All Posts Tagged With: "race"
Students discuss race-based Halloween attire
Every Halloween, student activists remind their peers that race-based costumes can offend. You may have seen the posters on campus. They say things like: “My culture is not a costume.”
The message appears to be getting through. At McMaster University, “Sexy Indian Princess” and “Eskimo Cutie” costumes were on sale at the campus bookstore last week but an editorial in The Silhouette student newspaper quickly condemned them. (For those who don’t see why dressing up this way offends, consider the amount of sexual violence Indigenous women endure.)
Another Halloween tradition students are told to stay away from is painting one’s face black. That offends folks who know the history of white racists caricaturing black Americans with black face paint at minstrel shows. After the traditional Halloween party weekend, no reports of racist costumes emerged from Canadian campuses. There was, however, a report of a Florida man dressed as Trayvon Martin. The real test is Thursday.
Some think the annual outcry goes too far. Klara Woldenga, writing in the University of Victoria’s Martlet, satirized the outrage with a group ghosts, warewolves and vampires called the Altered Living Alliance protesting stereotypes. Comments so far suggest some readers aren’t laughing.
Report of racist Pocahontas chant
VANCOUVER – A controversial chant based on the Disney movie “Pocahontas” used by students at the University of B.C. has set off a series of measures to help students better understand First Nations.
The changes were announced in a report arising from frosh events sponsored by the Commerce Undergraduate Society last summer.
“The report released today shows us there is very little awareness of indigenous peoples and their concerns among the students we interviewed,” Louise Cowin, UBC’s vice president of students, said in a news release Monday.
“Clearly, UBC has a role to play in educating students to become more culturally competent.”
The report found that student leaders at the Sauder School of Business selected the “Pocahontas” theme and created the chant.
Prof. Pettigrew reacts to study on white male academics
When I was an undergraduate, I was, as we all were back in arts programs in those days, told repeatedly about the notion of “privilege.”
It was explained to me that as a man, and a white man at that, I carried with me an “invisible backpack” filled with resources others did not have. It wasn’t that others had it bad—I had it too good.
It would be nice if this term had faded, as such faddish academic terms often do. These days, sad to say, this troubling notion of privilege is even more entrenched than ever.
The problem I have long had with the notion of “privilege” in this sense is that it suggests that those who are treated justly should feel bad for their lack of abuse or oppression. But this is backwards. The problem with oppression is that the oppressed are being treated unfairly, not that others are being treated decently.
The word privilege implies a special favour or status that one does not necessarily deserve. But the right to compete for a job without being judged by one’s race, the right not to be spurned by one’s neighbours because of one’s race—these things are not privileges – they are rights deserved by all.
How can this campus group claim to fight oppression?
A friend and I went to a movie night one Friday evening in January hosted by the Students of Colour Collective (SOCC), a campus group at the University of Victoria, where I am on a transfer from the University of Manitoba completing a double major in Criminology and Psychology.
It was a spur of the moment decision to go, but we were excited to get out and have a fun night. The movie being presented was Precious Knowledge, a film about the struggle of the Mexican American Studies Program to continue after it was banned by a school board in Arizona.
We arrived, sat down and waited for the movie to begin. My friend asked if he could help himself to a glass of the juice that was set out on the table. The host replied that the beverages were for movie night attendees. She then informed us that the event was for community building and not open to the public. We were specifically addressed in front of the room of people. There was no announcement that it was a closed event.
