I get asked a lot about my "heritage." I hate that word, the concept, and everything that tags along with it. In a lot of situations -- social, professional, or other -- I find it completely out of context and irrelevant. Sure, if you're talking about your grandmothers' cooking, it might be a salient thing to ask, but the majority of the time, it just makes you sound ignorant, especially if you push for an answer when the subject seems uncomfortable. Then you're just rude.
I have thus alienated myself from the convention of associating a cultural, national identity to my name. I do not feel like a citizen of said country, but rather, a denizen of the world. I realize my situation is rare and privileged, but I am not insensitive to the many problems revolving national identity around the world.
Months have passed since the attack in Lahore, and the police have not yet laid charges. The lack of social justice is a recipe for disaster, chaos, and mob rule. The scenes from Islamabad and Ferguson, Missouri, are indeed two manifestations of the same problem. Toronto has escaped riots because its citizens hold dear the principles of social justice and equality.
It seems like you can barely turn around without some celebrity or public figure saying something racially or sexually offensive. But it's unusual when it involves a Canadian entertainer. Recently there was a minor explosion when Canadian TV executive Brent Piaskoski sent out a series of comical tweets ridiculing the behaviour of some Asian commuters at an airport.
The same issues of white versus black racism aren't as deeply woven into Canadian society. Think this is what Whoopi was trying to get at. But racism and discrimination still exist. It has the same purpose it has in the U.S. Just because it's coming out of the mouth of a Canadian doesn't change its meaning or context. People in Canada still want to touch a black woman's braids with amazement and wonder. Canadian cities have pockets of poor community housing disproportionately populated by blacks. The racial issues are still there. They're just served up on a different platter, because it's a different country, with a different history.
We need to talk for a hot second about the sexualization of young girls. Specifically, we need to talk about the sexualization of Willow Smith by the media. In case you've somehow missed the whole hullaballoo, the picture below of 13-year-old Willow and 20-year-old actor Moises Arias was recently posted on Instagram, and the internet subsequently exploded. Everyone immediately leapt to the conclusion that the photograph was somehow sexual. Had this been a picture of a young white girl with a man a few years older than her, it most likely would have been written off as totally innocent.
On Thursday night, Montreal Canadiens player P. K. Subban scored the winning goal against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. Predictably, Boston fans were outraged. In this case, though, with Subban as one of the few black players in the league, their anger took a sickeningly racist turn.
In a recent study researchers called doctors' offices in Toronto while playing the role of a person looking for a family physician. Doctors' offices were 58 per cent more likely to offer an appointment if the caller mentioned that he or she had a high-status job than if he or she mentioned receiving welfare.
The amazing thing about our country is that we're still young. Compared to other countries we're like barely-legal young. We're still losing our baby teeth, learning how to walk, working out the kinks and growing into our clothes. And from what I see, the core of what Canadian-ness is, is multiculturalism. So I have problem with Black History Month, and the reason is this: I don't believe we should assign one month out of the year (and the shortest month, mind you) to one race. Why? Because although, yes, it brings awareness to the history and celebrates its triumphs, it sets them apart from the norm, reiterating this whole notion of "otherness."
Lupita Nyong'o's moving speeches, the Dark is Beautiful campaign in India, and Anita Majumdar's play, Same Same But Different, have me in a different frame of mind as we approach International Women's Day. I'm not just thinking about women's rights and battles. I'm thinking about what it means to be a woman of colour in Canada.
Instead of Jerry Seinfeld acknowledging that people want his world to include them, he came out swinging with accusations of "political correctness" and insisting the sole factor in who got on the show was who was "funny" (thereby implying, whether deliberate or not, there aren't very many funny non-white comedians).
My biggest concern with Miley's performance and behavior has only been that like the white feminists, she doesn't actually understand anything about black culture. You wanna twerk? Go ahead. You wanna sport grills and grab your crotch like your something special? Be my guest. You want your new single to "sound black"? Not a problem, but understand the culture in which you're taking from and the history behind it.
They're the perfect antidote to the 5K blahs. Themed runs are popping up all across the country, offering runners a fresh, exciting and fun alternative to the local 5K race scene. From running on the ocean floor to being chased by zombies, we've compiled a list of Canada's most interesting, fun and festive races.
If my experiences have offended some of you, I'm sorry that you didn't like it, and I'm sorry that you don't understand. I'm sorry that when the next time a woman of colour speaks on a subject like this, you will do the same thing to her. I'm sorry that you won't give her experience any second thought. I'm sorry that you won't even consider delving deeper into history. I'm sorry for you.
Canadians gloss over our bloody history in order to pretend that we're better than the rest of the world, that racism isn't an issue here. It's only not an issue if you're not a person of colour. It's only not an issue if you've never had to watch your children grow up and battle their own skin colour in order to live. It's only not an issue if you're not someone like Trayvon Martin, walking in a neighbourhood where he looked suspicious because he was black.
Today, The Rosedale Club -- which has no formal website, instead operating through personal tweets, Facebook event pages, and a Gmail address -- announced that their next meeting would be held on July 1, and feature "guest of honour" Conrad Black. Inevitably, critiques culminated in the all-too-familiar refrain: "What's with all the white guys?"
Last month, I wrote how patriarchy and racism give birth to rape culture, not a drunk woman or her miniskirt. But it is baffling to see the dialogue outside of these platforms going off on a tangent, in random directions. This needs to stop, now. Here are five "solutions" that aren't stopping rape culture.
A man I taught to write for TV wins a Pulitzer Prize a while back. This man wins the Pulitzer because be writes about ordinary women and men -- people like you and me -- as if we are the most important people in all the world. The man's name is Jimmy Breslin. He writes a column for the New York Daily News and is all of 82 years old this week.
In speculating that Obama may have been rattled by the release a few days earlier of Carlson's Obama tape, on which he employs a noticeable African-American cadence and accent to a largely African-American audience, The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan wrote: "...Obama was rattled by Drudge, Carlson and Hannity yelling "Remember he's a nigger!" Has Sullivan used his blog to employ a word that he would like to use but cannot?