by Promod Puri
Despite its global image of being a tolerant society, racism, and bias towards major ethnic communities are still the rooted aspects of Canada.
But the story does not end here.
Ethnic communities in Canada also have mindset racist sentiments among themselves. Moreover, there exists bigotry and dislike within a single ethnic group.
Unfortunately, so far, no poll has ever been conducted to gather some statistical information about this aspect of Canadian society.
And the disturbing fact is the failure on the part of all those progressive and secular groups and coalitions who are otherwise on the forefront of fighting anti-Muslim, anti-Jews or white supremacists, to recognize the widespread discrimination and bigotry among and within their own communities.
Hatred and ill-will toward Muslims, First Nation Canadians, Chinese, South Asians, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus by each of these groups against at least one of them are the little-known swept-under-the-carpet realities in Canada.
For example, members of one or more groups of ethnic communities explicitly expressed their dislike to allow the arrival of Muslim refugees from Syria. Anti-Muslim sentiment and fanaticism were the contributing factors of intolerance against the refugee and fellow new immigrants.
And then there is an ongoing racist culture against the Native people by most other ethnic groups. There is an occasional feel of racial biases by Chinese, South Asians, and other ethnic communities from Asia and Latin America against each other.
Within the South Asian communities, racial biases are an open chapter.
Fanatical aversion and dislike exist among Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims in the South Asian communities despite the fact they share the same languages and cultures. For example, during last year’s presidential campaign in the US, many Hindus admired Donald Trump mainly because of his declared anti-Muslim stand. In a recent conversation with a Hindu friend of mine who remarked: “the biggest mistake God ever made was creating Muslims”.
Anti-Muslim, anti-Sikh and anti-Hindu feelings among the South Asian communities can often be observed among themselves. And within the Canadian Hindu society, centuries-old caste system has been part of its customs and traditions which is nothing else but the institutional practice of racism by the upper castes against the lower castes.
The racial pattern in Canada is not only white versus black or brown, or one religious or cultural group against others but among the groups as well. Moreover, the racist culture is very much alive within a single group.
The multicultural mosaic of Canada is blighted with racist marks contributed by Canadians of all colors and creeds, including the ethnic communities.
(Promod Puri is a Vancouver based journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions).
Racism is a big evil. It can be overcome to some extent only by national and international laws. How can it be removed from the minds of the people? Discrimination and hatred can be on the basis of race, colour, belief, religion, region, language, rich, poor, dress, eating habits, the way of walking and talking, physical appearance, thoughts, or anything under the sun which is different than mine. People can have political and economic freedom. How to get people out of mental slavery? The Little evils are hiding under the Big evils. However, the struggle must continue, not with out but within.