Australia: Multiculturalism must be reinvented in order to survive, study claims | SBS News

I am always a sceptic on calls to change terminology as, in many cases, it is not needed and it is generally preferable to focus on what a term means. In any cases, the terms multiculturalism, interculturalism, and pluralism are largely plastic terms which can be interpreted and implemented in integrative or divisive manners.

But the report is correct in noting the challenge is to ensure that multiculturalism (or interculturalism or pluralism) applies to all members of society, not just minority groups:

A majority of Australians, including those working in the multicultural sector, believe that multiculturalism is focussed too much on the celebration of diversity at the expense of social inclusion and participation, a new study claims.

The Doing Diversity report, authored by Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, and released on Thursday, set out to examine the current state of multiculturalism in Australia.

The research involved consultations with professionals and community members in the multicultural sector, focus groups, and a randomised online survey of 1000 Australians.

Its findings echoed other surveys such as the longstanding Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion Survey, in which a clear majority of Australians routinely expressed a positive view about multiculturalism. But the Deakin study also suggested ‘identity politics’ – or political positions based on identifying with a particular race or nation – has gone too far.

“Around 64 per cent of survey respondents reported that Australia was a successful multicultural society and 68 per cent considered cultural/ethnic diversity as a fundamental positive characteristic of Australian culture,” said the Institute’s director, Alfred Deakin Professor Fethi Mansouri.

But he said that there is a strong perception, especially among those working in the sector, that multiculturalism was not working as well as it should be.

“A sizeable majority of participants in the multicultural sector [75 per cent] and the wider public [51 per cent] reported that multiculturalism, while positive for society, needed refocusing and reinvigoration,” Professor Mansouri said.

“While multicultural policies provide room for self-expression and belonging among minority groups, they have been limited by their exclusive focus on cultural minorities, leaving members of the dominant culture outside their radar.”

Multicultural sector focus group participants said they believed the majority Anglo-Australian group was highly disengaged from multiculturalism and viewed it as a peripheral concern.

From multiculturalism to interculturalism

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia is “the most successful multicultural country in the world”, with a high degree of social harmony despite half the population being born overseas or having a parent who was.

But the Deakin report claimed multiculturalism is under threat, particularly from Turnbull’s own government, citing the federal government’s stalled changes to citizenship and the apparently failed debate on weakening section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The researchers laid the blame at the feet of policymakers for cutting funding arrangements for multicultural services and for not communicating “a coherent vision of multiculturalism that stakeholders and more importantly the broader community can embrace.”

They propose a shift in Australia’s official multicultural policy framework – in place since the Whitlam government in the early 1970s – to something they call “intercultural dialogue”. This is defined as an approach “encompassing meaningful two-way engagement among majority and minority groups” manifested through “working together, interacting socially, and learning from each other’s respective cultural repertoires.”

This is distinct from multiculturalism which, focus group participants told the researchers, “reinforced the ‘othering’ of minorities and the dominance of the Anglo-Australian culture”.

Intercultural dialogue would foster cohesion and should be promoted through grass-roots efforts, cross-cultural competency within institutions and the national school curriculum, the report claimed.

via Multiculturalism must be reinvented in order to survive, study claims | SBS News


In An Era Of Colorlines, Are East Asians ‘Brown’? : NPR

Interesting discussion on “yellow” vs “brown” identities:

It’s time for another Ask Code Switch. This week, we’re getting into the gray area between yellow and brown.

Amy Tran, from Minneapolis, asks:

Can light-skinned Asians (East Asian) call themselves “brown”? I am East Asian, and have a friend who is South Asian. She is much darker than me, and told me that because of my skin color, I cannot identify as brown. I acknowledge that even though I am not technically brown, I do face similar challenges that people under the “brown” umbrella face – gentrification, unfair labor conditions, xenophobia, not to mention micro-aggressions and stereotypes, etc. – and that to exclude me from this “group” is excluding all light-skinned Asians from the oppression we face. What’s your take?

