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tensions rise: update on the (proposed) $700 donation to gaza flotilla Does your bar contain these items? Because it should. page 3

Build-a-bar part 1!

the ubyssey

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NOVEMBER 25, 2010 • volume 92, number xxiii • room 24, student union building • published monday and thursday • feedback@ubyssey.ca


2 / u b y s s e y. c a / e v e n t s / 2 0 1 0 . 11 . 2 5 november 25, 2010 volume xcii, no xxiii editorial coordinating editor

Justin McElroy : coordinating@ubyssey.ca

news editor

Arshy Mann : news@ubyssey.ca

associate news editor

Sally Crampton : associate.news@ubyssey.ca

culture editors

Jonny Wakefield & Bryce Warnes : culture@ubyssey.ca

associate culture editor

Anna Zoria : associate.culture@ubyssey.ca

sports editor Vacant

features editor

Trevor Record : features@ubyssey.ca

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Geoff Lister : photos@ubyssey.ca

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events correction In the November 22 issue of The ubyssey, the article “Burlesque! The Feature” incorrectly stated that Cheesecake Burlesque, Naughty and Spice and Girls on Top Cabaret were Vancouver burlesque troupes. The first two troupes are from Vancouver Island, and the latter no longer exists. It also incorrectly identified the author Siri Williams, who is a solo performer, as a member of a burlesque troupe. This was an editorial mistake. Another article “Debate over animal testing at UBC” had the author’s name mispelled as Fabrizio Stendaro. His correct name is Fabrizio Stendardo. The ubyssey regrets these errors.

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contributors Blake Frederick Catherine Guan Kasha Chang Jenica Chuahiock Austin Holm Kalyeena Makortoff Miranda Martini Anna Kouzovleva Kait Bolongaro Conrad Compagna Gordon Katic Raymond Huang Lani Russwurm Andrew Williams Jon Chiang Josh Curran Charles To

us create this baby! Learn about layout and editing. Expect to be fed. • Every Sunday and Wednesday, 2pm. multiversity galleries curator tours • Learn about a dif-

ferent aspect of the Multiversity Galleries from a different curator every week. From the local to the global and the mundane to the arcane, let the experts introduce you to the objects that intrigue them most. Along the way, you’ll gain fresh perspectives related to collecting, consulting, researching, interpreting and exhibiting in the Museum. • Tuesdays 1–2pm, Museum of Anthropology, $14/12 included with admission, free with UBC student ID.

thursday, nov. 25 link dance: experiments (excerpt) • Dance collides with sci-

ence in Experiments, Gail Lotenberg’s exciting new work for her company LINK Dance. A collaboration with four ecologists, specialists in the study of movement and behaviour. The work combines fluent dancing with sound, light and video, to investigate how two separate disciplines embrace logic, experimentation and creativity. • 12pm, Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St, $10 adults, $8 students.

lace up for kids • Come lace up

and make a difference in the lives of children living with a rare disease. Lace Up for Kids is UBC REC’s student-driven charity event that is a great opportunity for individuals or teams to give back. All proceeds will go towards the BC Children’s Hospital Rare Disease Foundation Fund to support life-saving microgrant research. • 6pm– 2am, Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, register by Nov. 18.

ubc robson square rodeo • Pull

on your cowboy boots, iron your best plaid shirt and shout “yeehaaaaaww” when you head to The Bourbon Country Bar, to help find the best bull rider in town while raising awareness and money for United Way. Feel free to lasso some of your friends and family and bring them along. Saddle up and hold on tight as you watch some of the wildest bullriders in town tame the most notorious bull of Vancouver. • 5–7pm, The Bourbon Country Bar, 50 West Cordova Street, $15 includes buffet dinner, one drink of your choice, a ticket in the raffle for a 19” flatscreen TV and your chance to ride the bull. Call (604) 328-0913 or e-mail janice.lee@ubc.ca for tickets. global leadership: perspectives of a former refugee •

Veronica Fynn, former WUSC

student and one of the founders of the Africa Awareness Initiative, will speak at UBC on November 25. There will be a dynamic discussion on the Farchana Manifesto, a document from the women of the Farchana refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan demanding equal rights for women. Light refreshments will be provided. • 5–7pm, Liu Institute for Global Issues, free.

friday, nov. 26 aus first-year commitee presents: the no pants dance • The

AUS First Year Committee presents the No Pants Dance— yes, you read that right. Give your jeans a vacation in the laundry heap and come all dressed down! Featuring a photo booth and the Pants Off Dance Off, fun and surprises (possibly in the form of Spiderman boxers) are guaranteed for this exciting night. • 9pm-12am, Mass Buchanan D, $10, $12 at the door, $1 for coat check, tickets available at the Totem Park and Place Vanier residence commons and the bus loop by the REC Centre.

jade in the coal • In 1900, the hardships of Chinese coal-miners in Cumberland, BC are relieved by a Cantonese opera troupe. As the actors rehearse, the mine’s ghosts stir and reveal a terrible secret from the past. Written by Governor General’s Award-winning writer Paul Yee, with original music performed live by a six-piece Cantonese opera ensemble. • 7:30–9:30pm, Freddy Wood Theatre, $102/78/48 package tickets, $22/15/10 single tickets, e-mail theatre@interchange@ubc.ca or call at (604) 822-2678 for more information. ubc eli: international night •

Are you ready for a night of cultural immersion, music, performance and a riotous dance party? Then join us for the English Language Institute’s International Night. There will be cultural displays, an international food

fair, performances and demonstrations of unique talents. To top it all off, a DJ will spin tunes to guarantee groovy moves on the dance floor. • 7–11:30pm, SUB Ballroom, $3 (includes small tasters of international cuisine), bring two pieces of ID to purchase alcoholic beverages. rubber soul: rock for aids concert • Rubber Soul is set to rock

out for the first time in Vancouver. Rubber Soul first began in 2008 in the Hongdae district of South Korea. Expats living in Korea teamed up with local Koreans to promote awareness of HIV and raise money for Little Travellers and Grassroots Uganda. All proceeds from their concert will go towards the fight against HIV/AIDS. • 8pm–1am, The Pit and The Gallery, $12 at The Outpost, $15 at the door.

saturday, nov. 27 wreath-making course • Guided by experts Moya Drummond and Judy Newton, you will learn tips and techniques for making your very own natural holiday creation. Participants will leave with their own beautiful and handmade wreath to decorate their door or to give to a friend. You will be outdoors for brief periods of time, so please dress appropriately. Please bring your own pair of secateurs and gardening gloves. • 9am–12pm, $60 public, $55 garden members and students, reservation required, e-mail botg@interchange.ubc.ca to book.

sunday, nov. 28 opera teas on the stage • UBC Opera Ensemble presents their newest series, Opera Teas on the Stage, with shortened versions of operas in a cabaret setting on the stage of their new theatre. • 2–4pm, UBC Old Auditorium, 6344 Memorial Rd, $20 adults, $15 students and seniors, reservations required, call (604) 822-6725 to reserve.

legal The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Monday and Thursday by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your phone number, student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done by phone. “Perspectives” are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and are run according to space. “Freestyles” are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be given to letters and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion pieces will not be run until the identity of the writer has been verified. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by 12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after this point will be published in the following issue unless there is an urgent time restriction or other matter deemed relevant by the Ubyssey staff. It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.

