Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Most Canadians Believe that (New) Minorities are “Coddled” by Government: Poll

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 17, 2008

Two posts today!

This was published in the Globe and Mail today. And yeah, I agree with this too, and I’m non-white. It makes people like me feel out of place. I’m not seen by many white Canadians as “Canadian”, yet I don’t “fit in” with so-called “minorities” because my family is:

  • Not all that “old country” (most Hong Kong Canadians aren’t, anyway…at least not compared to lots of South Asian communities in Canada)
  • Not really “marginalized” (hey, I’m a suburban raised girl who went to private school, took piano and skating lessons, went to summer camp and Brownies/Guides. How is that MARGINALIZED/NOT PRIVILEGED?)

I can’t be alone. There are lots of people like me, and the government, media, etc, never talk about it. They only stick to so-called “liberal” white people who openly embrace differences, new Canadians who clamour for acceptance (and both these groups criticize people like me who have embraced “mainstream” culture, even if this “mainstream” culture was integrated into the “old country” culture for decades, such as say, wearing a white wedding gown (white is the traditional colour of mourning in China, yet the vast majority of Hong Kong and Singapore brides will wear white)) and well, white supremacists/good ol’ boys (not to be confused with the Old Boys Network….VERY DIFFERENT, PEOPLE. VERY, VERY DIFFERENT.)

The media don’t understand or at least, care to understand that there are people who just don’t care. There are people out there who have no issues with so-called “mainstream” culture, yet we are silenced by radicals and people who have a so-called “open mind.” Banning holiday concerts that mention Christmas (yet embracing other religions who have some sort of celebration around the same time of year) is wrong, IMHO. Telling your kid that he or she shouldn’t have done this or that because the kid isn’t from of that religion or culture (which happens to be the “mainstream”) isn’t right either. And for some reason, this happens only in certain parts of Toronto. There were lots of kids at my high school who were not white Protestants, yet no parent had ever criticized service attendance, curriculum, etc…Maybe parents who pay $20+K ($15K when I was there) are just more open-minded or don’t care?

I guess my issue is this:  Once you accommodate, people expect that certain cultures behave that way.  It leads to more issues of ignorance.  Also, then other groups will start asking to be accommodated.  I’m sorry, but what happened to “when in Rome, do as the Romans”?

Can’t wait to see what they say over at Racialicious and Restructure. They probably WON’T agree with me. Most non-white activists don’t.

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17 Responses to “Most Canadians Believe that (New) Minorities are “Coddled” by Government: Poll”

  1. You’re right. I don’t agree with you. (I found your blog by accident while looking for something else. It’s a small world…)

    Also, pay attention. Most Canadians believe that all visible minorities are coddled by the government, not just the new ones. This means that most Canadians believe that the Canadian government is making too many accommodations for you.

  2. chinesecanuck said

    Ahh, but Restructure, most people don’t understand me or know that people like me truly exist.

  3. Yes, the same applies to me. That’s the problem. People think that the government is coddling visible minorities, i.e., anyone who is not white. So they think that people like you and I are getting a free ride because we’re not white.

    There was this white highschooler in a white part of BC who was applying for university, and her guidance counsellor told her that she doesn’t qualify for government scholarships because she’s white, and that Asian Canadians get scholarships for being Asian.

    I set her straight, but white people in small towns who don’t interact with many visible minorities are more likely to think a lot of wrong stuff about what visible minorities get.

  4. umeboshi said

    Restructure sounds almostsmugly pleased to inform Chinesecanuck that most Canadians believe that even totally integrated non-white Canadians like Chinesecanuck are overly indulged. It’s as if Restructure wants
    to create bad feelings between “mainstream” and “ethnics”. But of course this is what our “anti-racists” do: they try to create racial tensions where none exists. Well, I’m an octogenarian whose parents came from Japan, and I’m completely at home in mainstream Canada, where my individuality is respected.

  5. chinesecanuck said

    Restructure, there are scholarships and bursaries that are set up only for women too. And in any case, I think it’s rather silly that the government would have funding for people who are non-white. I think the government, just like media, has been brainwashed into buying the whole all minorities=underprivileged/marginalized, etc. And while many are, many are NOT. And guess what? The more you spoil someone, the more dependent one becomes. You know how many young people today are moving home after they finish school? OK, so they can’t afford rent in Toronto or Vancouver, but sometimes, the parents spoil the kids so much, that they DON’T WANT to move out. It’s happening in many places, especially in more traditional countries like Italy. So yes, I agree with you, Umeboshi 🙂

  6. Hi Umeboshi,

    I don’t know what you think I am. I’m a totally integrated non-white Canadian, yet I recognize that as a visible minority, my Canadianness is questioned, by whites as well as people like you and CC. People like CC think that because I’m not a YASP and do not identify as a banana, I must be non-integrated.

