Discrimination still exists and the racist posters that surfaced across the University of Alberta campus this week were a reminder of that fact. The posters featured a picture of a Sikh man and disparaging captions targeting Sikh values. As a turban-wearing Sikh, the hatred and ignorance that motivates such material is very close to home for me and the broader Sikh community.
I watch him go down from the one-two punch of a Taser and several gunshots to the body. I don't know why they followed up a successful non-lethal takedown with lethal force, but I'm not a police officer. If you were to take every single piece of shaky cam and mobile phone footage showing police officers killing unarmed or complying Black people and splice them together, you'd have a horror movie. Or a snuff film. When it's time for me to die on camera, how will it look? Who will film me? What small physical imperfection, what inadvertent stumble will be the reason I'm murdered on a jittery impulse?
As the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I have had to stand up for the rights of people I don't like very much, people who say and write things that I had hoped never to hear or read. But I have also taken the opportunity to let them know that, just because I will fight for their right to free expression, I have no intention of respecting what it is they say or represent. I am going to use MY free speech to let the ugly, abusive, and racist people out there know that they are wrong.
When stigma is attached to a community, there appear fewer persons ready to come to the defence of the targeted group. In part, members of other communities see such support as a partisan issue. Others fear that such defence will result in their being associated with the group that is deemed unpopular.
When civilized society feels OK about demonizing others in the name of tolerance, you have a problem that doesn't necessarily require Donald Trump to become president to alienate much of the population. When the politics of resentment comes from the Left, the Right, and even the Centre, the road to democratic decline appears like an open freeway.
Over the last few years there has been a steady stream of disturbing videos showing minorities being gunned down by the people meant to protect them, most without any sort of criminal consequences for the shooter. Add all this to the horrible history of racism in America and it's no wonder that someone from that community would want to take a stand. Yet it happens so rarely.
In a male-dominated world, being an outspoken woman with thoughts and opinions you wish to share with others is still seen as offensive. Societal norms remind us that women continue to play a subsidiary role to men. The mantra, "speak only when you are spoken to" holds true to the relentless backlash that women receive when they are perceived as being bossy or arrogant, just for stating an opinion. However, there is a special kind of misogyny that Black women experience online. The kind that has sought out Leslie Jones in an effort to destroy her image and devalue her self-worth.
The Prophet spent time uprooting the deep-rooted racism against black people. He admonished Muslims to be careful for the people of Paradise include black persons including Negus, Bilaal and Luqman. However, just as the black Companion Bilaal faced discrimination, black Muslims continue to face discrimination in Muslim spaces.
Sixty-two per cent of Green members have voted for a resolution calling on Ottawa to end its support for a charity that discriminates in land use abroad. An owner of 13 per cent of Israel's land, Jewish National Fund bylaws and lease documents contain a restrictive covenant stating its property will not be leased to non-Jews.
Another depiction of police brutality against a black man caught on tape, sparks outrage among black Canadians and the cycle of violence begins anew: a black person murdered by police is captured on video, the video goes viral and no changes are made to policing strategies or tactics. More importantly, no one is held accountable. Rather, the cycle of violence continues on an administrative level: SIU documents are concealed, police officers go unnamed; are seldom reprimanded and the victim's family and the black community never get justice.
The fact that Ms. Jones loves herself -- the fact of her obvious confidence and the ease with which she speaks her mind -- well, that's an awful affront to the misogynists who expect a "woman like her," i.e. "not pretty enough" or light-skinned enough (in their tiny minds) to stay in the background with her mouth firmly shut.
Donald Trump's apocalyptic acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was easily the scariest political event I've ever witnessed outside of 1930s newsreels. As CNN's Anderson Cooper summed up: "He painted a dark and frightening picture of America, he talked about people being attacked by criminals, attacked by terrorists, betrayed by their leaders, the game is fixed. And he said he can be their voice." The thing about this tactic -- a far cry from conservative saint Ronald Reagan's inspirational "shining city on a hill" much less Obama's hope and change optimism -- is that it captures (and, yes, fuels) the zeitgeist of white America.
There is a clear problem: hundreds of people of specific populations are killed every year in police interactions. Black Lives Matter is not saying that only their lives matter; they are saying that, historically, their lives have not mattered. They haven't mattered much, nor have Native American lives.