Anglo privilege in the Canadian economy.

101 posts / 0 new
Last post
Machjo
Anglo privilege in the Canadian economy.

According to the book Linguistic Imperialism by Robert Phillipson (http://www.amazon.com/Linguistic-Imperialism-Oxford-Applied-Linguistics/dp/0194371468), which I highly recommend in spite of the price along with Language Policies in Education (http://www.amazon.com/Language-Policies-Education-Critical-Issues/dp/0805836012) (which I'm currently reading), English-spekers around the world enjoy great privileges along the same parallel as white privilege in the world.

Though his book was first published in 1993, a recent study by Francois Grin (http://cisad.adc.education.fr/hcee/documents/rapport_Grin.pdf) indicates that the UK gains from 17 to 18 thouasan million euros annually from language instruction alone. This is nothing new of course, as is confirmed by the British Council's annual report of 1983-84:

Of course we do not have the power we once had to impose our will but Britain's influence endures, out of all proportion to her economic and military resources. This is partly because the English language is the lingua franca of science, technology, and commerce; the demand for it is insatiable and we respond either through the education systems of "host" countries or, when the market can stand it, on a commercial basis. Our language is our greatest asset, greater than Borth Sea Oil, and the supply is inexhaustible; furthermore, while we do not have a monopoly, our particular brand remains highly sought after. I am glad to say that those who guide the fortunes of this country share my conviction in the need to invest in, and exploit to the full, this invisible, God-given asset.

(British Council Annual Report 1983-89:9, as quoted on pages 144-145 of Linguistic Imperialism)

Though Phillipson's book applies mainly to former British colonies, often to former US colonies, and seldom to Canadian linguistic imperialism; and though Grin's report applies mainly to the EU, both of these can be applied to the Canadian context none-the-less. When I was visiting China a year ago, a Chinese friend of mine had pointed to an elementary school textbook partially fnded by CIDA (the Candian International Development Agency), being sold in Chinese shops. Of course the Canadian content of the book far exceded Canada's influence in the world. So essentially, the book served as a propaganda tool to promote Canada over other nations in the EFL classroom for elementary students! Of course Canada is not unique in this 'textbook' imperialism; the uK has been known to be so 'charitable' as to give out such textbooks to other countries too, most recently to Russia, again with the aim of promoting British culture over others. This undoubedly translates into economic benefit for these countries. Clearly English-speaking countries can amass great amounts of money from this that other countries simply can't, be it thoguh the 'language tourism' industry in English-speaking countries, university education in English-speaking countries, export of books and copyrights from Englishs-epaking countries, etc.

Yet this applies to Canada too as it also promotes a divide between English-Canada and French Canada. Clearly English-medium universities, even mediocre ones, have a privilege that even the best of French-medium universities in Canada can't match. Same goes for linguistic tourism, etc.

 Yet this further extends into the job market among other things. Since about 75% of the Canadian economy is English-speaking, this means that monolingual French-speakers are limited to the other 25% access to Canada's economic resources. And for monolingual Nunnavummiut, they have access to but a small fraction of the Northern economy.

Yet I thought all Canadians are supposed to be equal. So why this considerable Anglo privilege in the economy? What woud be an effective way to solve this problem?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Call me when you figure out white privilege first.

Machjo

What's makes you believe that you must belong to a certain race to belong to a certain linguistic commmunity?

Race is race; language, language.

remind remind's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:
Call me when you figure out white privilege first.
Laughing

theboxman

Yet, the institutional regulation of language is always already implicated in the operations of racist discourses.

Machjo

theboxman wrote:
Yet, the institutional regulation of language is always already implicated in the operations of racist discourses.

I can agree that sometimes it is, but I don't agree that it's always the case. I'd say it has more to do with using language as a weapon to protect national economic and other interests, not only against countries of different races, but even against neighbouring countries of the same race. If you look at the quote from the British Council above, it makes no reference to race whatsoever, but does make reference to economics and military might. It's more about access to economic resources than to racism.

remind remind's picture

You are wrong yet again.

