I’m turning 31 today. As I’ve said before, having a January birthday is helpful in delineating points in your life – a new calendar year is followed quickly by a new year for me, personally. So it’s a good point to look back/look ahead on what I accomplished, learned, and hope to do better. So here we go:
after trying it here and there over the course of a few years, my wife and I decided to have a regular go at climbing. We got our belay tickets and have managed to go nearly every week since. I could barely do 5.6’s this time last year and now I can do 5.9’s and 5.10’s. I hope to continue to improve in 2016
I went in a canoe race with my dad. I’ve canoed on lakes a lot, but rivers not so much. We capsized and came nearly last, but it was a good experience
I went on my first international trip in eight years. The first year I met my now-wife, we traveled to Cuba together, and the next year we moved to China. Then we focused on finishing school, establishing careers, that sort of thing. Recently, we talked about how we wanted to spend our time and money and realized that travel was something we both valued and had been putting off. It was nerve-wracking, actually, spending thousands of dollars on a two-week trip, but we budgeted for it and have no regrets- and are already planning trips for 2016 and 2017
We took a trip to Drumheller with my niece. Having a kid in your life is crazy because you see them grow up and learn to talk and stuff. This is not news to anyone with kids, but hey. I’m glad I’m able to make time to be a part of her childhood
I really need to get rid of some stuff. I was super-proud of myself for getting rid of a bunch of old clothes that were in storage and finally going through them and either trashing or donating them. It felt good, the part of the house they were cluttering up looks better, and I want to do more of it
Work-life balance is still an issue. I went through a stretch of time where I was really off on this one. Even when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work. I’d come home late, which meant things like shopping and cooking would be put off, and things would spiral. I’ve had some good runs of not doing this, and I hope to get even better at it moving forward
Related to this: I was able to make more time for friends this year, but still not as much time as I would have liked. It stems from me still not being great at spending my time in a way that reflects the things I value. I did do a better job, but lots of room for improvement.
Which isn’t to say work isn’t something I value. I spent the first part of my year working as the producer (ie manager) of the show before going back to the associate producer (ie journalist/storyteller role). I think I did an adequate job as a producer, but the fact that I was new (it was a nine-month temporary role) was definitely an issue. Among the things I had to learn to do- and would need to improve upon if I took on a similar role again- are delegation, being OK with other people’s version of your vision, and doing a better job of providing feedback. One thing I think I learned how to do well was to draw up a set of values and use that as a guide for the decision-making process. I’m trying to apply this in other parts of my life now, as well
I was nominated for my first award for a radio story I produced, and may be nominated for another one soon. The thing that’s interesting about this is not so much the award, but the process of looking at your work and asking yourself if you think it is award-worthy. I do think that’s something I’ll try to do more of– produce a few works that are striving to be award-worthy. Even if they don’t get nominated for anything, the extra care and thought that goes into producing them are reward enough
I also started thinking about writing more seriously again. When I was young, I wanted to be an author, and obviously writing is something I continue to do here on my blog. But this past year, a couple of my blog posts got attention from publishers, and it made me think about possibly having a go at a writing project that’s more than a blog post. I’m not really sure what that project might be, but I am actively thinking about it
Being a part of the First Waltz was an incredible experience. My role was super-small: some brainstorming at the beginning, and some talking at the end. But the feeling of being part of what was such an amazing night for showcasing Prince George and Prince George music was incredible, and I’d love to be part of something like that again
Looking back at those last four points has made me realize what I’m really getting value out of are things that can’t be accomplished in a day- they are things that require days/weeks/months of work. And they probably can’t be done alone. So that will be something to think about moving forward: what do I want to say, how do I want to say it, and who do I want to say it with? Hopefully I can figure that out.
Since turning 30, I’ve been trying to record one second of every day of my life. There’s some gaps here and there, but overall this feels pretty representative. There’s a few big moments, but there’s also the little ones that get more important with time: family, friends, a bike ride home, pets who’ve since crossed the rainbow bridge.
I’m surprised at how valuable of an exercise this has been, making me think just a little more about what I want to do each day, what I want to remember, and discovering how even something as simple as a one second image of a faucet or the outside of a building can take me back to a moment I’d otherwise forget.
My only regret is the days I missed but, hey, there’s always next year.
Thanks for the past 365 days, y’all. You make it grand.
Every year, I find it’s a helpful exercise to look back on some of my output from the past 365 days to see what resonates. Some of that is the stuff that resonates with me, personally, and some of it is what resonated with people more widely. I’m happy to see that this year, more than any previous ones, the stuff that resonated widely is largely the stuff that resonated with me, as well.