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News

editor ARSHY MANN » news@ubyssey.ca associate SALLY CRAMPTON » associate.news@ubyssey.ca

Vancouver schools facing potential closures Jenica Chuahiock jchuahiock@ubyssey.ca Schools in Vancouver have been falling short in funding, leading the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to tighten its belt and begin considering school closures and program cutbacks. Earlier this year, the VSB confirmed that there was a budget shortfall of $17.2 million, a staggering deficit that is now being addressed with drastic cuts. The deficit for 2010-2011 is the second largest shortfall amount since 2002-2003, which had a $25.5 million shortfall. The VSB also predicts further deficits in the next school years, with $9.6 million by 2011-2012, and $5.7 million by 2012-2013. “We are in the midst of a perfect storm,” wrote Steven Cardwell, the VSB superintendent of schools. “[This] shortfall represents the culmination of declining enrolment, loss of Ministry of Education grants, and escalating operating costs.” As Cardwell stated, problems like declining student enrolment and demographic trends have resulted in a drop in provincial funding. However, while public school enrolments are decreasing, the VSB still faces the fixed operating costs and some inf lating costs, such as the teachers’ annual salary increase. Despite the VSB trustees’ appeal for more provincial grants, the Ministry of Education has refused to further fund the deficit. As a result, the VSB had to draft cost-saving plans involving cuts and closures. VSB Chairperson Patti Bacchus admitted

Queen Alexandra Elementry School . Raymond Huang/the ubyssey

the consequences of these cost saving plans. “It’s heart wrenching,” she said. “I accept that we have to make hard choices. [But] I think...it’s going to come at a very high cost to us collectively.” Last April, the VSB released proposals to balance the deficit, stating reductions in instructional staff, supplies, administration and transportation. Later that month, the VSB adopted a new local school calendar for 2010-2011, which removed ten regular schools. This new calendar alone would save an estimated $1 million for the VSB. In June, after the VSB submitted their balanced budget and cost-saving proposals, the Ministry of Finance issued a 94page budget report to the Minister of Education. The “Report

on the Vancouver School Board,” written by Comptroller General Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland, was a financial analysis and included recommendations for the VSB. However, the report also included strong criticisms of the VSB’s management and operation. “The Board of Trustees [in the VSB] does not take a balanced approach to its accountabilities, focusing on advocacy at the expense of stewardship,” wrote Wenezenki-Yolland. Criticism ranged from budget management, to conflicting interests among trustees, to a lack of integrity. The recommendations generally involve raising rental and service rates, as well as closing low capacity facilities, all of which could potentially save millions of dollars for the VSB.

The most controversial issue is the potential closure of five eastside schools: Carleton Elementary, Champlain Heights Annex, Sir William Macdonald Elementary, Sir Richard McBride Annex and Queen Alexandra Elementary. These schools are said to be operating at less than 70 per cent capacity. Public reaction to the potential closure of these eastside schools sparked public protest, most especially concerning support for special children, immigrants and aboriginal families. However, current Minister of Education George Abbott argues the economic necessity of these closure. “No one will deny the decision to close schools is a difficult one for any board of education,” he said. “However, given the particular circumstances in the Vancouver school district, it is entirely reasonable for this board to consider consolidating schools that are half empty.” The five schools are currently undergoing evaluation, and no final decision will be made until December 2010. Despite conf licts with the Ministry of Education, the VSB along with protestors and advocacy groups, are still hoping to pressure more funds from the provincial government. “We know that education is more critical than ever for the health of economies, and for individuals to even have a chance to make a living in Vancouver,” said Bacchus. “Education should be universally accessible to everyone. This is something we have that is worth saving, [and] worth making even better.” U

New Cheeze one step closer to reality Sally Crampton associate.news@ubyssey.ca They say age doesn’t matter, except when it comes to cheese. But the “Cheeze” is one of the oldest buildings on campus and Engineering students are about to get a new one. First-stage plans for a new Engineering Student Centre were approved by the UBC Board of Govenors on Tuesday. The next step is to hire the architects for the building. Talks for a new “Cheeze factory,” as the current Engineering Student Centre is colloquially called, began in 2007, with a referendum passing in 2008 agreeing that a new centre was needed. Dr Tyseer Aboulnasr, Dean of Engineering, said a lot of planning had gone into preparing the initial plans which were passed on Tuesday. “A Feasibility Study conducted by Johnston Davidson Architects (completed in August 2010) provided valuable information to facilitate moving the project through the UBC development process,” she said. However, when construction on the building will start is heavily dependent on whether or not

enough funds can be raised. Although the current schedule expects completion of the building in May 2013, Aboulansr said that this “is dependent upon a successful fundraising effort to contribute $2.41 million to the $5.07 million capital cost.” She continued, “There is an active campaign committee which is working hard on fundraising and hopes to see significant results in the coming year.” EUS President Linn Watt said there are still many hurdles to overcome before the project can fully take off. “The biggest challenge with our project is the short timeline we have for fundraising.  Students are contributing $2.4 million of our $5 million project budget through a student fee and UBC has granted us $250,000 from the Informal Learning Space Committee. “However, a matching $2.4 million needs to be fundraised from alumni and industry before construction can begin,” she said. Presently, there are also talks about possibly including a microbrewery in the new building. Plans emerged after a student team chose to study the technical and business feasibility of a

A lonely cup sits by the old Cheeze. Josh Curran Photo/The Ubyssey

microbrewery, as part of a course in which they are enrolled. “A microbrewery is currently being designed by a group of graduating chemical engineering students as part of their capstone design project course,” said Watt. However, she continued, “the feasibility of implementing the microbrewery in the ESC has not been determined yet.”

With regards to the design process, “ENDS students are studying the site of the ESC and are preparing potential design responses to the program of t he ESC facilit y on its site,” said Aboulnasr. These results will be presented in early December and will be taken into consideration in t he design process. U

Gaza flotilla update— SPHR President escorted out of ahmadian’s office AMS President Bijan Ahmadian had security escort Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) president Omar Shaban from his office Wednesday, as the controversy surrounding a proposed $700 donation to a Canadian flotilla to Gaza from an AMS club continue to mount. “Shaken from the physical intimidation by the SPHR President at my office today. Had to call security to remove him!” tweeted Ahmadian after the incident. According to members of the Social Justice Centre (SJC), the Resource Group attempting to donate the money from their budget, Shaban and two SJC members had gone to Ahmadian’s office to ask for the minutes and question the legality of the November 18 meeting where he announced that the transfer of money from the AMS to the SJC, normally a perfunctory matter, would be subject to approval from council. Since the decision was reported by The Ubyssey on Monday, Ahmadian has come under attack—much of it personal—from the SJC and others for what they perceive as interfering in the autonomy of the resource groups, which collectively receive $1.50 from every student, for political purposes. Ahmadian contended that the decision was an administrative one. “The AMS respects the autonomy that is given to our student groups within our rules,” he said in a press release. “AMS executives have a fiduciary duty to exercise due diligence in handling student fees that the AMS collects, and AMS Council has the final jurisdiction on resolution of matters relating to such fees.” However, VP Finance Elin Tayyar told The Ubyssey that while he did not complain about the transfer, as was originally reported, he felt it would be best to delegate the decision to council due to its controversial nature. “I, like all other executives, report to Council, and I felt that a decision which may have not only great PR implications but also set a precedence for all future actions and transactions by resource groups is important enough to be decided by Council.” Ahmadian said that the choice to allow Council to make the decision was not an explicit motion by the executive committee, but came after discussions revealed a majority of the group—specifically, VP Finance Elin Tayyar and VP Academic Ben Cappellacci—were in favour of deferring. Ahmadian also said that complaints made that the SJC had not conducted a proper Annual General Meeting factored into the decision to leave the approval of the transfer to AMS Council, and that the Student Administrative Commission (SAC) was currently investigating the situation. However, members of the SJC, as well as a member of SAC, said that justification—as well as the investigation—was made after the original decision to freeze the donation. U — Justin McElroy


