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  #181  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:15 AM
Truenorth00 Truenorth00 is online now
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
I once met a guy at a bar here, an acquaintance's boyfriend. I asked where he was from because he was clearly a visible minority. He said whichever town in Newfoundland it was, and I asked the question a different way probably four times before he was visibly just done with the conversation and me and I had no idea what I'd done wrong. I definitely know now. That's one of those cringe memories that wakes me up just before I fall asleep sometimes.
This is one of the cultural differences between Canada and the US and Europe. It is rarer in Canada to be asked where somebody is from. As a POC with no accent I never get asked this. People just assume I was born here.

However, wherever I travel to Europe or the US, a lot of folks will find a subtle way to weave this in to the conversation. "So when did you move to Canada?" Or worse, "Where are you really from?". I've got variations of this question in professional settings from American and European counterparts while at meetings in a Canadian uniform, representing my country. And every time an American or European asks me this, it reminds me of why I'm so proud of Canada. Getting pestered with that question, as you did to that chap, would be so depressing....
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  #182  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
This is one of the cultural differences between Canada and the US and Europe. It is rarer in Canada to be asked where somebody is from. As a POC with no accent I never get asked this. People just assume I was born here.

However, wherever I travel to Europe or the US, a lot of folks will find a subtle way to weave this in to the conversation. "So when did you move to Canada?" Or worse, "Where are you really from?". I've got variations of this question in professional settings from American and European counterparts while at meetings in a Canadian uniform, representing my country. And every time an American or European asks me this, it reminds me of why I'm so proud of Canada. Getting pestered with that question, as you did to that chap, would be so depressing....
When the question is asked in Canada, it would normally indicate an interest in the person being asked. Not to accept the answer and to "dig deeper" seems very offensive, however. I suspect, however, the question has become less frequent in recent years as more people could fear giving unintended offence.
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  #183  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
This is one of the cultural differences between Canada and the US and Europe. It is rarer in Canada to be asked where somebody is from. As a POC with no accent I never get asked this. People just assume I was born here.

However, wherever I travel to Europe or the US, a lot of folks will find a subtle way to weave this in to the conversation. "So when did you move to Canada?" Or worse, "Where are you really from?". I've got variations of this question in professional settings from American and European counterparts while at meetings in a Canadian uniform, representing my country. And every time an American or European asks me this, it reminds me of why I'm so proud of Canada. Getting pestered with that question, as you did to that chap, would be so depressing....
Yeah, that is definitely what I did. Ugh.

One caveat, though, I never used the words "Where are you REALLY from?" - he had a Newfoundland accent so that thought wouldn't and didn't occur to me. But I think I literally asked "What's your background?" Fuck. Ugh. And it wasn't even THAT long ago, decade at most.
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  #184  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kwoldtimer View Post
When the question is asked in Canada, it would normally indicate an interest in the person being asked. Not to accept the answer and to "dig deeper" seems very offensive, however. I suspect, however, the question has become less frequent in recent years as more people could fear giving unintended offence.
Context matters. If we're having a beer, talking about where we grew up, then sure that is not offensive. If you're angling to ask me this within 5 mins of meeting me, I know exactly what is on your mind. And yes, that has happened to me more than once. Thankfully, not in Canada.

And part of the reason, it's become offensive is because of the double standard. Nobody is angling to ask the "background" of a random white guy they meet. Isn't that dude's Scottish/English/German/Dutch roots as interesting?
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  #185  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Truenorth00 View Post
Context matters. If we're having a beer, talking about where we grew up, then sure that is not offensive. If you're angling to ask me this within 5 mins of meeting me, I know exactly what is on your mind. And yes, that has happened to me more than once. Thankfully, not in Canada.

And part of the reason, it's become offensive is because of the double standard. Nobody is angling to ask the "background" of a random white guy they meet. Isn't that dude's Scottish/English/German/Dutch roots as interesting?
Not the same thing, but for white people... if someone was very tall, or had a foreign accent, I'd definitely have also asked them where they were from. Especially any accent that wasn't likely mainland Canadian or Northeast U.S. Those I'd probably still ask where they're from.
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  #186  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:47 AM
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Yeah, that is definitely what I did. Ugh.

