Category Archives: Psychology

End Our Slow Motion Genocide!

Genocide can take place in slow motion, just like weapons of mass destruction.

When I learned that people were calling land mines “weapons of mass destruction, in slow motion,” it became obvious that we can practice social/cultural/human genocide in slow motion too.

Understanding racism and genocide is no simpler than this,
from Zianna Oliphant:

Considering the people we have colonized, enslaved and oppressed in North America the last 500 years, there have been times when the genocide was more rapid, urgent and hurried.

There have also been times when it has been slow. Like entropy.

First Nations in Canada, American Indians and African Americans are among the groups that white supremacists have been trying to eradicate.

And by white supremacists, I’m not talking about the Klan and Skinheads. I’m talking about the Canadian and American settler governments who have overt, covert, active and passive policies to eradicate those they deem inferior.

For, if we white settlers actually felt these oppressed groups were equal to us, we would actually stop the policies and practices that eliminate them from our world.

We would address homicides and summary executions by police, missing and murdered indigenous women, the reserve/reservation townships, the prison industrial complex, and all other policies and practices that have been clearly demonstrated to pursue our slow motion genocide agenda.

There aren’t enough hashtags to encompass all who have been recently or historically slaughtered in this slow motion genocide.

Here’s just the latest, this week: #AlfredOlango, executed by police in the slow motion genocide charge of “Having A Seizure While Black”:

California police killed an unarmed, mentally ill black man after his sister asked them to help him

But I have a solution for you, my fellow white people governed by white supremacist North American governments. Scroll back up and watch, again, the wise and stunning statement from Zianna Oliphant in Charlotte who can so clearly see what kind of racist culture we are perpetuating. Honestly, if it is that clear to a child, but not Mike Ditka [an ignorant racist], you need to decide if you side with the wise child, or the racist former football coach.

“Part of white privilege has been the ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from racism, do you really want to know that?” Do you? Then read this, and act accordingly:

Jokers to the Right

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Frecycledsurfboards.com%2Farchie-bunker-quotes-on-race-119.jpg&f=1It’s time we learn more lessons from Archie Bunker. While the right wing continues to become increasingly clownish, we need to go back to Norman Lear’s classic 1970s sitcom, All in the Family, to get re-acquainted with Archie Bunker’s willful embrace of ignorance and bigotry to learn where he’s coming from and how to protect our world.

So let’s look at the threats lurking underneath the clownish behaviour of right wing politicians, and examine how a visionary, progressive, engaged labour movement can confront it. This trip takes us from the new Manitoba government to Brazil, to Donald Trump to Kevin O’Leary to Austria, and ends with Justin Trudeau.

Let’s start with a warning. These clowns and buffoons we are enduring, Trump and O’Leary jump to mind, are not to be underestimated. There is analysis suggesting that the ridiculous behaviour and ignorant policy statements are just an act to get free media coverage and attract votes. But we can’t let this possibility make us complacent.

The increasing prevalence of right wing clowns is designed to normalize these radical and offensive social, economic and political attitudes. We cannot let the evaporation and resignation of Stephen Harper make us content.

So let’s stroll around the world to see what we are up against.

The Manitoba NDP recently lost government, replaced with the Progressive Conservatives, who are not progressive. The new government caucus is 80% men. They appointed an Anglophone woman to be minister responsible for the francophone as well as sports, heritage, women and culture. Hers will be the ministry of “all the things the government doesn’t care about.”

Brazil has stepped back to the right wing privatization of the 1980s and maybe a touch of Chile in 1973. The right wing coup/impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff is class warfare. The new president immediately established a cabinet of only white men, and dissolved progressive ministries dealing with food, women, culture, science, racial equality, and human rights.

Then, the new president contacted the International Monetary Fund and Goldman Sachs to create a neoliberal structural adjustment program for the country, a tool that has decimated rich and poor nations around the world for two generations. This program is about destroying the progressive capacity of governments, in part by privatizing government services and corporations. So we need to monitor Canadian pension funds to make sure they don’t try to buy parts of Brazil’s public infrastructure at low, neoliberal prices.

Donald Trump is no clown. He’s a poster boy for white, male, corporate, 1% entitlement and backlash against recent generations of progressive change in society. He also resonates so well with people who have learned to keep their bigotry to themselves. Trump is popular because he is affirming their ideas and giving them license to revel in them, publicly.

