Saturday, January 26, 2013

White Canadians are Racist

I've always believed that white Canadians were not racist: we were, in my mind, well-intentionned dumbasses who tried to be as welcoming as possible but did so awkwardly and stupidly. I figured this was sometimes due to our own biases but mostly due to our inheritant lack of understanding of being "an other". After less than a year in a hijab, I've now understood one thing very clearly: not only are white Canadians racist, but we are also conveniently lying to ourselves about it. I say 'we' because I am cannot legitimately excuse myself of my own priviledge just because I wear a veil or even because I identify with the Queer community. I am white, Canadian-born. My priviledge is with me, regardless of what I do, and what 'else' I am.

'We' are racist. For centuries we have conquered, corrupted and cheated to be the best. And by our own standards, we are! The saddest part is that now that we've claimed the top spots for wealth and health we turned to minorities so we could become 'the best at including others'. The problem is that for us to include others, they have to REMAIN others. If 'they' become a majority, then 'we' are not the best: they are!

So while minority groups struggle to become equals we continue to ensure that they maintain minority status while we show them meaningless attempts at inclusion. As minorities become a greater part of Canada, white Canadians are slowly growing more conservative. We can claim to not see colour all we want, so long as we are unwilling to accept that our racism CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be excused by our ignorance we are allowing racism to continue. Take a stance against racism and teach your child or force local schools to teach about other races, other cultures, other traditions and other beliefs! And stop thinking 'others' need saving; 'they' can save themselves if we let them!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Broken hearts can love too!

Jumping on a trampoline
"Hate is only a form of love that hasn't found a way to express itself logically". -Lil' Wayne

My family's love for one another is both dysfunctional and unconditional. Those you love the most can also hurt you the most and you can hurt most those that you love. That is a sad reality of life. However, at this tender moment, I would like to focus on the love that I showed to and was shown by my paternal grand-mother. This strong woman with a tender heart and life-consuming problems.

Playing with my cousins and myself
I can never understand my father's or his siblings' relationship with my grand-mother, troubled with both alcoholism and deeper emotional issues. I was lucky enough to never witness these moments when I was old enough to remember them. I was given the opportunity time and time again to build great memories with my grand-mother. I spent many afternoons playing teacher to her and my grand-father. I remember trying to give her stickers after she correctly counted to ten and her laughing and telling me to keep my precious little stickers. She was 5ft something, cramming herself in a children's desk, because there was no way I would accept a "student" who did not sit at "her desk" properly. My poor grand-mother.

Grand-parents visiting me after
 my tonsels were removed
As the moments of sobriety were scarce, so were the opportunities to spend time with her. Regardless, she made time when she could to attend events, when we could invite her based on the events' attendance. For the child me, it was not always easy to accept that my grand-parents were not invited to family gatherings. Our parents tried to explain as well as they could but in the short moments we were given to spend with our grand-parents, they had nothing to do with the images painted by them. They were, for all intents and purposes, the best grand-parents children could ask for.

Picture taken at my confirmation
As we grew up, we caught glimpses of our grand-parents' inability to show love in healthy ways. Our relationships with them became difficult, choosing to side with our parents in most matters. We loved our grand-parents, and we never doubted their love, we simply knew that the route to healthy relationships with them meant one where we cherished our memories, rather than attempt at making new ones. On my grand-mother's death bed, I had a chance to re-tell and re-live some of those memories. We were given the chance to see old wounds heal before our eyes. True love transcends even from broken hearts. May God reunites these broken hearts and allow them to waltz the ever lasting dance in his home of eternal love.

May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A mother's love

Witnessing my father holding his mother's hand at the hospital as she suffered multiple organ failure, I couldn't help but think of the love family members have for one another. Love, even with family, it's messy, it's hard, it's up and it's down. There is no way to avoid it, with great love comes great emotions of every kind. Regardless of the words we speak or the actions we do in anger and in hate, that love is unconditional. It may be awkward, it may be silent, it may be difficult and painful, but it is love.

This unadulterated love I see my father and his siblings giving their mother is love that comes from hardship and hurt. I also see that love in my grandmother's eyes. Love that comes from painful memories and heartfelt regrets.

"From God we become and to God is our return"

My father's relationship with his mother and my grandmother's relationship with her children was not one of sunshine and fuzzies, but it is one of love. As I sit by my grandmother's side while she sleeps, I pray and hope that the family can find healing in these last moments of love.