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Old 05-31-2007, 05:34 PM   #1
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Diversity: crap?

[q]Canada, Down with Diversity, eh hoser?


Diversity, the idea, is good. Diversity, the social engineering project, in which each colored, each religionist, each sexual preference, is praised for the simple fact that he or she exists, is a load of crap. When everyone is all into fully embracing their “identity,” they give up what Jean Baudrillard calls the will for sovereignty. In other words, who gives an eff what you call yourself if you’re not free? Yet that’s exactly what the diversity discourse does. It tells you, here is a nice corner for you , look we even put cushions there of the kind your mother stitches, now just stay there OK? Everyone ends up in ghettoes. The best place in the US to see it are top tier universities like the kind where I went, or, you can go to Canada, apparently the entire country is suffering from this problem. Tarek Fateh of Muslim Canadian Congress articulates the problem quite well. To me this is plain common sense. The more you individuate into your ethnic or tribal allegiance the less chance at getting a piece of the mainstream you have. I am glad he started with Iranian Canadians, cuz those Persians do the same thing in the United States.[/q]

read the whole thing.

thoughts?
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:17 PM   #2
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The reference to "ghettoization" is kind of strange - there is really no such thing in Canada. Immigrant groups are quite tight (some more than others) but while you may have some famous pockets like Chinatown or Little Italy, for the most part immigrants have moved out to the suburbs and live in completely mixed neighbourhoods. A lot of the older neighbourhoods which were very culturally monotonous still have the restaurants and the shops but new immigrants aren't staying in urban areas, they live around the city and drop in. So they are physically integrated, if not mentally.

My parents live in a mixed middle-upper middle suburban neighbourhood of Toronto. They have a corner house. Next door is a Pakistani couple - engineer and doctor with three kids. Behind us is a middle aged Italian couple and next to them a large Portuguese family. Across the street we have a Czech family, then a young Malaysian couple and on the corner and next to them is a Chinese single mom and son.

I think that's pretty standard these days in the suburbs.

But do immigrant groups keep to themselves socially? Probably largely they do. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing per se, because you see it fading quickly with the 2nd generation and it's largely gone by the 3rd generation. Immigrants who are keeping mostly to themselves are by and large recent immigrants or older people who never learned English well enough.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:22 PM   #3
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The main issue I have with this article is that it's basically a rant looking for a problem. So he doesn't like "diversity." Would he prefer the American "melting pot" alternative, where "everyone" is accepted as long as they "act like an American"--i.e., white, Christian, and conservative?

Where I live has a pretty large population of third and fourth generation immigrants (which, technically, would include half of me, I guess). Those families with still surviving first generation immigrants usually end up telling stories about how their "grandfather" barely speaks English or still hangs out with mostly fellow immigrants, but they themselves are fully integrated into the proverbial "melting pot," so to say.

I find Canada to be more openly segmented than the U.S., but not because of immigrants. Canada is a large country geographically, with rather segmented population centers that bicker a lot and, in some cases, "hate" each other.

So, in short, my experience with Canada is largely what anitram has described. And I think that the writer of the article, while perhaps well-intentioned, is being unrealistically impatient and doesn't understand the typical first generation immigrant dynamic that we've dealt with many generations past.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus
The main issue I have with this article is that it's basically a rant looking for a problem.
When I read the article, I was thinking the same thing, I just couldn't have put it so elogantly. Thanks.
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:50 AM   #5
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Bullshit article. I agree with the need to separate "diversity" from the more US-centric "melting pot" analogy.

I've always looked at diversity, in a national sense, as immigrant groups remaining in close communities, but being accepted and accepting their new home (such as Canada) as a community of different people as well.

Pluralism should be celebrated as a means of integrating different cultures. I don't get the desire of a melting pot idea where any cultural traditions and customs should be left behind in favour of adopting an "accepted" national culture.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
I don't get the desire of a melting pot idea where any cultural traditions and customs should be left behind in favour of adopting an "accepted" national culture.


well, to be intentionally confrontational, is this because there's really no Canadian identity to speak of?

in the way that there's a French identity, a British identity, an Italian identity, and even, to a less blood-and-soil extent, an American identity? that, in Canada, there's not much of a mainstream to aspire to?

could other countries absorb large groups of different cultures as easily as Canada seems to be able to? don't we hear about all the problems of the refuse-to-assimiliate Eastern part of Londonistan?
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quite frankly I don't see what this American identity is either. Mom, pop, a big car and apple pie? Yeah, maybe that identity existed 50 years ago but I think it's a fool's dream to think there is such a thing as a unified American identity these days, and if there is, it's being steadily diluted and eroded.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:05 PM   #8
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And the polling of Muslim communities in Europe show the inverse; the second and third generation are less integrated and less interested in becoming integrated than their parents and grandparents. Identity is found in belief, it may be a minority but it is a worrying minority. That problem doesn't seem to occur in America (differences in where Americas Muslim populations are from as well as their socio-economic status would be important controls).

