Ethnicity And Identity

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Ethnicity has influenced many aspects of my life. I have always been a sensitive person toward certain positions based on my ethnicity. My father follows Hinduism and my mother follows Sikhism and they both have a strong bond with the religious customs and practices, but they never propelled me to follow all the practices and to learn all the principles of both religions. Whereas, I always had the interest to be considerate toward my ethnicity and to learn all the basics because I am grown in that environment. Hence, the reason I am sensitive towards my ethnicity is that it has subconsciously shaped my identity and opinions.

After being in Canada for about one year, when I am away from my ethnic group, I still feel attached to my ethnicity because of the way certain values have settled in my attitude. I do see myself as being influenced by people from different ethnic groups. I can say that it has helped me grow and acknowledge my own ethnicity and heritage. It has also helped me understand how others perceive my ethnicity. I feel like my attachment to my ethnicity has not changed by moving to another country and finding new viewpoints. However, I feel like my ethnicity is not very strong enough to express myself fully to people with different ethnicities.  Moreover, my ethnicity is perceived in a bit more complex in Canada as compared to India which has made me question some aspect of the values which I have been raised with and how others perceive me. For instance In India, through interactions with peers in school, I never felt a need to focus on studying Punjabi because I was fluent in Hindi. However, after being in Canada, I could understand that I am different within my own Indian community. Provided that society perceive me as a Punjabi based on how I look. “Can’t you talk in Punjabi?” was the common statement made to me as I moved to Canda and met other Indians. Resulting, I always felt like I was not part of the group and felt like I did not belong there. I am not sure if this is because of my ethnic background or just because I grew in a family where Punjabi culture didn’t have much influence.

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This transition from being a member of a certain ethnic group to being an outsider or minority in a new country is challenging. It like I’m trying to fit in two societies because of my ethnic differences. Despite, I agree with the official multiculturalism view of “making society safe for ethnicity, as well as safe from ethnicity.” (140) this is because I believe that there are many ways to make society safe for ethnicity. I think that it is important to have a sense of belonging and acceptance to be able to feel comfortable in a new place as a minority. I also believe that if you feel accepted by others, they will accept you for who you are.


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