Tag Archives: CBC

Pondering the CBC series: The Nirmalendran Brothers

11 Sep

Today on CBC’s Metro Morning I heard the fourth segment of the series The Nirmalendran Brothers. It’s the only one I have heard, and the podcast isn’t up yet – but check back to listen at http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/).

The focus today was on Christopher Husbands who has been found guilty of two counts of murder. They interviewed one of his teachers (whose name I can’t remember, sadly) and she spoke about the Town Hall CBC held in Regent Park when Christopher was just 13, and how he arrived visibly shaken and crying. He had been pulled over by the police, and roughed up. She encouraged him to speak about it that night, but perhaps it was too fresh. What he did ask at the Town Hall meeting was poignant when you listen with this new context. Something like: “Why isn’t there a police hotline or something that kids can go if they are being harassed, if they are scared?”.

Several things struck me in the teacher’s comments. The one that stands out the most was at the end –  that the ultimate shooting deaths at the hands of Christopher Husbands was not a one dimensional act.

Well said.
And it is true for everything and everyone.
We all bring the layers of experience, perspective and who we are to any action (or word, or inaction). And similarly we bring those same layers to how we see, understand and judge the actions (words and inactions) of others.  For some – like those who are marginalized in society – the impact of this is heavier, and the burden is greater.

For those who are marginalized (in this case because of race, culture, and socio- economic status) the realities are often so removed from the mainstream that it is often difficult (for some, impossible) to imagine what they are experiencing. Because of this, we often don’t believe (don’t want to believe?) that their experiences are true – so far removed are they from how we see and experience people, services, the same city, the world.

The challenge is, however, that it’s the mainstream that judges.
We use our reality to look at a situation and level that judgment, and it’s through our lens that we explain and label.
And in so doing, we often do people a grave disservice.

This clip reminds me that it behooves us to see the bigger picture, to consider the context and therefore to ask good questions in order to peel back the layers and see what is underneath. It doesn’t change the fact, in this case, that two people are dead. But it certainly can provide valuable information to affect necessary change in how we see people and systems; information that could positively impact the lives of those who marginalized, and therefore most vulnerable, in our societies.

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Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Facilitator, Consultant and Author on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.

Radio Show Host of Creating Families – Fridays at 11am EST, starting October 2 at www.HealthyLife.net


The Danger of Terminology

18 Oct

Yesterday morning I was listening to The Current on CBC radio. The topic Anna Maria Tremonti and her guests were discussing was whether or not the Canadian Government’s treatment of our First Nations people should be considered genocide.

In addition to annihilation, genocide can also be about destroying a people’s culture, language, history, religion, books, etc. so that their identity is extinguished, even if the group in question still exists. This, in Bernie Farber (and Phil Fontaine’s) opinion, would qualify the Canadian Governments treatment of our First Nations peoples as a genocide.  

William Schabas disagrees. While he certainly agreed that the many heinous acts towards and decisions regarding First Nations people here in Canada since colonization are crimes against humanity (residential schools, refusing treatment for tuberculosis at some of those schools causing the death of thousands of Aboriginal children, testing the effectiveness of vitamins on Aboriginal children by denying them food are a few examples he gave), he stopped short of using the term genocide.

One thing he said, in particular, gave me pause. As he was explaining his position he stated that he thought that the debate over the use of the term genocide was unfortunate, as it was overshadowing the discussion about the report that was just released by James Anaya (the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), and the importance of the content of that report.  Case in point was the very interview he was participating in – focused on the terminology debate, not the recommendations for Ottawa. 

Ah. How often do we miss the opportunity of a deeper conversation that will increase our awareness, challenge our perspective, and open our eyes because we are too busy swimming in the shallower waters like what word to use? True, it helps to be on the same page, but if we get hung up on semantics we can easily miss the richer heart of the matter where the truth and pain as well as the opportunity for growth, understanding and healing lie. 

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copyright 2013 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker and Facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.



Oh God!

1 Feb

A couple of weeks ago I received an email suggesting that CBC had opened the debate about keeping “God” in the Canadian National Anthem, and most of those polled were in favour.

My reaction: “Really?!” (But a weary one.)

Whether or not this is actually true (and I wasn’t able to find it when I googled) someone took the time to craft an email about this topic, include poll statistics, and ask people to forward it if they agreed.  Again, really?!

It reminded me of the CBC program I heard at the end of November. It was in response to the public outcry at what was deemed an inappropriate Remembrance Day program that included other wars and Other people’s experiences. The Other is capitalized on purpose. What I heard that day was an awful lot of xenophobia thinly disguised as holding on to tradition.

Listen people. We are either in or we are out. We are either working on a multicultural, inclusive country, or we are not. But we can’t espouse to be tolerant (Oh how I hate that word) and accepting and then choose when it’s convenient. We can’t proudly talk about how the mosaic is better than the melting pot to the South and then choose which parts of the fabric feel okay to us.

It doesn’t work that way. But so often this is exactly what happens. Whether it’s about whose stories and pain belong to Remembrance Day or if God should still be in the anthem, the bottom line is this: we haven’t figured out how to live together yet in a way that values all of us. But we keep patting ourselves on the back like we have.

Until we take a good hard look at that, we will continue to be a living breathing example of the difference between diversity and inclusion.

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Copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion.

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