One caveat, though, I never used the words "Where are you REALLY from?" - he had a Newfoundland accent so that thought wouldn't and didn't occur to me. But I think I literally asked "What's your background?" Fuck. Ugh. And it wasn't even THAT long ago, decade at most.
It's easy to be boneheaded that way. And generally, if you're not a douche in the interactions that follow, people won't think you're racist. They'll just think you're socially inept.

And I understand the fascination. My wife is half Southern European and half British Indian. Because of her mixed upbringing she gets very fascinated with people's ethnicities and how people look. She's put her foot in her mouth more than once. And I've done the sympathy cringe pretty hard.

Honestly, there's an easy way to approach this if you're really curious:

1) Where you from? "Toronto".

2) How long you lived there? "20 years"

3) Woah cool, were you born there? Blah blah

Yes, the POC knows what you're doing. But done right and after at least half an hour conversation, that can come off as somewhat sincere.
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  #187  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 12:53 AM
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It's easy to be boneheaded that way. And generally, if you're not a douche in the interactions that follow, people won't think you're racist. They'll just think you're socially inept.

And I understand the fascination. My wife is half Southern European and half British Indian. Because of her mixed upbringing she gets very fascinated with people's ethnicities and how people look. She's put her foot in her mouth more than once. And I've done the sympathy cringe pretty hard.

Honestly, there's an easy way to approach this if you're really curious:

1) Where you from? "Toronto".

2) How long you lived there? "20 years"

3) Woah cool, were you born there? Blah blah

Yes, the POC knows what you're doing. But done right and after at least half an hour conversation, that can come off as somewhat sincere.
Fair. I've stopped caring, though, where people are from at face value. I watched a video by a trans woman about questions never to ask someone of her background. And she made one point that really stuck with me in general: Be aware WHY are you asking? Do your preconceptions of me depend on my answer? Do you have follow-up questions that depend on my answer? Are you just making conversation?

And I realized I'm asking because I'm curious how they ended up here. I don't have that cringe reaction to people saying they're from Toronto or whatever. My response to that is joy, not derision or shit like "Well, we won't hold that against ya!" - I might be provincial, but not that provincial. I'm stupid in my own ways, but not that kind of douche.

But WHY am I curious? What would my follow-up question be? That's the question I can ask instead. So now it's shit like "Are you from here or visiting?", "What's surprised you most so far?", "What do you miss most?" because that's really what I want to know anyway.
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  #188  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 1:07 AM
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I'm white, but I get asked "where are you from" literally every single time I have to give someone my last name LOL (Hawrylyshyn). I've never been offended by it, but understand how getting asked that based on your appearance could upset people
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  #189  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 1:12 AM
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I'm white, but I get asked "where are you from" literally every single time I have to give someone my last name LOL (Hawrylyshyn). I've never been offended by it, but understand how getting asked that based on your appearance could upset people
I get a small taste of that from Newfoundlanders 60+. My surname is, apparently, very "Salvation Army". So they always ask or comment negatively about that. And I have to explain Dad's family is Anglican, Mom's is Catholic, and I was raised Catholic. This isn't a rare conversation. It's basically every time I meet someone 60+ for the first time here lol

*****

Blows my mind with everything happening, black people in St. John's are taking the time to post shit like this quoted photo:



If I was part of some group being publicly suffocated in the street, I don't think I'd be as generous and hopeful as missus posting her kids with Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officers.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Jun 2, 2020 at 1:36 AM.
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  #190  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 1:21 AM
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To some extent it's a matter of whether you're punching up or punching down that determines how these interactions and incidents are seen.

Why didn't Trudeau face much more of a backlash for blackface? Because for the most part, most people, evern POCs, can see there was no real malice involved. If Derek Sloan shows up with blackface on, the reaction would be very different.
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  #191  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 1:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
I once met a guy at a bar here, an acquaintance's boyfriend. I asked where he was from because he was clearly a visible minority. He said whichever town in Newfoundland it was, and I asked the question a different way probably four times before he was visibly just done with the conversation and me and I had no idea what I'd done wrong. I definitely know now. That's one of those cringe memories that wakes me up just before I fall asleep sometimes.

