Contrasts Associated with the United States and Canada in Dealing with Diversity

Contrasts associated with the United States and Canada in dealing with diversity: the unique challenges Canada faces
“Canada has a unique dual national dominant culture which contrasts sharply to the WASP dominant culture of the U. S.” (Jones, N/A). This paradigm is different from the U. S., (other countries have this model) (Parsons, 1999), consequently, the two countries have taken divergent paths toward assimilation. While Canada is a dual dominant culture, it is questionable that the two dominant cultures are equal. Canada is a mecca of immigration like the U. S. and is increasingly diverse: embracing this diversity in the face of dueling dominant majority is strikingly difficult (Jaime Lluch, 2010).
Comparisons between the United States and Canada include: 1.) ethnic development 2.) Immigration and 3.) Current diversity. In contrast: 1.) Canada is a bifurcated dominant culture and the U. S. is dominated by one 2.) Pluralism dominated Canadian culture while assimilation was preferred in the U. S. 3.) Canada rejected slavery and the U. S. Embraced it and 4.) Canada has been more receptive to racial and ethnic diversity than the U. S. (Marger, 2009). Both countries began as colonial settlements that conquered indigenous populations and subsequently experienced vast growth through immigrants (predominantly European) and eventually became more diverse as immigration continued through the present. Canada, unlike the U. S., began as a French colony and was conquered a second time by the British, resulting in in school dominant majority structure while the United States was predominately WASP from its inception. The dual dominance in the formation of Canada as a nation, specifically the retention of French culture in Quebec, led to a pluralistic society: the U. S., on the other hand, embarked on a less tolerant assimilation policy. The impact of slavery in the United States as opposed to its rejection in Canada is likely to have led to a great many economic and social differences, however, greatest amongst those is likely the more compassionate and tolerant policies in Canada with respect to race and ethnic issues.
The two majority groups, English-French, dominate the policy formulation process while at the same time conflicting with one another, whereas, in terms of ethnicity, the United States is dominated by a WASP majority. The unique challenges Canada faces in trying to be multi-cultural are related to the conflict between the two dominant majority groups. The ethnic split in the majority is linguistic as well as value/cultural. It is also economic, as the French Canadians are not equal to the English Canadians. The current ethnic makeup is British Isles origin 28% and French origin 23%, (Kwintessential) which would imply that French Canadians are near equals, however, social, economic, and political factors support the opposite view. Canada??™s unique dual dominant culture juxtaposed to the WASP dominant culture of the U. S. provides insight. Canadian history is replete with difficulties between the two dominant cultures. The British conquest of the French colony ended with a population predominantly French which then became balanced with English, (due in large part to English loyalists entering Canada subsequent to the British defeat in the U. S.) whereas in the United States the WASP culture dominated consistently. The French were narrowly settled in what is now Quebec whereas the English settled in all areas of Canada much as American settlers of European ancestry did. In Quebec the English dominated government and commerce resulting in a deep resistance to assimilation (Marger, 2009). However, unlike the U. S. The dominant party in political and social power was also dominant in numbers whereas in Canada the English were not dominant in numbers (Marger, 2009). The socio-political -economic dominance of the English dominated the numbers of French. However, they permitted the French to preserve their ethnicity including French civil law, the French language, and Catholicism. The religious differences and linguistic issues combined to create a unique set of challenges for all Canadians. The English do not need to learn French to govern or to function in employment: they control the major economic aspects of the economy, and the political system (Jaime Lluch, 2010). French Canadians were relegated to minority status in all areas other than numbers (Marger, 2009). Francophones are an evolution of resistance to English domination and encompass far more than a mere clinging to language. They have maintained a separate cultural entity (GlobalComment). So much so, that they have attempted to separate themselves and become an independent country and in the United States this ethnic divide has never been supported by such numbers or such entrenched cultural identity (Jaime Lluch, 2010).
Francophones live in Quebec, essentially creating their own territory, and insulating themselves to some degree from the dominant English. This serves to further isolate them from the centers of power and influence as well. The Canadian English, like their American counterparts are WASPs whereas French Canadians are mostly Catholic thus the prevailing value systems of these two cultures are also dissimilar. This religious divide resulted in societal reinforcement of the separation of these cultures further distancing French Canadians from access to the centers of power in their English counterparts. The importance of religion as a political actor in the formation of this nation should not be minimized. The Catholic and Anglican churches exerted much influence in the cultural and political development of this country. (OToole), much as the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant churches did in the U. S. The fact that there were two competing religions exerting this type of influence in Canada is a remarkably different model than that established in the U. S.
It is notable that current literature is very focused on the diverse groups in Canada much as it is in the United States. While diversity is, at present challenging, it may well provide a solution to the future and to race and ethnic relations in Canada and across the globe. References
OToole, R. (n.d.). Religion in Canada: its development and contemporary situation by Roger OToole for the American religious experience. American religious experience at wvu. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from
Parsons, N. (1999, August 19). Botswana History Page 4: Culture. Botswana History. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from
Jones, E. (Director) (2001, July 31). Chapter15 Canada: Ethnic Model of the Future. power point presentation. Lecture conducted from California university of pennsylvania, California.
Kwintessential. (n.d.). Canada – Language, Culture, Customs and Business Etiquette. Professional Translation Services | Interpreters | Intercultural Communication & Training. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from
Lluch, J. (2010). How nationalism evolves: explaining the establishment of new varieties of nationalism within the national movements of Quebec and Catalonia (1976-2005).. Nationalities Papers, 38(3), 337-359. Retrieved July 30, 2011, from the Ebsco host database.
Lluch, J. (2010). How nationalism evolves: explaining the establishment of new varieties of nationalism within the national movements of Quebec and Catalonia (1976-2005). Nationalities Papers, 38 (3 ), 337-359. Retrieved July 31, 2011, from the EBSCOhost database.
Marger, M. N. (2009). Race and ethnic relations (8th ed.). Belmont (Calif.): Wadsworth.