Feb. 2 - Apr. 5 / V. 36, i. 06 + 07 Feb. 2 - Apr. 5 / V. 36, i. 06
UNDE RGROUND UTSC’S OFFICIAL STUDENT PUBLICATION SINCE 1982
UG S OCIA L J USTICE
UTSC’S OFFICIAL STUDENT PUBLICATION SINCE 1982
ARTS & LIFE 6 ALLYSHIP 101 7 INJUSTICE ON CAMPUS NEWS 8 A BOWLFUL OF FAIRNESS 10 RECAPPING ELLIPSES FEATURE 12 MUSLIMS UNDER ATTACK SCIENCE & TECH 16 THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK 18 (UN)NATURAL SELECTION 19 THE MULTIVERSE THEORY IN MEDIA 20 ALL ABOUT FAIR TRADE SPORTS & WELLNESS 22 WOMENâ€™S ONLY OPINION 22 AN ANTICOLONIAL PERSPECTIVE ON LOVE, PARTNERSHIP & COMMUNITY
28 SILENCE AND STIGMA 30 THE BLACK AND QUEER BLUES 32 LOVE AND JUSTICE 34 A CASE FOR THE TRANSITIONAL YEAR PROGRAM 36 TROUBLING THE CANNONS
ARTS & LIFE 40 Iâ€™M FEELING MYSELF 41 HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE SEX SCIENCE & TECH 42 SIZE OF THE WAVE OR MOTION OF THE OCEAN? 43 SEX ROBOTS 44 ROMANCE ON THE SILVER SCREEN
“ Y OU C A N ’ T S E P A R A T E P E AC E F R O M F R E E D O M B E CA U S E N O O N E C A N B E A T P E AC E U N L E S S H E H A S H I S F R EE D O M ” - MA L C O L M X
CONTACT THE UNDERGROUND 1265 MILITARY TRAIL, ROOM SL-234 SCARBOROUGH, ONTARIO M1C 1A4 (416) 287-7054 EDITOR@THE-UNDERGROUND.CA
ISSUE/ 06 07 F E B MARCH
For the missing Indigenous women; for the murdered Indigenous women; for the Black bodies who have been slain by way of state-sanctioned police violence; for murdered Black trans women; for Muslims who have to navigate through an increasingly Islamophobic world; for the folks in the LGBTQ+ community; for Black women who face misogynoir every day; for the folks who live in areas that are increasingly becoming gentrified; for those of us who have felt violence within academia; for the Earth that we need to take better care of; for those of us who deal with mental health issues and for the people whose stories we can never explain… Issues like this are for you.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF SHARINE TAYLOR
PHOTO EDITOR NOOR AQIL
FINANCE OFFICER TINA CHAN
ARTS & LIFE EDITOR ZARIN TASNIM
ASSOCIATE PHOTO EDITOR IDIL DJAFAR
OPERATIONS OFFICER LINA SHIM
NEWS EDITOR MARJAN ASADULLAH SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR KRISTINA DUKOSKI
GRAPHICS EDITOR ELIZABETH LIU PRODUCTION EDITOR RACHEL CHIN
SPORTS & WELLNESS EDITOR TEMI DADA
SPORTS & WELLNESS INTERN LEAL COOMBS-KING
ONLINE CONTENT EDITOR REBECCA KOTOSIC
MANAGING EDITOR NANA FRIMPONG
ONLINE PHOTO EDITOR SADIAH RAHMAN
COPY EDITORS ASHLEEN GRANGE ARANI MURUGESAPILLAI
ONLINE GRAPHICS EDITOR CHRISTINE LUM
NEWS ASSOCIATE NIDA ZAFAR
WEB EDITOR AKBER WAHID
CONTRIBUTORS SAM NATALE TAYLOR BRIDGER REZOAN ARNOB ANISHA PRASAD TALIYA WRIGHT XINGPING HUANG NOOR KHAN DOMINIC STEPHENSON TRINA JAMES LEONARD CLARKE JR LEAH WOLDEGIORGIS JANDELL NICOLAS SHELDON HOLDER SIENNA HEESOO JANG TIFFANY QUINN KYLE OSBORNE
DISTRIBUTION MANAGER MATTHEW “MICCO” DIAZ
COVER BY: RACHEL CHIN BACK COVER BY: RACHEL CHIN NOOR AQIL
PUBLICATION DATES AUG. OCT. NOV. DEC. JAN. FEB. MAR. APR.
22 6 3 1 5 2 2 6
2016 2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017
FOLLOW US FACEBOOK THE UNDERGROUND AT UTSC TWITTER @UTSCUNDERGROUND INSTAGRAM @UTSCUNDERGROUND LINKEDIN THE UNDERGROUND AT UTSC SNAPCHAT @UTSCUNDERGROUND FACEBOOK HUMANSOFUTSC
MAS T MASTHE A D HEAD
A RT S & L IF E
Allyship 101 Zarin Tasnim, Arts & Life Editor Allyship, defined as the active practice of unlearning one’s privilege in relation to structures and domains of life to support marginalized and racialized communities, can be thought of as an act of resistance. It is about questioning the epistemology of knowledge. It is about becoming aware of what is unaware. Most of all, it is an investigation of one’s self as much as it is an investigation of what one considers as the “other.” Society has produced a homogenized way of thinking, and in that process, it has created certain norms: concepts that are acceptable and right. The practice of allyship is to dismantle these norms to make way for different ways of being. Outlined below are roles and responsibilities of an ally. Allyship is not a static identity, but an active and ongoing practice: One of the most important concepts to remember is that labelling yourself as an ally is like a career. It is something that goes beyond wearing a badge because there are no levels of accomplishment - it is a continuous process that is always changing. You are a representation of what you do. It is a daily endeavour and a lifelong pursuit.
Allies acknowledge their own privilege in relation to those they are supporting: The concept of privilege acts as the gateway for the kinds of things you experience in your life. In order to support a community, you must do some self-reflection. Ask yourself: what power do I hold based on who I identify as? What does my allyship mean to a particular community?
Allies listen more and speak less: As much as it is important to participate in discussions regarding various marginalized and racialized communities, an important part of being an ally is listening to what others have to say. Often times, one person’s experience is very different from another’s, even though they identify with the same community. This way, you will be able to produce a layer and nuanced understanding of the people you are an ally to. It’s important to go directly to the community to engage in meaningful conversations and ask questions, rather than making assumptions.
