POLS 1500 Lecture Notes - Visible Minority, Heredity, Chinese Head Tax In Canada

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27 May 2014
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November 16, 2012
Lecture Outline – Week 10
The Politics of Diversity
1. Ethnic Diversity in Canada
- Thinking about ethnic or cultural diversity
oCanada is made up of immigrants as a result Canadian ethnic diversity has grown
exceptionally
oAccording to stats Canada report in 2006: 16% of (5.2 million) Canadians identify
themselves as belonging to a visible minority
oIn 2031 the visible minority rate it is expected to rise by 30.6%
2. Defining Diversity – ‘Race’ vs. Ethnicity or Culture
- What do you think of the term “visible minority” as a way to recognize diversity?
- What about race?
oRuth Benedict: “in briefest possible definition, race is a classification based on
[outward and visible] traits which are hereditary. Therefore when we talk about
race we are talking about… traits transmitted by heredity which characterize all
the members of a related group” (benedict, “race” 113)
- ‘Racialization’
oThe process of attributing meaning to real or invented somatic (and cultural)
differences
- The term race is horribly tainted by segregation
- Ethnicity or culture
oNot interchangeable, but close enough that can be almost used as synonyms
oDifferent than race because they refer to physically acquired characteristics
oEthnicity: from Greek ethnos, which refers to a people, a group sharing certain
common cultural attributes
- Sum:
o“The concepts of culture and ethnicity...reflect positive tendencies of
identification and inclusion,” while “the idea of race reflects negative tendencies
of disassociation and exclusion, where people are falsely groups according to
biological notions of identity (for instance, physical features)” (Dhamoon, “The
Politics of Diversity,” 216).
3. Canada as a defender of diversity?
- Historically
o1876-1996 aboriginal residential schools
o1885 Chinese head tax and exclusion act
o1908 BC municipal elections prevented Asiatic or Indian persons from voting in
local elections
o1941-1946 WWII internment of Japanese people
- Economically
oPercentage of low income by:
ethnic origin Visible minority: 27.2%
Aboriginal 32.5%
- Multicultural policy in Canada:
1
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