Breaking news: RCMP admits it’s racist

The RCMP, Canada’s federal police force, has a rather nasty reputation for antagonizing and brutalizing Indigenous communities. Discrimination against other PoCs usually (usually) tends to stay in the realm of antagonism. Regardless, the RCMP’s Commissioner (that’s fancy Canadian speak for “boss”) has admitted there is racism in the RCMP:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will find new ways to strengthen relations with Indigenous communities, the force’s chief vowed on Tuesday, but he faces an uphill climb.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and Assembly of First Nations’ National Chief Perry Bellegarde signed a memorandum of understanding as part of the Indigenous group’s three-day general assembly.

Paulson, months ago, admitted “there are racists” within the national police force — Bellegarde underscored that when he introduced the chief on Tuesday.


Admission’s not a bad start, I guess.

The face you’re probably making right now

Paulson used the opportunity to acknowledge the police force’s role in the residential school system — the program whereby the Canadian government arrested Indigenous youth and took them to boarding schools designed to discourage and assimilate their cultural identity.

“As a father I can’t imagine strangers, much less representatives of the state, taking away my children to live somewhere else where their culture is repressed,” Paulson said, adding, “as a police force we have to own up to the roles we played in those dark times.”

The aforementioned residential schools weren’t 100% closed until 1996, meaning there are still many people, young Indigenous adults especially, dealing with the Complex PTSD from their state-sanctioned abuse.

Again: Admission is progress…

Paulson says he recognizes that the signed agreement are just “words on a page,” and are meaningless unless the force pledges to put serious action toward achieving them, though he noted he was proud of the progress made in improving relations with Indigenous communities thus far.

At least he admits they are, so far, empty promises. Need a little bit more than “oops my bad.”

Hopefully this represents the first of many steps.


Meanwhile in Canada…

A Siksika First Nation man’s home was invaded by RCMP officers in the wee hours of the morning. Having been roused from his sleep rather rudely, Christian Duck Chief thought his home was being robbed and initially resisted. After the “you’re under arrest”s started he understood what was happening. He was beaten by the arresting officer even after he stopped freaking out:

RCMP making an arrest are alleged to have battered an Alberta First Nation man, hauled him naked from his home and brought him to a detachment before realizing he needed an ambulance, says his family who are accusing the police of racism and brutality.

Christian Duck Chief, 23, is recovering from a broken eye socket, fractured cheek bone, fracture to the back of his head and a broken nose.

Duck Chief and his wife say they were sleeping in their home on the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary Friday when RCMP from the Gleichen detachment entered their home around 6 a.m. to arrest him.

“I can hear him screaming for me, and I can hear him saying ‘Stop, honey help me,'” said Duck Chief’s wife, Chantel Stonechild, who said she was taken out of the home as her husband was still being beaten.

They acknowledge Duck Chief struggled at first, saying he was on his stomach when woken and didn’t know it was police. But they allege an RCMP officer hit him at least 20 times after he stopped struggling and shouted that he wasn’t resisting, even as he lay handcuffed on the floor.

Duck Chief — who has been charged in connection with the incident — and his lawyer said the force used by the officer was excessive.

Duck Chief said he struggled at first because he thought someone had broken into their home and was attacking them, and initially bit the officer’s finger.

That’s when the beating began, according to Stonechild. She said that as soon as the officer said “stop resisting arrest” her husband realized what was happening and complied.

“Christian said, ‘I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting,’ and the cop started elbowing him in the face,” said Stonechild. “More than 20 times that cop hit him on the face while he was on the ground.”

Even while he was on the ground, handcuffed and not resisting, the elbows to the face continued, said Stonechild.

Well gee, if someone entered my home completely unannounced I’d probably assume the worst, too. Is this standard operating protocol?

Oh, and of course, it couldn’t be a mistake by the cops. Duck Chief must have some overdue book fees or something to warrant getting elbowed in the face twenty fucking times, after being handcuffed. But he’s the one being penalized with “resisting arrest”?

