Building a diverse and inclusive community in Abbotsford requires educating ourselves on misconceptions and stereotypes between different communities. People use stereotypes to classify and generalize other groups of people. The problem with stereotyping is that they are based on generalizations, misunderstanding, and misinformation. They also lead to discrimination and in turn, racism. With a community as diverse as Abbotsford there is bound to be stereotyping. You can help eliminate these stereotypes by educating yourself and others about how they simply aren’t true. Here are some common racist misconceptions you may encounter and the real facts disproving them:
Racism doesn’t exist anymore – according to a survey done by Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation more than half of Canadians mistrust Muslims (more: http://www.theprovince.com/life/Poll+finds+more+than+half+Canadians+mistrust+Muslims/6334986/story.html#ixzz1pyepqgIR) By looking at this data, we can be assured that racism not only still exists, but is pervasive and prevalent in Canadians.
Immigrants are taking ‘our’ jobs – It’s too easy to forget that Canada relies on immigrants for both our economy and our population growth. It used to be that Canada’s population grew on its own through birth, but recently things have changed. Due to an aging population and low fertility rates, in 2006, immigration accounted for two thirds of Canada’s population growth. It is expected that around 2030, immigration will be the only growth factor for the Canadian population.
Racial Stereotyping is harmless – Many jokes are based on stereotyping because they can be funny. But this humor can also reinforce negative generalizations and create deep entrenched stigma against particular communities, religions, or subcultures. The stereotypes are common, but they are harmful and ignorant.
These are just a few of the many racist misconceptions out there. Keep these in mind as you interact in the community. Try to identify other stereotypes and refrain from participating in them. Eliminating racism one stereotype at a time will help make Abbotsford a more inclusive, friendly, and inviting place for everyone to live in.
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