The Hidden Racism in Canada


Is there a hidden form of racism in Canada? Is education the solution? Peyman ADL DOUSTI HAGH speaks his heart out.

Rumi is an Iranian poet, who once asked four questions. Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is the purpose of being here? And what is the purpose of leaving here? These are the questions that each person is trying to answer themselves each day. These are not easy questions which can be answered with a stroke of a pen.

My first name is Peyman and the most accurate English spelling of my name is Peymon, it means promise, and I also have three last names. My first last name is ADL — it means justice, my second last name is DOUSTI — it means friendly — and the last part of my last name is HAGH, which means righteous. I do not know why my grandfather selected these three names as a family name. Overall, I like this last name, it means something to me and I do my best to follow through with what my last name means.

In 1970, I was born in Iran, and witnessed the 1979 Revolution in Iran. I experienced eight years of war from1980 – 1988, between Iran and Iraq. In 1991, I came to Canada as a landed immigrant, and in 1995 I became a Canadian citizen. I came with a dream to Canada of becoming who I wanted to become. I wanted to attend a university to earn a degree and have a dream job that I wanted. I learned the hard way that there is this hidden racism in Canada which would not allow me to become who I wanted to be. I began to read Hannah Arendt books and in one of her books she writes that meritocracy is a source of inequality. She touches my heart and it is as if she is talking about me. She elucidates her point by asserting that well-to-do families would attend higher education at prestigious universities and others who do not have power, they never would be able to attend such universities and would fall behind in the academic world and would never be able to gain meaningful employment – a departure from Max Weber’s idea that education would increase an individual’s life opportunities. It is not true. It is a person’s skin color which enables individuals to gain employment in their chosen fields.

Time passed by and I began to read more books in the area of social science, and noticed people in Canada are obsessed with my English accent. Is it a source of superiority for them to recognize me? I was reading a book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett “The Spirit Level New Edition: Why Equality Is Better For Everyone” and on page 163 these authors assert rightly that “we judge people by their accent, clothing, language, choice of reading matter, the television programmes they watch, the food they eat, the sports they play, the music they prefer, and their appreciation – or lack of it – of art … This is how elites become established and maintain their elite status.” The above claim becomes more clear by reading “The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future” by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker where the authors introduce the concept of Laurentian Consensus which determines in what direction Canada is moving forward.

For example, most English speaking individuals pronounce ‘tion’ like ‘sh’. Next time when you watch Peter Mansibridge on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, pay attention to how he pronounces ‘tion’. He pronounces it like letter “c”. I began to think about Arthur de Gobineau “The Inequality of Human Races” and incorporating all these ideas into one idea, I came to a final conclusion. When people in Canada say there is a hidden racism, it means still people in Canada believe in the inequality of human races and still people in Canada live in the dark ages. A person may say it is unjustifiable to claim that Canada is in the dark ages. It is a fact that Canada resides at the epicenter of dark ages. This nation believes in its military superiority against developing nations and relies on its muscles to resolve its differences with them. All those elements need to know that globalization would alter their way of life.

My aim for the future is to learn how to write in proper English and hopefully my application will be accepted by a university. I will be pursuing a masters program in the field of Political Science and a PhD in Political Science. Perhaps, this is one vision that I can accomplish and not be judged by my ascribed status. I believe that through a quality higher education, I would be able to challenge the conventional wisdom of society.

All in all, all human beings are complex entities and it is a daunting task to assume each person can be defined with several abstract concepts. Each person has multiple layers as Erving Goffman claims, “we are actors and audiences of one another”. These life experiences make us act differently at different social setting.


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