A few weeks ago I took an Uber in Washington DC to get to the airport. As we drove, I struck up a conversation with the driver. I like to hear about people’s lives while I’m sitting in the back seat, and I always learn something new – plus I often get to challenge my own biases! Turns out my … [Continue reading] How well do you know the people you work with?
Last week in Calgary, a woman was shopping for dolls for her children at Toys R Us and made a startling discovery – the “dark skinned” doll was priced lower than it’s “lighter skinned” counterpart (those are the words from the CTV new report). Image from: … [Continue reading] Systemic Racism in many forms…even dolls!
I have been listening to and reading the news about the guilty verdict (attempted murder) of Constable Forcillo here in Toronto, in the shooting death of Sammy Yatim. I'm probably the last person to have seen the video, and it struck me how many shots were fired as Sammy lay there on the streetcar … [Continue reading] Police Accountability and What it Tells us About Unconscious Bias
In the aftermath of Paris (and Beirut) - any tragic event - many of us ask ourselves what we can do. These situations are so big and so overwhelming that we often also think big - and get overwhelmed. But change can happen in small and meaningful ways. Here are a few things we can all do every day … [Continue reading] What can we do?
If you google "violence around the world on Friday November 13" you will see pages and pages of links on the attacks in Paris. I stopped at 9. But Paris wasn't the only place people were killed on Friday - Beirut, for example, also had a deadly attack. Why didn't we hear as much about … [Continue reading] The violence we see isn’t the only violence there is
On my run yesterday, I had to cross a busy street. This isn't unusual. But yesterday I noticed a new button at the crosswalk. It's likely not new, but it's the first time I noticed it. And I noticed it, because it beeped when I pressed it. The beep caused me to pause. If I had a visual impairment, … [Continue reading] A new look at a daily activity
So we have a Black Police Chief in Toronto. I want to cheer. But my inner voice is saying "not so fast...". Here's why: Let's consider the assumptions I am (and many people likely are likely) making based on skin colour and the expectations that these create. We might assume that since Mark … [Continue reading] What Difference Can a Black Police Chief make in Toronto?
On the weekend I was reminded of a great quote by Mark Twain: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Although I would argue that what we don't know can get us into trouble, the second half is particularly insightful when talking … [Continue reading] What gets us into trouble…
In the wake of the events in Paris, I'm thinking about freedom of speech. I'm not a cartoonist or a journalist. But what I do know is that it is a lot easier to make fun of, criticize, demean, or negatively highlight something or someone when they are "not like me". It's easier to point fingers, … [Continue reading] Freedom of Speech and Diversity
Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York: - As long as the unconscious bias is that Black males are a threat, police officers (and others) will keep feeling that they have to use extreme force to protect themselves – even in situations where it seems clear that there is no threat. - Case in … [Continue reading] A Few Lessons about Racism from 2014