Monday, September 20, 2010

New to Canada? Oh I'll show you what's new to Canada...

Today a woman tried to hand me a "New to Canada" flyer as I walked into a public library. I wanted to punch her in the face. But instead I said dryly: "I'm not new to Canada," and she tried to save her embarrassment by saying "oh okay, but maybe you know people who are." And I said "no, I don't" and walked away.

I wonder how long it will take for people to not assume every hijabi is a foreigner. To the naysayers who respond to things like this by saying "oh she's just trying to be helpful" or "she just made a mistake"...it was no mistake. To her (and to many others) hijab = foreigner.

It's an overarching mentality that is damaging and that needs to be addressed. The fact that we still have a stereotypical image of what a "Canadian" looks like vs. what an "immigrant" looks like is just mind-numbing. You'd think all this talk about diversity and such would lead people to realize they can't judge a book by its cover (or judge someone's citizenship status by her religious garb!).

Obviously this isn't the case for only hijabis - people of different races or cultural/religious backgrounds face similar assumptions being made about them as well.

Next time someone tried to hand me a flyer like that, I should have one called "Racist Stereotyping Problems? We can help!" (with a phone number that will lead them to a voicemail that says "if you have reached this line, you are guilty of being a racist bigot. Go eat some Kraft macaroni and cheese and wash it down with a lemon spritzer.")

Haha. Okay, only I would laugh. But that's what counts anyway.

7 comments:

yaser said...

it's going to take a few generations before this mentality changes

Asmaa said...

But that can't happen unless we or they consciously change it. Rampant stereotypes still exist about people who have lived in Canada for centuries...or even the people who were here before white settlers came and built on top of their land. If that hasn't changed in a few generations, What makes you think this will?

I mostly think you're right, but there's still a little pessimist inside of me that needs to express herself :D

hajera said...

"I wanted to punch her in the face."

wow. this is the stuff convicts are made of.

Asmaa said...

Hehehehe

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QftoA5o26E

Asmaa said...

That's such a cute video, anon!

Anonymous said...

you want to hear something sad...

Some girl that I was walking with is obviously obese...
And this lady is handing out flyers and she goes past me to give it to the girl...and it was about a diet solution thing.

OUCH!.
But I felt good that she didn't think i was fat...