Ahhh, nothing gets the blood racing on a Monday morning better than a testosterone-infused exchange with a ruddy bigot. (See comments to this post.)
Growing up as a dark-skinned immigrant in Toronto in the 1970s was not a fun experience. We were a poor family, confused, stressed and scared much of the time. So many things were new to us, and back then Canada didn’t have its present infrastructure and experience in speeding along immigrants’ assimilation process. It’s still a rough time today for most immigrants, especially those arriving from truly foreign cultures and those without the economic advantages of others. But back in the 70s, it was particularly bad, especially for those of us with no ties to extant community groups. (We didn’t, for example, know of any existing Guyanese or West Indian communities we could find solace among.) Indeed, for much of my childhood, not a day went by without at least one racist event perpetrated against me on the street: a verbal slur, a threat of violence or indeed actual violence.
Most frustrating were the constant faulty assumptions people made about you, based upon fragments of information, hearsay or isolated experiences: Indians smell, Indians are good at math, etc. My favourite was that, since Gandhi was a pacifist, then Indians wouldn’t fight back if you hit them. My extremely tough older brothers disproved that myth quite effectively.
That’s why it’s so irritating to see modern troglodytes do the same with today’s immigrants, particularly Muslim ones, who are the brunt of so much irrational hatred. It’s the one stimulus that is guaranteed to trigger my testosterone response, the racist disrespect of any immigrant in my presence. So be warned.