Kevin O’Leary has long annoyed progressive Canadians because of his reactionary opposition to people who are not rich, white and entitled. His spirits have been buoyed recently with Stephen Harper’s resignation as party leader and Trump’s success in channeling anti-social views. Even if he never becomes leader of the Conservative/Reform Party of Canada, we need to be wary of whatever higher profile he may drift into in the near future.

A Green Party-supported independent candidate narrowly won Austria’s presidency in May in a run-off against and anti-immigration far right candidate with—take a deep breath—massive support from blue collar workers. Trump also has massive blue collar support.

Back in Canada, Trudeau has been in office for half a year and is already living up to the Liberal cliché of campaigning from the left and governing from the right. You can track how he is rapidly breaking election promises at Trudeaumetre.ca as he is framing himself as the new Harper with regressive trade, environmental and social policies.

So how do we confront these increasingly desperate right wing tactics and behaviours?

Archie Bunker taught us that providing a voice of ignorance and bigotry in a sitcom character keeps it from festering in back alleys. It also lets society see what debating controversial issues looks like.

And while it also seemed useful to mock Archie Bunker, that kind of mockery seems to have helped drive people with bigoted sentiments underground, until they began emerging recently, like with the “election” of George W. Bush.

So how should the labour movement contend with this new right?

1.       We need to start with our values: dignity, respect, equity, responsibility and accountability. These should frame how we engage with right wing issues. So let’s make sure we stop referring to Trump and O’Leary as clowns and buffoons.

2.       Since ignorance and bigotry are based in fear, we need to leverage our particular skills and insight as a labour movement to address what makes people afraid: insecure and precarious work, underemployment, vulnerable housing, social insecurity, inability to feel confident about being able to raise our families, equity, dignity, human rights.

3.       Since working people are resonating well with both Trump and Bernie Sanders, we can see they’re desperate for change, however it gets expressed. Our movement must more effectively engage with our members to help them see how progressive changes address their fears as well as improve society. Part of how we do this is to leave the political rhetoric and statistics aside and champion people in the labour movement to tell their stories about how progressive change has helped them.

 

Fixing Systemic White Supremacy

trump family presidential candidateYeah, I know. Serious heavy lifting. But YES WE CAN DO IT!

At least start.

Here’s how.

Step 1: Find new, intriguing ways of seeing our entitlements; try this:

Step 2: Resist the trolls who nitpick about how he’s only got 2 ex-wives [so far] and focus on new, honest voices who can teach you new things.

Step 3: Celebrate all the people you know who bring people together!

Step 4: Keep imagining the world we want to see after this American presidential election thing in November.

And here’s your Easter Egg.

On Tuesday, Corporate Media Played You. Did You Catch It?

Is this from the movie" UP " awesome :3 I miss those days (\o|o/) Lawl ...Which was the most important news story on Tuesday this week? And which news story was overshadowed by corporate media coverage of the other 3?

  1. Donald Trump was officially nominated and elected as the Republican candidate for president, despite attempts to derail that surreal event.
  2. Donald Trump’s wife plagiarized Michelle Obama in her speech.
  3. There was something going on between Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. I still don’t know what. And no, I won’t seek a link for this. Please.
  4. And the soon to be big[ger] story that Mrs. Trump Rickrolled the Republican convention and the country.

The answer to both questions, obviously[?], is #1.

But the media pointed out some squirrels with which to distract us from the torturous reality that a major American political party is in such a state of delusion that Mr. Trump is their gift to the White House.

This is something we should all be debating and planning to avert! But we can’t if the Kanye/Kim/Taylor/Melania show is on.

So. Did you catch it? Or did corporate media get you again on Tuesday? If you caught it, you are allowed to like us in the Facebook.

Spoiler: yesterday we learned that Trump thinks the president’s job is to Make America Great Again while letting his vice-president take care of domestic and international policy. It’s now the Texas Bush-Cheney Chainsaw Massacre, Part Deux!

Oh. And here’s your Easter Egg.

Spring: the Season of Sexism and Dress Codes

Over the years we have written about sexist school and sports dress codes.

But since it’s spring, we should expect a great deal of attention in the non-progressive media to what is either inappropriately dressed teen girls, or the increasingly less subtle slutshaming and sexism that we heap on women.

