Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Immigration and Education based on TDSB stats

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 28, 2009

The Toronto District School Board just released stats on elementary (kindergarten to Grade 6) students based on their background (ethnic and socio-economic) in hopes that kids who’re most in need.  Questions asked included the family’s ethnicity (both the child’s and his/her parents), family education level, expectations of the child, income, etc…and results of each question was shown on a chart.  While some of the questions were typical, there was one that bothered me, one which asked whether the parent(s) were born in Canada or not.  What bothered me wasn’t the question itself, but it didn’t seem to ask WHEN the parent came.  It makes a BIG difference.  I know several people who were born abroad, but came to Canada as elementary school aged kids.  Since they were so young, they learned English relatively quickly and sound no different than anyone born and raised here.  Unlike 2009, young immigrants (as in elementary school aged)  and non-English speaking Canadian born children were able to learn English at a much quicker pace in the 70s and 80s than today, since they were less likely to live in areas with larger populations of people who speak other languages.   But anyway…

The results weren’t surprising.  Children from lower income families and/or from families of certain ethnicities did poorer in school than others.    While parents  all had high expectations of their children, many more children did not meet the provincial standard in tests.  Other interesting points:  White families seemed to value sports more than non-white parents.  73% of kids with white parents participated in sports outside of school, while East Asians parents were more likely to send their children to arts-related activities (48%) than other groups.   South Asians and blacks were more likely to participate in religiously related activities at 45% and 44% respectively.  And while Asian students tend to do well, their parents are much less likely to participate in parent-teacher interviews.  Perhaps it culturally related – in many cultures, parents only see teachers if their child is in trouble.  I realize the results sound somewhat stereotypical, but that’s what was sent in.  What do you think?

Posted in education | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Real” Chinese food poll

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 12, 2009

Since many people argue that foods like beef and brocolli or sweet and sour pork/chicken aren’t “real” Chinese foods, because they were “invented” in the west, what about foods found at restaurants in Hong Kong which use non-Chinese ingredients?  Are those foods real?  In other words, are egg custard tarts (sweet, egg based custard in tartlet shells – very popular at dim sum), Hong Kong style milk tea (strong black tea with condensed/evaporated milk), yeen-yeung (half coffee, half HK style milk tea), etc “real”?  

Posted in China, food | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Non-English Speaking Households and Education

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 10, 2009

Something I discovered which I find interesting:

Toronto high schools known primarily as academic institutions have more students which speak non-English languages at home than more “general” schools or schools with technical programs.  For example, 39% of students at North Toronto Collegiate Institute speak a language other than English at home.  However, at nearby Northern Secondary, a school which has a tehcnical program, only 24% speak another language.  Both schools serve relatively the same area.  Further into the city, we have Jarvis Collegiate and Central Tech.  At Jarvis, 74% speak another language at home, while only 56% of students at Central Tech do. 

According to profs I had in graduate school, the opposite would have been the case just a few decades ago.  Academic-based, public preparatory schools like Jarvis and North Toronto would have seen multi-generational middle to upper middle class, Anglo students, while the technical programs would have been in more blue collar, immigrant neighbourhoods (though Northern might be an exception – it’s also more “academic” than other technical schools, which is probably why it’s Northern SECONDARY rather than Northern TECH)

Readers, do you think this has to do with immigrants to Toronto and how they view education?  What’s it like in other cities?  Does it have to do with which countries immigrants come from?

Posted in education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Lunar New Year!

Posted by chinesecanuck on January 26, 2009

May your year of the Ox be happy and prosperous!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Been criticized about my shopping habits again….

Posted by chinesecanuck on November 20, 2008

I was, once again, called on me for being cheap and not interested in my appearance because of where I shopped.  I saw a few products at a certain online store which ships to Canada and have considered buying a few pieces.  Certain people thought that I was crazy.  And it had nothing to do with spending too much money.  And this store, by the way, isn’t some cheapo teen place.  It’s known for its preppiness.

Something wrong with being Asian and preppy?  Am not amused.

Posted in Asian, shopping | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dinner party or just a communal table?

