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Anti-immigrant: nationalist, or downright racist?

by Victoria Blair September 24, 2019
Anti-immigrant: nationalist, or downright racist?

I can’t count the amount of times I’ve heard someone say “I’m not racist, but…” and every time I hear someone say that, I think to myself: either you are, or you aren’t.

A lot of the time, people will try to avoid being condemned as a racist by hiding behind other concepts and terms, often trying to make themselves look patriotic in the process. They often say things such as “I’m only trying to protect our country’s values,” or “I’m trying to preserve our history.”

In a country as socially-advanced as Canada, it’s sad to see that some are still behaving in such a way: going against immigration and diversity because it threatens their way of life – a life in which white supremacists hold most of the power.

On Sept. 7, readers of the Vancouver Sun witnessed such behavior when they came across an article called “Can Social Trust and Diversity Co-Exist?” written by Mark Hecht. Hecht was nothing more than a racist white supremicist who disguised his thoughts as a concerned nationalism.

The Vancouver Sun pulled the article from their website within a day of publication, but there is nothing they could do about the paper that was sent out. The damage was done and now thousands of people have read the article.

While Hecht wasn’t upfront with his racism, he encouraged and praised homogeneity; as well as discouraging diversity and inclusion. In his article, Hecht argued that our country is becoming less and less socially trusting, and to counter this, “the minimum requirement is that we say goodbye to diversity and inclusion.”

He wants everyone to be the same; to have the same values and to fit in perfectly with his idea of the proper Canadian society.

But we aren’t robots, we aren’t programmed to think the same way, to value the same things. We’re humans, and as humans, we have the ability and the right to express different opinions and values, so long as it doesn’t hurt the person next to you.

What people like Hecht need to understand is that Canada is a country built on immigration and diversity. When British and French settlers came here in the 1600s, were they not immigrants themselves? What about in the early 1900s, when Ukrainians and Polish people settled here?

All of these people came from different parts of the world in search of a better life and better opportunities, which is the same reason people come to Canada today.

Can you imagine what Canada would be like if everyone who immigrated here had the same beliefs, the same values and the same origins? Think about how bland it would be. Think about everything we’d be missing out on: the food, music, movies, art, etc.

There’s so much that we benefit from living in such a diverse country. We have a more open minded understanding of the world, and this allows us to grow as individuals and as a country.

While I understand that Hecht’s article is an opinion piece, and that he has every right to express his opinion, I find it hard to stay quiet and say nothing about it. Before writing an article on how Canada would be better if we stopped being so diverse, take a minute and remember where you came from.

We’re a country that prides itself on our rich and diverse culture, and every new-comer adds to that.

Everyone here deserves to be respected; regardless of their status, their religion, or the color of their skin. Without them, there would be no us.

 

Graphic by Victoria Blair

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