Immigrants and African-American Culture

Many of my friends from Toronto, myself included, are children of immigrants. In fact, the vast majority of my friends are second generation Canadians. The suburb I live in, Brampton, is famous for having a strong Indian population. Just under half (47%) of Toronto’s population was born outside of Canada.

One thing I noticed with many of my first and second generation Canadian friends is they gravitate towards African-American Culture - hip hop, fashion, basketball. I think one of the underlying reasons is the uniqueness of the immigrant experience. In the media, we didn’t see many people that looked like us. We couldn’t relate to the faces and stories from White America.

But African-American culture was different. It represented the other”. In an interview with Fresh Off the Boat author Eddie Huang he says, [Hip hop’s] the music of the oppression. And so, anyone who feels silenced, anyone who feels like an outsider will connect with this music.”

While the African-American experience isn’t exactly similar to the immigrant experience, we related more to it than any other subculture in the mass media.

January 2, 2022

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