Hi Amy,

I think there are actually two different questions — both very important — that we have to parse out here. One of them is about skin color, and the other is about political identity. And in the conversation about who gets to claim the term “brown,” those are very different things.

So, to begin with, let’s get one thing straight — the colors that people use to differentiate people of different races have never really been about skin color. Black, white, brown, yellow, red? Those terms bear little resemblance to the actual spectrum of coloring found in humans, not to mention they create false distinctions between groups of people who have always overlapped.

And, of course, there are plenty of East Asians who have very brown skin, just as there are tons of South Asians who have very light skin. This cuts across racial groups. Some black people have skin the color of a chestnut, and others have skin the color of pink sand. In the U.S., Latinos with all different coloring refer to themselves as brown.

The racial categories we use today were largely the brainchild of eighteenth and nineteenth century European “racialist anthropologists,” who used things like skull measurements and hair texture to divide people into racial groups. For years, many of these anthropologists referred to four races: red, yellow, black and white. Then in 1795, Johann Blumenbach, a German naturalist, wrote about a fifth brown race (the “Malays”,) consisting of Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders.

All that is to say, the way someone identifies racially has never been strictly about physical appearance and always about drawing (arbitrary) lines between groups of people.

So, the idea that you shouldn’t refer to yourself as brown because of your literal skin color, I think, is a bit misguided.

Having said that, Amy, there is a pretty compelling reason not to call yourself brown.

As you’ve rightly pointed out, identifying as “brown” (or black, or white, or yellow) is a political statement. To you, and many others, being brown is about a set of shared experiences, that include things like being subjected to discrimination and stereotyping.

But there’s some important history here, and it goes back to the Yellow Power Movement of the 1960s and ’70s. The Yellow Power Movement was instrumental in fighting for the civil rights of Asian-Americans. But not all Asian-Americans felt represented by the movement. And that’s where the East Asian/”Brown Asian” divide comes in.

The brown Asian movement was a response to the fact that “brown Asians are still really forgotten and marginalized within the Asian American umbrella, to this day,” says E.J.R. David. He’s a professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage who studies the mental health consequences of colonialism. He also wrote Brown Skin, White Minds, a book about the psychological experiences of Filipino Americans.

David says that when people in the United States talk about Asian-Americans, they’re almost always referring to people of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean descent. But today, those groups only make up about half of all Asian-Americans. And those East Asians, David says, have different educational outcomes, income levels, immigration histories, health outcomes, access to resources and refugee status than brown Asians. (Brown Asians include Filipinos and South Asians, David has written.)

So while there certainly may be similarities between the experiences of East Asians and other Asian Americans, David says that the term brown Asians is meant to differentiate people who have felt invisible. It makes sense, he says, that some people might be offended if the term is taken on by someone of East Asian descent.

“To me, there are terms that only, because of the history of it, and because of the current reality of our situation, I think are best reserved for some people to be able to use, especially if they’re using it for their own empowerment, and for their own group’s empowerment,” David says. And for those people who are not part of it, he adds, “We cannot appropriate that if it’s not ours.”

via In An Era Of Colorlines, Are East Asians ‘Brown’? : Code Switch : NPR

‘Australia’s media is frighteningly white’, says The Monkeys’ Scott Nowell – AdNews

Good article on multicultural marketing – the ads are worth watching for the contrast (the humour on “boat people”):

The Australian media is “frighteningly” white and the nation is lagging behind in its representation of broader media, believes The Monkeys co-founder Scott Nowell and former Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) top marketer Andrew Howie.

The pair were speaking at AdNews Live! Reframing Australia in Sydney yesterday (15 November) to address the changing face of Australia, and talk through how The Monkeys and MLA tackle multiculturalism in marketing.

For over a decade, MLA has been renowned for its Australia Day and spring lamb ads that for the past several years have focused on the theme of diversity and inclusion.

Howie, who recently announced he was joining Westpac, said that as Australia’s cultural variety has evolved, MLA has had to evolve its brand to target a diverse, younger Australia.

MLA has had to evolve its ads from its all-white cast in 1990

The result has seen the brand achieve significant earned media and significant uplift in sales, but it’s not been without controversy.

