Tag Archives: Hate

Question of the Month – Inclusiveness

In recent news, there has been a devastating display and promotion of exclusivity – people targeting minority groups with hate, promoting racism, and suggesting that inequality is just. This month, we tackle the question, Why are people afraid of inclusiveness and diversity? 

Kaitlyn

Why must we fear inclusion?
Why do we foster hate?
Why do we blame those oppressed
for the oppression we create?

Diversity is Canada’s strength,
but at each turn, we try and deny the Other
the same status as us at the table,
refusing to break bread together.

We chant Progress! Progress! Progress!
As we continue to work toward a future
that keeps tight reigns on the past;
Don’t rip the status quo for we can’t amend the suture!

Our verbiage gives us away as
to love becomes to tolerate
and action reduced still to a noun:
tolerance. Some claim it’s fate…

That a system built to oppress,
built to deny, to bully, to kill, to silence
is here because we worked for it fairly
and because human nature is violence.

Those differently abled, a rainbow of gender,
of skin tone, those who come to dinner
with different experiences and different voices
somehow deserve a smaller table, deserve to grow thinner.

We build a wall so we cannot hear their voices
The stories run into one another, too much the same
The problems too repetitious, too much proof
that we’re the ones to blame.

“The Problem,” we cry, “lies not with Us!”
When we are denied opportunity, justice,
we may take up the call that we have not
been provided for – trust us.

Yet, when millions of sufferers cry for help
– we have no problem pointing out,
That perhaps they have played their hand
with error, and they deserve to go without.

Or that somehow despite all the facts
that we are the ones who sit with power,
We have been screwed over by them
a visible minority, a lower class turned sour.

When we wish to exclude, the Other
suddenly has ability to control a nation.
When we cannot shoulder responsibility,
do we seek out the aberration.

It’s not the rich evading taxes through loopholes
not to mention the hidden offshore accounts.
It’s not the corporations syphoning billions
in a gluttonous attempt to heap amounts

of our resources away, keeping them inaccessible
to First Nations Peoples in a First World Country.
It can’t be the fact that we don’t earn a living wage
even though CEOs make 147 times as much as their lowest paid employee.

Our problems cannot be blamed on the fact we own too much stuff,
That we’re convinced our happiness can be bought with the newest shoes.
It’s certainly not an oil company lobbying for a 21st century genocide
all in the name of profit – but now I just sing the blues.

We would far prefer to blame the women
who won’t cooperate in being likable.
Or the people of colour demanding that
their lives could possibly matter.

Our fear is distilled to visible minorities
with NO. VISIBLE. POWER.
When they dare share their voices,
we feel threatened and cower.

When what we should do is
learn about FEAR.
Where does it come from,
and why don’t I know what’s really going on here?

We should learn about solutions to poverty,
to homelessness, to sexism and racism.
We should have the education we claim to hold,
we should move from ignorance to activism.

Stop the useless fear and worry,
open your hearts to love.
Learn about all Others
Inclusiveness here and now, not below above.

Ones Without Power will not take your job,
They’re not out to take your material possessions,
They won’t ransack your house or even kill you.
Disregard those false impressions!

If you have to rage at all, direct your anger
with more meaning.
Look at who really controls your life
Change the false belief to which you’re leaning.

Have courage to change the world.
Be inclusive and be kind.
Hard to believe as it is,
It starts with changing your mind.

Find peace in your own home.
Love your fellow human being.
You need not fear inclusiveness.
Leave fear behind – it’s freeing.

Grow A Heart

I turn on the TV and on Grey’s Anatomy, it is totally acceptable that the whole cast refers to one of the doctors as “The Nazi”. I go to church and in order to give the person at the front a blessing, the entire congregation happily extends their right arms nice and straight and nobody thinks it’s weird. That is one of the things I love about Canada. One might call it oblivion but I call it innocence. Nazi Germany is part of the world’s history – but for Canadians, it is a piece of history that is far enough away for you to innocently use a hand gesture that would cause an uproar if it was used in Germany.

So when I heard the word “nazi” used in the German news that I tend to watch over my morning coffee, I stopped dead in my tracks.