    The vast majority of my friends were/are visible minorities (non-Chinese) as well as ethnic whites, but I do feel racial tension in situations with certain types of WASPs that obviously had little interaction with visible minorities. I don’t have to “create” racial tensions, because I feel it. (Does the non-WASP ethnicities of my Canadian friends disqualify them from being the Canadians I’m integrated with? Does one have to assimilate to whiteness to be considered an integrated Canadian?)

    I feel completely at home Toronto, as I know no other home. Yet I know that mainstream, white Canadians think that I am a foreigner and a guest in my home country. The problem is not me; it is them.

  7. Restructure,

    One who who has no idea about anything that is “mainstream” Canadian is NOT well-integrated. And the longer a culture doesn’t understand, the longer one will be seen as a foreigner.

  8. Who are you referring to when you mention one who has no idea about what is “mainstream” Canadian? If you’re referring to my non-WASP Canadian friends, then it reveals how shockingly ignorant you are about the lives of Canadian visible minorities. It’s as if all you know about Canadian visible minorities (outside yourself and your family connections) is from the news.

  9. No, Restructure. People who have no idea about “mainstream” culture are people who don’t speak English well (or at all), whose doctors, lawyers, accountants, only shop at stores that speak their language only eat at restaurants where their language is spoken, etc. You have to admit that people like that DO exist in Toronto and Vancouver. Younger people are slightly better, but if they attend a school with enough people who are from their culture, they may not necessarily mingle with other cultures.

  10. I think those people *do* exist, but I don’t think they’re as common as you think. How can you be a doctor, lawyer, or account in Canada and not speak English or French? I understand senior citizens being able to survive like that (being supported by family members), and newcomers for a finite amount of time, but not professionals.

    Also, Asian Canadians as a group are perceived as foreigners, but the problem is with the people who perceive all Asians as foreigners; the problem is NOT with the Asian foreigners for existing.

  11. OK, lawyers tend to speak English and/or French pretty well, but I’m not sure about accountants or doctors. Many have their practice in areas where most, if not all of their clients are serviced in the language(s) from the old country. It usually lasts one generation, as the Canadian born generation will be English speaking, of course.

    As for Asians being a foreigner: The longer you act like one, the longer you’ll be seen as one…more on that in a full post.

  12. Foreign-trained accountants and doctors can practise without being able to speak English or French?! This is a ridiculous assertion. Foreign-trained professionals are already discriminated against for being foreign-trained even if they speak English/French, which is why there is an oversupply of highly-educated, foreign-trained professionals that are unemployed. If a person is foreign-trained AND cannot speak English/French, then it’s pretty much impossible for them to be employed in that profession.

    Accounting is often region-specific, especially when it comes to taxation (federal tax, provincial tax, etc.), and doctors need to be certified in Canada to practise. According to the Canadian Information Centre for International Medical Graduates, to be qualified to practise, you have to at least pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination, which is in English and French, plus the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Parts I and II, which is in English and French, plus take additional training which requires English/French proficiency and more. It’s not like foreign-trained doctors can just waltz into Canada and open up private medical practices.

    I find your ignorance about our country’s laws and how our country works disturbing.

  13. These doctors and accountants know enough English to pass their certification exams, but they don’t use English in daily when they work. My grandmother’s doctor, for example, has patients who speak Cantonese, Mandarin and I think, Vietnamese too. Ditto with several of my friends’ parents who are doctors. They don’t represent ALL doctors from Hong Kong, but they do represent a significant number. Many doctors who work in Scarborough, Markham and Chinatown don’t need to speak English. Their spoken English won’t be as good as someone who works at a hospital.

    If you haven’t come across professionals like that, I’d be very surprised, being from Markham and all.

  14. Hmm… that’s strange. The only medical doctors I know are my own doctors (who are mostly Chinese), and some people in my extended family. My own doctors obviously speak English, since I speak only English and wouldn’t be able to communicate with them otherwise. My family members who are doctors also speak English. But the sample size of doctors I know is not very large, and there is probably a selection bias.

    Since you can speak Cantonese, are your Chinese doctors (if you have any) like that (unable to communicate in English)?

    Is your grandmother’s doctor trilingual, since he can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese?

  15. I don’t know for sure that my grandmother’s doctor speaks Vietnamese, so I wouldn’t know if he’s trilingual. He definitely speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, though. Are your doctors fluent-fluent in English? Do they have patients who aren’t Chinese speaking?

    I’m beginning to think that we have different definitions of what “fluent” really means.

  16. I never said anything about “fluent”, but now that you mention it, yes, they are fluent. Yes, they also have non-Chinese patients.

    Markham/Scarborough is not as segregated as you think. There are people who speak broken English, who work in restaurants and in stores, but I haven’t met any professionals like that.

    It’s possible that there is an underground community that is like that, which I can’t access because I don’t speak Cantonese..?

  17. Also, if your grandma’s doctor speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, then he *is* adapting to the environment, assuming that most of his Mandarin was learnt here.

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