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Does Toronto's multiculturalism really contrast with the "melting pot" of American cities?

nfitz

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US a melting pot? Since when. They haven't even managed to integrate their former black slaves yet - let alone more recent immigrants. I'd think we are closer to being a melting pot than they are.

US being a melting pot sounds likee right-wing propaganda or some idealistic Nirvana.
 

MisterF

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The Canadian multicultural/mosaic thing is mostly a myth, especially compared to the supposed American melting pot. If anything it's the opposite. I recall reading about a study years ago that found that immigrants and their descendants in Canada tend to integrate into broader society more than in the US. While official multiculturalism is still government policy, it doesn't promote different cultures staying apart. It promotes integration and inclusiveness. Integration is actually one of the program's stated goals. The funding goes towards language and workplace education, and encouraging people from different cultures to learn about each other and Canadian society and get involved in their communities. It encourages civic pride, understanding between religions, and democratic values. In short, it gets people to see themselves as Canadian while valuing their backgrounds.

Basically when people see themselves as equal and valuable members of society, they tend to want to be part of that society more than if they were viewed as some outside group. I think Canada handles immigration better than just about any other country. Assimilation may be a loaded word when it comes to multiculturalism, but integration isn't a bad thing. People from all different backgrounds living and working together without a second thought sounds pretty good to me.
 

Johnny Au

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There is quite a large number of Canadians who identify their ethnicity as "Canadian" rather than British or French or other, despite being descended from Britons or from those from France or from another country.

I remember there being a map of the United States showing ethnicity by county here in UT once.
 

King of Kensington

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Keep in mind that the US census only reports "American" as a single ancestry (and it's most common among white southerners), while in Canada "Canadian"/"Canadien" multiple responses are also included. Not surprisingly Canadian/Canadien is most commonly reported in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, where the population is much more distant from the immigrant experience.
 

the lemur

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That is why many North American cities (including Toronto) hold St. Patrick's Day parades (and interestingly enough, it was only recently did Ireland itself adopted North American-style St. Patrick Day parades).
That's because for a very long time, St Patrick's Day in Ireland was not the excuse for a party that it has become in North America. It's a little like Hanukkah being boosted to become a Jewish counterpart to Christmas in terms of festiveness.
 

the lemur

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What about say, Irish Americans in Boston? They're mostly fourth and fifth generation Americans and far removed from Ireland by now, but a lot have a pretty strong identity.
... one that actual Irish people are in no hurry to accept as genuinely (for lack of a better word). In contrast to wildgoosechase's point about Italian-American vs Italian and/or 'Italian and Canadian' (which I think has something to do with Italian immigration to Canada being in many cases more recent than in the US), Irish-Americans readily identify as just 'Irish', but to people from Ireland the way that identity is expressed seems like a pantomime of Irishness.
 

the lemur

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I agree about "Asian" and "Hispanic/Latino" - those categories aren't really a thing here. The broad American melting pot of course never applied to African Americans. But second generation Caribbean blacks do assimilate into the African American community. In NYC for example, about half the Black population is of Caribbean origin and they live in the same neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn and southeastern Queens.
I'm not sure about either of your points. In Canada we seem very careful to sort people into 'Asian' and 'South Asian' as the proportion of people with 1st/2nd-gen origins in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to people with largely Chinese backgrounds (and smaller groups of Koreans, Vietnamese, etc.) changes over time. But neither of those groups appears to be particularly unified in terms of language or shared cultural elements.

The proportion of Canadian society identifying or identified as Hispanic or Latino (two slightly different definitions) consists of groups that are still small but relatively recent and so perhaps more inclined to seek common ground. If you were part of a tiny Uruguayan-Canadian population, you might socialize readily with Argentine- or Chilean-Canadians and other recently arrived or more established Spanish speakers. So the Hispanic/Latino presence in Canada is still small but appears relatively unified. That kind of interaction is less common in the US, partly due to geographical distribution of much larger groups with very different histories: Mexican-Americans going back several generations, more recent Mexican immigration, Central Americans since the 1980s, Puerto Ricans (who have easier access to citizenship), Dominicans, Cuban-Americans in Florida, etc.
 

wild goose chase

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A lot of Americans seem to measure diversity in terms of four "groups": White, Black, "Hispanic" and Asian.
Which is problematic and limiting to begin with ...
Yeah, especially since the first and second of those categories describe skin tones, the third describes a heterogeneous group of people with a common linguistic heritage regardless of ancestry, and the fourth pertains to a continent where 60% of the world lives.
 

wild goose chase

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What about say, Irish Americans in Boston? They're mostly fourth and fifth generation Americans and far removed from Ireland by now, but a lot have a pretty strong identity.
I feel like that's a thing that's very regional to Irish-Americans in Boston, and also in nearby New England, even compared to Irish-Americans elsewhere and urban Irish-Canadians too.

I don't perceive Irish-Canadians in Toronto really holding on to such an identity relative to the Bostonians, but it would be a different story in Newfoundland, where Irish culture (eg. music) persisted and still persists among many Irish-Canadians and they even spoke a distinct, but now-lost dialect of Irish until the turn of the 20th century.

The other thing that's interesting to me, is that there is a disconnect sometimes between one's stated identity and how closely elements of the ancestral culture are actually preserved. There are people who wear the flag of their great-grandpa's home nation and boast and brag about pride in it, but never stepped foot in it. There are those who don't outwardly show such pride, but actively visit the homeland, know the language, speak to relatives there etc. Some say that often those who speak the loudest about their cultural heritage aren't necessarily those who actually practice and preserve it.
 

King of Kensington

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I feel like that's a thing that's very regional to Irish-Americans in Boston, and also in nearby New England, even compared to Irish-Americans elsewhere and urban Irish-Canadians too.
I definitely I agree with that. Very much a New England thing. Probably due to just sheer numbers (something like 30% of Greater Boston is Irish American and a remarkable 40% or so of them report only Irish ancestry!) and historic tensions with "Yankees."

In most of the US and Canada, Irish are very assimilated and are hardly distinctive. Definitely less visible than say, Italians even in the third generation who do retain some distinctiveness in areas where they're concentrated.
 
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wild goose chase

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In most of the US and Canada, Irish are very assimilated and are hardly distinctive. Definitely less visible than say, Italians even in the third generation who do retain some identity in areas where they're concentrated.
It seems like the Irish, and Scottish (in smaller towns in Ontario there is still celebration of Scottish pride I notice) descendants are now generally lumped into the same category as those of English descent (I knew people from New England that would not like this though!), whereas Italians are still categorized as what people call "ethnic" (I really dislike this kind of usage, as if only some people have an ethnicity).
 

wild goose chase

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Keep in mind that the US census only reports "American" as a single ancestry (and it's most common among white southerners), while in Canada "Canadian"/"Canadien" multiple responses are also included. Not surprisingly Canadian/Canadien is most commonly reported in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, where the population is much more distant from the immigrant experience.
I once heard a co-worker of mine in the US in a fairly rural area saying "Italians and Americans" in a setting where there did not actually seem to be Italian citizens (unless there were some who spoke American English real well) sitting at the table. I assume she meant American in the context you just mentioned -- those descended from settlers with many generations of ancestry, as opposed to Italian-Americans.

This usage was really a culture shock to me as a Torontonian.
 
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