Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Race as difference

I took the test on race from Race- The Power of Illusion. Among the things I didn't know:
  • the fruit fly (and not humans) has the highest genetic variation;
  • we don't know what causes the different skin colors; and
  • if everyone would be wiped out, except people in Asia, there will still be 94% of human genetic variation.
Among the things that I did know where:
  • race doesn't predict who you are, what you like, or what disease you will inherit;
  • most likely your ancestors are connected to Nefertiti, Julius Caesar and Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, all of them together, given the intermixing that took place throughout the years.
Where does this leave race? I'd say it leaves it as a very convenient way of establishing false hierarchies among human beings.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mixed Race Me

I have come to learn that a work of art creates more room for change than an academic paper. But I'm no artist. So I rely on other people's creativity. Check Mixed Race Me, a digital story created by a Yunnie Tsao Snyder, whom I do not know, and I probably never will, except from this little, yet powerful creation.

When are we one pure race, one pure nation? When does difference kick in, and how much difference do we need til we start seeing it as racial or ethnic difference? How white your skin til you are 'White'? What comes out of a Chinese mother and a French father, with an Anglo-Saxon ancestry? What is the child of Hungarian parents, but born and raised in Canada? What is this child if she is born and raised in Somalia? How do we ascribe these lables and based on what? And the questions never stop...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


We live through labels. Not the ones on your jeans or t-shirts. But the ones through which we come to be known by others: she is an immigrant; he is Canadian. Labels are stuck on us. Labels give or deny rights. They follow us wherever we go, defining who we are supposed to be.

Canadian citizen
Permanent resident
Canadian resident
Temporary resident
Newcomer to Canada
Acclimatized Canadian (yeap, the term actually exists, google it!)
Naturalized Canadian

(Photo: everydaylifemodern)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Living with difference is like taking the bus

I travel with difference everyday:

- a girl with a hijab sat in front of me;
- white, black, red, yellow - name the skin-color label, was in the bus today;
- toddler, adolescent, grown-up, senior - all of them were in the bus with me;

- a woman in a wheelchair, also in front of me today.

We travel together by bus, but we never interact. Just like living in a multicultural society. Living with difference - we learned to tolerate, we no longer stare. But we keep our distance. We observe, but we don't dare to push the limits of our own labels.

Photo credits: qmonic.

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