Issue 9: Darts & Laurels

Photo: 

Each digital release of the Journal will feature weekly darts and laurels, listing what should be celebrated and criticized from the previous week in world news and campus culture.

Darts:

Racist Miss America reactions

The most recent winner of the Miss America beauty pageant is an Indian-American woman from Syracuse, NY. After she was crowned, some degenerate people authored racist tweets insisting that Miss America could not come from such a background. The messages ranged from subtly hostile to overtly racist and Islamophobic. The strong backlash that ensued against these tweets, which came from both mainstream and digital media, was heartening. While social media can make controversies immediate, and can sometimes exaggerate them, websites like Twitter make the worst thoughts in human culture completely public. The public nature of social media also means, though, that terrible opinions are open to criticism and authors are publicly shamed.

K-ROCK’s “fellating” contest

Kingston’s K-ROCK radio station recently hosted a contest calling for participants to “snap a pic of you felating (sic) an inanimate object to our facebook page and you could win tickets to see Matt Good or Crash Karma in Kingston!”. After the station received complaints, they claimed that the competition was inspired by a recent Miley Cyrus music video where she is seen licking a sledgehammer. Put simply, this contest is stupid and immature. How much respect can this station have for its listeners if they are soliciting pictures of them performing oral sex on inanimate objects?

Racist chant at the University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is mired in yet another controversy. In the aftermath of the misogynistic chant episode, allegations of racist chanting have come to light. A student claims to have overheard a frosh group chanting “White man steal our land”. The alleged chanters were part of a “Pocahontas” frosh group in-line with the week’s “Disney” theme. It’s particularly unfortunate that colonialism is being trivialized on territory that has been contested by local First Nations. This racist slogan, spoken in broken English, reinforces a false caricature of ignorant and powerless First Nations people. While it’s alleged that no student leader encouraged the chant, the entire frosh group was said to be chanting it within view and earshot of many passersby. If these allegations prove true, and no student leader reported this behaviour, then UBC should redouble its efforts to create a more inclusive campus environment.

Huronia survivors get a settlement

The Ontario government recently settled with the former residents of a home for “developmentally challenged” children. These children were physically and psychologically abused and, in some cases, raped and molested at Huronia Regional Treatment Centre near Orillia. It’s a shame that it took the government this long to compensate Huronia’s former residents. Some survivors undoubtedly attempted to navigate many layers of bureaucracy just to get their stories recognized before this recent victory. The maximum individual payout of $42,000 is a pittance for older survivors who have had to deal with decades of suffering before and after their institutionalization.

Laurels:

Redskins renamed

The Nepean Redskins, a youth football club near Ottawa, recently agreed to change its name. Pressure was mounting on the club after a local First Nations man lodged a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission regarding the name. The club made the right choice, as the name was odious, and they were also able to avoid a drawn-out legal battle. While completely unacceptable for a youth team, the name change obviously raises questions about pro-sports teams with similar names and imagery. The Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Blackhawks should take note.

Pope changes tone on social issues

Pope Francis’ recent comment about sexual morality and abortion are a welcome change from the leader of an organization that has, and continues to, oppress women and sexual minorities throughout the world. In an interview recently released, the Pope acknowledged that the Catholic Church has focused far too much on issues like: “abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods”. Queen’s is a relatively non-religious environment, but it’s important to remember that there are parts of the world where the Catholic Church has significant sway. Those who turn on the Pope’s every word may now adjust their priorities in a positive direction. Gay rights and abortion are matters of human rights and personal autonomy, so it’s great to see powerful institutions like the American government and the Catholic Church bending towards the current moral climate.

Student-run anti-sexual assault initiative

Victims of sexual assault are breaking their silence with a new student-run project at Queen’s. Volunteers for the project will be photographed holding up a sign with a quote said by an abuser, or someone dismissive of sexual assault. The public nature of this project will go a long way in reducing stigma. Those who are choosing to show their faces are putting a human face to a problem that some have trouble relating to. People reading the signs and looking at the pictures will gain a greater understanding of the trauma victims have suffered, and some survivors of sexual assault who see the photos may feel empowered.

- Journal Editorial Board

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.