Racism and Discrimination in Canada

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Both the articles (North of the Colour Line and Drawing Different Lines of Color) address the theme of racism and discrimination in Canada. Various immigrants have found their way to Canada with the hope of earning themselves a better living, but the opposite of their expectations happens. Despite their educational qualifications various fields, they get right jobs because of the white policies that are discriminative. They end up in the struggle for equality and freedom; some of them end up getting immigration bans to Canada.

Goutor bases his argument on the ill-treatment and racial discrimination on the black men. He says that blacks are perceived to be socially inferior to the whites hence there are minimal employment opportunities for them. They are deemed fit for vocational jobs like the sleeping car porters. They come all the way from the Dutch East Indies, Wales, Caribbean and the United States to work in the Canadian railway companies, where they are responsible for the needs of their passengers.

Many of these porters are highly learned personalities with bachelor degrees in various courses including business administration, medicine, and science. However, they are unable to earn themselves good jobs that match their expertize due to the racial policies. Hence, many of them resolve to work as sleeping dog porters to earn a living in return for low wages but long working hours. They lack sleeping quarters, aboard the train, they carry naps anywhere. Porters take their meals in the dining car; however, in case a passenger is taking eating the same time as the porters then a curtain is pulled between them.

The black porters forcefully organize their union purposed to improve their working conditions. The US-based Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, convened in secret so they cannot end up unemployed, supports the union. The porters vote to unionize, but it becomes unsuccessful until May 1945 when the collective bargaining ends. It becomes the first Black union to sign an agreement with a white employer in the Canadian history. Some of the benefits received include an increase in their monthly salary, overtime payment, and a week’s paid vacation. Nevertheless, the formation of the union does not do away with the racial discrimination. Instead, the fight for respect at the workplace and racial equality continues.

Goutor in ‘Drawing Different Lines of Color’ looks into the Chinese movement in California and its impact on the transnational restrictions on immigration in the United States and Canada. The views on the Chinese is that they are dangerous people to the job security and the living standards of the white, whose primary aim is to have some wealth to carry with them home and to create violence in Canada. The blacks, on the other hand, are in a different fight, to have freedom and equality granted to them.

The blacks and the Chinese serve different duties in the struggle for industrial capitalism. The Chinese are doing exploitative workforce that pays the low cost, is inhuman, ruthless and miserable. The fight of the blacks against plantation slavery is instead an inspiration to organized labor for the growing industries.  The Chinese seem like less civilized people who deserve a low living standard. It, therefore, follows that they have to accept low wages to support their lives.

The Chinese perceived as Mongols who are a threat to the development of Canadian economy. Goutor writes that they import everything from their home including their clothes. They are perpetrators of criminal activities like stealing from the whites and prostitution according to whites. They have immigration restriction, such as a head tax $5 charges on every Chinese migrant. Chinese Immigration Act declares Canada out of bounds for all Chinese people. Racism against the black is also high hence Goutor just like Mathieu prospect Canada as a home for slavery, discrimination and a hostile place to be.

These texts show how the blacks and the Chinese are facing challenges in Canada in their pursuit of a better living. They explain the harsh working conditions that they work in and the bad reputation they earn in the course of their stay in Canada. These texts are a clear portrait of how racism and discrimination against the blacks and Chinese dominate Canada, the use of direct speeches creates a lively image of the scenarios in the minds of a student for better understanding.

In conclusion, racism and discrimination were once a practice in Canada making the Canadian state hostile to the immigrants. They exploited the immigrants, viewing them as inferior and less civilized. However, all human beings are equal irrespective of color, origin, culture or personal traits hence deserve fair and just treatment. They are entitled to similar opportunities to jobs, education, social needs among others. It is essential that people can cross borders and settle anywhere in the globe without fear.

September 04, 2023

Art Sociology



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