It’s why I picked up my family and moved to the most multicultural city in the world. It’s why I’m so resistant to the cookie-cutterness of suburbia. Hell, it might even have something to do with the three different skin tones and hair types in my three-person family.
But something strikes me as odd. In a world where everyone seems to be raving about travel, the exoticism of other cultures, the intrigue of tasting the flavours of various ethnic cuisine (albeit from the Westernized comfort of a Sandals resort), there appears to be much less passion devoted to living so diversely on our own doorsteps.
People react with great surprise when I tell them I watch television series from South Korea and Taiwan (courtesy of an app called Viki), or when I tell them my husband was into Bollywood long before I was on the scene. America is full of talent, yes. But so is every other country in the world. The television and film industries throughout Asia and Europe are full of original and refreshing content. Yes so few people on this side of the world make use of the ease of access we have to it in this day and age.
The other day I was flipping through channels and noticed we have Brazilian dramas which air on Omni in Portuguese – but there are no subtitles. Even the subtitle option on the remote doesn’t turn them on. Why? Because they’re meant for Ontario’s pockets of Brazilians? Yes, maybe so, but can’t I enjoy them too? Isn’t one of the best parts of travelling taking in media in a different language, maybe even organically picking it up in the process?
I live in Toronto, home to more than 200 ethnicities, with more than 140 languages and dialects, and where half of the population report themselves as being part of a visible minority. So, shouldn’t many of the joys of travelling be available to me on a daily basis? Well, they are in many ways. The Hakka-style food here will always be one of my favourite perks of the city (this refers to the fusion cuisines of the Chinese nomads dispersed around the world, the most common in Toronto being Chinese-Indian or Malaysian). But in other ways, we have a long way to go.
People talk about diversifying their career portfolios – what about diversifying your mind, your life, your palate for diversity itself?