Racism and Ethnocentrism: Immigration

Statistics Canada estimates that in the near future, the Canadian population will be visibly be made up of minorities. The outcome is that Canada has become more racially diverse than it was in the 19th through to the 21st centuries. In fact, Canada is ranked among the most racial tolerant and inclusive country in the world.  This is largely attributed to Canada’s immigration policy.  Originally, Canada is a settler nation, such that a large proportion of Canadians have immigrant ancestors. To begin with, the Great migration of Canada from 1815 to 1850 involved thousands of immigrants from the British Isles. Unlike later organized immigration schemes in the 19th century through to the 20th century, this wave brought in immigrants because of the need for labor, infrastructure, and the need for new settlement lands.  Most of these settlers were from Europe; in fact, the ideal basis of immigrants was English speaking Britons and America. Generally, Canadian history operated within a Eurocentric perspective. Such that racism and whiteness were the cruces of its policies. Basically, the mechanism of racialism is founded on biological differences, where racist essentialist’s assert that humans do not share in the same humanity.

Consequently, these differences become the symbol of exclusion that allows a group of people to see themselves as being superior to another group. Feelings of superiority create an ethnocentric bias such that the views of the whites are put into a central position. There is, therefore, the collective identity of one race feeling that their identity and enlightenment are all that matters, and people should follow in their suit.

Canada’s history is evident in restrictive immigration policies and practices regarding now white immigrants, mostly Asians, Jews and Blacks, and Aboriginal people. An example of some of the intense policies relates to the treatment of Aboriginals. From forceful evictions, discriminatory voting policies, and even forced assimilation of Aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian culture. The aboriginals experienced a fair share of discrimination. Aside from the Aboriginals, after World War 1, Canada accepted refugees from South and East of Europe but imposed landing taxes, head taxes, travel restrictions, bilateral restrictions. Asian female immigrants were not granted travel pass out of the fear that they would encourage their men (who were involved in constructing the railway) to stay in the country. And the freed slaves were deemed unsuitable for settling in Alberta. The anti-German hysteria that followed following world war also saw several immigrants who were born in Germany plus German allied countries evicted from the country. Canada continued its racist immigration policies in the next two decades that followed World War II.

However, after World War II, Canada gradually changed its immigration policies because of the postwar economic boom and the demand for labor. After the postwar years, Canada’s immigration system underwent a series of reforms for human rights, and in the late 1960s, the vestiges of racial immigration were gone. The Immigration Act. 1976 (the Act) came into force in 1978 along with new immigration rules that allowed for immigrants with non-European ancestry into the country. From thereon, Canada has been accepting of a multicultural and anti-racial society greatly unimaginable to earlier immigrants who were allowed into the country. In fact, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, [1] (IRPA) (the Act) is an independent administrative tribunal that makes well-reasoned decisions relating to immigrants and refugees reasonably and efficiently.

Work Cited

Wayne Andrew Antony & Samuelson, Leslie, “Power & Resistance: critical thinking about Canadian social issues.” Print. Halifax, N.S.: Fernwood Pub. 2007.

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