Tag Archives: racism

Personal Essay on Standing Committee and Systemic Racism

Yes, I have read the document, in its entirety…it left me gobsmacked. What an insane waste of taxpayer money, in addition to being ill-advised. You cannot legislate thought. You cannot legislate opinion. You certainly can’t do it without consulting with the people on the ground – you know, the folks paying for this tripe.

Let’s take hiring, for example; hiring based on gender, race, religion, age or sexual orientation, in order to fill a quota is…the very same discriminatory practice that this (cough, cough) “standing committee” sees as their raison d’être. Hiring on merit is the only way to ensure business/public service stays strong and viable. Anything less is nonsense.

Let’s turn this around, shall we? What about the Muslim “Brotherhood” – it is discriminatory by virtue of its name. How many women are on their ruling board? Can’t have it both ways – either we are inclusive and refuse to accept discrimination or we are not.

What of the Hasidim? The men within the community are not permitted to speak to women; this too, discriminatory.

The Catholic Church – how many women are elected, promoted to roles within the archdiocese as bishops…archbishops…priests? Answer: None.

Jehovah Witness – there’s a whole organization based on discriminatory practices.

Let’s look at the popular music blasted out of car windows, sound systems throughout the country; referencing women as “ho’s” – “bitches”. Very discriminatory toward women. Shall we prosecute the song writers? Call them out for public humiliation?

Discrimination exists within our society and if we want to wipe it out? Then fine, but it has to be a constant.

A large step toward ending discrimination would be to end “special privilege” for religion, race, gender and ethnicity. A good number of our problems, as a society, is based on religion. Stop discrimination, then start treating religions as you would any large corporation – begin by taxing them. No more special privilege based on the belief in some imaginary father/mother figure in the sky or wherever. Fairy tales are for children and have no place in government or business.

What you believe is your own business and as such, keep it to yourself. Keep it in your churches/mosques/synagogues/temples. No and I mean NO special privileges based on religious preference. Want a public service? Then remove the face covering, no choosing the gender of a professional based on your fairy tales. No more public money going to a religious organization – municipal tax dollars, for example, used for snow plowing a church parking lot. Get your parishioners out there, with shovels or snow blowers.

No more referring to Caucasians as “whitey” – “honky” – “redneck” or racist based on skin colour. No more trying to throw shadows on what the various European cultures have done in this country.

If one can take pride in their non-European background, so too, can Europeans. Anything less is discriminatory and against the aforementioned “standing committee’s” own recommendations.

I don’t care what fairy tale rocks your boat, I don’t care where your family began, I don’t care who you love, I don’t care if you don’t sunburn in the summer; if you have a sense of personal responsibility, if you have a backbone and if you don’t walk around with your hand out or wear a mantle of victimhood then, to me, you are Canadian and I don’t need a “standing committee” to tell me.

Want to see how your money is spent by government?  http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/CHPC/Reports/RP9315686/chpcrp10/chpcrp10-e.pdf

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Gone

 

 

 

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Racism – It isn’t just for white people anymore

A young lady tweeted something rather unfortunate a while back. A reporter – apparently known for being a hate-filled blockhead found the Tweet and spread it around. Rather large (for Canada) firestorm ensued. I won’t repeat the tweet, it was born of the frustration, born of anger. We are all guilty of unwise words when we are angry, at some point in our lives.

Having lived through more decades than I am able to remember, with any clarity, I can say that we have come a long way from the murderous rampages for civil rights. We have come a long way but baby…there is still a mountain range and vast desert to cross. I site the Herouxville manifesto and the appalling reaction to the acceptance of Syrian refugees by some Canadians. A vocal few, I would hope, that seem to have forgotten that many of them have the blood of refugees running through their veins.

Racism. As a white woman, apparently, I have no say in the topic, to some. I can’t possibly know what racism does to an individual, a community.

Yeah well..that is tantamount to racism, in and of itself.

