Stuff Asian People Like

Observational Essays on Asian Culture– This blog is devoted to stuff that asian people like

Click here to view our Previous Banners and How to Share Stuff Asian People Like!

Open Discussion: Asian Americans vs. Asian Canadians

Posted August 4th, 2009 by Peter · 32 Comments


Toby says: “Just out of curiosity, I always wondered about the differences between asians who live in America and those like myself who live in Canada. If it’s true that Americans feel more compelled to assimilate to the american culture and way of life. Compared with Canada, where multiculturalism is supported and accepted more so than in the U.S. I find that my American cousins don’t know much cantonese and don’t know alot of our culture or care compared to myself and my siblings.

Maybe we can have a forum of some sort so that Canadians and Americans can share their stories.”

P.S. Free Itunes Downloads for Sean and Ryan’s Not So Excellent Adventure are also on the line. Have fun!

Last 5 posts by Peter

Tags: Activities · Environment · Featured Topic · Habits · Open Dialogue

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Josh // Aug 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

    This is perfect! I was born in Canada and I was raised there until I was 6, then I moved to America and lived the rest of my life here. However, I visit Canada, and Phillipines (I’m Filipino) quite often.

    The only bad part about my story, is that I was 6, so race probably didn’t play as much of a part. However, I did see my older brother you was 16 in Canada. My older brother, hanged out with all types of races, I remember most of his friends were:

    Filipino, Black, Middle Eastern, White

    Probably Hispanic, but there isn’t much Hispanic people in Toronto. Over here in America though, back in teen years, we bluntly said “Dude, let’s go to the Asian Table”. It was 3 tables next to the cafeteria. We were right next to the black table, so that caused alot of problems.

    It’s weird, nowadays (yes I’m still in Highschool) your race forms you into what you do. Us Asians, we are either: Breakers, Singers, Gamers, Yu-Gi-Oh Players. I’m a mix of all of them but singing, I couldn’t sing for my life. If we start jerking or rocking or…eating burritos (?), we will get spoken to by the other races.

    Honestly, I prefer Canada vs America, due to the acceptance of other cultures. I recieve at least one racist comment everyday, alot of the white people in America are ignorant, and make themselves look stupid, because that don’t look at the facts.

  • 2 Anonymous // Aug 5, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I’m born and raised in the USA of Chinese descent. I have to say that even in the more “tolerant” and educated sections of the United States, many whites are ignorant when it comes to race. Racist remarks are abound here (I live in New Jersey). Even if some of them are said jokingly, the vast majority of people hold racist feelings against people who are “different”, and “Asian” is one of those races that will always seem “different”.

    I think that during my Elemantary-Middle School years, I did try to throw away my culture. I still spoke Mandarin fluently, but I made no attempt at Chinese School (doing very badly on tests), hated when people noted that I was Chinese, etc etc.

    Now (I’m in high school) I’m proud of my heritage, and embrace all of it – the real and the stereotyped. I love being practically the smartest kid in my grade, KTV a LOT, and when people note that I’m Chinese, I confidently and proudly say “yup!” while in my head I think “Which is why I’m so awesome”. But I don’t say it out loud, because of course, being Chinese, I have to be humble. ^.^

  • 3 boo radley // Aug 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Seems so. I’m Chinese and I live in the US, and when I went to Vancouver on vacation, I noticed how different the atmosphere was in general. The Asians there didn’t try to become more “white” – they kind of just kept their culture while also being more open-minded. Where I live, the Asians here all want to be white, and we never talk to other in our native tongue, even if we’re all fluent.

  • 4 boo radley // Aug 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    *each other

  • 5 Equal Opportunity Anti-Racist // Aug 8, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Whenever other groups try to show their ethnic solidarity in any way ( i.e. -this blog) they’re tagged for being too “separatist” or you know the other word ( even when “dissing” another group is not involved) . Sheesh… Talk about a double standard.

  • 6 Equal Opportunity Anti-Racist // Aug 8, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    …and yes, even though, at first glance, this site seems to be devoted to asians making fun of asians, it is not to be taken seriously. Therefore, becoming a medium for people of said culture to relate to one another in a way that other groups are prohibited (except for caucasians, of course!).

