Defining the term “Visible Minority”… More like “Invisible”

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“Definition of the term “visible minority” (also referred to as “member of a racial minority”) for the purposes of the University of Guelph’s Lincoln Alexander Scholarships.

The most consistently used definition of “visible minority” arises in the federal Employment Equity Act which states that:

“members of visible minorities means persons, other than aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour”

The group includes individuals of non-white or non-Caucasian origin from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Africa or any other part of the world. It does not include persons of Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, Italian, or Ukrainian descent, or other ethnic groups who are considered to be white or Caucasian in origin.

Therefore visible minorities include the following persons who may be born in either Canada or other countries but for the purpose of this scholarship are Canadian Citizens or permanent residents.

  • Blacks (including Black Africans, West Indians, Canadians or Americans)
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Filipino
  • Indo-Pakistani (Bangladeshi, East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan)
  • West Asian and Arab (e.g., Afghani, Armenian, Egyptian, Iranian, Iraqi, Jordanian,Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Turk)
  • Southeast Asian (e.g., Burmese, Cambodian/Kampuchean, Laotian, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese)
  • Other (e.g., Latin Americans, Indonesian or Pacific Islanders, persons of mixed parentage)”
  • Who are considered visible minorities? Visible minorities are people, other than Aboriginals, who, because of their race or colour, are a visible minority. Examples include Black (such as: African, Haitian, Jamaican, Somali), South Asian (such as: East Indian, Pakistani, Punjabi, Sri Lankan), South East Asian (such as: Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Vietnamese), Arab / West Asian (such as: Armenian, Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese, Moroccan), Chinese, Filipino, Latin American, Japanese and Korean.
  • Down below, I randomly selected a photo of several Armenians of different shades from my desktop (one of which is unfortunately a slutty Armo singer named Rippi). Maybe it is a selfish qualification and justification of the many brown Armenians whose experiences are often overlooked as being white members of society. Is he visibly not white enough for you?When I discovered the term “person of color” and the social truths and privileges it entailed, I had- and still have- mixed feelings of alienation and representation about it. Is skin color the predominant factor of claiming this identity? Or was geography, history, culture, ethnicity, religion, traditions, exclusions, oppression, familial and social structure and so on? What about one’s blatant connection to communities of people of color- socioeconomically and culturally? Does a light-skinned Latina qualify as a person of color, whereas a brown West Asian- “Caucasian” to be technical- doesn’t?I live each day as an “other” because I am still undefined by the masses- not white nor brown. Hence, I do not get the respect from white people or those of color. On the outside, I’m typically seen as a Latina womyn, sometimes Persian, and other ethnic backgrounds. I never get Armenian, and the world knows to little about Armenia to know where we actually come from. Most often, people dismiss us as “white” or “European” but after a quick inspection of the map, it becomes visible that Armenia is a world away from Europe. When people say things like this, it makes me feel like my whole life and struggle as an Armenian is a sack of shit- my culture, my mother and family, my accent, my food, my music, my ancestral genocide, my difficulty with assimilation, and so on.Back to skin tones… My father had brown skin, yet my mother has pale skin; this goes for many Armenians. Somedays, I feel like a proud person of color, and other days I feel like a fake. I see brown Armenians and then some white Armenians; my hopes fly up and down. I see oppression and then I see privilege, and lose myself in an identity conflict that I can honestly never master. Unity and division. Definition and confusion. Conclusion and frustration. What does it mean to be Armenian? To feel like one? Who defines what a “person of color” is but that person of color? By identifying as a POC, am I bleeding colonialism into liberation, or am I liberating myself? Or does it ensue solidarity and tolerance? If I am a visibly minority, ambiguous and tokenized, does that mean that I finally a constant, safe space in which I belong? Oh yeah, I can’t believe being Armenian was finally mentioned on these types of things. That makes me feel a lot less alone and much more recognized and secure. If you don’t have a defined identity, you are insecure and hesitant of your own existence. Although security and confidence does not have to do with race, being recognized as a “visible minority” makes me feel less… invisible.

    Screen shot 2013-01-18 at 12.39.16 AMScreen shot 2013-01-26 at 9.09.46 PMScreen shot 2013-01-28 at 3.33.47 AMScreen shot 2013-01-26 at 9.11.16 PMScreen shot 2013-01-26 at 10.54.51 PM tumblr_lzvz70rsnW1r35gtgo1_r1_500 IMG_0281Armenia-and-Karabakh1Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 10.19.40 PM63516980.YBoYMDlL.050607527ArmenienboywRippi++armenian+model+and+singe

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