Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Immigration and Integration – An Intro

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 8, 2008

I’m starting this blog because I’ve realized that mainstream media rarely talks about people like me, someone who has integrated quite well into so-called “mainstream” Canadian society, and yet still knows her roots.  The media, especially Canadian media love to talk about how “great” our “official” multicultural policy is, but then criticize the lack of English skills that many recent immigrants, and even young Canadian born children have. Never, do they talk about people like me.

Let me give you a bit of a backgrounder here.  I was born in Canada, in the late 70s, to immigrants from Hong Kong.  I didn’t attend pre-school and was raised by my primarily by my maternal grandmother (both my parents worked) until I started Junior Kindergarten (aka JK – many kids in Ontario take two years of kindergarten, beginning in the year they turn four).  Poh Poh didn’t (and still doesn’t) speak English, so I only spoke Cantonese.  The few words I knew were the basics, such as my name, hello, goodbye, please and thank you.  Both my parents speak English very well, but didn’t teach me beyond basic words because they felt that it was best for me to learn from native speakers.  That way, I wouldn’t have an accent.   I learned pretty quickly.  Probably because schools the early to mid 80s weren’t as diverse…there were fewer “ethnic enclaves” that were non-English speaking (my neighbourhood was an enclave – it was primarily middle class and Jewish, but it certainly wasn’t non-English speaking)  Had I been twenty years younger, my English would probably be a lot worse.  In fact, I might even be like the kid in this report, and still be taking ESL in Grade 2!  I was reading chapter books by Grade 2.

There are other issues that I’d like to talk about in this blog, including class, gender and other traditions that the mainstream media almost never raise.  I want to talk about the different degrees of integration that various communities have, and how some communities are criticized, both by other recent Canadians and by people who have been here for generations (especially so-called liberals).  I’ll also bring up new stats from the last Canadian census, the information is made available to media.  I hope to update at least once a week.

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One Response to “Immigration and Integration – An Intro”

  1. Alston said

    Re: the article about people not using English at work: I would find it very funny when large numbers of people in English Canada start complaining about the lack of use of English at work. I bet most of them criticized francophones here in Quebec that had a problem with English in the workplace.

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