Racism and discrimination 'rampant' throughout ranks of Canadian Armed Forces

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture
Racism and discrimination 'rampant' throughout ranks of Canadian Armed Forces

Frown

Issues Pages: 
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

While I know this is in some ways an old story this is a new report by the Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group.

Quote:

The report says culture at the bases/wings has created an environment that is untrusting, unfair and intolerable for many Aboriginal members.” The DAAG feels systemic discrimination is intact at all levels of Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces as many members of “the Defence team remain uneducated towards Canada’s Aboriginal people.” “Aboriginal members will continue to be discriminated and stereotyped against” and certain words and gestures will allow behaviours to continue.

The authors of the report believe some recommendations can be achieved quickly but initiatives will only be achieved through support at the national level. The report concludes there needs to be “serious consideration taken as this issue appears to be systemic. The number of Aboriginal members, civilian and military, is below standard and in order to increase numbers, change is vital.”

The authors feel the “abuse of authority will continue as the aggressors are protected” by their chain of command. “Victims are being forced out of the military, yet aggressors continue on – some excelling in their careers.”

http://aptnnews.ca/2017/01/19/racism-and-discrimination-rampant-througho...

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

What a phucking surprise. Canada's glorious, pristine armed forces racist?

I'm shocked.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

ikosmos wrote:

What a phucking surprise. Canada's glorious, pristine armed forces racist?

I'm shocked.

We have had lots of threads in the past on the racist nature of the armed forces so you will be in a very small minority of people who are shocked. Your use of sarcastic humour does a disservice to the men and women who the report is about. One gets a sense that these were young people who unlike you or me may indeed have bought into the glory or war mentality.

Paladin1

I work with a few Aboriginal members and while discussing sexual harassment and assault in the work place the topic of racisim came up.  Obviously a small pool but they said they've never had someone at our work be racist towards them. Elsewhere though there are some pretty brutal stories about racisim, abuse of authority and dishonourable behavior.

 

The military is a unique working environment where a pissed off boss could theoretically have you move across the country. Family can't come? Too fucking bad. The capacity for abusers to get away with harassment (and assault) is huge.

 

 

Slightly related

http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2016/06/22/petawawas-2cmbg-forms-task-for...

Petawawa's 2CMBG forms Task Force Tomahawk

Quote:

As it embarks on the road to high readiness once more, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group announced Tuesday the creation of a new task force that honours the warrior culture of Canada’s First Nations.

More than 700 troops gathered in a large circle on Simmonds Parade Square to mark the standing-up of Task Force Tomahawk, the name of the Canadian Army's next high readiness task force which will begin training at Petawawa on July 17.

Symbolic of the new name that 2 Brigade will use moving forward when it deploys on domestic or international operations, Chief Kirby Whiteduck, of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, presented 2CMBG commander Col. Conrad Mialkowski with a 5,000-year-old stone tomahawk. The ceremony was held to coincide with National Aboriginal Day.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Paladin1 wrote:

I work with a few Aboriginal members and while discussing sexual harassment and assault in the work place the topic of racisim came up.  Obviously a small pool but they said they've never had someone at our work be racist towards them. Elsewhere though there are some pretty brutal stories about racisim, abuse of authority and dishonourable behavior.

That is to be expected from those kinds of discussions. I would think it does not feel safe for minorities in a workplace to tell the majority of the people who are all staring at them in a discussion group that yes indeed some of you are guilty of using racist stereotypes. Unless you want to make a formal complaint no one is going to answer a question like that with a yes because the next question will always be who, what and when.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

I work with a few Aboriginal members and while discussing sexual harassment and assault in the work place the topic of racisim came up.  Obviously a small pool but they said they've never had someone at our work be racist towards them. Elsewhere though there are some pretty brutal stories about racisim, abuse of authority and dishonourable behavior.

That is to be expected from those kinds of discussions. I would think it does not feel safe for minorities in a workplace to tell the majority of the people who are all staring at them in a discussion group that yes indeed some of you are guilty of using racist stereotypes. Unless you want to make a formal complaint no one is going to answer a question like that with a yes because the next question will always be who, what and when.

While true there is also another dynamic. It is common to thank a person for doing something they are not doing in the hope they start doing it. I am sure it is not difficult to see how this applies here. A polite denial of a problem in a context like this can be an expression of hope and a request as much as it is a statement of fact -- or more so.

This is why racism and sexism have to be addressed in confidence and anonymously. It will never come up -- or will be minimized -- otherwise.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

This is why racism and sexism have to be addressed in confidence and anonymously. It will never come up -- or will be minimized -- otherwise.