According to a combination of Google Analytics, Medium’s built-in analytics, and Facebook + Twitter shares, these are my most popular pieces of writing of 2015:
Journalism 2015 – reflecting on cuts on a contracting industry – this one went gangbusters on Twitter, and some very prominent people shared it and said it resonated- pretty amazing
Alright, so every New Year’s I like to do a little personal “best of” highlighting work I’m proud of from the past year. I’m going to do that again, but I wanted to give a shout out to other people, first.
I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, journalism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When stories go national, they get all the attention, but they have to bubble up from a local level, first. And sometimes they just stay local, but are hugely important on a local level. And the local journalists deserve the recognition for that. For example:
Samantha Wright Allen at the Prince George Citizen did a great “Life After Lakeland” series profiling the continued impact of the Lakeland Mills explosion on the people it affected
It’s not an individual story, but Charelle Evelyn’s continued coverage of Prince George city council is invaluable every other Monday
Kelsey Wiebe’s opinion piece in the Terrace Standard on “more than white men” is worth reading again
my colleagues at CBC chose their favourite stories of 2015, and there is some incredibly compelling stuff, as well- definitely worth listening to
This isn’t a definitive listing, and I’m sure I’ve missed some really good stuff, especially from near the beginning of the year. It’s just some highlights off of the top of my head. Journalism can feel like a grind sometimes, but it’s nice to step back and look at all the truly compelling stuff coming out on a regular basis. To all of y’all on that grind over the past year- thanks, and all the best for 2016.
Every December/January, I like to make a little mix of my favourite things in music from the past year. Sometimes it’s top songs, sometimes it’s top albums, sometimes it’s twelve tracks, sometimes it’s twenty. It really depends on what feels most relevant to my listening habits of the past year.
This year, it feels like the most honest thing to do is make a mixtape that’s roughly representative of my listening habits of the past year, which was largely listening to various mixes and individual tracks. I limited it to forty tracks because I find anything too long is just not worthwhile as a curated mix of the best of the best. If you desperately want more, I suggest my 2015 jams playlist on Spotify which sounds awesome on shuffle and includes basically every song I loved from the past 360-ish days.
As it is, these are the forty songs I’ve selected as the best representation of the past year. I followed the Said the Gramophone rules for year-end lists, which is: every artist only gets one song, and the songs are ones that I heard for the first time in 2015- a few came out at the tail end of 2014, but I didn’t catch them then.
“We’ve noticed over many months that these stories draw a disproportionate number of comments that cross the line and violate our guidelines. Some of the violations are obvious, some not so obvious; some comments are clearly hateful and vitriolic, some are simply ignorant. And some appear to be hate disguised as ignorance (i.e., racist sentiments expressed in benign language).
“This comes at the same time CBC News has made a concerted effort to connect with indigenous communities in order to improve our journalism and better reflect these communities to a national audience. The success of our Aboriginal unit and our investigative journalism around missing and murdered indigenous women are just two examples of that commitment.
“We don’t want violations of our guidelines by a small minority of our commenters to derail our good work or alienate our audience. So we’re taking a pause to see if we can put some structure around this. We will reopen comments as soon as possible.”
I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about comments, and recently put my own, loosey-goosey policy into place about which sort of comments would get deleted on my Facebook page. One of the things I didn’t really get into with my explanation, but which was top of mind, is a desire for people who are marginalized to feel comfortable being present in my online space, even if it means cracking down on people who are less sensitive to those sorts of situations.
It’s all about what sort of space you want to make – is it a shouting match where anyone can say anything, or is it a civil discussion where people of different backgrounds can speak up and feel a sense of belonging and respect?
Some sites allowed this debate to stand. The Facebook page for a local radio station wound up deleting a post about it after the discussion veered outside of what they deemed good taste, and then they posted about that decision. They were not the only one to delete stories.
There is a popular Facebook page in Prince George for posting good news stories about the city. It has created an amazing community of people who want to celebrate the city, connected people needing help, and quite literally changed lives for the better. And the job of keeping that page a place of positivity is not easy. I’ve seen some of messages the admins receive – all volunteers mind you- and they are virulent, hateful, expletive-filled, and not something I would wish on my worst enemy. In order to prevent these messages from polluting the public-facing parts of this community, the admins have had to make some difficult decisions about what is and isn’t allowed. Controversy is not.