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culture

editorS BRYCE WARNES & JONNY WAKEFIELD » culture@ubyssey.ca ASSOCIATE ANNA ZORIA » associate.culture@ubyssey.ca

Purls of wisdom from yarn bombers

ART

food with kait bolongaro

Catherine Guan Contributor Revolutions tend to be bloody affairs with rifles, bullets and cries of despair. This modern revolution is a whimsical movement with needles and yarn. All is silent save the occasional groan: “Damn, I dropped a stitch.” Yarn bombing, a new form of street art, has been gaining momentum in recent years. Mandy Moore, the Vancouver-based coauthor of the book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, describes the practice as “a way for textile artists to let off steam creatively.” Guerilla knitters install pieces of knit or crochet in a public space, often resembling leg warmers misappropriated for telephone posts. Moore and co-author Leanne Prain trace the movement back to a Texas crew in 2005. Since the crew, “Knitta Please,” tagged a doorknob in Houston, the practice of yarn bombing has won an international following. Countries such as Australia, Britain and Canada all have active yarn bombers. “I actually discovered [yarn bombing] by myself and only heard about the movement afterwards,” said Jessica Glesby. Now completing her Masters in Art Education at UBC, she is writing her thesis on the subject. She has taught yarn bombing to students in University

Sex and snacks

Yarn bombing: the coziest form of graffiti. david marino Photo/The Ubyssey

Hill Secondary School, urging students to “transform a [cold] space into something warm.” Empowerment, according to Glesby, is central to yarn bombing. The act enables individuals to reclaim public spaces filled with “massproduced, blasé street furniture.” She is represent at ive of a new knitting renaissance. There is a growing population of knitters under the age of 35, and yarn bombing is a facet of this trend. Almost simultaneously, “Stitch and Bitch” groups have become popular among the urban set. The kick-ass designs and stealthy ninja techniques used in Yarn Bombing are definitely not your grandmother’s tea cozy.

One particularly memorable image from the book is a pink crocheted army tank cozy. “The Hare,” a 200-foot-long knitted pink bunny by yarn bomber Gelatin, is also pretty impressive. Glesby concedes that cynics have labeled yarn bombs as “a waste…an eyesore.” She believes, however, that craft is transformed into art when it conveys meaning. Her knit-covered bicycle subversively comments on how the machine liberated women from house confinement and needlework. Teaching her students, Glesby noticed it appealed to both males and females. Indeed, more and more men are picking up knitting needles. Musician Chris Martin

of Coldplay and tight end Randy Grossman of the Pittsburgh Steelers are both avid knitters. Moore has great ambitions for the movement, hoping to achieve “world domination t hrough yarn.” Guerilla knitters, this is a call to arms. Warm up this record breaking winter with yarn bombs. But heed Glesby’s advice: “White yarn, fire hydrants and dogs passing by are not a good combination.” U

U

Online exclusives

See footage of local yarn bombers in action, as well as a review of the Belkin’s documentary series at ubyssey.ca/culture.

Graphic gifts for good girls and boys

Books

feats of Edwardian badassery. Fans of zombie comics will like it tons. Fans of Jane Austen should maybe just read Pride & Prejudice.

comics with miranda martini There are ice f loes in your c of fee. Pen guins are sliding around Wreck Beach. Being outside for upwards of two minutes is agony. Winter is making itself at home and that means holiday shopping is right around the corner. In this joyous season of ritualised consumerism, why not spend your hard-earned dollars on gifts that your friends and loved ones actually need— for instance, that amazing new Charles Burns release from Pantheon they’ve been dying to get their hands on?* To make your shopping easier, I’ve compiled a shortlist of 2010’s best releases for the bibliophile or pictophile in your life. Here they are, in no particular order:

Food & Drink

Inkstuds—Robin McConnell Vancouver’s very own inkstud, Robin McConnell, has collected 30 of his interviews with North American alt comic artists from the archive built up over the past five years on his CiTR radio show. If you listen to Inkstuds, you know this is definitely worth having on your shelf. If you’re not a listener, buy the book and then get on it. Where have you been? This is not Batman. virginie menard illustration/The Ubyssey

the holidays may seem counterintuitive, like reading Bleak House at Christmastime instead of A Christmas Carol. For my money, though, a healthy dose of sad, poetic fiddler-on-the-roofiness can be just the ticket on a cold winter’s night.

Market Day—James Sturm

Machine of Death—Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo & David Malki

Beautiful, stark and delicate as a snowflake, James Sturm’s tale about a rug-maker who struggles to ply his trade in a rapidly industrializing world is a born classic. Picking up such a downer over

This isn’t a comic, but an anthology of short stories penned and illustrated by some of the brightest stars in web and print comics. Each story is based around the premise that a machine has

been invented that can tell you how you are going to die. Anyone with a slightly morbid sense of humour will delight to find this in their stocking. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—Seth GrahameSmith, Tony Lee & Cliff Richards I will admit I’m not a big zombie person. The graphic novel adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s hugely popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is pretty much exactly what you’d expect: page after page of the Bennet girls lifting voluminous petticoats to perform

75 Years Of DC Comics: The Art Of Modern Mythmaking—Paul Levitz Don’t get this for anyone if you’re not expecting a diamond ring or a pony in return; it costs $200 and weighs about its worth in gold. But for the true believer, with over 2000 pages of images and Levitz’s in-depth essays, it’ll be an indispensable wealth of knowledge on the great-granddaddy of print comics. (More on this in January, when I tell you all about my DC-related New Year’s resolution!) *Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about surprising a favourite columnist with a little holiday token of esteem. U

Since antiquity, certain foods have been purportedly ‘sexier’ than others—figs, avocadoes, a lmonds, honey and chocolate among them. The ancients believed that consuming these foods would make one very horny indeed. So are the old wives’ tales of food as aphrodisiac true? There is some truth to this legend. “There are many natural and synthetic hormones present in food which alter chemical reactions to the body,” explained Amanda Ding, a fifthyear biology student. “Some of these hormones are also sex hormones normally present in humans in low amounts.” However, Ding says, one is likely to experience these effects psychologically rat her t han biologically. “I do always love to eat dark chocolate when I am feeling a bit sensua l,” said Mon ique Smith, a fifth year global health student. The claim that consuming chocolate leads to sexual arousal is backed up by science. According to a New York Times article, chocolate contains tryptophan and phenylethylamine. The first makes up the brain chemical serotonin, which is involved in arousal. The latter is a chemical related to amphetamine that, according to the article, is “released in the brain when people fall in love.” The jury is still out on whether or not chocolate contains enough of these chemicals to directly affect one’s mood. Ding suggested that context plays an important role in food sex fantasies: “[It] depends on your imagination and influences of your peers. The shape of food may resemble any common object in our daily lives, not solely something sexual.” “In the right setting, with the right display and with the right way of eating it, [food can be a turn on],” agreed Smith. “I could see food that looks full, dark, soft or plump being more sexual than foods that are hard, thin or dull.” It is one thing to find a food sexy, but another to actively incorporate food into your sex life. Are students bringing sexy edibles into the bedroom, and how do these play out into modern sexual fantasies? “Contemporary sexual fantasies seem to use almost anything and certainly, if food is a contributor to pleasure—[for example] you enjoy the taste—then a combination of pleasures to heighten experience is reasonable,” explained Ding. But is it a good idea to bring food into the bedroom? According to Smith, “YES. Need I say more?” U


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The resurrection of the liquor cabinet

