The ‘Racist’ Immigrant?
I get my fair share of ‘feedback’ from self-appointed custodians and national representatives of the Canadian lunatic fringe here on Canada Immigrant Blog. And I’m not being ‘racist’ here. Because some angry loonies are brown, yellow and black like the rest of us: the confused lot of the immigrant minority (the bizarre phenomenon I’ve called The Stupid Immigrant before.)
The collective Right-nut-wingies, led by the Conservatives of all shapes, sizes and colours, it seems, are freaking out as threatened by the tides of change in North America. So the best way for them to defend the conservative ‘values’ (as the Tories keep – ahem – harping on) is to attack.
Transform the immigrants into racists! Turn the tables. Throw all the shit you can find, and see what sticks.
So, in the spirit of giving the loonies’ argument a fair thought, I found myself pondering over this accusation. And I think it’s a fair question to ask.
Can the immigrants themselves be accused of being racist?
And the more I reflected, noticed, wondered and observed, the more the answer became clearer to me.
Yes they can be, and many indeed are.
But is it really ‘racism’ on their part?
Unlike the mostly right-wing conservative loonies who are inherently xenophobic, threatened by progress, feel racially superior and who really believe our home on native land belongs to them more than anyone else, and that we should all be eternally grateful to them for letting us into their house… the flip side of the Loonie isn’t necessarily racist.
The accusations of racism and invasive ungratefulness are thrown left, right and centre (and not just politically oriented.)
These pre-settled but side-lined loonies muddy the waters by equating what they don’t understand, with what they do understand as proud practitioners: the toxic ideas of racism.
The immigrants they accuse of being ‘racist’, however, are those few vocal ones amongst every diaspora who are just bitter and frustrated at their own inabilities. The frustration needs a target, and the majority – which happens to be different-looking than them – is the perfect recipient. The majority could very well be their own race, hence many immigrants of white ancestry are equally bitter at ‘old established’ Canadian brethren, so to speak. The pre-settled loony is simply too ignorant to notice even that.
These underachieving, pre-settled loonies accuse the newcomers of being racist simply because the newbies are better adept at occupations and the resulting benefits that the loonies consider themselves to be entitled for. Then there is the often blanket bundling of welfare migrants, humanitarian refugees and political asylum seekers with the skilled worker immigrants. To the loony, if it looks and sounds alien, it must be an ‘immigrant’, not that there’s anything wrong in taking refuge, asylum or welfare. After all, no one must be deemed illegal by a few superior feeling custodians of morality.
The accused immigrants are more like captives rattling the cage. Their own self flagellating criticism at the status quo. Their angst towards their own mistakes and actions (i.e. immigrating in the first place). Their inability to reconcile the disappointment of their biggest decision of life. It’s a humbling experience, unknown to anyone not privy to it.
And the loonies have not experienced that at all.
The immigrant’s ‘racism’ is more borne out of jealousy than any ideological, religious, cultural or privileged conviction (which our loonies can proudly associate their racism with.)
For any human, being born in a country is a privilege. It’s never a choice. Emigrating is a choice, and the realization of making the wrong choice is more bitter, more hurtful and more unforgiving. One begins to associate one’s failures to others’ successes. Jealousy be-gets bitterness. A monolithic stereotypical social view forms which results in blaming a prosperous group (which happens to be another race.) Whether immigrant or loony, human nature is the same.
The pre-settled loony, however, is judgemental without an effort of understanding or legwork. He is judging using pre-conceived notions of privileges and entitlement with all the convenient convictions of a group of threatened individuals that the modern-age 21st century anti-immigration loonies really are: a group on the side-lines that is deeply afraid of missing out on all the action. If only no-one migrated that they themselves wouldn’t have been here in the first place. But the irony often escapes the passers of sinister judgements.
The immigrant is not judging. He is reacting.
After all, it’s the immigrant who emigrated and threw himself into the ring to fight, win or lose. Not the loony.
Immigrating requires a huge leap of faith into the unknown. There is genuine expectation of goodwill from the inhabitants of a land which the immigrant is not familiar with, but is also very consciously aware of the fact that he is landing on to people of great differences. That requires more moral strength and courage than stagnated beliefs of entitlement from a comfortably cheering spectator side.
First Published: December 9th, 2012