Welcome to Insight at The Wanderer | By Sanaa Humayun

Welcome, dear reader, to Insight at The Wanderer. I’d like to think of Insight as the Hufflepuff of Wanderer sections. We’re just a little bit of everything. This is the place for all the stuff that doesn’t quite fit anywhere else. Insight is perfect for personal narratives, stories, fiction and non-fiction of all kinds. This is what makes me so excited to be a writer and editor for Insight — I’m passionate about giving people an open place to be creative.

This summer, I was lucky enough to score an awesome job working as a day camp counselor. As someone who enjoys working with kids (because I’m actually a child), this job was everything I could have hoped for. My bosses went out of their way to ensure that the campers had a wide variety of opportunities presented to them, including many international activities.

One day, a Certified Yoga Instructor came in to teach our kids some basic yoga. As she went through her session, I marveled at how well she kept the kids in line and engaged.  At the end of the session, she pulled them in for one last pose:

“This pose is called Savasana,” she said, as she began to lay down. “That word is in a language called Sanskrit, which is basically just this fun yoga language.”

As she said this, my jaw dropped. All my good thoughts about her immediately vanished, and I was amazed at her ignorance. How could someone who teaches this art for a living not be aware of its origins? How could they reduce a sacred language to just a “fun yoga thing”? Sanskrit was one of the first recorded written languages in the first millennium AD. English finds its roots in Sanskrit. This woman did not intend to be malicious, but her ignorance spoke volumes. The culture that built her career was not important enough for her to respect or teach.

The worst part of this, for me, was seeing how the kids in camp reacted to it. The one Indian boy in my camp tried desperately to tell anyone that would listen that Sanskrit was, you know, an actual language, but was met with arguments, as The Adult had told them otherwise.

Stories like these are not okay, yet they are so common and invalidating. This is why I’m excited to introduce “Our Canada,” a series of articles which will serve to highlight the voices of people of colour living in Canada. This series will explore issues surrounding race and highlight the positive and negative aspects of Canadian life for people of colour.

I’m very excited to be your Insight Editor this year. I want Insight to be a place for marginalized voices and a place to be honest. Insight is about highlighting our unique voices, and I’m here to listen to your stories. I can’t wait to write with you all this year.

If you are interested in contributing to the Insight section, or to “Our Canada,” please contact Sanaa at sanaa.humayun@thewandereronline.com

 

Banner photo courtesy of Wanderer Online Photography Editor Bryan Tran

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  • Neha

    “…the Hufflepuff of Wanderer sections.”

    I always love a Harry Potter reference!