Well, it’s 150 years of CONFEDERATION, but Canada existed long before that. This is something we can’t forget, regardless of Indigenous, colonial or immigrant/descendant of immigrant perspectives. I hope we all can be proud of what our country is.
My family has NOT been in Canada long compared to others. My parents are immigrants and arrived here in the 1970s while I was born here. Because I’m first generation, there was CERTAINLY conflict from a cultural perspective, but I’m grateful that my parents are much more understanding and integrated, relatively speaking, and therefore, my childhood was much more “Anglo Canadian” than many other kids. The whole concept of “stinky lunches” that people speak of is a bit foreign to me. At the same time, I wasn’t completely unaware of my ethnic heritage (I know how to speak Cantonese, for example, and am probably more knowledgeable of Chinese history and culture than many of my CBC (Canadian born Chinese) peers).
My upbringing was a good balance of Hong Kong Chinese and Anglo – and I’m glad that this country allows this. It’s a privilege not to be shamed for keeping aspects of your heritage while still integrating. Being more “mainstream” (read: “Anglo” in this case) doesn’t mean you’re forgetting your background (no matter what SOME diversity “experts” or “activists” seem to believe (and yes, I’ve been “shamed” by these individuals!!!! Half are immigrants/kids of immigrants themselves)), and being allowed to share it with others makes the country richer. In fact, sharing and borrowing to create something new makes Canada. I take NO SHAME in, say, making quinoa or cauliflower “fried rice” or sweet dumplings filled with apples and drizzled with maple syrup (no matter what my parents might think). I don’t consider it bastardization or appropriation. It’s just…Canadian…just like poutine and butter tarts are Canadian. At the same time, I’m glad this country allows me to keep aspects of my heritage, including language (though, to be quite honest, Mandarin is far more important than my heritage language, Cantonese) and customs (not that I actually follow many of them). Of course, things aren’t all rosy here and I acknowledge all our own problems of hate past and present (an issue EVERY COUNTRY HAS). But we are still a rich country in terms of heritage and acceptance.
Anyway, happy 150 years of Confederation to this beautiful country of ours! May we be all the more accepting and open to the world for years to come.
Image credit: By Hannamariah/Shutterstock