‘Islam or Atheism?’ debate in London ends in uproar
At a University College London debate called “Islam or Atheism: What Makes More Sense?,” the events’ hosts segregated women, men and couples this weekend to please conservative Muslims, reports The Guardian. After three people were told to vacate their seats for not following the gendered seating plan, professor Lawrence Krauss, one of two men debating, threatened to leave. Organizers from the Islamic Education and Research Academy relented, but an uproar ensued after the world’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, asked on Twitter, “who the hell do these Muslims think they are?” Dawkins was called racist. UCL says it will investigate. Here are Dawkins’ Tweets.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 10, 2013
Who the hell do these Muslims think they are? At UCL of all places, tried to segregate the sexes in debate between @lkrauss1 and a Muslim
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 10, 2013
Decent, nice, liberal people must stop being so terrified of being thought “Islamophobic” and stand up for decent, nice, liberal values. — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 10, 2013
I don’t think Muslims should segregate sexes at University College London events. Oh NO, how very ISLAMOPHOBIC of me. How RACIST of me. — Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 10, 2013
What students are talking about today (March 5th)
1. Carly Rae Jepsen, the 27-year-old Canadian singer, has cancelled a performance at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in July because the Scouts still ban gay members. In a series of Tweets she wrote: “As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer. I always have and will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level and stay informed on the ever changing landscape in the ongoing battle for gay rights in this country and across the globe.” This seems like a smart move.
2. It’s Israel Apartheid Week again and both Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the annual hate-fest on Monday. So did at least one student op-ed, in Trent University’s Arthur, whose author argues the term apartheid is inaccurate. There was also a review of a film that compares Israel and apartheid South Africa in The Concordian. Here’s part of Kenney’s statement, which one might call overheated, even though he makes a valid point:
I did fine without teachers who ‘looked’ exactly like me
An internal memo circulated earlier this week within the Toronto District School Board explicitly states: “The first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teachers candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal.”
Although the school board is taking the stance that the hiring criteria outlined above is not meant to actively exclude other groups, I can’t help but think that if I sent in a resume after graduating from York University’s education program this spring, as a female, I’d be rejected.
I’ve been constantly reminded that, as an Asian female, there are special scholarships available to me—that I enjoy a special kind of privilege offered to women of colour. A representative at a job fair stand once told me that if I ever considered applying for a position with the Toronto Police Service, I’d be a shoo-in. The TPS was running low on Asian female police officers—their words, not mine. Some would call this affirmative action. Others would cry reverse racism.
I say: why should any of this matter? Shouldn’t merit, skill and experience be what really counts?
What students are talking about today (February 11th)
1. After Drake won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album on Sunday night he released a video for his new single, Started From the Bottom. Much of the video was filmed at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Binbrook, Ont, according to the Hamilton Spectator, and it also features his mom standing outside his childhood home in Toronto, reports Canada.com. Why do we care? My guess is because Canadians love to see Canadian things in videos they think Americans will watch. For more Grammy coverage see Macleans.ca.
2. City of Toronto inspectors have found what they say is an illegal rooming house near U of T Scarborough and Centennial College. Officials told the Toronto Star it was probably full of foreign students. Eleven people were living in rooms in the majorly renovated house. Real estate agent Yixuan (Jessica) Wang has been accused of arranging the leases. The city says there are 120 active files stemming from complaints over suspected illegal properties in Scarborough where there is just one 765-bed student residence (at UTSC) for nearly 15,000 post-secondary students.
Artist Deanna Bowen says work is meant to be provocative
Three Ku Klux Klan banners prominently displayed in the vitrines overlooking York University’s Accolade East colonnade are causing people who pass by everyday to literally trip over themselves.
These pieces are part of a daring art exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University entitled Invisible Empires, which presents a collection of archival material that shows how the violent white supremacist organization had a role in 20th century Canadian history—not just American history as many Canadians likely believe.
Hanging such banners on campus seemed likely to cause an uproar among people of colour, and some were indeed initially upset. However, it seems to have sparked a conversation.
“They’re not put up to be harmful,” says Deanna Bowen, the black Toronto artist behind the exhibit. The banners are “meant to get you inside to hear more about this history.”
What students are talking about on December 20th
1. For the first time in 15 years, Miss USA has been crowned Miss Universe. This, as Gawker points out, on what some believe is right before the universe ends. Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old from Boston University, has a rags to riches story: she wore a $25 rented dress with a hole in it to her first pageant last year. Before you dismiss her as another one of those backward American pageant girls (remember this one?) consider that she supports transgender rights and plans to use her title to champion HIV/AIDS prevention.
2. Brian Pallister, Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative opposition leader is denouncing racist comments from the party’s former youth president, but says he will not apologize. Braydon Mazurkiewich resigned after posting comments on Facebook that referred to “freeloading Indians.”
