|Interacting with Americans and Canadians
Dealing with prejudice in Canada and the U.S.
Prejudice remains in Canada and the U.S., but international travellers and international students of colour or whose culture differs should expect to be welcomed nearly
Economically depressed areas in both Canada and the
United States offer the most potential for irritation. Demagogues
find it easy to blame one group or another for the local woes, which,
of course, are usually the result of technological or other changes
such as the depletion of an oil field.
Also, you are more likely to find relations strained where the size of one group has been increasing rapidly. This is basic sociology.
Nevertheless, even in places like Vancouver, where immigration of people of Chinese descent exploded during the period when the United Kingdom ceded control of Hong Kong to China, you find many healthy signs, such as how many people from various groups mix socially.
If you are a person of colour, do not worry much about your reception
in the South, which now boasts some of the best race relations in
In most situations today, the basic goodness of Americans
and Canadians triumphs.
Prejudice remains—there was so much of
it not long ago!—but its dwindling practitioners do not overshadow.
Just remain neutral, and try to ignore the occasional irritation.
Harassment based on race or religion is unlawful in the U.S., and its eradication
involves both federal and local law enforcement. Moreover, since the implementation of voting rights laws in all areas of the U.S., law enforcement has become truly multicultural and multi-racial.
Although some travellers worry about
what will be their reception in the United States, they should note
that the United States is increasingly a nation of non-northern
According to a recent dean of the
University of Southern California School of Education, nearly 60
percent of school children in California, the most populous state,
are members of racial and ethnic "minorities." Surprisingly
to some, the second most practised religion in the U.S. is Islam.
New York City
Do not worry about your reception in New York City and the adjacent part of northern New Jersey. People call these people rude, but that seems unfair. They are blunt, and not at all shy about their feelings.
New Yorkers are not (in most cases)
singling you out. Most practise "equal opportunity" bluntness, not based on your race, creed, or colour.
Please understand that in such a large and overcrowed urban area, experience has taught many residents for their protection
to withhold any intimacy until both parties know each other well.
You may find their behaviour refreshing after the false intimacy often
found elsewhere in the States.
In the New York City area, Dr. Voyageur
does not suggest that you act like New Yorkers. In most cases, just
ignore what seems to be rudeness around you.
New Yorkers have become much more
friendly in recent years as the stress caused by their formally
high crime rate has declined and they have met a major act of terrorism
with courage and service to the victims. New York residents are far more open and friendly than they used to be.
For more discussion about interacting with Americans
Go to >> Making friends
Go to >> Interacting
with Americans and Canadians
Go to >> Handling complaints
Go to >> Avoiding sexism
Go to >> Settling into
North American life
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