It’s a weird feeling when you find people questioning something you would’ve thought was both obvious and widely accepted. That’s something that happened to me recently regarding the impact of human population on the environment, something we’ve been hearing is a problem from environmentalists for decades. That’s why I was surprised to read an article by Ketan Joshi talking about the problems in a recent film (which I haven’t seen) and being completely against the idea that we need to talk about population. In fact, he goes so far as to call population control “a cruel, evil and racist ideology.”
I had no idea how he had come to that conclusion, and I still don’t know how much of that was directed specifically at the film he was critiquing and how much was a general comment, but there was a Twitter thread by George Monbiot which is a good read and makes explicit a similar line of reasoning. His contention is that, although the majority of carbon emissions are by the, primarily white, ultra rich, people (particularly white people) prefer to blame population growth than the wealthy as it deflects responsibility from their own actions and that this is, intentionally or not, racist because those countries with the highest population growth rates have largely black or brown population. While I agree with several of his starting points, I think he makes several errors in reasoning as he builds upon them that undermines his conclusions and which I wish to address here. Continue reading →
People are very quick to make judgements, especially in our current society which seems to favour outrage as a response. This happens especially quickly when it comes to topics like sexism, racism and so on. These are all real problems which affect many people but we must be wary about jumping to conclusions without sufficient evidence.
There is an article in Slate magazine which talks about the Red Cross and racism. The starting point of that discussion was a 2014 safety campaign poster which was pulled last year for being “super-racist.” It earned that dubious distinction because:
A “cool” blonde girl waits her turn by the diving board, for example, and a “cool” fair-skinned dad minds his small child. The vast majority of the “not cool” rule breakers, meanwhile, have brown skin: One boy runs through a puddle, another dives too close to a swimmer, and a little black girl pushes a white girl into the pool.
I’ve mentioned, quite a few times, on this blog that causing offence should not be a reason to limit someone’s speech. Just because someone takes offence at something doesn’t mean that it is offensive. That is quite clearly illustrated by a particularly bigoted woman in California.
Tressy Capps was so offended by a house flying a Mexican flag in the United States of America that she actually stopped her car, went up to the house and told them off. She called it disrespectful and that if the house wanted to fly the Mexican flag then they should move to Mexico! I hope for her sake that she never travels to New York because that’s where the headquarters of the United Nations is and there are 192 foreign flags flying proudly. Continue reading →
It seems a graph in UCT’s student newspaper, Varsity Newspaper, has caused quite a bit of a stir after publishing a pie chart with the title, “UCT votes on most attractive race.” (Story on News24 and iol.)
With South Africa’s extreme sensitivity to racial issues it didn’t take long for people to start denouncing the paper. According to News24:
Some Twitter users, including human rights activist Zackie Achmat, voiced their disapproval. @ZackieAchmat referred to the chart as “racist nonsense”. Another user, @ednake89 tweeted “this is the kind of bullshit UCT’s Varsity newspaper publishes”.
You would think the president would make an effort to unite people to create a stable country where people can go about their lives in peace and equality. You’d be wrong. What we actually get is the president saying this:
Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way.
In the past weeks there have been two big news stories surrounding affirmative action and racism. First was the story that South African Airways was rejecting applications from Whites for their cadet pilot programme which was followed by news that Woolworths was excluding Whites from it’s recruitment process. SAA later ammended the programme to allow White applicants while Woolworths has denied the accusations of racist employment practices as they are in line with employment equity policies. SAA for example claims that 85% of it’s pilots are White compared to 9,2% of the general population so it was just trying to address the imbalance. While there may be an imbalance I believe that this is entirely the wrong way to go about fixing it. Continue reading →
I’m, rather slowly, working my way through Nick Cohen’s You Can’t Read This Book which is all about censorship in the modern and Western world. In it one of the things he says censors must do is manufacture offence. If you don’t like something pretend it’s offensive and blow it completely out of proportion, even if whatever you’re being offended about is totally innocuous. I’ve found there’s a great example both of manufacturing offence, blowing something out of proportion and then using that commotion to bully people into doing what you want. It’s all because of some new Addidas shoes… Continue reading →