I’m kinda furious about this:
When first watching the trailer, I tried to remind myself that it was just a movie.
But it’s never just a movie, is it?
Given enough time, I’m sure I could list hundreds of films that changed my perspective on the world. The Hours was the first time I felt challenged on my once very black-and-white perspective on LGBT rights. Hotel Rwanda, despite being called “revisionist junk” by then UN peacekeeper/now senator Romeo Dallaire, was the first movie to open my eyes to the role of politics in preventing, or allowing, genocide and devastation. There are just so many movies that moved me to reconsider my stance or opinion by challenging me to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Movies do affect us, often more than we’d like to admit. Heck, that’s exactly why we talk so much about representation in movies here on the blog.
So I am a movie fan who believes that movies impact their viewers. That’s why I’m furious that there is about to be a major blockbuster that will hero-wash “the worst oil spill in U.S. History” a spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days and leaked approximately 3.19 million barrels of oil. Continue reading
Posted in environmentalism, film
Tagged America, bias, biggest spill, Canadian, deepwater horizon, environment, explosion, film, fossil fuels, humans, injured, killed, millions of barrels, movie, ocean, Oil, oil spill, pay, perished, perspective, pollution, powerful, profit, progaganda, representation, safety, screen, selfish, south, tragedy, trailer, unnecessary
Legalizing recreational marijuana was part of Justin Trudeau’s election campaign platform, but it wasn’t something many people took seriously. What with the common mistrust of politicians and the opposition of the very powerful Hell’s Angels gang, who stand to lose a lot of revenue if pot becomes legal, it was hard to take Trudeau’s proposition seriously.
That’s why I was surprised to hear that the Federal Health Minister had announced plans to legalize marijuana by 2017. CBC’s recent episode of Cross Country Checkup gave Canadians an opportunity to respond with a few of their thoughts on the new legislation. Many of the callers brought some great points to my attention, some of which I’ve touched on below. However, it was apparent that some callers were still buying into weed propaganda, from exaggerated health benefits to exaggerated threats. For this post I decided to pull together a few of the best arguments I’ve heard from both camps and try to find at least a little research to support their claims.
Pros of Legalization
1. Legalization could reduce an unnecessary drain on police resources
Cannabis related offences are the most common type of drug offence in Canada, especially here in British Columbia.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.
According to Stats Canada, “in 2012, 43% of Canadians reported that they had used marijuana at some time in their lives, and 12% reported using it in the past year”. That means half of all Canadians could have been charged with possession at one time or another. Although in some places police will turn a blind eye to mere pot possession, there are still a significant number of cases reported by police. CBC explains that
there were 57,314 marijuana possession-related “incidents” reported by police nationwide, according to Statistics Canada. More than 24,540 people were charged as a result. The year before that, 25,819 Canadians faced charges.
What’s disconcerting about this grey area of crime is that police can often use their discretion when it comes to actually prosecuting an offence. According to a recent CBC News analysis, where you live can affect if you will be charged. They report that “you’re almost 23 times more likely to face a possession charge in Kelowna, B.C., than in St. John’s.”
Marijuana use is so widespread that it is taking a massive amount of police resources to even pursue pot users. According to a report last year, “police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada”. Inevitably, chasing down the almost endless amount of pot users and dealers takes police away from pursuing other criminal activity. Continue reading
Posted in business, Canada, health, politics
Tagged adolescent, Alcohol, alcohol percentage, brain, British Columbia, campaign, Canada, Canadian, cancer, cannabis, CBC, Colorado, concerns, cops, crime, decrease use, decriminalize, drain, drugs, effects, fat cells, Federal Health Minister, gang, government, health, heavy user, Hell's Angels, issues, Justin Trudeau, legalization, legalize, long term research, marijuana, medicinal, medicine, Mental illness, misinformation, opportunity, police, Portugal, pot, profit, recreational, resources, scientific, scizophrenia, Stats Canada, tax, THC, tobacco, under the influence, weed
Canadians like to think that we’re a pretty nice bunch.
Especially now, as Drumpf’s presidential candidacy reveals the racist underbelly of our neighbours to the South, we Canadians pride ourselves on being nothing like the States. We happily disassociate ourselves from the violence and xenophobia that seems to crop up at every Drumpf rally.