Machjo

remind wrote:
You are wrong yet again.
Oh come on. How do you explain CIDA funding the development og English language textbooks in China that will mainly help middle class Chinese who can afford these books? How does that help the poor Chinese? It's essentially a way to spread English to then drain China of its intellectual resources towards English Canada, along with a little elementary school propaganda on the side.

You can't deny Anglo privilege in the world. There's plenty of research to show that the UK and other English-speaking countries, including Canada, are benefitting tremendously from our language.

Machjo

In fact, the siuation is so serious that some language economists have even flirted with the idea of a language tax:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_tax

Though most of them don't support the idea wholeheartedly, and tend to favour alternative solutions, the simple fact that they've even mentioned the idea at all shows that they are seriously concerned with the worldwide class divide that we are witnessing today under English language hegemony.

Machjo

George Victor wrote:

Yer mudder wears army boots!

De quoi tu parle, ma mere porte des botes d'armee?

George Victor

Yer mudder wears army boots!

An old Anglo expression.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

George Victor wrote:

Yer mudder wears army boots!

An old Anglo expression.

Hey George leave the gutter comebacks for us unread.  ;)

 

 

remind remind's picture

It is racism pure and simple.

Machjo

remind wrote:
It is racism pure and simple.

It mightbe linguistic prejudice, language hegemony, and even linguistic imperialism. But though racism might play a role in it on occasion, it is not racist in and of itself. Granted, it can lead to systemic racism. For example, by expecting immigrants to know the local language, we'll naturally tract more citizens form English-speaking countries, including some ex-colonies of the UK and the US, or in French Canada from French-speaking countries and former French colonies. And naturally depending on the nations colonizes, this will favour certain races proportionally. Bear in mind though, that under such a system, we'd get more peole from Hong Kong than from Italy in spie of race, st because of historical colonial factors. So really, race is a secondary issue, a bi-product or symptom, but not the root issue. To deal with the symptoms alone is like spraying water on the flames rather than on the burning product.

George Victor

That's the lookedo-for reaction, of course. And it's interesting that its experimental use gets lots of bites.

 

But when something as foggy and adulterated as Macho's  spewings  are presented as intellectual fodder, it is not recognized for the narcissistic drool that it is. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And there does not seem any way out except to perhaps commit babble suicide myself and get terminated.

Warming to the idea. 

Machjo

George Victor wrote:

That's the lookedo-for reaction, of course. And it's interesting that its experimental use gets lots of bites.

But when something as foggy and adulterated as Macho's  spewings  are presented as intellectual fodder, it is not recognized for the narcissistic drool that it is. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And there does not seem any way out except to perhaps commit babble suicide myself and get terminated.

Warming to the idea. 

It's always easier to attack the person than the statement. If you're atttacking me because you're unable to attack the statement, then I'm flatteredLaughing

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

George Victor wrote:

That's the lookedo-for reaction, of course. And it's interesting that its experimental use gets lots of bites.

But when something as foggy and adulterated as Macho's  spewings  are presented as intellectual fodder, it is not recognized for the narcissistic drool that it is. And it goes on, and on, and on.

And there does not seem any way out except to perhaps commit babble suicide myself and get terminated.

Warming to the idea. 

 

Same George.  Please don't bite.  I'm hoping this is addressed soon.

theboxman

"If you look at the quote from the British Council above, it makes no reference to race whatsoever, but does make reference to economics and military might. It's more about access to economic resources than to racism."

"As if access to economic resources and racism do not already imbricate one another? That it does not mention race does not mean that it is not shot through with its effects. Why is it in China that these English textbooks are disseminated and not Germany?"

 Yes, there is privilege that accrues to being an Anglophone. This is not what I am arguing against. Rather, it is your insistence on declaring the issue either one or the other (language or race). Not everyone can partake of the privileges that accrue to Anglophones evenly (c.f., the perpetual foreigner identity imposed upon Anglophone Asians, the different cultural cache attached to different English literatures around the world, racial discrimination in employment in the ESL field, etc.). As such, no analysis of the politics of language can be performed with any rigor unless it also accounts for how these politics overlap and intersect with racism to produce widely uneven effects. Your desire to separate these issues is ahistorical, and can thus only end up with an incomplete picture of how these systems operate. 