4. www. the-underground.ca
Research, Research, Research: Curious about the history of the oppressive
structures that people within a particular community face? Do you want to brush up on your understanding of the impacts of colonialism? As a UTSC student you have access to one of the best databases in the world. Read a scholarly article or two, because these papers contain theories that have been heavily discussed. Knowledge is power, so study hard. Be Critical: We are exposed to so much information every day that it can get overwhelming - especially if you are trying to figure out which sources are credible and which are not. Start by looking up the authors and creators of the content that you are digesting. And don’t forget: practice asking questions. It will sharpen your judgment.
Speak out: It is not enough for an ally to only read up on the issues that are affecting someone and stay passive. Use the knowledge that you have gained to translate it into actions. You can do this by starting to speak with the people you are close to in order to build up the courage for when it happens in unfamiliar places. Stay vigilant and do your part to show that you are supportive. Be an active ally and speak up! Don’t expect recognition: Be proud of the your actions as an ally, but remember that these are not grand gestures that deserve an applause. After all, being an ally is about respect and fighting for equality - aspects that everyone deserves in the first place.
Educate others, but do so cautiously: It is important to share what we know in order to build connections with others or come to a shared understanding; however, make sure you aren’t speaking over others’ experience. There’s a fine line between appreciating and appropriating: know the difference.
In the political climate that we are facing now, it is important to stand in solidarity with one another. Kindness and love can only do so much. Being an ally means sometimes having to engage in a constant battle with ignorance, prejudice, and hatred. It is important to determine what it is that you are trying to accomplish by being an ally, because it varies from person to person. Recall that allyship is about challenging yourself. The act itself is about unknowing through knowledge and taking a stance against oppressive systems.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
AR T S & L I F E
ON CAMPUS Sam Natale, Contributor Earlier this year, during the SCSU election, one of the candidates posters was vandalized with racist comments. This incident was shocking to the UTSC community, mostly because UTSC is a place that is praised time and time again for being diverse and inclusive. This incident also calls into question whether UTSC is really as inclusive as we say it is. Current Vice President Equity of SCSU Nafisa Mohamed says, “Here has been increase in anti-Black racism, Black face, Islamophobic comments, things like that on the UTSC campus this year.” She cites Donald Trump’s win in the American presidential election as a possible reason for this increase. He is known to frequently use racist, sexist, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in his campaign, something his more vocal supporters championed. This issue is not only limited to the United States: Trump’s election has given people everywhere the ‘okay’ to be racist–something that has clearly spilled over the border to Canada, and to UTSC. But what does it mean for incidences like these to occur at a place like UTSC, where we often pride ourselves on our diversity? Is our tendency to characterize UTSC as sensitive towards diversity a false characterization? Third-year student Victoria Wang says that, “As much as we pride ourselves for being inclusive at this diverse campus, I don’t think enough students participate in different diversity events being held on campus. Meaning, we say we are inclusive and we have all these events going on each year, but if not enough students participate, we aren’t really spreading the awareness or aren’t as inclusive as we think we are.” She adds, “There are many efforts put in from the school to be sensitive about diversity and inclusivity but not enough of the message has been pushed through to the students.” Furthermore, second-year student Tijuana Turner argues that, “Because UTSC is such a diverse place, we will have incidences like this. You have people who come from different walks of life, people who were socialized differently about what it means to be racist or make a joke that might not be culturally appropriate,” adding that, “The university tries really hard to promote inclu-
sivity, diversity, different cultures, and what people might be going through in their personal life, and I don’t think that because something like that happens it means the university shouldn’t be able to pride itself on our inclusivity.” Turner believes that what happens after an incident like this is what really matters. She adds, “What steps are taken afterwards really defines what kind of campus we are and how diverse we are. For instance, after [the incident with the campaign poster], people were posting on social media saying that it wasn’t okay that this happened.” When incidences like this occur at UTSC, the SCSU has a process for supporting the victims. Mohamed says, “We check on them, let them know we are here for them. The RSC extends their hours and we use it as a decompression space. We also try to talk to the people who are doing these things and let them know that their actions are not acceptable.” Mohamed adds that the main priority for the SCSU in these situations is to let the victims know that the SCSU and the University are here for them whenever possible. Mohamed also explains that the University takes incidences like these very seriously, and often involve campus police to take statements and press charges should they find out who the perpetrators are. In terms of preventing incidences like this before they occur, she says that the SCSU has students participate in “Anti-oppression training during club training,” adding that, “It is very hard to get people to turn away from their ignorance,” but ultimately, “It is up to people to unlearn behaviours that they have. Prejudices are normal, but when you start to act upon them, they become wrong. We try to get to a place where we can move forward and understand our diversity, background, and experiences more.” It remains to be seen how much influence the current political state in the United States will have on us here at UTSC, and whether incidences like these will continue to increase, or whether the University will put additional measures in place to promote diversity and inclusivity. Turner, for one, is optimistic that UTSC can be, and is, a place where diversity and inclusivity thrive, asserting that, “As long as the majority stand up and do what’s right, we can move forward.”
