people of colour
Justice for Abdirahman Abdi Coalition 'outraged' by Ottawa police handling of Pootoogook death
The Facebook comments “betray an utter lack of respect or acknowledgement for the struggles of Indigenous people,” the group said.

A local group seeking justice for Abdirahman Abdi, a Somali man who died after a police confrontation last summer, says it is “outraged” by the Ottawa Police Service’s handling of an Inuit woman’s suspicious death and a scandal that has reignited accusations of racism within the force.  

A Facebook account linked to Sgt. Chris Hrnchiar added comments under an Ottawa Citizen article on the discovery of Annie Pootoogook’s body in the Rideau River on Sept. 19.

Pootoogook, 46, was a renowned artist whose drawings chronicling modern indigenous life gave her international recognition and praise, including a $50,000 Sobey Art Award in 2006 and a review in the New York Times which called her work “disconcertingly autobiographical.”

The controversial online comments, which have since been deleted, said her death “has nothing to do with missing or murdered Aboriginal women” and said that “much of the Aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers.”

In light of the social media posts, Ottawa police confirmed an officer was now the subject of an internal investigation brought on by a complaint from Chief Charles Bordeleau. Police have not publicly named the officer.

The Justice for Abdirahman Abdi Coalition released a statement Thursday strongly condemning the comments, saying they “betray an utter lack of respect or acknowledgement for the struggles of Indigenous people.”

The group is also raising concerns that the Ottawa police major crime unit did not initially rule Pootoogook’s death as suspicious.

“The fact that an Indigenous woman found dead in a river, especially in light of the ongoing national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, was declared at first not to be suspicious is astounding,” the group said in the statement.

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Today’s lesson: When you claim that pro-inclusion people are “siding with oppressors over LGBT people,” when you talk about “keeping oppressors out of the community,"what I hear is "I have never engaged with any part of the community that is not both white and cis.”

Because if you had, you’d know it doesn’t work that way. You can’t divide people neatly into “LGBT” and “oppressor.” Most LGBT people are oppressors. Cis people oppress trans people. White people oppress people of colour. There is no way you can keep oppressors out, because they’re already here. Any attempt to would exclude huge numbers of people you claim are legitimate community members.

I also hear “My social justice is entirely performative.” Because you’ve clearly never herd of intersectionality. You are asserting that a person who is oppressed on one axis cannot possibly be oppressive on any other axis - an assertion so laughably false that you’d never make it if you’d spent even five minutes actually thinking or reading about such things.

Every group contains both oppressors and oppressed because the overwhelming majority of marginalized people are both oppressor and oppressed. If you want to keep oppressors out of the community, all that’s left is poor, disabled TWOC. Think through the implications of what you’re saying.

This concludes our lesson.

Measuring attention: the stroop task

Psychologists are interested in exploring how our emotional state can influence how we see the world around us, and how this in turn can help us to better understand disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Take a look at the list of words written down in different colours below. Your task is to say the colour in which each word is written (ie not to read the words themselves). Say each colour aloud as quickly as you can. You can also download a copy of the list here.

How did you find the task? What do you think it is measuring?

This task is known as the emotional Stroop task. In this exercise, psychologists measure the time people take to name the colour in which the various words are written. The theory behind this is that people take longer to name the colour of words when they are paying more attention to the word itself (attending to the word itself interferes with the task of colour naming).

Researchers present a variety of words written in different colours and can then examine the effect that word type has on colour naming speed. This allows them to see what types of words receive preferential attention. Research has indicated that people with low mood or depression and anxiety take longer to name the colour of emotionally laden words which are relevant to their difficulties (eg cry/worthless/upset/shy/scared) than emotionally neutral words which are unrelated to their difficulties (eg carrot/summer/radio). If you’d like to complete a more basic Stroop task you may access an online version that’s available.
Toronto police again turn victim into suspect: Cole
Needless escalations like the one I witnessed explain how black men like Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby end up being shot and killed by police

Police carding is alive and well — I just witnessed it.

On my way to a Blue Jays game on Tuesday, I saw a young black man standing on the sidewalk in Chinatown, surrounded by Toronto police, his hands held in the air. The man was backed up against a storefront window, wide-eyed and trembling. The fear in this man’s face gripped me and I approached the scene to make sure he was all right.

Toronto Police tell us that carding — the arbitrary stopping and documenting of civilians in Toronto — is over, but I witnessed it yet again this week with my eyes, and through the lens of my cellphone camera. Cops say they care about good community relations, but their treatment of this man, and of me for looking out for him, proves that many officers value intimidation over dialogue. They continue detaining, searching, and documenting innocent people, especially black people, and putting our lives at risk to satisfy their own prejudices.