Sydney Bear
Sydney Bear, 14, is calling into question a dress code at her school that she says objectifies young women. (CBC)

This year’s keynote is from Manitoba, where schools are once again covering up the girls because of boy hormones.

We know this idiotic school behaviour needs to stop, but I read the CBC comments section anyway. Mistake.

The most bothersome on the first screen [I declined to click NEXT] is this full-bloom piece of fail:

I find it very hard to take seriously a fourteen year old girl who says, “as a feminist…”

Frankly, if your kids aren’t feminists BY the age of 14, you need to step up your game.

And for those of you at home keeping count, I’ve now trashed 14 sickly misogynist comments on this year’s Ghomeshi and IWD posts. Start your own blogs you sickos; you won’t pollute this one with your filth!

It’s time to have discussions in our families, schools, community and nation about consent and respecting others. Can you imagine if we lived in a country where consent were an actual norm, would we be dealing with the width of shoulder straps?

Parlez-Vous Contempt?

Comment?

PC diversity
Anti-diversity!

Conservative contempt for democracy, representation, culture, and people not like themselves [really really white!] does not end with Harper or #TheNewHarper.

This new francophone minister, the anglophone Squires, not only clings to her talking points as if her political life depends on it [which it does], but she also waxes unironically about herself, showing how giddy she is to get into the cabinet room and get an office.

Watch her spinning and weaving here:

https://www.facebook.com/cbcmanitoba/videos/10154088305714400/

The biggest punch in the throat to non-anglos, though–beyond her being responsible for sports, culture, heritage, women and the franco universe, all lumped together–is that this anglo represents the riding of Riel!

Do they have no one elected who could speak French?

Is there no Quebecois Harperite senator they could fly in and appoint to cabinet?

Or are they just content with cultivating disdain from people who would generally never vote for them anyway.

Right, the latter.

So Squires, with a distinctly English last name [but French-ish first name], is basically minister of people the government doesn’t care about.

Residents in St. Boniface are raising questions about Premier Brian Pallister’s choice to oversee francophone affairs in Manitoba — because the minister he chose does not speak French.

Rochelle Squires is a unilingual anglophone who represents the Winnipeg electoral district of Riel. She has a background in communications, journalism and fine arts and along with francophone affairs, she will oversee sport, culture and heritage as well as status of women in Pallister’s new cabinet.

Source: St. Boniface not impressed with English-speaking francophone affairs minister

No, BC Actually Mentored Saskatchewan’s Poor-Bashing

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Foxfamblogs.org%2Ffp2p%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F10%2FClass_War-2_250px.jpg&f=1Despite being Metro News, Emily Jackson’s great piece yesterday [below] about how brutally cruel the Saskatchewan government is should make us mindful of a number of issues.

Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies.

That makes the BC Liberal government Saskatchewan’s poor-bashing mentor.

Let’s re-spin this piece and explore some key context, then work up some solutions!

  1. In Saskatchewan there’s a lot of racism and classism and discrimination against the poor and those with mental health issues. BC too.
  2. 1 in 7 people in Saskatchewan is aboriginal.
  3. In Saskatchewan, the police have been known to drive aboriginals out of town to dump them on the outskirts of town. In the winter. There are even jovial nicknames for that little jaunt.
  4. Saskatchewan has cut funding to shelters. So has BC. It’s called poorbashing. People, after all, should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, after all, we are all born with equal opportunity to succeed in life! [Myth, as you know.]
  5. The BC premier is an opportunistic liar when it comes to the 2 men the Saskatchewan Party put on a bus with a one-way ticket to BC: “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.” There are hundreds of thousands of stories of people in BC who are being degraded, de-funded, insulted and left to dangle in the wind from almost 15 years of cuts to social programs. Perhaps she thinks these men from the bus can work in LNG because that’s mythical as the BC Liberal Party social conscience.
  6. A Vancouver city councillor is deluded if he really believes his own words, that he “hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.” Vancouver has a dismal record of actually contending with homelessness and inadequate housing. And if he really believes that anyone should look to the BC government for how to deal with the poor, he’s at best disingenuous. But then he shows his weakening credibility: “We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.” BC treats its vulnerable populations hideously. Our province is a train wreck.

Solutions Time!