I say we break into the cop’s home, sneak into his bedroom, and start our protest at six in the morning by shaking him awake, then pressing him with assault charges when he freaks out. That’s apparently how law enforcement works now.


Indigenous women protest misogyny in Indian Act

Joan Jack, a lawyer and indigenous woman, takes to the road on her Harley to partake in the Road to Niagara campaign:

A Manitoba Ojibway activist is hitting the road on her Harley to bring awareness to misogyny in the Indian Act and to inspire Indigenous women to be political leaders.

Joan Jack travelled from her home in British Columbia to her home province of Manitoba to take part in Road to Niagara.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is leading a ride that starts in Winnipeg on Thursday. It aims to raise awareness of the spirit and intent of treaties as First Nations seek to return to a nation-to-nation relationship with the federal government.

Jack said she will stop in communities along the way and try to empower women to be leaders.

“Many of the communities are still stuck in chauvinistic views of a woman’s place and a woman’s role and I’m just here to say that’s just BS,” she said.

Jack, a retired lawyer who ran for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations in 2012, said part of the problem is the Indian Act. She calls the act one of the original sources of misogyny against Indigenous women in Canada.

“It’s legalized misogyny,” she said.

“Most First Nations reserves have no resources to deal with male violence against women. There are no safe houses, there are no trained people.… We need to have human rights training. Most oppression is born out of ignorance, not intent,” she said.

I don’t have a motorbike, and I’m also really broke so I wouldn’t be able to take time off work–nonetheless, I hope the campaign goes well and many a woke Indigenous feminist is made.

Joan Jack, smashin’ the kyriarchy.


Alberta update: Muslims donate fat wad of cash to wildfire evacuees; Cons whine about hipsters

Canadian Muslims have presented a $250,000 donation to Fort McMurray, the city devastated by the country’s largest wildfire in recorded history:

“On the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Toronto-based International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) announces a gift of $250,000 to the people of Fort McMurray,” Farheen Khan, IDRF Director, Fund Development and External Affairs, told

“What better way for Canadian Muslims to celebrate both Canada Day and Eid than to join hundreds of thousands of other Canadians in helping their fellow Canadians who have had their lives turned upside down in Fort McMurray,” said IDRF Board Chair, Zeib Jeeva.

Shortly after the fire began almost two months ago, the Syrian refugees that were resettled in Canada also banded together to contribute emergency relief supplies for evacuees.

Meanwhile, white Conservatives in Alberta have their priorities straight: Blaming bohemian youths for making communism look fashionable.

You know, one of the reasons from the very beginning I believe this project was necessary is because if you go to a university campus or walk down a fashionable part of a Canadian street these days, you’re likely to see young people unconsciously displaying symbols associated with this ideology of violence

I’m sure if you’re a PoC in America right now, you recognise that Capitalism is as every bit as violent. It’s a side effect of authoritarianism, not government per se.

-Shiv, Fashionable Communist

Attack in Baghdad claimed by IS

IS claims yet another bombing attack, this time in Baghdad, where 165 people (so far) have been confirmed killed in the attack that occurred on a market square:

The number of people killed in Sunday’s suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has risen to 165, interior ministry officials say.

The government has declared three days of mourning after the huge blast, which injured 225 others.

A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the Karrada district while families were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

It is believed to be the deadliest single bomb attack in Iraq since 2007.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it carried out the suicide attack.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was greeted by angry crowds when he visited the mainly Shia Muslim area in the hours after the bombing.

IS, which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam, said in an online statement that the attack in Karrada was carried out by an Iraqi as part of “ongoing security operations”.

The US said on Sunday that the attack strengthened its resolve to support Iraqi forces in their fight against IS.

UN Iraq envoy Jan Kubis said IS militants who had “suffered defeats at the battlefront are seeking to avenge their losses by targeting vulnerable civilians”.