Food & Drink

The first in our two–part series on becoming your own bartender BRYCE WARNES culture@ubyssey.ca In a classier world, when visiting a friend’s house, they offer you a drink. “Gibson, dry,” you say, crossing your legs and lighting a Lucky Strike. “Make it a double.” If you tried this, it’s not likely you’d get anything more elaborate than orange juice with a little vodka—if that. (And a trip outdoors to finish your cigarette.) When people offer you a beverage they do not, by default, mean something alcoholic. But judging by old movies and books, this was not always the case. There was a time when you could drop by a friend’s or an acquaintance’s and expect to be served an honest-to-God cocktail. Rarely does one encounter the glittering mystique of a liquor cabinet in modern living rooms. Ice buckets have been traded for X-boxes and bottles for Blu-Rays. The living room is no longer a place to entertain, but to be entertained. And in this move from active engagement to passive amusement, five o’clock cocktails have been indefinitely postponed. “Alcohol is expensive,” you may say. “How can I afford to stock a home bar on a student budget?” How convenient. Your line of questioning has arrived upon the topic of this article. Supposing a student wanted to resurrect the cocktail and return libations to the living room (as they should). How might they go about

it without starving for weeks or mugging little old ladies for pocket change? The answer, for the most part, lies below. A Note on Modern Tastes The age of gin rickeys and brandy alexanders has passed. Like all things, drinking styles change with time, and the modern home bartender must be prepared to accommodate them. For instance, unless you plan on making a lot of gin and tonics, both titular ingredients of said drinks are no longer necessary for a functional home bar. That said, your one friend with the pretentious art school beard might appreciate it. The Basics

The closest any of your guests will get to ordering a classic martini will involve vodka, a drop of dry vermouth and a twist of lemon—shaken, not stirred, because that’s how James Bond likes it (although martini purists will insist upon the opposite). However you prepare it, it’s important to have a highquality vodka on hand. “Ketel One is probably the best vodka for the money on the market,” said Boyd. “As good as Grey Goose, but you don’t pay quite as much for all the marketing.” Aged rums, which are amber (or darker) in colour, have grown in popularity in recent years. Find a good barrel-aged rum and stick with it. It’s sure to stand up just as well in a mixed drink as alone with some ice and lime. You can substitute cheap

Four spirits are essential to modern cocktails: vodka, rum, tequila and whiskey. Vodka plays an essential role in martinis and works well with most mixers. It will, in fact, be your primary liquor— the age of gin has passed. “Everything’s vodka, vodka, vodka,” said Ryan Boyd, who manages and teaches courses at Vancouver’s Fine Art Bartending School. “To know how to make a couple martinis wouldn’t hurt. The cosmopolitan was one of the first flavoured martinis that we ever saw, 15 years ago. It’s still the most popular, probably somewhat thanks to Sex and the City.”

brands of white and dark rum by choosing one good, aged variety. “People are discovering the amber rums that have been aged a lot, and how great they are. They’re not just your dollar highball rum and coke, with that cheap white rum. ...Amber rum, aged in a barrel for 8–12 years: a lot of people are getting into that.“ Tequila is the third most essential ingredient in your bar. Someone is sure to request the ever-popular triumvirate of tequila, salt and lime, but this notorious Mexican firewater also plays roles in a wide range of poolside drinks. The much-lauded Patron will impress your guests because of its price and make them feel special because they recognize t he

name of what you’re serving them, but it’s not the cheapest way to fill a line of shot glasses. “There are better tequilas out there than Patron, but Patron is the best-marketed,” said Boyd. “Among tequilas, I would probably recommend El Jimador. No one really drinks Jose Cuervo or Sauza any more.” High price isn’t necessarily an indication of quality. “If you said to yourself, ‘I’m gonna go buy a decent bottle of tequila,’ you don’t need to spend a hundred dollars,” said Boyd. “But you should find something that says ‘100 per cent agave’ on the label. ... Anything that’s 100 per cent agave is going to be great.” Whiskey shows up in classic drinks like Manhattans, OldFashioneds and whiskey sours. For someone on a tight budget, Boyd recommends a bottle of good bourbon to cover their needs. “The Canadian whiskey is rye, but bourbon is more fashionable,” noted Boyd. He recommends holding onto a small-batch bourbon like Bulleit or Woodford Reserve, which is good in mixes as well as served neat or on the rocks. Make it a double

Charles To Photo illustration/The Ubyssey

You didn’t think you’d learn how to put together a worldclass booze collection in a space as small as this, did you? Join us next week for the rest of your education. We’ll be covering liquers, garnishes, mixers and gear. Until then, stick to shots. U


6/ u bys s e y.c a /c ol ou r s/2 010 .11. 2 2

colours Welcome to the colours supplement

editor TREVOR RECORD » features@ubyssey.ca GUEST EDITOR ARSHY MANN » news@ubyssey.ca

Africentric schools: should Vancouver follow suit? Kait Bolongaro kbolongaro@ubyssey.ca

geoff lister Photo/The Ubyssey Arshy Mann news@ubyssey.ca Race permeates every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s dating or friendship, athletics or education, we can’t escape it. But Canadians are inherently uncomfortable talking about race. Whenever it comes up, we shy away from it, muttering platitudes about “diversity” and “mosaics.” Perhaps it’s a distant hope that if we don’t discuss it, then race will disappear. But as we sit with our collective heads in the sand, race continues to influence our every interaction with one another. It’s omnipresent, colouring every casual conversation and crystallizing in our institutions. We often “celebrate our diversity” by wearing clothes and eating foods from other countries. But this sort of diversity is skin-deep. Instead, we need to become comfortable with one another to discuss our shared and varied histories, our collective hopes and anxieties. Which is why any effort to discuss race in Canada, regardless of how foolish or misguided, is a step in the right direction. U

In September 2009, the Toronto School Board opened the first Africentric Alternative School in Canada. According to their website, the curriculum is based on “integration of the diverse perspectives, experiences and histories of people of African descent into the provincial mandated curriculum.” Th i s l a nd m a rk pr i m a r y school was a subject of controversy when it opened, with some critics calling it self-segregation. Should the Vancouver School Board follow Toronto’s example? Patrick Radebe, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education, said that there is a case to make for each side of this debate. “Africentric scholars argue t hat mainstream education curriculum doesn’t speak to students of African descent,” said Radebe. “Therefore, there is a need to create an alternative space for black students to learn African teaching and values, philosophy, African ways of knowledge, and it brings them pride when they learn. “However, if you create a space for black students, is black based on one skin colour? The problem with Africentric [schools] is that the knowledge based economy isn’t the colour of one’s skin but the ability of one to demonstrate certain core variables when it comes to education.”

Toronto’s Africentric Alternative School. Andrew Williams/the excalibur

Fauziya Issa, an African Canadian undergraduate at UBC, said she worries Africentric schools would remove the impetus to change curriculum in normal schools. “I suppose what they’re trying to create with such schools is a system whereby kids of African heritage can learn about their background in a welcoming environment around people they can identify with and  kids from other backgrounds can learn about the rich and beautiful culture of the African peoples,” said Issa. “I appreciate this effort, but why not incorporate the system in the general curriculum so that everyone has that chance to discover and deepen their

knowledge of a different cultural group? Canada is made up of immigrants from all over the world.” Issa added that children who attend the Africentric school may also experience culture shock when t hey later integrate into the mainstream system, which could lead to further alienation from their peers. But Robert Miller, co-chair of the African Studies Department, said that local African Canadian students already have a sense of alienation. “[From what I have personally seen], young people who grow up in Vancouver with African heritage have difficulty feeling accepted for who they are,” said Miller.

