I’d like to take moment and talk about the increasing intolerance I’ve seen in the news and on Facebook lately regarding immigrants, more specifically Muslim immigrants, and their perceived unwillingness to “assimilate” to Canadian culture. I tend to like to share my space in this world with intelligent, open-minded people, and I think it’s my duty as a decent human being to speak up against bigotry.
Let me first remind some people that you are all immigrants. Only those of you that are Aboriginal can lay claim to being an original inhabitant of this country, not one of us assimilated to Native culture; your ancestors came here and imposed their customs and beliefs on the First Peoples.
Our ancestors came from all over the world: France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, etc… They brought with them hundreds of different customs and rituals, religious beliefs and practices. Many of you still partake in these rituals and customs on holidays and during time spent with family, freely and without persecution.
“But, but, but…. our ancestors came to this country and they assimilated!” I can hear some of you saying, but that’s not altogether true, is it? They’ve kept their languages, you celebrate your traditions, your children go to Catholic schools, or attend Ukrainian dance classes on the weekend. Maybe your parents belong to the Irish Club, or you are able to attend masses held in Croatian. There are festivals to celebrate every background in this country. The whole province of Quebec has been able to hold on to its culture and customs and hasn’t been forced to assimilate to the rest of Canada. The entire western world caters to Christians. You get paid holidays based on religious traditions that might not even be yours, but no ones going to complain about that.
There are pockets of our ancestors in every province who have held on to their languages, clothing, customs, and beliefs; thank goodness they have. What makes Canada different from the rest of the world, remember, is that we are supposed to be a tolerant society. People have come, and still come here, from all over the world to escape intolerance. They have given up the comfort of familiarity to be here, where our citizens are free to be whatever they’d like to be, believe whatever they’d like to believe, love whomever they’d like to love, and even dress the way they’d like to dress. We are a beautiful combination of everyone’s beliefs and customs.
This is the same type of ignorance and vitriol that eventually caused the slaughter of millions of Jews in WWII. Before you’re too quick to defend your hate-speech, marinate on that for a minute and think about if you want to contribute to that kind of hate.
There is only one race, the human race.