George Victor

 

LTJ: 

"I'm still betting that you're simply pulling our chain while you wank on your own, Machjo " 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm just about convinced that you're right, LTJ.  But I'm afraid your sacraficial offering of two volumes will just come out the same end, undigested.Laughing

Ze

Seems a valid opening post, to me. 

When thinking about English-speaking privilege, it's also worth thinking about subaltern Englishes, the way the language is being changed in Asia for instance. Singlish and so on. What's the largest English-speaking country? Could be India.

Machjo

 Yes, there is privilege that accrues to being an Anglophone. This is not what I am arguing against. Rather, it is your insistence on declaring the issue either one or the other (language or race).

 I'm not saying the issue is necessarly either one or the other, but rather that they are two separate things. Just to take three examples:

 1. A white anglohpone discriminating against a black anglophone purely on the basis of race. That would be an example of pure racism.

2. A white anglophone insulting a white francophone purely on the basis of his language. That would be linguicism. Or based on his ethnic identity, in which it would be ethnicism. Though admittedly the dividing line between ethnicism, nationalism and linguicism can sometimes be quite blurred because language is often associeted with ethnicity. But again, not alwasy.

3. A white anglophone who discriminates against a black francophone because he likes neither blacks nor francophones. This would be an esample of racism and linguicism simultaneously. Of course they can co-incide, but they are still two separate things.

Not everyone can partake of the privileges that accrue to Anglophones evenly (c.f., the perpetual foreigner identity imposed upon Anglophone Asians, the different cultural cache attached to different English literatures around the world, racial discrimination in employment in the ESL field, etc.).

Your perfectly right. This would be an example of the racialization of language (i.e. the assumption that a 'native speaker' of English is necessarily a white anglosaxon). They are still two separate things though, except that one has been applied to the other. It's like a rider sitting on a horse. They're moving together, but one is still the rider, the other the horse. In like manner, if we should apply racism to language, one is still racism, theother linguicism. It's just that then the one has piggybacked onto the other. This might seem pedantic, but I think it is important to make the distinction, because if we fail to do so, then we fail to understand either one when it's not associated with the other. But if we understand both separately, then it will be easy to understand them together, since then it's ust a matter of addition.

As such, no analysis of the politics of language can be performed with any rigor unless it also accounts for how these politics overlap and intersect with racism to produce widely uneven effects.

 I fully agree with this. Both racism and linguicism must be tackled, both separately and as they co-incide, as long as we don't assume that linguicism minus racism isn't linguicism any longer. With or without racism, linguicism is still linguicism. ut of course some people can suffer both simultaneously, granted.

Your desire to separate these issues is ahistorical, and can thus only end up with an incomplete picture of how these systems operate.

 Mabe it's my fault if I'd used word 'separate'. I agree that if your misunderstanding is due to my use of this word, then that's totally my fault. My apologies. So let's use the word 'distinguish' instead. I fully agree that we should also look at them as a unit, but only once they have been distinguished. This way, we are able to see the whole panorama of racism and linguicism, and not just where they intersect. And I'd taken it for granted that it would have been understood that if we should look at racism in its widest sense, then we woudl also see where it overlaps with linguicism. And if we look at linguicism in its widest sense, we'd see where it overlaps with lingucism. In this respect, a person focussing on racial issues and one focussing on language issues should be able to complement one another when looking at overlapping issues between the two. But this does not mean that either of these persons should ignore their respective issues where they don't overlap.

Maybe we do see eye to eye on this, but since I'm somewhat new to Rabble and have found racism to be too loosely defined, at least for my taste, I may have become excessively concerned with people ignoring other related issues not necessarily falling within the purview of race relations specifically. And if that's the case, then maybe it's just me who should loosen up. As I get more of a feel for this forum, I'll have a better idea of what to assume and not assume about others.

