I'm a white woman who has spent my life advocating for women's rights in Afghanistan. Unapologetic for my lack of shared ethnicity with those I have strived to defend, I've heard an array of logic-bending criticisms, from subtle critiques veiled in the buzzwords of post-modernism, like the suggestion that all development workers inherently occupy a 'hegemonic' position, to less creative and cruder name calling.
During a recent visit to my hometown of St. John's, I went to a busy restaurant to meet friends for lunch. The hostess asked my name. "Bolu," I started. After she refused to take my first name, I began with my last name. "O-g-u-n ..." but was abruptly cut off by the visibly irritated hostess. My name was an inconvenience to her -- too foreign, apparently.
Not everyone will get the opportunity to pack their bags and escape in the new year. Those with slightly less nomadic lifestyles can still experience new cultures, taste exotic foods, and fill their Instagram pages with comment-worthy travel photos by visiting these four worldly cities right here in Canada.
We, as a society, are on a streak of consuming content based on totally imagined, impossible-to-relate-to worlds. Indeed, this is us, a human race that's fully accepting of bug-eyed, slimy aliens. And yet... a story that involves a different culture or a different skin colour is simply a little too..."out there?"
Canadians need to stop being polite about their racism and start owning it. Resist the urge to get defensive of multiculturalism and realize not everyone experiences Canada in the same way. Multiculturalism alone cannot mitigate prejudice, not without action. Canada is not devoid of racism because of our multiculturalism and the 'Trump Effect' must not eclipse the domestic racism that has long existed in this country.
You don't have to look very far these days to challenge the melting pot idea. All that is needed is a glimpse at the racial divisions that have marked the 2016 United States presidential election and others prior. In fact, those who boast about the American melting pot are generally thinking about the successful assimilation of white Americans in a society with perpetual racial divisions than run deep across the country.
As a Korean, I could find many parallels between Korea and Ukraine. Both had suffered Mongol invasion, imperialism, fascism and communism in the past. In recent years, both have been struggling with corruption and the kleptocracy. Ukrainians' hope and aspirations in life are not much different than mine.
A term associated with dual and/or multiple expressions of identity alongside national identification, "hyphenated Canadian" identities are now an important part of our diverse ethnic landscape - and we owe it to the efforts of the very same individuals who regarded such multiple identities as a source of division.
Keeping relationships within a culture can be convenient, comfortable and maybe even somewhat expected of you -- but it also makes it easy to keep one's culture alive. Our parents had a clear blueprint for passing on their traditions, something the growing number of culturally mixed couples like us simply don't have.
It's been shocking to watch news of the Brexit vote in Britain, Donald Trump's promise to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and the ongoing threats and violence against ethnic minorities in many parts of the world. I'm not a political or social scientist, but my training as a biologist gives me some insight. Within ecosystems, species diversity provides greater flexibility to adjust to disturbances. Around the planet, ecosystem diversity has enabled life to flourish under different conditions.
These days you don't hear a great deal of praise for the American melting pot. Perhaps it's because there is a growing realization amongst Americans that historically the melting pot was more virtual than real. A frank look at the evolution of the race relations across America's history throws the melting pot idea into question.
The yearning desire I had to visit could not be explained. But stepping foot onto West African soil started to make things clearer for me. Upon arriving, I was instantly overcome with the feeling that I was home. I had last visited Ghana as a child many years ago, but the people, the culture, the way of life, even the very smell, brought up feelings of nostalgia.
This past week, the Toronto Ward Museum initiated the "Dishing Up Toronto" program with three walking tours in Toronto and its suburbs. Immigrants served as guides and shared their stories and the stories of their neighbourhoods. Rather than use inanimate displays for their history lessons, the guides introduced audiences to their culture through visits to local hotspots and by sampling their favourite dishes.
On Canadian multiculturalism day the Prime Minister's multicultural message was bang on. Justin Trudeau declared that "Our roots reach out to every corner of the globe. We are from far and wide, and speak over 200 languages. Our national fabric is vibrant and varied, woven together by many cultures and heritages, and underlined by a core value of respect.
The sixth annual Indian Summer Festival is fast approaching, and arts and culture lovers all over our city are gearing up for what promises to be the most intellectually stimulating ten days of the year. Taking place from July 7th to 16th, the festival combines a range of events featuring thinkers, artists, and leaders from Canada, South Asia, and beyond into a program that promises to be enlightening, entertaining, and inclusive.
The growth in the visible minority population has seemingly changed the nature of the vertical mosaic and the portrait of inequality in Canada. The question that preoccupies researchers is whether the upward mobility experienced by most European origin groups can be replicated by non-European immigrants and their children.