  • 7 Peter // Aug 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    You guys make some very good points! I love having open topics on SAPL so that our readers and writers can sound off about their own personal experiences.

    In fact, one of you here has already been awarded a free download of Ryan and Sean’s Not So Excellent Adventure!

    With that said, I can see the wider acceptance of Asians in Canada as well. When I went there last year, I saw first hand the international immersion (especially in the developing area around the Winter Olympics). It was amazing.

    I understand now why a lot of European Players prefer playing for the Toronto Raptors as well (ie. Hedo Turkoglu).


  • 8 J // Aug 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Asian guy living in America here. I’ve never been to Canada… I just thought I’d pipe in and say that I’ve never felt more free than when I was in Europe. People there seem more cultured. They seemed more aware that a larger world out there exists.

    America is a great country. It’s just that sometimes it feels like there is a lot of ignorance going on. And people here are REALLY sheltered from the outside world. I always feel nervous whenever I walk into a shop or barbershop because I don’t know how the people there will receive me. In Europe I never felt different or anything. I felt like one of them. Very rarely did I feel self conscious like I feel here. It was great…

  • 9 Anonymous // Aug 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I’ve lived in the United States since I was 7 and visited Canada (Vancouver specifically) for the first time this summer. While there are many ethnicities in Vancouver, I think the city is more segregated than any other I have lived in or visited in the US. I noticed that each race only hung around with its own kind. There were not a lot of mixed couples and I saw no mix children in the week I was there.

  • 10 MC // Aug 13, 2009 at 12:05 am

    “While there are many ethnicities in Vancouver, I think the city is more segregated than any other I have lived in or visited in the US. I noticed that each race only hung around with its own kind. There were not a lot of mixed couples and I saw no mix children in the week I was there.”

    That’s because Asians and other races in Canada don’t feel the need to assimilate. So, since asians have more in common with asians, they end up only hanging out with other asians. Maybe if you had gone to Toronto, you would’ve seen more interracial couples.

  • 11 Leanne // Aug 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Except for a few ignorant kids, which is normal, when I was growing up I never felt in the minority. One my sister and I were walking to school and was teased by some kid and an adult nearby heard it and put a stop to it immediately.

    Every school I went to was like the United Nations, people from all races and ethnicities. I never went to a school that was dominated by whites. I never felt the need to assimilate, to be more “white”. I am proud of my chinese heritage and background but I had a friend in high school who was not. She hated chinese food and doing anything asian and she didn’t speak the language.

    My american cousins and their parents communicate in different languages. Their parents speak cantonese and they speak english back to them. It’s like they don’t even want to try.

    I guess a lot has to do with where they were brought up too. If there’s not a lot of asians or asian influence, then it’s more likely than not that you will assimilate to north american culture, etc. I guess I am lucky that I was brought up in a multicultural city and I didn’t feel like I had to. I have the best of both worlds.

  • 12 ダブル // Aug 19, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I am first generation Canadian but I also have family the immigrated to the US, so I have first generation American cousins with whom I can compare my experience. Although, I am only half I do not know if my input means much at all (I am usually seen as “foreign” to either side–neither Asian nor Caucasian). The common comparison made between American and Canadian societies is that in Canada it is more of a so called “cultural mosaic” while America is the menacing “melting pot”. From a general and superficial standpoint I would have to say that the saying seems to carry some weight. I have noticed that a lot of ethnics in Canada retain their culture and many of their practises but at the same time are a bit open to the western culture [although sometimes there are instances where too much "cultural accommodation" becomes an issue--particularly in my province.] Not many of my Asian friends have confessed to feeling pressured into following a more “White-Canadian” way of living nor have I been discouraged from learning and practising about the Asian aspects of my heritage (if I am discouraged it is usually from Asians who deem me too white).

    In America for example there seems to be a stronger trend toward cultural assimilation and were the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is particularly strong. My cousins may be an exception to the rule, as they are very aware of their ethnic background and speak Chinese fluently…although it should be noted at the same time that they are still very “American”. (They even have a perfect English accent…whereas the children here–myself included–have managed to keep a bit of a foreign accent that distinguish us from the locals).

