Identity is something that emphasized in nowadays society. People talk about "This is the way I am" all the time. However, not so many people paid their attention to "This is the way you are." This is called "self-centric." Since Columbus discovered the New World in the late fifteenth century, the North American culture tends to be more Euro-American-centric. Thus, the social and cultural recognitions for Asian people in North America are never been such important issue.
Canada, as part of the North America, also tends to use Euro-American-centric as their cultural backbones. The Asians are thus become the second-class people in Canadian society. As been suppressed by the Canadian mainstream culture for more than one century, most of the Asians were gradually accept the way they have been treated in this distant land. However, in the 1970 s, a group of enthusiastic and highly educated young Asians hosted a radio show called "The Pender Guy" and wanted to use that radio show to change the fixed images that most Canadians hold for Asian community and also, wanted to use that radio show to encourage Asians to step out from the past experience and try to educate the unknown about the true Asian. "The Pender Guy" was well accepted by the audience and the term "Asian-Canadian" started to appear in the public media to represent the Asian community in Canada. Asian-Canadians on the other hand, are thus started to pay more attentions to their origins and their identities.
In this paper, I will discuss the emergence and the formation of identity, especially Asian-Canadian identity and how does this word, identity, relates as well as affects our every day life and self-dignity. The new understanding of individual identity emerged at the end of the eighteen-century. This newly formed interpretation of individual identity brings people a different perspective on viewing oneself. The idea of oneself is not a narrow term for "who you are?" or "who am I?" but a wider term for discover in oneself. This newly modified individual identity involves the importance of self-recognition. The issue on self-recognition made the individual identity much more humane, because by recognizing oneself, personal feelings and inner voices are taking into account.
In this essay, I will discuss the specific issue on Asian-Canadian identities; why self-identity is important and how does the hyphenated term "Asian-Canadian" separated the Asian-Canadians from the mainstream culture. And I will use both theoretical as well as real life stories in the following discussion. The question on self-identity became much more complex followed by immigration, migration, and the interracial marriages between different places and races. Canada a country that tried to stay as a multicultural society since became worth while to pay attention to and one of the largest minority groups, Asian communities will thus become the case that we will pay a close. Canadian people are basically consisted by immigrants and the descendents of the earlier settlers, therefore, it is much more complex for Canadians to face the identity issue. One of the best examples is the identity crisis that happened among the Asian-Canadian communities.
As the human right and the human equality movement turn white-hot in the twentieth century, the Canadian government has finally established The Multiculturalism Act of Canada at the end of 1980 s and faces During the late nineteenth century an Asian migration wave spread into Canada, the place described as "Gold Mountain" by Chinese migrates. Promise of better lives propelled these fortune seekers to leave their home and families behind and migrate to a distant land. Contrasting to the European settlers in Canada, these Asian migrates found themselves working as hard labors and yet, get a lot less than the Caucasian workers. Nonetheless, these imported workers chose to stay since their reduced pay still fared much better than what they could have earned in their home countries which were plagued by economic and social hardship at that time.
Although the economic situations of these migrated workers' families were improved, these Asian migrates faced new social challenges in a drastically different and unfriendly country. As the number of Asian migrates increased dramatically between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Canadian government used variety of ways to try to prohibit new Asian migrates headed into Canada. For instance, the expensive head tax for Chinese people, and the internment of Japanese people in British Columbia are the methods used by the Canadian government. Been treated as inferior, Asians in Canada were not only not recognized by Canadian society, but also discriminated by most of the Canadians. The fear for the unknown made the Canadians to resist to know more about Asian communities. At this time, the Canadian society treated Asian immigrants and their decedents as outsiders even though many of them are born and raised in Canada just as the mass of the society who were decedents of European settlers.
After the termination of the Second World War, as the entire globe entering its recovering, the idea on human rights and equalities arouse. The status of the Asians was finally been admitted. In the late 1980 s, the Canadian government has finally established "The Multiculturalism Act of Canada." The final goals of this Multiculturalism Act are to provide that "every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination and that everyone has the freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association and guarantees those rights and freedoms equally to male and female persons... ." The Asians are finally officially been recognized by the Canadian government. However, does the recognition equal to acceptation? The answer is no.
Even though the Canadian government has officially admitted the status of Asian immigrants in Canada, however, the story is not yet ended. Due to the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Asian communities,.