I do understand how violence, the threat of violence, a constant barrage of insults, the barring of opportunities can tear down the self-respect of a human being. It isn’t neurosurgery. Simply because I have never been the recipient of such behaviour does not mean that I cannot see the terrible inequality of such actions and call out the perpetrators.  It does not mean that I am incapable of understanding the issue.  I do possess grey matter that extends beyond basic presumption.

Over the decades, I’ve seen unconscionable acts. I’ve been exposed to the appalling impact of bigotry in the world. The Holodomor, the Holocaust, Selma, Watts, the Killing Fields, Apartheid, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq….on a lesser scale, the FLQ. All over the world, people are judged, found guilty and die because of the race, creed and/or culture. A young man was hacked to death in Bangladesh because he was an atheist just a few days ago.

The colour of our skin, the faith of our families, our gender…in an intelligent society, none of this should be of relevance but history tells us, the human race is far from intelligent.

Personally, I don’t care whether you are white, black, yellow, olive or purple. My motto is that assholes are all the same colour; religion, creed or culture simply isn’t relevant when you are an asshole. You have one purpose, to fill up and expel feces. Something bigots of any stripe do and do well.

Pointing fingers is so damn easy. Walking the walk, talking the talk is how I determine if an individual is a part of intelligent society or a member of the rectal group.

Are there horrible white people out there? Absolutely. There are horrible black people out there, horrible Asian people out there, horrible Middle Eastern and aboriginal. The common denominator is that they are people. Lack of empathy, of conscience, of humanity is not the sole domain of one race, one creed or one colour.

We need to move forward. Remove the racism label and call it what it is – hatred, mindless, ignorant hatred. This is the common enemy. Vilification based on race, creed, colour or gender is wrong. Division based on these labels weakens any fight for equality. Black lives matter, well yeah…however, this is divisive and counterproductive. The cold, hard truth is that all lives matter, regardless of community, city or country. The lives of people forced from their home due to political violence matter. The lives of people struggling to feed their families matter. The lives of people torn apart by violence in their streets matter. The problem is, admittedly, easier with which to deal, when you divide it. True solutions are never easy. Hatred and violence is a global issue. It is a global tragedy and while I am a pessimist when it comes to the human race, I do find myself hoping that one day, a solution will be found. I hope that one day, hatred based on bigotry will be a crime from our past.

I hope that our descendants will read from their history books and shed a tear for our ignorance.

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Fag, Hunky, Mick, Limey

Carlin2 I’m Caucasian. In another country, in another horrible time, most of the family would have been considered Aryan. Long before research discovered that we are, actually, gene mutations. Not a higher life form than those with dark eyes, dark skin but simply genes that mutated, probably due to environment.

Humans migrate; we now call it “immigrate”. We leave areas detrimental to our continued existence and seek greener pastures. It is what we do. In fact, if you are living in North America and you are not aboriginal? You are an immigrant from some other country that was not to your ancestors liking or perhaps, not of your own liking. We have all ended up here. I will be using Canada as my reference frame because…I’m Canadian.

When I was a kid and we are talking wayyyyy back in the day; my neighbourhood was like a loaf of Pom Gold bread. Whiter than white, uniform and the same; behind each door was a Mom and a Dad, and kids. All white, all the same. The biggest difference was whether or not you were Protestant or Catholic. Every Sunday morning, the various churches’ parking lots were filled to overflowing; the car doors would open and sameness would spill out in their Sunday best. Our shoes would have been shined the night before, the girls in dresses and the boys with their hair slicked down with Brylcream or a last minute application of Mom spit.

My family was a bit different and this was brought to my attention a few times, as a kid; my Dad was Protestant and my Mom was Catholic. Each group convinced the other would be spending eternity in hell. The first time someone told me that my Mom would be going to hell, I was nonplussed. I had nightmares. I spoke to my grandfather about it; he was a Protestant, he was old and I figured he’d be the one to know…after all, he was old. He told me it was a ridiculous notion and that God didn’t care what religion you were, as long as you were a good person. He told me that Mom would be going to heaven and not to worry.