Nazi training camp in all but name

In a feat that is truly so ignorant, so completely fucking oblivious that I have literally run out of words, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park hosts a camp to become “a soldier in Custer’s 7th Cavalry.” Don’t recognise the reference? Here you go:

On November 27th, 1868, Custer led an early morning attack on a peaceful band of Cheyenne living with Chief Black Kettle near the Washita River. Custer, who had previously been convicted of desertion and mistreatment of soldiers, had recently been reinstated by Gen Sheridan to lead a campaign against the Cheyenne. Sheridan was frustrated by the inability of previous officers’ efforts to engage successfully against tribes and felt Custer would help lead successful campaigns.

Prior to the attack, Custer refused to confirm the band of Cheyenne over looking that this band under Chief Black Kettle were a peaceful band and flew a white flag of truce in the middle of the camp. Just four years earlier, Black Kettle had survived another surprise attack at the Sand Creek massacre.

Custer’s surprise attack happened at dawn. He ordered his men to destroy “everything of value to the Indians,” and in a few hours over 100 Cheyenne’s had been killed including Black Kettle, his wife, and over 800 horses. Custer also took over 50 women and children into captivity.

While originally labelled as a “Battle” the slaughter at Washita River was later called a “massacre of innocent Indians” by the Indian Bureau.

Custer would later lead a gold finding expedition into the Black Hills in direct violation of the 1868 Ft. Laramie treaty. Later, Custer who once declared “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the 7th Calvary” would meet his fate at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (the Battle of the Little Big Horn) by an alliance of Lakota, Dakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors. The battle would go down as the worst military defeat in US military history.

In 1890, a blood thirsty and revenge driven 7th Calvary rounded up a peaceful band of Lakota, primarily Ghost Dancers, under Chief Big Foot and slaughtered over 300 women, men, and children known as the Wounded Knee massacre.

I’m sure at least some of the parents enrolling their kids in this camp have no idea what Custer or the 7th Cavalry means, but that just makes matters worse.

You’re sending your kids to celebrate a mass murderer. That doesn’t suddenly become okay because the victims were indigenous, for fuck sake.

Caine’s piece is longer and more thorough. I just see this and go, “I can’t even.” Why are white people so fucking dumb? (Yeah yeah, I know. Privilege. But why?)


#HeterosexualPrideDay, #MissingThePoint

The straights are at it again, with #HeterosexualPrideDay trending on Facebook and Twatter:

The social media universe is buzzing with the recent pronouncement, and as you’d expect, it’s inspired a sea of vehemently passionate responses.

Unlike LGBT Pride Month, which President Barack Obama publicly proclaimed official earlier this year, this one appears to have originated as a case of irony from Twitter user @_JackNForTweets a couple of weeks ago.

I, too, would like to celebrate the victories for straights, and the rights they have recently attained. I found this map, detailing in which countries heterosexuality is criminalized (red), in which countries it’s still legal to put straights in aversion torture (orange), in which countries straights can’t marry (blue), in which countries straights are executed for being straight (dark red). Countries in white have full heterosexual equality under the law:


Devastating. Truly, devastating.


She’s still a rich Republican

Caitlyn Jenner has said and done no shortage of odious things in defence of the Republican party, but now is an excellent time to remind everyone that her transition is not one of them. In this latest spat, Jenner asserts that Trump would be “good for women and the LGBT community:”

“I’m on the conservative Republican side. I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff. But as far as the transgender community, they’ve actually been very good,” Caitlyn told Stat. “Everybody looks at the Democrats as being better with these issues. But Trump seems to be very much for women. He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

I’ll make my point short and simple:

I’m not excited with what Obama has done to the economy, to our Constitution, all that kind of stuff.

You’re not excited that Title IX was extended to trans folk? Okay then…

[Read more…]

If you think Brexit wasn’t about xenophobia, check these out

Someone has been collecting all the tweets describing the hate speech British PoCs have received in the past 24 hours, as well as the corresponding hate speech used to… prove there’s no hate in Brexit, obviously:

118 tweets by the last count, including one from Tim Minchin (!).

Just in case you were doubting those aforementioned dog whistles.