  1. The same Vancouver councillor is right in calling for a national homelessness strategy, and far far more robust than this insult.
  2. We also need a poverty reduction plan in BC.
  3. We also need living wage legislation in BC.
  4. We need a housing authority in Vancouver, like Whistler has.
  5. We also need a national poverty strategy.
  6. And a national housing strategy.
  7. This isn’t really all that difficult. #1-6 indicate some intentional planning, based on sincerity and integrity and actual concern to ensure that people in a rich country like Canada don’t have to live in squalor.
  8. Which brings us to #8. Welcome, #8! Canadians are ignorant or oblivious or criminally indifferent to the squalor we have created over generations on reserves and for off-reserve first peoples. We are content with their inadequate housing, untreated mental health disorders and addictions, pathetic healthcare and education, insufficient physical and social infrastructure, and a myriad of other socio-economic problems reminiscent of 21st century failed states. And you won’t see any comments on this piece about how they just need to pull themselves up by their…bootstraps. I’ll just delete them upon submission. So there’s that.
  9. Oh, and we also need the post-carbon energy infrastructure transition to ramp up to 11 now because delaying will create climate chaos that will exacerbate all the socio-economic problems above, and many more.

Ultimately, we can simply coordinate our ample brain power, increasing tax base and will to create a just and equitable Canada for everyone.

And if that isn’t compelling enough for you because it’s the right thing to do, imagine if you weren’t born who you were. Imagine you were born lacking the socio-economic entitlements you have and you lived in communities like I mentioned in #8. Bad luck, eh.

If you have the neurons to even just imagine that, then ask yourself, shouldn’t you be advocating for public policy that would provide people with the best shot at a good life on the off chance that you would have been born into a vulnerable community? After all, all humans deserve an equal chance to have a good life, and not be born into deprivation, right?

And if the answer is no, it’s probably because you weren’t and you’re ok enjoying your entitlements while others born into vulnerability can just rot.

There’s a word for that kind of person. Many words, even.

B.C. will help two homeless men sent west by Saskatchewan government: Premier Christy Clark

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the province should and will help the two homeless men en route to the west coast after the Saskatchewan government bought them one-way bus tickets to B.C., where neither had social services lined up.

Saskatchewan’s ministry of social services spent $500 on B.C.-bound bus tickets for the two First Nations men instead of helping them at home, where their local shelter recently faced funding cuts, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, one man has family in Victoria and one, a 21-year-old who struggles with mental health problems, doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver, his final destination. The men embarked from North Battleford, Sask. Tuesday night, but it’s not clear whether they arrived in B.C.

Regardless, Clark said the province stands ready to help, adding that B.C.’s strong economy is attracting a variety of people.

“I think everybody in British Columbia would say we want to support people with serious mental illness and we want to make sure they get the care that they need,” Clark told reporters. “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who is also a psychiatry professor at UBC who researches mental illness, said this story shows homelessness is a problem across Canada, not just in major centres, and called for a national homelessness strategy. Meanwhile, he hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.

“To treat two human beings that way, slapping them on the bus, one reportedly with mental health issues, to send them off into the night, is absolutely disgusting,” Jang said.

“I hope Saskatchewan learns from this and says we’ve got to invest in our social services and get people the best care to get them on their feet again, not push it off and hope fate will take care of them.”

The Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan social workers have the discretion to buy people bus tickets, usually to join family, but it is not typical. The government announced Wednesday it will review the case.

Vancouver’s annual homeless count takes place Wednesday night to Thursday morning. If volunteers meet either man, they will offer help.

“We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.”

Seven Tips for Feminist Men

I know already. You’re a feminist. And a man. But I’m not going to pat you on the back for that because we need to do better.

We may think we’ve already earned all the male-feminist scout badges. We may subscribe to the male-feminist version of the doctors’ maxim ‘first, do no harm.’ But that’s not enough. We need to actively change our world.

So here are seven ways to improve.

1. Switch from Passive to Active

Men need to move past a place of neutrality to actively supporting feminist actions that make a real difference in people’s lives.

This may feel risky, and it should, because some men will interpret our actions as betraying our gender. We need to call that out.

If you aren’t comfortable pondering all this, keep reading anyway.

2. Seed Your Life with Feminist Inspiration

In February, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films) announced she was going to take a year off of acting to pursue activism and personal development. She is already the global face of the UN’s HeForShe gender equality campaign. Be inspired by following her and that campaign on whatever social media platforms you are on.

