Together, womyn of colour struggle with shadeism.

This well-done, Canadian documentary (20 minutes) on shadeism and light-skin privilege features the stories of young womyn of colour from Toronto:

Nayani Thiyagarajah narrates:

Four women, four stories, all connected to my own. We represent the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and South Asia. We represent Grenada, Venezuela, Trinidad, Angola, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. We represent Canada. Really, we represent an international narrative of sorts, a collective Herstory of womyn of colour. These are my friends, womyn I talk to, spend time with, and share with. And we all share the issue of shadeism from within each of our own cultures. Because of this, I knew it was important for us to come together, to talk about where shadeism comes from, how it affects us, and how we can possibly move forward together.

Link: Shadeism documentary (via Racialicious)

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Commercials conflate whiteness with modernity.

In Romanticizing Ancient Chinese Wisdom at Sociological Images, Lisa Wade writes:

This 40-second commercial for HSBC bank, sent in by Michelle F., is an excellent example of the way that non-white and non-Western people are often portrayed as more deeply cultural, connected to the past, and closer to nature than their white, Western counterparts. Sometimes this is done in order to demonize a culture as “barbaric,” other times it is used to infantilize them as “primitive.” In this case, it romanticizes.

[…]

Running on both English and Chinese language channels, the commercial contrasts the wise Chinese man with the young, white man. The music, the boats, their clothing and hats, and their fishing methods all suggest that the Chinese are more connected to their own long-standing (ancient?) cultural traditions, ones that offered them an intimate and cooperative relationship to nature. Simultaneously, it erases Chinese modernity, fixing China somewhere back in time.

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There are more Sri Lankans in Canada than in the United States.

In 2006, about 103 625 Canadians and residents of Canada were of Sri Lankan ethnic origin. Canada has admitted far more immigrants from Sri Lanka than the United States. Below is a graph showing the total number of Sri Lankan immigrants admitted to Canada versus the United States from 1991 to 2003.

Total Immigration admitted to Canada and the United States from Sri Lanka, 1991-2003

In the period of 1991 to 1995, Canada admitted 37 345 immigrants from Sri Lanka, while the United States admitted only 6 492. This means that Canada admitted about 475% more Sri Lankan immigrants than the United States during that period. While the total number of Sri Lankan immigrants in Canada is already several times greater than that of the United States, given that the total population of Canada is about one tenth the population of the United States, the number of Sri Lankan immigrants admitted to Canada per capita during that period would be about 58 times that of the United States.

Within Canada, about 138,675 people spoke Tamil, and 19,830 spoke Sinhalese in 2006. In Toronto of the same year, 110,450 people spoke Tamil, and 12,690 spoke Sinhalese.


Related links:

Tamil Canadians rally against the genocide occurring in Sri Lanka.

As many as 10,000 Tamil Canadians gathered in downtown Toronto on Friday to raise awareness about the genocide occurring in Sri Lanka. The protestors of colour were against the Sri Lankan government killing innocent Tamil civilians, and formed a massive human chain, creating a traffic gridlock around Union Station.

Unfortunately, CBC News incorrectly reported that they were protesting the Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

Here are some comments by the protestors on the misleading CBC News article:

Jago_Combo writes (emphasis mine):

This protest is not about the Tamil Tigers. This is about the Tamil Civilians in Sri Lanka who are being killed in alarming numbers everyday by the Sri Lankan government – we are talkign about ordinary civilians.

We need the support of Canada to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to adopt a ceasfire and bring humanitarian aid to the Tamil civilians which the Sri Lankan government has restricted. If we sit idly and not do anything, we are ignoring a genocide in progress that is being perpetrated by the singalese government.

If your ancestors were being innocently killed and driven out of their native country, wouldn’t you do something?? This issue is more important than the slumping economy – it is about savings lives and protecting human rights.
Please Canada, take a lead on this issue and call for a ceasefire!

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