Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

What exactly is cultural diversity?

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 22, 2008

Several months ago, a very well-known boys’ school in Toronto announced that they were going to close their boarding program in the next few years. The reason behind this was because TPTB (The Powers That Be) wanted to attract more local kids from communities who could otherwise not afford the $25,000/annum day tuition by spending more of their funds on financial aid for local kids. They wanted to make the school more “culturally diverse” from what I understand. However, this caused uproar within the school’s community. Many are saying that international students is what makes the school unique and that the school will actually be LESS DIVERSE, culturally, if they only recruited within the Toronto area. People have cited that there’s a difference between being, say, Korean from Korea and Korean from Canada. First generation immigrant culture is still diluted. It becomes diluted within a year of one’s arrival. (I’m guessing that the general public, who probably isn’t that familiar with such schools are applauding this because there still is a tendency to believe that boarding schools are “Bastions of WASPiness.” I guess most people don’t realize that it hasn’t been this way for some 25-30 years.) Anyway,
what do you think? Does an international student body make the school MORE DIVERSE? Or does the school become more diverse by recruiting talented kids from diverse communities within the city (who may otherwise not be able to pay for the school)? Are TPTB confusing cultural and class diversity?

**NOTE: I’m not sure about the exact make-up of the non-white kids at this school. I’m guessing most are of East or South Asian descent. If it’s anything like my school back in the 90s, then they’d likely skew more boarding than day (especially with East Asian kids).


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