The ethnic background of canadian people

11.1. Racial, Ethnic, and Minority Groups

With his cult of diversity, Justin Trudeau has pushed this ideology even further into a form of extreme multiculturalism.

He described Canada as the first post-national state, with no core identity. In a free society, immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage. The vast majority of Canadians rightly expect them to learn about our history and culture, master one of our official languages, and adopt widely shared Canadian values.

Canada is and has always been a diverse country. We have First Nations and Inuit, two official languages, a multiethnic population, and very different regional cultures. All these cultures are intrinsically Canadian.

Canada Area and Population Density

They developed in Canada. They deserve to be nurtured and to survive. Our distinct values are those of a contemporary Western civilization. Official multiculturalism is based on the idea that there is no unified Canadian society and no distinct Canadian identity to integrate into, and that we are just a collection of ethnic and religious tribes living side by side. While many students first entering a sociology classroom are accustomed to conflating the terms race, ethnicity, and minority group, these three terms have distinct meanings for sociologists.

The idea of race refers to superficial physical differences that a particular society considers significant, while ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture.

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And minority group describes groups that are subordinate, or lacking power in society regardless of skin colour or country of origin. For example, in modern history, the elderly might be considered a minority group due to a diminished status resulting from popular prejudice and discrimination against them. As a minority group, the elderly are also subject to economic, social, and workplace discrimination.

Ethnic Identity | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Historically, the concept of race has changed across cultures and eras, eventually becoming less connected with ancestral and familial ties, and more concerned with superficial physical characteristics. In the past, theorists have posited categories of race based on various geographic regions, ethnicities, skin colours, and more. Their labels for racial groups have connoted regions Mongolia and the Caucus Mountains, for instance or denoted skin tones black, white, yellow, and red, for example. According to this school of thought, race is not biologically identifiable.

Rather, certain groups become racialized through a social process that marks them for unequal treatment based on perceived physiological differences. When considering skin colour, for example, the social construction of race perspective recognizes that the relative darkness or fairness of skin is an evolutionary adaptation to the available sunlight in different regions of the world. Contemporary conceptions of race, therefore, which tend to be based on socioeconomic assumptions, illuminate how far removed modern race understanding is from biological qualities.

She is the daughter of a black man Quincy Jones but she does not play a black woman in her television or film roles. In some countries, such as Brazil, class is more important than skin colour in determining racial categorization.

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The social construction of race is also reflected in the way that names for racial categories change with changing times. Culturally they remain distinct from immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa or the descendants of the slaves brought to mainland North America. Ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture — the practices, values, and beliefs of a group. This might include shared language, religion, and traditions, among other commonalities.

Like race, the term ethnicity is difficult to describe and its meaning has changed over time. And like race, individuals may be identified or self-identify with ethnicities in complex, even contradictory, ways. These examples illustrate the complexity and overlap of these identifying terms. Ethnicity, like race, continues to be an identification method that individuals and institutions use today — whether through the census, affirmative action initiatives, non-discrimination laws, or simply in personal day-to-day relations.

These definitions correlate to the concept that the dominant group is that which holds the most power in a given society, while subordinate groups are those who lack power compared to the dominant group. Note that being a numerical minority is not a characteristic of being a minority group; sometimes larger groups can be considered minority groups due to their lack of power. It is the lack of power that is the predominant characteristic of a minority, or subordinate group.

For example, consider apartheid in South Africa, in which a numerical majority the black inhabitants of the country were exploited and oppressed by the white minority. Additional examples of minority groups might include the LGBTQ community, religious practitioners whose faith is not widely practised where they live, and people with disabilities.

History has shown us many examples of the scapegoating of a subordinate group. In Canada, eastern European immigrants were branded Bolsheviks and interned during the economic slump following World War I. In the United States, many states have enacted laws to disenfranchise immigrants; these laws are popular because they let the dominant group scapegoat a subordinate group. Prior to the 20th century, racial intermarriage referred to as miscegenation was extremely rare, and in many places, illegal.

