Saturday, May 25, 2013

So wait, white people "flee" a suburb because too many PoCs are moving in and WE'RE the ones "isolating" ourselves?

So a suburb in the Greater Toronto Area is now majority non-white and it's freak out time of course.

What I love is that this story is about white people leaving Brampton because South Asians are moving in, but the article is about how South Asian people need to "integrate" and not "isolate".  Um, but WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES LEAVING?  Clearly they're the ones who don't want to "integrate" and are "isolating" themselves.  Except, of course, that from a "white as default" lens, where white people should be the majority population of any non-poor area, and PoCs should be there just to spice things up, it's framed as white people being chased out, and South Asians isolating themselves by... existing.

Like, there's never societal angst that majority white neighbourhoods are white people not "integrating" with Canadian/American society, or creating "ethnic enclaves" or "ghettos".  But if you have a non-white population be the majority, then it's OMG ISOLATING, ENCLAVES, NOT INTEGRATING, blah blah blah. -_-  Unless, it's a poor neighbourhood, that's okay, because that's also part of the "order of things" in a white privileged society.  And it means that those PoC don't have as much power.  Nobody complains about Chinatown in Toronto, but there's a lot of complaints about Markham, while both are majority Chinese, because Chinatown is in the city, seen as a tourist destination (i.e. the PoCs exist for white people and spices up the city), and is lower income, while Markham is a fairly affluent suburb, where Chinese people have quite a lot of say in what happens in the city.  And that's not the "way of things" to white Canada.

This BS reminds me of my high school which was about 30-40% Chinese and there was angst that the Chinese population didn't "integrate" and we hung around each other a lot.  Nobody of course saw it as white people hanging around THEMSELVES, because white is default and white people hanging around each other is normal.  White people sit together at lunch, that's normal, Asian people sit together at lunch instead of spreading themselves out so we're a minority at every white-majority table?  That's ghettoizing ourselves, that's not integrating, that's blah blah blah.  Every social group must look like an American TV show where it's 5 white ppl and 1 or 2 token PoCs, or there's a problem

There was even an article in the student newspaper that "called out" the Chinese students for "not integrating" and that we spoke in Cantonese too often and white people couldn't eavesdrop which makes white people paranoid, so it's... our fault.  Eavesdropping is rude.  You presumably don't feel the need to hear every single conversation in English in the school, and you don't get paranoid they're all talking about you (and the funny part is you don't need to speak in another language to gossip about ppl, we ALL know that), so why suddenly with us?  And the article also claimed we needed to be more "Canadian" and learn about hockey and cottage-living.  Yes, apparently cottage-living is a Canadian thing and if you don't do it, you're not Canadian.  I'm pretty sure the majority of Canadians don't own cottages, we should probably deport everybody. e_e

But what this ultimately comes down to, I think, is white people feeling like they're losing control.  Whether it's not being able to understand a conversation that has nothing to do with them, or a non-white group making up the majority of a non-poor community, or malls and restaurants that exist for the community and not as "tourist attractions", it's all about feeling as if their dominance and being in control is slipping away.  They want to spread PoCs around so that we're always a minority in every community and thus white people never have to worry about a situation where they have to feel not the "default".  Consciously or subconsciously, it makes white society uncomfortable when there's a situation where they feel that PoC don't exist for them, but for ourselves, and we are main characters in our stories and not just token friends in theirs or "ethnic" communities for a "very special episode".


  1. Five plus centuries of Anglo-European Global Dominance is coming to an end. Expect a little drama. ;-)

  2. I saw this whole thing played out over and over growing up in Miami. "The Cubans are taking over OMG!" "Why can't they speak English!?!?" "Will The Last American To Leave Miami Please Bring The Flag" (a popular bumper sticker on Anglo-owned cars). The result? When I was a kid Miami was a dying city, literally -- it was famous for being the place old people retired to to die. When I moved out around 2000 it was a world-class metropolis with a thriving cultural scene (and too much traffic, and too expensive for me to live in, but still).

    I lived in Orlando for about ten years after that. It was growing by leaps and bounds and was even more multicultural (along with Hispanic groups there were large numbers of South Asians and Vietnamese -- near downtown Orlando was "Little Saigon"). Orlando used to be known for two things: orange groves, and then being where Disney World was built.

    Now I live up in the mountains of Virginia. Outside of towns like mine that have a theater and college scene it's nothing but poor white communities where the major product seems to be meth. And from what I've read most majority-white communities are economic dead-ends where everything stagnates. (Exceptions are places like Portland, which is still riding on its "cool, hip young thing" scene but as those folks grow older I'll bet you its cache will fade.) I have a theory that it's not just losing political and cultural dominance that white people fear, it's being shown up for being a decaying, moribund society that should have been put out of its misery decades ago but have managed to hang on due to having most of the guns. But even that won't do it any more. (Full disclosure: I am white, so you're getting this from the horse's mouth.)

  3. Yeah, I got this linked by the Atlantic, no less. Used to be just my own ramblings, now its worrying The Important People: