Tag Archives: toronto

fyi: rogers doorcrasher

posted by theinvazn

are you an azn in toronto? were you offended by maclean’s “too azn?” article?

rogers owns maclean’s and has refused to properly respond to the inflammatory piece, so we’re gearing up to give ’em a big surprise.

CAN SOMEONE SAY FLASH MOB?!

not this

not this either

something more like …

this is what shows up when you google "azn mob"!

so this saturday, meet at college subway station’s food court at 11 a.m. bring friends, allies, your hardass azn parents and your outrage! feel free to rsvp on facebook.

see you there!

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what separates us from omar khadr?

posted by djtrishna

Today is a big day for Toronto.

I’m not talking about the election.

I’m talking about the 3013th day that we have been without our brother Omar Khadr.

Omar, a Toronto kid like myself, has been held at Guantanamo Bay since he was 15. The Omar Khadr case has been widely publicized, as he is not only Guantanamo Bay’s youngest detainee, but also the only Canadian to ever be held at the facility.

The case has also received media attention because of the extreme injustices Omar has faced. He was held for three years before ever being charged and for two years without access to legal counsel. He was subject to inhumane conditions including physical and psychological abuse as well as torture. Additionally, he is the first child soldier in modern history to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes.

Today, Omar accepted a plea bargain, pleading guilty to five separate charges including murder after spending a third of his life in Guantanamo Bay. This means that Omar will spend one more year in Guantanamo after which he may have the opportunity to return to Canada.

Thus far, our Prime Minister has demonstrated no interest in repatriating Omar. He has consistently avoided commenting on the case claiming that it is up to the U.S. to decide, despite our Supreme Court ruling that Omar’s rights have been violated and our Federal Court ordering Ottawa to pursue his repatriation.

But Harper’s silence speaks volumes.

It demonstrates the unwillingness of our government to stand up for one of our own children, one of our brothers. It clarifies our government’s feelings towards specifically racialized populations. I am of course talking about Arabs and Muslims and those of us who are racialized  alongside them in the big web of racism.

What I’m getting at here is that if Omar, a 15 year old Toronto kid, could be tried in U.S. military court for war crimes after being held at Guantanamo for 8 years, without ANY intervention on the part of our government, what makes any of us safe? What kind of justice system are we upholding? Isn’t this case terrifying? Does it not uncover the fallacy of Canada as a model ‘multicultural’ state?

Toronto is missing a child, a brother, and a friend. He is one of many missing people whom the government is eager to silence. Their lack of commentary on this issue is extremely unjust, but not uncommon. It is evident in the face of hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women. It is evident in their increasing criminalization of dissent, of being poor, of being brown, of being queer, or being anything but ‘normal’. And this criminalization has been normalized. How else can we explain what is happening to Alex Hundert and the other G20 detainees? How else can such disregard for our stolen sisters persist?

We cannot simply remain silent. We must demand for Omar’s return home. Just as we must demand for inquiry into the cases of our stolen sisters and for the charges against Alex and the other G20 defendants to be dropped.

 

 

 

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invaded: august

posted by missmsian

Another wild month for Azns in North American media. Check out July and June for more news.

Good Pakistan, Bad Pakistan

Prime Minister Harper appoints Salma Ataullahjan a senator–making her the first Pakistan-born person to hold that position–and paints her face into Duccio’s Madonna and Child. Not really. But close; she does give the standard I-love-diversity-and-integration speech. And every self-righteous liberal gives himself a pat on the back, satisfied he’s fulfilled his affirmative action quota for the year.

Not everyone is fooled by those crafty, crafty Pakistanis, though. The National Post reminds us that while some Pakistani-Canadians are diversity-loving political puppets, most are actually TERRORISTS. The best way to remind us, of course, is by running three articles called “All roads lead to Pakistan,” “Canada’s battle with radicalization” and “Don’t call it Islamophobia” in the same issue a few days after the devastating floods and basically implying that if we contribute to relief efforts, we’re funding terrorist activities. Thanks for enlightening me.

Dear Ignorant …

The opposite of blatantly racist reporting is the equally annoying “pitiful immigrant story” some newspapers like to run.

In response to a Toronto Star editorial called “Exploited immigrants,” letter writer Robert Manders opines:

“Is Ford in Oshawa treating Asian immigrants like slave labour? I don’t think so. Are the Bay or Sears hiring young Asian women to work long sweaty underpaid hours in their alterations department? No. Do stylish shops on Queen St. have secret employees toiling unseen and in distress? Highly unlikely. If the miscreant employers are of Asian origin, say so.”

Actually, yes, they are–here and overseas. Exploitation has a broader definition than you would imagine.

The Muslims are boarding!

Creepy dude films a few women wearing veils boarding a flight and extrapolates from his little vignette that the West is letting terrorists onto airplanes for the sake of political correctness.

