Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

In search of Canadianism

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What is your nationality? If you’re a Canadian citizen the answer is, obviously, Canadian. However, ironically, many of us Canucks would prefer attachment to our historical ethnicity rather than align ourselves with the nation we were born in. I have had countless futile conversations with my fellow Canadians on the topic of ethnicity and I find some of the opinions I receive annoying and bothersome. The subject often comes up when people ask me “Are you Italian?” I’m not one to split hairs but I find it difficult to answer that question. Nevertheless any Canadian with a last name ending in a vowel would claim to be an Italian in nationality and the same could be said that those with a “Mc” or “O’” surname would state that they are Irish.

One should appreciate one’s heritage, although there is a line in the sand where one’s connection to the mother land has long been forgotten and the culture that is current and prominent becomes one’s own.  If I claim to be an Italian (which in reality I am legally and technically not) than I must act in accordance with the expectations of those with whom I am speaking. It is not necessarily racially prejudice to assume that someone with a last name ending in ‘O’ or ‘I’ has a kitchen in their basement but it is at the very least annoying. I am not even a full-blooded Italian, I’m actually about half wop and I have to explain to people that I do not have lavish, huge, olive-oil soaked meals every night and that, on average, I usually eat as shittily as most non-Europeans. A lot of people are shocked and need to be reminded that Italians are actually having intercourse with non-Italians and breeding mutt children. I have gotten a multitude of bewildered reactions from people when I tell them that my mother in fact did not come here on a packed boat in the 1950s.

Ironically most of the racial stereotyping I have received in my lifetime has come from my so-called fellow Italians. These want-to-be guineas seem to think there is a strict regiment of Italianism that any descendent needs to adhere by. I have honestly been told to by some Mediterraneans that I should not own a pet because I’m Italian however I need to own a variety of suits and dress clothes. And of course I can’t eat Kraft Dinner and I have to watch soccer. What the fuck is that shit? Furthermore, on both of the aforementioned occasions I have asked these racial rivals if they had ever been to Italy and/or spoke the language to which both people answered “no” to each question. I assume to these racially-confused individuals it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever been to the country of your ancestors or understand the language, what is important is that you follow completely meaningless and ridiculous practices that for some reason they believe are stereotypical to their alleged culture. 

What I find incredibly vexing is where a lot of people draw the line when it comes to nationality. Many people with different types of ancestry seem to carry their ancestor’s ethnicity with them even though it was their great-great-great Grandparents that were the last in the family tree to be born outside of Canada. I think if anyone in your family beyond your biological Grandparents were from another nation you would have most likely lost any major cultural characteristics typical to the country of your long-dead relatives.  All in all, anyone whose parents were born in the same country as they were are more than likely absorbed in the culture and national attitude of their current citizenry. 

This feeling of misconceived nationality is a result of the cultural vacuum that exists in most of Canada. In much of Anglo-urban Canada there is very little to identify as completely separate from American in culture. Additionally, compared to other nations Canada’s cultural traits are minimal. Be this as it may, I don’t believe this is something to squawk about. Our lack of culture is actually what makes us unique and although there is very little to identity as purely Canadian in essence that which does exist is interesting, rare and distinct. This is the second largest country in landmass, there are two official languages, there are at least three founding nations and countless other intricacies and complications that Canada is characteristic of.

I am perplexed by the apathy that exists within much of Canada’s citizenry. We claim that we are not a “melting pot” like the US, but a “tossed salad.” However this is horseshit. The United States for centuries has been a melting pot of only white Christians and Canada is at best a tossed salad of the same. What I hope is that while many of us are proud of our background we still appreciate why our relatives (however distant) chose Canada to raise a family, find work and contribute to the economy and the culture.

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Written by shanedantimo

July 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm

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