Opinion: After the Sexual Harassment Epidemic—What’s Next for future generations?

By Yvonne Sam

There are Weinsteins everywhere, but only in certain industries is there a Weinstein effect. Now for the sake of the coming generation we must from here on inspect how we teach sexual respect.

It is blatantly apparent that the time of reckoning for sexual harassment and sexual miscreants has finally arrived. Every day the name of a new high-powered figure is added to the chorus of accusers and accusations, ultimately bringing in its wake shame and career-altering consequences. Along with Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, L.A Reid, Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman, George H. W. Bush, Alabama judge Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, Brett Ratner, and the latest Disney Executive, George Lasseter, comes an unmistakable sign that methods formerly used by political figures, stars, top executives, directors and producers to cover up their wrongdoings is no longer working. (https://theconversation.com/taxpayers-are-subsidizing-hush-money-for-sexual-harassment-and-assault-86451e)

The proclivity for paying hush money to victims, and forcing them to sign heavy-handed non-disclosure agreements, can no longer buy silence. The veil of secrecy has been rent and a very clear message is being sent.
(https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/21/16679292/secret-fund-pays-victims-sexual-harassment-the-hill)

The latest surge of females such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Kate Beckinsale and Mira Sorvino stepping forward from the Harvey Weinstein fallout has certainly flicked the script on a culture that has become deep rooted in many industries across the board.
(http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/entertainment/gwyneth-paltrow-angelina-jolie-weinstein/index.html)

Abuse and mistreatment of women extend far beyond Hollywood. In a survey, conducted in 2015, by Cosmopolitan Magazine, of 2,235 female workers, one in three were victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The survey also found that less than a third of women reported the harassment and only 15% felt the report of harassment was handled fairly. (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/1-in-3-women-sexually-harassed-work-cosmopolitan_n_6713814)

Dating from the 1970’s and onwards, the concept of sexual harassment, in its modern understanding, was a relatively new one, only being brought to public attention in the late 1970’s through pioneer organizations—Working Women’s Institute, along with the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion. The term nevertheless remained largely unknown until the early 1990s when Anita Hill witnessed and testified against the U. S Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. (http://time.com/4286575/sexual-harassment-before-anita-hill/)

Now, amid much perturbation surrounding unwarranted masturbation, exposed parts, lewd calls, obscene gestures, sexually graphic comments, groping and not coping, there still remain several unanswered questions, such as what created this environment, and who is prepared to step forward and change it. Lip service, anonymous accusations, or open scandals are certainly not the answer. Changes in workplace policies, revised legislation, abhorrence of silence in known cases of harassment, and greater employer demands among other measures may serve only as a panacea. (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/health-safety/reports/workplace-harassment-sexual-violence.html)

The existing moral atrocities, and the ensuing toxic tidal wave, have not only aroused an undying hunger for justice, but a countervailing pressure to try and remedy the problem for the next generation. It is somewhat pathetic, that so many years after the feminist revolution, we have to teach men how to speak and behave in the presence of females, or, in more specific terms, how not to be a cad. Let us momentarily shift our attention to the ages of the men who have fallen from shepherds in disgrace to becoming mere sheep; they are either nearing retirement age, well past it, or far from being able to maintain a decent pace in any race. (https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sexual-misconduct/weinstein-here-s-growing-list-men-accused-sexual-misconduct-n816546)

Our children have been taught to be wary of strangers, no going or showing, and certainly no taking of gifts or lifts. Even now, our children are still being taught to shout “Stranger! Danger!” when they are either in fear of being taken or forced against their will. With all the displayed silence surrounding the current sexual harassment saga, as our children transition into adulthood, how do we teach them to speak up and let their voices be heard? Where do we start? With society poised to play what part?

Future generations will look back on this recent tsunami of sexual upheavals and see an industry that allowed the powerful to prey on the powerless, and the multitude that were able to detect but failed to protect. Grown adults who used their fame and access to the industry as a conduit in manipulating young males and females into having sex with them, or getting them to do things against their will. (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-mn-james-toback-sexual-harassment-allegations-20171018-story.html) And what’s with the locking of females in hotel rooms and blocking of hotel doors? (https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/10/11/16460164/harvey-weinstein-sexual-harassment-assault-accusations)

Yes, the younger generation will most certainly wonder how supposedly rational people could have yielded so easily to collective insanity. It is obvious that sexual harassment is an entrenched feature of the workforce, and firing or suspending an individual will not stop it from happening again. (http://www.legalvoice.org/sexual-harassment-at-work) Nelson Mandela, the first Black president of South Africa, said that, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. (https://blog.usaid.gov/2013/04/education-the-most-powerful-weapon/) So, from a very young age, the male and female population in our society should be informed of this prevalent problem, and the process of changing the mindset put into effect through the implementation of well-planned lessons.  Parents will now be called upon to play a greater role, and be seen as symbols in whom their daughters can confide, rather than someone from whom they will their secret hide. They should also be taught to immediately walk or run away when inappropriate behavior comes into play. Sexual harassment will never again peak if every victim vows to speak, not many years after the fact, but from the outset of the act.

