I received an invitation from one of my partners to attend their Sunday service at Ecclesiax, a church in downtown Ottawa, and out of curiosity, I attended. It was an interesting visit, and I’m glad I added this unusual event to the series of religious presentations I have personally experienced. Like all the others, though, it’s not one I’ll be repeating if I can avoid it.
It didn’t start with the concentration camps. It didn’t start with gas chambers and the ovens.
It started with existing racism. Anti-Semitism was widely pervasive in Europe, North America, anywhere where Jewish people existed really before the Nazis came to power. Even after they did, many countries refused Jewish refugees the right of entry. Many established restrictive quotas regarding how many Jews would be allowed to enter the country in a given year. This included both Canada and the United States.
When Hitler was rising in the political wing of his party, he seized onto that existing racism to propel him into power. He used the fear of the stranger, the fear of the other and the unknown. He used Jewish people as a scapegoat for all the misgivings and problems felt by post-Great War Germans. There was all sorts of propaganda spread around, including rumors that Christian babies were kidnapped and used to make Matzo. Rumors of how they used their access to gold to corrupt governments and control institutions. Access to gold that was granted to them when money lending was deemed an unchristian profession and best left to Jewish people. Continue reading “It Didn’t Start with the Camps”
*Best Read in newscaster voice*
Earlier this week in SW Asia, a group of peaceful protesters were assaulted by officers of the state, wielding powerful water cannons. Health officials have stated that given the regions severe climate, the protesters are at severe risk of impairment and even death due to severe hypothermia.
This takes place just weeks after the election of a radical new regime, whose fascist campaign promises raised alarms from historians who warn of the potential for genocide in this unstable region – where an already highly militarized police force has been known to harass and kill minority populations. The election has already generated increased acts of violence and terrorism, raising concerns about what is to come after the newly elected party, which represents the more conservative adherents of the major religion, takes office.
For as long as people have been talking about social justice online, there have been people, trolls really, who make a point to argue, harass, and otherwise engage in actively hateful and bigoted behaviour. This has been the case in every online community I have been involved with: the feminist community, the atheist community, disability community. There is always someone prepared to defend the vilest behaviour you can think of. If you are a representative of these communities: a Person of Colour, a Trans Woman, a Disabled Person, if you are a member of some minority, the number of people who target you in particular escalates.
The sheer number of people committed to spreading hate has made places like the comment boards on Youtube a place to be avoided. Many magazines and blogsites have closed their comment sections. More than one writer, activist, organizer, and so forth has been forced off the internet as a result of death threats, threats of rape and violence, dealing with a constant barrage of slurs and hatred, and even having their private information released to the public.
CN sexual assault, Donald Trump.
United States, I will not forgive you for this.
Recently Hillary Clinton excused herself from an event, after which pictures were circulated that seemed to show her fainting as she was being helped into a van by her agents. The picture made the rounds almost immediately people were discussing the possibility that she had an invisible illness or some invisible disability that she had not disclosed.
This isn’t the first time that Clinton’s health has been under discussion. Earlier this summer, pictures of what appeared to be some sort of injection medication like an epi pen or other similar meds was seen being carried by her agents. The rumour mill started circulating that she experienced seizures as well as other theories about her health.
The search for reasons why this particular candidate is unfit for presidency is likely motivated by a desperate desire by people who usually begrudgingly support the Democratic Party in other years, and those who don’t support the party at all, to find some reason other than her gender for why they don’t want her to be president. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of valid reasons not to like Clinton, but I can’t help but notice how the discourse has changed from past elections with equally questionable but male candidates. Regardless of the likely sexist motive underlying the reason why the question came up, does chronic illness or disability make you unfit to run for or to be President?
Short Answer: No. And the question itself is Ableist.
CN pretty much every kind of bigoted abuse but mostly racist, instructions to suicide, MRAs/libertarians/edgelords being themselves.
As expected, answering 27 Questions has induced a steady influx of anti-humanist nonsense into my comments queue. I’m better prepared than most to receive this onslaught, because I’ve watched this happen to people far more important and interesting than me for a long time, I’ve read what the various subsets of atheist dirtbag are about, and I feel no need to let them get close enough to get under my skin. They have no surprises for me, and nothing to say that far more articulate bigots haven’t said before. They can whine endlessly about how, in this heat, taking away their freeze-peach is a super mean thing to do, the kind of thing only a crate of hippos would dare make standard policy, and I can look at the other things in my spam folder and derive amusement from the idea that they think I’ll ever take them seriously.
Y’all are dangerous, not interesting. Understanding yourselves is a big step toward becoming better people, and I’m glad I could help.
With that in mind, this comment stuck out at me for how impressively it missed all the points.
CN: Police Brutality, Violence against Black and Disabled people,
Yesterday a black man with a cognitive disability was accosted and then violently beaten by cops. These days, it seems like every day brings a new story along these lines, except this time, it happened in Ottawa, Canada.
We unfairly and unjustifiably pride ourselves on being better here in Canada. I’ve even had angry people messaging me telling me I am being unfair and spurious in claiming that racist police violence happens here.
They had 5 cops against 1 man.
He was on the ground when they beat him with their sticks.
They beat him so badly, he may not live.
They beat him despite people in the area telling them he was disabled.
They beat him because they didn’t see him as human.
This happened in my city. This happened in a neighbourhood close enough to mine to be one I pass by regularly.
We need to start paying attention. We need to get off our fucking high horse and stop patting ourselves on the back, because better than the genocide that is going on in the US isn’t good enough. Because ignoring the genocides going on within our own borders because the body count isn’t going up as quickly as it is in the US, ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH!
WE NEED TO DO BETTER.
This happens in Canada, and turning away and pretending it isn’t happening is the same as condoning it.
UPDATE: Abdirahaman Abdi, the Somali-Canadian man who was violently beaten by cops in Ottawa has died. His brutal assault is now murder. May he rest in power, and may his family get justice for what was done.
Some of the online atheosphere’s most noisome abattoir drippings all got together to lay out some questions they want “SJWs” to answer. (Some other folks addressing their foolishness here and here provide that context without giving them pageviews). Giving serious answers to unserious questions is a hobby of mine, so here are some interesting thoughts for uninteresting drivel.
I wrote a post responding to some of the objections I had seen the Black Lives Matter demands at the Pride Protest, specifically those relating to Police presence. I wanted to continue addressing further objections that I have seen raised. Specifically those dealing with a misunderstanding of racism.
It is not surprising that the majority of people, and white people in particular, don’t fully understand the concept of racism, especially those people who are white. Like many subjects at school, what we were taught wasn’t actually the truth, but a simplification that was meant to act as a primer to make the truth easier to understand as we developed our understanding of difficult concepts. As we grow in specific subjects and develop our interest in them, we begin to piece away at the earlier lies to reveal more complicated truths – the end goal of evolution is not a human being but rather survival and procreation – the solar system is not simply made up of 8 planets and the sun – actually you can find the square root of a negative number but the answer is an imaginary number, also imaginary numbers are a thing – we teach half-truths because we need to build a foundation on which our eventual understanding can be based as a launching off point.
The trouble with this when it comes to matters of social importance, like racism, is that the majority of people, and especially those in positions of power, never move past an elementary introduction into concepts that have a daily impact on countless lives.
In school we are taught that racism is the discrimination or prejudice against a person based on their race. We are taught about triangles who make fun of a circle for being different, or use the examples of grizzly bears encountering panda bears for the first time. We try to explain this difficult concept to children by appealing to their internal sense of fairness and empathy by making them think about how much their own feelings would be hurt if someone were to make a decision about them based on something like how they look.