As of a few weeks ago, fewer than 18,000 Canadian men had committed to gender equality actions at HeForShe.org. Add your name there and explore the website to learn about innovative ways to pursue more equality. One in 18 Icelandic men have made that pledge. To match that rate, a million Canadian men need to sign up. Get busy and tell your friends!

Watson has also started “Our Shared Shelf,” a global online feminist book club. Join it. Why not? There are already over 119,000 members.

Also, read and subscribe to Gender-Focus.com, an exceptional Canadian (and labour-friendly) website exploring equality. We need to be challenged out of our complacency with new ideas; see #1 above.

Also, go back into your favourite social media platforms and follow Buffy Sainte-Marie, Margaret Atwood, Pam Palmater, Nora Loreto, bell hooks, Tantoo Cardinal, Geena Davis, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, and the Idle No More movement. That’s a good start!

3. Be Quiet

Men talk too much. We hog airtime in meetings, mindlessly exercise our illegitimate entitlement to talk first in mixed groups, and we interrupt women reflexively. A lot. We need to get over ourselves and recognize that for women to have more influence we need to create that space by being quiet more. It’s amazing what we can learn when our mouths are closed!

Here’s a fun exercise: while being quiet, count how many times women say, “I just wanted to say . . .” before sharing their idea. Where does that come from?

Being quiet also means not agreeing to be on or attend all-white or all-male panels or committees.

4. Raise Feminist Sons

Our boys are growing up with an opportunity to interact with girls in more progressive ways than when we were growing up. From a healthier understanding of consent to new norms of collaboration, our job is to model feminist actions, and to talk about why we’re doing that.

We also need to tell our sons stories about our own experiences — when we saw inequality and either did or didn’t do something about it. Our stories carry the wisdom we need to share.

And when progressive groups at our sons’ schools have a feminist bake sale and charge boys $1 and girls only $0.72, we need to applaud that.

5. Sacrifice, and Promote Pay Equity

Here’s a badge no one will give us: the badge of suffering. Men must give up some of our entitlements, including financial, for women to get more.

We already know that solidarity means supporting each other, but it really means doing so until it hurts. Last month, Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association in BC settled a collective agreement that explicitly earmarked extra funds for their precarious contract professors. That’s sacrifice, but it’s still far too rare, in post-secondary or any sector.

We also need to promote pay-equity language and funding in collective bargaining so that people in female-dominated jobs can earn comparable pay. And that means people in male-dominated jobs will have to seek smaller raises.

6. Abandon the Meritocracy Myth

People often object to quota positions on committees and boards because of this myth of meritocracy. Let it go.

In 2016, we can no longer accept the idea that all people have had equal access to education, opportunities and political influence, and therefore no one has any unearned advantages over anyone else. It’s just not true.

Meritocracy is a myth often used as an excuse to keep marginalized groups away from men’s entitlement zones. And merit is itself arbitrary and defined by people already representing demographics in power.

7. Promote Talented Women

Since we’re being more quiet (see #3 above), we should spend some of our newly found reflective time to carefully watch the women around us to see who we can encourage and promote.

We need to talk to them and ask what they want to accomplish in work and life. Then we should help them do that. And we need to remember that being a good ally means doing what people need us to do. Resist the urge to practise paternalism; let people guide us in helping them.

There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Shaming Chauvinists 101

Hey, Canada. Don’t you just hate it when other countries make us look so 20th century?

In the UK, they’re going to publicly shame employers who maintain gender wage disparities. Sure, it’s not legislated pay equity, but it’s a start. And they’re ahead of us.

Seriously, how hard is this? Come on, read on. I dare you!

Businesses that perpetuate the wage gap will be exposed.Source: U.K. to Name and Shame Companies That Pay Men More Than Women

U.K. officials announced legislation Friday that will require businesses with more than 250 employees to publish the differences in average salaries and bonuses between male and female employees. A government-sponsored website will rank businesses by their gender pay gap, spotlighting companies that have failed to address wage disparities.

“In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make groundbreaking strides in tackling gender inequality,” Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said in a statement. “But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognized equally and fairly in every workplace.” She added that such measures would leave “nowhere for gender inequality to hide.”

If Beyonce…

If Beyoncé could do THAT at the Superbowl, what could happen at the oh, so white Oscars?

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