*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Canadians mealy-mouthed?

No, because more often they are straightforward hypocrites.
There have been a string of drug/gang-related shootings in Toronto, and those gangs are primarily Caribbean, and most often Jamaican, but YOU MUST NOT VOICE THE LAST TWO ITEMS in Canada.  Except I did, on Facebook.

I thought I was fair about it.  I made sure to point out that most Jamaicans in Toronto, and even most I have met in person, have not committed crimes, have criminal-records or connections.  I even quoted this:
Studies across North America now are demonstrating that immigrant communities actually have lower levels of criminality and lower levels of gang membership than people born in North America.
- Scot Wortley, a University of Toronto criminologist and gang expert
But in Canada, if you mention race, neutrally or positively too, YOU MUST BE RACIST!  So, my Facebook 'friend' got up a big wind of liberal self-satisfaction, and got close to using the r-word on me, but did not have the guts, of course.  To which I replied:
Crime rates are not consistent in all communities, however 'community' gets defined. I think it is irresponsible not to address it; just as it is irresponsible to address it in the way it too often is: 'all x people are...' You know as well as I do that many people hold the latter view. Avoiding the topic entirely in the misguided, and cowardly, 'politically-correct' way, in no way stops people talking among themselves to paint an entire group with the same brush, so avoidance achieves nothing positive. Don't have the study to hand, but there was an interesting one on the fear response to images of different people: every group, including black men, had the highest fear response to images of black men. That is a problem. It's not from experience I would wager, but from media images. Anyone but Morgan Freeman get casted as a self-controlled and cerebral character?
According to him, I am the "only one who brought race into the discussion", which to a liberal Canadian counts as racism, and only because they don't want to deal with their own racism: I've blocked him from Facebook as too stupid.  I have no fear of an honest discussion of race and racism, because when you use good science, you find out that races differ more internally than externally, which is a longer way to say that 'race' doesn't exist in a biological sense: it is a social construct.  Now since it is a social construct, and these kids shooting each other come from one community, maybe we should be addressing the causes in that subset of that group of people.  No?  Guess we'll just have to let more brown children get shot, because you and our media won't get as worked up as you do about the fair-skinned ones.  I think their lives are equal, but I'm the racist, not you who doesn't think so...  This is confusing.

Oh, and they've just decided to dramatically ramp-up gun searches and security at this summer's Toronto 'Caribbana', but nobody will admit it has to do with the Scarborough shooting, or the fact there's been a shooting at at 'Caribbana' most every year.  No, if you give reasons for a dramatic change in policy, you'd be racist, even if you are of the same race...  More confused.

I am not afraid of the process in any honest discussion on race, because I am honest enough to know how much or little racist I am, that such would be my flaws, and when I should discipline my reactions to people.  I guess I am not as afraid as the other guy of confronting my demons...  Then again, I am not an Asian-Canadian who made sure to marry white (which his parents could accept), not black or brown, and live on the 'right side' of Roncesvalles where the 'good schools' are, without the social housing and the other kind of people.

Addendum: the stupid, it hurts on this comment thread, too.