That was my first introduction to prejudice. It may seem, in the grand scheme of bigotry, a very minute thing but it did teach me a life lesson. Don’t believe words that are designed to separate human beings.

Around the same time, construction started to boom in our little enclave of sameness. I heard people speaking about “Jews” moving in and not with kindness. I had no idea who “Jews” were…I asked my Mom. She told me that these were people of a different religion. I sorted through that and understood this was the same situation that had upset me so much – the whole “Mom” going to hell thing. I decided this was stupid and went about the serious business of talking my Mom into the newest Nancy Drew book.

While I read about the Haunted Staircase and The Clue in the Diary; my neighbourhood was changing. French people moved in and my Mom was the only one who could communicate with them. Most of the people on the street ignored them. After all, they weren’t “ONE OF US!”

Then a family from Guyana moved in and the entire community was agog. I met one of the daughters in school; she was my age and in my class. We became friends – Shahzeeda Khan. The only thing I ever really noticed about her was that she had gorgeous long black hair that shone in the sun. There were those in my class who wouldn’t talk to her. They were downright mean to her. It baffled me. Shahzeeda was a blast, she was a fun kid. The kids who were mean to her were not my sort anyway. They were mean to anyone who was not the same as were they. Same type of kids that told me my Mom was going to hell.

Along came Nancy. Nancy was a Korean orphan. I had absolutely no idea what that really entailed. I just liked her and she liked to play with Barbies as well. We went to Brownies together, we took ballet together and those same kids were mean to her as well. She was different. I still didn’t understand what the big deal was – yeah, she had different eyes, her skin was not white and she had thick, thick black hair but she played with Barbie, she didn’t like vegetables and hated fruit for recess.  This seemed “same” enough for me.

Then the FLQ crisis hit. Bombs went off in Montreal. The army was in front of my school because people were threatening to blow it up because…we spoke English. We WERE English. Yet they kidnapped and murdered a French guy. Again, prejudice and hate boggled my mind. I learned to associate it with ignorance and stupidity. It was and is an association that has stayed with me.

I look around at the people in my life – they come from all over the world. They represent believers of every religious sort and non-believers. Some are blonde, some have black hair, some have brown and some have hair that changes with their mood, from hot pink to purple to green. Some have white skin, some are olive, some are brown and some are almost black but that is simply their packaging. My packaging does not represent who I am because that packaging represents a crazy quilt of ancestors. I am not Irish or Ukrainian, I am not Austrian or Scottish. I am not French or German. I am Canadian. I come from immigrants. My entire country comes from immigrant stock. When the Irish came here, they were met with prejudice. They survived and thrived regardless of the ignorance of others. When the Ukrainian stock arrived, again they were met with prejudice and hatred. Hell, some of them landed in the internment camps during WWI. And they were as white as anyone already here.

Then folks of different hues arrived and were met with prejudice and hatred. They had it worse than did my ancestors. My family had the luxury of blending in and as long as they didn’t open their mouths to speak with an accent? They were all good to go.  Ignorance could be kept at bay.  When your skin marks you as different? There is no escaping the stupidity of others – it is a daily onslaught.

Later on, when I was all “growed up”, the “Gay Plague” hit. And boy, the hate-speak hit the fan. At this point, I had lost all religion some time before; it seemed to be the root of all that was evil in the world. What followed in the wake of the decimation of the gay community truly sealed my opinion that religion was simply a cover for those who wished to feel superior without any real qualifications…God’s punishment, unholy unions, Sodom and Gomorrah, child molesters and variations on the theme.

Once again, I was flummoxed. Really? Who loved whom was some sort of nefarious Satanic plot? “Fag” was a particularly loathsome and somewhat confusing term to me. My grandfather called cigarettes “fags” and I still don’t understand the connection, nor do I wish to understand it. The word when used to hurt sickens me. It transports me back to my childhood and the mean kids. I do not see the point in any of this – that two people love is the only important fact. Who or how they love is, quite frankly, none of anyone’s business. My own grandmother and grandfather ignored this – they were of different cultures. Some, in the family, hated my grandmother because she was not Ukrainian and no doubt, some hated my grandfather because he was a “Hunky” – a Ukrainian. They loved and ignored the grown up versions of the “mean kids”.

