Culture Conflict Essay

Submitted By mars9393
Words: 1601
Pages: 7

Globally, there are several different traditions and cultural identities that exist. Culture is defined as the “ways of living of a group of people, including their traditions, inventions, and conventions” (Bain, 2002). Culture has many positive attributes as it can provide individuals with customs and morals that regulate their behaviour, however, it can also be used as a means to discriminate against others, which can result in cultural conflict. Cultural conflict is defined as “conflict occurring between individuals or social groups that are separated by cultural boundaries” (Bain, 2002). A small glimpse into Canadian society would reveal little about the nature of acceptance of cultures in Canada, and the conflict between cultures that exists. Since the arrival of European settlers into Canada centuries ago, Canada has become a breeding ground for cultural conflict. Culture and conflict are interrelated; on a global and a national level. Cultures are rarely able to coexist in the same environment without varying degrees of tension. While Canada has made strides towards becoming a multicultural society that is tolerant of other people’s beliefs, cultural conflict remains a prevalent issue in Canadian society. People of various cultural backgrounds find they are not accepted by general society, or feel forced to conform to the values and beliefs of the society they live in and adopt that lifestyle, thus undoing the benefits of multiculturalism. Canada is often described as a cultural mosaic, where people of all different cultures can successfully coexist and freely practise their cultural traditions and customs, without the fear of persecution from others. However, the presence of cultural enclaves dismisses the idea that Canada is a country free of cultural conflict. An enclave is defined as “a portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct” (, 2014). The University of Victoria’s Zheng Wu studied enclaves in Canada and found that “first generation Canadians who relocate to ethnic enclaves are more likely to report that they don’t feel a sense of belonging to Canada” (Todd, 2010). This shows how many immigrants choose not to blend into mainstream Canadian society, but rather live amongst people of their own culture. Therefore, immigrants lose the opportunity to interact with other ethnicities and are also separated from the rest of the Canadian population, making them feel as if they do not “belong.” The primary reason for an individual choosing to live in a cultural enclave is acceptance, as that individual does not feel they will be accepted elsewhere and so, turns to an environment where they are comfortable and will be welcomed by all. This supports the idea that cultural conflict continues to be a dominant issue in Canadian society. Instead of cultures living in harmony and interacting with one another, they only feel comfortable and accepted amongst people who are culturally similar to themselves. In addition, Wu’s findings indicated that “in 1981, Canada had only six ethnic enclaves...Now there are more than 260 such enclaves” (Todd, 2010). The statistic demonstrates how cultural enclaves are very much a reality today. Cultural enclaves have grown exponentially in less than thirty years, and it seems they will likely continue to grow until cultural conflict greatly, not allowing people to feel comfortable living in an environment with a variety of cultures.
Furthermore, the way Canadians perceive each other indicates a limited tolerance of one another’s religions and their beliefs, proving that though people of many different backgrounds live in Canada, this country is not truly multicultural because people do not see those of other cultures in a favourable manner. This can be linked to a lack of understanding about the beliefs of other cultures. An Angus Reid Poll taken in 2009, which surveyed 1002 individuals randomly,