commentary by Tommy Sotomayor
commentary by Tommy Sotomayor
trying to join the white club?
An Asian American fraternity has revived allegations of racism at the University of California, Irvine, by making a parody music video in blackface and posting it on YouTube.
Four members of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity recorded a homemade skit in which one wore black make-up to impersonate the rapper Jay-Z, prompting recriminations and apologies. The students said the parody of the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake song Suit and Tie was intended as harmless fun but student organisations and university authorities condemned it as insensitive and racist.
“We’d like to point out that this blackface video isn’t the first, nor is it the last, example of racism that’s been shown on this campus,” Ainaria Johnson, co-chairwoman of UCI’s Black Student Union, told the Daily Pilot. Johnson noted that a second video on the fraternity’s YouTube page featured a blackface.
In 2011, a chef at the university caused a spat by serving fried chicken and waffles, an African American culinary stereotype, to mark Martin Luther King day.
Thomas Parham, UCI’s vice chancellor for student affairs, told the Daily Pilot that university authorities were investigating the Jay-Z impersonation video. “We as a campus, I as an administrator, we are shocked,” he said. We are dismayed to see what I think is insensitive in a video parody that was made by these individuals.”
It was unclear if the use of blackface, a throwback to minstrel and vaudeville shows which parodied black people, stemmed from ignorance or disregard, said Parham. “In either case it’s reprehensible.”
Black students comprise about 2.6% of the university’s 27,000-strong student body.
The members of Lambda Theta Delta, the university’s oldest and biggest Asian American fraternity, posted the video earlier this month with the disclaimer: “No racism intended. All fun and laughter.” Its existence was first reported by OC Weekly.
The Asian Pacific Student Association called the video “deeply offensive”. The Black Student Union made a formal complaint.
The fraternity posted an apology on its Facebook page. “The use of black face in the video is incredibly offensive as well as insensitive. This behavior is simply unacceptable and the individuals responsible for the video have already been reprimanded within the organization prior to the public outcry to which this formal apology is responding.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
islam making more contributions to humanity
A tweet by a city politician advertising an unpaid internship has landed her in trouble with constituents and youth advocates who say the position is illegal.
The job posting for work in Councillor Ana Bailao’s community office created “so much controversy” that she removed it from her website last week.
But the posting — which includes duties such as social media monitoring, drafting letters and correspondence, research, data cataloguing and community asset mapping — is still on her Facebook page.
“I really believe in that engagement and I wanted to particularly have the youth in my ward understand they can come here if they want,” said Bailao. “Sometimes, to be honest with you, it’s a bit of work for us.”
But the councillor is now categorizing the position as volunteer after advice from a Ministry of Labour hotline.
“The last thing I want is to do anything wrong,” she said. “I explained what my intention was and what I wanted to do. And (the ministry) said no, you should describe it as a volunteer.”
Lawyer Andrew Langille said the “Ministry of Labour gave her very bad advice” and it must have been someone in a junior position.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the word volunteer or intern. It really goes to the duties that one is performing,” said Langille, who just finished a master’s degree in law at Osgoode Hall on the issue . “If you’re doing work that people normally get paid for, there’s an argument that the employer is engaging in employee misclassification.”
A spokesperson for the province also says that the work can’t be categorized as volunteer.
“The legal test for a true volunteer arrangement looks at several factors, but merely agreeing to work without pay does not in itself make you a volunteer,” Ministry of Labour spokesperson Jonathon Rose wrote in an email.
Unpaid internships are legal only in cases where someone is self-employed, in a co-op placement or a trainee, but there are strict criteria for the latter.
The work has to be for the benefit of the intern and the employer should derive “little, if any, benefit from the activity,” according to a labour ministry website. The website also says the intern can’t take someone else’s job and can’t be promised employment at the end of the training.
“If you perform work for someone you are an employee covered under the Employment Standards Act and should be paid — it doesn’t matter if you are called an ‘intern’ or not,” said Rose.
Despite the legislation, there are an estimated 100,000 illegal unpaid internships in the province every year, even though employers have a meagre one-in-10 success rate of defending them in court, said Langille.
In a letter to Ward 18 residents, Bailao wrote that unpaid positions save taxpayer money and are necessary to “keep on top of the immense amount of work” needed to keep residents “informed and engaged.”
She wrote that the positions could lead to paying jobs. “Indeed the majority of my staff began a working relationship with me in volunteer roles.”
Another politician, MPP Laura Albanese, recently advertised for an unpaid intern, but it was a mistake that has been corrected, said Rose.
“My understanding is the position was posted by a junior staff member without being reviewed and was later removed — no one was hired,” he said.
The issue of unpaid interns was in the news earlier this month when the University of Toronto students union wrote an open letter to Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi asking for tighter controls to end what it called a widespread practice. The letter notes there is an 18 per cent unemployment rate for recent graduates.
Rose said the ministry received the letter last week and is preparing a response.