Giliel has also pointed out this Twitter account, also collecting post-referendum hate speech & crime.

I wonder if I’ll ever get to fly again

Transphobia among airliners and the corresponding security staff is nothing new, with the TSA’s storied history of abusing trans passengers just the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t flown since I came to terms with my gender, and I’m not sure I’ll ever want to.

Well, airliners strike again. This time it’s Air Transat, who ignored numerous legal documents affirming a trans passenger’s identity and denied her and her girlfriend flight to a wedding they were going to:

The situation is as follows: I am a dual citizen of the Italian Republic and the Republic of Argentina. Today, Air Transat has denied me boarding a flight bound to Toronto, Canada from Glasgow, Scotland.

I am a transgender woman. My Italian documentation was made before transition and uses the first name “Ariel”, shows an older photo, and a gender marker “M”. However, I have used it consistently to travel for the last 8 years, both within Europe, to the United States, and to South America, with no issue. This is the first time I have been denied boarding a flight.

I travel with supporting documentation because I have been questioned about my passport photo before. This documentation includes my Argentinean passport with the correct gender (and a recent photo), and a notarized sworn affidavit with a legalized translation. This affidavit is a binding document of the Argentine Republic declaring my change of name from Ariel to Ari Bianca, and declaring my change of gender.

When asked for documentation, I provided all three documents (two passports and affidavit) to an Air Transat representative. They spoke to a representative of the Canadian High Commission in the United Kingdom and told me that I can only travel on my Argentinean passport, but I wouldn’t be travelling today as I didn’t have a visa. I did not apply for a visa because it was not needed with my Italian passport.

The Air Transat representative called “Emma”, refused to give me her last name but phoned the High commission representative for me. The High Commission representative kindly explained this was a decision made by the airline at their discretion. In other words Air Transat made the decision to deny my flight, today, despite my carrying two legal documents, simply because I don’t look the same way as I did 8 years ago, before I began taking hormones.

I have not managed to obtain a new Italian passport yet due to the complex nature of gender recognition procedures through Italian bureaucracy. However, this decision is probably illegal under anti-discrimination UK law; it refuses to accept my valid Italian documentation, maybe breaking Canada-Italy travel treaties; and it fails to recognise my Argentinean sworn affidavit and its connection to my Italian passport as valid.

All because of a simple photo. A photo which, when provided with supporting documents, has never caused any airlines (Ryanair, American Airlines, British Airways, EasyJet, to name a few) from ever preventing me from boarding a flight.

I have contacted Air Transat on Twitter. After a four hour wait, they responded with a different story. In their new version of events the issue wasn’t my passport photo, but rather that since I’m Argentinean, I need a visa for Canada anyway, ignoring my valid Italian passport which entitles me to visa-free travel.

I believe Air Transat have changed their sorry to cover up the discrimination issue.

Aoife goes on to cover the ensuing Tweets from Air Transat, telling a very different story–exactly what happens every single time a trans person goes public with their abuse at the hands of airliners and security staff: (emphasis from original)

So let’s be clear about this:

  • Air Transat took issue with AB’s transness. They refused to let her fly because she is trans and because her documentation made that clear.
  • They told her that she should pretend to be a man in order to get on the plane in future, explicitly denying her gender.
  • They are now trying to make people believe that this is because she didn’t have a visa that she doesn’t have to have.

Gotta love that. “Travel as a man.” The fuck does that mean? If this ever happens to me I’m going to wave my fingers and say “poof! That’s how that works, right? Gender is something you can just fucking take off?”

I’m going to echo Aoife’s request:

Here’s where I’m going to ask you to do something: don’t let them get away with this. Please. Please tell people about this. Tweet@AirTransat and let them know that they can’t do this and sweep it under the carpet- and please keep it firm but civil. If you have a bigger platform or know someone who does? Tell them about this. Use them. Air Transat want to make this go away. Don’t let them.

Maybe in a decade or two when airliners and security catches up, I’ll be able to fly again.