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The Irish

King of Kensington

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Interesting piece on Irish Catholics in Toronto, who suffered from bitter discrimination in the mid-19th century but were pretty much accepted/integrated by WWI.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/14/19th-century-toronto-irish-immigrants-a-lesson-in-upward-mobility.html?referrer=https://m.facebook.com/

Some reasons:

- They started out among the poor and unskilled, but had moved out of poverty and to a significant degree had entered the middle class

- Immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, mostly Jews and Italians, started coming after 1900. The Irish just didn't seem very "foreign" anymore.
 

Admiral Beez

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There's always a scapegoat/underclass. Right now it's the Muslims' turn.
Muslims are not a people, any more than Lutherans. It's a religion, anyone can join it. If it wasn't for the unusual hats we'd not notice any Muslims, they'd just blend into our mosiac. And this is likely to occur within a generation, as kids often abandon the customs of their parents' origins and develop their own identities.

For that matter, if it wasn't for terror targetting Canadian and Western nations/citizens in the name of islam, that religion would be on the mind of Canadians about as much as we think of zoroastrianism.
 
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mjl08

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Globe writer and 'Arrival City" author had a great book a few years ago called "The Myth of the Muslim Tide" where he compares public resentment towards the Irish in the 19th century and Italians in the 20th century to that of new arrivals from the Muslim world.
 

Johnny Au

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Throughout human history, there has always been a scapegoat, even in the most tolerant society.

In Toronto's case, the first were the Irish Catholic, then the Italians, Slavs, and Jews, then the Chinese, then the African Canadians, then finally, Muslims. Who knows which ethnic group would be the next scapegoat.

I may be a very tolerant person, but there is no denying that certain ethnic groups are viewed as scapegoats among the general population.
 
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Tewder

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Globe writer and 'Arrival City" author had a great book a few years ago called "The Myth of the Muslim Tide" where he compares public resentment towards the Irish in the 19th century and Italians in the 20th century to that of new arrivals from the Muslim world.
It's true that Muslims in Canada are being treated like most new ethnic groups to Canada have been treated (marginalized and stereotyped with pressure to assimilate to wider mainstream Canadian culture). There are some noteworthy differences though:

a) The internet. In the past marginalization and discrimination happened off the grid, now it's there for everybody to see - magnified, distorted and manipulated (politicized) - which makes discrimination against Muslims seem 'exceptional' when really it isn't. This is the effect of the internet/social media on perception, it's similar to the effect on perception with regards to violent crime or any other social ills.

b) The internet/air travel. In the past, immigrant groups coming to Canada had no option but to sever most ties to the homeland and this motivated them to integrate. Today, it is possible to maintain greater familial, cultural and economic attachment to the homeland due to technology, which means the disenfranchised can reach out more readily beyond their adopted homeland when looking for a sense of community or acceptance. This is a double-edged sword, as we are seeing.

c) Current social context in Canada. Canada today is an extremely liberal and tolerant nation, with an ethos that directly contradicts that of many non-western nations (i.e. role of women, gender equality, democracy, growing secularism etc). Previous groups of immigrants have evolved with Canada in this way, to one degree or another, whereas latter groups of immigrants (and certain Muslim groups specifically in this case) have arrived while this process was already complete. This has created a stronger cultural clash than many previous groups had to deal with.

d) Current political/foreign policy context in Canada. I can't think of too many examples where immigrant groups have come to Canada from homelands that had active and explicit political, economic or ideological conflict with prevailing Canadian policy. I'm sure there were some but the point is that Canada is currently seen as a threat and an enemy to many of the nations where recent Muslim immigrants have come from. This has created a stronger conflict of interest than many previous groups had to deal with. *I thought about the Italians, Germans and Japanese during WWII but the difference being those groups were already quite well established in Canada when those conflicts arose.

In the end, the experience of Muslims in Canada is both exceptional and unexceptional at the same time, and is probably more a reflection of the differing Canadian context they have arrived in than a reflection on them themselves.
 
