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This Sikh Politician Shared A Personal Story About Growing Up In Canada And People Can Really Relate

"I remember feeling like there was something wrong with me for just being me, and I wanted to belong."

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This is Ontario politician Jagmeet Singh, currently running for leadership of the federal NDP.

Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Singh represents Brampton in the provincial parliament, where he's also deputy leader of the Ontario NDP.

He's also one of the most prominent Sikh politicians in Canada, and if he wins the federal leadership, he will become the first non-white politician to lead a major Canadian political party.

On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, Singh shared his personal experiences of growing up in Canada, and how the country's official embrace of diversity often falls short of reality.

On #MulticulturalismDay I want to share a personal story, something that I hope will inspire us to build a more inclusive Canada.

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Here's a hilariously dorky photo of Singh as a kid.

While Canada is known for celebrating Multiculturalism, as a kid growing up, it didn’t always feel that way.

"While Canada is known for celebrating Multiculturalism, as a kid growing up, it didn't always feel that way," Singh wrote on Twitter. "I remember feeling like there was something wrong with me for just being me, and I wanted to belong."

Singh said he learned early on that he had to "work twice as hard for half as much," and that his turban and beard made him stand out.

As I grew older, so did my confidence. But, I faced new struggles. I learned that I had to work twice as hard for h… https://t.co/LmhJ2mzXwb

"Fashion became my social armour," Singh said.

instagram.com

Singh said he has been racially profiled and stopped by police during his time as a defence lawyer and even after he entered politics.

"Since being elected, I’ve faced criticism for caring about how I dress," Singh said. "The truth is, like many [people of colour], I don’t have the privilege to not care."

How people of colour dress "impacts how they are perceived and treated." Singh said. "It is something we grapple with everyday."

Singh said he hoped his story would help young people going through similar struggles with identity and belonging.

I share this story in the hopes that every young person struggling like I did realizes their own self worth & maybe… https://t.co/my2eJ109A9

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Jagmeet Singh's story is really resonating with people.

Wow, this thread!! Sending love & courage to all the POC who are just trying to get by, and be respected by others https://t.co/r64BOpyAX3

People of many different backgrounds can relate.

I can relate to this story a lot. Important thread. https://t.co/lHOhm1bqDd

"As someone who grew up wearing a turban, this really hit home."

As someone who grew up wearing a turban, this really hit home. https://t.co/ZxRRM5XifP

This side of multiculturalism is a story "seldom told," people said.

13) @theJagmeetSingh's story is my story & the story of so many like me. It is seldom told, & even less represented in corridors of power.

It even made some people reconsider their own privilege.

I dress like shit, jeans and t-shirt. I'm always comfortable. I never knew it was white privilege til now... Thx 4… https://t.co/ibwd5AGSXm

The federal NDP leadership vote takes place in October. The other four candidates running to be leader are MPs Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron, and Peter Julian.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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