

On the show, many of the aliens are coming to earth to escape war, persecution, genocide… Just like so many people in the world – like Syrians or Central/South Americans. All they want is a life of peace to raise their families and they’re willing to travel hundreds of miles to get there!

My husband and I were talking about this and it reminded me of a situation last year that I brought up.

When we moved to Ottawa, we knew nobody – or so we thought! We did actually have a friend who had moved here about 18 years ago whom we hadn’t seen or rarely talked to during this time. We ended up connecting and had dinner together. While I was getting ready for having guests, I stopped at the local Walmart and it struck me the number of different accents and languages being spoken and colors of skin and how people dressed – and it struck me how multicultural this city was and I absolutely love that!!! When I mentioned it during our dinner, our friend (paraphrased) said if they move to Canada, they should, basically, denounce their religion, language, etc, and conform to “Canadian standards”.

Um, what the actual fuck? And what are “Canadian standards”?!

Though my husband and I never spoke about this exchange, and other than seeing him a couple weeks later on a hike, we haven’t spoken to or about him since. It was never brought up that we should invite him over again as we both seemed to share the same opinion – that type of negativity and non-acceptance is not tolerated in our life. Both my husband and I are very open minded and accepting of people. We don’t care if you’re gay, straight, trans, your religion, or color of skin. If you’re respectful of us, we’re respectful of you. As my husband said – he was disappointed in our friend.

I LOVE how multicultural this city is! I want to go into a Chinese restaurant and the food is made by Chinese employees and most of the patrons are Chinese! Or Indian! Or Thai! Or Italian! I’ve seen Jamaican restaurants and Ethiopian restaurants! And specialty grocery stores! There’s all sorts of places to worship for every type of religion! There’s stores that sell ethnic clothing and boutique salons catering to specific ethnic groups!I’ve seen ethnic establishments for countries I’ve never expected to!

People are afraid of immigrants taking their jobs… but where? Sure, they’ll take some jobs, but how many? I know, for me, chances are they’re working where, honestly, I wouldn’t want to! Gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, fast food, warehouse, taxi drivers, cleaners… and yet, there’s ALWAYS more workers in these areas that are needed! And if they’re working in the area, they need a place to live. They need food on the table. They need clothing. So aren’t they contributing to the economy more than taking away from it?

The biggest thing we have to remember is that these people are leaving war-torn countries that have them in constant threat of genocide. Try turning the tables; what would you do in their position? Stay in a place where you don’t know if today is your last day? Or having your home raided and your husband murdered in front of you and your kids? Or fighting erupting around you? Do you stay or chance a treacherous journey to try and find a safer place to set down roots?

The one thing Canadians are known for is our peacekeeping, empathy, and compassion. We have displayed this over and over when tragedy strikes both locally and internationally.

Yes, there’s problems. It’s a big country. There will always be people who are bigots or racists. There is no way around that. However, most people I come across have no tolerance for hate.

Personally? Multiculturalism is our greatest strength and what makes our country great.

Yes, it is a coincidence that this has been posted on Remembrance Day, but we have to remember that we have the freedoms we do because of those who have fought and died in the past. We fight against the beliefs that immigrants are running from. Many of those countries are small and all the citizens can do is run. We take a stand for those who can’t. We can’t forget this.  

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