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2017 Click Here

Opinion: Democracy and Justice for Dogs, but Send the Muslims and Blacks Back Where They Came From!!!!!!

By Dr. Clarence S. Bayne

 

There is an increasing tendency in Quebec for the far right and the vote hungry political leaders to offer Quebec society a scented rose with the serpent of systemic discrimination and racism lurking under the lips and between the curls of seductive petals. We are not racist they say. We are very tolerant of immigrants and other (non-French) cultures. But our Governments are too lenient with immigrants. Thus, the far right French nationalists reject any notion that there should be an enquiry into systemic discrimination and racism in Quebec, because they claim that that would be accusing and judging Quebecers (meaning French Canadians). This has found support in the ranks of the present government and many French Quebecers. As a consequence, the Couillard Liberals enquiry into systemic discrimination and racism has been abandoned and the Minister of immigration asked to investigate and consult Quebecers on ways in which to improve the Government strategies for the settlement of immigrants and for promoting equality and diversity within a French speaking Quebec society and economic system protected by the “notwithstanding clause” and Bill 101. There is an analogy here to the rejection of the Coderre Pit Bull legislation in Montreal and its subsequent withdrawal by the new Plante Administration.

The rejection by the Plante Administration of the previous Mayor, Coderre, administrative decision to ban Pit Bulls from the environments of Quebec as dangerous to life and the security of the public has unleashed streams of empathy from the population of dog lovers. It is so passionate and in the French language presented as no other language can; with such romantic vigour that some segments of the population may have been induced to wish they could be viewed as Pit Bulls: induce love and respect through fear and the cuteness of our “mugs”. The following is an excerpt from a comment to an article on the subject in Le Devoir of Saturday, December, 9 2017 (Les pitbulls ne seront plus interdits à Montréal):

“Je n’ai pas de chiens, deux chats seulemnt, mais lorsque je me promène dans la rue et que j’en vois, et particulièrement les pittbulls, je les regarde avec une certaine crainte, mais en même temps je voudrais m’en approcher tellement ils ont un regard tendre. De les interdire n’avait pas aidé ma cause, et je trouvais ça bien dommage, surtout que les maîtres les aiment tellement!

Moi aussi je crois que tous les chiens peuvent être dangereux quand on est cruel avec eux! On dit que parfois ils acceptent leur sort, ces pauvres bêtes! Un animal est tellement dépendant de nous: on les a domestiqués, il faut accepter de s’en occuper comme «nos enfants»! On leur doit le respect!” (Solange Bolduc)

Now, it is true that the indiscriminate framing and application of the law may have placed an unfair burden on the owners of dogs and unduly diminished the satisfaction owners derive from the relationship between this animal and the human person. Moreover, as it is quite effectively pointed out, the damage done in an attack from a Chihuahua is not comparable in its seriousness to that done in an attack from a Pit Bull. In some cases the latter has ended in death of the victim. So, clearly, there is room for differentiation in fines and penalties to fit the seriousness of the outcome of an attack. However, my observation is the swiftness with which the Plante Administration moved to correct the unfairness of the situation, to bring justice through the democratic process and logic to bare on the problem; as compared to the slowness of their response to the Black Community Forum request for a meeting to discuss outstanding business with the Black Community extending from the Tremblay Administration to the Coderre Administration. It also baffles me to understand the urgency, love and concern expressed by Quebecers for this unpredictable killer; while in sharp contrast the provincial politicians and nationalist groups act to ban hijabs and to deny the existence of the destructive impact of systemic discrimination and racism on the lives of immigrants, Blacks and other visible and non-French minorities. It is amazing that the Provincial Government cannot stand its ground with the same arguments and empathetic passion as Solange Bolduc makes for the Pit Bull. It is amazing that the French leadership does not have the courage to understand that, like the “dog” in this case, these human immigrants and minorities are at such a disadvantage in terms of their power position and dependencies on the established French mainstream that “il faut accepter de s’en occuper comme «nos enfants»! On leur doit le respect!”

“In the primitive unconscious of the unevolved White race supremacist, Blacks, indigenous, and other visible minorities are viewed as evolving and not quite capable of achieving……….”

