Spotting and tackling prejudice

Move away from false statements and over-generalizations and recognize everyone as individuals

Spotting and tackling prejudiceRacism exists in Vancouver. How much, how bad and how widespread it is we can debate. That there are other places where the situation is much worse we can agree. But we still have room to improve here. In case there’s any doubt, Fairchild TV has produced two videos (here and here) documenting expressions of…

Can we save humanity?

The world’s problems are many, and the solutions require abrupt shifts and great sacrifice. But change is essential

Can we save humanity?The world is in crisis. After touching on some of the problems, I’ll list possible policy responses and suggest why humanity so far has failed to implement them. Time is short but I believe that at root, our obstacles are political, not lack of scientific knowledge. Problems Global warming and related extreme weather events, rising…

Why does the culture of impunity persist?

When words that demean others are spoken with impunity, they lead to further infringements on our dignity and rights

Why does the culture of impunity persist?The greatest danger to our way of life is the culture of impunity we’ve created. It’s an assault on truth and human dignity. This became very clear in a discourse between two members of the American House of Representatives. Ted Yoho verbally accosted and demeaned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for expressing her views on controversial issues and…

Federal standards, investment urged to fix long-term care system

Immediate improvements for nursing home workforce needed before next crisis hits, says U of A researcher

Federal standards, investment urged to fix long-term care systemCanada needs to take immediate actions to ensure nursing homes are ready for a possible second wave of COVID-19, according to the chair of an expert working group charged with solving Canada’s long-term care collapse. “If we do nothing else, in the short and longer term, the workforce has to be addressed,” said Carole Estabrooks,…

The struggle for free speech on Canadian campuses

The value of free inquiry is the very reason for universities, and it’s the foundation of free and democratic societies

The struggle for free speech on Canadian campusesFree speech is under siege on many university campuses, including in Canada. Professors, administrators and students are ‘deplatforming’ invited guests, or disrupting and disparaging their fellow academics who fail to toe the politically correct party line. With precious little evidence, these speakers are said to be “sexist,” “racist” or “Islamophobic.” So closed-minded enforcers, just like…

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the field

After years of being the best team in the world, they continue to fight for equal status and respect at home

U.S. women’s soccer team fighting battles on and off the fieldSexism sucks.    And nobody knows that better than the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The current team members, and their predecessors, have been fighting gender discrimination on the part of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for decades. The U.S. national team has been the best women’s…

Human spirit has the strength to tear down walls

Many walls remain in the world, including physical ones and those of racism, sexism and economic injustice

Human spirit has the strength to tear down wallsThe most significant global event of my lifetime has been the fall of the Berlin Wall. It not only changed the geopolitical climate we live in, it also demonstrated the power of the human spirit. As a teacher, I often bring up this event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to the graduates of Harvard…

In praise of all that masculinity has accomplished

We don't need to disparage masculinity in order to celebrate the qualities and contributions of women, or to encourage social equality of the genders

In praise of all that masculinity has accomplishedOne of brightest students in my university department was seriously intellectual and widely read, always taking an active and constructive part in seminars. The student was approached by two others who complained that the student took up too much space and time, and should step back. No professor ever advised such a thing to this…

Society has created a new set of artificial obstacles

Instead of eliminating racism and sexism, we've established a new set of rules that ignore merit and competition

Society has created a new set of artificial obstaclesOn Dec. 1, 1955, a tired seamstress was making her way home on a bus after a long day in Montgomery, Ala. The driver angrily informed the woman that the law required her to sit in the back. But the woman wasn’t just tired from work, she was tired of a law and a system…

Sympathizing with minorities, with a twist

Sociologists have convinced us to think of people solely in terms of their census categories and their victim credentials

Sympathizing with minorities, with a twistWhen an acquaintance accused me of being unsympathetic to minorities, I was indignant. I’m a member of a much-maligned minority ethnic group, with which I identify strongly. And both of my children are visible minorities: my son was adopted from Thailand and my daughter was adopted from China. In this cultural moment, to be unsympathetic…
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