Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Media and Immigrant/Second Gen Stories

Posted by chinesecanuck on September 8, 2008

It’s too bad that the media rarely talk about people like me. I think the world needs to read more about non-white immigrant/second gen people who just aren’t that “old country.” Whenever I read stories about immigrants, especially non-white immigrants in newspapers or blogs, it’s always about immigrants being marginalized, with the lack of resources to services, etc, etc…So where are the stories about people like me? Where are the stories about upper middle class Chinese Canadians? I don’t think we’re that small a group. And I also don’t want to read about crazy culture clashes between the immigrant parents and western-raised kids, either. That’s soooooo over done. I just want to see pieces, fiction or non-fiction about NORMAL suburban families.

As a kid, I never felt that I was marginalized. In fact, to this day, I’ve experienced more issues with more traditional immigrant/second gen+ people (other than people from the HK Chinese community) than people who’ve been in Canada since the Upper Canada Rebellion! This is something I’d love to hear about in media. Discrimination between immigrant groups. I’d also love to hear people talk about rates of integration with “mainstream culture” and how some immigrant groups find it odd that other groups adopt “white/Anglo” culture. I can’t tell you how many times non-HK second gen Canadians have criticized me for being “too Canadian.” I’ve been criticized by HKers too, but it isn’t as bad. HKers think “Oh, it’s because ChineseCanuck was born/raised in Canada,” while other immigrant/second gen Canadians act as if what I do is disgusting. With WASPs, it’s only an issue when ethnicity is brought in the picture, not everyday life.

My question to the media is this: Are people like me not worth talking about? If so, why? I guess I won’t receive an answer, because you guys don’t read blogs like this…or don’t care.

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4 Responses to “Media and Immigrant/Second Gen Stories”

  1. Wow, you do have a different view of what the mainstream media has identified as typical immigrant issues. Now, as we all know, the media likes to talk about stories that are considered “sexy”, and having the ability to easily adapt to your surroundings isn’t one of them. I do think that it’s important for certain issues regarding assimilation and multiculturalism to be discussed. Otherwise, I think that many people (in the US) who are of the cultural minority will either feel ostracized or pressure to reject anything different from that of the cultural majority.

    With that said, I think it is just as important for stories like yours to be discussed,as well. You seem to be quite comfortable with the person you’ve become, regardless of WASP or HK second gen Canadian input. This accomplishment is important for anyone to be happy (in my opinion) and I would hope that you and others like you could share how you made this happen.

  2. Well…when you’ve become part of the existing culture you become invisible.
    While you’re no longer seen as one of them (minorities) in practice, ethnicly – you’re the one that they will ask questions of (Why do Asians…?). As though you’re the spokesperson for the rest of your group – which points out that you’re still not one of the established group.

  3. But John, why are some other newer Canadian cultures almost disgusted at the way the typical Hong Kong Canadian reacts and adapts to “mainstream” Canadian culture? This includes people from cultures which were former British colonies? Non-Anglo-Canadians, especially non-white Canadians seem to ask me more than people who’ve been here for generations. And the way they ask/criticize seems a lot ruder. Multigen Canadians sound like the genuinely want to know. Newer Canadians are more “OMG! Why do they do that??!!” At least that’s the vibe I get.

  4. I think that it’s the same as when people react to assimilated Blacks. Many people (including other Blacks) say that the middle-class Black is “acting white”, as though it it some sort of affectation.
    I grew up in the suburbs of Southern California and have since moved to the (almost) antebellum American South. The things that many whites here brag about were common to my everyday life. Blacks, Whites, Hispanic and Asians can’t seem to understand how I seem to fit into any given situation. (I grew up in the ‘burbs, it’s common to have a varied group of friends)
    Many people only want certain groups to only fit their perception of that group. Any knowledge, skill or mannerism not common to that group is seen as someone trying to be something that they’re not.
    IMO – It’s the judgemental person’s problem, not mine.

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