“Work needs to be done to ensure that everyone in our society does feel a part of it. It’s not enough to say we are equal and that everyone should accept their place in the present system. “It’s valuable to give them a sense of respect that [African students] need. An Africentric school is one possible and valid way of trying to do that. It’s the same in university. They don’t want to come to a university that says that Africa is not very important in world history and affairs, except as a place to receive charity.” As to the issue of whether or not this is self-segregation, Miller said it doesn’t have to be a question of self-segregation, “if the school is done in the spirit of openness and respect to all cultures with [a focus] on one culture. This is similar to, say, a university like UBC, who claims the right to focus on certain areas of the world.” Radebe, however, says Africentric schools can have adverse effects on African heritage students. “If these kids acquire Africentric knowledge, they will be second in a society that respects and advocates mainstream Canadian values. Also, they can over-romanticize blackness to the detriment of African heritage kids. [Are Africentric schools] the best solution? Absolutely not.” U

Is professional ice hockey freezing out minorities? Gordon Katic Contributor To insist that hockey is an integral part of this nation is practically your patriotic duty. We dominate it, and we proudly boast that we love it more than any other nation loves a sport. But t here is a n u ncom fortable truth we seldom address about our beloved game. Despite the fact that Canada is a multicultural, racially diverse nation, our game is troublingly white. And it’s not just the ice. Unlike other popular sports in North America such as basketball, football or baseball, professional hockey is almost completely dominated by white players. This is partially because hockey is a sport popular in Northern and Eastern European countries such as Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic. However, even most of the players from Canada and the United States are white. Some players of colour, such as Jerome Iginla, Richard Park and Vancouver Canuck Manny Malhotra have made their way into the NHL, but they remain exceptions. Does the racial makeup of the game undermine the myt holog y surrounding it? For Robert Pitter, professor at Acadia University and contributor to the book Artificial Ice, the answer is a resounding yes.

“I don’t think anybody can deny that,” said Pitter. “Hockey is part of the imagined national identity, and a lot of that is promoted by the media simply as an effort to draw viewers in.” For some people in immigrant communities, the cost of entering the sport may be prohibitive. “Look, I loved hockey,” said Abdurrahman Mihirig, president of UBC Colour Connected Against Racism. “But when I asked my parents to put me on a team, they said it was too ‘ridiculously expensive.’” Nancy Wilson, head coach of the UBC women’s hockey team, suggests that there are ways to work around budgetary constraints. “There are donation programs, t here is cheap used equipment and BC Hockey is very good at making hockey at the grassroots affordable.” But she recognizes the economic hardship. “As you make it through the system, it does become rather expensive,” she said. Pitter said that when looking at the barriers to entering hockey, “class transcends race,” but cultural differences can also shape decisions. “It depends on the inclinations people have when they immigrate to Canada,” said Pitter. “Not everyone comes with the same kind of vision of their place in this country.

My mot her, when we immigrated from Jamaica, never had much interest in preserving a distinctly Caribbean culture. But in cases where there is a strong urge to maintain that identity, there’s a strong urge to play the sports that were important back home.” Bruce Baum, professor of political science at UBC, agrees that a confluence of economic and cultural factors have contributed to making the racial makeup of the game self-perpetuating. “Hockey is primarily a suburban game; its racial makeup may have been shaped by residential segregation,” said Baum. “The overwhelmingly ‘white’ character of hockey has meant that people of colour may have had trouble identifying with the game.” For Mihirig’s parents, Baum seems on the mark. “It was not seen as a part of our cultural heritage, so it was not something our parents were willing to sacrifice for in the same way. A white family, in the exact same income bracket, may have made those sacrifices.” Pitter, however, suggests we should instead highlight some of the sports that immigrant communities do already enjoy. Pitter praises efforts like Soccer Day in Canada. “I just thought [Soccer Day] was terrific, and it’s probably more representat ive of t he activities that Canadians are

Manny Malhotra, a South Asian Canuck. Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

doing in terms of a common sport.” Pitter doesn’t believe that if Canadians focus on other sports, they’ll be taking something away from their national identity. “I don’t see that as a problem,” he said. “What I like to focus on is that people are coming together and enjoying sports.”

Wilson, on the other hand, is optimistic that hockey can diversify. “As generations change, more and more parents will introduce their children to hockey,” said Wilson. “I’m seeing it already. Immigrant communities, especially on the west coast, are starting to experience hockey, and they’re loving it.” U


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Hogan’s Alley and black Vancouver

Profile:

Sher Vancouver

Vancouver’s forgotten African Canadian neighbourhood

Sher Vancouver’s 2009 Pride float. courtesy of Sher Vancouver

Trevor Record features@ubyssey.ca

The Georgia Viaduct, which replaced Vancouver’s only black neighbourhood, Hogan’s Alley, in the 1970s. Courtesy of Lani Russwurm

Arshy Mann news@ubyssey.ca If you walk by the corner of Main St and Prior today, the only landmark immediately noticeable is an empty lot nestled against Main St. But up until 40 years ago, this was the closest thing to a black neighbourhood that Vancouver has ever had. Hogan’s Alley, as it was colloquially known, was a four-block strip in Strathcona that for half a century was the cultural centre of Vancouver’s black community. The neighbourhood was destroyed in 1970 with the building of the Georgia Viaduct. Although Hogan’s Alley was multi-ethnic, it was home to a cluster of black families, a number of small businesses owned by blacks and the only black church in Vancouver, the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel. According to Wayde Compton, a Vancouver-born writer and cofounder of the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project, few Vancouverites are aware that black people have had a significant presence in British Columbia since its founding.

“I think people lose sight of the fact that the diversity of our society is not something that has just occurred in the last few years, but it’s been a factor in the life of Vancouver and the province from the beginning.” Geoff Meggs Vancouver City Council

“In Nova Scotia, people are fairly aware that there’s a black community there—they’ve had a fairly big impact on the culture,” said Compton. “[But] there are actually more black people in BC than there are in Nova Scotia.” Compton, who has written numerous books about the history and literature of black British Columbians, says that because

of this invisibility, it’s essential we remember sites such as Hogan’s Alley. “Most people I talk to who are over the age of fifty… seem to have a pretty good idea that there was a black community here. They all at one point or another went down to Hogan’s Alley, and went to a place like Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse. “But anyone younger than that is just dropping memories.” Compton himself was born two years after Hogan’s Alley was torn down. A History Black people have been in British Columbia since its founding. The first governor of the province, Sir James Douglas, was himself part black. As Compton describes in his new book After Canaan, the first large wave of black immigration came in the 1850s from San Francisco. They were lured by both the Fraser River Gold Rush and escaping the escalating racism and segregation of Californian society. Although many returned to the United States after the end of the American Civil War, the British Columbian black population began to cluster in Vancouver as the city became the economic centre of the province. As many black men were employed as porters on the railways, black families began to gather in the East End, where the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway was located. The area they settled became known as Hogan’s Alley. Alongside the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel—which was partially founded by Nora Hendrix, the grandmother of Jimi Hendrix—Hogan’s Alley contained many black restaurants, known as “chicken shacks,” that were part Southern-style eateries and part informal speakeasies. The best-known of these establishments was Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse. The building now contains a shrine to Jimi Hendrix. Although there were no laws segregating blacks in Vancouver (those laws did exist for Asians and First Nations people), many lived in Hogan’s Alley because they would not have been accepted elsewhere. A 1962 investigation by The Ubyssey found widespread discrimination towards blacks who were trying to rent.

“Negroes are turned down daily on racial grounds when they apply to rent rooms or suites in private homes near the campus,” read the article. “Chinese and East Indians are subject to discrimination also, but less frequently. Members of all three races have been insulted by landlords who tell them coldly that unrented rooms have been rented.” Hogan’s Alley, however, was viewed by some as a problem area for Vancouver. A 1939 article from The Province stated that “to the average citizen, Hogan’s Alley stands for three things: squalor, immorality and crime.” So when the City began embracing the ideology of “urban renewal,” it was surreptitiously decided that Hogan’s Alley, alongside Chinatown and parts of the Downtown East Side, would be cleared for an extensive highway system. This proposal was pushed through by the Non-Partisan Alliance (NPA) and Leonard Marsh, a UBC professor of social work. The intention was to push the black population into social housing projects, as was being done in many American cities.

