University of Calgary accused of being racist haven

Be skeptical when claims indiscriminately vilify an entire community of scholars and workers

University of Calgary accused of being racist havenThe University of Calgary has admitted to being a systemically racist institution against Blacks, Indigenous people and other people of colour. The revelation by its executive team has hardly received any attention. The shocking admission was made on June 24, which coincidentally is when John Cabot landed in Newfoundland in 1497. Only three weeks earlier,…

Race-based police data won’t end systemic issues

Examining use of force by race or counting arrests and charges by colour isn’t about to change police culture

Race-based police data won’t end systemic issuesAfter years of resisting the recording of race-based statistics by police, there has been a sudden change of heart. Now, advocates and those seeking police reform want race-based data collected by police. In Ontario, the authorities hope that by collecting officers’ perceptions of suspects it can expose any racial biases or stereotyping within police services. The…

Trudeau has eroded Canada’s place in the world

The image of the hip and virtuous leader that some media and voters hold of our prime minister is not what leaders of other nations see

Trudeau has eroded Canada’s place in the worldAfter boastfully declaring that he would enhance Canada’s place on the international scene, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed in his bid to secure a United Nations Security Council seat. Canada’s place in the world has been effectively eroded under his watch. Foreign policy matters, so Trudeau is right in drawing attention to it in his…

Spotting and tackling prejudice

Move away from false statements and over-generalizations and recognize everyone as individuals

Spotting and tackling prejudiceRacism exists in Vancouver. How much, how bad and how widespread it is we can debate. That there are other places where the situation is much worse we can agree. But we still have room to improve here. In case there’s any doubt, Fairchild TV has produced two videos (here and here) documenting expressions of…

Racism is arbitrary and pointless

We don’t have to look hard to realize many of our relatives have been victims of racism. If we live in comfort and freedom, it’s only because we’re lucky

Racism is arbitrary and pointlessI’m outraged as I write this. Yet another Black American, Jacob Blake, was shot in front of his children, in broad daylight and in cold blood by a white police officer. Miraculously, he survived, but it’s unlikely he will ever walk again. I’m also very inspired by the myriad of professional athletes refusing to play;…

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues alone

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues aloneSince the brutal killing of George Floyd in May, left-wing radicals have been vandalizing and destroying historical buildings, landmarks and statues around the world. U.S. presidents (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant), and Confederate soldiers and leaders (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Charles Linn and J.E.B. Stuart) were targeted. Statues of…

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutions

People want to live here because Canada is a welcoming country where all races and creeds live together without persecution

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutionsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau recently publicly contradicted RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki for saying there’s no systemic racism within the RCMP. Actually, Lucki said she didn’t know what “systemic racism” is. In her words, “I have to admit, I really struggle with the term ‘systemic racism.’ I have heard about five or 10 definitions on TV.…

Sports world can lead the way to equality, fairness, justice

This athlete-led movement needs a face – or two. Ideally, we have one Black sports figure and one white sports figure taking the lead

Sports world can lead the way to equality, fairness, justiceI was driving home recently and listening to a talk show about the social unrest in my country, the United States. The host was white and the guest was Black. After a couple minutes of discussion, the guest asked the host a powerful question. “Have you ever woken in the morning and started to worry…

Can we save humanity?

The world’s problems are many, and the solutions require abrupt shifts and great sacrifice. But change is essential

Can we save humanity?The world is in crisis. After touching on some of the problems, I’ll list possible policy responses and suggest why humanity so far has failed to implement them. Time is short but I believe that at root, our obstacles are political, not lack of scientific knowledge. Problems Global warming and related extreme weather events, rising…

Celebrity status can be a catalyst for change

NBA and WNBA players show what happens when talented people from all over the world come together in an environment of mutual respect

Celebrity status can be a catalyst for changeIn times of crisis, true leaders step forward. While effective political leadership has largely been absent, professional athletes – primarily players in the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association – have demonstrated that celebrity status, when embraced with a sense of responsibility, can be a catalyst for global change. The examples of selfless…

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its mission

In order to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue, the museum needs to clean up its own house

Canadian Museum for Human Rights must rediscover its missionThe Canadian Museum for Human Rights has made news around the world for all the wrong reasons. It has been derelict in its mission and mandate. The museum has been accused of maintaining a poisoned work environment that practices racism, discrimination, a lack of gender equity and inclusion. In November 2007, I was selected by…

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policing

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policingTwo contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective – espoused by some activists on the political left – holds that policing is fatally broken, can’t be fixed through any reforms and ought to be cancelled outright through financial asphyxiation. The second perspective argues that policing takes an outsized…

Was Beethoven Black?

A Twitter meme reveals more about race and music than the composer’s origins. Social media trend is a new twist on a century-old question

Was Beethoven Black?The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, and in mid-June this year, he started trending on Twitter. Perhaps it wasn’t so strange that Beethoven was popping up on social media platforms, but what was unusual and certainly unforeseen: the claim that “Beethoven was Black.” Where did this idea come from?…

White supremacists misappropriating Norse mythology: expert

Scandinavian studies professor debunks idea of ‘racial purity’ that makes racist extremists identify with Viking culture

White supremacists misappropriating Norse mythology: expertThere’s an urgent and pressing need for everyone to understand the Vikings, argues Scandinavian studies scholar Natalie Van Deusen. That’s because all manner of Viking symbols and misconceptions about a golden age of Nordic racial purity have been appropriated by racist extremists looking to justify their xenophobia and acts of violence, according to the University of…

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutality

There’s no place for cowards, racists, sociopaths or murderers in a police department. And yet such officers are detected with alarming regularity

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutalityThe wave of protests across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd follows a lengthy list of protests against police misconduct. The list of misconduct includes: Rodney King, beaten by police on a freeway after a high-speed chase in Los Angeles (1991); Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant sodomized in a New…
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