Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Posts Tagged ‘non-white’

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 »

More on the Brown situation

Posted by chinesecanuck on September 15, 2008

Kai recently responded to my post on non-whites being referred to as “brown.” Kai wanted to know why I objected to the term when many non-whites are indeed, “brown,” including Chinese farmers.  The term “brown” just isn’t accurate.  While Kai does mention southern Chinese farmers being dark, what about northern Chinese urbanites?  Even southern urbanites aren’t that dark.  Japanese?  Koreans?  They’re more of a cream colour to me.  In any case, the “brown” term has class connotations.  As with Europe, historically, most East Asian cultures have considered lighter skin as a beauty standard.  Peasants = dark; aristocracy = light.  Calling someone of East Asian descent “brown,” at especially for older people can be very insulting.

Kai also brought up solidarity.  I don’t think there’ll ever be solidarity between different non-white groups.  I don’t even think there’ll be solidarty within same cultural/racial/ethnic groups. There’ll always be generational differences, cultural differences and class differences.  A second generation Chinese Canadian probably has more in common with a multigenerational rural Canadian than someone from rural China.  There are differences between Chinese Canadian groups as well.  The wants and needs of suburban-raised, upper middle class, second generation Chinese Canadians like myself are different from a second generation Chinese Canadian who grew up in the projects.  Multigeneration Chinese Canadians (most live out west) also have different needs and wants.

Posted in Asian, minorities | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 Comments »

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.

Posted in Asian, assimilation, ethnicity, media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

All non-black non-whites are “brown”?

Posted by chinesecanuck on August 20, 2008

Racialicious has GOT to be the first blog where all non-whites who aren’t black are referred to as “brown” (at least by some posters.  I can’t for the life of me see how anyone who is say, Chinese or Japanese can possibly be brown, unless one is referring to eye colour (or hair highlights) or to someone who has spent too much time in the tanning salon.  Tan or taupe I can understand, but brown, proper?  I don’t think so.  Unless, of course, you’re into the whole colour group thing.  However, most people think of brown as being something much darker than tan or taupe.  Calling these people brown is beyond racist.

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

Toronto Star series on hiring non-white teachers

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 20, 2008

On Monday, May 20, the Toronto Star debuted its three-part series on making faculty in Toronto’s schools more diverse. Right now, many schools are at least half non-white, yet only 20% of teachers are non-white. The University of Toronto is therefore trying to pitch to very young kids….middle school aged, hoping that one day, they’d become teachers too.

What bugs me is that the paper makes it sound like non-white kids don’t become teachers because they don’t see teachers of their own culture in the classroom. There were even fewer non-white teachers in the 1980s when I started school, and yet, teaching was one of my career choices until Grade 7. That was I wanted to be a lawyer, an on-and-off career choice (other career possiblities included writer/journalist, actress, country/folk rock singer and Broadway producer) until my second year of undergrad, when the LSATs kind of freaked me out (sure, I could have done the Australia route, but I didn’t want to be that far away from home). Wanting to be a writer/journalist continued (and continues to this very day), however. I also wanted to be a publicist (I even went to PR school for that). I was never influenced by anyone from my culture. In fact, wanting to become a writer/journalist was going AGAINST it. As was being a publicist (even though they make good money. I guess it isn’t necessarily “respectable” since you might be working with celebs. Even in the tabloid obsessed world of Hong Kongers). I do agree that kids need a boost, but do they really need role models from their own or from similiar cultures? Just because someone looks like the kids doesn’t mean that they can relate to them culturally. And yes, many people, white or non-white, automatically assume that they will. I also have a problem with sharing the same language or languages with certain students, speaking to them in that language. These students will be singled out by kids who don’t speak the language or languages as a teacher’s pet. Not good, especially in this day and age. You don’t want a kid to be bullied. Also, I’m not sure if a child will actually learn English as quickly this way, because he or she won’t have time to practice.

Part Two: Serving Students in Culturally Clustered Schools

Part Three: Where Teachers Learn Diversity (Wednesday)

Posted in culture, education, ethnicity, minorities, school, Toronto District School Board, University of Toronto | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why I hate the term “Person of Colo(u)r”

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 16, 2008

Lots of blogs, including Racialicious, seem to prefer the term Person of Colo(ur) when describing non-whites. Why is that? Doesn’t it reak of marginalization? Many non-whites are certainly marginalized in the west, but what about in the “old country”? How can you say that someone like Lee Ka-Shing is NOT privileged? And not every non-white person in North America is poor or underprivileged. I would never consider someone like Jan Wong or Adrienne Clarkson (okay, so the Poys came to Canada as refugees, but as Wikipedia points out, they weren’t poor.  Only “poor” compared to their very upper class lifestyle in Hong Kong) underprivileged. Many non-white kids in the Toronto are attend private schools that cost up to $25,000 a year for day students and $40,000+ for boarders.  What of those kids?  I really don’t think you’d consider the typical kid at one of these schools marginalized, do you?

You might ask about privilege, jobs, etc, but I’ll leave that for another post….one about networking and connections.

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