Oftentimes, it’s easy to think of bullying as being something which originates from an individual much different from the target. Unfortunately so, there is a common phenomenon currently occurring for bullies to be targeting individuals who are “one of their own.”
These instigators may not be aware that they’re demeaning someone who is absolutely no different from them, and just how detrimentally damaging their behaviour may be.
Call it a defence mechanism, ignorance, or a result of a poor upbringing. But whatever it is – it’s causing newly immigrated South Asian children to feel ostracized and inferior to their peers.
Time and time again, the concept of those dubbed as “dippers” or “freshies” is always used as a manner to classify the “acceptable Indians” from the ones who are deemed unworthy of inclusion.
To make matters even worse, these taunts and blatant in school emotional antagonism is nearly always instigated by South Asian second generation immigrant children, toward first generation South Asian children.
It’s no surprise that this tendency is all too frequent in our schools, since the mass media portrays all Indians in such a unfavourable manner.
The smell of curry and thick accents are synonymous with dark brown skin and hair. This drives western born offspring to become vehemently defensive of their own identities – causing them to wish to differentiate themselves from this portrayal of Indians.
It’s essential for our youth to understand that a kid may dress or speak a little differently from them as a result of the environment they’ve grown up in, or because they truly did just immigrate to Canada from India. It is crucial to engraving the notion that it is *never* acceptable to make these vulnerable individuals feel inferior simply because of who appear to be.
Certain aspects are part of newly immigrated or less acculturated children’s lives, and are only a small part of their social self becomes pitted against them. This crumpled the odds of them having a well structured social life. It also sets the tone of their life trajectory.
It’s time to stop this phenomenon and educate your children about how excruciatingly hurtful such things can be for someone who may already be well aware of the subtle differences in their persona. Perhaps your child isn’t the instigator – but it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure kindness is at the forefront of their offsprings behaviour each and every day in and out of a school setting –regardless of if they think they’re “too good” to be classified with the kids who are actually in fact just like them.
Believe it or not, when you dig beneath the surface, typically we all wish for the same things in life (more or less). Less assimilated individuals are just children (and maybe even some grown-ups) who want the same thing the “more westernized” groups of society desire – acceptance.
Remind your children (and yourselves) that there’s no need to shift the spotlight onto an easier target in order to protect one’s own self from being attacked. Rather, enlighten them on the importance of challenging commonly accepted stereotypes and demeaning portrayal of East Indians rather than support them by partaking in the quest to alienate those who don’t fit in with “the majority.”
Being a minority doesn’t have to mean to be on constant guard, it just means we have to be one step ahead the masses and not allow anyone bash those whom we share our roots with.
By: Amrita Lit