It helps me see my biases and how others, especially new Canadians, experience my thinking I’m showing care and concern. All they hear is “are you a productive member of this society yet?” Reminds me people have value and contributions to make beyond having a job.
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What has been most difficult for him is what he has come to understand about the way he is viewed by the people with whom he interacts in Canada. With his employers, he feels he is just a cog in a machine. With others around him, he feels the only thing they want to know is if he has a job – and when he affirms that he does, they nod and make a comment about how it’s good for newcomers to be “productive members of society,” and ask nothing more.
Sitting in a coffee shop and apologizing (unnecessarily) for not being “more positive,” Nabil told me, “Sometimes I feel that Canadians are saying that we [refugees] have zero values, and so Canadians have to give them to us. But we both know that’s not true. And I also see that many of the values Canadians want to give to us are actually values created by companies – by capitalism.”