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Eighties Flashback or Stay on My Lawn: Denim Jackets

One of the joys of getting older is seeing trends come back into fashion. Floral jeans and neon being two of them. I also saw a teenager wearing a shreded t-shirt the other day. Remember those? You took an oversized t-shirt, shredded it and tied knots at the end.

Thank god I’m too old for that. It was awful then and it’s awful now. [Read more…]

The Ethnic Aisle First Anniversary Party in Pictures

Last week, the journalists of the Ethnic Aisle held the first anniversary party of the publication at No One Writes to the Colonel. I played photographer (so not trained) and took some awful snapshots:

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The Ethnic Aisle Celebrates


Denise Balkissoon, Renee Sylvestre-Williams, Chantal Braganza, Ethnic Aisle

Left to right: Denise Balkissoon, Renee Sylvestre-Williams and Chantal Braganza. Photo by Septembre Anderson

The Ethnic Aisle held its first year anniversary party last night. It was a celebration that co-incided with #WiTOpoli (Women in Toronto politics) and Press Pass – all on the same day. It was a night that celebrated journalism, social media and community involvement.

I’ll have a bigger post soon but here is Ethnic Aisle co-f0under Denise Balkissoon (left), myself and Chantal Braganza giving away a prize of Kim Chi noodles for the Ethnic Aisle pub quiz.

You Should Be Reading: The Ethnic Aisle’s White Issue

Not the Beatles, but just as good.

The Ethnic Aisle  recently did the White Issue where white (and those who look like it) writers talk about being white and the various ethnicities that live within that category. It’s a great read.

Why would we do something like the White Issue? I suggest you start by reading this: What We Talk About When We Talk About Whiteness.

The Vocal Mood Ring

Click here to listen to a Trinidadian accent.

I have two accents but only speak one language or not, who knows?

The outside accent is, I’ve been told, a decent Canadian accent (though I’ve told I ape a good Mid-Atlantic accent as well) but my inside accent is my natural Trinidadian accent.

One I regard as a tool, the other I regard as part of myself.

I spent a year out on the East Coast for my first year of university and ended up with an East Coast accent. My parents laughed like drains for about a month after I came back to Ontario.

I didn’t plan on having a Canadian-or-whatever-it-is accent – it just happened. Between choral speaking, not being allowed to talk in dialect in my high school English class, being told to ‘speak slower’ by my housemates in my first year of university, and the year of broadcast class for my journalism degree, it seems inevitable that my accent would change.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but not using my home accent in public probably was my subconscious attempt at assimilating into this new country. I was already experiencing culture shock because I had come from a country where I was part of the dominant society and now was a visible minority and I made a strong effort to fit in. As much as we don’t like admitting it, accents have connotations. People love a British or Australian accent yet other accents? Perhaps not as much.

These days the work accent is a useful thing to have, just like my blackberry, my laptop, my recorder and my pen. I’m easily understood and I’m not asked to repeat things. I am asked to speak in my Trinidadian accent though.

My home accent is the accent I use when talking to family, to discuss my day, to tell my parents that I’m ok, to call them and ask how they’re doing. It’s the accent I use when playing with my niece – a singsongy version of “Sweetheart,” and the voice I use when I yell, “Mom, where you put the pepper?!” Picture a Trinidad accent here. Which is not Jamaican in any way, shape or form so please stop doing one when we talk, it’s irritating.

Of course, the Trinidadian accent also the accent I use when I’m tired, frustrated or annoyed. So maybe my accent(s) aren’t two separate accents. Maybe it’s just one accent that changes to my mood.

Christ, I don’t have an accent, I have a vocal mood ring.

This post is part of the Ethnic Aisle blogging project. If you’re interested in race, ethnicity, diversity and the GTA, check out the other posts by some great writers.

We also have a Facebook page! Why not like us?

A Mixed-Race Family’s Values

There’s a certain freedom in growing up in a family that has been mixed race on both sides for five generations. We’ve never had to worry about our family’s reaction to a mixed-race relationship and when you’re mixed-race, every relationship is a mixed-race one.
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The Best Party is in… Woodbridge?

The same night Ethnic Aisle was hosting our first event on the urban vs. suburban divide, I was in a car heading up to Woodbridge. Woodbridge. In the suburbs.  [Read more…]

Ethnic Aisle on Metro Morning

Denise Balkisoon, co-founder of Ethnic Aisle talks to Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway about race, politics and the urban/suburban divide. You can listen to the six-minute conversation: here: http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2011/09/26/race-and-ethnicity/ [Read more…]

Suburban vs. Urban Divide: Toronto

It never occurred to me that the suburbanites and urbanites were at war with each other until the last mayoral election. I’ve always thought the two regions were like neighbours who are barely courteous to each other when they meet. Instead , they spend their time peering through the curtains and gossiping about each other. [Read more…]

Hanging out in the Ethnic Aisle

Just in case you didn’t know where I’m from…

Taken by Canice Leung