It happened some time this summer. I was used to regular news reports about refugees arriving in Italy, I was even used to the many reports about people drowning on their way to Europe. But all of the sudden they started coming to Germany. That part was new to me. And it was new to everyone else in my home country.

Every day, the news about refugees coming to Germany, refugee camps being built and asylum applications flooding the municipalities, became more and more and I thought: “What is happening?” And as always, where there are foreigners, immigrants or refugees, the racists come out of their holes as well.

A quick side note about the term nazi: It is indeed the term my very proper, respectable news channel uses to refer to what I am going to call racists. I simply find it inaccurate and yes, almost unfair to call somebody a nazi in this day and age. This term was used for somebody who was in a party that does not exist anymore that evolved around a leader who does not exist anymore with an ideology that, in that particular form, does not exist anymore either. But that just by the by.

All of the sudden, my mostly German and mostly very quiet Facebook friends filled my news feed with anti-racist images, posts, comments and articles: “Germans taking a stand for refugees”, “There are three things you will not ever find in combination: Intelligence, decency and national socialism”, “Your stupidity will ruin Germany.”

Again, I found myself baffled – what is happening?

What is happening is that hundreds and thousands of people are leaving their homes behind because they are not safe anymore. They leave everything behind that they know and love to come to Europe for a better life or a safer life or just simply a life. What is also happening is that the European Union is failing miserably at what they once set out to be: a united force working together to create a better Europe. Instead, refugees are knocking on every European door and only very few seem to open it. Hungary builds a fence, the Brits are like a little boy who thinks you can’t see him if he hides his face behind his hands.

Be it because of our history or because of our Chancellor’s personal beliefs, it i
s the
Germans (not exclusively I’d like to add), who open their doors and who build more camps and who look for solutions other than simply not letting these desperate people in. And for the most part, I feel proud of “my people”, when I watch the German news and see people helping out at the camps, welcoming children to schools and youth to universities, inviting refugees to stay at their homes, volunteering their time to help where they can.

But unfortunately, the news doesn’t stop there. As soon as more camps were opened, there was news of racists committing arson. There was news about demonstrations against refugees. When the image of the dead little boy on the Turkish beach went around the world, there were people who commented on the news post that “one is not enough but a start”. The same happened when the news came out about 71 people who died in a truck that was supposed to get them to safety. Messages of hatred filled the media. In German, there actually is a term for this particular kind of hatred: Fremdenhass, Hatred of Foreigners.

I like to believe that those hateful people are the exception and not the rule, but even just a single person with that mind-set would have me asking this month’s blog question: Where is the love? Or the common sense? Or empathy? How is it possible that in one of the richest countries in the world, there are still people left who just don’t get it or who are not educated enough or who have been filled with so much fear of what could happen that they are blind to the reality of it all? These refugees have lost their homes, their safety, their family members, their friends, their culture. They risk absolutely everything to escape their circumstances. How can we for even a second consider the option of not helping them? And yes, the EU has to get their act together; and yes, the solution really lies in the countries where these people come from in the first place;  but none of that justifies the hatred that people so willingly put out on social media and in the streets.

This “refugee crisis” is a historical challenge that Germany and all of Europe is facing, that I believe will change those countries forever and that will be written about in our grandchildren’s history books. My hope is that at the end of the day, it will be the love that will be remembered – the love of the many who do welcome the refugees in so many wonderful ways. And as for those whose answer is hatred, I will quote a post my friend shared on social media: Grow A Heart.

 

Question of the Month – Hate and Public Shaming

In October, our theme for the blog is

Where is the love? Where is the line?

Is it just me or do you, too, feel as though wherever you turn these days, there seem to be angry, condescending little comments, complaints and posts? This question has triggered our bloggers to ask this month: Where on earth is the love? 

Bloggers Carli and Dana start us off by answering the question of the month:

In a world where it has become socially acceptable to publicly voice your opinion, even if that opinion is hateful – where do we draw the line between freedom of speech and integrity?

Carli

I have always felt that no two individuals share the same point of view. Even if you agree on something, your perspective of the issue is shaped by your personal experiences.

