Contemporary Multicultural Narratives and Immigration Politics: Intersections of Gender, Racialization, and Cultural Identity Among Asian and Latino Canadian Immigrant Youth

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Nazilla NAZILLA KHANLOU, York University, Canada
Luz Maria VAZQUEZ, York University, Canada
Attia KHAN, York University, Canada
Background: The integration of ethnocultural and racialized minorities in Western immigrant-receiving countries has received growing attention in public and political discourses in recent decades, especially in the post 9/11 era. Mass movement of refugees into Europe, anti-immigration discourses, and hate crimes targeting religious minority communities, have reinvigorated narratives of identity, belonging, and inclusion in the West. It is in light of these events, and in the context of Canada’s 150th anniversary, that a revisiting of Canadian discourses on multiculturalism and integration is timely. Objective: We revisit this discourse through the views of two groups of immigrant youth. We report findings of our study on the perceptions of Asian and Latino Canadian immigrant youth focussing on their experiences of cultural identity and integration in Canada. Methods: Through a qualitative community-based approach, data is being collected through in-depth interviews and focus groups with Asian and Latino Canadian youth between the ages of 18- 24, who live in the Greater Toronto Area. Coding and analysis is code-driven and guided by a grounded theory analytic approach. Findings: We apply a socioecological approach to help account for the multiple influences on youth’s cultural identities, which we recognize as a complex and fluid phenomenon. Preliminary findings point toward the intersectionality of identity experiences: 1) for some youth gendered migrant identity plays a more salient role, 2) while for others racialized religious minority status impacts lived experiences, 3) and yet for others a sense of exclusion from mainstream narratives of multiculturalism shapes their perceptions of equity and belonging. Discussion: Multiple narratives on cultural identity have emerged, some of which highlight gender inequality, intertwined with racial discrimination for immigrant and minority youth. In all cases youth find spaces of resistance as they juggle their gendered, minority, and youth identity within mainstream multicultural narratives, while respecting their migrant histories.