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
NE W S
IDIL DJAFER / THE UNDERGROUND
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
A BOWLFU L OF FA I R NE S S : AR AMA RK E MP L OYE E S F I G HT F O R LI VA BLE WA G E S Nida Zafar, News Associate Aramark employees at UTSC have been on strike since Jan. 31. Employees of the Marketplace, Tim Hortons in the Bladen Wing, the Tim Hortons kiosk in the Humanities Wing and Starbucks in the Meeting Place are fighting for livable wages and decent health and retirement benefits. But as a more immediate need, Aramark employees at UTSC are asking to be paid as much as Aramark employees at St. George. Currently, Aramark employees at UTSC are making $11.50 an hour while their counterparts at the St. George campus are making upwards of $20.00 an hour, though it is not clear as to why. “Right now, most of the sub-contracted cafeteria workers at UTSC make...ten cents above minimum wage...we expect better at the University of Toronto,” shared some of UTSC’s Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Marketplace employees collectively in an emailed interview. “Last year [Aramark] proved that they can pay a living wage, which they are now doing for most St. George campus cafeteria workers. We refuse to accept that Scarborough is second class.” Aramark employees are part of Unite Here Local 75. Unite Here Local 75 is a union representing over 25,000 members in Canada involved in different hospitality sectors including hotels and restaurants. UTSC’s Aramark employees have taken part in multiple strike actions since January. In an emailed interview with Melissa Sobers, a current Aramark employee at the Rogers Centre, as well as a recent U of T graduate, Sobers said the discrepancy between the campuses is when the fight for equality in pay became urgent for her. She noted that before the urgent push of equality pay between campuses, they “were actively preparing for this struggle [of livable wages and decent benefits] about a year before the collective agreement expired.” The collective agreement with Aramark expired in October of 2016. It is not clear as to why the voices of these employees have not been heard or addressed by their employer. However, according to rankandfile.ca, a website that offers a critical perspective and analysis to Canadian labour news, Aramark cannot raise the amount for higher wages pay, and in turn better health benwww. the-underground.ca
efits, because of “dire financial strait[s].” The site also reports that Aramark employees’ wages will rise 20 cents an hour through the 2019-2020 year, giving employees a total of $14 dollars an hour. In response to this, the cafeteria workers collectively mentioned, “The strikers and our supporters will continue to fight until we win a fair settlement...we have plans to escalate the strike as well as our support/solidarity program. We won’t stop until we’ve won our fight to end poverty-wage jobs…” Concerns and questions have been raised on the involvement of the the campus with Aramark. In an email with Don Campbell, Media Relations Officer at UTSC, a section of a statement released regarding the issue by the campus was pointed out. The section states that “We see these employees on campus every day - they’re a part of our community and we appreciate everything they do. It’s also their legal right to strike and we fully respect that process, but since contract negotiations are between Aramark and its employees, we won’t get directly involved.” But not everyone agrees with the statement. Sobers says that the university is denying any wrongdoing by playing a role in reinforcing the malpractice. “U of T is essentially saying it is going to pretend that it doesn’t keep workers on its campus in poverty. It is also denying that any sort of injustice, discrimination, harassment, or bullying is happening within the walls of our cafeterias.” Sobers also adds, “[The University] needs to take responsibility for the fact that it is allowing Aramark to abuse workers in this way, simply because it saves the university money and hides its culpability in the matter.” Beyond the university, many people are also calling on the provincial government for good jobs that won’t allow people to work for poverty wages, according to a press release by Unite Here Local 75. People are asking the Wynne government to address legal loopholes that intertwine sub-contracted food workers into these precarious, low-paying jobs. Patrice Callaghan, a sub-contracted cafeteria employee at UTSC, said, “Ontario’s employment laws need be changed to make it fair for sub-contracted cafeteria workers like us, so we have the same opportunity to build good jobs in our industry.” The cafeteria collective also adds that “our fight to end poverty-wage jobs on campus FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
is directly connected to the campaign to reform Ontario’s labour laws through the Liberal government’s Changing Workplace Review, which is meant to address the growing problem of socalled precarious work.” Beyond UTSC, the dispute with Aramark is about more than livable wages and good benefits. It’s also about a safe and harassmentfree working environment that is “free of over-authoritative harassment, intimidation, bullying and disrespect from management to workers in our cafeterias.” According to Sobers, this is a longstanding issue. When brought to management’s attention, “it is almost always dismissed [as] management says they will do their own investigation and conclude no misconduct is happening, [stating that the] …workers must be overreacting.” Alisha Ahmed, a fourth year business administration student at UTSC, says that the treatment of cafeteria employees is a cause for concern for not only students but people everywhere. “People should take more action against this [issue] because it affects everyone. These people are the backbone to our communities. They deserve some respect”. So, what does this mean for UTSC students? Sobers says that if these food vendors aren’t avoided during the protests then “… [students] are choosing to be complacent in the abuse and economic violence that their university is allowing.” Another reason to support Aramark employees now is so a high standard for wages and benefits can be set for future employees to come, and future employees may include current UTSC students. Sobers says, “Once students graduate, there is no guarantee they are going to be able to get away from precarious jobs.” Helping to support this issue now will not only mean that students are helping people who serve their meals and coffees on a daily basis earn livable wages that will support families, but it also means better wages and benefits for the generations to come. In their emailed response UTSC’s cafeteria workers encouraged students to show support by saying, “Students, staff and faculty at UTSC and U of T’s St. George campus can show support by visiting the picket line in person at UTSC...and visit us at @UNITEHERE75 on Facebook and Twitter, where we post links to other support actions, pictures and videos...More support events – local and international – are planned in the coming days.” VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
10 NE W S
Recapping Ellipses: The 2017 TEDx UTSC Conference Kristina Dukoski, Science & Tech Editor At the 2017 TEDx UTSC Conference, the ellipses left questions unanswered, speeches unsaid and stories unwritten. The conference was held on February 4th at UTSC in lecture hall AC223 and was hosted by UTSC’s own Nana Frimpong. After opening remarks from Frimpong, Cat Criger–UTSC’s Tradition Aboriginal Elder– and Clare Hasenkampf–Associate Dean, Professor and Director at the Centre for Teaching and Learning–a performance by UTSC acapella group ‘Vocomotive’ followed. The first speaker was Sonja Nikkila, a lecturer in the English department at UTSC. Her story featured the famous Shakespearean tragedy Othello, with a focus on the villain of the play, Iago. In the closing of the play, Iago remains the only live character on a stage full of the
