Chinese Canadians and First Nations peoples (not mutually exclusive)

Zuky, now a Vancouverite and tumblogger, brings us news from the West Coast:

The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC produced this short video explaining their project “Chinese Canadians and First Nations: 150 Years of Shared Experience”. The project was actually initiated by two UBC students of aboriginal ancestry, Amy Perreault and Karrmen Crey, who produced a short video entitled “Why Do Indians Like Chinese Food?”. When Karrmen Crey was growing up, her father used to tell her, “Do you know why Indians like Chinese food? Because Chinese restaurants were the only restaurants we were allowed in to eat.”

This is a trailer for Cedar and Bamboo, a 22-minute documentary exploring stories of people of Chinese and First Nations ancestry.

I was wondering why the older lady in the video had an accent if she was born in Vancouver, and then I realized that she grew up overseas in a Cantonese-speaking society and then returned to Vancouver when she was an adult.

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“Oh Canada” rap forgets about black Canadians.

In the “Oh… Canada” rap by Canadian rapper Classified, the white Nova Scotian dispels many stereotypes about Canada. The actual lyrics are great, but the video is 100% white.

One really annoying stereotype that non-Canadians have about Canadians is that “Canadian” means “white”, and Classified’s video ends up perpetuating this stereotype. Understandably, Classified is representing his home province Nova Scotia, when most Canadian rappers are from Toronto or Vancouver. However, for someone living in Toronto and accustomed to racial diversity, the framing of Classified’s video as a neo-national-anthem looks like an erasure of Canadians of colour.

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Haiti was the first black country to get its independence.

“Immigrant” Def Poetry by Wyclef Jean (2005):

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White people’s family roots are deeper than those of ethnic minorities.

Another example of white privilege and othering is when white people assume that racialized people have deeper roots and stronger family ties than white people. The othering is based on the notion that “non-white” people are foreign people, and that “non-white” people have a stronger ethnic identity because we are more homogeneous and monolithic in ways of thought. White privilege allows white people to ignore the ways in which a white-majority society encourages only white families to lay down their roots and blossom, while historically, it enacted laws to extinguish and suppress “non-white” and racialized families.

White Americans envy African Americans for having “roots” in “Africa”, while ignoring the fact that Africa is a heterogeneous continent (like Europe), and that most African Americans cannot trace their African ancestry precisely because of white racism and slavery. It is no accident that African Americans are more likely to find documents attesting to the existence of their white ancestors. White Americans whose ancestors have been in the United States for multiple generations are the ones with the deepest roots, the ones whose histories were allowed to be recorded, the ones who own property passed down from generations, when all this was denied to non-white people.

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The Orientalist Riff is an example of white culture and tradition.

The typical white liberal assumes that non-white people have more “culture” than white people, and may express “envy” as an attempted compliment. Given that white liberals feel that they are denied access to the non-white culture which they “envy”, it is likely that their “envy” is directed at the imagined culture of non-whites, rather than culture (or loss of culture due to white cultural imperialism) as experienced by non-white people.

One example of the white-imagined culture of people of colour is the Oriental Riff, or rather, the Orientalist Riff:

AAAA, G-G, E-E, G.

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Sexist men assume that female engineers are feminists.

Twenty years ago, a Canadian man, who believed that he was fighting “feminism”, massacred fourteen women at an engineering school.

Some men think that all female engineers are “feminists”, because they find female engineers threatening, not because of any professed political beliefs of the female engineers. Female engineers are engineers who happen to be women; they are probably not doing it as a political statement, but because they enjoy engineering.

Ironically, if the 1989 killer wanted to find feminists, the feminists would most likely be in the social sciences, not engineering. (I find that most engineering students (including female engineering students) know nothing about feminism,* and think that social science degrees are useless.)

Yet even people who are not feminists and not majoring in Women and Gender Studies are affected by sexism and misogyny. In the real world, feminist issues affect engineers, and engineering issues affect feminists. The real world is not divided into separate domains of knowledge.

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.


* It is also interesting to note that a female engineer and survivor of the massacre had yelled, “We are not feminists!” in desperation during the attack. At the time, she thought that feminists were militant. (via feministing)

* * *

Update: Aboriginal women are five times more likely to die of violence than women of any other race in Canada. Jessica Yee remembers violence against women who are much less likely to be remembered.

In addition, trans women are particularly at risk for hate crimes, and murdered trans women are also much less likely to be remembered than murdered cisgender women.

Chinese Canadians protested the perpetual foreigner stereotype in 1979.

In 1979, some White Canadians believed that Chinese Canadian university students were “foreign” students taking the places of “Canadians” in Canadian universities. They produced a program about it, called, Campus Giveaway, which aired on CTV’s W5.

However, in 1979 and 1980, a group of Chinese Canadians formed an ad hoc Council of Chinese Canadians, rallied and marched against the Campus Giveaway program, and took legal action against CTV. The protesters chanted, “Red, brown, black, yellow, and white! All Canadians must unite!” outside CTV’s offices.

Here is a transcript of Protesting racism on TV, a CBC News clip from 1980 covering the W5 incident:

Reporter: A protest movement is gaining momentum in metro against the CTV television network and its public affairs program, W5. Last September, W5 aired a program called Campus Giveaway, which focused on “foreign” students in Canadian universities. Protesters say the show implies that foreign students, and Chinese students in particular, are taking the places of “Canadian” students in universities, an implication they say “smacks of racism”.

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