COLUMN: Trapped within narrow-mindedness

I received an interesting letter from a local reader...

I received an interesting letter from a local reader. She writes about going to a recent Diwali function in Mission and describes that 99 per cent of the Punjabis were rude. She describes that people were blocking her view and had no concern for others.

She also says that no one should be allowed to come to this country unless they speak one of our official languages. She also talks about how Punjabi children just entering school cannot speak English properly or do not behave, and the parents pay no attention to what the teachers say.

At the end of her letter she says she has many Punjabi friends and they all agree that most of the Punjabis have no manners and don’t know how to behave properly.

Well, enough said.

I am Punjabi and I’m very proud to be one. I am not denying, we Punjabis don’t have any issues to overcome, like any other community group, but to say 99 per cent of of us are rude is the farthest from the truth and statistically incorrect.

I do agree, we have many people that cannot speak the English language, but that doesn’t define us as Canadians.

Punjabis are noted to be one of most generous people on the planet, who donate annually to many charities. I posted this letter on my Facebook to gather a community response and many agreed that the Punjabi community is always willing to help to make our community a better place. You cannot judge a few, for many. This is the  one of the difficulties of living in a multicultural community. People often get trapped with this narrow-mindedness and can’t see that not everyone is the same and shouldn’t be painted with the same brush. Some thought I shouldn’t respond to her, but I believed that it was important to bring this discussion forward  and create a level of understanding in a respectful manner. That’s how we’re going to see change, not by hiding it in a corner of darkness.

Cycling4Diversity executive co-ordinator Anne-Marie Sjoden said: “ I had the opportunity to visit a couple of the Punjabi schools, during our ride and each and every student spoke very good English. The teachers had amazing comments about their students. A very good friend is a principal at a Punjabi school. He has never said there are problems with kids not knowing English. In fact he has said quite the opposite and told me that the parents are very involved. I would have to disagree with the comment about 99 per cent of the Punjabi community being rude. I have always felt very welcomed at the temple.”

Kevin Francis said: “In 2003, the human genome project came to what should have been a staggering conclusion: we are all related.
I know from experience that adapting to a new cultural milieu is difficult without having to live up to arbitrary standards, indeed that’s why we, as a country, support multiculturalism; but integration cannot be achieved upon a designated schedule. Each one of us learns at our own pace.

Let’s not fall into the trap of intolerance because of cultural ignorance. It spawns an all too slippery slope that makes us forget what Dr. Francis Collins said at the end of the human genome project: indeed there is but one race, the human race.”

After reading the strongly worded letter it strengthened my belief in Safe Harbour training for people who don’t recognize diversity in their communities, said Rick Rake, Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) coordinator for Mission Community Services Society’s four-member Settlement and Integration Department.

“For anyone sharing these kind of beliefs, I challenge them to check out the Safe Harbour, Respect for All, website atwww.safeharbour.ca,” said Rake, who has witnessed far too many breaches of positive relationships with people who are different in terms of culture, ethnicities, religions, languages, abilities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations.

“We should strive to connect more meaningfully with one another by making an effort to understand our differences and similarities,” he said.

To read the letter visit  kenherar.blogspot.com

Kenherar@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

A program of the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation enables patients to thank their health-care workers.
Fraser Valley program enables patients to say thanks to their health-care workers

Philip Harris Grateful Patient Program offered through health care foundation

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read