Spencer Fernando: We are more than the colour of our skin.
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union may add a representative for racialized students. Spencer Fernando, a man of mixed heritage, explained his opposition to the idea in this piece for The Manitoban, where is the comment editor. Agree? Disagree? Leave your comment below.
At the outset of this piece, I feel it’s important for me to state clearly that I believe those who favor the creation of the racialized rep. have good intentions. They are making a sincere effort to make the world a better place. My disagreement is not with their intentions, but the method they have chosen.
As we consider this issue, let’s ask ourselves a few questions: First, should there be an UMSU rep. elected on the basis of their skin colour? Second, is it fair to create a position that could exclude white students and discourage them from running or voting for it? Third, should every non-white student be grouped into one category and represented by one person? My answer to these questions is no.
Trump is mad, pot is legal & U. Manitoba’s “racialized rep.”
1. Barack Obama got a second chance, winning the presidency for another four years with 50 per cent of the popular vote to Mitt Romney’s 48 per cent plus victory in battleground states like Ohio. From Obama’s victory speech: “Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” Full text here.
2. Upon hearing the election results, Donald Trump threw a tantrum on Twitter and threatened to “March on Washington,” the site of this democratic “travesty.”
3. Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives during Tuesday’s election that legalize marijuana for recreational use. But pot-heads shouldn’t pack their bags for Denver or Seattle just yet. Legalization may lead to a Supreme Court challenge from the federal government.
No Doubt apologizes, plus Glen Murray & Dawgfather PhD
1. The band No Doubt has pulled its music video for a new song called “Looking Hot” after Native Americans called it racist due to the Wild West theme that includes front-woman Gwen Stefani dressed up in native-inspired attire. In response to the outcry, the band apologized on their website: “Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community.”
2. Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party voted at their convention on Saturday to support lowering the drinking age from 19 to 18. It’s not a certainty yet, however. “We take resolutions at the convention very seriously, Wall told CBC, adding, “Before we consider any sort of change, we’re going to have to consult.”
3. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois received $58,000 in donations from more than 1,700 people to fight his contempt of court conviction. The former head of CLASSE, who led the anti-tuition movement with its nightly marches and shutdown of Quebec universities earlier this year, was recently found guilty of encouraging people to ignore a court injunction that allowed a Laval student to return to classes.
Tyler Bozak’s Halloween horror, Star Wars sold & Psy in T.O.
1. If you’re planning to go out for Halloween at the University of Prince Edward Island, you may be out of luck. Tickets to the annual Halloween party at the The Wave pub on campus sold out in six days and people are desperately seeking them on Facebook, promising extra cash—even cookies. Last year, tickets were controversially resold for $50 each “a full $37 more than the listed price,” reports The Cadre. Oh the horror!
2. If you haven’t already got a costume, Kevin Hurren of Western U. has a few cerebral suggestions. My favorite is the ceiling fan.
3. But be careful that your costume won’t be interpreted as racist. Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak was criticized for wearing black makeup as part of a Michael Jackson Halloween costume. After a flurry of criticism, he Tweeted: “That’s a tribute to one of my fave artists. For anyone saying its racist is crazy!”
Lincoln Alexander was chancellor at University of Guelph
Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black MP and former Ontario lieutenant governor, has died at the age of 90.
Current Lt.-Gov. David Onley tweeted the news Friday morning, offering his condolences to Alexander’s wife Marni and his family.
The man known to all as “Linc” was a “living legend” in his hometown of Hamilton and a man whose life and career were “a series of groundbreaking firsts,” Onley said in a statement.
“At a time when racism was endemic in Canadian society, he broke through barriers that treated visible minorities as second-class citizens, strangers in their own land,” he said.
“Lincoln Alexander’s whole life was a rebuke to those who would equate ability with skin colour,” Onley added. “He overcame poverty and prejudice to scale the professional and political highs.”
Alexander served as Ontario’s lieutenant governor from 1985 to 1991 — the province’s first black vice-regal — among his many accomplishments.
