Ethnic Enclaves in Canada: Patterns of Exclusion, Segregation, and Clustering

Essay by Jamesstock17University, Bachelor'sA-, June 2006

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My essay will discuss the relationship between Asian ethnic groups in Canada, focusing on Vancouver and Toronto, and how their social and built environments are organized. I will discuss the development and perpetuation of ethnic enclaves in both of these cities, examining where these minority groups cluster, and observing the patterns of segregation. In addition, my thesis examines how enclaves are a result of the racism and exclusionary practices, coupled with immigrants' needs to establish a familiar community in a foreign landscape, and how these ethnic groups have been marginalized in Canada due to social constructs like 'whiteness' and 'othering'. My objectives involve an evaluation of the clustering of immigrants and visible minorities into ethnic enclaves in these two main metropolitan areas, as well as highlighting the patterns and conflicts in territoriality, residential, community, and collective spaces shared by these Asian groups, and discussing the factors such as racial segregation and inequality that have restricted these ethnic minorities' integration into the social fabric of Canada for over a century.

i. Ethnic enclaves: Exclusion, segregation and the clustering of immigrant ethnic groups

Geographers believe that the processes of race and racism are social constructs. Therefore, the way in which racism operates, and how it occurs, results in the segregation of communities. I will begin with a brief examination of the literature pertaining to the formation of ethnic enclaves during the early 20th century, citing Vancouver's Chinatown as an example. Smith (1991) indicates that racial segregation is sustained through the racist assumptions and practices of individuals and government bodies, resulting in racial inequality in Canada. In this regard, Chinese immigrants encountered a whole set of policies and acts to restrict them in the early 20th century, including the Chinese Immigration Acts of 1885, 1903, and 1923. For example, if someone could not...