Exposing the acceptable CRIMES of inbreeding or line-breeding which are put in play by various Kennel Clubs and their imposed breed standards. People breed their dogs within close relation ( father-daughter, mother- son, grandfather-granddaughter, etc) in order to produce the same dog over and over to fit the breed standards and have them participate in big fancy shows to cater to their ego. In regulation today is Canario Club ban on Inbreeding within a minimum of 3 generations. Canario Club recommends no mixing for 5 to 8 generations or using completely different and distant bloodlines if possible. Lets make this about the welfare of our dogs and renounce the current system, removing our personal egos from the equation or what please us esthetically. Lets lead the way scientifically and start a REVOLUTION that supports EVOLUTION.
The Globe and Mail
Outside Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute at lunchtime on Tuesday, a demonstrator calls out to two boys crossing the street.
“What do you think about abortion?”
“People have rights,” one of the boys responds.
“Yeah – babies too, right?”
He is one of eight protestors carrying signs with pictures of aborted fetuses, standing just off the property of the unsuspecting high school. They would have preferred to speak at an assembly, but public schools, they say, tend to be resistant to their message.
This scene has been playing out with regularity on sidewalks and intersections outside Toronto high schools since earlier this year – and the group is set to expand its campaign to schools across the Greater Toronto Area. Anti-abortionists are a familiar sight on university campuses, but lately they are focused on a younger, much more impressionable audience, hoping to recruit a new generation of campaigners. The brazen tactic used by the pro-life group, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, has angered parents and students, and left the Toronto District School Board in an uncomfortable, frustrating position.
“There’s nothing we can do; they stand off school property,” said spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz. “If members of the community take exception to what they’re saying or their tactics, they are absolutely encouraged to phone the police.”
The group has been visiting Toronto high schools five days a week since February, informing students about abortion, said Stephanie Gray, executive director of the pro-life group. They don’t disclose their locations beforehand. Ms. Gray said the strategy of reaching out to young people in high schools has been successful in Calgary, when it began two years ago.
Some Toronto parents are fuming, not only at the presence of the pro-life group but also because the TDSB hasn’t informed them of the group making the rounds outside secondary schools. “They send us a letter home if some kid has lice. They send us a letter home if there’s been a shooting. Why hasn’t anything been sent home saying ‘Just in case you’re not aware, there is a pro-life group that has been picketing various high schools, and we’ve told kids not to engage’?” asked Adriana Christopoulos. The group showed up at her daughter’s school, Vaughan Road Academy, a few weeks back.
Near Danforth Collegiate earlier this week, the demonstrators showed bloody pictures of aborted fetuses in the first trimester with the word “Choice?” displayed on top, “redefining” – as the organizers say – the message of abortion-rights advocates. A police officer shielded a little girl riding her tricycle from the grotesque images. Many students trickling out of the school ignored the group, but a few questioned, listened, agreed. Others, mainly boys, were infuriated by the presence of a pro-life group. As the discussion heated up, school administrators pull them away.
Arthur Morris was so angry, he was shaking. “I don’t have a problem with them protesting. Freedom of speech, I’m all for that. But I have a problem with this, these images, right outside of school,” said the 16-year-old. “Don’t force your religion, and it’s largely a religious thing, don’t force your religion onto others.”
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Hayden McKinnon, 18. He added: “They’re at a high school. They’re showing pictures of dead fetuses right on the corner… I think all women should have a choice.”
Except for an incident in March outside Harbord Collegiate Institute, where a coffee shop owner was reportedly charged with assaulting anti-abortion demonstrators, the visits are generally peaceful. The group has now visited more than 60 TDSB secondary schools. Students, Ms. Gray said, have changed their minds on abortion after speaking with her staff, all between the ages of 19 and 28. She has noticed that on return visits to schools, for example, some of who were pro-choice on a first visit are now pro-life.
“It’s young people speaking with young people about the killing of young people,” Ms. Gray said. “Our philosophy is: old enough to have” – to conceive a baby – “old enough to see.”
Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics at the University of Toronto, worries that vulnerable students are being targeted by a group that is not providing information, but rather using manipulative language and advertising techniques to recruit.
“When you combine the manipulative techniques with a population that is still forming their values and beliefs, I see an ethical red flag going up,” Prof. Bowman said. “You’re really playing to win. It’s not a just a question of informing people about this issue; it’s much more manipulative.”
School boards are in a difficult position, especially when the pro-life message floods their doorstep. Schools do not know how to teach students about the abortion issue, nor would they be considered neutral for debating it in classrooms.
Ms. Christopoulos said schools have a responsibility, however, to inform the community. Her 16-year-old daughter did not think much of the group showing up at her high school. Ms. Christopoulos was furious that her daughter and her friends were being targeted.
“I think it’s inappropriate. If you want to make a point, then I think you should be approaching people who are in a position to be making those kind of decisions,” she said. “I don’t think my 16-year-old daughter is.”