    Another interesting fact is that all of my first generation cousins living in Canada are half, whereas my cousins in the US are all full-blooded Asians…It may well just be a fluke, but perhaps it is possible that the environment here in Canada makes it seem less threatening to mix, without the fear of having to sacrifice their culture. For the early parts of my live I was raised very much like an Asian from back in HK, all of my friends were Asian and I was constantly exposed to the language and culture. It was only until primary that I was introduced to my other side.

    I believe that the society in which you live determines a lot, but the willingness of the family to preserve their cultural identity and an individual’s choice regarding the extent to which one is willing to allow himself to be “westernized” plays a role as well.

  • 13 Liv // Aug 19, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Interesting discussion. I was born in Hong Kong, lived in Thailand (went to an international school with mostly americans and europeans) for a few years, and then moved to Vancouver, Canada and mostly grew up here where I am still now. Vancouver is a lot more progressive than most places in the world when it comes to acceptance to Asian culture, but you will find outside of metro vancouver, in the suburbs, the level of ignorance is higher and there may be pockets where races don’t integrate. That said, Vancouver has a very high number of interracial couples and marriages, I believe, amongst the highest in north america. i myself am married to a South African and i have friends of all ethnic backgrounds. The funny thing is, when i came to Canada, I felt more American than anything else b/c all my friends and teachers were american when I lived in Thailand.

    It’s probably important too to distinguish between various chinese groups – ie – those newly immigrated and those born in Canada or the US – there’s definitely a difference.

  • 14 iwocaxizu // Aug 22, 2009 at 12:31 am


    Long Layered Bob Hairstyles

  • 15 Roxzane // Aug 23, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I’m Korean and I lived in Canada all my life. I was even born here and only left once when I was 3 for some short festival in the U.S. so I’m not sure what it is like in the U.S. I haven’t even been to Korea although I am 100% Korean. (Proud of it by the way :P )

    I like living in Canada and as most have said, it is very multicutural. I live in Vancouver too, and as Liv said, they do accept Asians a lot and where I live there are tons of Korean shops.^^ I enjoy it here and don’t feel different. Actually I feel more Canadian than Korean. (As some people say, a Banana o.O Asian on the outside but White in the inside!) .< I like how Canada is multicultural so I can be myself, and not lose my culture! Eh~

  • 16 Asian Entertainment News // Aug 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I learn to accept the fact that not matter how different the aspects of each race, everyone is still categorized as human; so it really does not make a difference weather you’re born here or there, the only difference is the experiences one gains through during their life. Hence, everywhere there lives a person, whom is living a different and unique lifestyle than yours. But when you scrape of every aspect of one’s life, you will see they are the same as you.

  • 17 Candace // Sep 1, 2009 at 1:52 am

    It really comes down to your community. For example, if you lived in San Francisco, San Jose, or Los Angeles, most likely, you won’t
    feel completely assimilated because there’s a very strong asian-american identity there.

    But if you lived in a non-asian area, then you might feel more of a need to assimilate.

    Honestly, USA is way too big and diverse to generalize and make a statement like diversity is more celebrated in USA, compared to Canada. Likewise, there must be many different communities in Canada that have different perceptions of racial identities.

    People, stop generalizing. Do you realize that when you generalize it’s a sign of ignorance? It shows that you don’t know about the topic in depth so you miss out on many details — thus, you end up generalizing.

  • 18 Candace // Sep 1, 2009 at 1:59 am

    And those who say Canada is so liberal and multicultural — sure, in many ways it is but it is not the definitive place for multiculturalism.

    But if you come to San Francisco — guess which city is more liberal? So once again, we can’t generalize and say Canada is so much more diverse. I’ve been to Alberta and it is definitely more conservative there. Just like many parts of the United States are conservative. However, there are just as many if not more liberal areas in the USA now. Look at how liberal the Bay Area and LA are — look at who the USA president is.

    I guess we can say that some areas in Canada embrace multiculturalism and some don’t as easily as some areas in USA embrace multiculturalism and some don’t.

