Perhaps you can have too much diversity

At what point does diversity become chaos? On the news, new immigrants were being questioned about what they have experienced, and what they have found frustrating, as they try to assimilate into the Canadian fabric.

One fellow’s response was the issue of diversity was also a source of anti-immigrant sentiment from white Canadians. He found it really did not help his own assimilation because of its divisional definition.

My own experience in meeting new immigrants and refugees is they are scared.

Not scared out of their boots, but scared of being rejected, scared of no one willing to hire them, scared of not being included in our society.

It’s sad to say there are a lot of Canadians who intentionally go out of their way to reinforce that exclusivity.

Conspiracy theorists are a dime a dozen and usually quite vocal. I believe they are more than naysayers, but also purveyors of fear, distrust, and in some cases, hatred as well.

What they don’t realize is they often tend to be the problem the immigrants are being blamed for.

What I perceived from that fellow being interviewed on the news is in some cases, we are so diverse in Canada, we no longer have an identity we can claim as our own.

From the tone of his remarks, it sounded as if he would like to be given the opportunity to assimilate as a Canadian, not as a black immigrant.

Giving the population the ability to voice personal opinions anonymously has created a hate depository such as the world has never before experienced.

So, while every country talks about controlling hate and bullying, etc., they also make it easier and cheaper for children to get their hands on the technology used to generate this hatred.

They get this freedom long before they ever learn social graces, with the unwritten rules and limitations. It makes me think of the quote, “Too soon old, too late smart.”

The issue of diversity and open-mindedness is if you are too open-minded, you stand a very good chance of losing whatever you had up there to begin with.

Are we so intent on celebrating our diversity, it has become a wedge in our communities, never letting an immigrant or a refugee feel truly Canadian?

Many of us are sincerely curious about the different areas of the world people come from; not as a discriminatory gesture; rather, just as innocent curiosity.

But that curiosity can lead to a rise in fear for those being asked. Constantly being reminded, they feel as though they are not able to leave the status of being an immigrant or refugee behind them.

Is this a form of discrimination, or just plain thoughtlessness? Do we ever ask ourselves whether we have done something to throw fear into these folks?

Face it, these immigrants and refugees are just people like you and me, who made the journey they did out of desperation.

I also was an immigrant at one time. Even so, I also have some anxieties about open borders.

But I also know it is only because I have not taken the time to learn about newcomers. I have not invited them into my home or gone out of my way to welcome them to this beautiful country.

We have a kid’s book called We’ll Have a Friend for Lunch. It’s a story about five hungry cats that wanted to eat a bird for lunch. Logic told them that if they waited until the eggs hatched, and the chicks grew, they could have so much more food.

As it turns out, watching the chicks grow and their parents care, made them realize they had become fond of the birds, and so they could no longer eat them.

Sometimes, it takes a child’s story to make us see the truth.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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