On November 9 of 2010, my partner Amanda and I went to visit Vanier College and observe the ethnic separation in the following three cafeterias labeled: the Jake’s Small caf, the Asian caf and the N Wing caf. Plus, we have interviewed some students in order to know what they think about this phenomenon.
Personally, on my trip to Vanier, I have clearly seen the ethnic separation in the cafeterias. Based on my experience in this particular college, I can tell that some ethnic groups desire to be together since they seem to find common interests such as language and culture, and without a doubt they want to preserve them. Different labels might be attached to these cafeterias, however, I did feel welcome and our presence did not cause any controversy. I noticed also that some students blended each other, especially, in the Jake’s Small caf. I had a trip filled with discovery at Vanier and this experience allowed me to comprehend ethnic separation in depth in the cafeterias. Interview with students from Vanier will be updated soon on this site, so stay tuned!
My Observation at Dawson College
At the beginning of my third semester, I did not know that ethnic separations in Dawson cafeterias really existed. Last fall, I went a few times with my friends to have lunch and study in the Atrium caf and the Third floor caf. I did not see any kind of divisions at all. But after I gave up going into the cafeterias since I thought it was always crowded and I wanted to be in an atmosphere different than school. So, I began going to Alexis-Nihon shopping center to eat since there are many restaurants and stores. Also, I get to take some fresh air outside, on Avenue Atwater. Then this fall I learn from some of my colleagues that our cafeterias at Dawson are labeled the Jewish caf, the Italian caf and the Black caf. I could not believe that this phenomenon was being part of our college since from what I have seen, everyone seems to interact very well with each other, no matter the race and social backgrounds. So, to take a closer look at the ethnic separations in cafeterias, both at Dawson and Vanier College, I joined to make a documentary with my teammates Amanda, Casey and Maia who were also curious about this phenomenon.
Personally, I think that ethnic divisions happen unconsciously and I do not think that the cafeterias at Dawson are there for this purpose. I understand the fact that some students wants to stick with people of their own culture because sometimes they want to preserve their roots and sometimes they just hung with them in High School and unexpectedly they share the same language and ethnicity. In fact, the cafeterias belong to everyone and students should feel free to eat in whatever spaces that are reserved for them to eat and study. I do not mind eating at any of these cafeterias because I’m a Dawson student and that is what matters the most. It would be nice to have these labels attached to them removed as soon as possible, the only way we can make it is to stop rejecting these cafeterias because they have been labeled. I do not care about the labels, if I have no place to eat I will go there and I am sure my presence would not cause any argument. That is just my opinion.