  • 19 Camillia // Sep 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I’m of Chinese decent, born and raised in America. English was my first language, and my parents never really pushed me to speak Chinese except for the occasional Cantonese word. Even though I get higher scores in English than other Chinese people, I still wish I could learn Chinese. (Actually I was looking up sites to help me learn when I came upon this.) Ever since I was in 5th grade I always felt the pressure of trying to be “more” American, I remember my 5th grade teacher asked me once “If America goes to war with China, which side will you be on?” and I honestly did not know. I felt awful for not being loyal to America, and for a long time I pretty much shunned anything Chinese or avoided it. Only recently have I realized the importance of keeping the best of BOTH cultures…but I have a long way to go.

    I’ve been to Canada quite a few times for vacation, and I felt much more relaxed there. It seems like Canadians are more open minded than Americans. Conversations were easy and fun. I wish I lived in Canada right now, but I guess I’ll just move there when I grow up.

  • 20 Yeppers // Sep 6, 2009 at 4:39 am

    I just came upon the realization of what it was about America that made it sort of tough to live here. Over here you’re pressured to assimilate. 100% of the time, to asssimilate means you have to BE EUROPEAN.

    f**** that! I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m just going to be myself. It is no more natural for an Asian to try to be European than for a European to try to be Asian. Have you ever seen that? It doesn’t look right.


  • 21 Kevin Lee // Sep 8, 2009 at 2:21 am

    I’m a Chinese American born in china and raised in the US and honestly I don’t understand why it is such a struggle for you people to “assimilate” or just simply live a decent life in America. According to some of these comments it seems that most of you are constantly fighting off bands of racists and other over exaggerated nonsense about feeling a sense of alienation. Honestly how hard is it to retain some knowledge of your culture and language especially in a major American metropolitan area like New York or San Francisco? I’ve lived in areas with huge Asian populations and also in areas where I was literally the only Asian face around. I never felt an overwhelming urge to suddenly forgo everything Chinese and adopt only “European customs”. Despite the fact of spending long periods of time in area with no other Asian people, I’ve still managed to speak fluent Chinese. By the way adopting some American customs and culture is not the most horrible thing in the world; in fact it makes sense because you are LIVING IN AMERICA. Of course sometimes you get ignorant and ridiculous questions but that mainly due to the fact that people of all races self segregate and therefore remain clueless about other cultures. I mean how many Asians or Asian Americans out there know about the Creole culture of the Louisiana area or about Arabs and Muslims in America. I would venture to say next to nothing except from whatever stereotypes they have gathered from tv. Basically the moral of the story is to stop whining and get out of your comfort zone. You might learn something new.

  • 22 Meris // Sep 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Not all communities in Canada are particularly multi-ethnic (I mean, most are multi-cultural communities, but, besides First Nations, there isn’t always a diversity of origins/ancestry beyond the various European countries). The schools I attended in mid Vancouver Island in the 90′s/00′s had very, very few asian students (<10 per schools of 300-750) – mostly Chinese-Canadian, and of those, all biracial, and also second or third generation. I guess my experience, having never lived with my Chinese-Canadian father, was quite similar, specifically in regards to learning about culture and language, to my two friends who were adopted from Korea and Hong Kong into white Canadian families. We have the experience of looking different, and being without a grounding in the culture and language that usually goes along with that ethnic group. The experience of my Chinese- and Japanese-Canadian friends who grew up in larger cities seems to be that they were able to learn their family’s culture and language both at home and also see it all in practice in the wider community as well. I do feel that, even though that my hometown isn’t very diverse and many people don’t have much exposure to people of other races or cultures, there is still a very low tolerance for prejudiced/discriminatory/racist language. People are polite, and the few who don’t quite yet understand how I can look Chinese and say that I am Canadian are still nice, just confused. I can deal with that. Living in Victoria now, or visiting Vancouver, I don’t stand out, and it can be nice to blend. My friends both at home, and here, are diverse. People don’t particularly care about race or ethnicity, as long as people are able to communicate. Along that vein, most people don’t self-segregate, the exception being new immigrants/international students/seniors who cannot speak English comfortably.

