Friday, August 27, 2004

Cultural Pride and White Anglo Christians

I’m proud of my culture. Everyone should be. Isn’t that what we are taught from birth here in multicultural Canada – that all cultures are equal and none is better than any other? And that we should be proud of who we are? Isn’t that why my culture – Canada’s founding White-Anglo-Christian culture (outside Quebec) - has welcomed millions upon millions of immigrants and refugees while never asking them to embrace traditional Canadian values. In past years, immigrants arrived with a shovel in their hands and integrated into every community, big and small, across Canada. Today’s newcomers arrive with an instant entitlement to a vast array of tax funded social services and, for the most part, settle in their own mono-ethnic enclaves in Canada’s major urban centers.

This used to bother me. I used to think that this self-segregation would result in a country divided along ethnic, religious and racial lines. I saw it as detrimental to the creation of a cohesive, unified nation. To me it was a slap in the face. Newcomers segregating themselves with their own kind, away from the rest of Canadians. I was troubled by the Chinese Community in North Scarborough/Markham who have created a community where many stores and businesses have signage containing only Chinese language – no English or French. This made me feel unwelcome in their stores. The message to me was clear. They were saying: “Thank-you for letting me come to your wonderful country- now stay the heck away from me”.

Then, yesterday I saw a white man and, what I assumed to be, his daughter walking down the street. The girl was no more than 13. She was dressed in clothes that a prostitute would have deemed too immodest. And I wondered to myself: what kind of a culture have we created here in the western world where a father would let his daughter dress like a $50 hooker and parade her down the street without feeing any shame.

Parents of little girls – some as young as eight or ten – take them to Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears concerts. They let them watch these performers strip practically naked while simulating sex and masturbation with their mostly naked dancers. Young, scantily-clad girls stare at us from bill boards, magazine covers, music videos and television commercials in full make-up, suggestively posed, with a ‘come-take-me’ look on their faces. Clearly many of our media sources are run by people who seek to degrade young girls and lower them, in the public’s eyes, to the role of cheap-slutty sex-objects.

Why do we let these media creeps do this? Why are we not offended? Why do we let our little girls worship and emulate sexually explicit performers like Christina and Britney? Do we secretly like it? Does it titillate us to see children acting like sex objects? It must. Otherwise we would be speaking out. What does this say about our precious White-Anglo-Christian culture? We should be ashamed at what we have become.

Single mothers, many on welfare, are everywhere. Many children grow up in broken homes with no relationship with their biological father, let alone the consistent and dependable love and discipline of any one male father-figure. Children regularly talk-back and disrespect their parents to their parents’ faces with no repercussions.

Is it any wonder that newcomers to our nation choose to distance themselves and protect their children from the mainstream culture? Is it any wonder they watch their own shows on satellite TV, read their own newspapers and form their own community groups? I don’t think I blame them at all. After all, it is they who now have the values worth protecting. Whereas western values have become crass, cheap and disposable, like the latest episode of Jerry Springer or the Batchelor, or the latest issue of Cosmo or Hustler.

At the beginning of this piece I said that I am proud of my culture. I was only half right. I’m proud of what my culture used to be. But, I’m ashamed of what it has become. There was a time when White-Anglo-Christian culture was something to defend and be proud of. But no longer. Today, it is something to be wary of and to shield your children from.

And I can hardly blame new immigrants for doing just that.


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