COMM120 Intercultural Communication: Journal Report 1
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/02/15/f-audio-photos-immigrant-canadian-children.html Children of immigrants caught between 2 cultures
Second-generation Canadians open up about bullying at school, cultural conflict at home By John Rieti, CBC News
Posted: Feb 15, 2012 3:04 PM ET
At Winnipeg's Churchill High School, Ronia Arab just looks like a typical student. But at home, she’s been fighting with her parents over the “Canadian” way she dresses and carries herself. "My parents don’t like the way I dress," said the 16-year-old. "They want me to be like them, but I don’t know anything about their culture." While her Iraqi family wears traditional Muslim garb – her mother wears the hijab in public and her father wears suits – the Edmonton-born teen is more likely to dress in leggings, boots, T-shirts and cardigans. After numerous fights with her father, Arab left home and has been living in a group home for about a year. Generation One: Children of immigrants
Arab is a second-generation Canadian, an academic term that refers to children of families who immigrated to Canada. Like many in this growing segment of the population, she’s struggling to reconcile her family’s culture with life in Canada. "In their eyes I’m really bad just because I don’t follow the [Iraqi] tradition and lifestyle, but to Canadians I’m just a really nice girl," said Arab. By 2016, foreign-born youth and Canadian-born youth from immigrant families will make up a quarter of the country’s population, according to predictions by the Canadian Council on Social Development. As their numbers grow, more attention is being paid to their successes and failures. A 'war zone, 24/7'
Research suggests that some, like Arab, face parental criticism at home, while others cope with bullying at school. Several academic papers have also sounded the alarm that many second-generation Canadians, like new immigrants, wind up joining gangs. Dr. Audrey Kobayashi, a cultural geography professor at Queen’s University, said many children of immigrants “feel torn” about their identity. "Sometimes they express their conflict by asserting their Canadian-ness, other times they express it by talking about how they feel excluded," said Kobayashi. "Those are two sides of the same coin." At Churchill High, located in Winnipeg's Riverview neighbourhood, the student population is diverse. Principal Michel Chartrand says he’s not sure what percentage of the 500 students are the children of immigrants, but numbers are on the rise. Student Tarek Elmayergi, 16, appears to be a quintessential Canadian student. Popular in the hallways, he became captain of the high school football team this season. But despite appearances, Elmayergi says he still doesn’t feel "100 per cent Canadian." His mother wishes he was even less so. Shirin Farag says she wants Tarek and her four other Canadian-born children to embrace more of their Egyptian, Muslim background. The topic frequently sparks arguments in the family home. "It’s a struggle," says Farag. "It's agony. It's a war zone 24/7." What is 'Canadian'?
Farag acknowledges she doesn’t understand what it’s like to grow up as a Canadian teenager, but doesn’t want her children to forget the family’s heritage. "I'm not going to turn my back and say 'OK, I’m an Egyptian in Egypt, but here I’m going to become Canadian,'" said Farag. "I can't do that, they can’t do that." Kobayashi says second-generation teens, like the Churchill students, are in the middle of a complex relationship with the Canadian society that features both opportunity and racism, and their parents, who offer guidance but are themselves struggling to deal with cultural change. This period of being stuck in the middle is, in fact, a "Canadian experience” of its own, Kobayashi said. It’s not relegated to those considered by some to be "non-Canadians" or "others."...
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