In the United States, 41 of the 50 states at one time or another enacted legislation to prevent racial intermarriage. In Canada, there were no formal anti-miscegenation laws, though strong informal norms ensured that racial intermixing was extremely limited in scope. A key part of the Act enumerated the various ways in which Aboriginal people could lose their status and, thus, their claim to Aboriginal land title and state provisions.

Until its amendment in , the most egregious section of the Act Section In this way, the thorny question of having multiple racial identities could be avoided. Prior to the full establishment of British colonial rule in Canada, racial intermarriage was encouraged in some areas to support the fur trade. It is now common for the children of racially mixed parents to acknowledge and celebrate their various ethnic identities. According to census data, 3. This was up from 3. The terms stereotype, prejudice, discrimination, and racism are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation.

Racism is a type of prejudice that involves set beliefs about a specific racial group. As stated above, stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about groups of people. Stereotypes can be based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation — almost any characteristic.

Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada

Where do stereotypes come from? In fact new stereotypes are rarely created; rather, they are recycled from subordinate groups that have assimilated into society and are reused to describe newly subordinate groups. For example, many stereotypes that are currently used to characterize black people were used earlier in Canadian history to characterize Irish and eastern European immigrants. Prejudice refers to beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that someone holds about a group.

A prejudice is not based on experience; instead, it is a prejudgment originating outside of actual experience. Racism is a type of prejudice that is used to justify the belief that one racial category is somehow superior or inferior to others. While prejudice refers to biased thinking , discrimination consists of actions against a group of people. Discrimination can be based on age, religion, health, and other indicators. Race-based discrimination and anti-discrimination laws strive to address this set of social problems.

Discrimination based on race or ethnicity can take many forms, from unfair housing practices to biased hiring systems. Discrimination against Jews was typical until the s. McGill University imposed quotas on the admission of Jewish students in , a practice which continued in its medical faculty until the s.

Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities

Both Ontario and Nova Scotia had racially segregated schools. It is interesting to note that while Viola Desmond was prosecuted for sitting in a whites only section of the cinema in Glasgow, Nova Scotia, she was in fact of mixed-race descent as her mother was white Backhouse, These practices are unacceptable in Canada today. However, discrimination cannot be erased from our culture just by enacting laws to abolish it.

The reasons for this are complex and relate to the educational, criminal, economic, and political systems that exist. For example, when a newspaper prints the race of individuals accused of a crime, it may enhance stereotypes of a certain minority. Another example of racist practices is racial steering , in which real estate agents direct prospective homeowners toward or away from certain neighbourhoods based on their race.

Racist attitudes and beliefs are often more insidious and hard to pin down than specific racist practices. Prejudice and discrimination can overlap and intersect in many ways. To illustrate, here are four examples of how prejudice and discrimination can occur. Unprejudiced nondiscriminators are open-minded, tolerant, and accepting individuals.

Unprejudiced discriminators might be those who, unthinkingly, practise sexism in their workplace by not considering females for certain positions that have traditionally been held by men. Prejudiced discriminators include those who actively make disparaging remarks about others or who perpetuate hate crimes. While most white people are willing to admit that non-white people live with a set of disadvantages due to the colour of their skin, very few white people are willing to acknowledge the benefits they receive simply by being white.

White privilege refers to the fact that dominant groups often accept their experience as the normative and hence, superior experience. How many other examples of white privilege can you think of? Discrimination also manifests in different ways. The illustrations above are examples of individual discrimination, but other types exist. Institutional racism refers to the way in which racial distinctions are used to organize the policy and practice of state, judicial, economic, and educational institutions.

They define what people can and cannot do based on racial characteristics. It is not necessarily the intention of these institutions to reproduce inequality, nor of the individuals who work in the institutions. Rather, inequality is the outcome of patterns of differential treatment based on racial or ethnic categorizations of people. Clear examples of institutional racism in Canada can be seen in the Indian Act and immigration policy, as we have already noted.

The effects of institutional racism can also be observed in the structures that reproduce income inequality for visible minorities and Aboriginal Canadians. Institutional racism is also deeply problematic for visible minorities in Canada. This can be seen, for example, in the racialized characteristics of the economy.

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