I understand racism isn't just conscious hatred and I think I understand white privilege (best explanation I've seen is that white privilege doesn't mean your life is easy, it just means being white isn't one of the things making it hard). But that's about as far as I can get. We simply aren't diverse enough to experience more. The daily reality of Toronto's multiculturalism, for example, is as foreign and far-removed to me as the police killings of black people in the United States.

But I'm really sorry it's still happening. I read a lengthy article about the successful reform of the police force in Camden (EDIT: Compton). Hopefully that's copied by more.
That Newfoundland story is hilarious.
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  #192  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 1:43 AM
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It took me a while to come back and check on this thread. I wasn't sure how my post would've been received. Glad the discussion seems productive. Surprised it reached 10 pages already.
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  #193  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 2:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
I once met a guy at a bar here, an acquaintance's boyfriend. I asked where he was from because he was clearly a visible minority. He said whichever town in Newfoundland it was, and I asked the question a different way probably four times before he was visibly just done with the conversation and me and I had no idea what I'd done wrong. I definitely know now. That's one of those cringe memories that wakes me up just before I fall asleep sometimes.

I understand racism isn't just conscious hatred and I think I understand white privilege (best explanation I've seen is that white privilege doesn't mean your life is easy, it just means being white isn't one of the things making it hard). But that's about as far as I can get. We simply aren't diverse enough to experience more. The daily reality of Toronto's multiculturalism, for example, is as foreign and far-removed to me as the police killings of black people in the United States.

But I'm really sorry it's still happening. I read a lengthy article about the successful reform of the police force in Camden (EDIT: Compton). Hopefully that's copied by more.
"Ignorant" actually means you do not know. It does not mean stupid.

Lots of people are simply curious and mean no malicious intent.

In most of Canada people ask very few questions of people who appear different due to a nearly obsessive fear of awkward situations.

Friends of mine who now live in Quebec but used to live there intepreted that as people not giving a shit about them and not being curious about other cultures.

They prefer the dominant curiosity and bluntness of Quebec even if sometimes off-putting and awkward.

They find it more naturally human.
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  #194  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 2:10 AM
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The mother no longer claims that her daughter was pushed. That seemed to be a shocked grief response immediately following the death. They do want an inquiry though, because they believe that the police played a role.

The partner of a friend of mine had a mental health crisis. When the police came, they "helped" by assaulting him. This happens and in this instance my friends were white and gay.

The inquiry is appropriate. It's not farfetched that race and/or lack of understanding around mental health are at least partially to blame. Unfortunately, the mother's initial reaction is being used to both exaggerate and minimize the issue depending on where people stand politically on these issues.

Yeah, this is a more likely scenario, and I agree that the SIU investigation is warranted given the somewhat suspicious circumstances of the woman's death.



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Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker View Post
I once met a guy at a bar here, an acquaintance's boyfriend. I asked where he was from because he was clearly a visible minority. He said whichever town in Newfoundland it was, and I asked the question a different way probably four times before he was visibly just done with the conversation and me and I had no idea what I'd done wrong. I definitely know now. That's one of those cringe memories that wakes me up just before I fall asleep sometimes.

I understand racism isn't just conscious hatred and I think I understand white privilege (best explanation I've seen is that white privilege doesn't mean your life is easy, it just means being white isn't one of the things making it hard). But that's about as far as I can get. We simply aren't diverse enough to experience more. The daily reality of Toronto's multiculturalism, for example, is as foreign and far-removed to me as the police killings of black people in the United States.

One of the things I appreciate about Toronto, being a city where virtually everyone is either an immigrant or a second or third-generation Canadian, is that "where are you from?" is an innocent question that can be genuinely asked of anyone (but most commonly by newcomers who are just curious about others' backgrounds, given that they themselves are from somewhere else), that's simply asking "what's your ethnic background/ where you were born?"; and everyone will have a different answer. No offence taken.

And you're right, that's really all that white privilege is - simply the acknowledgement that as a white person, all else being equal at least you don't have to deal with the burden of racism. But you can still experience other forms of marginalization (socioeconomic, gender, sexual identity-based, religious, disability, etc) and burdens, life can still be hard, and you can still be worse off than a non-white person. It doesn't mean you're in a position of power by virtue of race. A lot of white folks seem to take offence at the concept as though it invalidates their life struggles - but that's not actually the case.




