Multiculturalism, Where Are You ?

by stefaniemaher on October 28, 2014 - 8:28pm

Multiculturalism, Where Are You?

One of Canada’s proudest accomplishments is that it is home to a multicultural society that accepts everyone; all citizens are “supposedly” equal.   In reality, this ideal remains a work in progress with racism still a major hurdle to cultural equality.   Many  “White” people, who represent the majority in Canada, do not necessarily see  “racist” inequalities.  Their ignorance is no doubt partially explained by the fact that they have never experienced racism. Some individuals have adopted “new racism”(which is described as being non-violent but more subtle and vocal) in their everyday lives, without acknowledging how powerful it is. They appear to be unable to understand how even this milder form of racism can be discouraging and hurtful.

The Article “ ‘Racist’ School bus drivers ‘refusing to stop for young Muslim girls who are wearing the hijab’” by Carol Driver in The Daily Mail published on February 26, 2010 talks about lives of Muslim students, from the ages of 11 to 18, attending “West Derby's Holly Lodge Girls' College in Merseyside”.  Not only are they periodically not being picked up at their bus stops but they face harassment from other students once aboard.  In order to keep the students from being attacked or publicly humiliated, police officers now are employed on the busses.  A regional representative for the bus drivers, stated that he did not believe his members would voluntarily ignore Muslim children at their stops. He also said that: “‘The union would condemn this kind of action, and equality and diversity is something we promote across the spectrum’”(Driver, 2010).  Some victims said that they were being accused of bringing the problem upon themselves due to their decision to wear the hijab. The school, for their part, states that they support the wearing of all ethnic and religious garments and is planning on taking action to further educate their students about equality.

 This article demonstrates that racism, among young and old, is still present. The Muslim students were not only discriminated by their peers, but also by their bus drivers. The tone of this article is overall, very objective with the author exposing arguments and perceptions of the Muslim students, other students, the faculty and the bus drivers; which I believe was the right thing to do. This type of article allows readers to understand and build their own opinion about the story. On the other hand, racism is a problem that cannot be “lightly” dealt with. An authoritative article about unacceptable behavior linked to racism could have had a greater impact on readers. For example, presenting statistics that reflect the overwhelming presence of racism could have been more enlightening.

In the past, racism was very easy to depict; it was expressed physically, mentally and vocally... There were also laws enacted that deliberately discriminated against minority groups. Racism was everywhere. The reason why so many people do not see present day racism is because it has adapted to our generation's laws and perceptions.

Tackling “new racism” should be one of our societies main goals. As I mentioned earlier, it is represented by more subtle actions such as “vocal racism” and “cyber racism”. Youth have an understanding of racism, but when they practice it indirectly or subtly, they do not feel any sense of shame or responsibility. In order to get rid of it, I believe Jane Elliot’s experiment with “blue eyed” and “brown eyed” people was, and still could be, a positive educational tool. If it worked on previous generations, it should work on ours. This experiments demonstrates that racism is socially constructed and that there is no logic to it.

Until racism is completely eradicated, people should work to fight against it. It is unnecessary and has been proven to be a social perception; it is not factually correct. In order to deal with this problem, we must influence younger generations. They will then hopefully grasp the importance of equality and pass it on to their own children.

References

Driver, C. (February 26, 2010). ‘Racist’ School bus drivers ‘refusing to stop for young Muslim girls who are wearing the hijab’. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253926/Racist-school-bus-driver...

About the author