Archive for November 2014

A Big Thank You

I know Canadian Thanksgiving is long over but hey, who said giving thanks should only be done during October. Since the year is about to come to an end (not really, we still have 34 days), I want us to get thinking on what we are thankful for, even the smallest things.  Sometimes the smallest things are the ones we often overlook. Simply because we think they’re doing their normal jobs so here we are thinking it’s no big deal. But let’s stop for a second and think how grateful we should really be because, well.. just because.  So today I’m going to be like Jimmy Fallon and list my thank you notes!

 

Thank you Earphones for helping me avoid people who want to chat me up when I don’t feel like talking to them. Thank you also for being a great accomplice when I want to eavesdrop on people and they’d think I am listening to music when I’m really not!
 
(source: www.picnapic.com/happiness-is-the-cold-side-of-the-pillow)

Thank you the cold side of the pillow for making me feel like I am lying on a changed pillow sheet and so I can sleep more comfortably and not think about the dead skin cells that are disposed on my pillow. 


(source: www.howtogeek.com/106643/how-to-type-faster-with-the-swype-keyboard-for-android)

Thank you swipe keyboard for making my life easier, lazier, and making the people I text think I’m illiterate at the same time.  Sometimes you work and sometimes you don’t so I’m really not sure whether to thank you at all; nevertheless, you save me at least 3.5 seconds every time I type.


Thank you hair ties for being the da real mvp when it comes to bad hair days, those days when you don’t know what to do with your hair and you have something you need to look presentable for. Thank you being a nice looking bracelet too. Makes me achieve the emo look I always wanted when I was thirteen.

 

Lastly, Thank you for me family and friends for being there, feeding me,  and supporting me throughout these years of my life. We have a love and hate relationship and I just want you to know that I appreciate it all. I know I don’t say this a lot, but I am thankful. If ever I look like I’m being ungrateful, I just don’t know how to say thank you, the right way. I don’t want to waste the genuineness of the words “thank you” and so I often find myself being speechless with all the help you've given me. I want to say thank you and make you feel happy that you've helped a human being. So... a big thank you from me!





- Anonymeh
            “’I've got to be the very best”
                           ­Ash, The Pokemon catcher/trainer who never grows up




 





Trying to Solve the Problems of Stereotypes


According to the Oxford Dictionary, stereotypes is a "widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing".


Photo Credits: Matthew Wiebe
See, with or without us realizing, stereotypes have governed our world from the shadows. When you see an Asian with thick glasses you think nerd, when you see a spaced-out jock you think weed, and so on. Stereotypes exist because we think in stereotypes, identifying an aspect with a large group is a part of human nature.

And yet, people have been trying to get rid of stereotypes for the better part of a decade. Why? Because stereotypes limit us. Stereotypes can be something that ties people together, yet also cages us. It is easy to let who we are determine what we like, instead of the other way around. And the obvious answer: set yourself free. Don’t let stereotypes trap you. Don’t be boggled down with what others expect of you, want from you, and see you as.


If only it were that easy.

Stereotypes still exist only because we want and we feel the need to “fit in”. We can be the personality clones, wearing different faces, inside our little cliques. Or we could all be radical individuals, lonely yet special. But honestly, neither of those sounds very appealing. So we want both, or to be somewhere in the middle. But how? How do we conform to a group, yet still retain that vital individuality?

I don’t know.

Photo Credits: Viktor Hanacek
I can say: “Don’t be scared of being who you are. Like what you like and forget the rest, who cares about what others think?” But then I would be lying. I cared about what others thought. I cared, and because I did, I told myself I didn’t. By doing that, I was only becoming another stereotype: the loner. See stereotypes aren’t just one type of people, by avoiding one you become another. If you were lucky (or patient), time would be generous and give you friends and people who think like you. But that does not solve the root of the problem. That is only creating a new clique, and eventually a new stereotype.

A stereotype is identifying a person/group by one of their aspect. So let’s flip the board around. If it was not the projection that had the problem, then perhaps it’s the projector itself we have to focus on.

If we stop recognizing and categorizing people based on race, gender….then we really wouldn’t have the whole stereotype problem. Yes, stereotypes exist. But as long as we, ourselves, remember that everyone (yes everyone) is more than just what you see of them, then we would have a much easier time actually getting to know each other.


Photo Credits: Lee Scott
By understanding that we are actually all different people, with different likes, dislikes, ideals…then slowly stereotypes are broken. You discover the Asian raps, the jock is into science. The world turns from being well….stereotypical…to a 3-D, exciting, living place.

Perhaps by now you would think I’ve gone on and on without really giving a solution. But really, if there was such an easy way out, why would there still be a problem? So cliques and stereotypes are a process. If we see a direction, we head towards it. We take two steps forwards and one step back. Perhaps there never will be a solution. Perhaps between here and there, the struggles we face, that’s what makes life worth living. And who knows, maybe at the end, the world will be a much prettier place.

