Advertisement
Advertisement
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM

                     Three White Men Debating Social Justice An Insult

 

By Terri Chu

If you want to understand someone, walk a mile in his or her shoes, or so the saying goes. 

No matter how hard someone might try to empathize, unless you are black, one will not understand what it feels like to be stopped on the street for the crime of being black. No amount of empathy will help someone understand the harassment that women in the workplace face day in and day out if they are not a woman.  No amount of empathy will help someone who is not aboriginal understand what it’s like trying to function as an adult when you were ripped away from your family and repeatedly raped by the very people who were supposed to be educating you. 

For those of us who would like to get a flavor of what social injustice means, hearing from someone who has faced it would be a great start. 

In its attempt to educate the next generation on the pressing issues of our time, Victoria College at the University of Toronto is hosting a debate this week on the existence of social justice. Their students, rather than hearing from someone from any of the above groups who have suffered social injustice, have decided their students are best served hearing with three affluent men from privileged backgrounds.  To add insult to injury, these three white males will “debate” on the existence of social injustice because clearly their diversity will be eye opening for young impressionable minds. 

Black people are three times more likely to be carded by police than white people. How does this simple act amount to a social injustice? How often are black men late for appointments or interviews because they were stopped for no reason? How does this factor into their ability to get good jobs, or climb the corporate ladder? Will any of the three panelists share how being unjustly arrested has impacted their career opportunities?

Depending on how the math is done, women still make between 67 and 87 cents on the dollar that men make.  Some of this is attributed to women going into lower paying fields, though even some of those fields, which require a huge amount of education, are still lower paying than "male professions."  Within the same field (same workplace even), women are often paid less than men for the same job.  From personal experience, I was paid less as an engineering consultant than a less qualified male coworker despite the fact my billable rates were higher.  I wish I could say I am an anomaly.  My negotiating tactic? Asking my boss flat out how they justified paying me less when they got more for my work. 

The gender wage gap exists, no matter how you calculate or justify it.  What will three men, have to say about being valued less than their colleagues and how it shaped their career choices?  

Aboriginal people are over represented in our prison system, under represented in tertiary education, and practically nonexistent in our political system.  Will any of the three panelists at U of T share with us what it is like to live with without clean drinking water? Will they tell us their stories about their struggles both during, and after being abused by their educators in residential schools? 

If U of T is going to have a meaningful debate about whether or not social injustice exists, they need to start with bringing in panelists who have suffered what they might call injustice.  As it stands, the message they are sending their students is that no woman or minority is either rich or influential enough to have a valid opinion on social injustice. The foxes often don’t feel that chickens are victimized at all.  Perhaps the debate is over before it even starts.

 

Terri Chu is an expert in energy systems, with a Masters in Engineering specializing in urban energy systems. Terri founded the grassroots organization "Why Should I Care", a not for profit dedicated to engaging people on issues of public policy.

 

 

 

Posted date : October 02, 2017
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM
A recent poll shows Patrick Brown's PCs in a virtual tie with Kathleen Wynne's Liberals for voter support. Are we headed for a minority government?
January 21, 2018
The latest Forum poll shows little change, but trends over the last 18 months say a lot. They may mean a big opening for the Andrea Howath.
January 17, 2018
A new poll says only 37% of Canadians approve of the job the Trudeau Liberals are doing. We asked Richard Mahoney, Will Stewart and Tom Parkin what the numbers really mean.
January 16, 2018
As the Tim Horton's brand takes a national pounding after a franchise counters the minimum wage hike by taking away benefits, labour may become an election issue.
January 15, 2018
Will CPC Leader Scheer's move to kick Beyak out of the CPC caucus hurt him with some supporters? Mahoney, Stewart and Parkin weigh in.
January 09, 2018
Voter participation has been declining in the 21st century. Are Ontario voters interested enough in the upcoming election to vote?
January 07, 2018
What will 2018 bring for each of the three federal parties and their leaders in 2018? We asked Richard Mahoney, Will Stewart and Tom Parkin.
January 02, 2018
A new $15 minimum wage has gotten most of the attention, but there are other significant changes in Ontario's new labour legislation.
December 20, 2017
An Ontario judge has ruled "administrative segregation" should be limited to 5 days only. Mahoney, Stewart and Parkin debate banning it altogether.
December 19, 2017
Is the centre-left getting crowded? The PC's, Liberals and NDP all seem to be targeting voters there. Which will win them?
December 13, 2017
The Liberals won three of four by-elections this week, including a seat in an area they haven't taken since 1949. What do the results mean? Mahoney, Stewart and Parkin debate.
December 12, 2017
Canada is redoubling diplomatic efforts to avoid the threat of nuclear weapons hitting Canada and the U.S. Mahoney, Stewart and Parkin on what can be done.
December 05, 2017