Wednesday, 14 July 2010

On Immigrants & Émigrés

People liked to say that if America was a melting pot, Canada was a salad bowl. In Canada, immigrants kept their original identities and flavours, while in America they were assimilated into the cultural stew. If you came here as a spring onion, you could stay a spring onion, without anyone trying to turn you into a tomato or a cucumber.
There was some obvious truth to this. The Chinese cooking at the Phoenix was more authentic than in most of its American counterparts. Newcomers here were under relatively little pressure to 'Canadianize', to adapt their styles and manners to those of the host country; more easily than in the United States, they could go on doing things much as they'd done them at home. The English stayed English, the Chinese stayed Chinese. America was a land of immigrants, Canada a country of émigrés.

Jonathan Raban: Passage to Juneau

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