1. Racism is believe that human traits are inherent on races and cultures; this has lead to the generalization of character based on a specific race. Multiculturalism is related to racism in that multicultural set-up provides a breeding ground for racism and discrimination through stereotypes. It is in this context that countries like Canada have instituted laws prohibiting activities that may lead to racial or ethnic alienation.
2. Bissoondath statement in the second paragraph implied, racism would always thrive as long as people from different background co exist like in the case of Canada.
3. In the two literature essays, “I’m not racist, But…” by Bissoondath and “I’m proud to be a banana” by Choy, there are instances when racial prejudice is exhibited through stereotyping. These instances are:
- In comparing two cultures like when Chinese music is referred to as noise as compared to American music.
- When comparing capabilities of people from different cultures.
- Use of words that describe physique attribute of specific race like Chinese are referred to as Chink due to their eyes shape.
4 There are laws and organizations in Canada that are instrumental in the fight against racism. These are:
- Criminal code of Canada
- Bill of rights
- Canadian Human Rights Act
5 The effect of stereotyping on the social fabric, particularly on the young people, who are more susceptible to racial remarks are:
- Lack of human dignity.
- Xenophobic attacks.
- Inferiority complex
6 In conclusion, as much as multiculturalism is celebrated it can be source of worry to the community. It is therefore vital that people celebrate their diversity without social labeling and stereotyping others. Multiculturalism can be preserved through:
- Instituting laws that preserve it
- Setting up of organizations educate the public on evils of racial and cultural prejudice
Impact of Racist Stereotyping on Multiculturalism
Racism is a notion that, the genetic make-up that is responsible for race, influences human character and capabilities. This leads to some races developing inferiority complexity towards others, as their characters are linked to their skin color. Multiculturalism, on the other hand is the furtherance of ethnic and racial integration in the societal institutions. It is notable that racism exists in multiculturalists setting when one race belittles the other race, based on their inherent traits. Racism has resulted into many ills in the society. It has led to hatred, violence and other anti-social behaviors, as one race feels domineered by the other race in all spheres of life. It is in this light that in many western states such as Canada, laws have been put in place to foster multicultural integration and cohesion; perceivably aimed at reducing cultural, ethnic or racial alienation within the relevant socio-demographic context. However, this seems to be an insurmountable objective since many individuals in such multicultural societies base their perception about others on stereotyping outcomes.
“We like to think, in this country, that our multicultural mosaic will help nudge us into a greater openness. But multiculturalism as we know it, indulges in stereotype, depends on it for a dash of color and the flash of dance.” (Bissoondath, 2008). In this statement Bissoondath meant, as much as Canada could be boasting of different cultures, racism will continue to exist through stereotyping. This statement is true, as in any multicultural setting people will associate certain traits with certain culture or race. Bissoondath continues in his book to show how racism is propagated through stereotype. The author refers to the Chinese as the worst drivers (Bissoondath, 2008). This statement although not of racial discrimination, a naïve person can completely misunderstand it and cause him/her psychological damage.
Another instance when remarks made can connotatively be taken as racist are when comparing different cultures. In his book “I’m a Banana and Proud of it”, Choy states that American music makes Chinese music sound like noise, (Choy, 1997). This statement compares the music genres and can be interpreted to show American music superiority to Chinese music. Social labeling is another way of stereotyping. This is when a certain race is described by their physical appearance. For instance, Choy, terms the word chink as “a hateful, racist term”. Chink is a term used to refer to the Chinese because of their eyes (Choy, 1997). This statement amounts to racism as it makes the Chinese feel alienated. Although this social labeling and name-calling may not be used to demean any race, they have a psychological burden on the victim.
As more and more people from different cultures settled in Canada, there arose the need for laws to protect those who were perceived as minority groups. Due to this cultural diversity, Canada is referred as “a mosaic”. This diversity has not been without challenges because during the 1970s, there were attacks in the subways targeting the Asians. According to the essay, Diversity Dilemma, Canada is illustrated as proud to be heterogeneous (Cohen, 2007). This is reinforced by the Charter of Rights of 1982. Section 27 of the charter states “the charter should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation of multiculturalism”, (Cohen, 2007).
In Canada, it is a criminal offence under the Criminal code of Canada, for anyone to incite against any group differentiated by race or color. The bill of rights, which is contained in the Canadian constitution, plays a key role in anti-racism campaigns. The bill entrenches that everybody is equal and it continues to list all the freedoms and rights that are to be enjoyed regardless of one’s race or color.
Another notable legislation is the Canadian Human Rights Act. The act seeks to give equal an opportunity to all individuals in Canada and to offer redress to those who may have been victims of discrimination. Besides the laws that guard against racism, there are commissions and councils that are charged with addressing, advocating and fighting racism in Canada. These commissions are the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society, The Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee, the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada. Lastly, hate messages can be a source of racism whereby a race is pitted against the other. The Canadian laws, regard hate messages as criminal activities under hate crime’s legislations. These laws are marked as a cornerstone towards fighting racism in Canada and preventing what was seen in the 1970s.
It is important to note the harm and destructions that can be brought by racial prejudice. There have been cases of xenophobic attacks in some countries, occasioned by hate messages. In Canada, it was reported that in 1907 the whites attacked the Chinese, causing loss of lives and property. Social stereotyping causes pre-conceived attitudes towards individuals, causing preferential treatment. This leads to conflict and biasness. It is notable that stereotyping can have adverse effects on young adults. Due to stereotyping, young adults feel less equal to their colleagues, making them lose self-esteem and worth. This makes them live in a state of denial and inferiority complex starts to creep in.
In conclusion, it is notable that multiculturalism, however celebrated, can be a cause of worry (Cohen, 2007). It is notable that, stereotyping is a major cause of racism in multicultural setting. Attributing certain traits to a specific race amounts to segregating that race, thus not appreciating the diversity that exists. This was based on evidence of the three books, which illustrated the setting when stereotyping and social labeling are used. Nevertheless, no matter how the words may be simple, they cause a huge psychological damage to the victim. Regarding this, most western countries including Canada have instituted laws to guard against racism. Racist remarks and activities constitute criminal offences and subject to jail term not exceeding fourteen years. In addition, organizations have come up to address, advocate and fight against all forms of racism and discriminations in Canada. This will preserve the multicultural blend that Canada is known to have pride in.
Bissoondath, Neil. “I’m Not Racist But…” Live Journal, 26th February 2008. Print.
Choy, Wayson. I’m a Banana and Proud of it. 1997. Print.
Cohen, Andrew. “Diversity Dilemma.” National Post, April 2007. Print.