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animatronic

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It's true that Muslims in Canada are being treated like most new ethnic groups to Canada have been treated (marginalized and stereotyped with pressure to assimilate to wider mainstream Canadian culture). There are some noteworthy differences though:

a) The internet. In the past marginalization and discrimination happened off the grid, now it's there for everybody to see - magnified, distorted and manipulated (politicized) - which makes discrimination against Muslims seem 'exceptional' when really it isn't. This is the effect of the internet/social media on perception, it's similar to the effect on perception with regards to violent crime or any other social ills.



b) The internet/air travel. In the past, immigrant groups coming to Canada had no option but to sever most ties to the homeland and this motivated them to integrate. Today, it is possible to maintain greater familial, cultural and economic attachment to the homeland due to technology, which means the disenfranchised can reach out more readily beyond their adopted homeland when looking for a sense of community or acceptance. This is a double-edged sword, as we are seeing.

c) Current social context in Canada. Canada today is an extremely liberal and tolerant nation, with an ethos that directly contradicts that of many non-western nations (i.e. role of women, gender equality, democracy, growing secularism etc). Previous groups of immigrants have evolved with Canada in this way, to one degree or another, whereas latter groups of immigrants (and certain Muslim groups specifically in this case) have arrived while this process was already complete. This has created a stronger cultural clash than many previous groups had to deal with.

d) Current political/foreign policy context in Canada. I can't think of too many examples where immigrant groups have come to Canada from homelands that had active and explicit political, economic or ideological conflict with prevailing Canadian policy. I'm sure there were some but the point is that Canada is currently seen as a threat and an enemy to many of the nations where recent Muslim immigrants have come from. This has created a stronger conflict of interest than many previous groups had to deal with. *I thought about the Italians, Germans and Japanese during WWII but the difference being those groups were already quite well established in Canada when those conflicts arose.

In the end, the experience of Muslims in Canada is both exceptional and unexceptional at the same time, and is probably more a reflection of the differing Canadian context they have arrived in than a reflection on them themselves.
A) Marginalization was extremely public - from the "Irish need not apply" signs in store windows to the Chinese head tax to the anti-Jewish riots between the wars. There was even a public "Swastika Society" devoted to keeping Jews and blacks from the Beach. The internet is also a way to rally anti-discrimination so it's double-edged.

B) Immigration patterns used to involve entire towns coming over, with the process taking decades. One difference now is the desire of some second-generation Canadians to return, but the raw numbers are tiny.

C) Toronto was probably the WASPiest city in the world in the late 19th-early 20th century. Don't underestimate the conflict between protestants (old guard) and Catholics (almost every immigrant).

D) Fenian raids

No two cultural groups are identical but on balance the current Muslim immigrant population has a lot in common with the previous waves.
 

nfitz

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Muslims are not a people, any more than Lutherans. It's a religion, anyone can join it.
How one joins this scapegoated group isn't really the point. The point is that is the group that have become scapegoats.

Perhaps a better question is why does there always seem to be a group of people so utterly evil and mentally ill that they feel the need to pick on any other group, be it Catholics, Jews, Gays, Muslims, Irish, Gypsies, Blacks, Browns, Blues, Golds, or from Wawa.
 

Tewder

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A) Marginalization was extremely public - from the "Irish need not apply" signs in store windows to the Chinese head tax to the anti-Jewish riots between the wars. There was even a public "Swastika Society" devoted to keeping Jews and blacks from the Beach. The internet is also a way to rally anti-discrimination so it's double-edged.
I don't disagree. My opening statement was that all groups to Canada have experienced marginalization and discrimination. The difference today though, due to the proliferation of the internet and social media, is that of perception. It distorts what actually may be minor incidents, that may be few in number, and blows them out of proportion, in the same way that the internet causes many to perceive that violent crime is rampant and on the rise even though the actual stats show otherwise.

B) Immigration patterns used to involve entire towns coming over, with the process taking decades. One difference now is the desire of some second-generation Canadians to return, but the raw numbers are tiny.
I see this a real difference between immigrants of the past vs recent immigrant arrivals, but again I see it as a function of technology. In the past the pressure was real to integrate and assimilate into the wider Canadian culture, as traumatic as this process was. Today the internet provides an option, if you don't feel you fit in here you can reject mainstream society and look for acceptance elsewhere... and this isn't just the case with Muslims who may feel disenfranchised. Any disenfranchised individual of any background has an accepting community waiting for them somewhere, all at their fingertips.
 

Tewder

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Perhaps a better question is why does there always seem to be a group of people so utterly evil and mentally ill that they feel the need to pick on any other group, be it Catholics, Jews, Gays, Muslims, Irish, Gypsies, Blacks, Browns, Blues, Golds, or from Wawa.
... in other words everyone? Everyone was picked on at one point in time and then pays it forward?... but isn't it essentially an informal real-world-experience version of cultural assimilation, in a 'become like us and adopt the values of the group or you're not wanted' kind of way? It's pretty much the opposite of what official Multicultural policies try to achieve.
 

nfitz

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... in other words everyone?
Most groups seem to get picked on. Though it always seems to be an very small and ugly minority within the majority group who are the ones doing the picking. The question is, why do we put up with that small and ugly minority? For example, the evil folks amongst us who oppose gay marriage, who want Muslims to go home, and who want to allow slavery.
 

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