It’s just so incredibly convenient to revel in our not-Americanness, as though that in itself makes us not racist. We try to pretend that same kind of racism doesn’t exist here, even though the same fear-baiting tactic was used in our recent election. We try to ignore the recent hateful attack on Syrian refugees, newly arrived in Canada. We try to forget that our country was built upon the exploitation of people of colour.
In case you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, I’ve included a couple examples below.
1. Canada had Legal Slavery
In elementary school the only time I learned about slavery and Canada was when we studied the Underground Railway. Through these stories of escape and hope I, like many Canadians, was led to believe that Canada had offered an escape for Black men and women who were trapped as slaves in the United States.
What I never knew (until recently) was that Canada was not always the beacon of hope that it appeared. As historian Natasha Henry highlights in her article about Slavery in Canada,
“African slavery existed in the colonies of New France and British North America for over 200 years, yet there remains a profound silence in classrooms and teaching resources about Canada’s involvement in the African slave trade. According to available historical documents, least 4,000 Africans were held in bondage for two centuries in the early colonial settlements of New France (Quebec), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Upper Canada (Ontario).”
Luckily, novelists have begun to draw attention to the stories that our history books have overlooked. Afua Cooper’s The Hanging of Angélique, for example, tells the true story of Canadian slave Marie-Joseph Angélique. Meanwhile, Lawrence Hill’s Book of Negros, reminds us that many escaped slaves were actually shipped back to the States by Canadian authorities. He also explores the extreme racism that drove some black Canadians to move to Sierra Leone. Continue reading
Posted in America, Canada, history, politics, race
Tagged Afua Cooper, Anti-asian sentiment, black, Camps, Canada, Canadian, Canadian encycopedia, Canadian Government, caricature, Chinese settlers, Chinese-Canadian, communal, Communist, competition, deportation, Drumpf, economic success, European settlers, Famer, farm, farmer, fishermen, forget, generations, hand tools, Hayter Reed, head tax, Henry Yu, history, hope, imprisoned, Indian Commissioner, indigenous, indigenous communities, inmates, interned, internment, Japanese-Canadian, land, Lawrence Hill, livestock holds, machinary, Natasha Henry, nice, nutritional experiment, Peasant Farming, Policy, pool funds, president, property, railway, remember, reputation, reserves, Residential Schools, Sarah Carter, separated, Sierra Leone, slavery, sold, surplus, Syrian refugees, Taken, The Book of Negros, The Hanging of Angelique, Towards a Pacific History of the Americas, underground railway, Unites States, Violence, vote, west coast, white, white settlers, white supremacy, WWII, Xenophobia
Today, on International Women’s Day, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I should be. Maybe it’s because I’ve been flipping through images of women’s protests around the world. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching sentimental videos that make me feel inspired (even if they are marketing ploys by Google). Either way, I can’t help but feel grateful.
By the time this post goes up around midnight tonight, it will no longer be International Women’s Day. Before then, I’d like to take a moment to be thankful, and highlight ways we can support other women in their fight to win these privileges too.
1. Freedom and Safety
When I get up in the morning, I do not feel afraid. My country is not at war. My physical safety is not threatened. Throughout history, this was not something most women could take for granted. In many countries around the world this is still something women cannot take for granted.
There are many organizations working to ensure women’s safety. There are a variety of organizations that are working to help women (and men and children) from areas like Syria that have been affected by war. Unfortunately, in unstable situations like these, rape and sexual violence become weapons of war. The Stop Rape Now website highlights a variety of organizations that work with victims of sexual assault and promote rape prevention education. Continue reading
Posted in feminism
Tagged #WomenYouShoulHaveHeardOf, able-bodied, access, afraid, aspire, Canadian, career, cis-gender, criticism, domestic violence, Education, Education for girls, employment, encourage, family, female, feminism, fight like a girl, freedom, Friends, gender, Girls, Hilary Clinton, inspire, International Women's Day, invest, job, Kiva, Malala fund, Malala Yousafzai, manhood, microloans, middle class, Niger, organization, physical, physical security, president, privilege, rape, Refugee, role models, safe, safety, sexual violence, spouse, succeed, threatened, Violence, vocational school, war, white, women, Women's Day, work
Seeing how I love to pretend that binge-watching comedy sketches counts as research, I decided to follow up on last week’s post about Amy Schumer with a post about Key and Peele.
I find a lot of Schumer’s work funny because I can relate to it. It’s not quite the same with Key and Peele, since I am neither black, nor male, nor American.