dead. His last words are, “Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. / From this time forth I never will speak word.” The intense line is followed by a silence that signals the finality of the play. Through referencing lines in classic literature and alluding to stories from her past, Nikkila’s talk invited spectators to consider the strength of silence. The next speaker was Derek Kent, Chief Marketing Officer for the Canadian Olympic Committee. Kent began his talk by telling a story about when he was at a bobsled practice-run session was offered the opportunity to take a ride; despite his fear nagging at him to decline, he accepted. His story alluded to the view he holds on the whole of his life, having watched cancer claim the lives of his loved ones, and then coming for him. Kent proposed that embracing vulnerability in the face of adversity can create openings for exceptional experiences that might just change us. After a break and a performance by UTSC magician Cedrik Ruiz, Dr. Adrian Nestor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at UTSC, took to the stage. Nestor discussed the impervious subjectivity behind the unique ways each of our brains process visual stimuli in the environment. Interrogating how the world would differ if these neurological processes were not so personal, he also delved into this phenomenon by explaining how our minds immediately perceive stimuli and recall previously perceived stimuli. The next speaker was Dr. Cheryl Thompson, a Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow (20162018) at the University of Toronto and instructor at the Mississauga and downtown campus. Dr. Thompson asked the audience to consider how they approach situations in life that leave them at a FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
standstill, whether it be with a positive or negative disposition. Her discussion aimed to debunk the common notion that the optimal way to go is to keep a positive outlook. The final speaker of the morning session was Morgan Campbell, a sports writer at the Toronto Star. The focus of Campbell’s talk was the intersection of sports and social issues; the main topic within the scope of the theme was how racism and sexism tend to dictate how stories about sports are framed. Campbell asserted that media ought not to allow racism and sexism to cloud the truth, as journalists have an obligation towards the truth, and a loyalty towards the people they disseminate information to. The afternoon session began with Hana Syed, a student at UTSC majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology, an active social-advocate, and a singer/songwriter for a band she is in with her siblings called DEYSofficial. Syed’s talk explored the multiplicity of identities one can have, and how, in effect, no one aspect of us can dictate the entirety of one’s character. She averred that contemplating how categories, labels, classifications, and other systematic organizational terms intersect in our lives is important in order to make headway in answering a very personal question that we all face: “What defines you?” The second afternoon speaker was David Zweig, an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour, and the Chair of the Department of Management at UTSC. Zweig’s talk delved into the dark side of behaviour in the workplace; specifically, how bad things come about within the workplace, and why people treat others badly within the workplace in order to make such things happen. Zweig explained that everything done in an environment like the workplace is interconnected, and by habitually repeating actions, we create cycles that are VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
N E W S 11 often difficult to break. Zweig proposed efficient ways to break bad behavioural tendencies within the workplace that would eventually be conducive to creating more pleasant cycles of behaviour. The third afternoon speaker was Georgette Zinaty, the Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations for UTSC. Zinaty is currently working towards her Doctorate at the Henley Business School with a focus on business leadership—in particular, she is interested in what the future of leadership holds. Her talk focused on the theme of the ‘impossible’; she maintained that nothing is impossible if one adopts the right perspectives and utilizes the right methods. After a conversational break and a performance by UTSC’s own Marcus “Roi” Medford, a.k.a., Mars the Poet, the first evening speaker took the stage. Aisha Ahmad, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UTSC, the Director of the Islam Politics Initiative, and a Senior Researcher at the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, told of her extensive experience analyzing various crises in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia—to name a few. With her stories, she hoped to emphasize that the current condition of the world is one of incredible freedom, as the common discourse on equality and inclusivity is one that
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZACHARY ZEWUDIA
has not been seen on the face of society in the past. The second evening speaker was Rashi Gupta, a Business Analyst in the Human Capital group at Deloitte Canada, and a UTSC alumna. In her talk, Gupta explained a phenomenon that most graduates face upon leaving post-secondary: imposter syndrome. This phenomenon occurs when one finds themselves in a different situation than they had thought they’d be in; for example, when an undergraduate works towards exhibiting their expertise in the field of social work post-graduation, but finds themselves in a different area. Gupta hoped to inspire a sense of pride in people that find themselves facing this phenomenon. The final speaker of the event was Desmond Cole, an activist, author, and award-winning freelance journalist. Cole’s work has been published on the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Walrus, NOW, and several other publications. His talk focused on anti-Black racism; specifically, how it affects those that live in fear because of it every day. Cole emphasized that many Black people are constantly under threat,
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
and the source of such threat is the state— the government itself. After Cole’s talk, final remarks signalled the closing of the conference. Frimpong expressed that she felt the conference was a smashing success: “I think that the audience was impressed by the overall quality of the entire conference. All of the talks were so diverse in content that I could tell just by watching their reactions and engaging with folks in between breaks that they felt a part of everything that was happening on stage. The beauty of TEDx is that everybody is invited to participate; at its essence it is a co-created space -- and I know folks felt that.”
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
1 2 FE AT U R E
MUSLIMS UNDER ATTACK:
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
F E AT U R E 13 RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND
how hateful dialogue paved room for discrimination and hatred against Muslims
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
14 FE AT U R E
Marjan Asadullah, News Editor During his presidential campaign in 2015, Donald Trump stood in front of a crowd in South Carolina to announce his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” People were shocked and frightened and many believed it gave Americans another reason to elect Clinton as president, at least that’s what many people thought. On Nov. 9, 2016, Trump was elected as president and earlier this year, with a simple stroke of a pen, had signed an executive order which stated that a ban would “temporarily block entry of all refugees” for 90-days in order to control citizens entering the country. Though the seven Muslim-majority countries were initially on the list—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq— Trump reportedly removed Iraq from the list of countries on Monday, March 13 in order to keep a relationship with Washington and Baghdad. The Trump administration has defended the order, claiming, “More restrictions are needed in order to protect the U.S from future terrorist attack.” There were many ripple effects of President Trump’s Muslim ban: massive protests went underway in the U.S. and in different cities around the world, including Paris, London, Sydney, Cape Town and Toronto; there were hold-ups in American airports resulting in many people being sent back; and thousands of comments and opinions flooded social media sites. Although the ban had left people shocked, many people didn’t expect for his sentiments to inspire people to boldly incite action sourced by his racist and xenophobic comments, including what had happened in Quebec. The terrorist attack on the mosque left six Muslims dead and two in serious conditions. The ban, coupled with the attacks on the Muslim community left many Muslims, including myself, scared to travel. This event attempted to create a sense of alienation between the Muslim community and the rest of Canada. All of what was taking place in real time combined with the impact of social media all seemed out of control. When one is in what is supposed to be a safe space, and lives are taken by what the media called an “introverted, lone wolf”, it can be difficult to understand the circumstances. A white supremacist, who was described as an “Islamaphobic” and “antifeminist,” who followed U.S President Donald
