The Lit Life | Ep. 04

Here is the latest episode for The Lit Life Podcast. If you enjoy listening to “against the grain” viewpoints and care about issues like racism, stereotypes, and hypocrisy in the Indo-Canadian culture — then have a listen!

Don’t forget to share your reaction in the comments section, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like my Facebook page – Amrita Literature.

New Podcast Every Thursday!

The Lit Life | Ep. 02

On this episode of The Lit Life I discuss lazy Walmart auntiya, what it means to be called a “sh*tskin,” and what my personal goals for the next little bit are and what I hope yours will be.

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Airline Arrogance – What really went wrong?

This post is in regard to the video circulating around of the man being dragged off the overbooked United Airlines flight – you can bet your ass race played a factor in the manner in which he was removed from the flight.

All too often there’s this assumption that minorities will just submissively accept whatever is expected of them without a challenge. Typically because that’s usually how things go down.

I’m an advocate for people who are dubbed as “dippers” or “freshies” because it is these people who subconsciously think people who are “white” are some how superior and not meant to be challenged.

Think back to times when you were gone somewhere with your parents and they were always afraid to “do the wrong thing” or “disrupt the status quo” that’s because they automatically assumed the RIGHT way of doing things was set by people who belong to the majority.

So many times I see entitled individuals who “speak down to” ethnic minorities. Heck, people within the South Asian community do it too.

Keeping on track with speaking of airlines and improper conduct; I recall flipping my lid at one flight attendant when I overheard her telling a fellow passenger (who was clearly born and raised in India) that the beverage Coca Cola was bad for his kids teeth. Would this flight attendant dare challenge a white passengers request for some Coke to quiet his kid at the butt end of a gruelling 14 hour flight from India to Canada?

Of course not.

But she found herself entitled and exercised her advantage of being a westernized “brown girl” to tell the guy how to parent because he must somehow be in the dark about the unhealthy nature of Coca Cola.

Guess what nitwit air hostess chick – sometimes you just pacify your kids and give them what they want full well knowing it’s not the best thing for them just for a God forsaken moment of peace and quiet.

Feeling entitled and superior to someone because of their ethnicity or appearance is straight up racial profiling.

And just the same way the police statement released by the department to which those officers who dragged that DOCTOR off the plane just had to include the fact he was asian in their “official statement” you can bet their assumption and expectation of him to be submissive and afraid played a role in their violent attack.

Anyway – rant over. Moral of the story, stop judging people by what they look/sound like. Pull your heads out your asses and understand no ones better than anyone else.

For the “dips” — don’t be afraid of people who so excitedly tell you off when you’re in the wrong line up, facing the wrong way, or doing something else “the wrong way” in public.

And for the enablers within their own culture (the ones who feel themselves to be better than their own) stop thinking you’re superior just because your parents came to Canada at a certain time. That very well could be you with the thick accent, screaming kid, and desperate need for Coke or whatever else would placate your kid and get you through a overseas flight with small children.

Just stop judging one another and acting like douches. Okay? Okay! 🙂

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Have a wonderful week everyone!

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.


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.

Do you live in a MONSTER HOUSE?

I feel like everyone can pinpoint that one moment or conversation which sparks something in their mind which begins a change in the way they think. For me this was during my first year of university in my English 1100 class. The professor liked to begin our lessons by discussing current events or media topics. On this particular day she brought to school a newspaper on which the front cover showed a picture of a big house taken from a low angle to make it seem even bigger and rather unappealing. The heading read “Monster Houses Taking Over.” She asked us how this made us feel.

Everyone looked at one another and shrugged and said they really had no reaction at all. She asked us what the use of the word monster suggests. Being the eager beaver and keen student I was I raised my hand (though unsure what she was getting at at the time) and said well it’s meant to suggest these houses are something negative, something we should be afraid of. She responded that “I was on the right track” but she wanted more of an explanation into this insight.

She then wrote two words on the board with the standard hyphen between them as always. INDO-CANADIAN. She said what does this word look like to you? Everyone read it aloud. She said, “look at the word itself. It literally reads that you’re Indian minus Canadian. You’re not really Canadian you must be differentiated from the “REAL” Canadians – the Caucasian Canadians. You don’t see or hear the term Caucasian-Canadian a whole lot do you?”

She explained to us that in predominately Caucasian areas houses such as the one pictured in that weeks paper would typically be called “mansions” or “beautiful dream homes.” But because it is “Indo-Canadians” making these large homes they are now something negative – big monster houses, taking over the city, changing the look of things and the status quo. As if we are invaders setting up large gawdy homes in an an area that doesn’t truly belong to us.

That 5-10 minutes at the beginning of that class was it for me. That’s what opened my eyes to the underlying hints of racism and stereotyping in our everyday lives. The difference of perspective portrayed in mass media which then seeps into our minds when we least expect it. Before having it pointed out to me that it is important to not just passively receive information but critically analyze all that you come across, I was walking around with my mind turned off to such prejudices. And now that I saw it, there was no way it could be unseen, it was now everywhere.