Although sometimes their characters aren’t male either.
Even though I have little in common with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, I do find their work hilarious. They do a variety of flawless impressions and have a much wider range than Schumer, who generally sticks to one (albeit very funny) schtick.
Like Schumer, they also take on some very serious social issues in their comedy. Since they are both half-black, Key and Peele often touch on the way racism affects the lives of black or biracial individuals. Below, I’ve included three racial inequalities that Key and Peele do a great job revealing via their sketches.
1) Racial Profiling and Police Violence
As a Canadian, the prevalence of police violence towards black Americans blows my mind. Don’t get me wrong, Canada certainly has our own problems when it comes to police violence. That said, our more recent incidents of violence are due to taser-overuse, rather than unnecessary use of a firearm. It’s uncomfortable to watch cases of police violence when they are discussed on American news, since the focus tends to be on whether or not the victim of police violence “deserved it.” Black victims, even twelve-year-olds with pellet guns, are framed as threatening, in order to excuse why a cop discharged their firearm.
Key and Peele often subvert this “threatening black man” trope in their sketches. In “Flash Mob” and “White Zombies” Key and Peele play non-threatening black men who are mistaken as dangerous by the white people (or white zombies) around them.
Similarly, “Solution to Racial Profiling” mocks the racial double-standard that fames black youth in hoodies as “thugs” while their white peers are described as “misunderstood”.
One of their more serious sketches, “Negrotown,” addresses police violence directly, by imagining a world where police violence and racial profiling no longer existed.
Posted in Comedy, race
Tagged #BlackLivesMatter, America, American, Amy Schumer, biracial, black, black best friend, black ice, black men, black victims, Canadian, caricatures, comedy, comedy network, comedy sketches, dating, female, film tropes, final season, firearm, funny, Hollywood, humour, impressions, inequalities, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, key and peele, laughter, male, media, misunderstood, movies, news, police violence, race, race war, racial profiling, racial stereotypes, racism, racist, research, sex, sex with black guys, stereotypes, Taser, terrified, threatening, thugs, TV, white, YouTube
It’s been my ambition for some time now to dedicate a series to explaining American politics to our substantial audience of non-Americans. While this blog is comprised 50% of Canadians (our frosty neighbors north of the wall), the simple fact of the matter is that the land-the-free has long been the front line of culture war. What happens here affects the rest of the globe.
With the already hotly contested primaries underway and prospects for the 2016 election being widely debated, what better time could there be than now to explain just why it is that we the people are fundamentally screwed.
Let me break it down here.
I. The Person Who Wins Isn’t Always The Person Who Gets Elected
In spite of our praise for democracy, the American republic does not have a one-man-one-vote policy. Every four years, there’s a decent chance that the candidate with the most votes will still lose to his opponent.
See, we have something called the “electoral college”- a staggeringly complex system that not even this succinct TED video can completely cover. At its simplest, the system boils down to states having “points” assigned to them on the basis of their populations and number of congressmen and senators.
This system means that a political candidate doesn’t necessarily have to get a massive number of people to vote for him- just a majority. So long as he or she gets that majority, no matter how slim, they still takes away as many “points” as if they had won a landslide.
What that means is that a person can get elected president in spite of his or her opponent getting more actual votes. Just look at this image below:
While the majority of votes cast in this example are blue, red still wins by virtue of this system. While supposedly protecting states with smaller populations (preventing them from being drowned out by heavily populated states), the result is that a person’s vote can very well be rendered utterly pointless. Plenty of folks simply don’t even bother voting, especially in states dominated by one party. Alternatively, states with greater electoral power (more points, that is) and a habit of swinging between parties (Ohio and Florida, most famously) get disproportionate amounts of attention.
In spite of being viciously despised by folks on both sides of the political spectrum, there’s really very little hope for any reform on this point. While part of that can be blamed on tradition, plenty of it also boils down to a little thing called- Continue reading
Posted in advertising, America, bizarreness, business, Culture War Report, government, history, money, news, politics
Tagged 4th congressional district, America, American, Ben Carson, Canada, Canadian, citizens united, democrat, elections, electoral college, explained, foreign, gerrymandering, house of cards season 2, Illinois, international, Nebraska, non-americans, pac, politics, popular vote, primary, redistricting, regulation, superpac, system, vote, voting