Trump’s Facebook page, committed one of the most horrendous terrorist attacks against Muslim-Canadians. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deemed the incident a terrorist attack and the vice-president of the Québec mosque, Mohamed Labidi, told Toronto Star that he, along with members of the community, felt a “sadness [they] cannot express.” While all this may seem like a problem we would not have to be dealing with, the ripple effect of the shooting, and all of what has happened since Trump began to gain notoriety, has directly affected UTSC’s Muslim students. On January 30th, a vigil was held at the downtown campus where hundreds gathered from around the community to pay their respects and honour those killed in Québec. Toronto Mayor John Tory and federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau were also present alongside students, professors, and the media where a representatives from the campus’ Muslim Student Association (MSA) gave speeches, read poems, and prayed together. The following day, the flag flew at half-mast at UTSC for a two-day mourning period while the UTSC community held their own vigil inside the Meeting Place commemorating and paying respects to the victims of the shooting. An invitation for UTSC students and staff was extended to attend the multi-faith meetings for information, support and to simply provide a space for healing in such a difficult time. Additionally, there were other support systems provided for UTSC community members affected: the International Student Centre was available for international students who might be dealing with U.S travel restrictions, SCSU’s Racialized Student Collective extended their hours for students to decompress and SCSU’s multi-faith prayer room was available for students and faculty on a 24-hour basis. As well, the Department of Student Life offered chaplaincy services, the Health and Wellness Centre offered counselling, and the Scarborough’s MSA offered resources for both Muslim and non-Muslim students. The campus had also stated in an email that security was going to be provided “before and during prayer services on campus.” Nazia Mohsin, the VP of Religious Affairs for MSA and third-year linguistic and psychology major, advocated for people attending the multi-faith room for a place of healing and learning more information, as members are always open to speaking with others. “When we come together, we create an interfaith dialogue.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
F E AT U R E 15
I think in the recent events, especially, we need community to speak collectively about our concerns as well as others. As a leader, my responsibility, as well as others, should be to create that support system for people that are feeling the fear” said Mohsin. “In terms of inclusivity, the university has provided us with bigger spaces. Personally, I’ve always felt like this campus is diverse and I’ve never faced issues or backlash. I’ve felt welcomed; however, if there is anyone who has ever felt unwanted, there are spaces for them available and we welcome them.” Kubra Zakir, fourth year journalism and media studies major, spoke about the ban and the importance of conversations about these issues within the UTSC community. “I’m not from the seven countries that are banned, but it affects me. As a leader, my job is to bring awareness on campus. When students are panicking, and are feeling the fear of what has happened over the last couple of months, it becomes my concern as well. And it’s because of the Racialized Student’s Collective, the Muslim Chaplain, the Health and Wellness Centre and the MSA meetings where real change and important conversations come about.” One person who felt affected by the ban is Fatah Awil. The fourth-year health studies and psychology major and VP of Communications in MSA, was shocked and surprised to hear that Somalia was on the list as one of the countries that were banned. “They have their own problems. They’re dealing with extreme poverty, poor healthcare and many [of the youth] are out of school. It doesn’t make sense to close the border to the vulnerable ones.” Awil recalls an unforgettable trip to the U.S which his mother had to make, and still remembers the impact it had on her. “My grandparents live in Minneapolis, and my grandma got really sick. We knew it was something serious because she kept asking for my mother to come, just for one last time. Thankfully she did go and made it at the right time, before she passed. My mother could see my grandma for one last time and it concerns us because if something happens to my grandpa now, and with this travel ban, it concerns me,” said Awil, “It can literally stop people from seeing their family or getting proper medical care. If this ban affects my mother, she won’t see my grandpa.” So, while Canadians and members of the UTSC community still learn how to heal from the Quebéc shooting and while progress is in the works, the good news is that a judge in the U.S has ruled against the travel ban, stat-
ing that it “unconstitutionally targets Muslims…. which violates the First Amendment prohibitions on favouring one region over another.” Yet, is the government’s role in this matter enough to stop Islamophobia and control the ability for Muslims to be mobile around the world? Apparently, it’s not. On February 23rd, a local Toronto mosque, Masjid Toronto, faced an anti-Muslim protest, which was later investigated as a “hate crime” against Muslims. Also, recent news of the M-103 motion, brought forward by a Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, was met with a counterprotest at Toronto City Hall on Mar 4. M-103, a parliamentary motion, would allow the Legislature to fight against hatred and discrimination, particularly against Muslims. Hundreds of people had initially gathered to fight for freedom, justice and to incorporate inclusive conversations about Muslims and Islam, but an organization called the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) marched against the motion, saying the motion would impeach their right to “free speech.” While Canadians take much pride in thinking we’re not like “them,” the American’s who have caused controversy and made headlines around the world, the conversation is becoming far too similar in our city as well. Words like, “go back to your country,” “stop Muslims,” and “no immigrants allowed” are said and written on large signs to what some say is their right for freedom of speech, and what others call straight up discrimination and the result of bigotry. All of this is quite difficult to comprehend, it makes one fearful and uncertain of future events that could affect the Muslim and international community; especially if there are little support from people like fellow students, professors, and authority to patrol and mediate people of the opposite sides. And while there has been the Racialized Student’s Collective, the Muslim Chaplain, the Health and Wellness centre here at our campus to provide the help and support for UTSC students, one can’t help but wonder who will help the Americans, Canadians and others who continue to take part in conversations that are driven to divide people, without considering the how it can affect the international community and vulnerable. people that are feeling the fear” said Mohsin. “In terms of inclusivity, the university has provided us with bigger spaces. Personally, I’ve always felt like this campus is diverse and I’ve never faced issues or backlash. I’ve felt welcomed; however, if there is anyone who has ever felt unwanted, there are spaces for them available and we welcome them.”