The world is full of spaces for people to argue. This page is not one of those spaces. It is a space to share good-news stories and feel good doing it. So one of the rules is, basically, if a post starts to generate controversy, it gets deleted. One time I posted a story about stairs being painted a new colour, and people didn’t like the change, so the story got deleted. I shrugged and moved on.
I think, however, this decision-making gets a little more complicated if you are dealing with stories affecting marginalized groups. Because while for some people the renaming of this park was something to complain about, for a great many others it was something to celebrate. For the Lheidli T’enneh people, it was a moment of acknowledgement of their past and present in this city. It was a moment of reconciliation. It was a good news story.
And so they did what many other people in this city do when they want to celebrate – they posted the story in this very popular Facebook page for sharing good news. And then the negative comments would start, and the story would get deleted.
The metaphor I came up with was to think of the Facebook page as a popular pub where people go to celebrate. In this instance, people came in to celebrate the renaming of the park. Some people at the other table didn’t like it. So the people celebrating were asked to quiet down or leave.
I don’t think for a second this was the message the admins of the page want to send. They have a tough job (that isn’t actually a job), and they are keeping things civil as best they can. I know for certain I’ve clammed up or tried to change the subject when a conversation gets uncomfortable, simply because I want to move on and keep the peace. I know that isn’t always the best decision, and yet I continue to do it. So I’m not going to fault anyone for how this played out.
There are large media organizations with dedicated comments manager who still struggle to keep discussion respectful– see CBC’s decision to shut the comments down as they consider ways to fix this. Rather than kicking people out of the pub, they are shutting the pub down while figuring out their next move.
But I also think the reasons for doing this are worth paying attention to. There is a desire to keep the comments open, but open to people of all backgrounds, rather than letting the baser elements control the conversation. I’m not sure how that will be accomplished, but it will be worth following. At the core of this, for anyone with an online community, is the process of thinking about what sort of community you are aiming to create, how you do that, and who might get left out in the process. Who do you want to be allowed in your pub?
“The vast majority of the charts draw upon the same few concepts, deriving from the same few traditions, borne of the same few sensibilities. Touchy-feely reportage. Public radio two-ways. Public radio science-y shows. Shows about music. Comedians talking with comedians. People talking with people like themselves. Celebrities talking celebrity things. Conversationals. True crime true crime true crime.”
My relationship to Facebook is kind of dumb. I like it, in that it connects me to people and provides a platform for conversation, but I hate it in that I think it’s a poorly designed platform for conversation and I would happily abandon it except it’s where a lot of people I like hang out.
I often post things I write there, and a lot of the time it’s fun because other people read it and give me feedback, which I enjoy. But there is also a downside, which is that if a thing gets popular it starts to get shared and show up in the feeds of total strangers who think the things I have to say are stupid and would like to say so, and they do, in the form of comments. It’s not always as simple as “this is dumb” but they disagree with me to a certain degree and would like to say so.
Now, disagreement is completely fine, and yes my posts are public so they are basically sitting there for people to comment on, but the reality is, it is still my space. If I go to my Facebook page, I would like to see things that make me happy and I would also like the people who are, by whatever definition, my friends, to be happy upon seeing one of my posts. And I’ve noticed that the more I take a laissez-faire approach to what people can say on my posts, the more likely it is that I and others will not be happy with what comes out, to the point that it has at times spilled over into real life negativity.
Look, it’s not like I’m saying I am infallible and incapable of error so dissent will not be tolerated. But I guess I kind of think of it like this: if a person writes a book, what sense would it make for them to put negative reviews on the back jacket so that every time they saw this thing they created, they would see the words of people who think they did a bad job or who fundamentally disagree with their worldview? Those people are entitled to hold those opinions and even post them, but I am not required to let my space be a place for them to express those views. In a weird way I view my posts as a body of work, and every comment on that work actually becomes a part of my piece because it is inextricably linked to the original text and given essentially the same amount of visibility. So if I write something I like and someone comments “this is stupid” below, the words “this is stupid” are appended to my original writing and become a part of it. This is the part of Facebook’s design that I hate.
This becomes especially true if those views are expressed in a way that is less than respectful to myself or others. As a matter of fact, I am far more comfortable with critiques of me than critiques of other people involved in the discussion, sort of like it’s not super to have two people come into your home and then get into a shouting match – you feel a certain amount of responsibility to step in, and that is not something I have always been the best at. Especially when it comes to sensitive issues like race and gender it is sad to me when I write something with the intention of bringing people together and it devolves into ad hominem attacks.
