Cultural violence and injustice = telling anyone that the concept of celebrating the culture of his ancestors is disgusting, but wishing there were a neutral word for disgusting. Apparently, since British (& Irish & American) people were the majority of those who helped forge Canada and made Canada’s cultural identity (and even if there were schemes to make the country more “British”, the sheer bulk of Anglo-American, English, and Scottish immigrants would have ensured a certain level of Britishness in the Dominion anyway), we’re not allowed to celebrate our heritage.
As it turns out, those who have chosen to come to Canada really deserve a louder voice than us.
And “dominant culture”, apparently has something to do with domination.
Well, guess what: TOO BAD!
My Grandpa Parkins came from Carlisle in Cumbria, the North of England. At the other end of European immigrants to Canada, in the late 1700s, George Ironside came over, either from England or Scotland (there are both Scots and Englishmen of the name). Throughout the 19th century, the rest came over, the Hoskins from Holsworthy, Devonshire, the Balfours originally from Scotland with a stay in Inniskillin, Ireland (it wasn’t Northern Ireland yet), the Wakelys also from England.
By the luck of the draw, I am 1/64 Shawnee (a story involving Ironside and for another day), a tiny bit Irish (a story involving Inniskillin, but we’re not wholly sure), and the rest a beautiful mixture of English and Scottish, of North England and South England, of Lowlands and Grampians, of upper-class Scottish and working- and middle-class English.
Anglo-Saxon and Celt have come together in Canada many times, and of the many results — including many beautiful and/or distinctive things about our culture (queues, spelling, bits o the accent, politeness, a perceived need for privacy) — note that I am one of them. My ancestors helped forge this nation; not counting the First Nations, of course, I am as much like a native Canadian (culturally, ancestrally) as a Hoskin in a pub in Holsworthy is a native Englishman.
So why should I not celebrate the achievements of my ancestors? Celebrate the great British poets, novelists, playwrights; celebrate the good bits of British cuisine (I know we always come down hard on meat without sauces and vegetables boiled to death, but who can complain about roast beef with Yorkshire pudding??? ); listen to great British musicians; wear a kilt or tweed; watch British TV and film; remember some of the cool Britons; celebrate the excellent parts of British history. To say that there is something wrong with wanting to celebrate where you have come from, to celebrate the people who have made me who I am, to remember a small island with big importance — that is what I consider disgusting.
In todays’ cultural climate, the Scottish in Canada are allowed to celebrate Scottishness so long as we keep to our kilts, traditional music, dance, and throwing around large objects. Oh, as well as reading incomprehensible poetry and eating leftover bits of sheep. That’s great. I do that a lot — and I love it. It would have been a lot simpler to have had “Scotland Is Cool” Month. And I knew it. That’s why I wanted to make it Britain — we need to not be ashamed of our heritage.
But the English in Canada are allowed to be happy about being English, but we’re supposed to keep quiet about it.
That’s unjust! I am over half English. And I loved the seventeen days I spent in England, ten of which were spent as a tourist (the other seven were spent in an old manor in Kent doing missionary training that was even farther from the English experience than being a tourist). I love English history, English literature, English castles, English beer, the English Church, English movies, English humour, the English language, portions of English music. But in a country filled with English names and English people, where we speak the English language, share a Queen with England, use the English parliamentary system, study English literature in school, and who knows what else, it is taboo for the English to celebrate our heritage.
Instead, the liberal politicians are trying to reforge Canada in a non-image, acting like the things that make Canada what it is are things we don’t share with anyone else or things we don’t even share with each other — muticulturalism is a reality, not a distinctive cultural trait; no one can actually be multicultural. So everyone is allowed to celebrate in Canada — the Irish, the Scottish, the Chinese, the Jews, the Japanese, the Indians, the Germans, the Afro-Canadians, the Ojibwa (et al.) — except us.
Here’s the moronic thing. In Cyprus, the Greek Cypriots had a few days on which they celebrated being Greek and Cypriot. I, as a foreigner, was pleased that they got to celebrate and remember who they were. I’m sure foreigners in Norway don’t feel oppressed or put out about the fact that the Norwegians celebrate being Norwegian (I don’t even know if Norwegians celebrate Norwegianness).
However, in Canada, we of the homegrown culturally dominant group are told by the foreigners to keep quiet. Be happy, sure. Just don’t let anyone know.
Cultural violence, I tell you! I’m sick of all this politically correct idiocy.
My name is Matthew and I’m British.