But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?

If you’re the member of any sort of minority, chances are you’ve run across this. Some friend, family member, or vague acquaintance ends up in a situation where they are confronted with their own inherent biases in some way, and they feel the need to run to you as the Representative of Minority Co. to explain the situation.

For example, imagine you have a friend name Betty who is the owner of a small business who is hiring someone to work as a part of that business. She has narrowed her choice down to two ideal candidates, who are identical in terms of qualifications. Both have the right amount of experience, the same great attitude and personality that fits into the team dynamic, in terms of “reasons to hire” the two are completely interchangeable. Except that Candidate A is abled while Candidate B is disabled.

Now Betty is not a Capital A Ableist. She knows that disabled people are just as capable as abled people, she truly believes that the world should be accessible, and has all the empathy for disabled people having a difficult time being able to find gainful employment. Betty has signed countless petitions to make accessibility more prevalent, her own brother even has a disability. Betty is an ALLY!

But Betty’s business is small, and even with the added help, she is hopelessly overworked. Candidate B’s disability will require the company to undergo some work to make it completely accessible. Maybe, it would even cost her some money to get some needed program or service, or to make some changes to the physical location of the business. She was already putting pressure on her budget by hiring a new person, the added finances would be just too much. She would have to close up shop, and it’s not really fair to her or to any of her other employees, or to her family, to jeopardize her business for the sake of one person. If they had been better qualified and the best option than of course, it would be no question, but the two candidates are completely identical and really it’s a coin toss one way or the other. Wouldn’t it be just as unfair to Candidate A to only not hire them because they’re not disabled? She makes her choice and then next time at dinner with her brother’s she lays the whole story out and asks:

“Can you understand where I’m coming from?” Continue reading “But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?”

But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?
{advertisement}

Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think

Sometimes I forget that most people only have a very basic idea of what happened during the Holocaust.

I don’t entirely remember what came first, me coming across a book that took place during the holocaust, or finding out that family members of mine had been imprisoned in Auschwitz. At some point, however, the combination of both of these events sparked a sort obsession in me. I began reading everything I could find on the subject including quite a few different diaries, personal accounts, and well researched fiction, in addition to histories, articles, and non-fiction books.

So often, we have a tendency to see genocide as very specific things – gas chambers, firing squads, mass graves. We think of specific acts of murder. But so often, genocide doesn’t look like obvious acts of murder.

Continue reading “Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think”

Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think

Thinking about Canada Day

CN: Mentions of Genocide

On Monday July 1, we celebrated Canada Day.

In a lot of ways, this day is really an excuse to have a BBQ, drink a bunch, and go see some fireworks. While you will get people dressing up in red and white and waving flags, possibly singing the national anthem, as often as not most probably aren’t even completely sure what specific event is being commemorated.

This year however, amid all the bustle of helping prepare the home for guests, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about what exactly it is we have been celebrating.

Continue reading “Thinking about Canada Day”

Thinking about Canada Day

I’m Tired.

If ever there was a motto for our generation, this would probably be it.

I’m so tired.

I’m tired of my news feed being one atrocity after another. Of each new headline convincing me that I’ve finally reached the peak of shock and fury I could feel, only to be proved wrong when I read the next one.  Of watching the world seemingly falling apart at the seams.

I’m tired of listening to people make excuses while the body counts grow ever higher. Of quibbling over whether a problem really even exists or whether these are just a few bad examples. Of arguing whether genocide is too severe a word, or whether these here actually count as concentration camps. As though just the fact that these words could be applied isn’t horrifying enough. As though we shouldn’t be striving to stop things before they reach this point.

I’m tired of listening to people make excuses for why this act of violence is excusable and acceptable while condemning those just trying to defend themselves and others. Continue reading “I’m Tired.”

I’m Tired.

TJ: Nazi Destroyer

TJ: Nazi Destroyer came about after Trump’s election, when TJ was 7-years-old. I had to explain to TJ why I was upset. We’ve talked about racism, white supremacy and systemic bigotry before. But this was the first time we talked about literal Nazis. She was quiet for a bit and then told me she had the solution. She would become a Nazi Destroyer.

Continue reading “TJ: Nazi Destroyer”

TJ: Nazi Destroyer

Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology

With the federal elections of both Canada and the US approaching, not to mention the constant political maneuvering happening across provinces and states, a lot of things are happening at once. It can feel like a whirlwind, just getting your bearings about one issue before the next one suddenly crops up demanding your attention. The breakneck pace of the news cycle means that a lot of the resolution or lack thereof of one issue often gets missed.

It’s the perfect setting to employ several tricks of social psychology that make it possible for politicians (and salespeople and so on) to change the conversation without ever having to convince the electorate of the issue. I’ve talked about at least one of these social psychology manipulation techniques before.

Additionally, it allows them to employ several public relations tricks to encourage several extreme side groups, while also counting on the majority of the population to forget about it before it’s time to vote.

It’s called a Test Balloon.

Continue reading “Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology”

Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology

Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests

Ford’s government recently proposed a series of cuts to what is covered by OHIP in the provincial budget. As justification for him depriving the population of Ontario of adequate healthcare, in particular those who happen to be poor, on social assistance including disability, or underage, were the claims that a significant portion of tests are unnecessary. He went on to claim that less than 4% of family doctors are responsible for ordering over 40% said tests, in a demonstration of how statistics and a lack of understanding can be used to obfuscate the truth.

Let’s start with the latter claim. While it may seem strange that such a small percentage of family doctors may be responsible for so many tests, it’s less surprising to those of us who deal with chronic illnesses.

Not All Family Doctors

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests”

Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests

Could Have Died Because She Needed an Ambulance and was Deaf/HoH.

(Posted with permission. )


It’s 2 am, when suddenly you find yourself unable to communicate clearly. Your words come out incoherent and hard to understand, including in text. What do you do?

Continue reading “Could Have Died Because She Needed an Ambulance and was Deaf/HoH.”

Could Have Died Because She Needed an Ambulance and was Deaf/HoH.

Quickie: It’s Victim Blaming and It’s Racist

The comment that influx of migrants and refugees disproportionately affects the poor is actually and demonstrably false. The biggest increase I saw to my ODSP came around when Canada accepted a large contingent of Syrian and Somali refugees.

In addition, historically, forced improvements to social safety nets to deal with the sudden influx of new users actually strengthen those safety nets and tend to improve services for existing citizens and users of those services.

Where it does affect the poor is when conservatives make cuts to those social safety nets, then blame it on refugees. It’s literally them taking food out of our mouths, then blaming it on the person starving next to us. It’s a diversionary tactic that allows politicians to redirect the anger legitimately directed at them [the service cutting politicians] towards a more vulnerable population by playing on existing, unacknowledged, ignored, and normalized social racism.

It’s practically a political cartoon of someone physically stealing something from you in front of you then pointing at another person saying, “hey, they look different than you, clearly they must have stolen it.” without even bothering to hide what they’re doing.

To blame an influx of refugees for a rise in white supremacist sentiments is literally to blame the victims of racism for the existence of racism. That racism was already present, it just wasn’t talked about or more accurately was claimed to no longer be a problem despite all evidence to the contrary, making it easy for anyone to harness those sentiments for political gain.

It’s victim blaming, and it’s racist.

Quickie: It’s Victim Blaming and It’s Racist