“In Nova Scotia, people are fairly aware that there’s a black community there....there are actually more black people in BC than there are in Nova Scotia.” Wayde Compton Author, After Canaan

And although the highway system never came to fruition due to massive protests from residents, Hogan’s Alley was ultimately destroyed by the building of the Georgia Viaduct. By 1970, most of the black population had already dispersed throughout Vancouver. A Memory Since 2002, Compton has been working with the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project to build

a memorial to commemorate the neighbourhood on its former site. “Vancouver is a very weird city in a lot of ways, in that we have such a shallow history,” he said. “For a city that young, we should be very interested in keeping what little bits of history we can have, but it’s almost the opposite: people are quick to erase and forget about it. Put up a new building and knock down an old one. “I think it’s a dangerous trend. We should try and find a way to understand the city.” Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs has been a public supporter of the proposed memorial. “Vancouver’s a very young city, and it’s changing awfully quickly,” he said. “The pace is so fast that it’s important for coming generations to have a sense and an understanding of what’s gone before and how difficult some chapters of that history have been. If you don’t know where to look, it’s hard to find signs of Japantown, and that whole community was expelled from the province in 1942. “I think people lose sight of the fact that the diversity of our society is not something that has just occurred in the last few years, but it’s been a factor in the life of Vancouver and the province from the beginning.” The Arts Council of Vancouver is researching a possible memorial, but that decision won’t come until the future of the Georgia viaduct is finalized, which could take years. “From our perspective, we want it to be something that’s permanent,” said Compton. “We don’t want it to be temporary.” Compton sees a memorial as an opportunity to make it clear that black people have been, and are, a part of the Vancouver community. “I have friend with whom I was talking about the phenomenon where people say there are no black people in Vancouver. “This friend of mine, who’s a black Vancouverite, says people will say this to [his] face in Vancouver. They will stand in front of [him] and say, ‘It’s weird that there are no black people in Vancouver.’ And he’ll say, ‘Well, I am one. You are staring at one right now. How can you say this? “And I think that’s what we’re up against; getting people to shift their consciousness around that perception.” U

When Alex Sangha found ed Sher Vancouver, a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and intersex South Asians, he was looking to create a support group for individuals having trouble finding acceptance in their communities. “I lived in a community where homosexuality isn’t really accepted in a lot of circles,” said Sangha. “There’s a lot of pressure for South Asians, especially boys, to get married and have children...A lot of people have very old-fashioned, traditional ideas about sexuality. I didn’t want people who were gay and South Asian like me to have suicidal thoughts, or have no support.” Sangha was co-chair of Pride at UBC before he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in social work. He said that Sher, which means “lion” in many South Asian languages, was initially a Sikh group when it was created in April 2008. However, after facing difficulty getting acceptance in the South Asian community as a group that mixed religion and sexuality, it became a Punjabi group, and was eventually retooled to support all South Asians. Two years later, Sangha said the group has over 300 members of diverse backgrounds. “About 80 per cent of our group is South Asian and queer, and about 20 per cent a mixture of different backgrounds, many of whom are straight,” he said. To increase acceptance in the South Asian communities, the group is operating a high school program called “Dosti,” which Sangha said means friendship in some South Asian languages. The program, which has Sher members speak about the stigma gay South Asians face to students, has already seen progress. “We’ve gotten a really good response,” Sangha said. “Even in the two years since we’ve been founded, you can listen to a radio station and a lot of people defend us and say that there’s nothing wrong with being South Asian and gay.” In addition to the Dosti program, the group holds support and social events, such as gettogethers at restaurants, film screenings and a recurring “Bang Bang Bollywood” dance night at Celebrities night club. Additionally, they have entered their “Pride of Bollywood” floats in the last three Vancouver Pride parades; Sangha said that they were selected as the best float of the parade by a Province reporter last year. “When you’re at the Pride parade, and there’s all these East Indians in the audience, they’re not expecting a South Asian float to be there, and if there is one they’re not expecting it to be so big and so grand,” said Sangha. “We felt really good that we were being such a good representative of our community, while letting people know that South Asian gays exist, and are involved in the community.” U


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UBC professors weigh in on multiculturalism and racism in Canada Kalyeena Makortoff kmakortoff@ubyssey.ca “Certainly many Canadians like to look at themselves as less racist than Americans, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that is true.” So said Rima Wilkes, an associate professor of sociology. She’s one of a number of professors who study race and ethnicity at UBC that argue that many Canadians have a problem with race. Political science professor Bruce Baum said that there is a “carry over of language from the US, and a Canadian tendency to differentiate themselves.” “Part of the rhetoric around multiculturalism is that we don’t have the same race problem as the United States has,” said Baum. “I think it simply hasn’t been as striking.” Baum also suggested that it’s debatable whether multiculturalism as a term and concept directly addresses or tends to evade issues of race in Canada. “The language of multiculturalism…suggests that what we really have here is just a number of cultures that interact together in an even playing field and we just have to make room for all of them,” he said. “That language doesn’t really deal with questions of systematic inequality between cultural groups. But more than that, in and of itself, it doesn’t deal with the fact that....there has been racism in Canada.” Ot hers agree t hat openly discussing race in Canada is necessary. “There’s a way in which we are shaped by the racial divide in the US, but in some senses,

prevailing national culture. It’s dangerous, and people of this culture are more prone to terrorism,’ and things like that. That turns into a type of cultural racism or a neo-racism.”

“Part of the rhetoric around multiculturalism is that we don’t have the same race problem as the United States has. I think it simply hasn’t been as striking.” Bruce Baum UBC Political Science Professor

Professor Bruce Baum says multiculturalism is used to evade issues in Canada. Jon Chiang photo/the ubyssey

we’re not impacted by them enough,” argued Barbara Arneil, a professor in the department of political science. “I think in some ways that it would be better if we owned more of a racialized history than we do. We tend to project that onto the US: ‘They had slavery, while we had immigration…’ “[However] we had all kinds of very profound racialized

policies,” Arneil said, noting residential schools and white immigration policies that effectively discriminated against non-white racial groups. She also said that Canada does in fact have its own history of slavery. While Canadians may not be fully aware of their own racist history, Baum said that discussions about culture are slowly

becoming tinged with racist ideologies. “This can happen and to some extent has happened in Canada and the US, pa rt icu la r ly with Muslim immigrants over the past decades…where there is some tendency to say, ‘No, we’re not racist and we’re not talking about races here. It’s just t his cu lture i s not rea l ly compat ible w it h t he

Wilkes suspects that we may never reach a time with true racial equality in Canada. “How will we know when we’re past it? I don’t expect it to happen in my lifetime,” said Wilkes. “But when you don’t find any effect of ethnicity on any kind of outcome…that’s certainly one indicator.” Baum said that race and racial inequality needs to remain at the forefront of the public discussion in Canada—at least for now. “Until we see those racialized inequalities disappear… we still have a problem and we still have to talk about privileged groups and groups that experience racism.” U

From half a world away: SRP brings refugees to UBC Conrad Compagna ccompagna@ubyssey.ca Yari Gorle chats with her Somali friends in the rain outside of Irving K. Barber. International students are common at UBC. These ones elicit no stares. But Yari’s story is different than that of many other international students at UBC, who often come from privileged backgrounds. Her earliest memories are not of trips to visit relatives in Europe or North America; they are of war. Yari is from Juba, in South Sudan. She was born into a civil war that only ended in 2005, when the Arab north reached a tentative peace agreement with the black, Christian south. He r p a r e nt s f led to Ke nya in 1992, after an increase

in the fighting. Her memories of that time are foggy, but they make their way into her subconscious. “When I dream of Juba, that’s all I have—the bombs falling,” she said. Gorle is far from crippled by her experience. She has been working for NGOs since she was eighteen, and here at UBC she’s the coordinator of the Student Refugee Program (SRP), which has brought dozens of bright, young refugees to UBC since its inception in 1981. She’s also a member of the program herself. “Honestly, I didn’t have anot her opport u n it y to go to college,” said Gorle. “If you’re lucky, you finish high school.” The SRP is just one of a host of programs run by Worl d

University Services of Canada (WUSC), a network of individuals and post-secondary institutions whose mission is to foster human development and global understanding through education and training.

