Monday, 24 June 2013

Why am I NOT Canadian?

I was born on Canadian soil. I have a Canadian birth certificate. I have a Canadian passport, a health card, driver's license and a social insurance number all issued by the Canadian Federal and or Provincial government of Ontario. By this point you must be wondering how Canadian can this kid get but the truth is very few so-called "Canadians" see me as Canadian.

I'm always asked, "where are you from?" and when I reply I was born and raised in Canada it is immediately followed up with, "No no no, where are you really from?" No really, in case you didn't get it the first time I am FROM CANADA! Why is that so hard to believe? What makes it difficult for me to be seen as a Canadian?

When people talk about celebrating Canadian diversity, multiculturalism, ethnic pluralism, and any other fancy term you want to use, what are they really talking about? When we consistently point to Canada's absence of identity why is there a clear distinction of who is actually Canadian and who is not? When can I finally become a Canadian?

This is the question that hundreds of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th generation visible minority or non-white Canadians deal with. Due to their apparent physical or phenotypical appearance they are continuously cast in this realm of remaining to be an immigrant. So I beg to ask this question again, when will they become true Canadian citizens?

O Canada, stand on guard for me!


One brown boy who belongs to this country.


  1. This is absolutely amazing! I think it is a question of Identity that every so called 'ethnic' person goes through; "where are you really from?" or "Where is your family from?"
    My favourite is when you say my mom is Ugandan and my Dad is from Burma, then they still cant understand because I dont look 'ugandan' or 'burmese'. So they ask again "Where are you really from?" This brings them to us having ancestors in India, which finally satisfies their minds, and is usually followed up with "I love bollywood movies!" or "i love Indian food, your mom must be an amazing cook"
    I guess, we as Canadians, are still hiding behind a veil of racism, but we are calling it multiculturalism. Education is really the only way out in my opinion.

  2. I agree with your comments Shez and yours as well Rizwan, especially with concerns to telling people that mom is from Uganda and dad is from Burma. In my mind because I have brown skin, until we satisify their need in saying India, it wont matter where I am from. Brown skin is automatically assosicated with India. So why is it that brown is automatically assiociated with India when browns come from all different countries?

  3. Excellent points you guys! When talking about where are parents are from everyone gets confused. Do Canadians seem to forget that there are millions of South Asians living in Africa? Just like brown does not necessarily mean Indian black does not mean African.

  4. Simple Canadians operating on a binary understanding of identity. Your post made me think of this article, cited on various blogs as far back as 2007. I can't find the original source, but the sentiment is there. This should be the new I Am Canadian rant.


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