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

I'm still betting that you're simply pulling our chain while you wank on your own, Machjo, but on the vague chance that you have some honest interest in the subject, may I recommend: 

Sorry, I Don't Speak French by Graham Fraser 

The Story of French or La Grande aventure de la langue française par Nadeau & Barlow

 

I'm not interested in touching your chain, Lord, so keep your trousers pulled up. And why would I have learnt a few languages and read a few books on the subject if I wasn't interested in it? Would seem quite silly, no?

As for the books, thanks for the recommendations. Honestly, I tend to be more interested in international language issues, but more specifically Canadian issues can interest me too. So thanks for the reference.

Machjo

George Victor wrote:

LTJ: 

"I'm still betting that you're simply pulling our chain while you wank on your own, Machjo " 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm just about convinced that you're right, LTJ.  But I'm afraid your sacraficial offering of two volumes will just come out the same end, undigested.Laughing

 So what boks have you read on the subject? Do you know another language at least? Have you ever lived in more than one language community? There's a reason I have so much interest in this subject. It's because I've lived it.

Machjo

Ze wrote:

Seems a valid opening post, to me. 

When thinking about English-speaking privilege, it's also worth thinking about subaltern Englishes, the way the language is being changed in Asia for instance. Singlish and so on. What's the largest English-speaking country? Could be India.

Here's a quote from Pattanayak:

The amount of resources spent to produce the four per cent of English-knowing persons in India over the past two hundred years proves the absurdity of efforts to replace many languages by one under democratic planning.The cultural deprivation and sociopolitical inequality introduced by the approach of monolingual control of a multilingual policy make nonsense of any talk of economic benefit.

(Pattanayak, 1986b:22, as quoted in "Linguistic Imperialism" by Robert Phillipson on page 88)

Machjo

TEML is an interesting phenomenon too:

http://www.tesolislamia.org/articles/TEML.pdf

 

Though this site doesn't oppose the Christian Faith per se, it does point out how certain Missionaries have failed to apply Christian principles in their attempt to  exploit the power of the English language unfairly to their advantage.

Machjo

Here's another interesting quote (the Centre refers to native-English-speaking countries):

If the Center always provides the teachers and the definition of what is worthy of being taught (from the gospels of Christianity to the gospels of Technology and Science), and the Periphery always provides the learners, then there is a pattern of imperialism... a patern of scientific teams from the Center who go to the Periphery nations to collect data (raw materials) in the form of deposits, sediments, flora, fauna, archaeological findings, attitudes, opinions, behavioral patterns, and so on for data processing, data analysis, and theory formation (like industrial processing in general). This takes place in the Center universities (factories), in order to send the finished product, a journal, a book (manufactured goods) back for consumption in the center of the Periphery, first having created demand for it through demonstration efect, training in the Center country, and some low-level participation in the data-collecting team. This parallel is not a joke, if is a structure.

(Galtung 1980, as quoted in Phillipson, 1993, page 57)

Machjo

Essentially, any talk of social justice while ignoring linguistic imperialism is nonsense. Considering that we are dealing with hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into English economies from the developing countries makes a joke of any talk of giving some token 'charity' money to these countries. They would benefit far more if we stopped taking their money in the first place and stopped giving them any than by us taking so much of their money and resources and then giving them a token amount back while making them feel as if they owe us.

Yest though some countries have in fact taken steps to counter linguistic imperialism, others, including Canada, engage in it to varying degrees. Here's another example of the link between linguistic imperialism and economic imperialism. Of course they're two different things, but on some occasions, they do overlap, and here is one example:

The Phillipines became officially independent in 1946, but the structure and attitudes imposed by the Americans have largely remained in force sinse. In the quest to legitimate local norms and languages, a few scholars have made tremendous efforts to decolonize and de-anglicize such university subjects as psychology. There has been debate about the appropriate medium of educaiton in schools, but there is extreme resistance to any switch away from English as the medium of instruction. In recent years, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund havebeen pressing for a renewed emphais on English in order to further 'the goals of national development'.

From the same book as above.

 

Now some nations have taken steps to promote more linguistic justice, yet Canada, including on the left, remains either silent or even favourable to linguistic imperialism. What active steps could Canadians take to promote more language justice?