We pose the question: Why? Why do they love the killing dog, but want to send us back? I believe it has to do with power relationships and Darwinian adaptation. Dogs have learned to be subservient and loyal to their “masters” in return for care, attention and defense. We even pick up their “shit” after them and build conversation and social spaces for them in our parks. For, they are the slaves that we wish we could have; that amaze and entertain us with tricks or fulfill our need for gladiator sport. They are things in our showcases. Humans in captivity and today’s democracies are much more inclined to act persistently, even violently, to free themselves from loyalties that restrict their freedoms at all levels and stages of their lives. The selfish gene borrows, steals, appropriates, collaborates when convenient and by whatever means, but closes the door after. At the end of the day, everything beyond the fence is suspect and foreign to its central interest, life by any means. Everything outside the gated kinship group is a threat. In the primitive unconscious of the unevolved White race supremacist, Blacks, indigenous, and other visible minorities are viewed as evolving and not quite capable of achieving, when left to themselves, the excellence of Whites (the Aryan races). The anger of those human species that Arthur De Gobineau and his modern day followers (Hitler, the KKK, La Muete, and institutionalized discrimination and racism) rank at the bottom of the Mosaic totem scale are not viewed with the same understanding as the behaviour of the Pit Bull that has been cruelly treated by humans. Our anger, accumulated after years of oppression; of being  racialized, stripped of our self-esteem and reclassified as humans without the capacity for developing a soul, is associated with the imperfections and dysfunctionalism assigned to Blacks and indigenous people by Western race theories and the practices of White supremacy. It is a systemic discrimination and Fascist way of thinking and organizing the world. It is the Mission School way. It produces reconciliations and apologies without change. The only solution is the continuous and relentless democratic and morally responsible struggle against the persons and systems that support this distortion in thinking and misplaced compassion for Pit Bulls over other humans: US.

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2017 Click Here

Meeting of Black Community Forum with Culture Montreal

By Dr. Clarence S. Bayne
President of BCRC

 

Present:
Chair of the Secretariat of Black Community Forum, Editor of Semaji, Administrative Coordinator of BCRC, Artistic Director  of Black Theater Workshop, General Manager of Black Theater Workshop, Union United Church Representative, Black Writers Guild Representative and Coordinator of Logos Readings, Directrice du Développement Strategique de Culture Montreal, Directrice générale de Culture Montreal, and Member of Board of Culture Montreal.

The meeting was opened by the Directrice du Développement Strategique de Culture Montreal, who introduced the members of Culture Montreal and welcomed the members of the Black Community Forum. She briefly described the process in place at CM for restructuring the organization (Culture Montreal) so that it could more effectively foster and promote diversity as a central principle in the development of arts and culture in Montreal. She, and the Directrice générale of Culture Montreal, set out the challenges of embarking on this plan of action and the anticipated implementation problems. But the organization is committed and resolved to see it through. They expressed the desire that the Black Community Forum (BCF) and its member organizations support Culture Montreal and its network to achieve the objectives set out in the organization’s Action Plan, which has been constructed after extensive consultations with a large number of organizations and persons. Among those were the Black Theatre Workshop, and the Black History Month Round Table.

Dr. Bayne thanked Culture Montreal for inviting the Forum to meet with BCF and briefly presented the mission, mandates, principles and purposes, and operating structure of the BCF against the background of two documents circulated to the CM administrators in advance of the meeting. BCF focused its observations and comments on the principles of inclusiveness in a democracy that constitutionally recognizes and respects diversity. It was pointed out that the Forum is a network of 13 English speaking Black Community organizations. He stated that these organizations represent a wide range of cultural and community activities; and minority artistic expressions. Moreover, these organizations have been providing services to the Black communities and contributing to the art and culture of Montreal for 25 to 100 years, if not more. Bayne, and the Artistic Director of BTW, summarized the concerns expressed by the Black English speaking artists and cultural organizations at the October 27th 2017 Conference and Meeting. Bayne drew attention to the well documented and recognized fact that the contributions of Blacks, and English speaking Blacks in particular, have been eliminated from Quebec’s history and ignored in Quebec and Canadian societies. He said it is absurd that a Black man (Mathieu DaCosta) helped Champlain to win the welcome and acceptance of indigenous peoples of Quebec, yet Blacks were denied full participation in the 375th planning, presentations and displays. In particular, the exclusion of the English speaking communities from full participation in Montreal’s 375th is dishonest and insulting. Bayne re-echoed the complaints of cultural leaders and artists at the Forum (27 October 2017) about systemic discrimination and biases in the funding of minority arts and culture, and, in particular, the English speaking and Black artists. This was referenced by both the artistic director of BTW and the representative of the Black Writer Guild (Logos Readings) who spoke of the difficulties of Black and other minority writers getting financial support from the funding agencies. Bayne talked about the distortions to Canadian multiculturalism that result from the persistence of the “two founding nations” concept and “linguistic duality” under-pinning the institutional arrangements and agreements that hold the Country together under the threat of separation. He said that in the present arrangements, Blacks and other minorities have become second–class citizens, enclaves of one or the other “Settler class” mainstream language entities.

