Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Posts Tagged ‘race’

Immigration and Education based on TDSB stats

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 28, 2009

The Toronto District School Board just released stats on elementary (kindergarten to Grade 6) students based on their background (ethnic and socio-economic) in hopes that kids who’re most in need.  Questions asked included the family’s ethnicity (both the child’s and his/her parents), family education level, expectations of the child, income, etc…and results of each question was shown on a chart.  While some of the questions were typical, there was one that bothered me, one which asked whether the parent(s) were born in Canada or not.  What bothered me wasn’t the question itself, but it didn’t seem to ask WHEN the parent came.  It makes a BIG difference.  I know several people who were born abroad, but came to Canada as elementary school aged kids.  Since they were so young, they learned English relatively quickly and sound no different than anyone born and raised here.  Unlike 2009, young immigrants (as in elementary school aged)  and non-English speaking Canadian born children were able to learn English at a much quicker pace in the 70s and 80s than today, since they were less likely to live in areas with larger populations of people who speak other languages.   But anyway…

The results weren’t surprising.  Children from lower income families and/or from families of certain ethnicities did poorer in school than others.    While parents  all had high expectations of their children, many more children did not meet the provincial standard in tests.  Other interesting points:  White families seemed to value sports more than non-white parents.  73% of kids with white parents participated in sports outside of school, while East Asians parents were more likely to send their children to arts-related activities (48%) than other groups.   South Asians and blacks were more likely to participate in religiously related activities at 45% and 44% respectively.  And while Asian students tend to do well, their parents are much less likely to participate in parent-teacher interviews.  Perhaps it culturally related – in many cultures, parents only see teachers if their child is in trouble.  I realize the results sound somewhat stereotypical, but that’s what was sent in.  What do you think?

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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 »

Another “OMG SATC is sooooooo racist post” at Racialicious

Posted by chinesecanuck on June 18, 2008

See here. And I am not the only person who is completely sick of all this complaining. Can’t people just allow others to enjoy the movie without all that complaining? It’s always the following:

Jennifer Hudson’s character Louise being a modern version of the Mammy character: Well, Louise is a 20something. As I said in an earlier SATC-related post, most girls Louise’s age DO work as assistants. Unless you’re starting your own business or maybe working in a family business, there’s no way you’re going to be a CEO at that age. You have to work from the bottom up. You do crap work for crap pay.

Lily Goldenblatt not having too many lines/seen as a prop: Well she’s (they? Lily was played by twins) a kid. What do you expect? Brady doesn’t have many lines either. Or is it different because Brady is a boy (and none of the men, with the exception of Big) had lots of lines.

Asian guy interviewing for Carrie’s job: Some posters see this guy as sissy. I saw him as gay. And over-qualified. Dude worked as an assistant at Goldman (or was it Merrill?)…Carrie’s job probably pays less than $14-$16/h…and that’s if Carrie’s generous. It might even be $12-$13/h. Gay Asian Guy was probably paid closer to $20-something/h on Wall Street.

Charlotte worried about food poisoning: Lots of SATC sites and message boards looked at it as this: Charlotte either knew that she was pregnant or suspected that she was. That’s why she wasn’t drinking either.

Miranda ‘s “follow the white guy with a baby line”: This is the only one, IMHO that really should be seen as being “off” when it comes to race. But you can also see it as Miranda not wanting to live in a slummy neighbourhood. Manhattan’s Chinatown (at least the last time I visited) is in worse condition than Toronto’s!

I also don’t really understand the “I can’t relate to the SATC girls because I’m not white” line. I am a total Charlotte (with a little bit of Miranda). And I am Chinese. In fact, when it comes to the Charlotte part, I might be even more Charlotte than Charlotte! I mean, I would never, ever, ever, ever go for a name like Shayla!  EWW!

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Feminism has done it again

Posted by chinesecanuck on June 13, 2008

I usually don’t comment on Racialicious posts two days in a row, but I felt like I had to do so with today’s post by guest columnist Thea Lim, especially the response by Britta.  Britta’s response, which can be found here,  somehow alludes that only white, middle class women have the privilege of mainstream feminism.  Well, that may be the case in certain geographic areas.   This is something I pointed out in a post dated April 28.  I don’t see how or why some non-white people, whether they’re in the west or in the old country can’t feel that they have more in common with so-called “mainstream” western feminism or vice versa.  Britta goes on about women “bragging about their cheap nannies and hired help.”  Is she saying that only wealthy WHITE women have hired help?  The last time I checked, many nannies work for non-white women as well.  And at least nannies in North America have more rights and get relatively decent pay compared to their counterparts in places like Hong Kong (where most of the people who hire help are, guess what?  CHINESE.  It’s not expats who exploit local women.  Not anymore.)

