The world is your oyster. This is a statement that for many is not as true as it
sounds. We live in a world that is, to some extent, available for all to enjoy. It is
when we start giving restrictions and implications for people to experience our
planet, that we find an unpleasantness in the world. Multicultural states and
democracy have a direct correlation. Both of them are on the increase. From
decades of fighting for democracy and, in hindsight, multiculturalism; we have
unleashed an evil. Xenophobia is a word that is not heard very often, but it has
implications of a serious nature.
The Oxford dictionary defines Xenophobia as "an irritational dislike or fear of
people from other countries". The Canadian population is diverse. With a
population of "4 million immigrants accounting for thirteen percent of the
population in 2001" (Statistics Canada (2005). Retrieved February 14, 2006, from
http://18.104.22.168/02/02a/02a_006_e.htm ) , one can see why the process of
integration can, and has been, an uneasy one. Xenophobic patterns of behavior are
almost exclusively found in locals "from less educated strata" (Roland Eckert in
Theodor Hanf, 1999, p. 50). With an employment rate of only 6.6% ( Statistics
Canada (2005). Retrieved February 14, 2006, from
http://www.statcan.ca/start.htm) however, one can see that there is more to
Xenophobia than mere competition.
Canada is renowned for its multicultural approach. It is a land filled with the
diversities of our planet. The wonder of this country is not so much its diversity as
it is its 'acceptance' of different cultures. The Multiculturalism Act states "It is
hereby declared ... and acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian
society to preserve, enhance and share their cultural heritage," ( Bissoondath,
1998). It is this law that, inadvertently, has led to a country which is losing its
identity in a sea of identities. One has to agree with Allan Smith (1971) when he
says that "[a] greater degree of behavioral assimilation has taken place in Canada
than that concept would appear to allow for". It is this reason that Canadian-born
citizens show behaviors of Xenophobia.
There has to be a point that is reached where the Canadian government can realize
that being over accommodating is not the solution.
[A] state dedicated to the proposition that all cultural groups within it
have an inalienable right to flourish would be a state in which,
ideally, brokerage politics would have no place (Allan Smith, 1971).
Canadian politics needs to be based on Canadian principles and beliefs. It cannot
expect to flourish by giving every culture and nationality a say in the law of the
land. If you have one culture favored over another, you are bound to irritate the
other, leading to the exact definition of Xenophobia.
On the other hand, we cannot force an immigrant to change his identity and
national heritage for the sake of wanting to live in another country. By doing that,
we will simply throw away what democracy has accomplished in the last century.
We cannot hide the fact that people are who they are because of where they come
from. Our culture and nationality gives us our "sense of self" (Bissoondath, 1998,
pg. 536). Forcing someone to take on a new culture is forcing them to change who
they are. In so doing, there is bound to be resistance and retaliation, leading to a
The question beckons then; where does that leave us? We are stuck in the middle
of a conflict that has its roots as early as the 1800's with the immigration of close to
thirty eight million to the United Sates . The solution can be reached though. It is
Gregg Kvistad (1998) that said "[w]e must therefore wedge ourselves between the
abstract optimism of a simple legal solution to Xenophobia, and the dark...
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