Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Things TV Teaches Kids About Sex, Love, and Relationships

I was watching the promos on TV recruiting for the The Bachelor Canada, and thought to myself: "who needs sex education in school when your six year old can learn about the birds and the bees through legalized prostitution on prime time?"

With that, here are what I consider the best things TV teaches our future about sex, love, and relationships:

1. No matter how ugly you are, there's someone out there that'll sleep with you before you're 40.  I learned this one watching an oompa loompa find love on MTV.

2.  Contrary to popular belief, HIV/AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, the clap, and all those scary diseases "science" and those Trojan ads like to scare you with, STIs don't exist.  If all the cool kids are having unprotected sex, it can't be bad for your health, right?

3. Why do those priests always say "til death do you part" when they really mean "til you find another person that you can humiliate in front of millions of people"?

4. Again, contrary to popular belief, and that pesky thing called "science", women can get women pregnant.

5. In a move that set feminism back to the beginning of time, but has tattooed a great learning lesson to six year old boys and girls around the world: domestic violence is A-OK.  The Grammys, the NBA, BET, Much Music, and MTV say so.

6. Prostitution is the best way to find a man that'll love you forever.  And ever.  And ever.  Wait, or maybe until the season finale.

7. Men don't think about sex with women all the time.  They also like to spend hours and hours and hours in bars and basements all over the world watching grown ass men in spandex underwear mount other men.  I also learned that homosexuality is a very fluid concept in society.

8. See above.

9. Ever wondered why your parents built you that new bedroom in the basement that doubles as a sound proof bomb shelter when you still hadn't moved out come your 43rd birthday? 

10. Unless you've got money, you're shit out of luck trying to find yourself a mate.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thanks (again) Tomken

I just wanted to say thank you to the teachers and students at Tomken Road Middle School for inviting me to speak for their Black History Month celebrations.  The participation and discussions were great, from both students and teachers, and I know I learned a lot.  The critical thought from the students was incredible and they even challenged my own thoughts and perceptions.  Hats off to you.

I don't think we give enough credit to what our younger generations can teach us about inclusiveness, equality, and true multiculturalism.

Thanks again, Tomken.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Celebrate Human Race Month!

I've decided to declare March Human Race Month, or HRM for short.  Celebrate the history, culture, food, religion, society, politics, sports, dress, language, mannerisms, and bowel movements of the human race.  This is a race-based initiative, and we will discriminate and exclude all those who do not belong to our race.  This is our month, I don't want to be hearing those damn dolphins, pandas, koalas, lions and extra-terrestrials complaining and asking why they can't be included and why we can't talk about their struggle with patriarchy in the animal kingdom.  They have PETA, WWF, and Area 51 championing their cause for the other 11 months of the year.  We only get one damn frigging month to celebrate our humanness.  One month a year that I can be proud to be human.  One month a year that I can be who I really am and learn about, and be around, other humans.  One month a year when a little human girl, can sit next to a little human boy, and will not be judged by the number of their Facebook friends or confusing "its" for "it's" on their tweets, but by the colour of their human blood.  One month that I can remove the cloak of oppression, TMZ, Linsanity, and CNN, and say "gosh darn-it, I'm human and I'm proud!"
This plea has been brought to you by a human.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SNL and Linsanity

Here's my disclaimer before you watch this SNL clip on Mr. Lin:

This is something called "smart" humour.  SNL did a really good job at touching on what's happening in the racialized media.  Don't read the youtube comments and you'll probably have to watch the video a couple times to see the underlying message.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guerrilla Intellectual

As posted by A. Morgan on another forum:

"Black people are here in these [universities] as a part of the development of
black struggle, but only as a concession designed to incorporate us within the
structure. I use the term ‘guerrilla intellectual’ to come to grips with the initial
imbalance of power in the context of academic learning. Going beyond the
symbolism of the building, I’m thinking also of the books, the references, the
theoretical assumptions, and the entire ideological underpinnings of what we
have to learn in every single discipline. Once you understand the power that all
this represents, then you have to recognize that your struggle must be based on
an honest awareness of the initial disparity. And that’s how the guerrilla operates."