I noticed it in the way the grocery teller said “you people” to me. I noticed it when customers at the retail outlet I worked at as a teen asked where I was REALLY from and weren’t satisfied when I kept answering “Prince George.” I noticed it at the doctors office when receptionists would speak extra slow and loud to my grandfather who understood English perfectly. The stereotypes and prejudices had me surrounded. And I felt like I was being barricaded by them.

So I started answering back. Sarcastic annoyed remarks to anyone who I felt was belittling me because of my race or being small minded towards my culture. I became overly sensitive and defensive in a lot of scenarios in which it perhaps would’ve just been easier to let it slide. But having something to be vocal about helped me come out of my shell. It helped me develop enough of a passion and to care enough to speak up and not shy away from setting people straight when need be.

But I don’t see a whole lot of that happening. So I wonder, for those individuals who just sit tentatively being the inferior minority and being okay with it – while their “monster homes” are attacked with ignorance and negatively, have they just not had that eye opening moment yet? Or perhaps it doesn’t bother them enough? Why do so few people care to correct what is wrong and fight against this shadow of oppression which follows us and is so embedded in our everyday lives. Is it so common that most of us don’t even notice it anymore?

Well, I can only hope that by writing about such things perhaps now I can be the one to switch that trigger on for someone. And let them now be unable to sit idly the next time they encounter such issues. If I can do that for at least one person – then I know I am doing right in at least some small way. Questioning and digging deeper is what I took away from my years at post-secondary. It’s what I think matters most and is the biggest lesson you get from higher education. To not be a passive recipient of information. To develop your own opinions and views and defend them when need be. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn the manner in which one can do this. But they can find something (not necessarily racial hatred) but something which matters enough to them to be on the lookout and stand up for. With these small changes in our psyche we can begin to tackle issues which are all too often swept under the rug and left for university professors to bring up to clueless introductory level students in the hopes of setting off that spark in at least a few of their minds.

Undercover racists?

Today I saw another one of those scenarios which just really infuriate me and made me want to swoop in and give the parties involved a piece of my mind.

What happened was I witnessed an interaction between a group of South Asians and Caucasians in which the latter group was belittling and speaking authoritatively over the former.

Two Indo-Canadian men who were wearing turbans were being ticketed for something or the other by the police who were pulling people over on my street. I watched from my bedroom window as a man washing his car nearby decided to very animatedly point out the other motorcyclist to the cop and say; “There’s another one here! He’s not wearing a helmet either! That’s what you pulled them over for right?” The cop sauntered over and said “oh no it’s for something else.” The very interested observer then proceeded to say, “so what, these people are exempt from the law? Don’t they have to wear helmets too?” The cop then replied “well, there’s a bit of an unspoken exception for them because they can’t take that thing off” while motioning to the turban. The guy then responded “well can’t they just make one big enough to fit over it. But I suppose that would look hilarious.” The cop responded “yeah THAT would look ridiculous.”

This entire interaction occurred as the men on the motorcycles just sat there staring watching timidly as they were being discussed as if they couldn’t understand the conversation, and maybe they didn’t. It’s the only thing that explains how they didn’t react negatively and speak up for themselves.

Now I don’t know about all of you but I for one feel personally offended and extremely angry when I hear an exchange of this manner take part in front of me. I feel as though there is a subtle undertone of certain individuals feeling justified to speak about ethnic minorities in a less than positive or respectful manner. It is clear they do not consider themselves equal to one another and believe themselves to be superior.

What makes this situation all that much worse is that the policeman was speaking to the man as if they were both in agreement with this general attitude of having the right to speak in such a condescending manner about these men. Is it not their role to discourage this type of mentality in the community? By marginalizing and belittling them alongside my very nosy and less than classy neighbour they are only fostering the growth of this problem.

Usually, if I have the opportunity to do so I will correct these individuals and respond to such comments in a manner which let’s them know it’s unacceptable to speak about others regardless of their race as if they are beneath them. It is not okay for them to feel they have the right to pass judgement towards them. This is why it took me all the much more by surprise when I had someone who reads my blogs tell me the manner in which I outline certain issues within my community (gender inequality, domestic altercations, religious bigotry, and the list goes on) is only contributing to the marginalization of the East-Indian cultural group .

What I feel needs to be made clear in this regard is that I call it how I see it. If what surrounds me is a parade of shootings all at the hands of young Indo-Canadian men, elderly Indian men acting less than respectable, and huge differences in the treatment of males and females then these are the issues I am going to draw attention to. It’s what I feel passionate about, it’s what I feel needs to be discussed in order to work towards correction. This does not mean I am contributing to the allowance of other cultural groups to look down upon my own. I am only attempting to uncover the difference between right and wrong – no matter what race or religion involved.

So long story short – if you hear something which makes you uncomfortable, speak up. And if you are afraid of appearing to be a “traitor” to your own race, don’t be. As long as you believe in what you’re saying and you voice your own opinion at all times without worrying about the reaction from others that is all that matters. In the end what it’s all about is constant improvement and change, and that can only occur if our surrounding societal and cultural issues are pinpointed and discussed.