I would thik that on a personal level, the least Anglos could do is learn a second bloody language. To not do so while the rest of the world is suffering under the burden of English is to add insult to injury. What are your thoughts on this? What could Canada do to promote more bilingualism, in any language, as a way to meet the rest of the world half-way rather than always expecting the rest of the world to reach out to them?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Machjo wrote:

Here's a quote from Pattanayak:

"The amount of resources spent to produce the four per cent of English-knowing persons in India over the past two hundred years proves the absurdity of efforts to replace many languages by one under democratic planning.The cultural deprivation and sociopolitical inequality introduced by the approach of monolingual control of a multilingual policy make nonsense of any talk of economic benefit."

It would seem you agree with Pattanayak, as you've posted this quote, though this is precisely an argument against the imposition of an alien 'supra-language' across a multilingual nation. Yet all the while you ask, "Esperanto, anyone?"

Thus my assumption that your participation here is simply masturbation. Mental masturbation to be sure, but still a less than pleasant public spectacle. 

Maysie Maysie's picture

Wading in with trepidation.

(Martin, where are you? Paging Martin Dufresne!!)

In the context of Canada, yes, Anglo privilege is real and is not *always* the same as racism, but is *mostly* about racism. If this was a fenn diagram, it would be two circles almost perfectly aligned, maybe just a little crescent section in each not encompassed by the other.

Machjo, here's a hypothetical for you, that isn't in fact hypothetical at all: many POC I know have had this experience.

You're talking with someone over the phone, something related to your work or something professional. You assume, if they speak unaccented English (ie English with an Anglo-Canadian accent), or with an "British accent" that they are white. Then you meet the person, and you're shocked and surprised that they are a person of colour. (You then think of them differently and treat them differently, but that's clear and unobstructed racism at this point)

POC know this. In fact, people of colour will deliberately speak as "professional" as possible, knowing that if their Jamaican or French or Chinese accent is perceived they will get the regular racism that they get everyday anyways. It's a small, not always successful way of audibly "passing".

And just to be clear about an earlier point you made Machjo, individual acts of racism don't lead to systemic racism. The system is there first. Without the system, the individual acts don't hold weight or meaning and can't affect people's lives. In the context of Anglo-supremacist Canada and people of colour, it means "speak English or go back where you came from you durned furrinner." Thus conflating the racist and linguistic elements you want to keep so separate.

Machjo

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:
Machjo wrote:

Here's a quote from Pattanayak:

"The amount of resources spent to produce the four per cent of English-knowing persons in India over the past two hundred years proves the absurdity of efforts to replace many languages by one under democratic planning.The cultural deprivation and sociopolitical inequality introduced by the approach of monolingual control of a multilingual policy make nonsense of any talk of economic benefit."

It would seem you agree with Pattanayak, as you've posted this quote, though this is precisely an argument against the imposition of an alien 'supra-language' across a multilingual nation. Yet all the while you ask, "Esperanto, anyone?"

Thus my assumption that your participation here is simply masturbation. Mental masturbation to be sure, but still a less than pleasant public spectacle. 

 

There is a difference, though, Since English is muchmore difficult to learn, it requires much more commitment to learn too. As a result, we have a low rate of success unless it is taught as a first language in elite schools rather than as an auxiliary language. I've spoken to a number of Indians. Some, especially those from major cities like New Delhi, have told me quite frankly that their English is better than their mother-tongues, with their mother-tongues having to take a back-seat to English. Others I've met had had to study English from grade pone elementary school for one hour a day six days a week. Esperanto being easier would make it more manageable as a universal auxiliary language withouthaving to take so much time away from the mother tongue, and guaranteeing a higher rate of success even among those who can't go on to university.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

"...wankkity wank wank."

Machjo

Wading in with trepidation.

(Martin, where are you? Paging Martin Dufresne!!)

In the context of Canada, yes, Anglo privilege is real and is not *always* the same as racism, but is *mostly* about racism. If this was a fenn diagram, it would be two circles almost perfectly aligned, maybe just a little crescent section in each not encompassed by the other.

