Question about racial terminology in Canada

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gabe D, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    Okay, it just crossed my mind... Americans of African descent are often called African-Americans. In Canada, does anyone use the term "African-Canadian"?

    Obviously this question could be expanded to include other races and nations.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Aren't they just called "Afri-Cans"? [​IMG] (Sorry, I couldn't resist).
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I've mostly heard people here say "black" and "white." I've never heard "African Canadian."
    However, it is worth noting that the social/racial dynamics here are much different than in the US. Unfortunately, it's difficult to really go into detail without offering up possible fodder for a political discussion.
    It is worth noting, though, that we have a lower ratio of "black" people here than the US does, at least where I have lived.
    Gabe, if you want me to go into more detail, please send me a PM. [​IMG]
     
  4. Caleb Penner

    Caleb Penner Agent

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    I've absolutely never heard African-Canadian said, or Italian-Canadian, or German-Canadian, and I would never ever say any of those.

    IMO:

    I'm Canadian first, skin colour second. I don't define my cultural identity by my skin colour. I think that Canada is a land of immigrants. I'm a 3rd generation Canadian. What does the colour of my skin have to do with that?

    So, then. I would call a black Canadian, simply Canadian. I might describe them(secondarily!) using the adjective black, and I wouldn't think that racist.

    On the other hand, I have no idea what we(Canadians) are supposed to call what you Americans call Chinese-Americans. We might call them simply "Chinese" or "Asian." The newspapers would call them Asian.

    Or what you Americans call: American Indians.

    What do we call them here? The current thing would be "First Nations." As in: "I met a First Nations woman last night." But we(Canadians) say that they live on "Indian Reserves." They are also called aborginals sometimes. Native is what the newspapers would call them.

    I believe the newspapers would always use the word "Caucasian" in describing a crime suspect.

    I don't know what I'd be called. I don't think I've heard people refer to me as white, except for Natives, but that wouldn't offend me. I don't think skin colour is that big deal over here.(Where I live, not all of Canada)

    However in Québec, it is simply "Anglais" or "Français."

    Anyways, if someone is referred to as the country of their origin, it is usually because they are a recent immigrant or have a noticable accent. So, where I live we have a lot of Dutch people who came here two or three generations ago, and I always call them "Dutch." As in: Or, one of my gym teachers in high school was referred to as Australian because of his strong accent.

    N.B. The above is all my opinion. I don't think one can say what is correct or incorrect. Obviously racial epithets are inappropiate.

    Caleb Penner
     
  5. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Being overly P.C. to the point of ludicrousness is a uniquely American invention.
     
  6. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I was going to say something similar to that, RicP, but I didn't want to risk offending.

    I was also going to mention, as Caleb's post suggests somewhat, that we have less racial tension here than in the US, so it's less frequent that we would even need a term at all since it's rarely a topic of discussion.
     
  7. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    How about African North American? [​IMG]
    What I find problematic about the designation 'African American' is that, frequently, the speaker of the phrase has no idea whatsoever as to the ancestry of the Negro person being referred to. He or she may be of a darker skin tone, but to infer from that that his or her ancestors are primarily African is to make quite an assumption.
    Ric said:
     
  8. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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    Jon,

    There is a rather big difference between the two situations...I certainly hope that you can see that. Seeing as how the person you directed the comment at agreed with me, I believe that it was justified.
     
  9. Jeremy Illingworth

    Jeremy Illingworth Supporting Actor

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    I've never heard the term African Canadian. I have only seen one black person since I moved here, so its not like it comes up often. Even when I lived in Victoria, there are so few black people that when you see then you assume an American naval vessel is in the harbour.

    jeremy
     
  10. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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  11. EugeneR

    EugeneR Second Unit

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    If you call everyone "Hoser" you can't go wrong! [​IMG]
     

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