25 February 2013
The Genuine Meaning of Being Canadian
What does it really mean to be Canadian?
People have numerous statements to define themselves "Canadian". Many individuals would recognise themselves as Canadian citizens simply because they were born in Canada. In fact, it is sometimes the occasion that even people from different races may tell you that they are "just" or "100%" Canadian, when you ask their background. On the other hand, it is somewhat important to look at some general stereotypes of Canadians such as living in igloos (Eskimos), hating wars (i.e. peacekeeping), loving hockey, eating at Tim Horton's, wearing fur hats, and having "free" healthcare. Of ...view middle of the document...
My first experience was facing several Asian security guards – I believe Chinese - at the second checkpoint of the airport that seemed to be a little exhausted; it was about midnight that my parents and I had arrived at Toronto. We were all tired indeed, but the good thing was my uncle had picked us up from the airport. On the way to my uncle's house, many things were remarkable for me as I was watching the streets in the car, such as mosques, Korean plazas, Iranian supermarkets, Indian restaurants and colourful trees that were visible under the street lights. If you were to go to Iran, you might see a lot of mosques and rarely churches; whereas in Canada, there are much more religious monasteries because everyone has the permission to practice their own religion. Also, it is quite seldom, in Iran, to find Asian grocery stores and other international plazas – other than hostels, of course – obviously because about the entire country is populated with Iranians. Observing such places were not the only experience I have had in regards to comprehending multiculturalism in Canada.
When the subject of going to school was mentioned on the next day of arrival, I was genuinely anxious that I felt like I never wanted to go to school whatsoever. My English was not obviously as good at that time; therefore, I was truly frightened about the possibility of being made fun of by the school kids. Interestingly, my first day of school was not as bad as what I had previously expected. Luckily in the school that I went to, there were many Iranian people to fraternize. I also found some Chinese, Indian and Russian friends within the first week. I was also humiliated by some guys that would call themselves "cool kids", but I got over it and begin to move on. These guys acted childishly like they do not have the wisdom about the difficulties that newcomers can have, like language barrier and unfamiliarity with the school system. In addition, it would not be bad to tell that, in my estimation, about 95% of the school kids were from different parts of Asia. There were quite few students to be culturally European (Caucasian). How ironic was when those kids from different parts of the world would make fun of other immigrants. Of course, I am not a typical person to perform censuses, and the insignificant percentage is merely based on my "frame of reference". It was from those moments that I started to learn and realize the importance of multiculturalism; in other words, to be Canadian does not necessary mean to be "Caucasian" or British, as some people would imagine.
I know it would be quite long to go through the history of Canada, since 16th century, but let's begin with the fact that Canada was initially the homeland of Aboriginal people. Europeans seized this land after they discovered it - first French and then British. The colonization fact is quite surprising but not as surprising as how Aboriginals were treated thenceforth. Firstly, they were forced to...