On the legacy of race researcher Philippe Rushton
Over the past couple of weeks, academics were discussing the death of Western University’s Phillipe Rushton, a professor perhaps not familiar to many of today’s students, but who was, for a little while, among the most hated men in Canada.
Until the late 1980s Rushton had been a reasonably well-respected psychologist whose work on altruism was frequently cited. But then, he published a series of papers claiming that the three main human racial groups—whites, blacks, and Asians—could be grouped according to a wide range of racial traits, including intelligence and various sexual characteristics, with whites typically falling between blacks and Asians.
Not surprisingly, many took Rushton’s theories as thinly-veiled, or, indeed, not-at-all-veiled racism. They saw his essential claim as being that blacks were inherently inferior to whites, and many called for the psychologist’s resignation. At one point, Rushton was required to teach his courses by video to prevent on-campus unrest.
An actress attacked, a student shot dead & a capella
1. Actress Stacey Dash, known best for her role in the 1990s TV show Clueless, has been attacked on Twitter for endorsing Republican Mitt Romney. As an African American woman, apparently she is supposed to support Barack Obama like the rest of Hollywood. Referencing Martin Luther King Jr., she told CNN that she chose Romney “not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.” She also cites economic reasons. Is she talking about how all this publicity will affect her personal economics? Either way, people should lay off.
2. A University of South Alabama student who was fatally shot by a campus police officer after being seen nude on campus had taken the drug LSD. Police also allege Gil Collar, 18, had assaulted two people and attempted to bite a woman.
3. The Nobel Prizes are announced this week. One winner was told by a teacher in 1949 that his dreams of science were “ridiculous.” John Gurdon’s instructor wrote the following on his report card: “If he can’t learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him.”
Queen’s professor was unfairly relieved of his duties
Recently the Canadian Association of University Teachers came down hard on Queen’s University for their handling of the case of Michael Mason, a professor who was, effectively, ousted from the course he had come out of retirement to teach.
I don’t always side with CAUT, but they seem to be right on this one.
Reports indicated that Mason used terms like “japs” and “towelhead” in his class on the history of imperialism. Having been around the university world for a long time, I’m always skeptical of reports of profs saying indefensible things in class because, as far as I can tell, it generally doesn’t happen. Professors are typically a civilized lot and usually highly aware of the nuances of the language.
What has been happening lately, though, is that professors’ comments are being taken wildly out of context; then follows misguided outrage, and then, in turn, the normal interactions of shit and fans.
A “white pride” club, Turkey Syndrome and dead dogs
1. Fourteen lifeguards in El Monte, Calif. were fired for a spoof video featuring Korean pop singer PSY’s signature horse-riding dance moves. Their “Lifeguard Style” video was an homage to the viral hit “Gangnam Style.” Officials say they were fired for using city property improperly, but one of the fired lifeguards says she was told by the city that they found the video “disgusting.”
2. An American student at Towson University is planning a “white-pride organization.” Matthew Heimbach, a U.S. history major, sparked controversy last year when his Youth for Western Civilization group criticized Islam and same-sex marriage. Heimbach says whites are discriminated against. Out of respect for free speech, university officials say the group will be tolerated.
3. About 2,000 people at the University of Guelph set a world record on Saturday by packaging 315,000 emergency relief meals in a single hour. The food help fight famine in Mauritania.
Rihanna cries, a stolen iPad and socialist summer school
1. In an interview promoted on her OWN Network even more often than Proactiv acne treatment, Oprah gets pop star Rihanna to cry and admit that she has forgiven Chris Brown for hitting her. “We are very, very close friends. We built a trust again,” she said. For the record, they’re not in a relationship, even though they chill in San Tropez.
2. Vancouver cyclists are angry at police for doing their jobs. Cops have been handing out $100 fines to those without lids, as a city bylaw dictates. Helmet haters say such laws cause people to cycle less. So far this year, 1,112 tickets have been given to bikers without headgear.
3. NASA’s Curiosity rover zapped its first Martian rock with a laser on Sunday. The rover, which landed two weeks ago, was sent to help answer the question: is Mars habitable? Considering the basic human need to burn tiny holes in things, the answer appears to be yes.