I couldn’t determine this young man’s name, but we’ll call him Omar. When I arrived at the scene on Spadina Ave. near Dundas St. W., police were clearly running Omar’s name through their databases to determine his identity. As he stood flabbergasted, Omar kept asking police, “Why are you making this about me? I’m the one who called you!”

Police were repeatedly questioning Omar about his middle name, and about his precise address, as if he may have been trying to mislead them. An officer on the scene would later tell me that Omar himself had called 911 to say he’d been stabbed (I heard Omar tell police about being robbed, not stabbed — he produced some cash from a pocket to indicate what he’d lost). But at that moment, Omar was being treated as a suspect, humiliated on a public street after he’d called for help.

Continue Reading.

Thess vs Every Heart a Doorway

Every time I’ve talk about how important representation is in media, it’s always been with wistfulness. I knew, deep down, that it would never be for me. People of colour and most of the LGTBQ spectrum would be recognised and properly represented one day, but everyone forgets the A, or think it stands for Ally. Asexuality is, by its very nature, not sexy. I’ve been around enough to know that people overwhelmingly want sexy. I guess I just figured that even if I would never see myself in media, anywhere … why should other people have to suffer? Because it is a kind of suffering; we only know ourselves by mirrors. Media is our biggest mirror, from a societal point of view, and when we don’t see ourselves in it, we know ourselves unwelcome, and unwanted, and wrong. I was resigned to that. I didn’t see why so many other people had to be. I’ll fight for what I want because I know I’m not alone, not even remotely, in wanting it.

I just never thought I’d ever get it. Why would I? Straight people think there’s something medically wrong with me and all those like me. Gay people … a lot of the times they either think we’re somehow damaging to the queer community or straight-up think that asexuals is intrinsically homophobic. (I still don’t understand that; a woman who’s not interested in having sex with men isn’t intrinsically against men and women having sex, so why would someone not interested in having sex with anybody be intrinsically against anyone having sex with anyone else, just so long as they’re not pressured into participating? Anyway.) Very few people really accept us. We’re not particularly telegenic in our activities. How could I possibly expect any brief flickering moment where someone like me showed up in the media mirror?

…Then I picked up and started reading Every Heart a Doorway, by @seananmcguire (who I am tagging on this because I hope she reads it, I really do).

It’s not even just a character who’s ace. It’s essentially the main character - the predominant narrative perspective character. Mostly it doesn’t come up; her sexuality doesn’t affect most of her behaviour or actions in any way at all, which is how it should be, so kudos. But when it does … I see myself. I hear myself, my reactions to everyone I’ve loved, when she talks about her ideal for a relationship.

I see myself in the media mirror and know myself not broken. Just once.

I still haven’t entirely stopped crying yet. Not a huge amount - just a little leaky around the eyes in wonder and gratitude. Someone - not just someone but my favourite author - wrote a place for me in the mirror. My own mother thinks my orientation is invalid and refuses to discuss it, I’ve been ripped up one side and down the other because my desire for ace headcanons to get at least a little tiny bit of attention is deemed homophobic, people don’t want to hear that we even exist … but someone whose stories speak to me … well, now a creation of hers is speaking for me, too. 

Thank you, @seananmcguire. Thank you so very, very much.


Projeto Identidade is a Brazilian project idealized by Noemia Oliveira and Orlando Caldeira. The project raises the question of the black representation in pop culture. (Part 2 here)

More about the Project on facebook and instagram

It is a well-documented fact that by the age of 5 monolingual White children will have heard 30 million fewer words in languages other than English than bilingual children of color. In addition, they will have had a complete lack of exposure to the richness of non-standardized varieties of English that characterize the homes of many children of color. This language gap increases the longer these children are in school. The question is what causes this language gap and what can be done to address it?

The major cause of this language gap is the failure of monolingual White communities to successfully assimilate into the multilingual and multidialectal mainstream. The continued existence of White ethnic enclaves persists despite concerted efforts to integrate White communities into the multiracial mainstream since the 1960s. In these linguistically isolated enclaves it is possible to go for days without interacting with anybody who does not speak Standardized American English providing little incentive for their inhabitants to adapt to the multilingual and multidialectal nature of  US society.

This linguistic isolation has a detrimental effect on the cognitive development of monolingual White children. This is because linguistically isolated households lack the rich translanguaging practices that are found in bilingual households and the elaborate style-shifting that occurs in bidialectal households. This leaves monolingual White children without a strong metalinguistic basis for language learning. As a result, many of these monolingual White children lack the school-readiness skills needed for foreign language learning and graduate from school having mastered nothing but Standardized American English leaving them ill-equipped to engage in intercultural communication.


What if we talked about monolingual White children the way we talk about low-income children of color?

