Being French, I mean Persian, I mean Canadian…I’m everything at the same time.
I turned 34 this year. I have 3 immigrations behind me. I’ve been through different stages of my life where my identity was indeed very important to define, expose, and sometimes diluted to be able to integrate my-self socially and culturally. What I want to talk to you about is being French in an English-speaking social and cultural environment.
I’ve heard comments like French people should ‘stay where they are from’ to make what they know; the best ‘baguette and cheese’. I’ve heard that the French are arrogant or invasive in their allocution (the way they address their thoughts); is it because they speak out loud what they have in mind? What is an offensive attitude in a culture is not in another and even it might be considered as a good social skill. In the end, we are talking about these subtle tiny discriminative daily comments, sometimes coming even from second generation immigrants’ them-selves.
For me speaking three languages, that’s strength. I’m able to relate with people from every country. I’m from here, and there, it’s like to be from nowhere really, and everywhere in the same time. Being a native Persian as well, I can still hear from my own people comments about my accent as if did not belong to them. Is this an excuse to not take responsibility for their incapacity to deal with their own discomfort? I actually had the chance to learn French and Persian at early age. My mom was a philologist, Persian teacher. I feel blessed for her knowledge.
Discrimination comes from general ignorance in any country; and does it belong to people who never move out from their own region or country, and never felt what it’s like to be a minority once in their life for a long period of time? Or is it a rooted human tradition to push out the minorities from a group to conquer a territory….? One thing that prevents being judgmental toward others culture is compassion. You become tolerant, sensitive to others feelings, and you learn how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. These are human skills, or emotional intelligence ability.
Being culturally a vulnerable target in your work environment, at school or any social situation, makes you face judgment and misunderstandings from others, which sometimes leads unnecessarily to confusion and endless arguments.
We are all One, all immigrants, all visitors in this planet.
‘I’m from here and there, really I’m from nowhere. I’m everything and nothing at the same time. I really don’t mind, I only seek for peace.’