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Interacting with Americans and Canadians
Dealing with prejudice in Canada and the U.S.

Above: Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey, an example of just how very multicultural the United States has become.

During 2018 per the California Department of Education, just 23.2% of students in government-run California schools were of "white - non Hispanic" descent. Fifty-four percent were classed Hispanic or Latino. Surprisingly to some, the second most practised religion in the U.S. is Islam.

Prejudice remains in Canada and the U.S., but international travellers and international students of colour and those whose culture differs should expect to be welcomed nearly everywhere.

An overview

Economically depressed areas in both countries offer the most potential for irritation. Demagogues find it easy to blame one group or another for the local woes, which of course are usually the result of technological or other changes such as the depletion of an oil field and the influence of cheaper international competition allowed to exist.

Also, you are more likely to find relations strained where the size of one group has been increasing rapidly. This is basic sociology. It takes time for people to adjust.

On the other hand, even in places like Vancouver, where immigration of people of Chinese descent exploded during the period when the United Kingdom ceded control of Hong Kong to China, you find many healthy signs, such as how many people from various groups mix socially.

If you are a person of colour, do not worry much about your reception in the South, which now boasts some of the best race relations in the U.S.

In most situations today, the basic goodness of Americans and Canadians triumphs.

Prejudice remains—there was so much of it not long ago!—but its dwindling practitioners do not overshadow.

Just remain neutral, and try to ignore the occasional irritation.

Harassment based on race or religion is unlawful in the U.S., and its eradication involves both federal and local law enforcement. Moreover, since the implementation of voting rights laws in all areas of the U.S., law enforcement has become truly multicultural and multi-racial.

Although some travellers worry about what will be their reception in the United States, they should note that the United States is increasingly a nation of non-northern European descent.

New York City

Because so many visitors arrive first in New York City, a few moments.

Do not worry about your reception in New York City and the adjacent part of northern New Jersey. Some people call these people rude, but that seems unfair. They are blunt and not at all shy about their feelings.

New Yorkers are not (in most cases) singling you out. Most practise "equal opportunity" bluntness, not based on your race, creed, or colour.

Please understand that in such a large and overcrowd urban area, experience has taught many residents for their protection to withhold any intimacy until both parties know each other well. You may find their behaviour refreshing after the sometimes false intimacy often found sometimes elsewhere in the States.

In the New York City area, Doc V does not suggest that you act like New Yorkers. In most cases, just ignore what seems to be rudeness around you.

New Yorkers have become much more friendly in recent years as the stress caused by their formally high crime rate has declined and they have met a major act of terrorism with courage and service to the victims. New York residents are far more open and friendly than they used to be.

For more discussion about interacting with Americans and Canadians >

Go to >> Making friends

Go to >> Interacting with Americans and Canadians

Go to >> Handling complaints

Go to >> Avoiding sexism

Go to >> Settling into North American life

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