  • 23 Meris // Sep 21, 2009 at 12:42 am

    I hope that people never feel obligated to assimilate (fully integrate by taking on the language and culture of the majority, while rejecting their own/their family’s culture and language), but learn enough to suceed wherever they live. I think that it the difference may be the respect accorded to those who make the effort to learn, teach, share their family’s culture and language. It seems that most people in Canada don’t feel pressured to choose to express an identity as either_A___ or ___B__, but rather people can be both__A___and__B___, and also pretty happy with that. I’m saying that the second/third/etc. generation people that I know see Canada as their nationality, and their family’s culture and language as an equally important, or perhaps more personal, part of their identity. People don’t realise that multiculturalism often means that a person acknowledges and appreciates the several cultures that they belong to, rather than the idea that each person belongs to only one sharply defined cultural group (I rather dislike the cultural mosaic model).

    Someone mentioned self-segregation…
    That the Chinatowns became separate centres for commerce and cultural life reflects strongly the history of Chinese experience in BC (the Chinese Exclusion Act, head tax).

    I often wonder what BC would be like if the internment hadn’t happened, what ways all those coastal communities would be different…
    There used to exist a very large Japanese-Canadian community in Cumberland until the push for emigration and internment in WWII. There are lots of newspaper articles and photographs accessible at the Courtenay & District Museum and Archives (esp. Ruth Master’s leather bound Comox Valley history collection)

    Hey Candace, I’ve had a Vancouver vs. San Francisco debate with my roommate last year. It got pretty interesting.
    It’s great that your President is multiracial and also a Democrat, (he’s still not very liberal compared to many Canadian politicians, just so ya know, esp. in regards to getting rid of DOMA….Then again, we did somehow reelect Steven Harper… arrgh.)

  • 24 interesting... // Sep 22, 2009 at 3:42 am

    “Over here you’re pressured to assimilate. 100% of the time, to asssimilate means you have to BE EUROPEAN.”

    i found this statement VERY interesting. i came across this board and was really shocked. i am a black girl who is just kinda realizing that america is soooo eurocentric and almost every culture is trying to assimilate to the european standard of beauty in america we currently have in our country.not only beauty but the european standard of EVERYTHING.

    its weird that people try to assimilate to ONE thing because i thought the motto of america was to embrace all cultures and have freedom? i guess not, cause as soon as we do the racial slurs and teasing starts. hmmm

  • 25 jc // Oct 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    “I’ve lived in the United States since I was 7 and visited Canada (Vancouver specifically) for the first time this summer. While there are many ethnicities in Vancouver, I think the city is more segregated than any other I have lived in or visited in the US. I noticed that each race only hung around with its own kind. There were not a lot of mixed couples and I saw no mix children in the week I was there.”

    Being Canadian-Asian, born and raised in Vancouver, I find this comment very odd. There are certain neighborhoods where certain ethnicities are kind of segregated (ex. Chinese people in Richmond or Chinatown (duh) or Indian people in Surrey), but anywhere in the metro area of the city you’ll see tons of mixed-race groups of friends or couples.

    My friends are all different races and ethnicities. Three of my very closest friends are mixed-race, and people here never even blink at interracial couples. Several of my friends are in interracial relationships and so am I.

  • 26 Tina // Nov 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Sorry to be all technical, but Canada is part of America.
    U.S citizens are not the only Americans.

  • 27 Richard // Nov 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Hold Up there Son!
    First of all I wasn’t really aware or it even came to mind that asian people live in Canada LOL! Second most asians and americans for the fact could care less about Canada unless it’s about how weed is legal! (Lucky bastards) I’ve been an avid reader of this website and I used to read it all the time but for a couple of months I just stopped visiting this website because it got mundane and it seems like you are constantly repeating yourself! Like how Asians are short, nerdy, weak, and etc. Stop F**K’n complaining and do something about it! Everybody got problems and it irks me how you rant on like if the world is going to stop for you! Be proud for who you are! Sure there are times when people are sterotypical and judgemental but you gotta know how to deal with it! As for the asian people you meet that can’t understand cantonese, there either banana’s or white washed!
    By the way there is this “invisible” love attraction going on between black women and asian men! YES I said it! I’ve noticed it ever since Jet Li and Aaliyah made that music video back in 1997. Why am I saying this because I’ve noticed how black females ever since I was in elementary school been unusally nice to me and you can tell when a girl likes you! And I remember this one time this black chick added me on myspace and mistaken me for some “hot” asian guy that lived in the same apartment complex as she did! Even now I have a feeling that there is this one black/white chick that I really like probably likes me too! But she told me that I wasn’t on her level as when it came to dating which I gave her grief about because she totally dissed me but we worked it out. I don’t care if she thinks of me differently but I want my respect and that’s what matters to me! So in conclusion I want SAPL to do an article on this “invisible” attraction between black women and asian men!

