Canada has been one of the most popular immigration destinations for people from South Asia for more than two decades. Several factors that make Canada an attractive country include free healthcare, English-speaking majority and multiculturalism. Most immigrants that immigrate to Canada are university graduates and have high English proficiency. Thus, they assume these assets to be crucial in their professional success and societal integration. However, to their surprise, most of them see discrepancies between their expectations and reality. They face challenges like faulted English, funny accent, and even non-recognized education. Their children, however, are often born and raised in Canada. However, these children as well go through experiences that shape their identity differently than mainstream White children. People often blame these inequalities in opportunities to the White Supremacy. However, in this story I wish to bring out some root problems which immigrants bring with them as a baggage from their country of origin.
I am Augustino Amble and I was born in Goa- India. I was raised in a timid culture where people of similar ethnicities stay together. Also, the conservative values from the Indian society add on another layer of nonacceptance of different culture. For most part of my life I was raised by my parents to be accepting of life I was raised by my parents to be accepting of different cultures. However, the social values did put me in a conflict with what my parents nurtured in me. I first moved to Canada and met my five roommates from five different nationalities of Canada, Poland, Nigeria, Ghana, and China. I was excited as well as nervous as I had thought I would be sharing an apart‐ ment with only Indian students. So, there was my first exposure to international diversity. Often on the cam‐ pus I observed that a lot of students of similar cultural backgrounds stuck together; but mainly South Asians. I tried to find a place for me in my own community but it didn’t seem possible for two primary reasons. Firstly, I couldn’t speak my national language (Hindi) well. Secondly, found myself in a circle of gossips due to my sexual orientation towards men. Well, that was not the only problem. I am not religious but I was raised in a mix of two religions. Thus, I also realised that we as people from South Asia carry with us a baggage of religious racism that brings homophobia, judgements towards inter-religious and inter-racial marriages that makes it difficult to mingle with other faith community and to embrace cultural diversity. I was feeling pretty alone and was struggling to make friends with people from my own culture without revealing my true iden‐ tity. I guess, that is what inspired me to take my thesis that revolved around culture and Identity. It was very conclusive in my research that we immigrants do have to open up to new cultures in order to be accepted in a new culture. With socialists working on creating equal opportunities for immigrant population, it is time for us opportunities for immigrant population, it is time for us as immigrants to create equality within us.
It was important that my voice was heard by masses, especially the immigrant community. It was also es‐ sential that people understood how immigrant children are constructing their identities in this mainstream Canadian society and in turn how it’s affected by our cultural values. CFCR 90.5 Banglar Gaan O Kotha gave me a platform to voice my opinion and findings with the immigrant community of Saskatchewan. I am thankful to Jebunnessa Chapola and her wonderful team for their amazing work on such sensitive yet crucial topics in support of integrarion of immigrant communities.
Writer- Chetan-Ameya Amble
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