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
16 S C I E N C E & T EC H ELIZABETH LIU / THE UNDERGROUND
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SCIE NCE & T EC H 17
The Doomsday Clock Taylor Bridger, Contributor As of Jan. 26, 2017, the world sits at the brink of an apocalyptic catastrophe; the Doomsday Clock is the closest it has been to midnight since its inception following the Second World War. The direst year, according to the clock, is 1953 due to nuclear posturing by both the Soviet Union and the United States. Both powers tested thermonuclear weapons above ground, signaling the beginning of what we know today as the Cold War. The founders of the Doomsday Clock, nuclear physicists who participated in the Manhattan Project, feared the opening of a Pandora’s box in regards to atomic energy and nuclear weapons. The curiosity and the fears associated with the dawn of the atomic age fueled scientists to form the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an annual academic journal whose front page features the Doomsday Clock as well as a rationale describing how the clocks metrics are decided upon. Today, the Clock sits at two and a half minutes to midnight. The rationale? Increased threat of technological capabilities, the threat of environmental catastrophe, climate change, and if you hadn’t guessed it already, Donald J, Trump. The 54th President of the United States is named nine times in a sixteen-page report on the potential threats modern society faces in 2017. In fact, the rationale behind Trump being such a threat is as wide-ranging as it is fantastically farfetched. According to the sixteen-page Doomsday Clock statement issued on Jan. 27, there is a long list of factors that the Trump administration brings to the possibility of the apocalypse, including the proposed increased nuclear proliferation and the modernization of the American nuclear triad. The nuclear triad is the delivery system that true nuclear powers use to deliver nuclear payloads; the three portions of the triad being bomber by air, nuclear submarines hauling intercontinental ballistic missiles, and ground based launch of missiles from underground silos. Trump proposes increased security and updated capabilities where the American nuclear arsenal is concerned. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists continues to explain that the current state of nuclear escalation between nations
such as Iran and North Korea furthers the notion that a nuclear holocaust is a potential outcome. Since 2007, the Doomsday Clock Statement has expanded its role to encompass nuclear catastrophe and the potential for environmental catastrophe on an apocalyptic scale. This means that the Doomsday Clock not only reflects the potential for a nuclear exchange, but it also reflects the probability of catastrophic climate change and destabilization of the environment. To better understand how the commission interprets threats to the environment, this excerpt from the Science and Security Board Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists provides context: “The political situation in the United States is of particular concern. The Trump transition team has put forward candidates for cabinet-level positions (especially at the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department) who foreshadow the possibility that the new administration will be openly hostile to progress toward even the most modest efforts to avert catastrophic climate disruption. Climate change should not be a partisan political issue. The well-established physics of Earth’s carbon cycle is neither liberal nor conservative in character. The planet will continue to warm to dangerous levels so long as carbon dioxide continues to be pumped into the atmosphere— regardless of who is chosen to lead the United States or any other country”. Needless to say, the warnings issued should be heeded, but with a grain of salt. It is useful to maintain perspective when discussing the concept of global nuclear catastrophe, especially where Donald J. Trump is concerned. Experts of all kinds and creeds denounced Trump’s election odds, labeling him an anti-intellectual, and an untrustworthy populist with authoritarian tendencies and a taste for playing international games of chicken. Trump epitomizes the threats the Doomsday Clock is designed to measure. While this is all objectively true, the Doomsday Clock does not account for Trumps love of country, Trumps determination to be well liked, or Trumps desire to be viewed as a successful president; this analysis does not leave room for such things. Doomsday does not wait on positive traits; it orbits around the potential for extreme catastrophe.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
18 S C I E N C E & T EC H RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND
(Un)natural Selection Kristina Dukoski, Science & Tech Editor Eugenics is a set of values and beliefs that seeks to improve upon the quality of the human genome. The word ‘eugenics’ is derived from its Greek linguistic origin meaning “good in birth,” or “noble in heredity.” Eugenics was first introduced in the late 1800’s by British scientist and explorer Sir Francis Galton, first cousin of Charles Darwin, who used results from his studies on the genetic makeup of the members of upper-class Britain to determine whether it was possible to direct humanity onto an optimally favourable path by fostering the births of individuals who have preferred traits. The Eugenics Movement picked up speed in the United States in the 1900’s, primarily guided by Charles Davenport, a biologist, and former teacher and principal, Harry Laughlin; the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island was promptly put into action by Davenport in 1910. According to Nature Education, an informative source for scientific information, “Field workers for the ERO collected many different forms of “data,” including family pedigrees depicting the inheritance of physical, mental, and moral traits. They were particularly interested in the inheritance of “undesirable” traits, such as pauperism, mental disability, dwarfism, promiscuity, and criminality.” The tenacity behind the ERO’s desire to eradicate such traits manifested as illicit discrimination, introducing procedures such as forced sterilization within targeted communities. This was gravely unjust and tragic as such communities were usually poverty-stricken, uneducated, and minority populations. Society began to realize the horrors of the Eugenics Movement, which transformed into a monster that was a far cry from the original Galtonian notion of selective breeding in order to perpetuate preferable traits. According to Genetics Generation, an online resource, the
movement lost all credibility when World War II began: “When the horrors of Nazi Germany became apparent, as well as Hitler’s use of eugenic principles to justify the atrocities, eugenics lost all credibility as a field of study or even an ideal that should be pursued.” Today, eugenics has taken on a preventative form. Genetics Generation outlines common genetic technologies available at present: “Using modern genetic technology, prospective parents can be pre-screened to determine their carrier status for certain diseases. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis following in vitro fertilization allows parents to select embryos that are free of disease. Additionally, prenatal genetic testing can provide a lot of information to parents about their unborn child.” Pre-screening can be done at any age if a health condition is expected. According to the Government of Canada website, genetic screening is recommended under the following circumstances: “you or your partner is at risk of passing on a genetic condition; you or your partner has a chromosome condition, or has a child with a chromosome condition; or you are a woman over 35, and therefore more at risk of having a child with a chromosome condition because of your age.” Although pre-screening does maximize the possibility of catching conditions early-on, such procedures are not always certain or clear. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) characterizes tests done on embryos created using in-vitro fertilization. The tests are meant to determine whether the embryos show signs of having conditions before being implanted into the uterus of the biological parent; embryos that do show signs of carrying such conditions are not implanted. There are significant advantages to such diagnoses: PGD is highly accurate in finding conditions pre-birth; it is vital to the decision-making process following the results of testing; it maximizes the amount of healthy pregnancies carried to full-term in virtue of eliminating possible factors that lead to miscarriage; howev-
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
er, there are disadvantages as well: PGD is only done when there is just cause to be wary—when parents have been found to carry conditions; PGD is intended to detect known/specific genetic conditions, and in effect, may not do much in terms of foreign/unknown conditions; PGD could be costly; and it does not guarantee healthy birth. Prenatal Genetic Testing, according to the Government of Canada means “testing a foetus for genetic changes. Options include amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS): Amniocentesis: Usually carried out between 15–18 weeks of pregnancy. It has a 0.5-1 [per cent] risk for complications, including miscarriage; CVS: Usually carried out between 10–12 weeks of pregnancy. It has a 1-2 [per cent] risk for complications, including miscarriage.” Although such technologies help individuals avoid passing on hereditary conditions to their offspring, there are social implications present. If we ascribe to the view that Galton originally had improved upon the healthy state of the human genome, we run the risk of spiralling out of control in our quest for the ‘perfect’ society. Genetic technology could be put on the same level as any other aesthetic procedure; would that be the birth of a shallow society, or a slippery slope view that demands more research? However, if we stick to the preventative measures taken up by common eugenics, we run the risk of blurring the line between healthy and unhealthy. Which conditions are serious enough to warrant action? In regards to ‘action,’ who are we to dictate the quality of life of another individual? There are definite ways of maintaining a high quality of life while living with less-severe conditions, but the ‘severity’ would be the aspect that has an unquantifiable vagueness in this case. In summation, eugenics can be useful in fostering a future full of healthier individuals, but we ought to be careful to avoid extremes, as we do not want to repeat the grim mistakes of the past or even make significantly worse ones in the future.
