2013.10.13 – This Week in Discrimination

Two steps forward and one step back.  Some days it looks as though it’s one step forward and two steps back.  Despite the fact that it can sometimes be disheartening, it is important to keep our eyes open and face reality.  The world is an imperfect place.  There is inequality, injustice and discrimination here and elsewhere.  The good news is that if we spot it, we can act on it.  We can work together to stamp out inequality, injustice and discrimination.  Our better world is just around the corner, but we have to build it.

Every week, we will share links to five stories that highlight discrimination, injustice, inequality.  One day, maybe there will be more encouraging news than discouraging news, and these articles won’t be quite so easy to find.

First Peoples

First Nations leaders are less than impressed with the Harper Government’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister and his education reform plan.  Once again, it looks like a case of The Government Knows Best.  Unfortunately, it would appear that the Canadian Government isn’t learning from the mistakes of the past.  Native leaders speak of minimal consultation and no commitment to funding.  Somehow, we haven’t learned that the people in the best position to formulate a plan to educate children in First Nations communities are people from First Nations communities.

Valcourt urges First Nations education reform 1st, funds later

AFN chiefs pan Ottawa’s education plan for First Nations children


Persons with Disabilities

Montreal is a great city to study and live in.  It has a diverse cultural scene, the nightlife is varied and vibrant, and the food is outstanding.  However, if you happen to be disabled, Montreal can be a city of obstacles and challenges that many of us may overlook.  Most of the public transit system isn’t wheelchair accessible, don’t try to roll down Old Montreal’s cobblestone streets without help, and if you are looking for an accessible bathroom after dark on a weeknight, good luck.  While we may understand why universal design principles weren’t considered in a 200-year-old building, it is more difficult to understand why a 5-year-old restaurant doesn’t have an accessible restroom.

(This article was published in August 2013)


Queer People

Gay bashing is undeniably disturbing.  In the case of the attack on Scott Jones it is made all the more disturbing by of the age of the alleged assailant.  27-year-old Scott Jones will be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.  His 19-year-old attacker is now facing charges that will probably see him locked up for the foreseeable future.  Who taught this young man to be so full of hate?  Why would you be willing to risk your freedom to harm someone whom you don’t know, who doesn’t know you, and who has never done a thing to hurt you?  How can the mere existence of another person drive you to such an act?

We still have such a long way to go.

Police Charge 19-Year-Old In Violent Attack On Gay N.S. Man



Since the PQ Government first hinted at their plan, the Québec Charter of Values has been the cause of much discord within the province.  Unfortunately, the province’s Muslim women appear to be suffering the most as formerly closeted bigots feel empowered to step into the light.  Regardless of which side of the debate you stand on, most of us will agree that violence of any kind is not the answer.

Attacks against Muslim women increasing


Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Which countries have the best multicultural policies?  Does Canada score higher or lower than a seemingly open country like The Netherlands?  Does having good policies necessarily translate into a better quality of life for the minorities living in those countries?  If Québec insists on having a Charter of Values, is France truly the best model to choose?  Diversity is a complex beast.  Québec isn’t the only place that faced with the challenges of cultural plurality.  Which country would you most like to emulate?

Crossroads of diversity

The Multiculturalism Policy Index


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.