Quote: Originally Posted by GL Schmitt
While native peoples and the Métis are probably the most discriminated against in Canada...
I don't think there's any "probably" about it, that looks pretty much certain to me. It's not easy to do overt discrimination in this country anymore, but I don't think there's much less of it than there ever was, it's just become more subtle. You'll find it in places like price differentials on housing in various neighborhoods in my city, for instance, but I think it's most commonly and overtly found in jokes, which often express a great deal of hostility. Such as this one: why do women have one more brain cell than cows? So when you squeeze their nipples they won't kick you. And if you're going to tell that one you have to tell this one at the same time, to avoid being accused of sexism: why do men have one more brain cell than dogs? So they won't hump your leg in public. Both of those are really pretty hostile and insulting if you think about them a bit.
Canada is such a nation of immigrants that almost everybody could be identified as a member of some foreign minority group to some degree, and my admittedly unscientific observation is that the most overt discrimination is generally directed at the most recent immigrants, with a more or less constant level of discrimination against aboriginal people by everybody. At one time it was the Irish. It's been Ukrainians, Poles, Pakistanis... And there have been dismissive labels for all them, though I don't think there's anything uniquely Canadian about words like bohunk, Polack or Paki.
In order to be discriminated against though, a group has to be identifiably different somehow. Skin colour is only the most obvious one, and probably the source of the most long-standing discrimination. There was a time when an Irish or slavic accent was enough, or a surname ending in -chuk or -ski, but those characteristics now fall below the radar for most people.
But the Irish, Ukrainians, Poles, etc. are all white. It's visible differences like colour that lead to the most long-standing discrimination. The only words I've ever heard besides Indian for aboriginal people are "jig," and that only once, from a guy who'd proven himself to be a total moron in many other ways, and "wagon burners." And there are always a few dickheads who'll address an aboriginal male as "chief" and a female as "squaw," which eludes my understanding. How can being a chief be a bad thing? And "squaw" is just the word in the Massachusett language for a young woman, not, as Oprah Winfrey would have us believe, a euphemism for certain female body parts.
And along with "rag-head" I've heard "towel-head" and "curry monkey" for the same people, though again, I doubt those are uniquely Canadian slurs.
Actually I'm feeling uncomfortable even typing those words, so I think I'll stop now.