It is easy to judge based on appearance and human beings are terribly adept at seeking what comes easy. The destruction of our environment is a damn good example but so is the racism and the ugly vitriol that surrounds us. Skin, religion, sexual preference? These are things on which we judge whether another human being is good or is bad? Absurd. If that were indeed the case? I would hate Christian white people because in my school – all the mean kids were white and Christian.

Does it not make much more sense to not prejudge and base any opinions on real experience? If we want to judge on appearance? Well, most serial killers are white males. In the last century, the biggest mass murderers were white males. More child molesters are white, heterosexual males. Does this mean all white males are psychotic, murdering child molesters? As ridiculous an assumption as my Mom going to hell because she was Catholic.  Get your heads out of your ass, use that brain to think and not assume. 

 

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Hypocrisy, Bigotry and Life in Quebec

080711_1441_1.jpgYou can paint a turd any way you choose but it is still a piece of sh*t. It stinks and is made up of the worst of components; such is the consistency of Quebec’s proposed Charter of Quebec Values. No religious garb, of any sort, in public institutions except however, the crucifix in the house of parliament in Quebec. It is part of Quebec culture and worthy of a place in government.  

Park that symbol in your mind for a moment as I go on to discuss some of the opinions that are being heard in Quebec, those bigots who support this piece of racist bullcrap.

The burqa, the hijab, the chador, the yarmulke, the sari, the turban and I assume the chosen mode of dress in the Hasidic community will not be permitted to be worn by any public servant. Any overt religious symbol will be forbidden, unless of course, it is a discreet crucifix. That’s a-ok.

This is totalitarianism in its infancy. How about we all wear the same clothing to work? Little uniforms, with perhaps identifiers as to our backgrounds? Little Irish flag for those of us of Irish descent, perhaps a little flag of Israel, Egypt and while we’re add it, why not also add a little badge that identifies our language at home? We could give the OQLF little blue and white uniforms of their own; they could walk into businesses and close them down for not respecting Quebec values.

The minister in charge of the status of women in Quebec refers to the burqa, hijab and chador as symbols of the oppression of women. Okay, now pull that crucifix symbol back down – the crucifix has been a symbol of oppression, torture, murder, rape and abuse for centuries. Women in Quebec were trapped in marriages, forced to give birth and accept abuse without a word for hundreds of years. The Catholic Church would still have this happen, their doctrine has not changed but having this symbol, dripping in the blood of women and innocents, hanging in parliament reflect Quebec values?

In light of the spirit of this Charter of Values, I would have to agree, that crucifix is a symbol of Quebec values; homophobic, racist, misogynist and totalitarian.

Being served in a public building by an individual wearing a piece of their own tradition doesn’t impact me, in any way, shape or form. My only concern is that the task for which they are paid is done professionally.

Montreal has decided, unanimously, I might add, to not support this travesty of proposed government backed racism. After many years feeling shame for Montreal’s municipal government, I am happy to feel pride in their decision. Montreal is a multicultural city, working toward finding a place in the global village, while Quebec has decided to take the banana republic route and declare itself a little bastion of intolerance and injustice. At this point in time? Perhaps the real solution is to let Quebec’s xenophobic territories secede from Canada and Montreal to secede from Quebec, remaining in Canada, and taking part in this new world reality – where race, creed or religion does not play a part in judging its citizens. The ability to do a job, the ability to respect laws, the desire to make the country a place where we can all feel pride in our citizenship.

I would not be at all surprised to see copies of Mein Kampf on desks throughout the Quebec parliament building.

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Un Quebec pour tous..BUT

Laughing cowThat’s one of their slogans and like most advertising, it is bull manure. There are many codicils to this Un Quebec pour tous thing; what isn’t mentioned is that “tous” means anyone white, Christian and French speaking, although if you are of colour and speak French, you can stand at the back of the Quebec bus, as long as you keep your mouth shut and toe the racist line. I believe the term in Quebec would probably translate to – Nos oncle Tom.