This year the MLA chose to move away from the Australia Day focus as it recognised that a significant segment of the population felt negatively about the date.

“MLA has been a brand that has been about Australia Day but it was starting to feel like it wasn’t right to talk about Australia Day from a brand that talks about unity,” Nowell said, adding it was a hard but clear choice for MLA.

“Our intention was to show the true face of Australia and not just the one we see on television,” Howie added.

The process of creating the ad was difficult, Howie and Nowell admitted. The ad focused on the settlement of Australia, which can be a sensitive subject for the indigenous, so the agency and brand were constantly in consultation with Reconciliation Australia.

The script was leaked, an actor refused to deliver his lines on the day of filming and there were some complaints made to the ad watchdog, but ultimately the campaign was a success, says Howie.

“Sometimes to find where the edge is you have to put your toes over the side,” Howie said, adding that its unlikely the brand will ever get everyone on side with the bold work its doing.

“We are not controversial for the sake of it but we are prepared to say what people won’t. Often they are things that people are talking about and the topics of conversation around water coolers but not said in the open.”

Howie and Nowell did admit they’ve gotten it wrong in the past, admitting that naming its 2016 campaign ‘Operation Boomerang’ was an oversight.

While this type of bold advertising is what we’ve come to expect from MLA under Howie’s leadership, he admits it’s probably not what you’ll see from Westpac when he joins in his new role.

“Banks don’t want controversy so don’t expect to see this stuff going on, but you can expect to see work that you enjoy watching,” Howie said, adding that he’d like to see the brand explore its purpose and own a time of year as MLA had previously owned Australia Day.

Source: ‘Australia’s media is frighteningly white’, says The Monkeys’ Scott Nowell – AdNews

Ottawa unlikely to send Quebec’s face-covering law to top court

Sensible approach:

Ottawa is unlikely to pre-emptively refer Quebec’s controversial face-covering law to the Supreme Court, where little evidence could be presented on Bill 62’s actual impact on individual Muslim women, federal officials said.

Senior government sources said all options are still on the table, but that Ottawa is likelier to intervene in a coming court challenge than refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an immediate ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised both of these options over the weekend as he continued to denounce the law that calls on Quebeckers to show their face when giving or receiving services in places such as libraries, university classrooms, daycares and on buses. Critics of the legislation have denounced the fact it affects Muslim women who cover their faces, with Mr. Trudeau stating governments shouldn’t tell women what to wear.

The quickest way to have a formal ruling on the constitutionality of the law would be to refer the matter directly to the Supreme Court. Still, federal officials and experts said a Supreme Court reference would feature more of a theoretical debate among lawyers on the constitutionality of Bill 62 than an actual exploration of the law’s effect on citizens.

“It’s difficult to get to the bottom of a question by looking at it in theory. It’s much better to look at the case in practical terms,” said a senior federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the government’s current thinking on the file.

Experts said it would be easier to gauge the impact of the law on individuals through the court challenge that is set to be heard by the Quebec Superior Court, where Muslim women will be appearing as witnesses.

“In a reference [to the Supreme Court], you don’t have testimony or evidence on the actual impact on people and any limits to their rights and freedoms,” retired Supreme Court justice Louis LeBel, who is now in private practice, said in an interview. “What you get to look at are legal and intellectual issues and the law’s overall impact on society.”

Supreme Court references have sporadically been used by the federal government over the years to gain clarity on issues such as a province’s right to unilateral secession. The Harper government also relied on the process in 2013 to determine the constitutionality of possible reforms to the Senate.

Daniel Proulx, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sherbrooke, said sending Quebec’s face-covering law to the Supreme Court would be seen as an affront to the provincial government.

“A reference would be a frontal attack,” he said. “In my view, the federal government will intervene in the court challenge. … It would be less confrontational.”

There has been heated debate across Canada in recent weeks on the federal government’s proper response to Bill 62, which aims to promote “religious neutrality” in Quebec. The NDP and a number of Liberal MPs have said Ottawa should let the debate play out at the provincial level, while others have argued for a strong federal intervention.

