Vol 11 No 1 (2019)

Chinese in the Maple Leaf: Renegotiating Chinese Canadian Identity Using New Media

Simon James Yee
Athabasca University
Published June 13, 2019


Following the British cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s insistence that mass media is an important site to contest one’s "politics of representation," this essay surveys and analyzes recent attempts by Canadians of Chinese descent to use the contemporary tools of new media and the Internet to contest dominant stereotypical ethnic representations and construct a strong hybridized cultural identity for themselves. Chinese Canadians’ efforts to forge a place of belonging in Canada have been historically difficult and complex. Mainstream societal influences, media depictions, and cultural representations have caused unique challenges for young Chinese Canadian wishing to integrate successfully and to express a strong and unique identity. New media can create an important space for the expression of new ethnic identity in all its diversity. While new media can be employed to perpetuate dominant stereotypical discourses and essentialist identities, it also provides critical ways to resist, challenge, and undermine these discourses. Keywords: Chinese Canadian, constructed identities, online activism, Stuart Hall, ethnic alternative media