BUT IT GETS WORSE BECAUSE …

The Tamils are landing!

Run! Away! Criminalize them before they arrive on shore! Falsely conflate a liberation movement with terrorism!

Wasn’t it John “Father of Liberalism” Locke who defended the right to revolt against an unjust government in Two Treatises of Government? So, actually, you could say the LTTE is operating within a liberal-democratic system. Okay, there may be gaps in this argument, but it’s no more flawed than this logic, which has been popular among mainstream media:

Brown people –> on boats –> terrorists

Do you speak wif broken Engrish accent?

You may not be able to get job interviews, but you’re welcome to attend a diversity casting call.

No, they’re not casting for a particular show. But, hey, if there’s ever a biopic about a white woman who rescues inner-city kids or a movie that requires slumdog millionaires, murder victims, enemies of the U.S. army or an IT geek-best friend … well, you might get a call after all.

At least networks now look like they’re doing something about unequal representation in the entertainment industry–a point brought up by this report that says Sikhs are misrepresented in pop culture.

Groundbreaking research

Victims of stereotyping and racism are screwed in life. You read it here first.

These are a few of my favourite Fordisms

Trigger warning: contains racial slurs

“Those Oriental people work like dogs. … They’re slowly taking over.”

“Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?”

On a video about homosexuality in Toronto’s South Asian community: “I have no problem giving money out to physically or mentally handicapped children or seniors, but spending $5,000 on this video is disgusting, it is absolutely disgusting to spend this amount of money on this, whatever it was called, video.”

Oh, Calgary

The private deck at this home, that “will only sell to a white buyer,” won’t have “colored people peaking [sic] into your backyard.” Good to know.

Let’s face it. We’re all terrorists.

In previous months, we at least had a celeb scandal (thanks, Tiger) or exotic food story to balance out the coverage of Azns. Not this month.

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you are racist against yourself

posted by ellephanta/Celine

This very interesting stereotype about asian parents unwilling to let their offsprings date or associate with white people (or any other race besides their own), I think suggests in subtle ways that “well, asians are racists too”.

But of course. Asians are capable of doing and saying racist things and holding racist beliefs. Or did you think that they were objects that are incapable of thinking, screwing up, changing, learning?

My race certainly doesn’t immune me from being racist towards my own race or any other race. It’s our actions, not our identities themselves that are either racist or not. I certainly run into a lot of racism (against white people, black people, etc.) in, for example, the Korean first generation immigrants community in Toronto (the one I’m most familiar with), especially in our parents’ generation (people of our generation are often just as bad, but in a subtler and different ways than our parents’, something I hope to write about at one point in the future) that remain thoroughly uninformed on race theory and the marginalized status of racialized people in our community.

But consider this: Most of those in Toronto’s Korean community with language barriers separating them from anybody who is not a Korean-speaking Korean are effectively segregated from the rest of Toronto, like a bubble in the middle of a bustling metropolis. I think this has real negative consequences. This certainly does not aid them in dispelling their messed up preconceptions about whole races of people — which, by the way, was first conceived by them through messed up representations in media, their one of very few source of contact with non-Koreans — and instead, as a small town might, intensifies xenophobia and other in-group out-group attitudes.

My parents have lived here for ten years and they do not have a single friend who is an English-speaking white person. This is not closed-mindedness on their part, but simply a refusal to take shit from people. They rightfully don’t want to be patronized because they’re grown-ass adults of remarkable intelligence and insight, but every encounter they have had with white people, they were patronized. They don’t want to be treated like “an identity” and they don’t want their failure to speak fluent English to mean that people can treat them like children – but every encounter they have had with white people in Toronto, they felt like they were in kindergarten – so they got fed up and quit. I’m not sure if I condone them quitting, but at the very least I understand it.

My parents have always been committed to feminism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-ablism, anti-nationalism, pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, anti-classism, anti-war, free speech, and freedom of religion (yes, even before they moved here and were “enlightened” by the flourishing “multiculturalism” in Toronto) as all of their friends back in Korea have been. They’re brilliant and kind and wise and in love with humanity and I love them very much, even though they’re super flawed as we all are and we fight often (my dad sometimes gets weirdly nationalistic when his masculinity is threatened but then my mom calls him on it), they are way more open and caring than a lot of young people I met at Queen’s University.

They’ve always been critical of bigotry in South Korea, and now of what they find in Canada and the U.S., as they obviously should and would be, given that they’re sane — just as a sane white person would be of their community if it is racist, anti-feminist, etc. My parents and their friends don’t give a crap about the race of the people their offsprings date as long as they’re cool and awesome, as they should. As white people should too. As any sane people should. They’re not exceptions to the rule (“asians have racist beliefs, and Celine’s parents are exceptions”) because there is no rule. One just think there is because they just love putting a whole race of people in an imaginary group and generalizing about them.

