Muslim Seniors Research works to improve health, fight Islamophobia

Unique research links academic findings with concrete change for Muslim communities

Muslim Seniors Research works to improve health, fight IslamophobiaFor Jordana Salma, academic research should be a two-way street: an ongoing cycle of asking questions, identifying concerns and then working with communities to address them. The assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing relies on Alberta’s Muslim community to guide her studies of aging and health for seniors. In return, she promises to…

Atlanta baseball team’s offensive name must go

Indigenous nicknames, logos, mascots and rituals are inappropriate and insensitive

Atlanta baseball team’s offensive name must goWhy is this so hard? In the year 2021, why do some sports organizations still insist on using Indigenous American names, mascots, caricatures, rituals, etc., to promote their team? And in the case of Atlanta’s Major League Baseball team, why do they continue to encourage fans to do the tomahawk chop by turning the lights…

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them right

What can be said of those who deny the past and ignore the inherent human rights of their neighbours?

We must accept the mistakes of the past and make them rightIt’s a normal human reaction not only to acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong but to seek to make reparations and heal the relationship with the person we’ve harmed. This is also true on a societal level. As I complete teaching my unit on the residential school system in Canada, I ask students to reflect…

Burning churches, toppling statues won’t ease the pain

And may make the situation worse

Burning churches, toppling statues won’t ease the painIn July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the arson and vandalism of Catholic churches across Canada in the wake of discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools. After more than 1,100 unmarked graves were discovered at the sites of schools previously run by the Catholic Church in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, protests erupted. Statues…

Systemic racism is embedded in our economy

We pass laws for unjust taxes, reward unscrupulous businesses and hold money back from our children

Systemic racism is embedded in our economyIn a 2016 interview, CBC journalist Peter Mansbridge confronted children’s advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock with this statement regarding public funding for Indigenous programs: “Billions of dollars have been spent in trying to come to grips with the situation that so many Indigenous Canadians face. And of those billions, it’s on the record that some of…

How racially-charged sports team names marginalize your neighbours

Cleveland MLB franchise sees the light and adopts a new name

How racially-charged sports team names marginalize your neighboursCleveland Guardians. Sure it sounds weird. Cleveland’s baseball team has been called the Indians for more than a century. But everyone will get used to it. Most importantly, it was the right thing to do. Yes, the name Indians is less egregious than the blatantly racist name Redskins that Washington’s National Football League team used…

Vandalizing Emily Murphy for no good reason

Was the icon of feminism really a racist?

Vandalizing Emily Murphy for no good reasonOh, dear, the statue-defacing vigilantes are at it again! One of the latest targets is erstwhile Canadian feminist icon Emily Murphy (no relation). Her Edmonton statue got the red paint treatment in mid-July. Predictably, the ‘racist’ epithet was deployed. Indeed, the National Post’s news story went beyond merely noting the racist allegation. It accepted it…

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous people

The graves of residential school children symbolize the abject failure of decades of government policy

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous peoplePeople are mad. Finally! And sadly, belatedly. The discovery of the locations where hundreds of children were buried around abandoned residential school grounds has touched the country in ways that perhaps even the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not. People are responding to…

There are only two “races” of people: the decent and the indecent

Good people and bad people can be found in every group

There are only two “races” of people: the decent and the indecentWe’re all influenced by the environment we grow up in and our life experiences. We thus adopt paradigms in our effort to make sense of the world around us. Sometimes these perspectives serve us well but other times our core beliefs prevent us from seeing the truth. Yet there’s perhaps nothing more life-giving than experiencing…

New podcast explores systemic racism, celebrates Black achievement

BlackTalk offers an ‘ethnic, modern, inclusive and informative’ take on the Black experience for listeners of all backgrounds

New podcast explores systemic racism, celebrates Black achievementThe murder of George Floyd last year was a pivotal moment for University of Alberta political scientist Andy Knight. The expert in international politics is acutely aware of his good fortune throughout his distinguished career. Growing up in Barbados, then immigrating to Canada in his teens, he felt insulated from the worst of the anti-Black…

How the federal government has warped the battle against racism

Canadians believe in equality and compassion; we don’t believe in pitting one group against another

How the federal government has warped the battle against racismCanada has always prided itself on being one of the most open and least racist countries in the world. This view may not have always been true, particularly when it comes to our past immigration policies, which only became colour neutral in the 1960s. But since then, and continuing today, the vast majority of our…

‘Invisible’ racism continues to haunt the world of academia

Undermining staff, students and faculty members who experience it

‘Invisible’ racism continues to haunt the world of academiaRacism is often too easily shrugged off as someone being “overly sensitive” or “misunderstanding” what was done or said. It’s that invisibility that makes systemic racism against Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour so difficult to dislodge at the institutional level in post-secondary schools – and so undermining of staff, students and faculty…

The huge challenge of holding police accountable

Too many police officers across the U.S. have been complicit by failing to intervene during their colleagues’ egregious misconduct

The huge challenge of holding police accountableThe trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd exposed Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and forced him to give evidence and account for – or, more correctly, reject – Chauvin’s actions. The televised trial, with testimony from other police officers, including Arradondo, was an extraordinary event. Chavin was found guilty on all…

Media’s misguided agendas lead to social unrest

Reporting on the George Floyd and Colten Boushie deaths twisted the facts to meet the agendas of mainstream media

Media’s misguided agendas lead to social unrestDerek Chauvin is the Minneapolis police officer who achieved international notoriety for his role in the death of George Floyd. A video showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, as Floyd pleads that he can’t breathe, has been viewed millions of times around the globe. Floyd’s death sparked months of protests, rioting, looting…

Government programs should be based on need, not race

Race-based programs are an insult to those who have achieved success on their merit and hard work

Government programs should be based on need, not race‘Pretendians’ are what Indigenous people call non-Indigenous people who claim that they are Indigenous. Government financial incentives reserved exclusively for Indigenous people – supposedly, to achieve equity – have created pretendians, who are increasingly called out by other Indigenous people for not being Indigenous enough. Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden and filmmaker Michelle Latimer (maker of…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?

