Posted by : VANITY Blog Monday, 1 December 2014

Source: Rob Hogeslag

On July 2013, My family and I went to a road tip to Edmonton. The halfway city and a usual pit stop is a town called Jasper, an old city where many tourists stop by to gas up, have a quick break, or use the washroom. In my family's case, we had to do the last one. So when my dad parked the van, I got out and ran to the closest washroom. When I entered the men's room, I saw a Caucasian man with his 5 year old daughter with him. Of course I didn't care much about the girl because she was only a kid and her dad was with her anyway. So I proceeded to continue to a stall to let all the water in me out. On my way there, I overheard the dad say to her daughter, "don't mind him; he's here to clean the washroom." That got me so mad, I almost said things I would have said if there weren't a kid in the room. So I let it go, gave him a smug smile, and kept my rage to myself.

This true story tackles two things immigrants face in their everyday lives: racism and being included in a stereotype. This blog post will talk about the latter one. The first one will be for a different blog entry.

Filipinos are usually known as caregivers, nurses, and here in Vancouver, sanitation engineers (also known as janitors and cleaners). Don't get me wrong, I think these professions require hardwork and a lot of perseverance. I respect these people. However, it is not fair to classify me or any other Filipino to be in this profession just because of ethnicity. What that Caucasian male in my story did is to add me to the stereotype. What I failed to do is to correct him. What I did do (which could be right or wrong) is to let him get away with it.

Sherman Alexie, an acclaimed author you will or should have heard of in school said, "don't live up to your stereotypes". Now I'm not saying that caregivers, nurses, and janitors are bad professions, it's just that when people classify you to these because of the color of your skin and the accent of your tongue, take a stand and correct them.

There are many stereotypes out there that people would include you in. But don't make that let you down. Don't let that define you. Take a stand. Define yourself. Make yourself.

All the best (and more),
- Jose

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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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