There are those who e
njoy a good old fashioned debate, where two differing opinions are discussed (for the most part) rationally, logically and professionally. And then there are those who thrive on the concept that freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people.

As someone who once dreamed of being a journalist, I truly understand the need to report, to speak up and out, to demand answers, to object, defend and shed light. I know the desire to insert my personal opinion (because that’s all it will ever be is personal no matter how you try to be objective) when I read or hear about something that stirs me in some way. This is a good thing! Without our right to freedom of speech we would not as a society be able to fight for what we believe is right. But what we need to understand, is that just because you can say it, doesn’t necessarily mean you should say it.

We as a society are surrounded by
outlets to voice our opinion, and we truly take that for granted. We are given the opportunity every single day to use our right to freedom of speech to make a difference and instead we use it to hurt, slander, offend, scare, and objectify. We jump on threads that have little to nothing to do with our personal lives and insert whatever we feel like saying in the moment, because it quickly gets swallowed up by all the other comments of people who are doing the exact same thing.

We raise battle calls against cyber bullying, but scream in outrage over incidents such as the Charlie Hebdo attack.

We watch television shows such as Fashion Police with Dove Beauty Campaign commercials in between.

We listen to our politicians make defamatory and negative comments about their competition and tell our children to play nice.

And for every time someone tries to counteract this behavior— they are attacked with renewed vigor because it is their right! Google Ideas is a think tank specifically dedicated to supporting free expression while fighting harassment and recently tweeted a photo with the caption ‘Fighting online abuse’ that was immediately followed with racist, violent, fat-shaming, sexist and ‘go kill yourself comments’. Their response was to calmly note that it was for this specific reason they had created this campaign.

I am all for freedom of speech, but I believe there is a line we must tread carefully with and we need to figure out where we must become more vigilant. My personal self-governance is that if I am not truly passionate about it, if I’m not going to wake up tomorrow worried, concerned, angry or sad about it, then it’s none of my business to comment on it. And if I’m commenting on something just to incur a reaction—I’ve got issues and need a grounding.

 

Dana

Ugh, this question makes me feel all squirmy. I know it’s a loaded question and a hot topic, especially now. The absolute worst place for this is Facebook (and I’m sure Twitter and Instagram too, but I only experience positivity on my accounts because I only post pictures of dogs). I don’t know how it became this way, but I remembered Facebook used to be the place where you would post pictures from a trip and make your status about something exciting, maybe even sad, or just something about YOUR life. Now Facebook isn’t as popular for the younger generations, and I find more and more that people are just using it to share posts from other pages, other people, or use it as a sounding board or to get our their frustrations. (Although I will say my favourite thing right now is the flashback memory thing they have going on!)

That’s fine, I mean if you want to complain on Facebook go ahead. I
personally only like posting a status when something awesome has happened or I think I have come up with some clever and funny commentary that will get me a lot of likes (this rarely happens). But now I see people just going off voicing their opinions to the extreme, and it really has nothing to do with them. I mean, if your car breaks down and you want to vent about it on Facebook, go for it. But I have this one “friend” (who I recently defriended) who is always posting really hurtful statuses that are just way too extreme for Facebook. Once people get upset and start commenting, he always claims he is just “expressing his opinion”. A lot of the time they are about how wrong and horrible abortion is, and he goes on and on about how selfish and wrong it is (regardless of circumstance, may I add) in the comments. Now, it really irks me that he posts this for all of Facebook to see in such a careless way. If you don’t agree with abortion, that’s fine, but keep it to yourself. I don’t really understand why anyone cares about it, just let people do what’s best for them. First of all, you may have caught on that I said ‘he’ (I won’t even get into how upset it makes me when men comment on abortion in such a careless and selfish way, and don’t worry I won’t post about it either!) and his posts come off extremely insulting to women. Lots of friends comment on his statuses (most saying how dumb the post is, why is he posting this, etc.) and he will respond to every single comment defending his opinion and spreading even more negativity. I had finally had enough and realized, why do I even have this guy as a friend on Facebook? I really don’t want to be associated with anyone like this.