Personally, I don’t always identify with mainstream feminism not because I’m non-white, but because they seem to want things to happen quicker than things CAN happen.  A little too impatient, IMHO.

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Province to Collect Data on Kids

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 1, 2008

In an article published in the Toronto Star’s Parent Central  site today, Ontario is apparently going to be collecting race data on elementary and high school students (the Toronto District School Board is already doing this), likely to close gaps between education standards.  According to the article, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Jamaican, Somali and aboriginal students are the most likely to drop out of school.  Is this a good idea?  Would collecting ethnicity (and it’s more ethnicity than race) information really better inform educators?  What about class?  In Toronto, at least, Vietnamese, Portuguese, etc are more likely to be from lower-income neighbourhoods.  Would it be more or less sensitive to track by the first three characters of one’s postal code?  Or would that only work in more urban areas (more people=more postal codes.  The City of Toronto, for example, has M__ ___ all to itself, while the first character in the surrounding Toronto suburbs is an L)?  In Toronto, even the first two characters can tell a lot.  M4 usually means that the schools in your area are excellent and that the high schools have a 90+% university matriculation rate. 

Also, why would collecting race help?  Do kids from different ethnicities really learn differently (I know that different cultures have different teaching philosophies, but it isn’t really the same thing – immigrant kids from China still excel when they come here)?  Why are Vietnamese kids dropping out at such a high rate, while students of other Asian cultures not?  Or is it parental influence?  Should they do a study on the amount of education the parents have?  Chances are, you’ll find that kids with parents who have at least a bachelor’s degree aren’t likely to drop out.

What do you think?

Posted in culture, education, ethnicity, minorities, social class | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oh dear, more “white westernized beauty” and culture posts at Racialicious!

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 18, 2008

Today, it’s on the updated version of Sweet Valley High. OK, so Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are slightly-above-average-height, slim, blonde twins. So? They’re supposed to be stereotypical California girls (except that Elizabeth is smart-LOL) So they’ve changed the “perfect size six” reference to size four….ummm…ever heard of vanity sizing?

But back to the whole ethnicity thing.  One thing I’m really sick and tired of in the ethnic blogs is the rant (and it’s always a rant…not that this one ISN’T…but it’s just that it’s the same, pretty much 100% of the time) of the so-called “white” standard of beauty.  OK, so the blonde hair, blue eyes, etc are standard, but  as I’ve emphasized in the Images of Asian Women post, fair skin is NOT a white standard.  And I call BULLSHIT to anyone who says that the standard was further reinforced with colonialism.  I’m sorry, but whitening products would STILL be in the market in Asia if Europeans never came.  But most of those posters don’t get it or see that it could happen.  Any person of Asian descent who actually believes that darker skin would be considered okay in Asia if colonialism never happened must not know much about their cultures’ standards in history.  Most (if not all) considered lighter skin as a standard of beauty as it was a symbol of being upper class.  If you’re dark, it’s because you had to work outside.  Light skin=life of leisure. INDOORS.  It was the same over in the west until the twentieth century when people started to vacation in warmer locales.  DUH!

Interracial relationships are briefly mentioned.  In one novel, Steven, the twins’ older brother, dates a black girl.  I’ve never read this book, but apparently they dated as according to the entry, “they were only together to make a social statement. What an enlightening commentary on why people enter interracial relationships. They do so to rebel, not because they actually care about each other.”  Whether this was the case or not, plenty of young people date outside of their race/religion/culture/ etc just to make a statement.  Anyway…

Also, the post goes on about a Latina character being embarrassed about her family and tells everyone her granny is her housekeeper.  Well, guess what, folks?  Lots of teens and even adults have issues with their family, especially if the family doesn’t fit into what most people consider “normal.”  That’s why some people dont’ talk to their families once they turn 18.  It doesn’t have to be an ethnicity thing.  Remember the 80s sitcom, Family Ties?  The eldest son, Alex, thought his hippie parents were really, really odd and didn’t fit his Reagan-era conservativeness.  And why shouldn’t it be addressed?  There ARE people like that.  Is that so wrong?  Why can’t a teenager have issues with her family?  Do stories for kids have to make things so “perfect” and white-washed?  Do all non-WASP characters have to fit some sort of bill and love and embrace their ethnicity?  What does that mean, anyway?

BTW, I’d like to see a revised version of Twins too….I recall a book published around 1988/1989 where Sweet Valley Middle School celebrates its 25th Anniversary and the twins go to a 60s party……wouldn’t it be cool to see an updated version of the book where the girls go to an 80s party???  I think Jessica would want to look like Madonna.

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