Scadding Court Community Centre
  • Phone :

    416.392.0335

  • Address :

    707 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 2W6

  • Email :

    scccinfo@scaddingcourt.org

ASSIMILATION, DIASPORA, AND IMMIGRATION

VIDEOS

Our Stories: Monalisa

Our Stories: Erica

Our Stories: Diego

KNOWLEDGE BUILDER

Canada is well known for its diverse population and is home for many individuals and families coming from across the globe. ‘Diaspora’ is a term that addresses the large-scale migration that groups of people have experienced upon leaving their home land. Diaspora addresses generations of people coming out of a homeland and immigration addresses the act of moving from one country to another. Although Canada has many diverse populations and communities, the dominant culture in Canada is white Anglo-Saxon. The act of a dominant culture absorbing another and trying to make it adapt to it is called assimilation. An example of assimilation is when European settlers came to Canada, tricked Indigenous people to giving them food and goods then forced them to convert to Christianity as well as forfeit their cultures and languages. By doing so, Indigenous people of Canada had to assimilate to the culture of European settlers.

SYSTEMS AT PLAY

  • Colonialism – a system where settlers occupy land and benefit from it economically.
  • Racism – a system that discriminates and deems races, other than White, as inferior.

BARRIERS & ACCESS

  • Folks emigrating to Canada from non-English speaking countries may have a difficult time being hired for jobs they are highly qualified for. Racism is also a barrier where newcomers are assumed to be inferior and are disrespected based off of having an accent, the colour of their skin, or the way folks dress. As a new arrival to Canada, some folks face difficulty gaining Canadian status. Without status, it is hard to find housing, access healthcare, or go to school.
  • It is important to address that colonialism and racism also affect Indigenous individuals and nations on Turtle Island (now called North America). Although Indigenous people lived on this land first, the white settlers that dominated the land killed large numbers of Indigenous communities and forced Indigenous children into Residential Schools that were specifically made to assimilate them. Today, Indigenous people face much racism and discrimination. Indigenous peoples still do not have control over their land and face barriers to housing, water, healthcare, and education.
  • Although Indigenous peoples and folks coming out of the diaspora face many barriers, newcomers and Canadian citizens that are descendants of diasporas still have access and benefit from the exploitation of Indigenous land.

LANGUAGE & TIPS

  • It is not okay to ask if someone is a Canadian citizen, what their status is, or their migration story. It is not okay to make fun of an accent or pretend to have an accent.
  • It is never okay to tell someone to “Go back to where you came from.”
  • Always ask for permission before talking about a culture you do not belong to.
  • How do you address internalization of dominant cultures and bodies? You can provide books, media, and representation of non-white experiences.

RESOURCES

LESSON SEVEN: MONALISA & ERICA (TWO-MINUTE BIOGRAPHY)

Approx. 50-70 minutes

OBJECTIVE

Engage with the stories of First-Generation Canadians and create a two-minute biography.

THEMES

Assimilation, First-Generation Canadians, Internalized Fatphobia.

PREPARATION- Load Monalisa's Our Stories Video;
- Load Erica's Our Stories Video;
- Gather paper and writing utensils.
2 mins
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch Monalisa and Erica's video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
8-12 mins
DISCUSSION- Did you identify any Systems, Barriers and Access in Monalisa and Erica's stories?
- Monalisa and Erica take two different approaches to discussing their experiences as first-generation Canadians, what are some of their similarities? What are some of their differences?
- What is the difference between nationality and culture?
- How important is your nationality? How important is your cultural background?
- What does it mean to be Canadian?
- What are the problems with people expecting others to adhere to one idea of being Canadian?

Connective Question:
- If participants already watched Shejuanah's Our Stories Video, ask if they see any connections between Monalisa and Lola (the character she portrayed) in Shejuanah's video. Are they complimentary or contradictory?
15-20 mins
ACTIVITY- Say: "Telling your story in 3-5 minutes is difficult and only provides a snapshot of who you are. If you had 2 minutes to tell your story, what would you include?";
- Provide participants with lined paper and writing utensils and encourage them to draft a two-minute story of their life;
- After 5-10 minutes, ask if anyone would like to share their story with the larger group;
- Ask them how the exercise felt and if it impacted their opinions of the stories shared in the videos?
15-20 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins

LESSON EIGHT: THE ASSAULT (WHAT WAS DIEGO THINKING?)

Approx. 55-75 minutes

OBJECTIVE

Write a stream-of-consciousness passage for a “voiceless” participant.

THEMES

Language Barriers, Criminal Justice System, Bullying, Immigration.

PREPARATION- Load "The Assault" Our Stories Video;
- Gather paper and writing utensils.
2 mins
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch "The Assault" video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
10-15 mins
DISCUSSION- Did you identify any Systems, Barriers and Access in Diego's story?
- How did you feel about the opinions shared by:
• Julio?
• The cop?
• The two teachers?
• Diego's Classmates?
• Tyrone and Matthew?
- If these people were witnesses in Diego's case, what do you think the outcome would be?
- Imagine that Diego spoke with an accent when he stood up to Tyrone and Matthew. Using this new perspective, why wasn't Diego speaking when the cop was interrogating him?
- What human and legal rights was Diego denied? Why?
10-15 mins
ACTIVITY- Say: "We don't get the chance to hear from Diego in this story. Instead, we hear from everyone else around him to make sense of the situation. We don’t get the chance to know exactly what Diego was thinking."
- Provide participants with paper and writing utensils and instruct them to write a stream of consciousness for Diego ending with his arrest and starting from any of the following places:
• His first day in Canada;
• His first day in his new school;
• The first time he was bullied by Matthew and Tyrone;
• The assault in the cafeteria;
- Ask participants to think of Diego’s feelings, his family, what he may have experienced in his life, etc.
- When participants have completed their narrative, ask them to swap narratives with someone else. Ask them to continue swapping and reading other narratives until everyone has read at least three different narratives.
25-30 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins