Franca Iacovetta’s Recipes for Democracy?:Gender, Family, and Making Female Citizens in Cold War Canada and Lily Cho’s Rereading Chinese Head Tax Racism: Redress, Stereotype, and Antiracist Critical Practice cover the main themes of race, immigration and multiculturalism in Canada. Both articles examine how modern Canadian society influenced their control over immigrant women as well as the Chinese. Both articles question whether Canadian society really does embrace multiculturalism or is it rather Canadian society assimilating them to the ‘white man’s country’. While Iacovetta looks at the relationship between women and their culture with family and food during the Cold War, Cho explores the racism in the head tax imposed on the Chinese during the early 1900’s.
In Recipes for Democracy? the author’s main argument is that although immigrants were entering Canada at rapid rate, immigrant women were reluctant to change their food traditions and to conform to the ‘white nation,’ notion of Canadian food habits. Iacovetta’s main argument is by focusing on women, nutrition, food and gender and family ideals, readers can see “the dominant gender ideologies of liberal democracies in the early Cold War (including a bourgeois model of home-making and food customs and family life) informed reception work and social service activities among immigrant and refugee women.” She argues that the Canadian way of preparing food marginalized the immigrant’s culture and the social welfare programs to ‘help them’ in fact were discriminatory and hindered on their traditions.
In Rereading Chinese Head Tax Racism, Cho argues the power of the “deep ambivalences of official government discourse to produce a stereotype of Chineseness were racism is grounded as much in its idealism of as in its repugnance for Chinese people.” She argues that the head tax is contradictory. To develop, she demonstrates to the reader that the head tax was created to put a limit to how many Chinese would be allowed to enter Canada; yet, on the other hand, Canada needed Chinese to come to Canada so that they could work on the railway because they were the cheapest labour. The author even questions why would even be a head tax when they needed this cheap labour. She even claims that it was “illogical for the government” to restrict the immigration of the cheapest labour. She further develops her argument by demonstrating many ways that the head tax functions as an example of “Canada’s hatred of Chinese.” She concludes her argument claiming that the head tax did very little at limiting the number of Chinese immigrants during those years.
To continue, both articles present the theme that the Canadian ‘white man country’ included these immigrants in society while excluding them from their culture. To exemplify, Iacovetta demonstrates homemaker women, who had to struggle against assimilation and preserve an important aspect of their culture; their food customs. Iacovetta argues that white...