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SCIE NCE & H E A LT H 19 ELIZABETH LIU / THE UNDERGROUND
the Multiverse Theory in Media Rezoan Arnob, President of Entertainment Tech Daily The notion of parallel dimensions has always spurred fascinating discussions within the world of sci-fi. Over the years, the Parallel Universe Theory/Multiverse Theory has lead to the creation of popular fictional books, TV shows, and movies that have changed the perspectives of many media consumers internationally. One such phenomenon that falls under the scope of the theory is The Mandela Effect. Essentially, The Mandela Effect is a phenomenon that makes us question the legitimacy of our recollections of important events, names, or ideas. For example, consider the following: is it ‘Sex in the City’ or ‘Sex and the City’? Is it ‘The Berenstein Bears’ or ‘The Berenstain Bears’? The Mandela Effect plays with the idea of false memories and alternate realities. The most famous example is the death of Nelson Mandela. Even though Mandela died in 2013, some claim that he died while still in prison in the 80’s; quite absurd, right? Is the confusion due to the press and media manipulating information, or does the conundrum point to a different explanation, perhaps multiverses? The Parallel Universe Theory has inspired a niche category for fiction story telling, television, and movies. In regards to stories, The Parallel Universe concept led to the creation of some of the most famous stories in the field: The Flash of Two Worlds and Crisis on Infinite Earths, both stories by the DC Comics company. Despite their being relegated to www. the-underground.ca
the medium of comic books, these two stories brought key concepts to the idea of parallel universes. The Flash of Two Worlds introduced the concept of the multiverse; a notion that highlights the possibility of many Earths existing at the same time; the only difference between each one being that they vibrated at different frequencies. Barry Allen, the Flash from Earth One, was able to vibrate so fast that he broke the dimensional barrier of his earth and--by accident--he was transported to another Earth where he met the Flash of that Earth; Jay Garrick, whom was called Earth 2 in the story, was not vibrating to the required frequency of his Earth. Thus, the concept of Earth One and Earth Two was established. The Crisis on Infinite Earths graphic novel also introduced unique concepts to the idea of parallel universes. Essentially, this novel took the entire mythology of DC characters and pitted them against the big bad enemy called Anti-Monitor. The Flash of Two Worlds represented the importance of Earth 1 and 2 co-existing at different vibrational frequencies; Crisis On Infinite Earths took the concept to a whole new level. The film incorporated characters from the entire multiverse of Earths, including Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, and so on. As a result, it led to multiple versions of the same character appearing in the storyline such as two versions of Superman. These stories raise an important philosophical question: what if there are different versions of you existing in the plethora of parallel universes? On one Earth, you could be a doctor; while on another earth, you could be a farmer. FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
However, before getting into that, we can’t talk about parallel universes without discussing the black hole. For many scientists and the common folk, the black hole has always been a source of curiosity because it remains so mysterious. The movie Interstellar is a great talking point for the black hole paradigm. Without spoiling the movie, the general plot requires the characters of the movie to look for habitable planets to live on by travelling through wormholes. When discussing black holes, it is important to note the distinction between a black hole and a worm hole. The most important distinguishing factor is that the concept of black holes has already been proven by the scientific community to exist, while the concept of wormholes is still theoretical and lacks evidence. Another distinction regards their respective constitutions and functions. A black hole is a large object that has a strong gravity field that alters time around it, while a wormhole connects two different points from two different universes. For many scientists, wormholes serve as a sort of transportation device to travel to other universes. It could provide shortcuts to different places in the universe or serve as a time machine to travel to the past. The concept of multiverses and parallel universes have always served as a water-cooler conversation for many people. Only time will tell if a human being can travel through a wormhole to another universe, or if the existence of many different earths vibrating at different frequencies can be proven to exist. For now, it is all theoretical and still remains a mystery. VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
2 0 S C I E N C E & T EC H
All About Fair Trade Anisha Prasad, Taliya Wright, XingPing Huang, concentration of land in the hands of industrial businesses, landless and poor small-scale Sustainability Office
Conventional trade habits do not give farmers and workers a fair share of the benefits of trade; however, Fair Trade embodies a new approach that offers improved trade terms for farmers. Fair Trade is based on the partnership between the producers and consumers; it gives farmers the opportunity to live a better quality of life and consumers a powerful way of reducing poverty through their everyday grocery shopping. To carry the FAIRTRADE Mark means that the producers and traders have met the Fairtrade standards, which are designed to directly address the power imbalance in trading relationships and unstable markets. Fair Trade products range from tea and coffee to fruits and nuts. The Fair Trade standards target farmers and producers working together in cooperatives or other organizations with a democratic structure to pay employers decent wages, guarantee the right to join trade unions, ensure health and safety standards and provide adequate housing where relevant. Most FAIR TRADE products have a set minimum price, meaning there is a minimum price that must be paid to the producer. Maintaining stable prices is a key goal of FAIRTRADE to ensure that producers can cover their costs of sustainable production as a safety net for farmers during times of market decline. Producers get an additional sum, the FAIRTRADE Premium, which farmers receive for products sold on FAIRTRADE terms. The premium is used by the farmers to invest in their communities or businesses in order to improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions. This can include education and healthcare, farm improvements to increase yield and quality, or processing facilities to increase income. The specificities are determined democratically by producers within the farmers’ organization. This ensures that producers are able to cover their costs of sustainable production, while acting as a safety net for farmers when world markets are below sustainable levels. When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, the buyer must pay the higher price and higher prices can be negotiated based on quality. Around the world, small-scale farmers and workers make up some of the most highly marginalized groups. With the rising