- Selena
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Posted by VANITY Blog

Autumn Blues


 

I walk on a street

Filled with skeleton trees

And a ground of leaves.

 

They sway.

They dance, you know.

Through the sound

And the strength of the wind that blow.

They change color

Green, yellow, red.

Sometimes I wonder

Why it gets colder.

This time of the year

The dark is longer.

 

I wonder.

Is it the world and its method

Of keeping things balanced as it should?

Or is it to keep things unbalanced?

Is it the same gravity

That makes the leaves fall to the ground

as the one that pulls you to me?

 

I wonder.
 
 

A poem by Jose

 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Posted by VANITY Blog

Dealing With Stereotypes



I started to avoid making eye contact with the people I was talking to because of the way they were looking at me. They stared with their sparkly eyes as if they were reading my mind, and it always put me into an irrational fear that I could not ignore. I could not help but think that they were judging me by the acne on my face, the weird Korean accent that I had, and everything else that made me different from everyone else.
But was my fear really 'irrational'? I thought about it and realized that I had this fear because I felt that people were judging me by the way I look, talk, and act. I was afraid that when people saw the acne on my face, they would start thinking, "She probably doesn’t wash herself often." But I do. I wash my face at least twice a day, shower once a day, and brush my teeth at least twice a day.

Stereotypes


Stereotypes are formed when people try to figure out who you are simply by your appearance, actions, and words. They connect you to their past experiences with others who have acted in certain ways and assume that you will be like those people, too. This leads to prejudice and affects people's ways of thinking about you, as well as their attitudes toward you.

How to Deal People with Stereotypes


In most cases, people who view you through stereotypes will not be very kind to you. They might look at you critically and treat you with contempt, which may lead to discrimination from others.
However, should you be afraid of what others may think about you and therefore hide your true self? Of course not! You should always be confident and proud of yourself so that people can feel that you are not weird, but unique. Prove to them that their stereotypes and prejudices are wrong.
Other effective ways to get rid of the stereotypes that people have of you is to talk to them. Do not avoid eye contact like I used to do; it will only make them think that you have low self-confidence. Look them in the eye so that they can see clearly for who you are, not through the lens of stereotypes.
The most important thing that you need to remember is that you should not be influenced by any judgement someone may have about you. Let them think what they want; do not hide or lie about yourself so that you can fit in and be like the others. All you need to do is to be proud of who you are and of your differences, because you are special.
 

- Cindy Hong

Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Posted by VANITY Blog

Stereotypes and Pumpkin Spice Lattes



Let's do a survey, shall we?

Answer yes (mentally) if you have recently: 
  • Instagramed pictures of pumpkins or trees and hashtagged #fall
  • Worn flannel or Uggs
  • Bought seasonal lotion or candles from Bath and Body Works
  • Purchased a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks
  • Began thinking about shopping for Christmas presents with months still to go


If you answered yes to most questions, chances are, YOU are a basic, white girl! Not the case? How odd. Those listed above were all examples of stereotypical behavior expected from a "basic white girl". The term itself is quite problematic because (sadly, unbeknownst to everyone,) stereotypes don't often reflect reality.

Let me ask another question: what ethnicity are you? If you are Chinese, someone has probably asked you what "ching chong" is. If you are Japanese, someone has probably asked you if you watch anime. If you are middle eastern, someone has probably assumed you're a Muslim. It happens, and as immigrants or children of immigrants, we find ourselves dutifully correcting people all the time.

But stereotypes are not all bad. Most of the time, they stem from a grain of truth. For example, yes, most Asians who have studied in their respective countries will appear to be "smart" because their previous curriculum was advanced. However, it is when small minds take the stereotype and ignorantly apply it to every person in that group, generalizing every individual, that it becomes a serious problemIt leads to discrimination, classism and  racism.  Obviously, in this day and age, it goes without saying that everyone is different, and in a perfect world, everyone would be treated as such. It is why calling someone a "basic white girl" or asking someone what "ching chong" means may be problematic.

But, to borrow a quote from one of my favourite books, "the world is not a wish granting factory". Sometimes stereotypes are simply (and unfortunately) the norm; especially here in Vancouver, where we have a sea of diverse cultures. Generalizations are easy to make. I'm sure you find yourself making them all the time, even unknowingly. I fall victim to this way of thinking as well. When it does happen, I try to recognize the detriment of these thoughts and I will force myself to rise above them. 

At the end of the day, if we take the time to get to really know a person, and have the decency to treat them as an individual and not a clone, all stereotypes are eventually crushed. If you are truly my friend, I promise I won't judge you by how many pumpkin spice lattes you consume.

- Tina Madani Kia (Contributing Blogger)
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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.

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