links for 2010-11-11

  • "Last year when a store employee with tongue planted firmly in cheek made a humorous YouTube video about HP Webcams being “racist”, HP the company had no choice but to respond in a serious tone and many tech publications did the same. The problem is that the intent of the original video wasn’t clear and company lawyers understandably get cautious whenever they hear words like “racism” thrown around in the same sentence as their products. Even it was most likely a joke, companies can’t afford to be associated with racism. Now we have the same kind of nonsensical allegations of “racism” being tossed at Microsoft’s XBox360 Kinect product.

    "As serious an accusation of racism is, it’s not something one should joke about without at least making it obvious that it’s a joke. We should reserve our scorn for real racism where it exists and not waste time on non-issues."

  • "Yesterday, the former President appeared on Oprah to discuss his memoir Decision Points. He went into detail about he could've done a better job in handling the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and how it "irritated" him to be called a racist."
  • "A Calgary anti-racism activist was told by the province that his children can return home after the family's home was invaded by what he calls white supremacists.

    "Devine says his home was targeted as retaliation for posting anti-racist pamphlets near the home of a known neo-Nazi.

    "But Jason Devine says he felt he was revictimized when Alberta Children and Youth Services got involved two days after the attack because he says the department likened them to gang members or drug dealers.

    ""They said just as gang members and drug dealers put their kids in dangerous situations because they have drugs, our activism, no matter how worthy it is, is putting our children at risk,' Devine says."

  • "But even though law and culture are not the same thing, they are not mutually incompatible. In fact, the law is shaped by wider social and cultural beliefs but also helps to shape them. Rights advocates must take this into account in making the case for gay equality. They must consider conflicting cultural perspectives and, where appropriate, show that these cannot justify discrimination against sexual minorities."
  • "Controversy is brewing over a city-sponsored anti-racism campaign that calls on Caucasians to recognize their 'white privilege'.

    "At least one Edmonton city councillor says the campaign makes a point, while a Conservative politician is saying the wording is all wrong.

    "'A white person looking for an apartment to rent does not face similar challenges that an aboriginal person does,' said councillor Amarjeet Sohi, explaining what is meant by the phrase white privilege.

    "But Ryan Hastman, the federal Conservative candidate for the Edmonton-Strathcona, said he's concerned because the campaign's focus on white people is too narrow.

    "The campaign is focused on identifying and resolving institutional barriers faced by aboriginal people and other racial groups in Edmonton, according to a City of Edmonton release."

  • "Aamjiwnaang members Ron Plain and Ada Lockridge launched litigation claiming that the chronic exposures to pollution, and the Ministry's failure to assess the cumulative effects on their health, constitutes a violation of their constitutional rights to life, liberty and security of the person (section 7) and equality (section 15). Specifically, the applicants challenge the Ministry's granting of a pollution permit to Suncor that allows it to increase its refinery operations and thus its release of air pollutants, without any assessment of the cumulative impacts on the health of affected residents. Despite prevalent rhetoric that "lifestyle factors" are to blame for health impacts, which include, but are not limited to, high rates of cancer, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, neurological and developmental disabilities, in addition to a declining birth ratio, it is undeniable that the location of this reserve matters."
  • "Ever heard of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC)? They're not quite as famous as, say, the Ku Klux Klan, but let's just say that the two groups probably play in the same softball league. Founded in the mid-1980s as a second coming of what used to be called White Citizens Councils, the CCC spreads what they consider a biblical belief that people of different races, different sexual orientations, and different religions should be segregated.

    "Oh, and the CCC also raises boatloads of cash for two schools in Mississippi, Calhoun Academy and Carroll Academy, that are accredited through the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. "