X is for Xenophobe

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Nice to see the advent of the holiday season bringing out all the closet xenophobes.  The following is a quotation – NOT my feelings on the subject.  This has been posted around Facebook a lot lately, and it disturbs me and I need to address it. 

“So sad that Canada can’t celebrate Christmas at school anymore and now they want to stop playing the National Anthem for religious reasons. Soldiers die under that flag and for that anthem…they fight for our freedom. If they are so offended by the way the country was raised please feel free to go back where you came from . ENOUGH IS ENOUGH …..if you agree please re-post! Don’t come here to change our ways . ADAPT to them.”

Say WHAAA?  Like we as Europeans adapted to the ways of the indigenous people when we got here?  We gave them smallpox and alcoholism and tucked them away into corners where they could live lives of desperate poverty and we didn’t have to look at them.   We didn’t have to “adapt” to them.  We conquered them.

This country was “raised” (and I question the use of this word in this context) on multiculturalism.  Look out all you boomers who are scared of people with non-white skin and accents.  They’re the ones who are going to be propping up the Canada Pension Plan when we’re ready to retire.  We need each other.  New Canadians are just as Canadian as you are, unless you’re First Nations.  You have no greater right to your “culture” than they have to theirs.  No one is trying to co-opt your traditions or beliefs.  

This is not the US.  We’re not a melting pot that throws everything in together and expects WASP stew.  This is a mosiac.  Go to any major urban centre and look at the people around you.  You can either feel squirmy and uncomfortable, because now YOU’RE the minority group, or realize that in this country, we’re all part of the majority, and that the group is called “Canadians”.  What does an “average” Canadian look like, anyway?  Maybe not as much like you as you want to think.

This is a great, great country, maybe the greatest country in the world in terms of respect for human worth.  We all get to speak, and breathe and worship whatever way suits us best.

And if you don’t like THAT, feel free to go back to where you came from. 

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5 responses »

  1. Right on Lynne. People with their narrow little minds and fear of 'the other' still exist. And perhaps they always will. All in all, Canada is a kick ass country. But we have a long way to go regarding how we engage, embrace and celebrate the newcomers we invite into our country to prop up our economy. Can we not get it right? Sure, "you're a doctor? Please come to Canada. Oh sorry, did we mention, that we will make it well nigh impossible for you to qualify to work here. Thanks for driving that cab for us. " Still, I will say that I have the great pleasure of knowing many newcomers, some of them refugees, who are living marvellous lives here and are in awe of how wonderfully they have been welcomed. Showing we can get it right sometimes. Let's make the getting it right the norm!

  2. So true! Sad that the cab-driving neurosurgeon is a true Candian stereotype, and the woman cleaning your office has a better education than the CEO.Last summer I was at Humber Bay Park for the Canada Day fireworks. I was struck by how many people looked like not-me, and how complacent those who look like-me are about celebrating Canada.

  3. So true. What's this myth out there that folks with nonXian traditions want to mess with our Xmas trees & cheezy-but-beloved carols? I lived in T.O. for nearly 20 years with folks from every nook and cranny of this planet. People were interested in sharing traditions – lights for Diwali, delicious food at the end of Ramadan, wacky Easter parades in Little Italy, Greek Orthodox sweets in Janurary, Chinese New Year dragon dances, Persian New Year celebrations in March…We all share a little blue planet, people. Celebrate your hearts out! – Claudia from a wee, little place called Bracebridge.

  4. I like what you're saying Claudia. Twenty years ago people WERE doing what you're saying in Toronto, and are still doing it now. The only thing that has changed is tolerance. It's a very "melting pot" way of being…and as a Canadian, quite frightening and depressing.

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