Tag Archives: Racism

Tweet Roundup for those who don't do that: Ireland, Ottawa, New Haven, etc.

This new method of embedding tweets should mean you can reply and retweet right from the IFLS site.  Want to try it?

Ireland/Good Writing/Tragedies

Ottawa Law/ Racism

Ottawa Law/ Clothes!

Critical Race Conference

Things to Read

Legal Education

Training (Toronto, Immigration Law Changes and Women)

And just to wrap up, tweets about tweeting

Friday flip out: Image of Asian-looking woman banned from new $100 bills after complaints

Image of Asian-looking woman banned from new $100 bills after complaints .

[photo above is of the original design – if you’re lucky, you can check your pocket for the new one]

“Some have concerns that the researcher appears to be Asian,” says a 2009 report commissioned by the bank from The Strategic Counsel, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

“Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown.”

A few even said the yellow-brown colour of the $100 banknote reinforced the perception the woman was Asian, and “racialized” the note.

The bank immediately ordered the image redrawn, imposing a “neutral” ethnicity for the woman scientist who, now stripped of her “Asian” features, appears on the circulating note. Her light features appear to be Caucasian.

“The original image was not designed or intended to be a person of a particular ethnic origin,” bank spokesman Jeremy Harrison said in an interview, citing policy that eschews depictions of ethnic groups on banknotes.

Sometimes I like to have things laid out clearlym and this story is really helpful.  Neutral ethnicity = white.  Actual ethnic groups (non whites) not allowed on money.  Colour of money should not match colour of skin of those depicted on the money.  Thanks! Got it!


As my colleague just said to me,  “so did they move her onto the blue note and have her playing hockey?”.  I guess the helmet and cold weather clothes would let anyone masquerade as “neutral”.

This story is just too much.  Didn’t anyone comment on the unfairness of showing a woman as a scientist?

[henceforth, August 17: the day the balance shifted in my thinking about focus groups]


CFP (March 2012): White Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in the Canadian Context


The Canadian Journal of Women and Law (CJWL) is seeking submissions for a special issue 25(1) to be published in Spring 2013.

White Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in the Canadian Context

Guest edited by Sherene Razack

Some time ago Patricia Monture told us that in her thinking equality was not a high enough goal. A feminism that failed to recognize the destructiveness of settler colonialism and to work towards Indigenous sovereignty and well-being was too small a feminism for Patricia. This issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law is dedicated to Patricia Monture, a courageous scholar who led the way for so many of us over the last two decades. To honour her, we invite contributions on white settler colonialism. This issue seeks to profile the work of Indigenous scholars and scholars of colour. In keeping with Patricia Monture’s own contributions, we are especially interested in receiving articles that offer a feminist, anti-racist reading of Canadian settler colonialism in the areas of criminal justice, Aboriginal youth, education, and economic empowerment.


The deadline for submitting articles for this special issue is March 1, 2012. Submissions should be no more than 35 pages (10,000 words), should conform to the Style Guide available on our website: http://www.utpjournals.com/cjwl/cjwl.html and should include an abstract.


Please send your articles in Word format to:

Debra Parkes

English Language Co-Editor

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba

Robson Hall

224 Dysart Road

Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3T 2N2

Tel: 204-474-9776   Fax: 204-480-1084

Email: cjwl@cc.umanitoba.ca









Appel de textes


Colonialisme de peuplement blanc et indigénéité en contexte canadien


Avec la collaboration spéciale de Sherene Razack


La Revue Femmes et Droit (RFD) sollicite des textes pour publication dans son numéro spécial, volume 25(1), à paraître au printemps 2013.


Patricia Monture nous a dit un jour qu’à son avis, l’égalité n’était pas un objectif suffisamment élevé. Un féminisme qui n’avait pas su reconnaître le caractère destructif du colonialisme de peuplement ni poursuivre la souveraineté et le bien-être autochtones relevait d’un féminisme trop petit pour Patricia. Ce numéro de la Revue Femmes et Droit sera consacré à Patricia Monture, universitaire courageuse qui a ouvert le chemin à de nombreuses femmes au cours des deux dernières décennies. Pour l’honorer, nous invitons les contributions sur le colonialisme de peuplement blanc. Ce numéro brossera un portrait du travail des universitaires amérindiennes et des universitaires de couleur. Dans la foulée des contributions de Patricia Monture, nous désirons particulièrement recevoir des articles qui jettent un regard féministe et antiraciste sur le colonialisme de peuplement canadien dans les domaines de la justice pénale, des jeunes autochtones, de l’éducation et du renforcement économique.


La date limite de soumission pour ce numéro spécial est le 1er mars 2012. Les textes devraient respecter le Manuel canadien de la référence juridique, ne pas dépasser 35 pages (10 000 mots) et comprendre un résumé.


