The United States of Canada

Could it be possible – that we aren’t quite as safe and removed from the reality of our southern neighbours as we believe?

I don’t know about all of you but I for one seem to find myself thanking my lucky stars that my parents chose to settle in Canada rather than the USA right about now.

Since when did the colour brown become the new target of all those born ignorant and afraid? How in the heck have we stumbled upon a time in which men are being shot in their own driveway because of the colour of their skin?

When you read history books – you feel this knot of disbelief when you learn about all the tyranny the nazis got away with against the Jews. And not just in the full blown years of Nazi rule – but the time leading up to that. What exactly did it take to persuade the masses to behave like mindless sheep following the rule of a dangerous dictator?

History is truly repeating itself. Men in positions of power are utilizing their status to create scapegoats, monger fear, and promote hate.

Simply put we are in the thick of racism being once again openly expressed.

Lives are being lost. But how many of us Canadians are afraid when walking out the door? We live in our nice friendly little multicultural bubble.

Right?
Wrong.

Just as those who voted Trump into office hid their true impression of people of colour so do many Canadians.

And the reality the US is facing today could very well be our tomorrow. All it takes is someone like Kevin O’ Leary being voted in – which chances are could happen since we tend to flip between Liberal and Conservative and suddenly we might find ourselves thinking twice before heading out the door sometime in the near future.

It’s so unfortunate that people who are born and raised in a certain country are being made to feel like outsiders. It’s even more heartbreaking that those who came to the land of the “free” to begin anew are being oppressed and attacked.

I really don’t think we’re as far removed from their type of hate culture as we think. It’s in the offhand comments, it’s in the stereotypical statements, it’s definitely floating around the backdrop of many ethnic majority members minds – all it takes is one bold leader to make those closet racists feel confident enough to step into the light – and boom you’re standing in your driveway with a gun pointed in your face.

The masses are swayed so very easily. The marginalized become pushed to the outskirts and branded as the culprits of all that is evil – and those in advantageous positions have the power to behave any which way they please.

So trust me – even though we’re tucked away in our snowy abyss far from the venomous actions being committed in the US – this already is OUR problem. Whether we feel protected by our Canadian identity or not. Because let’s face it – when it comes to choosing who the true badge of being a Canadian belongs to – you can bet your last dollar it won’t be allotted to those wrapped in a turban, burka, or duputta.

Who does your life matter to? 

When you all look in the mirror what do you see first? When others look at you do you think the first thing they see is the very same thing? When people look at me I am certain that what they see first is a girl with brown skin. So what does this skin colour mean? Does it mean that I’m Indian? Am I Indo-Canadian? Or just Canadian?

I was born in Canada just like all the other citizens with the label Canadian reserved especially for them so why not just that? But you know what? I get it now. I understand what my identity is. I am a Sikh Punjabi girl. Whether I practice the religion and speak the language daily or not – that is who and what I am.

 
So this is why when I hear of things like the unjust treatment of people to whom my roots are connected in a country that is no matter what my original home – it feels like I should be doing something. But what? I hear terms like cultural genocide and people try to get catchphrases going like the hashtag #SikhLivesMatter.

I just got to wonder – who do they matter to? They sure as heck don’t matter to the Indian government. They don’t seem to matter to the majority of the diaspora of Sikhs living scattered across the world either. So whose supposed to care? Why should we care?

Because if we’re not careful and if we don’t pay attention now and raise our voices which is all we can do from far away the roots from which we have grown will be tarnished.

Our heritage will be destroyed and our people will suffer and then eventually cease to be. So if those who come before us and are the reason we can so carelessly live our lives all over the world whilst assimilated into western culture are being terrorized by their own government – shouldn’t that matter to us?

It’s our responsibility to care. It’s our duty and it is engrained in our DNA to not allow such acts to occur. So if you’re not identifying with who you really are, or standing up for those from whom you arose, then you’re really just a nobody.

 
We have Sikh weddings, wear Punjabi clothes, speak the language and dance to the music. And yet when our culture is being attacked we do nothing. We’re double dipping with our feet in two different hemispheres. Relating ourselves to the western world and thinking ourselves a part of that but taking what we wish to make our own of our heritage.

Well it’s time for this discordance to change. It’s time to uncover who we really are and be one with ourself without attempting to force ourselves to be split a part. It doesn’t matter what you see first when you look at the mirror. Because as a whole you are someone pretending to be something you’re not. And that person staring back at you in the mirror is actually just a reflection of the image to which you think you belong.

The western world – the facade of what we think we really are.

Before it’s too late get informed, and get talking. Because spreading the word and demanding a change is the first step in the right direction. Because someday if times were to change and suddenly our home wasn’t ours anymore and we were forced to choose who and what we truly identified with, surely you’d want others to stand united alongside you too.