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DARN August 2020. Still waiting to hear?

Still waiting to hear from the City of Calgary Public Hearing on systemic racism that was held first week of July? Any news update?

In the News

1. Man arrested for alleged racial attack on Calgary woman (NP Jul 20, 2020)

2. West Vancouver private school students, staff accused of racist behavior (Jul 29, 2020 News 1130)

3. 'I See Racism Every Day' (Jul 13, 2020 USA News)

4. 'It doesn't have to be black versus white' (Jul 30, 2020 BBC News)

5. Tech CEO who abused Asian family steps down and enrolls in 'anti-racism' programme

(Jul 12, 2020 Independent)

6. Is there systemic racism at McGill? 'Of course,' says one of only 10 Black professors (Jul 30, 2020 Montreal Gazette)


Our responsibility!

It was late May when George Floyd’s death ignited the anti systemic racism protest in the US of A and here in Canada. Until now numbers of American streets are venues to rallies and marches. More demands from the protesters are being added to the list. Governments, corporations and clergies are giving more time and resources addressing this social menace.

Sometime in June I received an email from one of the pastors in Calgary. He wanted to know if I have experienced racism. The question was moot. At my work place, no doubt. In my dealings with the mainstream community, I sensed it. My time with my church leadership group years ago, definitely.

My personal experience with racism led me to embrace the following beliefs. Anti-racism education should be more directed to the perpetrator and less on the victims. The change (from within—mind, attitude and behaviour) of the offenders is paramount to stopping racism. The hands and feet that will make this thing to happen are “time and intention”. Both parties (offender and victim) need to find time to initiate reconciling and good intention. What good will respect, equality, protest, rally, training and seminar other stuff do when both parties have no time (to act) and their intentions are superficial and shallow?

To stop racism is everyone’s responsibility. The initial moves are to allocate time (intentional) opportunity, and act out the right intention (action).


July 19, 2020

Addressing anti-Black racism in post-secondary institutions can transform Canada after the COVID-19 pandemic. Neil Price, University of Toronto

July 15, 2020

Ending ‘streaming’ is only the first step to dismantling systemic racism in Ontario schools. Carl James, York University, Canada

July 21, 2020

For a fairer education system, get the police out of schools. Olufunke Oba, Ryerson University

July 23, 2020

Beware of bias training: Addressing systemic racism is not an easy fix. Javeed Sukhera, Western University

How to argue with a racist: Five myths debunked March 16, 2020 BBC. Stereotypes and myths about race abound, but this does not make them true. Often, these are not even expressed by overt racists.

For many well-intentioned people, experience and cultural history has steered them towards views that aren't supported by human genetics. For example: the assumption that East Asian students are inherently better at maths, black people have natural rhythm, or Jews are good with money. Many of us know someone who thinks along these lines.

Dr Adam Rutherford, a geneticist and BBC presenter, says "Racism is being expressed in public more openly today than at any time I can recall, and it's our duty to contest it with facts."

Here's how to debunk five racist myths with science and facts.

MYTH 1: The DNA of white and black people is completely different

MYTH 2: There is such a thing as 'racial purity'

MYTH 3: Black people are better at running than white people

The last white man to compete in a 100m final at the Olympics was in 1980.

Since then, black athletes have dominated the modern era of sprinting. This has fueled a commonly held belief that people of African descent have an advantage at the sport because of their genetic ancestry.

"Maybe there are probabilistic predictions one could make about ethnicity and sporting success based on genetics," says Dr Rutherford, "but they would be weak at best."

In actual fact, the genetics of sporting success are wickedly complex.

There are a myriad of factors in physiology of physicality, including the size of your heart, the efficiency with which you absorb oxygen, and muscular recovery, says Rutherford.

(Credit: Wikimedia commons)

And these are relatively well understood phenomena which do have a genetic basis. But there are other physical traits (such as flexibility and co-ordination) which are less well understood.

On top of that, there's the psychological dimension: determination, concentration, and risk-taking, for example.

We do know that people who are good at explosive-energy sports tend to have a higher proportion of "fast-twitch" muscle cells, that process energy more quickly.

The genetics that underlie this involve a gene called ACTN3.

Studies have shown that elite athletes in power and strength sports are more likely to have copies of the R-type of ACTN3. The research indicates the gene occurs in a higher proportion of African Americans (96%) compared to white Americans (80%).

That does give a slight, population-wide advantage to African Americans to take place in explosive-energy sports - but it doesn't come anywhere close to explaining the difference between the number of African American sprinters and white competitors.

If it just came down to that gene, you might expect to see six black elite sprinters for every five white runners.

Adam says this is a simplistic analysis, but still a good example of how genetics don't align with racial stereotypes in sports.

This piece has been adapted from the BBC radio programme How to argue with a racist, and presented by Dr Adam Rutherford .

Welcome Hall Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Winnipeg, MB DAS Photo

If you encounter racism please contact:

(403) 297-6571 (Alberta Human Rights Commission)

Acknowledgment: This e-newsletter is made possible by the

AB Government Anti-Racism Grant

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