Bayne stated that the Secretariat of BCF is encouraged and inspired by Culture Montreal’s reengineering of its structure and reinventing the organization to empower itself “to foster greater inclusivity” and respect for diversity. He said that BCF espouses the principle of “collaborative unity and existential responsibility”, which he associated with the concept of network leadership, as opposed to centralized top down management leadership. He said that the days of the “superman leader” are gone. He made the observation that Culture Montreal’s intention to “reflect as completely as possible on issues and realities regarding the participation of all Montrealers in culture, across our territory and through the bodies and activities that make up the cultural scene” addresses and supports the demands of BCF for full participation of English Speaking Blacks and other minorities in the policy making, the art and culture, and decision making processes of the society. A summary of the Culture Montreal Diversity Project is presented below:

Culture Montreal Diversity Project Observations and 2018-2020 Action Plan

To arrive at its Action Plan, CM held several consultations and sensing meetings with a large number of persons and organizations. The Observations made at the various sessions by persons and organizations involved in the Culture Montreal’s consultation process that preceded its action plan (2018-2010) are grouped under three categories that constitute the focus for Culture Montreal planned reform. They are:

Focus1: Representativeness and instrumentalization of cultural diversity in artistic and cultural life and practice.

Focus 2: Access and systemic obstacles can hamper development and prevent citizens from diverse communities from participating in arts and culture life.

Focus 3: Governance and inclusion with Culture Montreal and the Entire Cultural Community

From the sub-categories (influencing sub-factors that make up each of the categories/focus) Culture Montreal has developed three objectives which are part of its three year Action Plan.

Year 1: 2018
Objective: Create the conditions internally to foster greater inclusivity within Culture Montreal (CM), the Board, working Committee, team, activities, events, etc.

Year 2: 2019
Objective: Consolidate good governance, practices, and extend the influence of Culture Montreal’s efforts beyond the organization.

Year3: 2010.
Objective: Acquire tools to make diversity project efforts permanent.

OUTCOMES FOR THE MEETING

CM stated that there are a number of changes in its by-laws and policies and structure that Culture Montreal is in the process of making before it can operationalize its revised mandate and mission; and carry out its purposes of artistic and cultural diversity and complete inclusivity. However, CM is prepared to work with BCF and individually with member organizations to assist with access to resources, facilities, programs available in the City and other public and private spaces.

CM’s overarching policy requires that it work with anyone in the Arts and culture that wishes to work with, or seek, its assistance. Of course, this is subject to its limited resources. However, CM recognizes that greater efficiency and effectiveness is achieved if groups collaborate. CM is also prepared to work with and assist clients and partners even while they (CM) go about creating the internal structures and capacity for accomplishing the long term objectives of its Action Plan.

BCF has put CM on notice that it wishes to have its assistance to engage the City and Tourism Montreal and Canada to work with the Black Community Forum to create a Black Creative Tourism Sector based on the creative artistic and culture competences of artists and cultural institutions in the Black English Speaking Communities. The Secretariat will be pursuing this by developing a proposal drawing on expertise and assistance of CM. The initial plan will engage specific member organizations of the BCF (Union United heritage and historical program; BSC and partners archival displays, BCRC Education and history walking and audio tours). [Such a proposal has been placed in very general terms on an agenda at the City under the Coderre Administration].

The Secretariat of BCF will also speak to CM about helping to set up and participating in the BCF Toponomy Committee and advising on operationalizing it.

CM has invited BCF, and individual member organizations, to collaborate with it to assist in achieving its diversity and inclusivity objectives. We note from the Action Plan circulated at the meeting that two of BCF member organizations, BHMRT and BTW, participated as individual sovereign organizations in the reflections meetings called by the CM and leading to the development of its Action Plan.

OBSERVATION

Explicit in the working action plan and collaborations between organizations is the principle of good governance and best practices. This is also as guiding principle of the Black Community Forum.

 

For Full Version of Semaji December 2017 Click Here

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The ‘English Boss’ and Company Towns: Quebec’s English-speakers in the industrial economy, then and now

 

Call for Papers

Deadline for abstracts: January 18, 2018

Date of Event: May 9-10, 2018

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi Saguenay, Quebec, Canada