- Walter Anthony Rodney (W.A.R.)

"Walter Rodney Speaks: the Making of an African Intellectual". 1990. pp. 111-112

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kanye West Hates Disabled People

Along with young White girls, a la Taylor Swift, it is proven that Kanye West hates and discriminates against those who suffer from epilepsy.  (And maybe he and Daddy Blue Ivy didn't realize there were Black people in Paris before they wrote this song.) Here's the video evidence:

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Ode to Valentine's Day

'Twas the night before Valentine's Day, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The paper hearts were hung by the bed posts with care,
In hopes that St. Valentine soon would be there;

The girls were nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of Beckham and Pitt danced in their heads;

And mamma in her snuggie, and I in my porn,
Had just settled down for a long cosmic horn,

When down from the yard arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the stairs I flew like a flash,
Hoping my pinky toe wouldn't get mash.

The moon on the breast of the brown-coloured snow,
Gave the lustre of rust to objects below,
 When, what to my bloodshot eyes should appear,
But a rasshole baby, with a big ass spear.

With the little old fart, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be a prick.

More rapid than SARS his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them hoes by name;

"Now, Pookie! now, Buffy! now, Ginger and Vixen!
On, Chardonnay! on Mercedes! on, Ginger and Blitzen!"

Happy Valentine's Day!
This ode is dedicated to all those poor boyfriends/husbands/baby daddys/FWB that just went out to Peoples and spent their paycheque trying to impress their lady friends for a made up corporate holiday.  Sucks to be you.  Good thing St. Patrick's Day is next month so you can drink some sense back into you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Post-Multicultural Canada: The 2011 Census

There are two things I firmly believe are more important to make political/social change than voting in this country.  One is not paying taxes and the other is (filling out) the Census.

A few key points that have just come out of the 2011 Census:
  • Between 2006 and 2011, Canada had the fastest population growth of any other G8 country.  That's a rate of 5.9%
  • The Canadian birthrate is only 1.6 children per couple.  So it doesn't take a PhD to explain that immigration is what's keeping this country afloat.
  • 7 out of 10 Canadians live in CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas).  I just like to call them cities.
  • That's a total of 23 million plus people out of the 33,476,688 total population that can call themselves urban dwellers
  • Oh, and we now live in a post-Multicultural society.  Why? Because outside of language spoken at home, with this short-form Census, we no longer keep tabs on Canada's racial/multicultural makeup.
As a Cowardly Historian, better known as a CH, I argue switching to the short-form version is the end of Canadian multiculturalism.  The Census is how governments, researchers, community and social programmes, know who exactly lives in this country and how we can - and should - manage our multicultural state (and spend what's left of tax payer dollars after fighter jets and ORNGE salaries).  How can you argue a country is multicultural if you don't even know who and how many different cultures/races/colours/hyphenated nationalities live in Canada?

So can you really argue you are a part of a marginalized and Visible Minority group, worthy of equitable and favourable "affirmative action", if you have to go back to 2006 for any concrete evidence?  I mean, I didn't personally know the 783,795 Black people that lived in Canada in 2006 who made up about 2.5% of the population, or the 30,435 Barbadians, so who am I to know if they all got on a boat last year and went back-to-Africa?  Or better yet, what if in 2009 about 5 million Nigerians sneaked through the unprotected Arctic and decided to settle in Nunavut?  Or the 10,066,290 Canadian-Canadians (I reckon they must be White folks), decided to say to hell with all these coloured folks, we're going to go colonize Antarctica or Pluto?

We will never know.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why Academics are Cowards

Yes, I'm a coward.  Why?  Because I'm an academic.  I don't do anything productive, I don't stand for anything meaningful.  I just sit in front of a computer/book/class and postulate about "why" the world is such a backwards place, but don't do anything to change it.

