Asian/Canadian culture clash?

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  • #10761

    Nicole
    Participant

    I am a student at a prestigious Canadian university. I hail from a small, mostly white town. My university has a very high Asian population in comparision to most, likely because we are close to Toronto, which is by far the most diverse city in Canada. My question is this: when I interact with Asian students in day-to-day contact, many are very unfriendly. For example, when I bump into someone in the cafeteria, I apologize with a big smile, and most people smile back. Not so with most Asian students, who tend to give me a dirty look or push right by me. My floor last semester was a very diverse mix, but this term there are 12 Asian girls and 4 white girls. No one speaks to each other anymore, it seems. When I see one of the Asian girls in the bathroom and say hello, I often get no response. Is this a cultural difference between the Canadian and Asian cultures? Many of these girls speak excellent English, leading me to believe they are not recent immigrants. So, if it is a culture difference, I would be interested to hear from people who have immigrated to Canada, and whether they feel it is important to assimilate into their new culture quickly in areas like this.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Nicole, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 19, City : Waterloo, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : University Science Student, 
    #26827

    Cynthia31746
    Participant

    Stephanie, the girls on your floor might be ignoring you because they think you’re mad at them. While these Asians girls, as you say, speak perfect or near perfect English, they’ve been taught from childhood that their English can never be as good as a white person’s (trust me, I’ve been told this myself, and I was born in Canada!!!– my grandmother once told me that they’d never let me be an English teacher because of my race–talk about garbage!) They’re also worried that you wouldn’t accept them as a person, and are usually really surprised when they see one of ‘their own’ being asked by a white person to go to a party, etc. They’re just shy, Stephanie. Maybe if you let them get to know you better, maybe invite them out or something. Have a floor party! I did that last year with my floor. IT was great!

    User Detail :  

    Name : Cynthia31746, Gender : F, Race : Asian, Age : 20, City : Kingston, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : University student, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #36632

    Jason
    Member

    Although I’ve never been to Canada, I feel qualified to comment as an Asian-American immigrant. First, I gotta say that being rude or unfriendly to others is not part of any Asian culture that I’m aware of. I think it is fair to say, however, that many Asians tend to be introverted or ‘shy’ or ‘quiet’, and that is atleast partly attributable to culture. As for your assimilation question: I think most young immigrants, or children of immigrants, quite naturally want to assimilate to their new culture, and usually do so quickly. However, assimilation is not the same as acceptance. I think the main reason that alot of Asians, especially in a college setting, tend to gravitate toward each other, is not because they are still clinging on to their native cultures, but because they know they’ll be accepted by each other and not judged by how they look.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jason, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Asian, Age : 23, City : Boston, State : MA Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #13913

    Jen30987
    Participant

    I am from Canada also (immigrated 10 yrs. ago), but specifically in Vancouver, British Columbia (we have a huge asian population as well). I was quite surprised when I read your message Stephanie, because I have always thought exactly the same way as you have, except the other way around. I go to a crowded school (so I bump into people a lot), and I’ve noticed that when I bump into other asians, most don’t do much except glance and carry on w/ what they were doing as if nothing happened. However, I’ve noticed that most of the caucasians I’ve bumped into are a little more outspoken. Their reactions are either friendly (such as a simple ‘sorry’), or either harsh (such as ‘F-you,’ ‘watch it B****,’ or a dirty look). I’ve received harsh reactions mainly from younger caucasians (teens), but I found that most of the older ones are more friendly about it. As far as those ‘hellos’ are concerned, I think it’s just due to shyness, Asian people tend to be more quiet w/ strangers than Caucasians, as for me it’s almost impossible to get a ‘hello’ out of me, unless you are a friend. Basically to answer your question, I think that perhaps it does have to do with differences in the two cultures somewhat, Caucasians are more interactive with strangers, whereas Asians are not. However, I’m not saying the next time you bump into an Asian, don’t be your friendly self, but just understand it’s nothing personal.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jen30987, City : Vancouver, State : NA Country : Canada, 
    #41856

    SN
    Participant

    This is really surprising. I can recall my time in London when I was there with my father (Indian High Commission) and studied in a local school. There were many Asians in the school, and there was never any problem like the one you have described. I feel this may have come up because of some racial discrimination problem they may have faced.

    User Detail :  

    Name : SN, Gender : M, Race : Asian, Age : 31, City : New Delhi, State : NA Country : India, Occupation : Sales Manager, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper class, 
    #28258

    Taylor27439
    Participant

    Now, I know the fallicy of stereotypes, having had some asian friends, but generally its is easier to be with people who are like you than different than you. People may not like what I have to say, but the TRUTH is right there staring at them in the face. If people doubt me, come to Toronto and I’ll show them.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Taylor27439, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Disability : I care too much, Race : English/Spanish, Religion : Me, Age : 30, City : Toronto, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : Teacher, Education level : 2 Years of College, 
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