How someone’s “honest mistake” can hurt
I’ve never had to suffer through any sort of hate speech, and I don’t think anyone’s ever looked at me and said to themselves: “I hate him, because he’s brown.” But I have had to deal with a lot of stereotypes, and misconceptions of me as a person because of my skin colour, and quite frankly, that gets old fast.
I always have people asking me where I’m from, and then when I give them the honest truth, that I was born and raised in Botswana, a country in Southern Africa, people will express surprise. If they really lack tact, something along the lines of “Wait, you’re not Indian?” I’ve gotten used to that, but it’s not what upsets me. Not really.
What I find most distasteful is when someone just assumes things about what I do and how I live. I’ve had people, of all sorts of cultures and backgrounds, ask me if I speak Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, if I like eating dhosa, and what my favourite Bollywood movie is. The answers to those are: No, no, no, only tried it a few times, and heck, I don’t know!
Please stop asking those questions. We live in a multicultural, ethnically diverse country and making assumptions about a person’s heritage is rude.
Five years on: remembering the poetic poise of Gil Scott-Heron
I was speaking with a friend about all the musicians that have been dying lately. Bowie, Lemmy from Motorhead, Prince. And somehow we got onto the topic of Gil Scott-Heron, who passed away in 2011. May 27 marks five years since he passed away. And at a time when the majority of the population of both Canada and the U.S. seems to be irreconcilably fragmented, either for or against Trump or Hillary or Trudeau or any other politician, more often than not, this staunchness in political ideals (whether they lean to the left or the right) leads to an inability to empathize with others’ points of view.
And that leads to hatred, mostly because humans tend to reject wholeheartedly that which they can’t understand or reconcile within their own framework of viewing the world.
Then I thought of Scott-Heron, a musician and poet who made it perfectly clear that the situation in America under the Reagan administration, in its disenfranchisement of African Americans and what he saw as the militarization of police at the time, left him absolutely livid. And his point of view, I imagine, must have been irreconcilable with that of an upper class white man.
But instead of oppressing others, verbally or not, he chose to make music, and write poetry. And at the end of his life, through his anger, he left us richer than we were beforehand.
Down with a case of grad apathy
I’m not really excited about convocation. One of the things I liked about university after the five-year fever dream of high school was how many awards ceremonies I ***didn’t have to sit through, and if I did have to go to some event as a university student, it was either for something I care a lot about, or something where food would be served for free.
Convocation will just be another couple hours of standing around sleepily waiting for my name to be called.
On the other hand, I really shouldn’t have procrastinated on renting my gown, because now my mom is mildly disappointed in me (mild disappointment is the worst) and I have to show up early to rent one on site.
Graduates of next year, don’t let apathy lead you to a life of procrastination — for your momma’s sake.
All float on
You know those days where you get stuck in traffic and sit there for way longer than seems humanly possible? The kind of traffic that is so long that it allows you to go through all five stages of grief? I was stuck in that kind of traffic the other day. Somewhere after the phase of “How are there even this many cars on the stupid road,” and just before the stage of “I have come to the realization that I am a powerless pawn in the chess game of a higher power,” I started thinking about how easy and unhealthy it is to categorize and write off people based on a few initial observations.
Looking into the windows of the lives of the other people sitting in their own metaphorical boats and realizing how intricate and complex their lives are was probably what led me to be able to refrain from going Rambo on everyone around me. You don’t have to marry everyone you meet, but do your best to consider that even a fast food server hates messing up just as much as you hate them for messing up.