How many Canadian Prime Ministers in the past 50 years have been labeled as "true" academics as career professions?  I'm talking about those political science, sociology, history, and economic professors and all those experts in the social sciences and humanities that actually do know how to run a country and society (and talk about it in papers and classrooms and universities and conferences all over the world), but choose not to and prefer the security - and salary - of tenure.   (To be fair, some on this list were professors of law at some point in their careers.)

Harper: Economist
Martin: Business Man/Lawyer
Chretien: Lawyer
Campbell: Lawyer
Mulroney: Lawyer
Turner: Lawyer
Clarke: Journalist
Trudeau: Lawyer
Pearson: Lawyer

Okay, I know a lot of people will say right now: "so what about all those politicized student groups that demonstrate and protest in campuses all over the world?"  My question is, what happens to those same politicized students after graduation?  They go out and get a job.  And a new group of bright-eyed and bushy tailed first years take on the same 4-5 year (undergraduate) fight, until it's their turn to realize that university is not the real world.  It is the Ivory Tower of Cowards.

This makes me sound like a hypocrite, right?  But really and truly, what am I doing to change the world?  I write about Black people and criticize society and racism, I'm working on my dissertation, but if I don't toe the line of cowardice, this is all for naught.  My dissertation committee, my department, and the university, will not approve my work, and I won't receive those three little letters on the back of my name and the two in front.  If I speak too loud and outside the box, it's all for naught.  I won't get the degree, the post-doc, the research funding (which has to be approved by what my school and our Government thinks is worthy of getting a few thousand dollars), and ultimately the tenure-track job as a professor.

So what do I do if I want to be a part of this academic club?  I go back to my ancestral roots and say "yes massa".

And if I don't? I become a lawyer.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Racism is a Cancer

Usually I don't care what rappers (or former rappers turned kiddie movie stars) have to say about anything in life, but I thought it was worth repeating what Ice Cube had to say on racism in an interview.  (I was watching it on TV so I'm paraphrasing).
  • "Racism is a cancer of our nation."
  • "Racism is like a fart that's always in the air; sometimes you get a strong whiff of it, other times it's just a faint sniff.  But it's always there."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Black" History Month

This is a small section from my dissertation that fits well with the beginning of Black History Month here in Canada.  Think twice before the next time you call someone Black or a Black-Canadian.  I personally prefer to be known as Christopher, but that's just me.