Turbans. Soccer. Hijab. Soccer. Italian. Italian restaurant menu.

The debate rages around Quebec. Well, THEY should stay in their own countries if they don’t like it. My, the logic and intelligence just drips from that statement, doesn’t it? Early settlers to Quebec did not exactly respect the culture present in this country but this is the standard – “Do what I say, not what I do” mentality of the stupid. When the Irish arrived, they met with prejudice and bigotry. They were victims of slurs, exclusions and financial abuses. The Ukrainians, the Chinese, the Germans, the Italians, were all met with cultural slurs, prejudice and exclusions, in fact, many cultures saw themselves interned in camps – look up Spirit Lake sometime.  

And if you were Jewish? Well now – you couldn’t belong to particular clubs, you couldn’t live in certain areas right up until the 1960’s when laws actually had to be passed in order to outlaw this type of bigoted ignorance.

We’ve seen wave upon wave of cultures enter this country, looking to share our view of freedom and the chance for better lives. We opened the doors but there are many doors and we neglect to give our new Canadians the key, so they are trapped in foyers – they can’t go back and we won’t let them move forward.

Absolutely, there are things that newcomers bring with them that may be detrimental to Canada and our view of what it means to be Canadian. Sharia Law for example; absolutely no place for this in our society. Cultural bias and bigotry absolutely must remain outside our borders but by the same token, it must be removed from our society as well. Particularly in Quebec.

The Canadian Soccer Federation laid down the law to Quebec Soccer Association and the Quebec government is throwing its usual ridiculous tantrum…”You aren’t the boss of me!!” as it, once again, shoots itself in the foot. I’m surprised, in consideration of our present government, reigned over by our Reine La Vache Qui Rit, has any part of the feet left to shoot.

Here is a news flash for the white robe wearing members of Canadian society – open your windows and look outside. The world is changing, Canada is changing, it is moving forward. Get over yourselves – white skin and light eyes are simply genetic mutations, unlike your ignorance which is a personal choice and a particularly distasteful one.

A woman wearing a chador, a hijab or a sari are not “less than” the female wearing outfits that allow you to see what she had for lunch. Those women are as Canadian as is the woman in the business suit on the bus or the train next to you. These women have the right to wear what they choose, without commentary from the knuckle draggers, draped in their Canadian flags.

Our country is not a “white country” – this country, its provinces were actually “red” countries so the whole cultural identity thing is hogwash when you look at the nuts and bolts. We are a nation of immigrants. We are a nation full of cultures that arrived here, in many cases, fleeing oppression, bigotry, war and death.  To be fair, however, cultures are welcomed here as long as they understand our laws are not open for negotiation. You hit your wife, you beat your kids? You go to jail.  Unless you are a part of the white elite, in which case, you are permitted to get away with it – Google “Guy Turcotte”.

Back to this whole turban thing – most Sikh boys and the ones I’ve seen on the pitch and in the media are not wearing the Sikh turban as usually understood in Western culture but a variation called the patka. It is an unobtrusive head covering unless you are part of the culture of ignorance and object because it isn’t “White Canadian”. What’s the problem? It isn’t a safety issue; the objection is quite plain to see, regardless of rhetoric – the objection is bigoted and ugly. You can’t pretty up shit regardless of what colour you paint it. The controversy is not a controversy – it is racism, plain and simple. Funny how no one objected to patki when the Sikhs fought in our wars, isn’t it? Weird how that went down. You can die on our behalf but you can’t play soccer with a patka because it’s TOO dangerous!!

Wake up, you racist blockheads – Canada is changing, the world is changing. As long as we respect common sense and retain our basic freedoms, we can learn, we can love and we can laugh with so many of our fellow Canadians, regardless of race, creed or culture. And to our new Canadians – leave your own racism at the border of your birth countries. Understand our laws and remember that religion has no place in our laws. Respect for all – men, women and children.

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