“When I dream of Juba, that’s all I have—the bombs falling.” Yari Gorle

W USC selects candidates, trains them, and does their immigration paperwork. UBC waives their first five years of tuition. UBC Housing and

Conferences covers a year of housing. A $2.50 student levy covers their living expenses. The WUSC local committee, which is a campus club run by volunteers, acts as a social network to support the students in their transition. Tarini Fernando, t he president of t he UBC WUSC local committee, said t hat alt hough students are excited when they come to Canada, they have a steep learning curve, and some get overwhelmed. “It’s a cycle, and each student navigates it differently.” SRP alumni can be found working for organizations like UBC’s Africa Network, UBC’s Africa Awareness Initiative or on WUSC’s board of directors. Many of them also go back to their home countries.

“They know that they’ve left people back home,” said Tarini. “They know that they’ve been the lucky ones to come here. So they feel it’s their right and their duty to go back home and create a better future for those that they’ve left behind.” Yari is uncertain about the future. Most of her family is back in Sudan now, and she would like to visit them, but she’s worried that if South Sudan votes to become independent in a January 9 referendum, it will throw the country back into turmoil. “The north didn’t have a clue there was a fight,” she said. “If anything goes wrong, it’s going to be the worst war ever, because it’s not just going to be in the south, it’s going to be a war that goes straight to the north.” U


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OkCupid reveals racial dating bias

Think you could put together a better paper? Try your hand as guest editor. trevor record | features@ubyssey.ca

Reply rate by race for male sender and female recipient

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n M id E a d le st er n N at Amive er ic a

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Although mixed race romances are a common occurrence, we may not be as colour blind as we believe. Popular dating site OkCupid has shown through their statistics that online daters selectively choose potential partners based on race. OkCupid wa s creat ed i n 2001 by Ha r va rd st udent s Chris Coyne, Christian Rudder, Sam Yagan and Max Krohn, the founders of Humour Rainbow Inc. Wit h projects like Sparknotes on their resumes, these fellows were not the average aspiring entrepreneurs. Starting out as TheSpark, OkCupid has grown into a site of 3.5 million users and was among TIME’s 2007 top ten dating sites. In addition to the dating and social networking service that OkCupid provides, the site has a blog which runs statistics about users’ habits in messaging. Among these, OkCupid publishes statistics which reveal how people interact on the site with respect to their race. As it turns out, users’ public opinion about interracial relationships and their actual behaviours don’t always match. Ninety-four per cent of users said that interracial marriages are not a bad idea, yet 20 per cent of non-white people and 45 per cent of white people still strongly prefer to date someone of their own race/skin colour. According to the collected statistics, the compatibility of users among all races was roughly even at close to 60 per cent. This meant that any combination of race should have equal chances of having a successful relationship. Messages sent between users were contrasted with message

replies from recipients. A surprising observation was that white males receive the most replies to messages sent, but were the worst to respond to them at 40.1 per cent, compared to nonwhite males at 48.1 per cent. In addition, not only did white women prefer white men over men of other races, but Asian and Hispanic men preferred white men even more than white women did. White heterosexual men were fairly evenhanded towards all females, except that they respond more to Middle Eastern women than any other women. The same held true for gay men, who also held a dramatic preference for men of Middle Eastern descent. As for women, black women were the most likely to reply and yet the least likely to receive responses. They tend to respond a full 25 per cent more often than other races, regardless of the race of the sender. Amongst women searching for women, Asian females were most in demand. Asian women also had strong racial preferences, with Asian and white women topping the list. According to Karl Aquino, a human resources professor at UBC who specializes on the topics of psychology and race, white society is indeed still viewed as dominant. “What struck me the most is that people of other races are more likely to reply to a white person than someone from their own races,” he said, adding that the OkCupid statistics support his research on race. Aquino speculated that the reason for these dating habits is the fact that people of all races want to “elevate their status” by dating the perceived dominant white race. U

As ia

Anna Kouzovleva Contributor

Asian

22

34

22

18

27

31

30

23

21

Black

17

28

19

21

21

27

24

25

21

Hispanic /Latin

20

31

24

25

25

29

27

24

22

Indian

20

34

19

18

23

27

28

24

20

Middle Eastern

26

37

23

24

23

36

29

28

25

Native American

26

34

26

27

32

35

32

29

27

25

32

26

21

23

34

32

22

26

Pacific Islander

21

39

21

33

32

32

35

30

23

White

29

38

30

30

28

34

33

29

29

Other

The response rates per centage for females of each race to male messages on okcupid.com. Based on graphs found at blog.okcupid.com. geoff lister graphic/the ubyssey

U theubyssey.ca


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Across 1. Fall bloomer 6. Agitate 10. Romeo 14. Dough 15. Alleviate 16. Soft ball brand 17. High up 18. I smell! 19. Gnarl 20. Letters on a Cardinal’s cap 21. Place in time 24. Nuns 26. Kitchen utensil 27. Actor Stephen 28. On top of the standings 30. Expert 33. More unfavorable 34. CIA forerunner 37. Dies 38. Goddesses of the seasons 39. “___ sprach Zarathustra” 40. Accelerate 41. Business accounts 42. Mix smoothly 43. Refuse 44. Go quickly 45. Plea 48. Sinning 52. Extremely conservative 55. Narrow inlet 56. Shrivelled, without moisture 57. Departs 58. Chirp 60. Bakery fixture 61. Med school subj. 62. Cavalry weapon 63. Hotbed

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47. Trims 48. Stickum 49. Ain’t right? 50. Bridget Fonda, to Jane 51. Ribbons 53. Mrs. Chaplin 54. Tide type 59. Gives birth to solution

