Russell Peters’ recent interview with CNN did not go over well with a Mississauga councillor, who found herself offended by some comments the Brampton-raised comedian made about his hometown and the country of his birth.
In the interview, Peters — who is of Indian descent — was asked about his use of race and ethnicity in his comedy, and admitted that it likely stems from the fact that he always felt like an immigrant while growing up, despite the fact he was born in Canada.
“I don’t know if it’s a hook,” he replied. “I think it’s just the way my brain is programmed, you know, from being born in Canada and even though I was born and raised in Canada, I felt like I was treated like an immigrant the whole time, and then 11 years ago, I moved to America and now I’m actually an immigrant and feel more assimilated then I did in Canada, oddly enough.”
This led Mississauga/Peel Councillor Carolyn Parrish to address Peters’ comment on Twitter.
“Russell Peters on CNN, ‘felt more an immigrant in Canada’, despite being born here, than in USA,” she tweeted. “Good to know Sunshine! You can stay there!”
Russell Peters on CNN,"felt more an immigrant in Canada", despite being born here, than in USA. Good to know Sunshine! You can stay there!
— carolyn parrish (@carolynhparrish) July 17, 2017
Speaking with the Mississauga News, Parrish explained why his remarks made her see red, claiming: “I just about threw something at the TV” when she watched the interview.
“We helped him become successful by being open with his brand of humour. I was angry that he was so dismissive of the country who got him where he is,” Parrish said.
“He didn’t need to be accepted because he was part of the fabric of Brampton … now he’s got money pouring out of every orifice of his body,” she added.
The tweet, however, led Parrish to face criticism of her own, with some Twitter users accusing her of “white privilege” and showing insensitivity to what it’s like to be a minority in a predominantly white culture.
This is an appalling thing for a public servant and elected official to say. Did you even understand why he said what he said?
— 🥃 Mark Schilling 🧔 (@markjschilling) July 18, 2017
It's sad that your response to someone saying they felt unwelcome is to compound this feeling and exile them in the same breath.
— Anthony Panecasio (@panecasio) July 17, 2017
I'm not a big fan of his comedy but I must say he is not wrong. I'm an immigrant my self. My experiences are not the same as yours.
— Agnes Lussoke (@AgnesMiguel80) July 19, 2017
Maybe instead we should look at why that's the case and try to fix it as opposed to being rude and telling a successful person to move?
— Mikki (@MikkiCZ) July 18, 2017
You have just demonstrated white privilege. Give it some thought.
— Monica Pease (@monpease) July 19, 2017
You don't feel welcome here? In that case you're not welcome here! pic.twitter.com/sXtO64Sc7x
— Stewart C. Klazinga (@sklazinga) July 19, 2017
According to the Mississauga News, Peters could not be reached for comment.