State sponsered diversity is as wrong as programs to make sure that immigrants are patriotic enought; unless there are fundamental cultural barriers in time groups will integrate and the mainstream will shift in response to it.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Quite frankly I don't see what this American identity is either. Mom, pop, a big car and apple pie? Yeah, maybe that identity existed 50 years ago but I think it's a fool's dream to think there is such a thing as a unified American identity these days, and if there is, it's being steadily diluted and eroded.


i'd agree, but that's why things that compose what might be understood as an "american" identity aren't tied to images and are more tied to ideals -- is there a "Canadian Dream"? is there a "French Dream"?

the American identity, i would posit, is one of many cultures with differing traditions, but similar goals -- economic self-improvement and self-creation.

however, i've heard it said by some of my friends who work on The Hill in DC: "thank god most of our immigrants are Catholics."

that, to me, lends a bit of a Christian-tint to an American "identity," or at least it acknowledges the potential problems that are faced in Western Europe where the equivalent to America's massive influx of Latino immigrants are immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, Pakistan, etc.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




well, to be intentionally confrontational, is this because there's really no Canadian identity to speak of?

in the way that there's a French identity, a British identity, an Italian identity, and even, to a less blood-and-soil extent, an American identity? that, in Canada, there's not much of a mainstream to aspire to?
The debate about Canadian national identity is endless Indeed, a lot of it comes from British, French, and even moreso American influences. From my experience Canada is just as regionalized as the US is; perhaps even moreso because the bulk of the population is stretched in a thin line across the country, rather than being all over the place as in the United States.
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
The debate about Canadian national identity is endless Indeed, a lot of it comes from British, French, and even moreso American influences. From my experience Canada is just as regionalized as the US is; perhaps even moreso because the bulk of the population is stretched in a thin line across the country, rather than being all over the place as in the United States.


it seems that we can say that whatever it is about canadian national identity, it doesn't demand the same amount of assimilation (in order to be successful -- no one holds a gun to someone's head in the US or the UK and demands they assimilate). i.e., the difference between the "melting pot" vs. the "mosaic" or even vs. the "salad bowl."

is this a good thing? is the pressure to assimilate a good thing or a bad thing? should people be expected to adopt many if not most of the trappings of their adopted culture? or are we free to live as we were where we are now? i think we are all "free," so to speak, to do such a thing, but are there consequences? does society suffer when groups go to lengths to retain whatever is true about their identity?

i know many liberal-ish outsiders -- such as myself -- will see certain cultural practices of immigrants and think, "oh, how lovely." but, i also see the destructiveness of a ghettoized mentality.

the healthiest, happiest gays i know are the ones who've assimilated into the broader world, who aren't defined by their gayness, who don't spend their lives defining themselves with what might be deemed gay cultural practices (everything from nightclubs to astonishingly elaborate dinner parties with mango-infused creme brulee ... granted, gayness isn't a perfect parallel to, say, Indian-ness, but ghettoization is a very real thing for immigrants and sexual minorities alike).

is assimilation best for everyone?
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:41 PM   #12
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Regarding the American identity, it may be economic-related internally. Outside of the US however, the identity changes into a generally negative one (as of a few years ago). The number of foreign students and tourists visiting the US has fallen off.

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
And the polling of Muslim communities in Europe show the inverse; the second and third generation are less integrated and less interested in becoming integrated than their parents and grandparents.
A lot of those European countries also suffer from institutionalized discrimination. Those second and third generations feel as if they are treated like second-class citizens.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by ntalwar

A lot of those European countries also suffer from institutionalized discrimination. Those second and third generations feel as if they are treated like second-class citizens.
Exactly. For all the talk of free, liberal Europe, the racism and discrimination runs very deep. I lived in Western Europe and we didn't stay there because short of changing our names (by adopting my German grandfather's last name), we'd always stick out. Americans and Canadians are both considerably more welcoming on the average, in my experience.

I don't know if assimilation is the best thing. Culture is a deeply ingrained thing. I have very little ties to my ethnic community (basically, none), my language skills are relatively poor since my parents insisted we speak English with them, I haven't visited my place of birth in upwards of a decade, I have no friends of my ethnicity except 2 and they are more acquaintances, I can barely read the language and I certainly don't know how to cook the food whereas I'm perfectly qualified to make a chicken satay. Do I think I've lost some part of me? Yes, in a way I do, actually.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Yeah, maybe that identity existed 50 years ago but I think it's a fool's dream to think there is such a thing as a unified American identity these days, and if there is, it's being steadily diluted and eroded.
It is being diluted, that's exactly what's wrong with our country right now.
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Exactly. For all the talk of free, liberal Europe, the racism and discrimination runs very deep. I lived in Western Europe and we didn't stay there because short of changing our names (by adopting my German grandfather's last name), we'd always stick out. Americans and Canadians are both considerably more welcoming on the average, in my experience.

I don't know if assimilation is the best thing. Culture is a deeply ingrained thing. I have very little ties to my ethnic community (basically, none), my language skills are relatively poor since my parents insisted we speak English with them, I haven't visited my place of birth in upwards of a decade, I have no friends of my ethnicity except 2 and they are more acquaintances, I can barely read the language and I certainly don't know how to cook the food whereas I'm perfectly qualified to make a chicken satay. Do I think I've lost some part of me? Yes, in a way I do, actually.
My father had a choice of immigrating to the UK or the US as a student in the early 60s before I was born. I'm glad he chose the latter - he said there was something about the UK he didn't like. I also don't have lots of ethnic ties, but I also wish I had more and I do feel like it's an inherent part of me.
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