I didn't post in a while. Why? I had nothing to say. My life has been pretty boring, consisting mostly of working, writing and learning.
I also decided to take my time to talk about the "Hérouxville Controversy
". Many bloggers jump on news. I don't. I'd rather wait until the storm settles down to have a better perspective on the whole situation and avoid the assumptions, generalizations and unenlightened positions taken by people jumping at the fence too quickly.
Aside from the obvious, giving a far too big tribune to a small minority that doesn't have any concrete experience of the situtation (By the way, thanks for finally taking a stance about lapidation! Everytime I saw stonings of women in the streets, I thought someone oughta do something aboot it...), what pisses me off is that a sizable amount of the population, aggreeing with the "principles" of the "code of conduct", went pretty far in their opinions of something they barely know.
In the last three weeks, I heard and read some of the most ignorant, bigot, and downright racist things I've witnessed in popular medias. People usually think, by being exposed to a situation by the medias, that they are "informed" and therefore can express an opinion.
But they are not informed, they are lead. And as sheeps, they follow the lead.
So, after about a year of reasonable accomodation-related headlines, playing on the majority's emotions that what they take as granted or traditional values are being attacked, and taken from them (The same way that same-sex marriage forbids a man and a woman to marry, you know), the cauldron exploded, and it became a huge debate.My cousin Dominic and his wife Manon, successfully getting married despite constant homosexual attacks on familly values. They followed Catholic traditions, so close to our hearts, ignoring minorities pressures to force us to give up our lifestyle...[/sarcasm]
But the fact is, and I know as I've been witnessing it in many discussions, that people don't even know what is at stake. Worse, they mix everything and don't have the slightest awareness of the problems immigrants are facing and their reasons to move here. My roommate couldn't tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim, some people think Ramadan asks pregnant woman and sick people to fast. Mostly, they think that most of those "reasonable accomodations" are requested by the minorities themselves. Of course there is some, but most initiatives are coming from people who might have good intentions, but that are aiming a little too large (As we say in Québec, they are coming with their big shoes). Most ethnic and religious minorities just want to be allowed to keep their culture and follow their beliefs, they don't want to impose anything onto others.
A good exemple is Boisbriand's (my hometown) Hasidic Jewish community of Tosh
, whose main intention is to allow its members to live their lives in complete communion with God. In their faith, every daily life action has a religious aspect, as God is everywhere. They have to follow a strict code and isolation is, in their minds, the best way to follow such rules without influence. It doesn't mean they are intolerant of others, I've witnessed on many occasions their friendly manners and their help in crisis situations, such as when a biker gang bomb exploded in a bar. They generally prefer to be left alone, and they don't ask anything special from anybody. Sure some hasidic jews asked for a male examinator when they did their driving license test, but again, it's a pretty mild request when you know that, in their faith, it's questionable for a married person to be in a close environment with someone of the other sex. They asked and it has been granted, but I'm sure they wouldn't have made a huge case of it if it couldn't be done. Québec society is secular, they expect that. Any minority group knows it will have to make compromises. But if they ask and the society accepts to accomodate, they'd be fools not to take it!
I'm also sick of hearing the famous "if they don't like it here, why won't they go back to their own country!". It's as bigot as the "I'm not racist, but [insert racist comment here]" line! Listen
: Immigrants are not coming to Québec because they can't wait to play hockey and eat in a maple shack! Maybe they came here because they don't see any opportunities in their own country, as life became unbearable. They decided to move somewhere else, accepting that they might lose some of their bearings in the process. They might have family already established here that motivated their choice to settle in the vicinity, or they heard we were a tolerant bunch that would allow them to keep their beliefs and culture. Most can't simply go back. They will see their children being assimilated in the melting pot, to various degrees, but we don't have to ask them to emulate us. Do we really want everyone to look alike? I don't, there's already that olympic diver that looks a little like me:Alexandre Despaties, the only person I'm intolerant of, as I'm often being reminded of our likeliness, and I'm sure he is not.Curse you, Alexandre! Why can't I capitalize on this and score with chicks?
Besides, all those people pissed at the waves of immigrants seem to forget another thing. North America is a land of immigrants, as a huge majority of us came here within the last few centuries, pushing aside the original inhabitants and their own culture and beliefs (We converted them to our religions for God's sake!). And our lifestyle, here in Québec, is a melting pot of various origins. Don't believe me? Walk around Montréal, look at the diversity in cuisines and music, to name very little, for which our city is renowned!
Not eveybody can study in Ethnic Relations, but searching a little further, asking questions to people living those situations, keeping an open mind and heart can help understanding.
Time to go back to my country...
Labels: alexandre despaties, bigotry, hasidim jews, intolerance, racism