I have always been a firm believer in believe what you want but keep it to yourself. Everybody is different and you can only control your own life, and make decisions you are happy with. I would never judge anyone for having an abortion, or not having an abortion. But I do secretly judge people for wearing Crocs (WHY?!) but I would never make fun of that person for wearing them and I wouldn’t publicly shame them for it. I would definitely not attack them for it on Facebook. I just keep it to myself and occasionally ask myself why it even bothers me so much because it has nothing to do with me.

“if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

So, the question is where do we draw the line? To me, it’s simple. Don’t say something or publicly post something that you know is going to bring others sadness, judgement, negativity, or hate. I think it’s important to remember “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It couldn’t be truer. No one is perfect, and we all have things that bother us, or strong opinions, and judgement, but you can keep it to yourself. You have the right to express yourself and believe what you want, but you don’t have the right to spread hate and hurt to others. I try to remember that we all have our differences, and that’s what makes people interesting. I may not personally agree with my ex-FB-friend’s opinion on abortion, but I have never commented on any of his posts negatively or told him his opinion is wrong. I have wanted to reply that it’s hurtful to those women who have had abortions, or who are struggling with making a decision, but I didn’t. I simply removed him from my newsfeed. He has the right to believe what he believes, but I don’t really want to be friends with someone who expresses themselves like that and doesn’t take others’ feelings into account.
Yes, it’s very easy now to express your beliefs and exercise your freedom of speech. There are many platforms to do this and lots of people will be able to see and comment on it. It would be awesome if we could use these opportunities for important matters, or positive messages. There isn’t much that I can do to stop people who like to post hateful things, or say hurtful things, other than perhaps tell them that it is hurtful and choose not to be associated with them. I’m sure there’s a hashtag out there (#spreadlovenothate #positivethoughtsonly, etc.) that is all for the positive and
#screwthenegative. I am proud to say that I follow this mindset and I don’t have any hate or controversy in my life over my beliefs or opinions. The people in my life and I get along great, and I respect them and their personal opinions, and they respect mine. And, we only post on Facebook funny jokes about Nickelback or Mean Girls quotes to see who will get the most likes (sadly I am not winning).

And, to quote Kevin G from Mean Girls: “Don’t let the haters stop you from doin’ your thang!”

Lose the Hate!

Prejudice: (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge – Websters Dictionary

Prejudices can come in all different forms and can be seen in many different places. Often it’s easier to look the other way than to do something about it, but when it comes knocking on your door, it’s time to take a stand.

I am writing this post because the YW recently had another family looking for housing, and like many others, they were driven from their home because of prejudice neighbours, neighbours who made “preconceived judgements…without just grounds.” The neighbours were so full of hate that these families were forced by fear to leave their homes. How awful it is to have to pack up and move because of fear? Imagine not feeling safe in your own home, and to wake up in the morning to find your property vandalized. These families fear for their children’s safety as well as their own. The unfortunate reality though, is that these families are not fleeing from some far off country, you’ve never heard of. I’m talking about leaving neighbourhoods right here in our own community.
When a family comes to the YW stating they can no longer stay in their home because they fear a neighbour, it just appalls me. They feel they don’t want to cause trouble and they take the abuse for as long as they can. They try to ignore the racial slurs thrown at them and their children. They don’t enjoy their yards for fear of being seen and ridiculed. No one should have to live like that.
You would think here in Canada, a country considered a multi-cultural “mosaic,” that prejudice would not exist or at least be very minimal.You would think we would be accepting of others and embrace our differences. How I wish I could say that was true. It’s not! Here in Canada where most of us, or our ancestors, have come from other parts of the world, we still have people in our community who think their race is better. What an awful way to live. I almost feel sorry for people with such closed minds who think their race is better. If only they would open up their minds and learn from everybody around them. Try different foods, learn about other cultures or maybe even other religions. Every culture and every race has something to give and teach us all. Lose the hate! Hate is not good for you or your community.
I believe prejudice grows through ignorance and fear. There is no need for ignorance. Open your mind, explore your community, get to know people from other countries, and ask questions. Your fear will vanish, your life will be fuller, and we will all have a much healthier community.