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SOC 605 - Week #12 Notes.docx

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SOC 605
Kelly Train

RACEAND ETHNICITY • Race and ethnicity was the only selection criteria for immigrants from the 1600s until 1961 • $8 was the minimum requirement for what you needed to get into Canada • You had to have the "right" race and the "right" ethnicity to get in • Race refers to your physiological characteristics (not biologal) • We share all kinds of dna with people who aren't related to us • There is technically only one race (the human race) • Prior to the 1500s, your race was your religious group • Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc were all considered seperate races • Physiological characteristics - hair colour and texture, the shape of your eyes, nose, lips • For the first half of the twentieth century, race also referred to your genitalia, how big or small your skull was • Today, we tend to focus on skin colour as an indication of race • Ethnicity refers to your cultural characteristics, the language that you speak at home, your place of origins, nationality, religion, food, costume or your style of dress, as well as art, music, and literature • These categories are not static, or fixed and are constantly changing and being socially transformed • They are also social constructs • Social meanings of either real or imagined physiological characteristics came to have either superiority (in the case of white skin, blonde hair, blue eyes) or inferiority (in the case of brown or black skin) • Ethnic or racial signifiers • The concept of ethnicisation was used to demonstrate how this was a social process, and also to show how racial and ethnic signifiers become inflated together • When you see ethnic signifiers, you will then start to look at her racial signifiers and imagine someone the way you see them in order for it to make sense (her example about blonde girl at tim hortons with muslim constume on) • We did not actually have the first immigration act until 1910, but we had a very informal immigration policy prior to that • 1600s - 1880s: Canada was sparsely populated with immigrants • Between this time, immigrants had to come with the permission of the crown (they had to have some way of business contact with them, or know them) • Up until the 1800s, you see British, you see French, the descendents of black slaves and then what you start to see happening as well is between the 1840s and the 1870s, you start to see migrations that are coming from Scotland, Ireland, and Germany • In that period, germans and central europeans (the Dutch, Belgium,Austria) are coming here to get away from the civil wars going on in their own countries (liberal revolutions) • By the 1880s, Canada was very sparsely populated with immigrants • There were some immigrants in British Columbia, but not many • There were no immigrants whatsoever in the prairies IMMIGRATION POLICY (1600s - 1961) • Immigration policy is based on two completely contradictory concepts: 1) Immigration is all about nation building • How do we create a master race (we only want certain people to come here) 2) How do you meet the demands of big business for cheap labour - Preferred immigrants do not work for cheap - In fact, these two very contradictory concepts and the delicate balance of both of them is actually what shapes Canadian immigration policy - No immigrant will settle unless they bring their family with them, or they create a family once they've arrived - How do you make sure people don't stick around.. You refuse to let them bring their families, and then make sure they can't get married • One of the things that was going on, is, in the 1970s in the US, that was where you started to see the establishment of railways • At this time, railways were all privitised • Britain was our major trading partner all the way up until the 1950s, so the CPR was built to transport raw resources and to purchase British manufactured goods and be able to sell that throughout Canada • 1881-1885: Building of the CPR • Building a railroad is highly dangerous, which is why so many men died doing this • First, they advertised in Canada. We had lots of poor Scottish and Irish immigrants, and they STILL wouldn't sign up to do this work.As a result (because nobody would sign up) they looked to China • Many Irish immigrants lived in Cabbagetown (which got its name to make fun of these people, because all the Irish could afford to eat was cabbage) • China was experiencing a massive famine, so people were destitute and starving to death. As a result, Chinese men signed up • It was only once they got here that they realised that they were being offered a very low wage • One dead chinese man for every mile of the railroad • In 1885, as soon as the railroad was finished, the state applied a head tax to potential Chinese immigrants which was intended to discourage Chinese men from staying, and bringing their families over ($50.00 each person, which was more than a person made in a YEAR back then). • They did everything possible to save this money in order to bring their families over • It took two years to bring each person from the family over • 1903: The state upped the head tax to $500 a person • They instituted the Chinese exclusion act which was enacted in 1923 - 1947, which halted all Chinese immigration and basically said "no Chinese allowed" • Subsequently, in British Columbia, there were visible numbers of asians, Chinese and Japanese, as well as SouthAsians from India. They were all located in British Columbia because that was the closest toAsia • 1907: Massive recession in Canada • The entire purpose of immigration was to do jobs that no white Canadians will do • 1908: Gentleman'sAgreement (or otherwise known as LemieuxAgreement because he was the Prime Minister that we sent to Japan) • In 1908, they limited the num
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