“It’s not about race :-)”

First Mike Brown, Then Eric Garner: Prosecutors Can’t Be Trusted to Try Cops

Earlier this summer, a NYPD not getting indicted for the murder of Eric Garner where the police used an banned chokehold by the NYPD. The reactions that came with the Grand Juries’ decision to not press any charges opened the issue of systematic racism. Yes, it does there are the issue of police brutality and the broken justice system, but what the underlying issue of this is racism, more particularly anti black racism. Like the article states, the decision mirrored that of the case in Ferguson, which erupted a large reaction from the people of Ferguson for not indicting Darren Wilson who killed an unarmed Mike Brown. Likewise, it also happened in New York where protestors uses Eric Garner’s last words as a statement (as seen in the videos). They are angry that despite the video evidence (where the man took the video was indicted) and the New York City medical examiner’s classification of it being a homicide, there was still no charges. It emphasizes the belief of the systematic racism that is going on in the country.

There have been various news of police brutality that have been raised throughout the past months in light of the Mike Brown and Ferguson events and it gives light to the social inequality within American society emphasizing the element of systematic racism. One example is a similar issue of the chokehold was used on a white student where the police officer was fired. Another is where a white man with a gun out in public was not killed, but subdued. Which is shocking because Tamir Rice, a 12 year old with a toy gun was shot and killed, as well as John Crawford. Even James Eagan Holmes was not shot after shooting 12 people in the  theatre. There are various discussions addressing the issue of racial bias in criminal sentencing and police brutality on black bodies. The national head of the Fraternal Order of Police respond to the increasing complaints about police brutality responds with “it is an issue of poverty” which typically mostly black Americans.

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Quebec’s Student Tuition Protest of 2012

Quebec Student Protest

In the late spring of 2012 a protest erupted in response to the Parti Libéral du Québec‘s announcement of the 75 percent tuition fees increase by 2017. Two groups that opposed the idea emerged: one group stood against neoliberal  and capitalist ideas, and believed that the government is commercializing education, which is violating the right to free education; and the second group, despite agreeing with neoliberal ideas, did not agree to the rise of tuition because the group did not believe in being in debt just to get an education that would not does not guarantee a well paying job in the current market. The article looks at the relationship of student debt with the increasing issue of guaranteed, permanent employment to less well paid and more insecure jobs. It states that despite Canada having a relatively less amount of tuition fee, and even more so in Quebec (the lowest in the country), students are stuck with their debt for 14 years in average. It introduces the huge issues such as accessibility to education, and also job security after post-secondary education.

These problems are the reason for the student protest. According to the article the protest became a massive resistance which eventually forced the Quebec government to pass the temporary Bill 78, which restricted protesting. This also got of opposition because it violated people’s right to protest. This made it easy for protestors to gain outside support (by convergence) since the issues that are problematic with the government also spoke to people outside the protest, such as accessibility to education, freedom to protest, etc.

Technology & Mental Health

Depression? There’s an app for that

The UK is trying to “modernize” the treatment of mental health. In this article, it talks about trying to put forward the idea for an app that helps people, especially young adults, with mental health issues to have access to treatment without going to mental health care services directly. They are proposing this idea in order to expand the spectrum of where and how people with mental health problems can get help. This is mostly directed to young adults because of their interlaced existence with the online world and it gives them an alternative they can easily access and feel comfortable with. This proposal also solve the issue of mental health services getting cut from funding, so even without these services there would be an app as an alternative. The problems with this idea are people being misdiagnosed, and that they would become too dependent on internet-based treatment rather than a combination of face-face and digital treatment. Ultimately, this shows us that technology has certainly advanced rapidly, but also that advancement is directly related to the needs that rises in society.