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Interesting fact, many US aboriginals had black slaves and abused them severely; no different from how whites treated slaves. Black slaves were also common in India, owned by East Indians. Why isn't this ever discussed or harped on?

Does India in 2020 have a significant population of marginalized former-slaves? Have indigenous Americans shaped post-slavery policy intended to disenfranchise the black population?

Slavery isn't even the issue anymore - it's the 150 years of systemic racism & oppression that blacks have had to endure. That's all a strawman.

Of course, given your history of racist posts I wouldn't expect you to understand this or appreciate the difference.
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  #195  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 2:20 AM
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One of the things I appreciate about Toronto, being a city where virtually everyone is either an immigrant or a second or third-generation Canadian, is that "where are you from?" is an innocent question that can be genuinely asked of anyone (but most commonly by newcomers who are just curious about others' backgrounds, given that they themselves are from somewhere else), that's simply asking "what's your ethnic background/ where you were born?"; and everyone will have a different answer. No offence taken.
This is the type of thing that causes two trains of thought for me. Given my politics, of course I think: FFS, you might as well be from Moscow or Sao Paolo in terms of how relatable this is to me. But I also think... fuck, that'd be fascinating to experience? It really, genuinely is something unique, Toronto's style of multiculturalism. It's afar, for me, to be sure, but I think I'm growing to admire and promote it the same way I would the Geneva Convention or some other EU shit I personally love.
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  #196  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 2:37 AM
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BTW, this is how this whole situation is being memed in the gay community. LOVE this. If it's not acceptable to post even in a spoiler, apologies. Please delete, or let me know and I can delete, but please don't ban me - it's true!

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  #197  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 3:32 AM
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Of course, given your history of racist posts I wouldn't expect you to understand this or appreciate the difference.
It's fine, young millenial (I'm a GenX Jew, so you can keep your "okay boomer" comments to yourself). You and your SJW woke generation are now accustomed to percieve everything that anyone says which goes against your beliefs as something horrendous and un-PC. I'm very happy I don't live in a mind where social media controls my emotions and evokes feelings that I must feel outrage towards everyone who doesn't agree with me.

Good luck, young grasshopper.
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  #198  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 3:58 AM
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It's fine, young millenial (I'm a GenX Jew, so you can keep your "okay boomer" comments to yourself). You and your SJW woke generation are now accustomed to percieve everything that anyone says which goes against your beliefs as something horrendous and un-PC. I'm very happy I don't live in a mind where social media controls my emotions and evokes feelings that I must feel outrage towards everyone who doesn't agree with me.

Good luck, young grasshopper.
Has anyone ever claimed that racism is not an issue in India? Surely if you want to discuss this, you’d be better off visiting the Indian sub forum.
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  #199  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 3:58 AM
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I think it's completely normal to ask people where they are from, it's a part of small talk, often just an icebreaker. It seems unfortunate that you can now only ask if the person is white, or the same as you, and I think that is an unintended outcome of too much political correctness.
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  #200  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2020, 4:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ReeceZ View Post
It's fine, young millenial (I'm a GenX Jew, so you can keep your "okay boomer" comments to yourself). You and your SJW woke generation are now accustomed to percieve everything that anyone says which goes against your beliefs as something horrendous and un-PC. I'm very happy I don't live in a mind where social media controls my emotions and evokes feelings that I must feel outrage towards everyone who doesn't agree with me.

Who's outraged here? The only outraged posts seem to be yours whinging that people are paying attention to the issue of anti-black racism and outrage that aboriginals and Indians aren't being blamed for slavery.

Or then there was your outrage about Chinese people and their "disgusting" habits, outrage about anything US-related, outrage at Trudeau, etc. I dunno, I mean you seem like a pretty outraged guy.

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I really would like to see China pay for what they have unleashed on all of us. Not sure how exactly that would occur; sanctions, long-term global boycott, etc. They need to understand that their disgusting cultural habits clearly can affect the rest of the world.

They need to suffer the consequences for their lack of proper hygiene.
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The world has every right to denounce and slam China going forward. They unleashed this Chinese virus on us because of their disgusting cultural hygiene practices and put us all in danger. This isn't the first time they unleashed a global pandemic, and it certainly won't be the last.

China had better get ready for shaming, backlash and shunning on a global scale. And they deserve every bit of it.
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