So with that in mind, here is a partial and ever-evolving list of reasons I *might* delete your comment:
it is rude, racist, sexist, or discriminatory (by my standards, which may not be perfect, but again, this is my space)
it is off-topic
it misses the point of what I have written (again, by my standards)
the comment started on point, but then more commenters, maybe even me, got involved, and now we’re off on a completely different point and I think it looks stupid to have a giant off-topic thread sitting there on my page because have I mentioned I hate Facebook’s aesthetics?
I’m an arbitrary human with complete control over what the world can discuss hahahahahahaha
My hope isn’t to limit to discussion, but to make that discussion productive rather than combative, which online discussion too often is. If you feel strongly that you want to get into a debate about the existence of white privilege or sexism or xenophobia or whatever, then feel free to write your own post outlining your views and invite me to participate.
This is adapted from a comment in a Facebook thread about white privilege.
So let’s look at the NBA. It is not easy to get to the NBA. Lots of people from around the world try to get to the NBA and fail. Only the most dedicated, most skilled players, the ones who sacrifice a lot, will join that elite group. Most people do not have what it takes.
But the people who make it to the NBA almost all have another thing in common. They are at least six feet tall.
In fact, only 24 people under 6 feet have ever made it to the NBA.
If you are under 6 feet, you are probably not going to make it to the NBA, no matter how much drive you have.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. It’s just that there are people who have a natural advantage over you: they are taller. It’s not their fault they were born taller. And being tall does not guarantee them access to the NBA. The vast majority of people over six feet never play in the NBA.
But still: being six feet tall or more helps you get into the NBA.
People over six feet have an advantage over people under six feet. They didn’t invent the rules of the game, they may not be able to change the rules, but they benefit from them.
That is white privilege. You can’t just sit back and be successful because you were born white. But being white gives you a natural advantage over those who aren’t because those are the rules of the game we’re playing.
There are countless statistics indicating the existence of white privilege. The number of white people vs non-white people in high-level leadership positions, elite schools, and jails point to a disparity of outcomes. Put a white person and a non-white person in the same socio-economic space to start and, generally speaking, the white person is more likely to advance, for a whole variety of near-invisible cultural reasons which you can educate yourself about with just a bit of googling.
If you are white and deny the existence white privilege, imagine having this conversation with your average 6’7″ NBA player:
YOU: “Man, sometimes I wish I had been born taller, maybe I could have played in the NBA.”
THEM: “What are you talking about? You think just because I’m tall this was easy for me?”
YOU: “No, I just mean… you being tall helps. I’m short- it’s a bit of a disadvantage…”
THEM: “I got up every day of my life in high school and college to run laps. I gave up evenings. I gave up weekends. I didn’t have a girlfriend until I was 23”
YOU: “No, no, it’s not that – it’s just – I mean, I could have done that, but I’m 5’6″. I wouldn’t have made it…”
THEM: “Look at Muggsy Bogues. He was 5’3″ and he played 15 seasons.”
YOU: “I know, I know, but he’s an exception. Being tall helps.”
THEM: “My parents looked after themselves! They were healthy… they made sure I got good nutrition. You’re going to hold it against me that my parents were both tall and looked after me so I would be tall?”
YOU: “I’m not saying that.”
THEM: “I saw a homeless guy the other day. 6’5″. Being tall really helped him, huh? Looks like being tall is a REAL advantage in life. I prefer to judge people on their skill, not their genetics.”
“You’ve earned your cynicism if you’re a woman and have watched men in power try to trample on your rights, or if you’re aboriginal and you’ve been ignored for eons, or if you’re a Muslim woman whose existence suddenly became politicized. You’ve earned it if you’re trans and have seen government after government barely acknowledge that your suicide rates are out of control.
“You’ve earned it for decades through things that happened in this country long before you got here, to your ancestors, your community, your neighbours. You get to be cynical because elections are nothing if not cynical events. One day, the Liberals will likely fail you (they did before) and another party will rise to power. No party deserves your allegiance immediately after an election. They actually have to work for that.”
During the past 78 days, I saw a lot of people expressing shock- SHOCK!- at some of the racist and xenophobic sentiments being expressed by people during the campaign. You could see it in the Twitter feeds and comments sections on stories about immigrants, Muslims, and Canada’s indigenous people.
Here’s the thing: THOSE SENTIMENTS STILL EXIST. They aren’t Conservative or Bloc or NDP or Liberal. They are Canadian.
