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Racism Towards Second Generation Immigrants English Literature Essay

Canada is a very big country. The population is around 33 millions, and the aboriginal only 1.17 millions. So Canada is a nation of immigrants, some people are First-generation, or Second-generation, even Third-generation immigrants. The Second-generation is someone who born in Canada and their parents immigrated from outside Canada. The second-generation is some difference in behavior and psychology with their First-generation parents. These Second-generation South Asian girls are trying to fit in with Canadian’s community but Canadians is not accepting them being a Canadian (or not a real Canadian). And also they are different with their parents; they are not maintaining ethnic attachments of the “back home” community. They are in the “middle-class background”. They are cross between two “worlds”, one is parent’s country, and the other one is Canada. They can’t belong to a Canadian; because Canadians think they are “foreigner” by their face or the skin. So they are not belonging to any one of these. At 2003, Dr. Amita Handa wrote a book, the name is: “Of Silk and Mini-Skirts: South Asian Girls Walk the Tightrope of Culture”. She recollects some her own past experience in Canada when she is a teenage girl. Use these recollects to compare before and now the changes of South Asian’s community in Canada. She also interviews some girl to describe young Second-generation South Asian women how to deal with “silk Saris” and “Mini-Skirts”. The silk Saris are “traditional” cultural from South Asian and the Mini-Skirts are “modern” cultural from Canadian. Handa uses these cultural clashes as thread to discuss the theoretical difference and ethnic identities. Handa take us to lift the curtain on Second-generation South Asian girls have “cultural clash” in: school with classmates, and family members.

Zarah’s story was happen at grade eight when she was thirteen. At that time she felt so bad, and her self-esteem is down. The causation is her white school-friends used: “Oh my god, they are so disgust--, they are so dirty” to describe her and other South Asian girls. At that time she is felt shame to being an Indian. Right now, they are both going to the multicultural school majority of population being brown and Chinese or the “brown” school. At these school no racism, no cultural shame. They like everyone. This is the way to show that Second-generation immigrant of South Asian girls can’t belong to with white school classmate. For Nima’s experience, this is the totally the discrimination. This is happened when she was younger. She went to her friend’s house and being kicked out by her friend’s mom. “She describes the event of being kicked out of somebody’s house as ‘little’ and argues that because these kinds of occurrences do not happen on a daily basis she is not identify by them overall”. From these three stories, we know the Second-generation immigrant is born in Canada, but Canadians still feel them are different, and feel them are not the same with white Canadians. When they see the brown skin, they always think that’s a foreigner, even you are born in Canada. For Second-generation South Asian women, they want to get equality between with all the other Canadians, they want integrate to mainstream, and want to get a respect by other white Canadians. But they can’t get it, because the racism and prejudice still exist in our society. And the Second-generation of South Asians don’t want to believe that is a racism, because they think they are Canadians too. The Canadians should not to prejudice Canadians. They are the same race with white Canadians, but the fact is not.

Second-generation South Asian women also have some clash in their family with parents. They are not identifying Canadian cultural with their parent’s cultural. Their parents as First-generation immigrant, they have tried the best to fit in this new country (Canada) and new society. So maybe they overlook their children. But for the Second-generation, they are accepting and integration the Canadian cultural. So Second-generation and First-generation have some cultural clash in the family too. In the chapter five, Handa interviews a Second-generation girl Alka. She said she like to going to the day dance but one day when their parents open the mainstream media, and found a article says “day dance goers as wanting to adopt the worst of Canadian value, such as “people drinking on Yonge Street, topless dance…they [youth] want rights with out fulfilling their duties and obligations that go with them” (P114). And they saw some newspapers make a statistics shown in Western world 85 percent of students by the age of 18 have had sex. At once, an Indian local TV following this article to make a whole hour program, it said these kids lay, skip school, girls go out with guys and girls makeup, wear miniskirts, even said these girls look like whores. Also all Indian newspapers have some report about this. After this Alka’s parents don’t let her go to any daytime dance and call the school to ask for the student’s attendance records. The other South Asian students’ parents do the same thing. These parents think the day dances is the place to accommodate young heterosexual women, and it’s a place to attract young heterosexual man. For school, some school before take a non-interventionist stance for day dance, and thinks kids need for enjoyment. But after these South Asian parents censure the school were not fulfilling their responsibility to protect their kids. The school has to make a different standard for South Asian kids and white kids. So the day dance becomes to a cultural clash between Second-generation immigrants with First-generation immigrants. Daytime dace is not the only cultural clash’s battlefield between Second-generation with First-generation. South Asian girl Pinki recollects that one day she wears a khanda on her jacket to dance, and her father asks her to take it off. Because her father though that she is not respectful enough to wear khanda. But she is not respect for their religious, she just want be comfortable. Same like her father though she is not respect their religious because her cuts her hair to short and has a nose ring. Pinki express her own meaning very clear, she says, “Just because I apply this symbol in a non-religious context does not mean I am not respectful of where it comes from.”(p141) So these two generations have clash in social regulation, cultural tradition, even clothing, food, behaviors and from a question of jurisdiction.

For the strengths and weakness,

In conclusion “Second-generation immigrant youth as being caught at a crossroads between their parent’s cultural and the cultural of the dominant society in which they live.”


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