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Banish those Biases – Zero Discrimination Day

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Today March 1, is celebrated as Zero Discrimination Day worldwide. The day is a reminder to us all to reflect on our thoughts and actions and ensure that we do not believe or act in ways that are biased and unfair to anyone based on their race, gender, ethnicity, physical attributes, religious beliefs, education or profession.

Many nations around the world have laws and regulations that prohibit such behaviour, however, it still remains a deep-rooted problem in every society and individuals. On the other hand, some countries still use discriminatory laws to oppress a community.

While many of us want to believe that we are fair-minded, all of us carry some personal prejudices. Prejudices that came to us through our families, society, schooling. On this day, The Immigrant Life invites and encourages you to reflect upon the biases you carry and act upon them intentionally to remove them.

Think of a time you became aware of differences between people – How did you feel? Did you act differently with those who were not like you?
– If you continue to look or smirk at those who have a different appearance, it is time to let go of that disdain and treat all individuals with respect.
– How do we talk about someone or treat them in front of our children? Think of what we are teaching our kids. The values they learn are influenced by our actions not talks.
– We could have developed and internalized negative attitudes to a group – it is time to reflect upon those and treat everyone just the way you want to be treated.
– Do you hold a stereotypical belief about a person, group, or community?
Accept differences and engage with those that are different from you. This will not only help you shatter those stereotypical beliefs but will enrich you.
– Think of every individual as a human being just like you without those adjectives that describes them.
– Do you display an expression when you see someone? Your facial expressions and physical attitudes can be telling of your biases. Keep a check on them.
– If you witness overt acts of discrimination, speak up. Speak up not just for yourself, but for others too. Speak up against mistreatment or bad attitudes whenever you see it happening.

On this day and every day, make an effort to reflect upon personal biases and act to clear your conscience.

This is a service you can do to yourself and to the society, thus helping make a fair and just world, where everyone is treated with respect and dignity despite our displayed differences.
Even though Canada is known for its acceptance of people from all parts of the world who come with their uniqueness, on personal level we can do better to make each new immigrant comfortable. By accepting each other for what we are we can help Canada be truly diverse.

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