This blog updates at least weekly on any of the days below with the topics as follows:
On a Monday-Maniac Mondays = All Things that are All Things! Generally thoughts, ideas or tools we think can be useful to the personal or professional life.
On a Thursday-Tumultuous Thursdays = All Things Metaphysical
On a Friday-Funtastic Fridays = All Things Fun! (cartoons, stories about the Purple Elephant and the Little mouse...)
Studious Saturdays = All Things about the craft of fiction writing. Also we will give you little snippets about how our fantasy fiction novel in progress is going. Sometimes this can be told as a cartoon. We will be doing nanowrimo this year as well.

Also our Advent calendar will be happening this year as usual! Look for an interesting and new format!

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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Guest Blogger: Xenophobia or Race Issues? An Interesting Experience that Culminated just outside the CN Tower!

Picture of CN Tower a stone's throw from Ajay's parents place taken by Babita Dubay 2005.

Now here's the Guest Blog by my 2nd Guest Blogger in one day!- Ajay Parasram. He has shared this story with friends and family on facebook and is allowing me to republish here cause I wanted more people to hear this true story. He titles his story:

I kid you not, the events of this tale is 100% accurate. No exaggeration, as I am normally proned to.

About two weeks ago, I arrived in Toronto from Vancouver. Travel weary because my flight was 3 hours delayed and it was now 4 - 430 am in Toronto, I collapse into the first available taxi to get myself to my parent's place in downtown Toronto. I was on a business trip, so my employers were footing the bill thus my disregard for paying 50 friggen dollars for a "limo-cab" (I took a regular cab on my way back to the airport that cost 3 dollars less...)

The gentleman driving did not get a good look at me. I was wearing longsleeve shirt, pants, and a big bowler of a hat and was sitting in the shadows in the back of his large vehicle. We get to talking about all sorts of things. I ask him, what do you find different about Toronto now from when you first moved here. He tells me he is Austrian and moved here 40 years ago. And the problem in the last twenty years is that there are too many visible minorities that over-running 'normal' Torontonians

Looking past the obvious irony and hilarious oversight of this comment, I proceed to explore the notion of Toronto being over-run by visible minorities with my Austrian cab driver. "The problem," he maintains, "is that all these immigrants and refugees come from third world countries and they don't like whites. They don't do business with whites, they don't speak our language (remember, he's Austrian), and they bring their ways with them." I offer the man an out, suggesting, "Do you think the government needs to play a bigger role in helping integrate new immigrants into the social fabric of Canada (whatever that might be) or matching their immigration policy to niche requirements in Canada to avoid these clashes?" He cuts me off to say, "Absolutely not. There's no need for any of that nonsense when you have perfectly good white people in Eastern Europe waiting to come to Canada who already share the same culture."

It became clear to me at this point that raising the issue of First Nations would pay little dividends to this otherwise stirring debate. I tried instead to point to the fact that many Eastern Europeans are in fact seeking entry to the EU and end up in Germany rather than traversing the Atlantic, away from their homeland and familiar connections. He concedes that this is true, but this is also why we need to step up the effort in attracting this kind of immigrant - a white immigrant - and there-in lies the problem with our immigration policy.

Continuing on his monologue as to why Canada needs to be white, he explains to me, looking through the rear-view mirror. (and this is verbatim!) "My friend, I am not concerned for me. I am approaching retirement, I have my own businesses, what they do doesn't concern me. But I worry about young white men like yourself, because these people only hire people who look like them."

At this point, I resign myself to the possibility that I may be being driven by a madman or a Ku Klux Klan Dragan master. I pull out my cellphone, sending a quick note to my wife and Adam, explaining that if they don't hear from me in the next hour or so, to be alarmed.

Realizing that it is probably too dark to see me clearly and that I have a bit of an East Coast accent in any case, I proceed. I mentioned to him that Canada actually had a white-only immigration policy straight into the 1970s and that coloureds tended only to come on temporary work visas. I also added that Chinese and Indians were among the early settlers of Western Canada, building the national infrastructure (railway) that helped Canada in its colonial endeavours with the 'savage' and so-called "Indians" of the west. I mentioned that the government, under Pierre Trudeau, made a concerted effort to CHANGE this immigration policy because it was deemed to be unjust.

He then told me this is why he has always been an adamant Conservative supporter. HOWEVER, he can no longer support the Conservatives, because Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave 10 million dollars to that 'liar and terrorist, Maher Arar' who is in cahoots with the Syrian government. "Why," he exclaims, "would the Syrians torture one of their own?" I explain that though there may be terrorist cells in Syria, that doesn't mean that the government of Syria is a terrorist agency. Furthermore, that terrorist cells in Syria may likely be targeting the SYRIAN government as opposed to the Canadian or American government. He tells me I am naive, and corrects me by saying that indeed "ALL" Syrians are terrorists, and he does not know who to vote for in this coming election because Harper sold out to the terrorists.

At this point, we pull into my parents place. We both get out of the cab, the cabbie coming round to shake my hand. I give him a generous tip, and I take his hand in my own, look him directly in the eyes, and say, "Thanks for a stirring and informative conversation." The awful realization that I am, in fact, NOT a white guy from Halifax but am instead a Trinidadian Indian who is anything BUT white in complexion sinks in. HE turns 5 extra shades of white and can't speak. He stutters, never taking his eyes off my face, stammering 'your welcome' and confusedly gets into his car and drives off.

I wrote an article a few weeks prior to this (that was rejected by all places I sent it to!) exploring the issue of benign racism and the rapidly changing ethnic make-up of Canada which is why I was so interested in continuing this dialogue with my Austrian teacher as long as it would go. In it, I argued that many Caucasian Canadians feel, within themselves, that the ethnic composition of Canada is changing for the worse, but are too afraid/ashamed to vocalize this for fear of being seen as racist. Indeed, they may or may not be racist. But I maintain that it is both healthy and necessary to engage in this discourse if we are to ever come to terms with ourselves in a pluralistic society. Some friends who are tagged in this note added the very potent note that perhaps liberal-pluralism is enough and that we need not go any further. Perhaps, perhaps not, I don't really know. But I thought I would tell the tale, for what it is worth. Hope those of you who made it this far enjoyed it!

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