Earlier this month, the National Council of Canadian Muslims and Canadian Civil Liberties Association launched a court challenge in Quebec Superior Court, seeking to suspend the application of the section dealing with uncovering one’s face until a full constitutional challenge is heard.

There will be a first hearing on the application for a stay on Friday. A federal observer will be in the room to monitor the process, but federal lawyers will not get involved in the groups’ request to suspend the application of the law, sources said.

A federal official said Ottawa has yet to decide whether to intervene in the challenge, and if it does, at which stage of the process federal lawyers would make their case.

“If you decide to intervene, when do you intervene? Right now? At the appeal stage? Or do you wait until you are at the Supreme Court?” the official said. “There is no rule, no magic recipe.”

On Saturday, Mr. Trudeau said his government is closely monitoring the application of the law adopted by the Quebec National Assembly last month.

“We’re listening to the questions being asked about it and, internally, we’re in the process of studying the different processes we could initiate or that we could join,” he said.

via Ottawa unlikely to send Quebec’s face-covering law to top court – The Globe and Mail

Sondage [Ipsos]: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration

Didn’t see coverage of this before in English media (may have missed it).

Ipsos overview deck: Global Views on Immigration and the Refugee Crisis:

Beaucoup a été écrit sur la fermeture relative des Québécois, mais quelle est l’attitude des Canadiens face à l’immigration et aux réfugiés ? Et comment les Canadiens se comparent-ils aux nationaux d’autres pays ? Coup d’oeil sur un sondage réalisé cet été par Ipsos obtenu par La Presse.


Sur les « immigrants », les Canadiens ont des sentiments partagés. Au total, 38 % des personnes sondées croient que leur apport est positif, 30 % pensent l’inverse. Sur leur apport d’un point de vue économique et culturel, les réserves sont un peu moindres : 43 % pensent que l’arrivée des « immigrants » sert bien l’économie et 48 % estiment que ces nouveaux venus rendent le pays « plus intéressant ». Par ailleurs, quatre répondants canadiens sur dix disent que l’immigration « transforme le pays d’une façon qui ne [leur] plaît pas » et la moitié des personnes interviewées aux quatre coins du Canada estiment que cela met de la pression sur nos services publics.


Pas moins de 41 % des Canadiens considèrent que la plupart des réfugiés qui arrivent à nos frontières n’en sont pas vraiment « et qu’ils viennent surtout ici pour des raisons économiques ». Une courte majorité des personnes sondées (52 %) pense que parmi les réfugiés « se trouvent des terroristes qui prétendent être des réfugiés pour pouvoir entrer au pays et y amener la violence et la destruction ». Les réfugiés finissent-ils par s’intégrer ? Oui, croient 54 % des répondants canadiens.


Selon ce sondage Ipsos, 35 % des Canadiens pensent qu’il y a trop d’« immigrants » au pays. À la fin de 2016, selon un sondage CROP, 46 % des Québécois pensaient de même et croyaient que « cela menace la pureté du Québec ». « De façon générale, de sondage en sondage, on constate que les Québécois sont de 6 à 12 points moins ouverts que les autres Canadiens », note Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos.

Ce sondage Ipsos tend à le démontrer aussi : 49 % des Québécois disent que l’immigration transforme le Canada d’une façon qui leur déplaît (comparativement à 37 % dans le reste du Canada) ; 43 % des répondants estiment qu’il y a « trop d’immigrants », alors que cette proportion est de 32 % dans le reste du Canada. À noter cependant que ce sous-ensemble québécois étant nettement plus petit, la précision de ces données statistiques est moindre et que ces chiffres ne servent qu’à illustrer des tendances générales*.


Alors que les Canadiens ne sont pas particulièrement ouverts, ils le sont tout de même beaucoup plus que les gens des autres pays. À la question : « Diriez-vous que l’immigration a un impact positif ou négatif sur votre pays ? », seuls trois pays se montrent plus positifs que les Canadiens. Il s’agit d’un étonnant palmarès : les Saoudiens sont les plus positifs face à l’immigration, suivis des Indiens et des Britanniques. Mais le tableau le plus intéressant, c’est ce tableau croisé d’Ipsos qui souligne que « les pays qui reçoivent une plus grande proportion d’immigrants ont tendance à avoir une meilleure opinion d’eux ».