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editorial the gaza flotilla donation is fair. the ams’S response isn’t. The AMS, your student government, recently froze a $700 donation from the Social Justice Centre (SJC) to an aid flotilla to Gaza. It looks like the donation will require a passing vote during the next AMS Council to pass. The story, from the AMS executive’s point of view, is that this money was being spirited off to a controversial cause that students did not necessarily support, so it makes sense for council to decide. The SJC’s side, on the other hand, is that they were fully within their rights to donate money from their grant fund to a cause of their choice, and that the AMS—especially AMS President Bijan Ahmadian— are meddling. So, who’s right? The SJC. The decision to freeze their account was motivated first and foremost by political concern. But it was well within the SJC’s rights to put forward money from their grant fund to a cause of their choice. The only reason a stink is being raised about this donation is because of the level of tension between Israel and Palestine-supporting students on campus. When the SJC was made a resource group, it was expected they would be doing things like this. The AMS set up their budget the way it is due to regular democratic proceedures, and the decisions they make regarding what to do with it should be regarded as mostly autonomous. If students don’t like the way that they are choosing to operate, they could join the SJC or put foward referendums to have the group removed. We’ve criticized the resource groups as a whole because they often are poorly organised and do not support or respond to students who approach them. And while that’s a valid concern, and something that should be dealt with by the AMS, council would be wise to approve this grant, if only to affirm the autonomy of resource groups. But it’s pretty hard to fault a group for trying to donate money that was given to them to be donated. U and now, a timely reminder that elections are coming Student politics. “It’s really hard to ask anyone to care about this bullshit,” we can hear you muttering. But with elections coming up in January, it’s time to start thinking about what we can learn from the follies of the past two executives. The current and past executive were dominated by big personalities on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Blake Frederick took every opportunity to pick a fight with the university. Beyond the UN debacle, he claimed that the decision to can the underground bus loop on University Avenue represented a victory for students, when in reality Translink simply didn’t have the money. The most common criticism of Bijan Ahmadian is the exact opposite: he is too cozy with the university. In what some AMS hacks have dubbed “Lettergate,” Ahmadian flat out changed council’s position on land use in a letter to the university without going through council. In the past two years, the AMS presidents have split the executive, ignored council and put infighting above the issues. At best, this year’s executive managed to come up with a budget that isn’t going to bankrupt the society, and convinced the administration to not totally hate them. They moved the ball forward on a land use plan that doesn’t totally screw students and they got a thousand students to say they’d be down with a Skytrain line to UBC. But at this point, unless you consider a talent show a significant accomplishment, they’re spinning their wheels. So what do we take from this? We would recommend looking for an exec that isn’t interested in grandstanding or enforcing unfeasible positions. Look for tangible campaign promises that can happen over the course of a year. At best, a student politician at the highest level has just enough time and access to get one major change made. The most recent example of this is former AMS President Mike Duncan, who managed to get athletics fees reduced. This is the time when hacks are testing the waters, trying to get a handle on what issues to trumpet in their stump speeches. All we ask is that you see beyond grandiose claims for a better society, and look for campaign points of actual substance. U

bryce warnes graphic/the ubyssey

opinions

AMS President inflaming Israel/Palestine campus conflict Blake Frederick Columnist A few weeks ago AMS President Bijan Ahmadian was scolded by AMS Council for deliberately misrepresenting their lobbying directives on campus land use negotiations. Now, without Council approval, he has blocked a $700 donation for an aid flotilla to Gaza by the Social Justice Centre (SJC), one of the six AMS Resource Groups. According to the AMS’ own regulations, the Resource Groups are fully autonomous and the AMS Council and Executive are explicitly barred from interfering in their activities. In addition, the Resource Groups are financially independent of the AMS, receiving $1.50 directly from each student as a result of a referendum passed in 1996. This level of autonomy and financial independence was purposely designed in order to create a student space on campus committed to social justice issues free from AMS political interference. Without this independence, in 2007 the Resource Groups wouldn’t

have been able to successively protest and amass enough signatures to convince the Board of Governors to overturn their previous decision to build private condos in the heart of campus. The AMS consequently wouldn’t have been able to come forward with a proposal to build a new Student Union Building. There is nothing wrong with having a reasonable debate on the merits of using student money to help fund an aid flotilla to Gaza. Rather than promote productive discussion, however, the AMS President has instead opted for a different approach. Last week, he and a group of students infiltrated an SJC meeting and attempted to override the authority of the organization executives. Their presence was specifically meant to intimidate those in attendance. A student who attended the meeting had posted on his Facebook afterwards: “To be honest, I was very shocked after today’s meeting in the SJC. It was a collection of Commies, Hippies, and an Islamist. Also, that raging lesbian was very disrespectful to myself and others.”

The president’s actions seem to suggest that his primary interest in this issue stems from his disdain for the Resource Groups, one of the last bastions of progressive politics in the AMS. If given the opportunity, I have no doubt he would try to shut them down. Bijan should have approached this situation as an impartial mediator. Instead, he has helped ignite a public discourse on campus that is entrenched in rhetoric and accusations. Last year as president, I had to help mediate several minor conflicts that arose between Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and the Israel Awareness Club on campus. We were able to work out those differences, but it was only a result of considerate discussion and compromise. It is too late for Bijan to take this kind of approach now. The AMS should remove him from this issue and appoint someone who will respect the autonomy of the Resource Groups and diffuse the situation. U Blake Frederick was AMS President in 2009–2010.

effect for women with existing acne problems. The reason for the pills’ supposed benefits was drospirenone, a synthetic form of the hormone progestin. All birth control pills contain some form of progestin as their active ingredient, in addition to a form of estrogen. Drospirenone, however, is new and relatively untried. And, it appears, may prove extremely dangerous to women’s health. Too Sexy spoke to lawyer Matthew Baer, lead counsel for a Canadian suit that began last December against the pills. Among other issues, he cited reports of deep-vein blood clots in the legs, pulmonary embolism (blockage of arteries leading to the lungs by blood clots or other material) and severe gallbladder problems as grounds for the case. These complaints are not isolated; there are 4000 cases on record in the United States, and that number is steadily growing all over North America. These potentially fatal problems are occurring in otherwise very healthy women with no prior history of circulatory or other health disturbance.

And here, dear readers, is the crux of the issue: while all oral contraceptive pills pose some health risk, those risks are well-documented. Doctors prescribing most birth control pills understand the risks and are able to effectively warn patients. Yaz and Yasmin are different. The pills are new and the long-term effects of dropirenone are not yet understood. Patients are not properly informed about the risks they’re taking, and as such are unable to consent to these risks. Moreover, these brands’ dangers appear more extreme than those associated with others. Meanwhile, the pills are still on the market, still being prescribed by doctors, and are allegedly extremely dangerous to consumer health. If your health has been affected by this issue, please contact us at toosexy@ ubyssey.ca, or go to www.classaction.ca under the Pharmaceutical category. You can also join the Facebook page, takeyourbodyback, to receive updates. As always, gentle readers, we love you and stay safe. U

too sexy Beloved, health-conscious readership, Today we bring you not an individual problem, as per our usual modus operandi, but rather a problem affecting a significant subset of you. As much as we wish it were otherwise, there have been times over past decades in which some birth control methods themselves have proven unconscionably unsafe to the health of women who use them. We fear that time is again at hand. A recent class-action lawsuit against the manufacturers of oral contraceptive pills Yaz, Yazmin and Ocella brings to light just such concerns. Labelled “fourth generation” birth control pills, the brands have been marketed aggressively to women across North America, and have become the most popular pill in Canada in recent years. Their popularity was based on their purported avoidance of such common hormonal contraceptive problems as weight gain and acne. In fact, Yazmin and its sister pills were touted as having a clearing


12/ubyssey.ca/our campus/2010.11.25

our campus Jonny Wakefield culture@ubyssey.ca It’s really fucking cold out. And if the forecasts for this winter hold true, it looks like La Niña is here to stay. According to Environment Canada, La Niña is caused by stronger than average trade winds—the prevailing wind patterns in the tropics. The stronger winds carry colder water from the Indian Ocean to the coast of South America, which makes for wetter and warmer winters in Indonesia. These changes in the Pacific tropics change the location of the jet stream—the westerly winds that affect the location and strength of storm paths—causing irregularities in temperature and precipitation in North America. As a result, Whistler opened on November 19, six days ahead of schedule, and many expect ski hills in the lower mainland to get blasted this winter. Also, the fountain in front of Koerner’s now looks like a badass ice sculpture. U geoff lister photo/the ubyssey

We want some badass photographers to take some badass photos like the one above. geoff lister | photos@ubyssey.ca

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Come to production every Wednesday and Sunday starting at 3pm. Volunteers get free dinner!

justin mcelroy coordinating@ubyssey.ca

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Nov. 25, 2010