Black is not an ethnicity.  In Canada, the political and social construction, negative in its origins and ambivalently ignorant in its usage, of “Black” and “Blackness” is a legislated ethnic identifier.  According to Statistics Canada, “Black” is a “race”, an ethnicity, and a place of origin.  Cecil Foster contends that Black ethnicity is analogous to nation-state hyphenations such as Italian- and Ukrainian-Canadian. Where one hyphen celebrates difference and mends the balkanizing effects of multiculturalism, the other perpetuates further marginalization. 
“Black” signifies an imagined history; a Black man is a social construct.  He is as real as “race” is biological.  He was, and is, created through ignorance, prejudice, and a means for class and socio-economic exploitation, which is justified through the hegemonic ideology of “White” “racial” superiority.  A Black man, or woman, is not a man who happens to be black in colour, but “Black” in existence.
             The idea of the Black man, and the Black Self, was created as a means for White colonial administrators, slave traders, slaveholders, and Eurocentric ideologists to exploit, dominate, and subjugate the colonized African and African-American.  The deracination of the African, and the subsequent misappropriation of his Black identity, manipulated and destroyed the Black man’s self worth.  “Black” became a negative codifier and self-identifier; it consigned the Black man to a position of “racial” and social inferiority.  “Black” is an ideology that supports and justifies social inequality; it is the ideological means to subjugate and oppress.
A self-identified hyphenated Canadian enjoys the “freedom of self-determination”.  However, few Canadian Blacks “have the choice that allows them to be accepted and fully recognized as unchangeable unhyphenated Canadians”.  The hyphen is subjective, imposed, and a barrier for acceptance in Canadian society.  Black ethnicity and its hyphenated qualification on Canadian citizens, “deprives social mobility,” most notably when “skin colour is the main determinant of their identity and their social and ethical relations with other Canadians and the [Canadian] state”.  Canadian Blacks, codified as Black-Canadians, are denied the “existentialism of infinite multiculturalism”.
However, the hyphen is also a means to circumvent the negative connotations of hyphenated Black ethnicity.  Contrary to Foster’s argument, I contend that Blacks embrace hyphenated nation-state identities to eschew the ideological inferiority of their “Blackness”.  They embrace the cultural and historical validity of their ancestral home.  Good Barbadian-Canadian values, for example, specifically the importance of education, are dialectical oppositions to supposed Black-Canadian apathy and institutional barriers to academic success.  The hyphen creates picayune and fluid segmented identities.  Through co-ethnic transnational identity, and hyphenation, Black-Canadians manipulate their sense of Self, their I, and subsequently politicize their identities for incorporation within the dominant Canadian society.  Canadian society must redefine its attitudes towards Blacks when confronted with heterogeneous and positive classifications of people with black skin colour.  The hyphen creates positive cultural dialogue.  Affixing the cultural virtues of nation-states challenges and successfully negates the ideology of “Blackness”.  The Caribbean or Africa will no longer be classified as homogenous regions of destitute Black people.  A West Indian-Canadian is not simply Black; he may be White, or of East or South Asian descent.  An Arab-Canadian is no longer associated with terrorism, but historically rich Lebanese, Algerian, or Egyptian culture.  Barriers and stereotypes are removed and the hyphen facilitates real cultural understanding.  Positive hyphenation is moving beyond tolerance in Canadian society.  
The essentialization of “racial” origin is challenged by the ownership of hyphenation.  The hyphen divides but the divisions create avenues for positive inter-ethnic relations.  Through hyphenation, immigrants and Visible Minorities are given the chance to redefine themselves within the concept of interculturalism – disposing myths and stereotypes and sharing their reality of existence.  The hyphen wields power.  Those who own its qualifiers decide its meanings and values.  Practical outcome validates the hyphen’s negative or positive effect.

Hyphenation redefines identities.  It is a politicized identity because Canadians are cognizant of the implications of using different identities for purposes of social capital, networks, and most importantly for avenues of social mobility and inclusion.  Canada is a nation built on hyphens – a hyphen-nation.  Mobilizing Canadian cultural capital, or the latter hyphenated qualifier, is necessary for social cohesion and national identity formation.  Hyphenation for Visible Minorities, specifically functionalist Black Barbadians and West Indians, is a tool for academic and political success, and an anti-racist and anti-discriminatory avenue for agency.  Overarching transnational and hyphenated identity, acts as a unique form of collective cohesion with the dominant Canadian society.  Each segmented identity is a social tool.  Hyphenation is not inherently positive or negative; its value rests in its individual usage. 
             Second generation Barbadian-Canadians are not simply a marginalized and racialized immigrant group fighting for recognition and respect within the vertical silo of Multicultural Canada.  We are Canadians, raised as Canadians, by Canadian parents.  Similar to countless immigrant stories, Barbadian-Canadian parents came to this country to give their children the opportunities and privileges in which they themselves were denied as children or fought valiantly to procure.  Racism and xenophobia were, and are, real barriers to success in Canada; barriers first generation Barbadian-Canadians struggled to overcome in order for their children to succeed in a multicultural – but unequal – Canadian society.  However, while second-generation Barbadian-Canadians manipulate their sense of self and attempt to purge the ideologically reified, and ever increasingly picayune, derisive societal stereotype of “Black” and “Blackness”, racialized institutional structures continue to restrict their mobility and agency.  This is experienced not only as Barbadian- or Black Canadians, but simply as Canadians.  Canadian society continues to negatively codify second generation Canadians, while Barbadian-Canadians attempt to eschew ideological debasement and be treated as equal partners within the Canadian mosaic.