Why don't we just stop with the Chinese-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, Italian-Canadian, Russian-Canadian, etc. and just all call ourselves Canadians!
It would, in many instances, be justifiable to believe that such declarations have somewhat more to do with ethnocentric attitudes than with simple statements of pride in heritage.
When it is truly relevant and productive to a conversation or situation there is nothing wrong with making reference to ethnic contexts and influences, but there are so many instances where such information is not only totally unnecessary and irrelevant but sometimes divisive.
Every one of us, after all, is sharing passage on a fragile, challenged planet and with each passing year it becomes increasingly evident that unless we soon learn to focus more on what we all share in common rather than what differentiates us, every person and every ethnic group on earth will be forced to collectively carry the burden of the same interrelated social, economic, and environment penalties.
At that point, and it will inevitably come, ethnicity will become totally irrelevant.
If, however, we in Canada are unable and/or unwilling to overcome our need to ethnically differentiate ourselves, we should at least attempt to reverse the language in our labelling to read Canadian-Chinese, Canadian-Italian, Canadian-Japanese, Canadian-Native, etc. Even such a simple adjustment might have a profound effect on, not only the ways in which we view and interact with each other, but also on the manner in which we participate in the culture-building experiment we are all part of.
For my part, irrespective of what my genetic and cultural ori-gins might be, I consider myself to be a Canadian first, and then, if you insist and it is relevant to something, a German/Russian, second. That seems appropriate, doesn't it?
Ray Arnold Richmond
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