Social Movements in Canada: Idle No More

This article discusses Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement, by grassroots First Nations in Canada, who demand proper treatment of indigenous rights, which have been a long and difficult fight. The dissatisfaction towards the Canadian government from the First Nations community has became more prominent when the Bill C-45 was introduced; a bill that changes aspects of the Canadian Indian Act, which negatively affect Aboriginal rights, mainly relating to reserve lands. The article states that because of economic gains that results from this bill, the government find it easy to go around and ignore the rights of the Native community. The Idle No More group seek to change the treatment of aboriginal lives and Canadian environment. They the Bill C-45 as a highlighting issue of much bigger issues that plague the Aboriginal communities due to the effects of imperial and colonial interests; such as appropriate housing, clean water, issue of the missing aboriginal women, etc. Related to this is Chief Spence’s hunger strike in order to gain attention to dissatisfaction of the First Nations, and actually gain an opportunity to discuss these issues with the Prime Minister. Chief Spence’s hunger strike was effective because it gained numerous support and brought about action in communities (such as protests like in the videos).

It is important to note that this article tries to align the views of the Idle No More to other groups using environmental issues that generates a sense of nationalism because these environmental issues directly affecting Canada.

Antiblackness

Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.

This article looks at the inequalities between black and white americans, and systematic racism that influenced the protest in Ferguson. It characterizes the Ferguson even as white rage against the black community stating that it is because of years of resentment towards the black community, which translated deeply into various social and economic aspect of society (i.e the judicial system-stop & frisk), that things like police brutality and dehumanization towards black Americans become ubiquitous and most often reacted to with compliance. The article points out that white rage against the black community happened through out history where the black Americans dare to practice their rights as Americans: the terror of the Ku Klux Klan; 101 members of Congress issuing the Southern Manifesto, declaring a legislation to withhold public funding from any school that abided by Brown (Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955): a case that challenged the segregation and inequality in education); and Obama running for president. It also looks at the aspect of economic dislocation. The people affected the most by the Great Recession of 2007-8 were black americans, the article states, “[r]ight before the recession, white Americans had four times more wealth than black Americans, on average; by 2010, the gap had increased to six times,” which illustrates the vulnerable state that black communities are in for more social problems they already have. According to the article, these are some of the factors that influenced the normalized violence against black bodies.

Bell Curving and Grade Deflation

It’s time to stop grade deflation

This article looks at bell curving that seems to be occurring in University of Toronto to meet their quota. It discusses the problems that occurs when grades are inflated and illuminate on a large problem of grade deflation. The problem with bell curving is that instructors are giving a grade that does not reflect the student’s ability. The article states, “After all, you can change a grade from a 40 to a 60 per cent, but the student won’t magically understand that 20 per cent of material” (Schwartz). It shows the problem with the educational system, where it is not fulfilling its function to properly and effectively teach students for their future career, but instead the university worries about its status and prestige. The article also looks at the problem of grade deflation, which is closely related to the problem with bell curving and university quotas. Grade deflation, similarly, does not show the student’s abilities, and makes it unfair for those who do deserve a mark that reflect their academic ability, but would not attain it because of the regulated marks that are given to make the teacher’s quota. This certainly shows the flaws in our educational system that are affecting the students.

Toxic Masculinity

Vogue India released this video to raise awareness and battle abuse on women. The violence towards women is influenced by socializing boys, at a very young age, to restrict their emotions. Telling boys that they can’t cry because it is only something exclusive for girls causes problems because it is creating a toxic way in expressing their emotions later in life. It is exactly what some feminist try to argue; patriarchy not only causes inequality for women, but it also emphasis gender roles that is harmful for men and women alike.

This video goes hand in hand with the movement #startwiththeboys. It is trying to correct the problem of how we socialize you boys into these gender roles, which have detrimental psychological implications. Boys are treated badly if they show “feminine” characteristics, which is being able to express their emotions freely, and are taught to be strong and unemotional. Frustration builds up and they become violent because they do not know how to properly express their emotions. This violence then becomes normalized stating that “boys will be boys” and propagating the idea that men are allowed to do anything, such as being able to get away with rape, making street harassment seen as harmless, and excusing or completely denying abuse allegations. #Startwiththeboys is advocating to deconstruct the binary of gender roles, so that there are no define lines on what a person can project themselves as.