De tous les répondants sondés aux quatre coins du monde, les Canadiens comptent parmi ceux qui ont le moins tendance à penser qu’il faut totalement fermer les frontières aux réfugiés. À cette question, seuls les répondants japonais, mexicains et péruviens se montrent plus ouverts que les Canadiens, tandis que les Turcs, les Hongrois, les Indiens et les Italiens se montrent les plus favorables à une fermeture des frontières.


À propos de certains tableaux qui peuvent paraître surprenants, Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos, relève que les réponses des gens sondés sont évidemment teintées de leur réalité nationale. Ainsi, les Turcs, qui semblent particulièrement fermés, ont vu affluer chez eux des millions de Syriens ces dernières années. À l’inverse, les Saoudiens comptent beaucoup sur la main-d’oeuvre étrangère. « Il est certains que certains pays se comparent mieux entre eux – le Canada avec ceux de l’Europe de l’Ouest, par exemple », note M. Dallaire.

via Sondage: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration | Louise Leduc | National

Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians [diversity of appointments and lack of detail]

There has been justified critical commentary regarding the government’s mandate letter tracker. I was curious to see how the commitment to increased diversity in appointments was covered.

Surprisingly, the 2016-17 PCO Departmental Performance Report does not provide any data table to substantiate that claim, merely noting:

  • Almost 12,000 applications processed and 429 Governor in Council appointments made in 2016-17”

Strikingly, the focus appears only to be with respect to women, not the other employment equity groups (visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities). PCO should be providing such data (as Justice does for judicial appointments).

That being said, given HoM and judicial appointments to date, I think this one can be said to be on track.

via Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians –

Why We Need to Talk About Migration and Human Security: Khalid Koser — Refugees Deeply

Had a recent opportunity to hear Koser speak and this interview is worth reading:

WHEN MOST POLITICAL leaders talk about migration and security, they usually refer to threats rather than opportunities.

Khalid Koser, the executive director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a Geneva-based public-private fund supporting local prevention of radicalization around the world, believes that’s back-to-front. Migration is not only beneficial to societies and economies, Koser says, but can also help prevent violent extremism.

“If there is a link between violent extremism and migration, it is that violent extremism is driving people from their homes, not that people are coming to our shores to commit violent extremism,” he said. “It’s so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be said, but it does need to be said.”

Koser, who cochairs the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Migration and is editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies, spoke to Refugees Deeply about the need for a new approach to policymaking on migration and security.

Refugees Deeply: To start with, some definitions: Often in discussions about migration and security, migration seems to become a code word for “Muslim migrants” and security a code word for “terrorism.” How would you define the key questions for policymakers on migration and security?

Khalid Koser: One of the key challenges is to overcome some of these generalizations and be a little bit more specific. There’s around 232 million international migrants in the world. Most people move perfectly safely to work and benefit the economies and societies where they have arrived. Getting some perspective and definitions are important. The population where we should be slightly concerned is irregular migrants – people who either enter countries without authorization or stay on without authorization, such as overstaying a visa.

On security, all of the attention in the past couple of years has been on national security, terrorism, extremism and crime. There is an alternative concept, human security, which is about people’s lives and people’s livelihoods. If you apply that then it’s quite clear that the real security concern is that a large number of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are facing human security challenges, whether because they’re fleeing persecution, dying in transit or facing discrimination in their new country. The real security debate is about human security, but that has been overwhelmed by a national security lens.

Refugees Deeply: What evidence is there on the national security dimensions of irregular migration?

