Equity Matters

Reflections on culture, identity and human dignity

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University
Guest Contributor

I never much liked ‘multiculturalism.’ The word, I mean, not everything that was ever done in its name. Multiculturalism, in the United States, was offered as a solution to tensions between blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, Anglos and Latinos. Learning each other’s cultures was supposed to help. But those tensions never seemed to have a lot to do with differences in culture.

African-Americans, for instance, are not particularly culturally homogeneous. The music, the sports, the literature, the movies they care about, they care about not as blacks but as individuals, or...

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Making schools better for LGBT: Homophobia and transphobia lessons

Rebecca Haskell, BC Society of Transition Houses and Brian Burtch, Simon Fraser University
Guest Contributors

In recent weeks there has been increasing media attention given to the suicides of young lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth in Canada and the United States. What has been framed as a recent rash of suicides is not really recent at all – a decade ago researchers at the McCreary Centre Society in British Columbia found that nearly half of the LGB youth they sampled had attempted to take their own lives and the average age at the time of attempt was only thirteen. As Kris Wells articulately stated in...

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Redeveloping balance: Women after workplace bullying

Elsie Hambrook
Guest Contributor

Recently, researchers at the University of New Brunswick interviewed 36 women from Atlantic Canada who had been bullied in the workplace. What they learned is surprising. The researchers’ main conclusions, published last month in an academic journal, was that women could not continue working in a business-as-usual way after experiencing bullying because it interfered with their health and work practices.

“Their approach to work, energy while at work, and ability to accomplish work are affected.” Their thoughts were consumed...

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'Failing boys' 1990s conversation continues into the 21st century

Kathy Sanford, University of Victoria
Guest Contributor

As I read the recent Globe and Mail series of articles, I am amazed that we are still circling around the same discussions, discussions that serve to continue the moral panic about how the boys are not doing well, how education is not paying attention to boys’ needs and concerns, and how boys are falling behind the girls.  These very same headlines appeared in the 1990s newspapers, but continue to surface. On one hand, it is gratifying to see the ongoing concerns with gender issues in our society, and a desire...

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Beyond Homophobia: We Need to Make it Better

Kris Wells, University of Alberta
Guest Contributor

Within the past several weeks, seven young men in the United States and two young women in Canada have tragically committed suicide due to homophobic bullying, harassment, and societal prejudice. Research indicates that suicide is the number one cause of death amongst gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth in North America. However, it is not the number one cause of death for heterosexual youth. What explains this difference?

Important risk factors for adolescent suicide include experiences of substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness, sexual abuse, a history of family dysfunction, and the recent...

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Queering In/Equality: LGBT and Two-Spirited Youth ‘It Gets Better’

Malinda S. Smith, Vice-President, Equity

"The increase in lesbian, gay and bisexual characters on primetime television not only reflects the shift in … culture toward greater awareness and understanding of our community but also a new industry standard that a growing number of creators and networks are adopting.”

This is, at least, the hope of Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Yet there is a disjuncture between visual and virtual equality and the everyday lived experiences of many LGBT and...

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Immigrant Women, Equality and Diversity in Canada

Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Saint Mary’s University
Guest Contributor

This blog post is part of the Federation Equity Portfolio’s ‘Equality Then and Now’ series, marking 40 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

The drafters of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) deliberately chose to write about the inequalities facing Canadian women in general, strategically focusing on the major social, economic and political struggles women in Canada experienced as a whole.  By doing so,...

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EnGendering Changes in Unpaid Work in Canada

Kathleen Lahey, Queen's University
Guest Contributor

As discussions about reasonable ‘compromises’ around census issues coalesce, the government actually may end up ‘winning’ on its drive to exclude all non-business-related unpaid work from the 2011 census. Only unpaid activities relating to travel, to work and helping in someone else’s business will be counted.

With the removal of just one question (33) – pertaining to unpaid activities with seniors, children, and for self and household – Canadian policymakers and the Canadian public are losing valuable knowledge about how Canadian society...

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Scaling Everest: Equity for minorities in broadcasting

Felix Fraser, Athabasca University
Guest Contributor

In 1988 I created and chaired a national forum on Multiculturalism in Broadcasting. Held at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel, the opening keynote address was given by the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, then Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. All of the major broadcasters, both radio and television, were invited to discuss the lack of presence of Aboriginal people and racialized minorities both before and behind the cameras and microphones. Lincoln...

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Teaching Equity Matters: How far will you go?

Carol Schick, University of Regina
Guest Contributor

How do you teach anti-oppressive education? In this blog I want to share my experiences teaching in the justice-oriented Summer Institute. I want to elaborate on the processes and rationale of the project, and discuss some of the difficulties and ongoing weaknesses, with the aim of contributing to a broader discussion about the opportunities and challenges of teaching equity matters in the academy.

In my experience, the Institute is a dynamic time for exploring the tenets of...

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