“Speak English!”

Thank god I’m done school. At the moment, I am incredibly sick and tired of school.

I realized that I have been in school from age 3 until now. That is 18 years of education, one that I was not meant to question, one that I could not escape. I realize that I had an extremely colonialist upbringing, but my parents voluntarily placed me in a neo colonialist school where I was not allowed to speak my language or practice my culture.

“Speak English!” was the mantra, to the point where I felt as though my language was foreign to me, where I lost touch with its speakers, to where I scorned those who refused or were unable to adopt my colonized ways. Now it is too late to undo all that. I must simply make amends with myself, to right the wrongs that I previously thought to be outside of my control.

It is difficult though. I can never fully resolve this conflict with myself I still have the desires of the colonized – I lust after Hollywood actors, admire girls for the clearness of their skin and the bright colours of their eyes, the body shapes I can never have, the ease of shifting like a chameleon into the white man’s world. I will always been an outsider to both cultures.

And yet, ironically I needed to come to Canada to see all this. In Canada, “colonize” is a dirty word. Outright racism is condemned in a way that you could never find back home. The white man that held so much privilege because of who he was was simply a man – albeit still with privilege, but he did not hold the title of colonizer – in fact many were refugees, children of immigrants such as ourselves. There were often moments where I felt I identified more with the British culture than the Canadian one, ironically. This was noted with amusement when I corrected a friend for pronouncing “scone” as such, telling her its pronounced “scohn”.

Nobody says it like that, she says, much to my disgust.
Then I catch myself – what right do I, as a colonized, have to correct another colonized? Should we not be seeking ways to change our ways, to create new space separate from our colonizers?

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