Koser: There is limited evidence because almost by definition irregular migrants are hard to track down. But there is no evidence that irregular migrants are any more inclined toward criminality or terrorism than nationals. Having said that, we need to understand that irregular migration is a challenge. It’s a challenge to sovereignty: A state needs to know who’s entering its country and who’s doing what inside the country. There’s no doubt that there are certain groups of irregular migrants in certain cities that are committing crimes, whether it’s pickpocketing or fraud or petty crime. But overall the data suggests that criminality, and absolutely extremism and terrorism, are a homegrown issue more than an imported issue.

This debate’s become polarized. Some people, especially advocates, just won’t even discuss the link between migration and security because they think it’s too risky – we’re already demonizing migrants and to even suggest they’re on a path to criminality is unfair. Others are pretty hard core and risk thinking that all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are somehow criminally minded. Of course, the truth is somewhere in between.

We do need to confront the fact that there are small groups who are criminalized who may, in some cases, become violent extremists – and understand why. Is it to do with their nature, their migrant experience or the conditions that they find themselves in once they arrive? We’ve avoided doing that research because of nervousness that to even have that discussion is dangerous. I understand why, but I think we need to because if we don’t, then people who are less objective will.

Refugees Deeply: How does integration intersect with security, both national security and human security?

Koser: Again I see lots of misperceptions. The big mistake is to suggest that because an important but small number of people have become foreign terrorist fighters, that immigration has failed in Europe. Integration in Europe has been immensely successful. Millions upon millions of people have come to Europe and flourished and helped our economies greatly.

If there is a weakness in the way we’ve approached integration, it’s seeing it as a one-way process – that it’s up to the state, and to an extent citizens, to integrate migrants. We need to recognize that this is a two-way street. The state and citizens have responsibilities, but so do migrants. For too long we haven’t had that slightly difficult discussion. But we shouldn’t be nervous about holding people accountable.

via Why We Need to Talk About Migration and Human Security — Refugees Deeply

Massive fascist rally in Poland shows how the far right has perverted the word ‘patriotism’: Paradkar

Good commentary:

So much for “Never again.” So much for “Lest we forget.”

We have forgotten, and it is happening again. Amid rising intolerance around the world, ill winds are blowing across the West, revealing the ugly faces of white supremacists as they march in Europe, organize in the U.S. and peck at the social fabric in Canada.

They pontificate in the guise of defending free speech when they want to stifle dissent. They moralize on marriage, women’s rights and sexuality when they are threatened by change. They get wistful about a past when they didn’t have to face the consequences of their abusiveness. They mask their fear of others by claiming superiority to them. Then they take all this narrow-mindedness and deposit it into one hideous package, and call it patriotism.

Some 60,000 people, mostly men, took ] to mark its Independence Day, waving banners reading: “Clean Blood,” “White Poland,” “Pure Poland,” “Refugees get out!” A banner over a bridge read: “Pray for Islamic Holocaust.”

In Poland, mind you, that victim of racism and fascism in the Second World War, that most white, most Catholic of European countries with a 0.1 per cent Muslim population.

The country’s state broadcaster, conservative government mouthpiece TVP, called the demonstration a “great march of patriots.”

According to the Never Again association, the number of homophobic, racist or xenophobic incidents in Poland went from 20 a month to 20 a week in 2016.

History shows Europe certainly needs no help from the U.S. when it comes to fostering divisions to maintain white hegemony. Far-right parties have been rapidly gaining steam across the continent. Many European nations are victims of Russian propagandists spreading misinformation.

One year of ideological support from the world’s biggest military power hasn’t hurt, either.

In July when U.S. President Donald Trump was visiting Warsaw, he quoted the words of an old Polish religious song, “We want God,” and invoked the clash of civilizations rhetoric. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

“We want God” was the slogan for the Independence Day event this past weekend.

“We know that Donald Trump is not the most religious man, and I think that most of the organizers are not very religious, either,” sociologist Rafal Pankowski, and head of Never Again, told NBC. “But they use Christianity as a kind of identity marker, which is mostly about being anti-Islam now.”

Saturday’s demonstration was one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and included other far-right leaders, including Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy. American white supremacist Richard Spencer was invited, but he was too racist even for Poland’s government and he was kept out of the country.