They exist outside of politics. They are part of Canada. You just didn’t know about it. And they aren’t gone. You don’t vote for someone and then racism ends. It’s much, much harder than that.
It’s on every level of our society. It’s in our bones. Nobody “won”. A woman in a niqab was still attacked. Indigenous people are still underrepresented. This is everywhere. This wasn’t on the party in power. It’s on ALL of us. We are all in a society that is inherently, structurally, discriminatory. We have to work to address that every day.
We can do better Canada. The party in power has nothing to do with it. WE have to do better.
UPDATED WITH INFORMATION FOR IF ELECTIONS CANADA WEBSITE ISN’T WORKING
Here we are, the end of the longest election campaign in modern history. Look, I’ll level with you: sometimes, it feels like your vote doesn’t matter, especially here in northern B.C. Usually, we know who’s going to form government by the time we’re done with Quebec and Ontario, so the results can feel like something of an afterthought.
Why voting matters this time
But this time, it’s different. First of all, we have a real three-way race nationally and it’s impossible to guess how that will play out. There’s a whole ton of different configurations based on majorities, strong minorities, weak minorities, and coalitions. And so it’s quite possible no deals will be made until the votes are counted out west. And secondly, Prince George is in play. Whereas in the past it’s been pretty easy to predict what was going to happen come election day, this time all the major parties have been running strong campaigns, getting their candidates out to events, going door-to-door, talking to media, and generally making it more likely that someone will vote for them. So as much as it’s a cliché to say this time, truly, every vote counts.
But hey, you’ve been busy, and aren’t quite sure how to go about voting. Well, here’s a handy guide.
Where do I vote?/Which riding am I in?
UPDATE: Elections.ca is experiencing issues. If the below isn’t working, you can go directly to the postal code page here. If THAT doesn’t work, some of the major federal parties have tools to find your voting station as well, so head to the party website of your choice.
If you head to elections.ca it’s pretty easy to find out. Here, let me show you.
First, type in your postal code and hit “Go.”
Then you’ll be taken to a page with the name of your riding (either Cariboo-Prince George or Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies). That’s your riding!
Now click on the “Where Do I Vote?” option.
Then you’ll be given a page that shows you where you should be voting, including a link to Google Maps so you can get directions.
That’s too far to walk and I don’t have a car
Lucky for you, the city of Prince George is providing free transit today so you can vote. And the PG transit system was recently updated to work with Google Maps. So you can just type in where you are and where you need to go, and the power of the internet will tell you how to get there, for free! Check it out, you can get from downtown to my voting station in half-an-hour, but you’ll actually be able to find something much closer.
Sorry, I have to work
Cool fact: you are required, by law, to be given three consecutive hours to vote. The polls open at 7 am and they close at 7 pm. So let’s say your job is 9-5. That gives you only two hours prior to your shift and two hours at the end. That means your employer is federally mandated to either let you come in an hour late or leave an hour early in order to go vote (and still be paid for a full day’s work). If you aren’t given this time, your employer could be fined $2,000 or sent to jail for three months.
I don’t have a driver’s licence/voting card/whatever
First of all, you do not need a photo ID. A photo ID is useful because if you have it, you don’t need anything else. But if you don’t have photo ID, you can still vote. There are a literally dozens of things you can use to prove your identity, including debit and credit cards, mail with your name on it, the label of a prescription container – find the whole list here (or, if elections.ca is down, find the whole list here or here!). And if you don’t have anything with your current address, you can take an oath.
I’m not registered to vote
No worries! You can register when you go to vote. Just bring that stuff from the last question, and they’ll help you out. More information here.
Will I miss the Jays game?
The polls open at 7 am and the first pitch is at 5 pm and it’s easy to get around this city so honestly, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Who should I vote for?
No comment on this one, but you can get informed. Here are some resources.
Well, Elections Canada has a whole ton of answers, especially in their Frequently Asked Questions section. But if that doesn’t work, feel free to reach out to me and I can try to find the answer – I’m on Twitter @akurjata.
Could a traditional Conservative safe seat in B.C.’s interior swing left?
I’ve been talking to various candidates in this campaign from the start, been to multiple debates, and did a few more interviews this past week. Here is a final look at the Cariboo-Prince George riding’s shift from safe seat to potential battleground, and the people hoping to bring change to Ottawa on election day. I hope you enjoy it.
“Is he the kind of guy who would’ve said ‘let’s build a national railway?'” Mercer asks of Harper. “Nation building is for everyone.”
But was it? Take a look at the historical record on the national railway.
