What's In a Name
CBC has reported on a study from UBC showing how people with ethnic names are receiving less call backs in the job application process than people with more English sounding names. Shocking for people who have bought into the propaganda about Canada's cultural mosaic, but not for some one like me who's father had a highly ethnic sounding name.
Skallagrimsson is pseudonym, for those of who were not aware, my actual name is Germanic sounding. Well, it also gets confused for being Jewish and nothing makes you more aware of the thriving prejudice in this country than a Jewish sounding surname. However, my Dad changed his own surname in order to change people's perceptions about him. His father's name is Belarusian and in this country there was a definite prejudice against Slavs for decades. The stereotypes held that Slavs were incredibly stupid, lazy or conversely only good for hard, unskilled manual labour. That particular prejudice started dying off with my generation: "Polack" jokes didn't have that much meaning, for instance. But slavic prejudice was very real and my Dad felt so hampered with his name that he changed it.
His story isn't unique, and many Canadians throughout the history of this country have felt the sting of ethnic prejudice. Quite honestly, I am not so sure we will ever truly see its end - but one can hope.