Historically, canada faced enormous economic growth in the beginning of the twentieth century based on significant growth in populations, as the demand for labourers became stronger due to the economic growth canada became more acceptable with the idea of migration. just as population increased, social constructions of race, ethnicity, class and gender played important roles in formation and development of canada as a nation state. furthermore, the experience of visible minorities to canada was critically depended on these social concepts as immigrants were crucial in progress of economy during the 1900.
As canada was known as the “whites men land”, many immigrants suffered from social discrimination and inquiry of immigrant’s experience is central to perceive the history of canada. from this perspective, the purpose of this essay is to analyze how the intersection of race, ethnicity,class and gender shaped migrant’s incorporation in first three decades of 20th century in canada. First and foremost, canada’s great economic growth during 1896 to 1914 caused population growth that brought many inequalities with it.
All the vast resources of this land required an enormous labour forced which favoured the immigration polices and anyone who could meet the challenges of systemic requirement was welcomed(Avery,81). The main determinant of immigration policies were resource and transportation organizations who sought cheap and simple work force, therefore government officials and businessmen began to work closely together(Avery, 82) to build canada as a nation. Migration in canada faced racial and cultural factors and to analyze more in depth, there were three factor for these nequalities. Firstly, demand for labour being the main reason of immigration policies,government rescued inexpensive labourers for jobs acquiring physical complication along instability “immigrants would satisfy several needs: they would serve as source of cheap labour… bring further business to the company… directed into complementary resource industries”(Avery, 85).
Secondly, to immigrate to canada as work force,job requirement contained harsh working conditions demanding necessary “manpower”,”those who are physically able to [endure] strenuous labour… ust be able to handle a pick and shovel”(Avery, 87)such as farming, mining and working on railroad constructions(Avery, 84). This fact unable women to migrate with exception of domestic work demand. Thirdly, the truly preferred migrants were British settlers. Their avoidance to perform heavy and dangerous job along with inferior conditions and low wages was one of the main reason canada began to take migrants from other parts of Europe “for the immigration branch the peasant in a sheepskin coat… had to be found somewhere else”(Avery, 83), where labourers were willing to perform precarious tasks.
I believe the main cause of social exploitation during the employment boom was canada’s capitalist labour market with the intersection of racism, sexism and class discrimination. (visible minorities)Furthermore, the history of colonization through social discrimination in immigration policies has had an enormous effect in formation of Canada as a nation. Argued by Roxana Ng that Ethnicity/race, gender, and class must be treated as social relations which have to do with how people relate to each other through productive and reproductive activities (230).
By analyzing the Canadian immigration history it is obvious that men and women and various races were treated differently. As a proof for this argument historical evidences are available. For instance, “Chinese men were not allowed to ot allowed to bring their wives and families to Canada so they could not propagate and spread the yellow menace” (Ng, 234). It is important to know the definitions regarding ethnicity and race are social constructions that shift constantly, reflecting the changing dynamics of gender, race and class relations over time, throughout her paper (Ng, 227).
Further on the changing dynamics of race, class and gender as stated “gender, race/ ethnicity, and class are not fixed entities. They are socially constructed in and through productive and reproductive relations in which we all participate” (239). Wisely speaking, Ng is arguing in the right direction because by comparing the social construction of Canada today to early 1900s, we can analyze that there have been significant shifts in the definitions and individual’s views regarding race/ethnicity, class, and gender.
As an illustration, in the past Canadian history different terms like “Europeans,” “Orientals,” “Negros” were used in order to signify their different racial origins (Ng, 227). As of today, there are criminal charges against people who use these terms in their daily conversation. To take it further by examining the history of social constructions in canada Ng demonstrated that “immigration policies which changed over time in response to the demands of nation building” (Ng, 234) and the impact of the intersectionality of class, ethnicity, and gender in forming and developing Canada as a nation state. nce again, the experience of labour section illustrates crucial discrimination in canada’s history.
During 1912 an unusual event occurred relating jewish labourers of T. Eaton garment factory. men and women solidarity formed an outstanding strike regarding social insults;the company was laying of women while assigning their jobs to men with no concern to the pressure of the job with no raise. although Eaton’s company was treating its employees no different than any other company at that time(317) it faced many issues due to the support of many organization for its strikers, such as united garment workers and Toronto’s jewish community. oreover, the social discrimination against Finnish domestics about the same period of time is illustrated by varpu lindstrom.
Due to the shortage of domestic workers in the beginning of the 20th century Finnish maid faced many benefits such as countless job opportunities, good wages and “an instant home,on the job training and immersion in country’s language and customs”(172), yet social inequality did not exclude them. the main problem these Finnish domestics was “long hours,hard work and lack of privacy”(182). eing domestic work the case of their migration, employers teated them as low status visible minorities. to analyze the social construction of jewish workers in 1900’s, it is examined that the immigrants were treated with discrimination in their work environment and suffered from many disadvantages due to racism and sexism.
In comparison, with experience of Finnish domestics i noted that these labourers were treated as slaves were they dealt with class discriminations. “no matter how good the family you work in,when you are a made, you are nothing but a slave. I won’t be a slave! instated by a Finnish women. above all, i examined the intersectionality of race, gender and class had strong impacts on labour section of immigrants in canada through frager and lindstorm papers in 1900’s. last but not least, the history of black people in canada has been one of the main topics addressing the question of race,ethnicity and gender. unfortunately,” Canadian scholarship overall has been preoccupied with english and french concerns, to the exclusion of Canadian peoples of non-european origins. this, at best,is xenophobic; it is also racist”(161).
Dionne Brand is one of the a few essayist that has addressed the issue of black and feminist struggle in canada(13). Argued by brand, black community has been presented as “genderless group”, let alone black women have been doubly underrepresented (162). the analysis of this piece suggests rather a harsh truth about the discrimination done to this race during the 1900, while they had to perform lower-position and more so dangerous task(168) during the war and the depression as white women abandoned to do those jobs.
I hold that views of black women’s history ranged from slavery and precarious proximity o effects of depression after the world war II. furthermore, the examination on this paper covers an enormous matter of race and gender discrimination that black women had to confront with their position in society and were marginalized to secure better position for the “preferred race”. the fact that the reason behind the immigration of black community was to fill the gaps of inferior position exploited this race in the history. overall, the black issue covers an excessive intersectionality of race, ethnicity and gender in canada’s history.