Its difficult to know how to do training to address the culture of the majority.  The fiasco with the cops in Thunder Bay highlights how pervasive systemic discrimination is and how hard it is to get people who engage in it to recognize it for what it is and to stop. For anyone in the military to think it isn't a problem means they are either being willfully blind or hopelessly optimistic. 

http://rabble.ca/babble/aboriginal-issues-and-culture/indigenous-sensiti...

Paladin1

kropotkin1951 wrote:

 

Its difficult to know how to do training to address the culture of the majority.  The fiasco with the cops in Thunder Bay highlights how pervasive systemic discrimination is and how hard it is to get people who engage in it to recognize it for what it is and to stop. For anyone in the military to think it isn't a problem means they are either being willfully blind or hopelessly optimistic. 

 

I'm sure there are some who think it isn't a problem and I agree they're the willfully blind but a lot of others realize it is a problem. Some workplaces in the military have more overt cases of it than others. In some work places you'll find yourself in a fist fight if you say something that significantly offends someone.

Members of the military have begun being forced out because of sexual misconduct, I hope that extends to displays of racisim and seriously unethical behavior.

 

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Ward

The progress of civilization is a double edged sword. The reunification of humanity over this last little while is a beautiful  chaos of clashing cultures. The advantage will fall to the early adopters of other  cultures strengths.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Paladin1 wrote:

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Absolutely, calling out racists is one of my favourite uses of my white male privilege.

Paladin1

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Absolutely, calling out racists is one of my favourite uses of my white male privilege.

Would you consider yourself racist as well?

And I agree (I think). Being a white male puts me in a privilaged position to call out racisim.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Absolutely, calling out racists is one of my favourite uses of my white male privilege.

Krop...are you really saying that it's white privelege for whites to call out white racism? 

What would be your privilege-checking alternative to that?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Absolutely, calling out racists is one of my favourite uses of my white male privilege.

Krop...are you really saying that it's white privelege for whites to call out white racism? 

What would be your privilege-checking alternative to that?

 I am trying to say that because I have white male privilege I can get away with calling out racists and it is far riskier career and otherwise for a POC to do the same thing. We get a strong voice in this society because of our gender and racial profile so I say lets use it to fight racism.

jjuares

Any organization that is hierarchical in nature and depends upon unquestioning obedience is going to be prone to develop an abusive culture.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

As far as addressing it anonymously I think it needs to be the opposite for non-victims. People need to start speaking up and saying 'that joke isn't funny' or 'thats not appropriate' in order to develop a culture of change.

Absolutely, calling out racists is one of my favourite uses of my white male privilege.

Krop...are you really saying that it's white privelege for whites to call out white racism? 

What would be your privilege-checking alternative to that?

 I am trying to say that because I have white male privilege I can get away with calling out racists and it is far riskier career and otherwise for a POC to do the same thing. We get a strong voice in this society because of our gender and racial profile so I say lets use it to fight racism.

OK, I agree with that.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

jjuares wrote:
Any organization that is hierarchical in nature and depends upon unquestioning obedience is going to be prone to develop an abusive culture.

As illustrated in the last verse of Whoever Invented The Fishfinger?, by Leon Rosselson:

Whoever invented the Policeman,
ought to be licked into shape.
Toughened and trained, ’til the body’s a cane
’til the arms are a chain, ’til the nerves feel no pain,
’til obedience rules and encircles the brain,
With walls so he’ll never escape.

Because who’d do that to a child,
jumping with joy and desire.
Floating in fantasies, drowning in dreams,
Brimming with feelings of fire.

And progress, is all very well,
but not when it locks up our dreams.
And it’s hard to feel, at ease in the world,
when nothing is what it seems.

 

Paladin1

jjuares wrote:
Any organization that is hierarchical in nature and depends upon unquestioning obedience is going to be prone to develop an abusive culture.

 

The unquestioning obedience isn't exactly accurate. There are times when you require the unquestioning obedience portion (lets call a spade a spade, brainwashing)  but soldiers today are trained to be thinkers too.

Just this summer I posed a question; what would you do as a leader when a soldier who appears male approaches you and tells you that they identify as female and they are being harassed by other females for using their bathroom facilities. It was a pretty surprising debate.

The "abusive" culture has changed over the years. For example a "drill instructor" can give candidates push-ups for punishment, however, the instructor is required to do the push-ups along with the candidates.