  • 28 uclabruins // May 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    yeah I would say the experiences of asians in canada and the US are more similar than different. It does seem that asians have been in the US longer, so you see more third and fourth or more generations of asians, while the ones in canada came more recently. there also seems to be more diversity within the US asian population, as there are sizeable numbers of non-chinese asians such as viet, korean, japanese, whereas chinese tend to dominate a larger percentage of canadian asians.

    as far as holding onto one’s asian culture, it depends on the individual and factors such as how many generations the person has been in the country, as well as the demographics of the part of the country they grew up in, as opposed to the country itself. if they grew up somewhere where there are lots of other asians, it may be easier to hold on to their culture, also if they are first or second generation as opposed to third or more.

    it’s worth noting that asians from both countries fall under the “model minority” image, as they tend to have higher educational attainments than the non-asian population in their countries, and also have lower obesity rates and higher life expectancies.

  • 29 asian // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:46 am

    born in taiwan lived in Canada Toronto working as sex worker
    this is what does all asian women comes in Canada and USA to study
    Canada and USA loves us Asians because we earn and spend our money here this is way goverments loves us Asians

    we are the best sex workers of the world we charge $160 for each client when in China our street sluts earns $10 for each client

    Canada loves Asians we are proud to make tons of money each month sucking this white trash dicks
    they love us we dominate the world of prostitution
    we dominate each country of studies
    we dominate TV and internet shows
    we are proud to be asian hookers of the world

    we born to serve you whites we are the oriente
    dominating the Ocident

    we are proud to be asian hookers world wide

    we Asians botn to be rich not poor we dont like work jobs its not for US we have our own job
    sucking cocks for money pays better money

    stupid Canada and USA to accept us dominating the countries we are disease builders and serial killers

  • 30 uclabruins // Jun 14, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Asians in America tend to be smarter and more successful than Asians in Canada as the Asians who immigrate to US tend to be more cream of the crop. Many Asians in Canada are also ugly or too fobby and will not get any respect from the general population.

  • 31 YourHusband // Jun 14, 2016 at 1:50 am

    “The Asians there didn’t try to become more “white” – they kind of just kept their culture while also being more open-minded. Where I live, the Asians here all want to be white, and we never talk to other in our native tongue, even if we’re all fluent.”

    Are you stupid, there are Asians like that in US too where they only hang out with other Asians. It depends on if you live somewhere where there’s a lot of asians.

    “The common comparison made between American and Canadian societies is that in Canada it is more of a so called “cultural mosaic” while America is the menacing “melting pot”. ”

    There is no difference at all, anyone who mentions this is a moron who can’t think for themselves and needs to get out more. After all, how come most white canadians are so ignorant of other cultures and can only speak english? so much for retaining their culture

    “Asian guy living in America here. I’ve never been to Canada… I just thought I’d pipe in and say that I’ve never felt more free than when I was in Europe. People there seem more cultured. They seemed more aware that a larger world out there exists.”

    this is more of a big city-small town issue, it has nothing to do with the country as a whole. Asians would be more accepted in SoCal than anywhere in Europe.

  • 32 SmarterThanYou // Jul 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    “Honestly, I prefer Canada vs America, due to the acceptance of other cultures. I recieve at least one racist comment everyday, alot of the white people in America are ignorant, and make themselves look stupid, because that don’t look at the facts.”

    Uhh, are you stupid, you know many white people in Canada are ignorant and close-minded and don’t care for minorities right? Asians would be more accepted in somewhere like southern california more than anywhere in canada.

    Asians in america also tend to be smarter than both the white and the asian people in canada

Leave a Comment