“I have never felt discriminated… I believe that I have equal opportunities here in Canada.”

Jelan - repsonsibility

Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to chat with one of my kids about my work and my life experiences living and working in Canada.  I work with newcomers and I often see the challenges of them integrating socially and economically in the this society.  In some cases it can be quite complex.

While Jelan and I were driving this week,I shared with him my experience at a high level meeting which I attended and I was the only coloured person in a room of about 120 people.  We spoke about the barriers in accessing opportunities in Canada.

He took me by surprise when he said: “I have never felt discriminated here.  I think I have equal opportunities like everyone else. Education is available – I have to simply know what I want to do and I can do it.  I apply for jobs and I have gotten them. I have a wide group of friends and I feel that we are all just having fun together.”

We continued the conversation about the baby boomers in Canada who are on their way out of the systems and explored the gaps that may be left behind and whether young people are up to taking on more responsibilities to continue the structures that have been put in place by generations ahead of us.

He said, “Young people must be prepared to take up the challenges and continue to build the society.  They need to have a reality check because many things are not they way they think it is – to simply enjoy luxuries without working for it.  We must work to create our place in the society – there is a responsibility to this.”

It was only a small nugget of conversation but it gives me hope that Jelan, who is nineteen,  believes that he has an equal opportunity in this society and that he knows that he has to put effort to achieve his goals.

What do you think?



One Comment on ““I have never felt discriminated… I believe that I have equal opportunities here in Canada.”

  1. Like Jelan, I grew up in Canada, and until I reached my early twenties I had not experienced any discrimination of which I was aware. I got a job working after school in the public library where I lived without any problems. I had lots of friends in school and in my neighbourhood. I really took all that for granted until I was faced with outright discrimination when looking for my first apartment. However, as bad as I felt that situation was, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I got a much better apartment than the one for which I was rejected. So, in many cases, if you keep on trying, discrimination is not present at all times.
    Also, when you do your best, and meet your experiences with the best attitude you have, you often change people’s stereotypes and thinking, sometimes without even realizing the effect you are having.
    So, in my experience, your own attitude can influence how you are received and make or break your perception of the world around you. I think Jelan has the right attitude as he makes his way in the world.

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