Basketball player Jeremy Lin believes you can be the bigger person and still tell someone that their words and actions are unacceptable

Is being the better person enough to combat racism?Jeremy Lin is probably best known to basketball fans for “Linsanity,” the amazing streak of clutch and dramatic moments he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Many Canadians know Lin for the spark he brought to the court when the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Lin recently…

Beware of Twitter – it will bite you in the ass

Examples of tweets destroying careers are numerous. Commit your thoughts to Twitter and you're forever setting your opinions in amber

Beware of Twitter – it will bite you in the assLast week, I got a notice from Twitter that I was ‘celebrating’ 12 years on the social media platform. What an accomplishment. Here are my Twitter stats after 12 years: I have sent out 3,475 tweets. I’m following 50 accounts, one of whom claims to be a graduate of ‘Bovine University.’ Bafflingly, I have 431…

Why I do not support the Black Lives Matter movement

Why I do not support the Black Lives Matter movementThe phrase “Black Lives Matter,” as I understand it, can be interpreted in three ways. First, one can consider it to be a philosophical statement affirming and acknowledging that, in the face of current and historical oppression, there is inherent value in the lives and experiences of people of African descent. Second, it represents a…

Poverty often at the root of racism, hate

Teaching critical thinking skills is vital in promoting honest and respectful dialogue. Yet schools are underfunded

Poverty often at the root of racism, hateEarly-20th-century electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.” Steinmetz is right. Asking questions is vital in seeking truth and finding wisdom. Many things are happening in the world where the narrative perpetrated simply doesn’t make sense. We’re told, for example,…

Good Seuss, bad Seuss, less Seuss, no Seuss?

Ignoring, desensitizing or eliminating history is the wrong approach. Learning, engaging and explaining will have a more positive effect

Good Seuss, bad Seuss, less Seuss, no Seuss?Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel was one of the world’s most influential authors of children’s literature. The talented political cartoonist, illustrator and poet released over 60 memorable and beloved tales. Those tales included The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Green Eggs and…

Baseball showed how racism can be overcome

Racism is pointless and will inevitably fail, as it did in baseball. But it is part of our history

Baseball showed how racism can be overcomeMy earliest memories of baseball revolve around the 1969 Chicago Cubs. Enthusiasm just resonated off Wrigley Field as the great Ernie Banks chimed, “Let’s play two!” Regardless of the disastrous finish to that season for the Cubbies, a love for the game was planted in my soul as a seven-year-old. These heroes were larger than…

Biden using COVID-19 to advance radical policies

The pandemic has plunged the West into a state of fear, with more people willing to accept greater government interference

Biden using COVID-19 to advance radical policiesIn his first days in office, President Joe Biden rescinded a Donald Trump-era order that restricted the United States government’s use of diversity training to examine issues around race and gender bias, and systemic racism. In doing so, he will be advancing radical and divisive racial politics that have plagued his Democratic Party and popular…

New scholarship encourages law students to champion racial justice

Scotiabank launches nationwide scholarship supporting future lawyers tackling systemic discrimination and creating change

New scholarship encourages law students to champion racial justiceStudents in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law who are invested in combatting racism and promoting inclusivity will have more opportunities to put their passion into practice thanks to a new Scotiabank scholarship program. The Scotiabank Program for Law Students launched nationwide recently with the goal of increasing the number of future lawyers who are tackling…

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’

It’s difficult to call colonization and the theories that perpetuate and justify it to this day anything but the sinful antithesis of love

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’The year 2020 has been like none other. Not only has the world been impacted by a devastating global pandemic, we have finally begun to honestly reckon with the negative impact of colonialism. Boston College moral theology Prof. Mary Jo Iozzio recently stated, “The present state of dis-ease in the United States stems from centuries…

Twenty stories that defined the University of Alberta in 2020

In a year of unprecedented challenges, the people of the U of A gave us plenty of reasons to expect a brighter future

Twenty stories that defined the University of Alberta in 2020Let’s be honest: 2020 has been a tough year. Amid a global pandemic whose rising tide continues to take an enormous human and economic toll every day, it’s been hard to hold out hope for whatever the “new normal” might look like once COVID-19 finally ebbs for good. But through everything – including academic and…

If a team name is offensive, change it without delay

Why is the Cleveland baseball team waiting until 2022 to make the change? Let the healing begin now

If a team name is offensive, change it without delayFinally, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball (MLB) team says it plans to replace its racist Indians nickname. That’s great news. The Indigenous shouldn’t be used as nicknames and mascots for sports teams in the same way lions, bears and other animals are. Period. But why is the Cleveland organization waiting until 2022 to make the change?…

Identity politics is an evil virus spreading across society

This obsession with identity can do nothing good for a society that values equality of treatment of all its people

Identity politics is an evil virus spreading across societyOn my desk is a commemorative plate honouring the 1966 Grey Cup champions, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It includes the pictures of Canadian Football League legend Ronnie Lancaster and his teammates. A quick scan of these portraits reveals something odd: just three of the players are black. If one looks at the rosters of other CFL…
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