There are those who will argue that even this putrid Polish crowd was not all bad. TVP said these were not extremists, but regular Poles expressing their love of Poland. These would be the ordinary people who hide behind those who own up to hatred. These are the ordinary folks, about as nice as the pus that flows out of a festering wound, who remain silent in the face of racist incursions on rights of their fellow citizens in the name of patriotism.

Patriotism came in handy for Trump who invoked its symbolism — but not its substance — while criticizing NFL players who knelt in protest during the national anthem. It’s bewildering how a respectful protest against anti-Black racism insults the flag, the country or the military, but that’s the consequence of redefining patriotism as a love of white America.

In the Second World War and after, patriotism was about the spirit of inclusion. Now, the far right has perverted it to make it about exclusion and white supremacy.

Canada is seeing its share of such patriotism. While attempts by a white supremacists to hold a rally in Peterborough and in Kew Gardens Park in the Beaches recently were shut down by anti-fascists, that’s no reason to be complacent: it took just seven years for Poland to go from sparsely attended far-right rallies to Saturday’s full-blown demonstration.

In Toronto, white supremacists caught trying to paste “It’s okay to be white” posters shouted sexist, homophobic slurs at the Torontoist photographer taking pictures. The message of the posters originate from a strategy called “Hiding your power level” or publicly disavowing Nazis and painting any opposition to this message as anti-white racism, the news site reported.

Anti-immigrant groups such as Quebec’s La Meute position themselves as patriotic. White supremacists groups such as the Heritage Front stake their patriotism as keepers of our traditions. And the name of German PEGIDA, which has a Canadian chapter, says it all: Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.

The reality is these groups don’t represent patriotism, which, according to Merriam-Webster, has connotations of valour, bravery, duty and devotion. What they stand for is nationalism, and a return to unchallenged white supremacy.

Over our dead bodies.

via Massive fascist rally in Poland shows how the far right has perverted the word ‘patriotism’: Paradkar | Toronto Star

Unable to find work, many Syrian refugees reluctantly turn to social assistance – Nova Scotia

Not unexpected. Takes many refugees longer to establish themselves:

For their first year after landing in Canada, refugees are supported by either the federal government or private groups. But that support has ended for most Syrian refugees, and many of those unable to find jobs have turned to provincial social assistance.

Just shy of 1,500 Syrian refugees landed in Nova Scotia between November 2015 and July this year. Of those, more than half — 894 adults and children — were on income assistance as of late September, according to the province’s Department of Community Services.

Syrian refugees represent about two per cent of the total number of Nova Scotians receiving such benefits. Income assistance in Nova Scotia includes $620 a month for shelter for a family of three or more, and an additional $275 per adult and $133 per child each month for personal expenses. Families may also qualify for the Canada child benefit program.

The problem for many refugees who haven’t found work is a lack of English-language skills. Another is having Syrian work or educational credentials that aren’t recognized in Canada.

via Unable to find work, many Syrian refugees reluctantly turn to social assistance – Nova Scotia – CBC News

Donald Trump Has Nominated 480 People So Far in His Presidency. 80% of Them Are Men.

Says it all:

And if there is one trend that has defined this current president’s staffing decisions, it has been his proclivity to turn to men when filling out key posts.

Since he assumed office, Donald Trump has sent 480 nominations to the U.S. Senate for positions in the judicial branch and executive branches. Of those, The Daily Beast found, 387 were men—constituting just over 80 of all of Trump’s nominees.

The trend goes across government, though it is truly accentuated in certain fields. For example, Trump has nominated 282 men for high-ranking cabinet positions compared to 77 women. He has nominated 55 men for tax, armed forces, veterans claims, district, appellate, and supreme court judgeships compared to 13 women. And he has nominated 50 men to U.S. attorney posts compared to just three women.

Numerous executive branch departments have not had a single woman nominated to their ranks. Though some of them have only a handle of confirmable positions, others like the  Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy have had seven nominees respectively to date. All of those nominees were men.

via Donald Trump Has Nominated 480 People So Far in His Presidency. 80% of Them Are Men.