It is known that Canada has always been one of the leading immigrant receiving countries in the world since its foundation. According to the statistics, “more than a half million people living in Canada trace their origins to the Caribbean”ť(Wong & Satzewich, 2006, p.130). They represent 1.7% of the total population of Canada. Many of them are immigrants who came to Canada in the period from the 1960s, while others are their children and grandchildren. It is found that the Caribbean immigrants live mostly in the large cities. According to the research findings, “more than half of the Caribbean people live in the great Toronto area, a quarter of them live in Montreal, and the rest are scattered throughout the country in such cities as Calgary, Vancouver, and Winnipeg (Wong & Satzewich, 2006, p.130). Although there are many Caribbean immigrants in Canada, they often face racism and discrimination. In most cases, they suffer job discrimination and gender discrimination. Caribbean children in Canada live in low-income families as their parents have no opportunity to find well-paid jobs. One of the major reasons is their lack of proper education (The Caribbean Community in Canada, 2007, para.7). The major goal of this paper is to discuss the diversity of Caribbean people in Canada and the impact of racism on them.
DIVERSITY OF CARIBBEAN PEOPLE IN CANADA
It is found that Canadians of Caribbean background are rather diverse because they came from different islands and different ethnic groups of Caribbean region. That is why there are certain differences between their cultures. In Canada, Caribbean people are those people who came from Caribbean region, which includes such islands as Barbados, Bonaire, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Tortola, Guadeloupe, Grenada and some other islands. Despite these diversities, Canadians of Caribbean background join a cultural and social community which is focused on their identification with the history and tradition, music and art, and numerous achievements of the people and their active participation in the organizations of Caribbean community, cultural and religious events (Wong & Satzewich, 2006, p.130). Â Due to changes in Canadian immigration regulations, racial bias was eliminated, and Caribbean people mainly from the British colonies began to arrive to Canada.
One of the most important facts is that those immigrants who come from the Caribbean region include a great variety of cultures. They speak different languages, and have different traditions. The Caribbean region is represented by some fifty distinct territories, most of which are politically independent countries, but some of them remain dependences of the USA, France, the Netherlands and Great Britain (Magosci, 1999, p.331). According to Paul R. Magocsi, for the greater part of the immigrants from the Caribbean region “the move to Canada was motivated by economic reasons”ť(p.333). Due to the establishment of the more liberal system of immigration in Canada in the 1960s, more and more people began to arrive from the Caribbean. According to the statistical data, immigration to Canada from the Caribbean region reached its peak during the 1970s (Magocsi, p.133).
In addition, the immigration statistics shows that over 80% of Caribbean immigrants are of African or partially African descent, while the greater part of the remainder is of East Indian ancestry. Most Caribbean women arrived to Canada under the domestic workers’ scheme which gave them an opportunity to work in Canadian homes (Austin, 2007, p.517).Â Most West Indians who migrated to Canada in the 1960s had the major goal ”“ to get education, accumulate funds and return to their home country (Austin, 2007, p.518).
It is found that religion plays a significant role in the life of Caribbean people in Canada. It is represented by a wide range of religions, including Christian and non-Christian. According to Paul R. Magocsi (1999), “the majority of Caribbean immigrants maintain their strong commitment to religion”ť(p.338). For example, such pattern of warship as church attendance on Sunday has already become a regular weekly event for most Caribbean immigrants. Practically all the denominations that can be found in the Caribbean islands are represented in Canada, starting from the formal Anglican to less formal denominations: Baptist, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Moravian. It is found that middle-class community members prefer to attend Protestant and Catholic churches.
In addition, Dwaine Plaza discusses in the research article The Construction of a Segmented Hybrid Identity Among One-and-a-Half-Generation and Second-Generation Indo-Caribbean and African Caribbean Canadians the role of family, community and environment in the formation of identity of Indo-Caribbean and African Caribbean Canadians. It is found that those Caribbean people who “intermixed with the White Euro-Canadian culture”ť while growing up in Canada reported feeling more Canadianized in the choice of customs and music, mannerisms and everyday values (Plaza, 2006, p.222).