Multiculturalism In North American Culture

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Multiculturalism is a significant part of the North American culture. Customarily, people who have left their home country have done so in pursuit of a better life. The desire to integrate successfully and become a positive contributor in society places a lot of pressure on families who come from backgrounds that are different from the mainstream culture. While settling in Canada, newcomers face a number of socio-economic and cultural barriers that can put a strain on family relations and degrade cultural practices. For my essay I will be discussing the family conflict circulating immigration within a family; putting specific focus on first generation North American youth and emerging conflict that is generated from intergenerational differences, that is digested from diverse opinions based on different cultures.

New immigrants, especially youth, are vulnerable as they often lose their sense of identity in a new country and crave a sense of community. A constant struggle that immigrants face coming into their new home, is where they have a sense of belonging. Cultural differences paired with socio-economic difficulties can further inhibit the successful integration of newcomers into Canadian society. As youth struggle to adjust to new cultural surroundings, pressure from parents and an unaccommodating school system drive them into isolation. Due to the poverty in many areas that these families settle in, youth are at an increased risk of being recruited into street gangs. A 2012 report on the experiences and expectations of African immigrants and refugees found that newcomers often live in lower income areas and struggle with poverty, youth drop-outs and a lack of employment opportunities. (Garang, R. & Winnipeg Harvest, pp. 3). This can be stemmed from family conflict, as many youth immigrating strive to find a sense of community; whereas their parents or elders in the family are more than comfortable sticking in their “own ways”.

Intergenerational cultural dissonance (ICD), is a common clash between parents and children over cultural value and is a very prominent issue in immigration. This clash can be seen in various occasions, including but not limiting to non-Westren families being introduced to
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