Thursday, October 29, 2009


Thanks Cheryl for the comments on the last post. It's nice to know there's someone reading :)
It got me thinking a bit more about clothing and immigration, etc. Adapting to a new culture while still being proud of your 'old' one and trying to incorporate the two. The 'holiday' season is a great example of this. The incredible hoopla about not being able to say "Merry Christmas" or have Christmas trees up in public buildings. I don't believe in Christ, but I still say "Merry Christmas". However, I know that in reality, especially in larger urban centers, many of the people you run into also do not believe in Christ but still have strong---very strong---religious views. Just different. Even years ago, if you knew (or guessed that) someone was Jewish, for example, you just knew not to say "Merry Christmas". You might not say "Happy Hanukkah" but you wouldn't be inconsiderate and force your seasonal greeting on someone you knew wouldn't appreciate the sentiment. So, I sort of see the point of not saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone you come across. Even the white chick hairdresser (is--not an 'obvious' non-Christian minority) might be pagan, or Jehovah, etc. LOL. It's a consideration that's pretty easy to adapt to. Now, being that I don't believe in Christ, perhaps it's easier for me to think this way. We DO celebrate "Christmas" and I wish there was another term for it (this was a big debate on a parenting group I'm in). Happy Santa Day? Keep the religious salutations to the religious buildings and settings they belong in.

Further along this line is the idea of cultural dress versus religious dress. I imagine it can be fairly easy to give up cultural dress (a kilt; Bermuda shorts; cowboy hat) when you come to a new country, particularly if there's a different climate. However, for some cultures, religion IS their culture. While the wearing of the bourqa might be a cultural imposition on women, it is rooted in a deep religious faith. And then, on the flip side, we never ask an Arab man how he feels to be 'forced' to wear the traditional, culturally based robes and headgear. It's just what you wear as a man in an Arab country. But should it still be worn here in Canada? Well, as soon as a nor'easter whips up under those robes, I'll bet someone discovers the joys of pants, LOL.

What about turbans? Are they religious or cultural? Most religions have 'rules' regarding keeping the head covered, but each faith interprets it differently. And each culture tends to have it's own religion. Remember the big hoopla about police officers insisting they should be able to wear turbans instead of the police caps? Police caps, in a way, are a cultural uniform; should religion trump culture and professional uniformity? And then there was the fascinating case last year about the motorcycle rider who insisted he could not wear a helmet because he must wear his turban. My solution--let him wear the turban, but have him sign a waiver--attached to the digital documentation of his health card--that says he will be responsible for the financial cost incurred if injured due to not wearing a helmet.

On further thought, I think a waiver like that should be enforced for everyone. Let's also add seat belts to the list. If you are injured in an accident due to not wearing a seat belt, you should be financially responsible. If you're still alive. What else can we add? There's the debate about if alcoholics who need a liver should be ahead of 'innocent' victims on the transplant list...

Okay, getting really off the immigrant theme here. LOL. But this is my blog, and it's fun to have a place where I can 'rule' my own little imaginary world :)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Orangeville was a very white town. It's changed a lot since we first moved there, but it was still mainly white. I've gotten comments that Whitby is also very white. Maybe, for a 110 000 people town, but after my ultrasound today, I will have to say that just because a town appears white, doesn't mean that it's not full of immigrants.
Every person (staff and clients) I saw/heard at the ultrasound office was white, but all had accents. And not British accents.
Ahead of me was a white teen girl and her mother. They were sitting and chatting, in a foreign language that sounded eastern European. It was a little agitated, and then all of a sudden, the teen slaps her leg and dramatically says "No! Are you serious?" and carries right on in her native language.
Hidden multiculturalism...I wonder if white immigrants face the same sort of racism/issues as non-whites?
I was waiting one day near the pharmacy in Wal-Mart. There were two ladies (sisters) chatting away. Two young boys, dressed in long white robes and white caps come walking by. The ladies snicker and make a few comments about Hallowe'en, and "you're in Canada now, eh". Would they say something like that to a white person wearing a religious necklace charm representing a non-Western religion? Would they scoff at a Texan wearing a big cowboy hat?
When we were house hunting, we drove around one new neighbourhood. Rob made several comments about there being no white people and he couldn't live there. The kids did find one white couple. They got quite excited. Then I heard them telling their friends that we didn't pick one house because everyone was brown and black and dressed funny. Would we have encountered reverse racism?

I find immigration and emigration fascinating. It's not something I think I'd ever do, and it must take a phenomenal amount of courage to leave your homeland. Why do some people think this is a reason to ostracize a stranger?