Web Discussion 1: Identity and Multiculturalism in Canada, Topic 3
Give an example of a recent discussion in the media about a cultural practice of an ethnic group that contradicts the liberal values of modern society. How do individuals in modern societies react to such traditional practices? In what way is this practice represented? Is the opinion of the people of the ethnic group involved taken into account in this media discussion? Do you think that the group and the group members are being represented fairly? Why or why not?
Identity and Multiculturalism in Canada
Modern liberal values and Islamophobia
by Lauren Allen – Wednesday, 13 January 2021, 8:12 PM
Number of replies: 1
There has been an ongoing discussion in the media, particularly European media, surrounding whether schools should provide pork-free options to accommodate students whose religious beliefs do not allow it. Although individuals in most modern societies may react with relative indifference towards the decision (as long as it does not interfere with their own ability to consume pork) representations of Muslims in the media have seen negative stereotypes increase with regard to any associated cultural practices. Perhaps there is a fear that allowing one practice may lead to the false assumption that all connected practices will also be condoned.
The increasing Islamophobia (particularly that perpetrated by American media) seen after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 propelled the increasing scrutiny of all Islamic practices for years to come. Sweeping generalizations surrounding practices such as arranged marriage, Sharia Islamic law, honor killings, and female genital mutilation (which are not only practiced by various non-Muslim ethnic groups but also varied among Islamic communities) became associated with all practicing Muslims and innocuous practices such as the wearing of headscarves/coverings or refusal to eat pork products. Particularly with France, we can see an extreme case as there have been many instances of Islamophobia that play out in the discussions surrounding the banning of religious coverings and full-body bathing suits. There was also one instance of a false news story being circulated that a Muslim family petitioned a school to ban pork for all students, painting Muslim families who ask for alternative meals as intolerant and determined to shape European communities to fit their own beliefs. Though it was proven false by various fact-checking organizations, the damage caused is immeasurable. As we continue to see, those who have not received proper education with regards to fake news are less likely to fact-check the content they consume and will likely believe what they have access to without further scrutiny.
In media reports Muslim voices are very rarely highlighted or the voice of one member is taken to be representative of all despite the diversity of belief within the Muslim community. I do not think that they are being represented fairly as many Judeo-Christian groups also limit or prohibit the consumption of pork. In many liberal countries, there is no added stigma attached to requesting vegan or gluten-free meals and it is often viewed as an individual right. However, there seems to be a double standard when there is a religious association. In recent years there has been many more discussions on diversity, but I have also seen an increase in oversimplification particularly with regards to minority groups such as Muslims in North America and Europe.
Web Discussion 2: Nation-building and belonging, Topic 2
Do you think that clear regional identities exist in Canada? Are they attached to regions or to provinces? If you are Canadian, do you feel a regional sense of identity? If you do, try to define what it is that makes you feel a sense of belonging to your region. In what way is regionalism associated with the history and politics of Canada?
Newfoundland Regional Identity
by Ryan Collins – Monday, 12 April 2021, 11:26 PM
Number of replies: 1
I certainly think that clear regional identities exist within the Canadian social landscape. I was born and raised in Newfoundland, a people who are known for having fierce pride in where they are from. I would argue that regional identities exist in both regional and provincial contexts. I identify as a Newfoundland first and foremost, even before that as a Canadian, this is certainly a provincially-based regional identity. However, when I am within Newfoundland I would typically identify as a Townie. Those who are from the city of St. John’s are given the designation of Townie while everyone else is a Bayman. I find my sense of Newfoundland pride in our culture, accent, and grit. Newfoundland is one of the ‘have not’ provinces and has a long history of its people suffering through economic disasters and exploitation by the larger provinces. As a result, Newfoundlands have a shared pride in maintaining positive attitudes and compassion for one another despite our poor state of affairs. I would say that regionalism is formed through shared experiences of success and hardship, and also through conflict.
Web Discussion 3: Inequality and Difference in Canada, Topic 3
What is heteronormativity? Why do you think that it is significant that the invention of the word homosexual preceded the creation of the term heterosexual? (Gannon & Easton, 2012, p. 244) In what way is heteronormativity oppressive to members of the LGBTTIQ community? Provide specific examples in your posting.
Inequality and Difference in Canada
by MUXIN WU – Monday, 30 December 2019, 3:33 AM
Number of replies: 5
Heteronormativity is the view that heterosexuality is the default or normal sexual orientation. Normally, the described ideology is powerful, and it assumes that individuals’ attraction to the opposite sex is the universal norm and natural to all humans (Peake, 2016; Marchia & Sommer, 2019). The described perspective is prevalent in most societies where people consider homosexuality to be unnatural, and people treat gays with suspicion.
The book indicates that experts defined the term homosexuality in 1869, and afterward, in 1892, researchers formulated an explanation for heterosexuality (Gannon & Easton, 2012). The belief that homosexuality was abnormal made professionals focus on this area as they attempted to expound on the causes of this behavior. During this period, research studies sought to understand the contribution of biological and environmental factors on homosexuality activities (Gannon & Easton, 2012). Individuals did not feel that it was significant to define heterosexuality since this was the norm, while homosexuality was unusual.
In many instances, heteronormativity is oppressive to the LGBTTIQ people since it portrays the group as being abnormal. Besides this, it implies that individuals make deliberate attempts to deviate from social norms. Ideally, heteronormativity reinforces negative beliefs about homosexuality and serves as a basis for criminalization in most countries. For instance, people who are opposed to homosexuality tend to suggest that the behavior is due to environmental factors and not biological. Another example is the portrayal of heterosexual relations as being ideal while homosexual unions as anomalous.
Gannon, S. & Easton, L. (2012). Sexual diversity in Canada. In P. U. Angelini (Ed.), Our society: Human diversity in Canada (pp. 241–255). Toronto: Nelson Education.
Marchia, J., & Sommer, J. M. (2019). (Re)defining heteronormativity. Sexualities, 22(3), 267-295. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460717741801
Peake, L. (2016). Heteronormativity. In The Routledge research companion to critical geopolitics (pp. 111-130). Routledge.