Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of University Magazine.
I live in a whitewashed area of Canada; Alberta to be specific. The local government is made up of middle to old age white folks. Proper representation is something my little city hasn’t quite gotten ahold of yet. To say my city and the people in my city are far behind is a bit of understatement.
Besides the obvious problems of a whitewashed community; like lack of available cultural support, lack of diversity in cuisine and style, and lack of diversity in leisure activities, a bigger problem comes to affect generations being raised now, and generations to come. The problem is that the very white majority of kids are being raised to believe that everyone else is the same as them, and if they aren’t the same as them, they believe that other people are: strange, exotic (with all the connotations of the word) and that they aren’t from the same place, even though Canada is home to many ethnicities, and Canadian is an identity that many ethnicities align themselves with.
The ideologies that exist in my city, in my opinion, are racist, unwelcoming, and fuelled by a silly competition to do better than the next person. I could write many different articles based on the introduction I have laid out, but I want to focus on one thing that has come up repeatedly in my daily life recently. This thing is that many, not all, but many people here, are anti-immigration. Some reasoning I have been witness to, include: “they steal our jobs,” “they don’t assimilate well enough,” “they’re lazy and take the resources my kids should have instead,” and “they push their culture down our throats.”
The “they steal our jobs” comment puts me in a rage. First, if immigrants are lucky enough to have their credentials and education be recognized by the Canadian government, then they are obviously deserving of every employment opportunity they are qualified for. Immigrants are not stealing jobs. They either work jobs that other citizens are unwilling to do, such as fast food positions, or they work jobs that they put the time and work into being qualified for. The same as everybody else. The “they push their culture down our throats” comment baffles me. Why would anyone be against learning and experiencing first hand, another culture? Whether it be food, rituals, clothes, even religion, why are we so closed off to learning new things? That’s why people go traveling isn’t it? To experience a new way of life? But, people say no and get angry with this brilliant opportunity to do some traveling right at home.
My overarching argument against these comments and against this ideology is that people in my city are showing no humanity, almost like they don’t have any humanity inside of them, to begin with. How do people not think about and try to understand this heartbreaking and possibly perilous journey that people are forced to take on? I don’t know if it’s possible for me to ever fully grasp the emotions that run through someone who is forced to leave their home, leave their family behind, and move across the globe to an entirely different country and way of life. Do you know how scary that must be? I can’t imagine how intimidated and powerless I would feel. Then to arrive in a new place, your new home, just to have the people blame you for lack of employment opportunities and rising prices of resources? Are you kidding me?
The ironic problem is that the people who are anti-immigration are not struggling, they are middle-class people who don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from or which bills they are able to pay. These people are completely unaffected by immigrants, yet they open their mouths endlessly.
A Thank You
I have had the pleasure of meeting, working with, and being friends with a few amazing people, who happened to be immigrants. I would like to thank Joy and Gladys, who I worked with for multiple years at a Papa Johns. Joy and Gladys are both incredibly friendly and caring people, who looked past all my faults when I was 16 and smoked weed as a personality trait. I want to thank Khushbir, who I worked with at the same pizza place but a few years later, who thought enough of me to share the story of how he came to Canada when he was 18, right after both of his parents had passed away. I also want to thank Ashley, who lives above me, who makes fantastic food and shares her culture and her life with my mother and me, two random white people that she happened to meet because of my mom and her parked beside each other.