Veuillez envoyer vos textes en format Word à :


Louise Langevin

Corédactrice francophone

Revue Femmes et Droit

Faculté de droit, Université Laval

Québec, Qc




Round Up of items from the Web: Wanrow, Clothes, and a dean search…

To begin,a talk from Donna Coker (UMiami Law).  She’s talking about the Wanrow case, not one I have studied before, but truly fascinating (link is to Wikipedia, not the judgment, which is here).  Here’s part of what she says at Feminist Law Professors about the talk:

The “story” describes a fascinating account of both feminist and Native American activism on fair trial rights for women.

Sold! She talks about the case, the lawyers, the defendant – it’s a chapter in the upcoming “Criminal Law Stories”, of which Coker is a co-editor.  Canadian women’s law stories, anyone?  Imagine it. Glorious.

My ongoing obsession (furthered by slutwalk discussions) about how feminists can grab attention for public projects without using sexist/racist tropes appreciated this discussion over at sociological images of this poster from a German human rights group.

In where fashion meets inclusion and activism, two little things – not slutwalk! First, also from WISI, Resport – a sports hijab.  You may recall news reports about girls banned from various sports because of the hijab or niqab – this sleek design is intended to solve any safety issues and account for religious belief.  Second, I have been really enjoying hearing the CBC radio reporting on Izzy Camillieri’s new Toronto boutique which sells clothes for a “seated clientele” – in other words, women who use wheelchairs.  It got me thinking about “what is activism” and “how to make a difference” – the testimonials from women who checked out the clothes all were clear about what a difference the availability of adaptable, professional and relatively affordable clothes would mean to them – and it was a big, big deal.   And the clothes are pretty amazing too. Here’s IZ Adaptive Clothing’s “Press” page., Having the “right” things to wear – to accommodate belief, rules, comfort, professional roles – these things really matter in terms of being and feeling welcome in a particular space.  Sometimes activism requires insisting that the context change and accept different modes of dress. Sometimes, though, that approach might miss a more obvious and meaningful improvement….

Finally,this post from Brian Leiter describes a scene from Wisconsin’s Dean search – and raises the question – what is the blogger’s responsibility for what goes on in comments? Widely read blogger Ann Althouse, who is a prof at Wisconsin, profiled the candidates and then asked

for “comments” from her readers, who then proceed to trash and insult the candidates for Dean of her school!  Wow!

The “trashing” was a lovely stew of racism and homophobia, as I understand it.  I haven’t seen it – the post is still up – but shows 0 comments.

Viola Desmond's "story"

“Viola Desmond was one brave woman!”

Ok, so I said i wouldn’t make a habit of featuring colouring books.  This isn’t a colouring book, but it is a book aimed at the younger ones in your life (the published says Ages 5-9).

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged by Jody Nyasha Warner and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki.  Groundwood Books, 2010.

Viola Desmond and her court battle against discrimination are becoming more well known as a part of Canadian history.  But there’s still significant debate over what Viola Desmond’s story means.  She, certainly, showed fortitude and determination in fighting the segregation she encountered at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow N.S.  But her struggle didn’t start a larger movement, nor did it have a positive ending.  Now, finally,  Viola Desmond has been posthumously pardoned by the N.S. government and that Province is deciding on a Viola Desmond Day to honour her.

“But the judges…didn’t want to talk about racial segregation.”

Written by former York University librarian Jody Nyasha Warner, and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki, this book offers a clear picture of Canadian History and reminds us all to say thank you to Viola Desmond.  We don’t need to pretend that she succeeded in her fight to recognize the courage and leadership that she showed.   Nor do we ever need to call her Canada’s Rosa Parks.  So think about getting the book (amazon.ca link), giving the book, and if you have kids in Primary school, asking the school librarian if they have the book.  I really think it’s something special.

Want to learn more?

Viola Desmond’s own words are available in Sister to Courage, written by her sister.  From the publisher:

Noted storyteller Wanda Robson is a sister of Viola Desmond, a major figure in Nova Scotia’s civil rights history. Viola was also a pioneering businesswoman who never got to tell her own story of family and the roots of her courage and ambition. In Sister to Courage, Wanda Robson takes us inside the world she shared with Viola and thirteen other brothers and sisters. She shares the principles and daily good fun of their household. Through touching and often hilarious stories, the dignity and compassion in the daily life of her family in Halifax shines through, as well as the historic racist event in the Roseland movie theatre in November 1946-the event that gave Viola a night in the New Glasgow jail for refusing to sit in the blacks-only section. Sister to Courage is a work of art-a generous batch of terrific stories that keep important history alive. Wanda Robson helps answer vital questions: Where did Viola Desmond come from? What gave her the courage and determination to become a successful female entrepreneur and a creative instructor in the arts of Black beauty care, and to play a role in the struggle for women’s and Black equality? These tender and often passionate chapters of life’s day-to-day struggle illuminate both a remarkable sister and the thoroughly entertaining Wanda Robson.

Read about Carrie Best, another African Canadian woman in Nova Scotia who, before Viola Desmond, had also challenged the New Glasgow theatre’s racial segregation policy (click here for an article from Ottawa Law Professor and Law Society Bencher Constance Backhouse).