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revenge fantasy

posted by missmsian

Note: Immigration does not have to be a drain on city resources. Immigrants are not synonymous with people of colour/refugees/public housing/poverty.

But if they are more likely to be associated with these terms, we have to look at structures, systems and institutions that create these connections. And we have to understand the effects of colonization.

Got that?

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free & cheap things to do in toronto

posted by missmsian

New to T.O.? Just visiting? A longtime-local who’s never stepped outside your neighbourhood?

Here are eight fun thangs and happenangs around the city. Not entirely ‘mainstream’ but not so far off the beaten track that you need an ice pick and bottled water to do them.

1. The Bluffs

One of the most beautiful areas in Toronto, and I’m not bluffing! Okay, that joke failed … but the view is for real. The bluffs run for 14 km along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Scarborough. Bluffer’s Park, accessible from Brimley Rd., is probably the most foot-friendly area.

2. National Film Board (150 John St.)

I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent at the digital viewing stations since I discovered the NFB two years ago. Settle down in a comfy chair and access more than 5,500 NFB films on a personal, flat-panel, touchscreen monitor. Here’s the clincher: for free.

The films are organized into categories for easy searches. My favourite search? “Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism.”

3. Subway station tour

Have you ever ridden the entire subway system in one trip? It’s pretty fun.

Take pictures with tacky, fake artifacts at Museum station. Visit Bathurst station’s Bakery On The Go–the best subway bakery in the system. Buy half-priced books at Eglinton station. Enjoy busker performances at most stations.

Need more ideas? How about a subway dance party, some spoken word or …

4. CBC building (250 Front St. W.)

Visit the CBC Museum (free admission!) to learn about the history of Canadian broadcasting. You’ll probably run into a lot of school groups there. If you’re looking for something more grown-up, try to score tickets to a taping of The Hour or The Rick Mercer Report.

Stop by the Glenn Gould Theatre to see what’s on. There are usually cool artistic performances, but I prefer the media-related panel discussions they run every once in a while.

5. Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester St.)

Farm! In! The! City! Worth a visit if you’re a city snob with no knowledge of, or inkling to visit, farming communities. The farm was my first school field trip as a newly-arrived immigrant to Canada, so I have fond memories of it.

6. Heritage Toronto self-guided tours

From May to October, HT offers free neighbourhood walking tours. If you’re like me and embarrassed to be the only 20-something single person on one of these (okay, to be fair, I’ve only had one awkward experience), try downloading self-guided tours off the HT website.

I recommend the Spadina Ave. tour because it’s the only one I’ve done … it takes you through Spadina’s development as an industrial centre and waves of Jewish and Chinese immigration.

7. York University observatory

Bring a date and a camera to the University’s observatory on public viewing nights. This summer, it’s Wednesdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. On clear nights, you can try the telescope with the help of observatory staff. On cloudy nights, there are info sessions and a planetarium show.

8. The Docks (Polson St.)

Now known as Polson Pier, it’s home to concert hall/nightclub Sound Academy, go karts, mini golf and the newly-opened Oh Boy! Burger Market. But the real treat is Toronto’s only downtown drive-in movie theatre.

What have I missed?

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invaded: june

posted by missmsian

The most interesting (to me) media about and by Azns last month.

Hard(ly?) news

Chinatown grocer’s trial delayed: Toronto storeowner David Chen and two others were arrested last summer after trying to make a citizen’s arrest on chronic plant thief Anthony Bennett (yeah, I know … sounds like a bad Mary Higgins Clark novel).  Chen’s trial was pushed from the end of June to Oct. 4 to 6 after defence lawyer Peter Lindsay realized the Crown is racist. Just kidding. I spoke to Lindsay once and he was adamant this case ain’t a racial thang.

Stats Can says hate crimes up in 2008 … and they published the data in June 2010. Maybe their slowness is one big hate crime. I don’t know.

Panda-monium

Michaelle Jean celebrated her last Canada Day as governor general in China instead of Canada. People fussed because they wanted her to be in town for the Queen’s irrelevant visit. I just hope someone in China brought up Humiliation Day on July 1.

Here’s a cute pic of Jean holding a baby panda:

Baby panda > Queen

Azn love fest

The New York Times ran a half-decent piece big-upping YouTube as a “crucial launching pad” for Azn-American artists (translation: mainstream labels won’t sign them). But they called the piece “Unexpected Harmony” (translation: the Times didn’t expect Azns to have musical talent).

The Canadian Press ran another they’re-taking-over story about South Azns but, for once, it wasn’t tinged with fear and loathing. It seems South Azns are starting to show up in mainstream media and moving away from the roles they’re always stereotyped into. I’m thinking Kelly from “The Office.” The article mentions more.

Ballers

Goodbye, Japan. Goodbye, Koreas. Next Cup, boys.

Fun fact: the Asian Football Confederation is headquartered in Malaysia. True story.

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