Excerpt from a satirical blog post from The Educational Linguist that makes a good point about which language skills we value as a society and the problems with talking about a “language gap”. [Edit: I’ve seen a lot of comments asking how this is satire so if you’re wondering this I’d strongly recommend clicking through to the full post.]
Halifax Police Chief Claims His Officers Are Feeling the 'Ferguson Effect'
Activists are angry that Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais seems to be downplaying the role of racism in Canadian policing.

Activists in Halifax are unhappy after the chief of police suggested systematic racism within policing is not as bad in Canada as it is in the United States and claimed that “perception” has been created by social media.

“Racism isn’t imported here,” said El Jones, activist, professor, and the city’s poet laureate. “It’s not an American issue we’re just adopting. It’s organic here.”

She was responding to comments made last week by Chief Jean-Michel Blais who, in a speech before the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, blamed the “Ferguson effect” for changing perceptions of cops in Canada.

“Even when US law enforcement has issues, we, in Canada, even here in Halifax, end up wearing them,” Chief Blais told the crowd, arguing that those perceptions often have “no basis in fact.”

“There are all these concerns that police officers are out there shooting people with the same regularity in Canada as in the States,” he added in an interview with VICE News. “And that’s not the case.”

But according to Jones, that fact alone offers little insight into a “long history” of racism within the city’s police force.

“Police brutality is not an event,” Jones said. “It’s a continuum, it’s a constant presence in people’s lives.

"Poverty is violence, over-policing is violence, mass incarceration is violence, and when you’re a racialized person, you experience that constantly at the hand of the state,” said Jones. “You can’t discount that and say, well, there’s no police shootings, therefore it’s not an issue. We shouldn’t need a large event, like a shooting, to draw attention to it.”

African Nova Scotians make up just two percent of the province’s population, but represent 14 percent of adult inmates in Nova Scotia, with that number climbing to 16 percent for young offenders, according to documents obtained by the province’s NDP caucus.

And although Chief Blais argued the numbers prove the problem is not nearly as bad in Canada, there are no complete nation-wide statistics on deaths at the hands of police.

Last year, a VICE News investigation found it was impossible to determine how many people are shot and killed each year by cops in Canada overall, let alone get a racial breakdown of that data. While some forces publish statistics on use of force, they usually include little information about the number of deaths or injury, or the background of the victims.

Continue Reading.

I’ve seen a couple of posts like this directed at men but none for white people so I’m going to make one

if you’re talking to a person of colour, about anything but especially about something personal or something regarding race in any way, you need to be asking yourself: “am I making them uncomfortable? do they want to be talking about this, here, now, and with me? am I being voyeuristic? am I being invasive? am I demanding information that they’re not volunteering? am I asking them to dredge up things they don’t want to dredge up? am I asking them to perform emotional or intellectual labour for me? would I ask this question of a white person? am I invading their personal space, emotionally or physically? am I disrespecting their boundaries? am I making it awkward or impossible for them to change the subject / end the conversation / leave the room? am I doing a good job of policing myself in this interaction so that they don’t have to?”


Black Women are Cosplaying Harley Quinn and Slaying!  With Suicide Squad heralded as one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters in film, it’s no wonder fans of the DC Comics-based series have taken things up a notch by cosplaying their favorite characters such as the canonically bisexual character of Harley Quinn

I’m SO SICK of this idea that if your afro does not touch your shoulders it’s not a good afro or it’s automatically ‘still in progress’. ANY AND ALL AFROS ARE GOOD AND VALID AFROS, REGARDLESS OF SIZE.


Police search for missing York student Amina Lawal

Police are searching for a York University student who went missing nearly a week ago.

Amina Lawal, 19, was last seen on Friday, March 20, 2015, in the Kingston Road and Beechgrove Drive area, according to police, who released a statement saying they are “concerned for her safety.”

Lawal is described as black, 5’2”, and approximately 100 pounds with a thin build and long, braided hair.

The hashtags #FindAmina and #HelpFindAmina have been used by many people who are trying to help locate Lawal.

Police are asking that anyone with information call them at 416-808-4300 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at, or on Facebook.

Additional photos via bellanaija

  • what she says:I'm fine
  • what she means:no but do u understand what Hamilton means to poc? people think it's just some fun quirky musical that decided to cast ethnic minorities as the old white founding fathers but do u kNOW what it mEANS to reclaim your country's history??? a country that was built on the broken backs of your people? a history that brutalised and slaughtered your people and tried to erase you from their narrative? do u know what it means to immigrants for their stories to be told? what it means for immigrant families who studied and worked and wrote their way out of hell? what it means to make people understand? this is not a story of the american revolution. the real revolution is people of colour putting themselves back in the narrative.