Born and Raised

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What It's Like To Lose A Language

A couple of insignificant words shouldn't matter much, but to me, it meant a lot. Forgetting a few words meant having awkward, half-formed conversations with my parents. It meant feeling alienated from an ethnic community that was strongly bound by a common language. Most importantly, it meant losing an inherent part of my Vietnamese identity. Each time I forgot another word, it was like I was a little less Vietnamese.
Hamza Khan

Relearning My Grandmother's Language Taught Me Where My Roots Lie

Learning my grandmother's life stories helped me to reconnect with my own Indian-American and Indian-Canadian identity in a way that Bollywood movies never could. If you're the first-generation child of immigrant parents, you owe it to yourself to learn the language of your grandparents. Spend some time with them and ask them about their life. Go deeper than the mere sequence of events you might've never ventured beneath because of language barriers. It could just be the key to unlocking dimensions of who you are. And if history is cyclical, perhaps who you might become.
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It's 'Older White Canadians' Who Want Minorities To 'Fit In'

So there was this CBC-Angus Reid poll. You may have heard about it, or at least seen it while scrolling through your social media feeds this week. It was called the "Canadian Values" poll and it found, according to the original CBC headline, that Canadians want minorities to do more to 'fit in.' This poll made news because it revealed 68 per cent of Canadians thinking minorities should be "doing more to fit in" with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages. But what I found out after contacting Angus Reid was that 87 per cent of those respondents were white.
Jesse Ferreras

I Didn't Know My Spanish Roots Until I Grew Up. It Was Worth The Wait.

Throughout my life, I have found myself having to assert my cultural identity. From a single look, you'd probably have me pegged for a white male, and all the privilege that comes with it. The latter part is true. As someone who half-identifies as white, I never have to worry about being asked where I'm from; being targeted by police; or having Long Duk Dong represent me in pop culture. But "White" is nevertheless a small part of who I am. My full name is Jesse Ramon Ferreras... My family has never kept my heritage a secret. But maintaining it in a place like Vancouver has been difficult.
Brian Trinh

I Regret 'Doing More' To Fit In As A Minority In Canada

I made a choice to abandon learning Vietnamese as a kid. Part of it was me being lazy. I didn't want to spend Saturdays inside another school. Three hours learning about the Vietnamese alphabet can seem like prison when you're six or if you're 12. But another part of it was me wanting to fit in. To stay at home. To watch weekend morning cartoons. To have stuff to talk about during recess come Monday. I made a choice to turn my back on part of my identity. In return, I got to fit in within a multi-ethnic schoolyard in a suburban Ontario neighbourhood circa 1995. Today, that decision would make a majority of Canadians pretty happy.
Reeha Korpal

No Child Should Be More Than A Son, Or Just Another Daughter

Any child, regardless of their gender can rise to the occasion to fulfill any dream and aspiration their parents may have; they can be your legacy, your shoulder and your support system. That includes daughters. While we can't erase how our parents were brought up, we should not give them a free pass for any bigotry, biases and prejudices they may hold.
Andrea Yu

I Was My Mother's Guide When She Returned To Hong Kong

"It's a totally brand new city. I don't recognize anything," my mom says, gazing wide-eyed out of the decades-old tram and into the chaotic streets of Hong Kong. It's been 33 years since she moved from Hong Kong to Toronto and four months since I did the opposite. This is how I became my mother's tour guide in her own hometown.
Isabelle Khoo

I'm A Chinese-Canadian ‘Banana' And Proud Of It

My mother calls me a banana. In her words, I'm white on the inside, but yellow on the outside. She's not wrong. As a Chinese-Canadian, I often call myself the whitest Asian you'll ever meet. While this used to stem from a rejection of my Asian culture, being a banana has become my identity as a child of a Chinese immigrant.
Joshua Ostroff

Being An Invisible Minority Makes It Hard To Pass On My Heritage

Emile knows that he's Jewish, but it's an esoteric concept at his age. He loves eating gefilte fish and searching for the afikomen, hates how long Passover seders take and boasts to his buddies about getting two holidays instead of one in December. I used to do the same. But because we're an invisible minority, it can easily disappear. Maintaining it requires effort. So my role as a father is to help him see the value in making Jewish history, culture and traditions a part of him -- he can decide on the religious part on his own -- so that he might one day pass it all on to his own child.
Born And Raised is an ongoing series by The Huffington Post Canada that shares the experiences of second-generation Canadians. Part reflection, part storytelling, this series on the children of immigrants explores what it means to be born and raised in Canada. We want to hear your stories -- join the conversation on Twitter at #BornandRaised or send us an email at bornandraised@huffingtonpost.com.