Now that's something I can agree to. And I apologize for the trepidation I might have caused. It's just that in the last few days nearly every idea that was remotely quesitonable, be they my own or others', seemed to just be labelled as racist left, right and centre without so much as an acknowledgement that we should first find out the reason someone believes something before just labelling it as racist. But yes, though I'd like to see statistics on this, I'm not going to deny that there might be considerable overlap, as you've mentioned. At least you acknowledge that not all cases of linguicism are not necessarily racist, and that it would be wrong to assume that linguistic imperialism is necessarily racist until all the facts are obtained. But yes, you might be right; perhaps most cases of linguistic imperialism overlap with racism too.

Machjo, here's a hypothetical for you, that isn't in fact hypothetical at all: many POC I know have had this experience.

You're talking with someone over the phone, something related to your work or something professional. You assume, if they speak unaccented English (ie English with an Anglo-Canadian accent), or with an "British accent" that they are white. Then you meet the person, and you're shocked and surprised that they are a person of colour. (You then think of them differently and treat them differently, but that's clear and unobstructed racism at this point)

I fully agree. 

 

POC know this. In fact, people of colour will deliberately speak as "professional" as possible, knowing that if their Jamaican or French or Chinese accent is perceived they will get the regular racism that they get everyday anyways. It's a small, not always successful way of audibly "passing".

I'm not at all surprised, and that would be a good example of racism and linguicism overlapping, assuming of course that the discriminator (if that's a word?) is doing so on racial grounds. If it's a Jamaican or Chinese accent, he's likely to think of a non-white face (granted there is such a thing as white Chinese, especially in Xinjinag, and white Jamaicans, but I'm sure most racists would not think of that). As for the French accent, I'm guessing he'd likely think of it as prejudice not against another race (most would tend to stereotype a French-speaker as white, depending on individual experiencees of course. As an example, after my stay in Northern China, I'm less likely to assume that the Chinese at the other end of the line is necessarily olive-skinned), but rather as a member of another linguistic group (pure linguicsism) of of another ethnic group (ethnicism), or possiblyof another nationality (nationalism). But certainly racism could potentially, and I'm sure often, and perhaps even usually, does, fall into this category, though not always.

And just to be clear about an earlier point you made Machjo, individual acts of racism don't lead to systemic racism.

Individual acts of racism would be systematic racism at an individual leve, wouldn't it? 

The system is there first.

I don;t see why the system must ecessarily be there first. On one occasion, my ex-brother-in-law asked me to scout out an apartment for him. They told me it was available even though they'd told him it wasn't. The law (the system) makes this illegal, yet this individual person was doing this systematically. But I suppose that there is still some system in the law not being properly enforced. So perhaps you're right there to some extent at least. 

Without the system, the individual acts don't hold weight or meaning and can't affect people's lives.

You do have a point to some degree. If we interpret the system in the widest sense, not ony in laws but also in their enforcement, and fear and respect fo the laws, etc., yes, some ind of system, however weak, must be present, otherwise the person woldn't dare commit the act. I can agree to that in a broad sense. 

In the context of Anglo-supremacist Canada and people of colour, it means "speak English or go back where you came from you durned furrinner." Thus conflating the racist and linguistic elements you want to keep so separate.

Yes, that attitude does indeed exist, but again, we need to be careful. An Anglo could have that attitude about expecting al Canadians to know English or get lost, yet might still be accepting of people of different races. Or he might be more tolerant of a German who can't speak English well, than of a Nigerian who has no more than the slightest accent, in which case racism would certainly apply. All I was opposing in some previous threads was the assumption that anti-immigrant sentiments are necessarily racist. I agree that they probably are 99% of the time. But we still have to be careful not to just spit out the label 'racist' to anyone who suggests any restriction to immigration without hearing him out first. Hi reasons could be economic, pragmatic, ideological, naitonalist, ethnicist, prejudicedd against a particular religion, maybe racist, or womething else. We should just not jumo the gun until we figure it out first.