Together, womyn of colour struggle with shadeism.

This well-done, Canadian documentary (20 minutes) on shadeism and light-skin privilege features the stories of young womyn of colour from Toronto:

Nayani Thiyagarajah narrates:

Four women, four stories, all connected to my own. We represent the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and South Asia. We represent Grenada, Venezuela, Trinidad, Angola, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. We represent Canada. Really, we represent an international narrative of sorts, a collective Herstory of womyn of colour. These are my friends, womyn I talk to, spend time with, and share with. And we all share the issue of shadeism from within each of our own cultures. Because of this, I knew it was important for us to come together, to talk about where shadeism comes from, how it affects us, and how we can possibly move forward together.

Link: Shadeism documentary (via Racialicious)

How to act if refugees come to Canada on a boat

What To Do If People Come To Canada On A Boat And Ask To Be Admitted As Refugees (via funkaoshi):

1. Don’t panic!

Take a deep breath.

2. Remember that there is a process in place to deal with this issue.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

The Canadian refugee system has two main parts:
– the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people seeking protection from outside Canada; and
– the In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims from within Canada.

If you can see the boat full of people from your house, that means they will likely be processed under the In-Canada Asylum Program. To calm your fears, Citizenship and Immigration Canada further explains that:

Refugees come from around the world and many make their claims in Canada….The asylum program works to provide refugee protection to people in Canada who are at risk of torture, or cruel or unusual punishment in their home countries.

Not everyone is eligible to seek asylum. For example, people convicted of serious criminal offences and people who have had previous refugee claims denied by Canada are not accepted.

3. Don’t kill asylum seekers.

Even if you are still alarmed after reading about Canada’s refugee process, don’t kill these strange newcomers, regardless of what the Toronto Sun helpfully suggests.  Killing asylum seekers is a violation of their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

If you look carefully at your copy of the Charter, you’ll notice that some rights are only for Canadian citizens (like the right to vote, article 3) and some rights are for “everyone” (like the right to life, liberty and security of the person, article 7).

Do asylum seekers and refugee claimants who arrive in Canada on a leaky boat count as “everyone” under Canadian law? The Supreme Court of Canada answered this very question in their April 4, 1985 decision in Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration. According to the Supreme Court, foreign nationals in Canada have Charter rights, so killing them would be illegal.

Read the rest at Kanakaweb

Where in Asia should they build an xkcd school?

A portion of the profits from xkcd: volume 0 will be donated to three literacy projects in Asia: building a School Room (pre-school); building a Reading Room (library); and funding a Local Language Publishing Program. The charity Room to Read is now polling the public to decide where in Asia these three projects should take place.

The School Room (pre-school) will be built in Sri Lanka, but the four regions to decide between are: Nuwara Eliya, Moneragala District, Mannar District, and Matale District.

The Reading Room will be built in either Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, or Nepal.

The Local Language Publishing Program will in either Laos, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, or Cambodia.

How do you decide which locations to vote for? Are you connected to any of these regions?

The deadline is May 17th, 2010 at noon EST. Vote here: How Should We Donate $53,000 of xkcd Book Profits?

Racializing assumptions of Canadian multiculturalism exposed by Toronto protests against Sri Lanka

In “The War in Sri Lanka and the Left in Toronto”, Fathima Cader and Noaman Ali write (May 17, 2009):

The recent burst of mass mobilizations by sections of the Canadian-Tamil community in Toronto has brought to the fore several contradictions concerning the conflict in Sri Lanka and its presence in and connection to Canada. Mainstream media’s responses to the protests have been overwhelmingly racialist, exposing many of the limits of Canadian multiculturalism. In order for Canadian multiculturalism to accept any given group of people as a cultural community, it must define that group by differentiating it from a supposedly mainstream Canadian identity. This focalising Canadian identity—in effect a non-identity—is white and middle-class. Thus, when the Toronto Star publishes an editorial entitled “Protesters vs. the public” [1] it effectively notes that the protesters are not part of the public by pitting (Tamil) protesters against the (Canadian) public. Rather than focusing on the war, media outlets have focused on the inconvenience posed to commuters, thereby shifting attention away from deaths in Sri Lanka to traffic regulations in Canada. Consequently, responses to the protests have largely demonstrated pernicious xenophobia. For instance, in the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington argues that not using excessive force (e.g., water cannons) against Tamil protesters who block streets is tantamount to “reverse racism” against white Canadians. [2]

Read the rest of this awesome post at nomes or run like the wind.

(Indirectly via Voices in Exile)


Related posts:

The Lion Defeats the Tiger: The past and future of Sri Lanka

Democracy Now! reports the latest news from Sri Lanka, and interviews Ahilan Kadirgamar, a Sri Lankan Tamil activist and a spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum.

In the latter part of the video (3:06), Kadirgamar explains the history of the Sri Lankan government and the creation of the LTTE, and offers his opinion on the future of Tamils and other minorities in Sri Lanka.

I have excerpted his answers to common questions below, but the full transcript of the video is available at Democracy Now!

Read the rest of this entry »

Tamil Eelam flag vs. Tamil Tiger flag

On the left is the flag of the Tamil Eelam. On the right is the flag of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a.k.a., the Tamil Tigers.

Tamil Eelam flag
Flag of Tamil Eelam
Tamil Tiger flag
Flag of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Read the rest of this entry »

Tamil Canadians chant, march, and block a Toronto highway in protest.

The video below was captured by a biker who was close to the demonstration. The protesters flew large, bright-red Tamil Eelam flags with some Canadian flags interspersed. Some of the protesters marched ahead with a banner that said, “SRI LANKA, STOP THE GENOCIDE”. Police stood by, and the chanting of the protesters alternated with the sound of the police siren. Later in the video, the protesters started running and shouting down the street with flags flying.

Read the rest of this entry »

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