ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Punjabi Press and Immigrant Culture in British Columbia between Wars

in British Columbia between Wars Raj Kumar Hans SOUTH ASIANS made their appearance in Vancouver, western Canada at the beginning of the century much after the Chinese and Japanese had done. It occurred at a time when anti-Asian sentiment was at its peak (R Sampat-Mehta, 'First Fifty years of South Asian lmmigration; A Historical Perspective' in Rabindra N Kanungo (ed), South Asians in the Canadian Mosaic, Montreal 1984, pp 13-31; Hugh Johnston, 'Patterns of Sikh Migration to Canada, 1900-1960' in Joseph T O' Connell et al (ed), Sikh History and Religion in the Twentieth Century, Toronto 1988, pp 296-304). In 1907, anti-Asian riots led to the termination of subsequent south Asian immigration. Asian minorities became the target of all possible discrimination, humiliation and attacks (James G Chadney, The Sikhs of Vancouver, 1984, p 27). As Doreen Indra has cogently demonstrated, the Anglo-Canadian press of Vancouver became an important vehicle for racist outpourings. The leading dailies devoted considerable attention to south Asians, portraying them in stigmatic fashion and as not normal Till late 1970s the Vancouver press "created reasonably coherent, value-laden stereotypes of south Asians...These stereotypes tend to conform to conservative middle-class Anglo- Canadian views of ethnicity". Indra neatly draws implications of such media portrayal for the ethnic minorities: "There has never been any regard for how subordinate groups might be affected by their portrayal, and the newspapers have never developed effective means for minority group individuals to redress press distortions. Press coverage of politically powerless ethnic groups was and is what the owners, editors and reporters of the press wish it to be" (Doreen M Indra, 'South Asian Stereotypes in the Vancouver Press' in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2; 2 1979). What do these 'politically powerless ethnic groups' do to survive and live in such hostile environments?

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