Why Canadians Ask “Where Are You From?”

A very odd questions that I usually encounter from strangers and peers is, “Where are you from?” I have been thinking about why they ask this question because I am finding that some Canadians are not nice people although they profess that they are. Actually, some of them are doing really weird things including workplace abuse and rape while camafloguging their bad behaviour with nice behaviour. I have experienced workplace abuse and rape while living in Canada, which is how I had an opportunity to observe the behaviour of the abusers. In one instance, an abuser harassed me at workplace; and, then he followed up with a friendly hello while offering me a candy. Anyways, I stopped working at that office because my complaint was not formally reviewed and considered due to their gang dynamics and ignorance of relevant policies.

I used to answer the question, “Where are you from?” because I thought that the Canadians were curious people and it is okay to reply back properly. However, all that changed after two particular events.

Incidence 1: Some years ago, I visited America and lived with Americans for some while. I was utterly shocked when I saw an American therapist dressed in her traditional ethnic clothes as she worked from her clinic. My first question was, “Do other Americans consider visiting her now that she is wearing her traditional clothes?” She told me that the Americans she has been interacting with are nice and accepting people. I felt a stab through my heart when I realized that it is in Canada, a country that prides itself to be multicultural, that I have to make sure no one sees me in my traditional clothing. I came across more Americans when I visited the mall and attended an event. I found them to be nice people. Then it hit me that Canadians complain a lot about Americans. Is it true? Are Americans really as bad as some of these Canadians are desperately trying to portray?

Incidence 2: I came across a very talented American professor who reviewed my poetry and commended me rather beautifully about my work. He made sure to encourage me to study things in detail. I was super-shocked for many years at what he said because I have not heard this kind of praise from most of the well-educated Canadians. Reality is that I find the environment offered by Canadian academic institutions very oppressive. I still remember being told by a Biology professor, “But this is just one paper”, when I asked him what he really thought about my Research Thesis—this happened at University of Toronto. He attempted to marginalize me instead of encouraging me. People like him are the reason why I am not pursuing a PhD in Sciences. And, I think today the world is facing a freaky crisis like Coronavirus because geniuses like me are constantly being abused by Canadians and thus they are forced to leave their studies. Read Canada’s Undiscovered Geniuses.

Today, I am thinking back to all of this. Canada is actually dangerously racist. My experience tells me that they love harming coloured people inside academic institutions and workplaces. As I thought more and more about everything, this answer formed and kept banging against my head until I decided to write this post.

Premise 1: Canada is an extremely racist country. These two article state that Canadians are more racist than Americans. Read “Study Proves Canada Is Actually More Racist Than The United States” and Canada’s race problem? It’s even worse than America’s.

Premise 2: Canadians play it nice while interacting; but, this attitude is compelling some people to become insane or feel very distraught and neglected. Read Why Canadian “Niceness” Is Unhealthy.

Conclusion: Therefore, it is clear to me that most Canadians ask, “Where you are from?” because they are assuming things or deciding whom to torture. Once, I was warned by a friend that certain people are talking at my back about my headscarf—which I have removed in self defence so that it may become easier for me to manage ongoing discrimination—and that I should avoid talking to them. Basically, I was asked not to be nice to them when the entire office was playing it nice.

Okay! Canada sounds very bizarre right!

A lot of Canadians do not stop probing if you hint to them that you are not interested in answering this question. Instead, they ask the same question differently, “We are Canadians. It helps to know where you are really from? Everyone here is from somewhere. You know what I mean.” See how confusing this sounds! I strongly advice everyone to ignore such questions as these are not serious inquiries but are meant to eventually exclude you. Very frankly, so many Canadians ask me this really personal question; but, I have been invited to tea parties only by a couple of individuals who demonstrated a genuine interest in me, which showed when they said or indirectly implied, “I don’t care about your skin or religion. Let us just hang out!”

I know that if you are a Canadian, then you will definitely doubt me after completing this reading. Doubting someone is a Canadian thing to do! Actually, misconstruing someone sane as insane and someone competent as lousy is also something very Canadian. So here are two more relevant articles. Read “Where Are You From” Is Not An Innocent Question To Ask Canadians “ and “Contradictions At The Heart Of Canada’s Multiculturalism“.

The more a person is “different” from white society, the more likely the average Canadian would want them to stay away. Source: “Contradictions At The Heart Of Canada’s Multiculturalism“.

So from here onwards, I will communicate differently with Canadian.

Rule 1: I will not answer any questions regarding my ethnic background. Truth is that I am a Canadian citizen; but, I feel that Canadians do not want to accept the truth that a person who is not White or is somehow “different from white society” can be a Canadian.

Rule 2: I will doubt every generous and nice move a Canadian makes until I figure out whether he/she is genuine or a covert racist.

There you have it! Life makes more sense now.

Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.

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