Macdonald largely-ahem- railroaded the building of a national railway which led to massive debt, political scandal, and his eventual resignation.
And that controversy was just among the dominant class (white, male, land-owning voters) of the time. What of everyone else?
Well, there were the Chinese, who were paid $1 for every $1.50 white workers earned, and were assigned the most dangerous + often fatal jobs. And there were the First Nations people, forced off their land, in some cases starved into submission, to make room for the railway. There’s even a whole book on this.
So I think it’s pretty disingenuous to try and criticize ANY politician of today for not having more of Macdonald’s vision, because there was a pretty dark side to this so-called “big tent nation-building,” one that is still left out of our official historic narratives.
It’s not that there’s nothing to the rant, but it loses a lot of power when you simultaneously decry the debate over the niqab as small-minded whilst at the same time pining for a time when leaders steamrolled over First Nations rights while building an unpopular project on the backs of straight-up structural racism.
Yesterday, Zunera Ishaq did what the law of this country told her she is allowed to do: she went to a private area, identified herself to officials, then wore a niqab to a public ceremony to become a Canadian citizen.
The media was there, and took some pictures. And in some of those pictures was her husband. And do you know what her husband did?
He didn’t smile every single second.
This might not seem like a big deal, but this is Canada in 2015 and if you haven’t heard, we have to be on the constant lookout for barbaric cultural practices.
We’ve been promised a tip line we can call if we suspect someone of engaging in those practices, and we’ve also been told repeatedly that the niqab is a symptom of those practices. So really what we get here is a snapshot of that mindset in action.
What follows is all screenshots of actual tweets from actual people who would actually be able to call a tip line if it existed.
Check it out:
Because he’s wearing a grey suit? He has a beard? What are we supposed to be looking at? What just happened here?
Think twice if you look like that guy. If you don’t smile, you’re suspect.
Of course. One look at this picture and you can tell he forced her to marry him under threat of death!
“She was also asked on The Current whether her husband was in favour of her wearing it.
“‘No, not exactly,’ she said. He wanted to know how it might affect her ability to ‘move around’ in Canada. ‘But I told him I will figure it out,’ and later, she found her community to be ‘very welcoming.’
“Ishaq’s husband also urged her to think about whether she could remove the niqab for the citizenship ceremony and be willing to take on the legal fight.”
So all the evidence we have is of a husband who encouraged his wife to wear what she wanted, even when he wasn’t sure it was the best idea.
But buddy simply exists in the background of a picture and a bunch of people are ready to say he’s a violent abuser.
Based. On. How. He. Looks.
Again, let’s be perfectly clear:
He is being accused of what Canadian legislation now defines as Barbaric Cultural Practices because of what he looks like and people are uncomfortable with the clothes his wife chooses to wear.
This isn’t partisanship. Vote for whoever you want.
But do not judge another human being because he isn’t smiling while being brown.
I understand why people are supportive of the Conservatives targeting of “barbaric cultural practices.” What’s not to support? No one likes rape, murder or any other form of violence against women and children. And yes, you could get into a discussion around the word “barbaric” because of its past misuse to refer to non-white cultures, including First Nations, but sure call them “barbaric” as in “terrible”, “cruel”, “brutal.” They are.
It’s the “cultural” part that’s a problem.
Because I hate to break it to you but rape, murder, violence: those ain’t exactly limited to one culture.
And guess what? They’re already illegal in Canada. And have been for a long, long time.
So the new part is the culture.
The implication is it’s not enough to be diligent against individuals who would rape and murder. There’s a whole “culture” to beware of.
And which culture, exactly, are you talking about?
It’s reminiscent, I think, of the arguments against decriminalizing or legalizing homosexuality back in the day.
Once upon a time, homosexuality wasn’t viewed as simply being attracted to other men. It was, in the minds of many, pedophilia.
So when people would try to defend homosexuality, many people heard someone trying to defend pedophilia.
And you can see that in this whole discussion. The niqab isn’t just the niqab. The niqab is rape and murder.
Look at the online discussions around this. If someone defends the right to wear the niqab, someone else jumps in asking why they support ISIS, the subjugation of murder, and forced marriages. They simply don’t see them as two different things.
Just like people couldn’t separate homosexuality from pedophilia. They were simply intertwined in the minds of people who didn’t understand. And felt nervousness and fear as a result.
And it doesn’t stop at the niqab.
That fear extends to Muslims as a whole.
Here’s a Liberal campaign sign defaced with the words “More Muslims + Taxes”.