Monday, October 29, 2007


Pooja Sekhon

As a new Canadian I believed that I am needed and wanted in this country. That my life, my values, culture and religion are important to this country. But every now and then some boorish individual tries to shake that belief. This time, that individual is CKNW's Bruce Allen. His "Reality Check" is one of the segments I enjoy the most, because it hits you right in the face. But in his recent segment, he went too far.
I am talking about the Reality Check broadcast on September 13 on CKNW. After the segment was aired, I received a couple of mails condemning the comments. I ignored them because I didn’t want to be a part of their race game. I hate to admit it, I was wrong. When I listened to the segment, I realized what they meant.
Eight days after it was broadcast, Surrey’s radio station RED FM picked up the issue and held an open line talk show. Other Punjabi media outlets followed. People who called in the talk show were most hurt by comments such as "you are not needed in this country", "shut up and fit in", and "hit the door".
“Hit the door”, that hits hard.
I thought people form a nation, not shopping malls and pubs. If we all hit the door, and by all I mean Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and all those who “don’t fit in”, what will be left of Canada. Has anyone ever thought of that?
Wherever there are different faiths, problem(s) arise. There are four main faiths in India, not to overlook the numerous unspecified ones. However, there is always a better way to solve every issue. We just have to look for it.
While I was writing this piece, I also found out that Sikhs in Los Angeles are planning a protest against a radio station after one its radio jockeys referred to turbaned Sikhs as wearing a “diaper” on their heads.
Coming back to Canada, what about the second generation Canadians whose parents immigrated from India and other South Asian countries. For this second generation, Canada is their mother country. They don’t want to “hit the door” and go back to India. They are born in a Sikh, Hindu or Muslim family, so they follow their religion. They don’t want to abandon their identity and be like the rest of them. They are as Canadian as any white Canadian. What are they suppose to do? Any suggestions.
Radio Station RED FM spoke to CKNW host Christy Clark on the issue. According to her, the comments were uncalled for. “We are not a homogenous European country where everybody has white skin and goes to the same Church. We are a country of people from all over the world, that’s our richness, that’s our strength. To tell people to go home if they don’t act like a European, that’s ridiculous. I think people who believe that if you live in this country, you should act like a European should go back to Europe. If that’s what they like, go back to Holland. Everybody is blonde and white in Holland.”
Clark further added, “Bruce is a great strength and he has very strong opinions. His views are from the Stone Age, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a right to express them. Fact is that in Canada there are people of European descent who still share those views. They are mostly older white people, but they are there and they have a right to express their views.”
Clark then spoke to Allen on her show and in his defense he said that he has always supported immigrant issues and that he was misunderstood. Eventually, he said, "I am sorry if I offended anyone."
Finally, this is not about Bruce Allen or some other individual. This is about the attitude that since we have come to this country we have to be like the rest. No, we don’t. We love this country. But, do I have to be like my neighbor to love this country. No, I don’t. We have our own identity, our own religion, culture and values. And, we are going to stick to it, whether someone likes it or not.
Nah, I am not doing Allen here. I am just trying to regain my belief that I am needed and wanted in this country.