The Power of Upbringing and Single Stories

My Kurdish upbringing had a huge role in how I view the world today. I am a second-generation immigrant to Canada, so even though I was born in Canada I was raised by parents who still lived very traditionally to where they came from. One thing that had struck me the most growing up was the countless times when I would witness strangers give my parents dirty looks and sometimes verbally harass them only because my mom wore a hijab and my dad wore a turban out in public. This is the reason why our parents did not force my siblings and I to wear them because they had wanted us to feel safe at school. In elementary school I notice kids who wore hijabs and turbans or other religious pieces would get bullied for wearing them. I found myself sticking up for them because I was so used to sticking up for my parents for that reason. It truly is awful that some children do not feel safe in their own classroom because of what they believe in. In my own classroom I will bring the lens respecting and stop prejudices over how someone chooses to express themselves wether that be religion, sexual orientation, identity, etc.

A single story that stood out to me the most in my own schooling was in elementary. Every year my school would put on a “Christmas concert” for the parents including songs such as “Jingle Bells”, “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls”. While I and many other students did not celebrate Christmas, we felt excluded, some kids were not even allowed to be in the concert because their parents did not want them to be. Singing and performing would be beneficial for everyone so why was it made to celebrate one group of people and exclude others.  

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