  • The problem with mixed income neighbourhoods are the schools. Most middle class people (and I would reluctantly admit to put myself in this category) don’t want their kids going to school with poor kids. The area around the Danzig shooting includes TCHC buildings surrounded by large detached homes. This is, ostensibly, a mixed income layout. But the housing prices for the large homes are significantly lowered by the presence of the TCHC. I often drive by areas like this and briefly consider buying a very large detached house with a two car garage a big back yard for the price of my old Toronto shack. Then I envision the types of kids my own kids would be going to school with and the big house dream is crushed.
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    • yeah poor kids are the worst
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    • Ges
      WCanate, if it’s a “mixed income” neighbourhood then wouldn’t the children at the schools also be mixed income, rather than all poor? Wouldn’t it be ideal to expose your kids to others from all different financial levels? Anyway, poverty is always relative. Perhaps the other parents at whatever swanky “middle class” school your children currently attend view *you* as the poor ones and they’re just waiting for an opportunity to whisk their kids away from the bad influence yours provide.
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    • I’ve never read anything more (what’s the word) class-ist, that borders on outright racism. Your comments feel so out of touch. What is wrong with poor children? Can you please give me a reason? When did it become fair to automatically assume that people in worse economic situations are bad or are bad influences on middle class children? White flight happened in the 50s and I would have assumed that we have moved beyond that as a growing and caring society…you have seriously changed my opinion.
      I really hope your feelings do not get transferred to your children. It would be a bad world if they do…
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    • Yes, please stay exactly where you are. It’s your *type* that is detrimental to neighbourhoods, not poor people or their children.
      It’s important to hear from people like you actually, one is reminded of the unbelievable ignorance and discrimination that residents of TCH has to deal with.
      I am with Outraged’s comment – I hope you don’t talk this shit around your children, or any young people for that matter.
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    • Leo
      I’d be surprised if any of the posters disagreeing with WCanate have children of their own. The unfortunate reality is that a disproportionately large number of “poor kids” in these kinds of areas come from single parent families, where having a “dad” is a foreign concept and where mom isn’t that much better. Kids notice things, far more than most adults realize, and where you raise them has almost as much influence over them as how you raise them.
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    • cge
      You can be sure that there are better and also (if that’s the measure) richer people than you are. Certainly there are smarter, better, and more deserving children in the TCHC neighbourhood than your children. Apparently you didn’t receive a very broad view of people when you were growing up and you are passing on the limited perspective and limiting views to your poor children. Of course you can choose to send your children to whatever school suits you, but while they are learning at their select school, you are stuck in your narrow rut wherever you are.
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    • p
      love how “poor” is now a polite way to say “black”
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    • Just to further state to the comment above, show me the evidence where TCHC buildings are a direct cause of reduced property values. There is a TCHC apartment building at Yonge and Belmont (in Yorkville) and I’m sure the property values there are sky-high. There is an excellent proposal for a TCHC building in the West Don Lands, right next to a BILD award winning, LEED Gold certified Condo (River CIty), also right next to the proposed PAN-AM games athletes village. If only we were smart enough not to allow those “poor kids” from TCHC buildings to mix in with us normal, middle class folk (to be read with sarcasm). I think segregation is an absolutely horrifying concept and you should be completely ashamed of yourself for stating your views as facts.
      People with lower incomes deserve equal opportunities and respect just like anyone else. Thats why the Priority Neighbourhoods program is so important, becuase unlike ignoring lower income or mixed-income neighbourhoods like WCanate wants to do, it is ensuring the proper level of services and money is provided to assist these areas where assistance is required…and yes that includes transit and better schools.
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    • I didn’t intend my comment to be taken as a classist attack, and I’d agree it sounded harsher than I intended. But as you thumb down my comment from the cafes of Ossington & Dundas, it is clear many replys to my comment come from childless people. Everyone wants their kids to have the best experience possible, and avoiding living in bad neighbourhoods is part of that. If mixed income works, and middle class families embrace it, then more power to them, but I really don’t see that happening.
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    • We’re in 2012 – are people seriously still shitting on single-mothers?
      Agree with P – Lots of code words being used so people don’t have to come out and say they don’t want to live near poor people of colour and/or people who don’t look like The Cunninghams. Is having no father around ideal? Nope, but there are wider support systems that exist and people who step up to help each other.
      It should be noted that given what is happening in places like Somalia and Afghanistan, there are more and more people living in TCH whose splintered families are due to war and its ravages.
      I don’t sit in cafes – I live and work in the very communities people judge and demonize, but actually know very little about. So who should be mocked for typing away from the comfort of their comfy middle-class bubble where their fears and misconceptions can’t be challenged or their minds and experiences broadened?
      All the same, everyone will do better without you bringing your baggage and prejudices around here.
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    • WCanate, you made the mistake of being honest in Canada. They’d rather scream at you about it than look at ‘the log in their own eye’. Everything you’ve stated is a fact born out by real estate prices. Also born out by my experience as a teacher in schools poor, wealthy and middling. Also born out by the young families I saw selling their condos in St. Lawrence when their kid turned three, lest their kids had to go to ‘Market Lane’. Everyone knows you are right, but if they talked about it they might feel compelled to do something. No, easier to point out “the spec in someone else’s eye.”
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    • @Ges: “Wouldn’t it be ideal to expose your kids to others from all different financial levels”?
      Yes, if you don’t mind exposing your kids to very different attitudes towards drug/alcohol use, smoking, table manners, hygiene, TV watching habits, casual violence, nutrition, respect for women, tipping, guns, language, respect, etc.
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    • When I was a kid I remember going on field trips a lot, but your parents had to pay for them. Only $20 – $30, and not more than once a month, but they were a lot of fun and taught you stuff you could only learn by leaving the classroom. Unfortunately in poorer schools these would not be an option, so I can see why you would want your kids in a school where everyone has about the same income level and you can give your kids the best.
      To everyone saying this is extremely classist, you obviously don’t have kids or anyone in your life that you care about more than yourself. Areas like this have high crime and are often dangerous (there was just a shooting at a large bbq!) so you can’t call someone classist because they want their kids in a safe neighbourhood. I don’t have kids, but I do have a family and they are more important to me than myself and others, and they are certainly more important to me than how I am perceived by others. When poorer high schools (and even elementary schools) have gangs, stabbings, and shootings how can you insult someone else for not wanting their kids in a place like that?
      When I hear about mixed-income neighbourhoods and how they’ll magically fix deep rooted social problems all I actually hear is a bunch of sanctimonious upper middle-class people saying that they can be such good influences that they can “fix” what’s wrong with poorer people just by living near them. Seriously? The problem poor people have is they don’t have enough money. You want to help them, then raise minimum wage and pay more for things.
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  1. I believe that genuine racists tend to use that word more easily as a self defense mechanism without even realizing it.

    I don't recall a straight man ever saying "I'm not Gay" around me but I do recall a person who later came out of the closet utter that several times.

  2. Ah, now what you were trying to do here was present a considered, nuanced argument. On the internet.

    It's the hope that'll kill ya...

  3. Had to add a thread of Canadian "self defence mechanism" that I put my two cents into, just recently. Chris, I won't pretend to have a perfect attitude to race or sexuality, but I don't think any of us have. Of course, there are damn few of us who can bear self-awareness. The humans are faking it almost all of the time: open-mindedness, competence at work, as a parent...

    Kamo, its a hard thing having no hope for the humans as a parent. At least suicide is not tempting, having a purpose to raise a child and all that. I swear the only thing that stopped me before was spite: not letting the hateful bastards beat me. I do have hope for my kids, and the other 10% worth any time.

  4. Wunsuponatime a evil developer wanted to build a bunch of apartments in a neighborhood near a number of city council members of a very small town. Everyone cringed so much that a somewhat creative columnist decided to write a satire piece that took place inside a rented limo. Basically, a number of council members were asking Guido the Killer Pimp to 'get rid' of all those poor people. The blessed council members were more than willing to pay whatever they had. In the end, Guido offed everyone in the car, except for the driver - who he tipped. Guido figured he'd done the town a favor.

  5. "The problem poor people have is they don’t have enough money." Or they just haven't figured out how to amass the same magnitude of debt...

    Personally... would much rather deal with problems up-front. Rich kids can beat people, steal stuff, and hit a vein just as good as the next junkie... they just tend to be a bit more discreet about it.

  6. The Guido story reminds me of 'Dogville'.