Posted by chinesecanuck on November 10, 2008

I was recently at a dinner hosted by an accquaintance of mine.  She’s a university student and is the president of one of the school’s clubs.  Most of the guests at her dinner party, which was held at one of the local restaurants, were members of said club, with the exception of myself and another guest.  The club was somewhat diverse:  Half were Asian (mostly immigrant or foreign (visa) students), one was South Asian, one black guest and the club president and VP are white. 

There was something about the dinner that bothered me.  It wasn’t because the executive wasn’t “ethnic,” but how people interacted with each other.  WIth the exception of myself, the other Asian guests only talked with each other, even after the host tried to get them to join in.  The dinner felt more like dining at a counter or communal table – it felt like two separate groups.  Some may suggest that language was an issue, but they seemed to speak English well enough to join an organization that was English-speaking only.  Discussion topics might have been an issue, since we spent some time talking about movies, music, etc…but it didn’t dominate the entire meal. 

There was a lot of self-segregation when I was in school in the 90s and early 2000s, but generally, people didn’t join clubs if they were only going to talk amongst themselves.  Of course, I’ve only met these people once.  They might not be like that outside of that dinner situation (or accept the post-dinner mall excursion invite) - after all, there were two outsiders (myself and another person) at the party.  However, that wasn’t what it looked like to me as an observer.  And it just bugged.

Posted in assimilation, culture, education, English, ESL, ethnicity, minorities | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Obama wins in…

Posted by chinesecanuck on November 5, 2008

…and becomes the first non-white President of the US.  So what about Canada?  We have had so far, two non-white Governors-General, who represent the British monarch (and our Head of State), but when will we have a non-white Prime Minister?  While I don’t think it would happen in the next few years, I do believe it will soon.  And when it does happen, most likely, the person will be male, Canadian born or raised and South Asian (since there are a decent number of South Asians (compared to other non-white groups…and I’m pretty sure there’s more than one MP who is Canadian born and/or raised, opposed to East Asians) who are involved with public office).  I also don’t think the time will come for people of East Asian descent for a even longer time.  If Canadians are critical of Stephane Dion’s Quebecois-accented English, what will they think of a foreign accent?  Until more East Asian Canadians who were born/raised here run for office, leadership of a major party is NOT going to happen.

What do you think?

What do you think?

Posted in culture, ethnicity, minorities, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I don’t understand radicals…

Posted by chinesecanuck on October 29, 2008

 …but of course, radicals don’t understand me!  Especially radicals who are involved with ethnic-related organizations (for their own culture).  Is it all that wrong that I participate in groups that historically wouldn’t have accepted me?  I mean, if this truly were the case, many of my parents friends shouldn’t even be playing golf!  We shouldn’t be working in certain industries or buying certain products!

Posted in culture, ethnicity | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wal-Mart Canada launches “Asian line” at some stores

Posted by chinesecanuck on October 15, 2008

The clothing line is cut to fit petite women 5’3″ or shorter with “Asian type” figures. I guess this means “boy shaped.” I’m not sure if it was a good idea for Wal-Mart to use the term “Asian type figures” though, since there are women who aren’t Asian who are small-boned too (just as there are many Asian women who are curvy). But yes, it’s more likely for Asian women to have that shape. The price-point is really, really affordable. What the news release DOESN’T indicate is the inseam length. I guess if they’re REALLY going for the stereotypical Asian figure, the inseam length would be quite short, perhaps even shorter than the “typical” petite inseam of 29 to 31 inches. The most stereotypical Asian female figure has a longer torso in proportion to legs. Maybe the inseam would be more like 27″?

The line, which is made in Montreal (not China, thank goodness), will be sold at 16 Wal-Mart stores in BC, Alberta and Ontario.

Posted in Asian, ethnicity, fashion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Thanksgiving!

Posted by chinesecanuck on October 14, 2008

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada.  It’s interesting how the holiday is so easily adaptable for different cultures!  My family usually does the turkey thing, complete with what my mom calls “Chinese stuffing,” which is sticky rice and Chinese mushrooms.  It’s really good!  For side dishes, we usually serve bok choy, choy sum or gai lan – all Chinese greens, salad and whatever other people bring.  For dessert, we usually serve carrot cake (store bought…when I was little, I would make dessert.  I haven’t made dessert myself since I was around 13 or so, since my baking skills haven’t really improved – LOL)

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?  If so, how?  Do you adapt it to fit your own culture?

Posted in Chinese Canadian, culture, ethnicity | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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