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Their gratitude springs from the fact that they live in arguably the world's best country. They enjoy freedoms of religion and expression, democratic rights, the rule of law, the support of fellow Canadians and all levels of government, security and opportunities.
Can we say we are a multicultural society if we're unable to fundamentally accept its most basic concept: tolerance of other cultures and religions? Why is there a discrepancy between the support many Canadians show to multiculturalism -- and who often feverishly argue is the basis of Canadian identity -- and combating Islamophobia? If we're (arguably) a multicultural society then why are we also not an anti-Islamophobia society?
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Given what is happening right around us and in the world at large, means that it is high time to pause and talk about things bothering some Canadians, and doing it without a political agenda, without interference, and without shouting down the other side.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?"
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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.
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What I loved most in that moment listening to strangers argue over my clothes was the open conversation about culture. The friendly acceptance of our differences. They did not find it odd that an American girl needed a sari. I realized that feeling American is part of what made me Canadian.
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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.
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“We are increasingly alone.”
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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.
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Award-winning philosopher Charles Taylor on Trump, Brexit and how to convince your parents that diversity is good for Canada.
In early June, 2003, Air Canada was about to launch its inaugural non-stop flight from Montreal to Beirut. But then, inexplicably, the Canadian government pulled the rug out from under Air Canada -- citing "national security" issues.