producers face major challenges. These include a lack of formal contracts, freedom of association, basic health and safety support, and adequate wages. Fairtrade aims to offer stability of income for rural producers and their families, by setting standards for decent wages, rights to unionize, health and safety, and housing. Through farmer organizations’ democratic and transparent administration, farmers are included in the decision-making process over where the premium is invested, benefiting them through building capacity and autonomy over their own livelihoods. Furthermore, Fairtrade encourages and rewards environmentally sustainable production practices, protecting the rich and diverse environments in which farmers work and live in. Fairtrade’s ultimate goal is to empower marginalized producers by supporting equitable trading conditions, and sustainable production practices to ensure secure and sustainable livelihoods for small-scale producers. The international Fairtrade system includes 23 member organizations: three producer networks and 20 national Fairtrade organizations, of which Canada is a part. The system is governed by a General Assembly and Board of Directors, with a central office in Bonn, Germany. FLOCert is the certification body of the global Fairtrade system which inspects producers and traders to ensure they abide by Fairtrade Standards. The system has a committed program of monitoring, evaluating, and learning (MEL) to assess activities related to Fairtrade and facilitate improvements through in-depth research. At the global level, Fairtrade International advocates for trade justice for marginalized producers along with the World Trade Organization and the European Fair Trade Association. The global Fairtrade system also provides advice, trainings, and financial support to producer organizations to build their capacity. Fairtrade Canada supports the international Fairtrade system by increasing sales of Fairtrade certified products in Canada, educating Canadians about Fairtrade, and supporting the work done around the world by Fairtrade International. Fairtrade Canada’s three main categories of work are certification, licensing, and education. The entire supply chain of Canadian Fairtrade products, from farmers and producers to processors and distributors must be monitored, audited and
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
certified by Fairtrade Canada as meeting international Fairtrade Standards. Fairtrade Canada must enforce strict standards for Canadian companies to abide by them to use the Fairtrade mark on their products. Finally, Fairtrade Canada works to educate communities, companies and campuses about Fairtrade through partnerships, campaigns, events, and media engagement. Fairtrade products available in Canada today include Camino chocolate, Kicking Horse Coffee, and Nourish Tea; many more Fairtrade products in Canada can be found on the guides available on the Fairtrade Canada website. Fairtrade ensures that farmers obtain sustainable economic income by offering the minimum price requirement, providing access to financial benefits and expertise to address climate changes and gender inequality. The principle of Fairtrade addresses several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) such as no poverty, gender equality, reduced inequality, and climate action to name a few. Fairtrade Canada takes steps every year to increase their impact by generating Fairtrade supply and demand in Canada. It not only brings Fairtrade to the attention of the public, but also helps society to become healthier and much more sustainable. The impact of the FAIRTRADE Mark and fair trade itself are significant. In the Annual Impact Report 2014-2015, it was indicated that 89 per cent of Canadian consumers who have seen the mark believe in it, and have become more aware of the benefits for Fairtrade producers year to year. Step by step, Fairtrade Canada is building the trust and benefits for both consumers and producers. On May 17, 2016, UTSC officially became a Fairtrade campus by Fairtrade Canada. Before that, our campus had been dedicated to creating awareness and promoting Fairtrade through the use of Fairtrade products and hosting information booths to inform students, staff and faculty about the benefits of Fairtrade. Fairtrade products are widely available on campus like Rex’s Den and Marketplace’s coffee and tea, and you can even get the Fairtrade drip coffee option from Starbucks. Fairtrade chocolate is also available in the UTSC Bookstore and Marketplace. Check out these places when you want to treat yourself and help others at the same time. As for off-campus needs, you can find these fairtrade products and many others at your local grocery store or specialty stores. Consider the effect your dollar can have the next time you make a purchase.
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SCIE NCE & T EC H 21 ELIZABETH LIU / THE UNDERGROUND
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
22 S P OR T S & WELLNES S
A Look Inside TPASC’s Women’s Only Program Temi Dada, Sports & Wellness Editor The women’s only times and programs in the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC) are some of the ways the Athletics department is striving to promote women’s participation in sports and wellness in a safe environment. Some of its affordances are the intramural field hockey, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball teams; the Ladies Discussion Cafe which provides a safe space for selfidentifying women to express themselves and share experiences regarding health, nutrition and exercise; the registered learning to swim program; drop-in Aqua Zumba and Sport and Swim classes; dance classes; the self-defense program and equipment orientations, which take place on Tuesdays from 2:15 PM-3:15 PM and Wednesdays & Fridays from 10:15 AM-11:15 AM. Currently, the times of operations for women’s only hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM and Tuesdays & Thursday’s from 2:00-4:00 pm. Though the programs have been great for students who are able to attend, The Underground spoke to some more women to figure out how it can be improved. Identity is complex and many self-identifying women think their personal identities play a role in their experiences at TPASC. Sagal Shuriye, a fourth year psychology and health studies double major at UTSC, is one of these women. Shuriye, who formerly worked for the Scarborough Campus Athletics Association (SCAA) and is currently an employee at TPASC, didn’t find any problems going to the gym at first. Shuriye mentions, “I wasn’t a visible Muslim. Even my name can’t be directly linked with my religion so I was oblivious to what Muslim women go through [while visiting the gym]. I used to walk in and do my workouts without caring about who is watching or around.” However, once Shuriye started wearing her hijab to the gym, she said she
noticed a stark difference: “Now that I started putting on my hijab again I’m very much aware of what I do. I can’t just do my squats or let my shirt fly [around] when there [are] a lot of men around. I am also more watchful about the time of the day I go.” She states that the women only hours have been helpful in negotiating her issues sharing, “When I have gone to the women’s only hours, it has helped me a lot”. However, Shuriye thinks the hours of operating need to be more accessible as the allotted times are in the morning and early afternoon, when many of the desired clientele would be in their classes. The second issue that was brought up were the restrictions surrounding the actual space. The women’s only space is demarcated by a curtain placed in a corner of the lower level’s gym. “I do not go a lot because of the schedule, it usually conflicts with mine [but] I also find it interesting how they box you into one corner. They confine you to the curtains where there are just a few dumbbells here and there and treadmills. What if I want to do a bench press or a chest press? I can’t,” says Shuriye. A working aspect of the program has been that it reduces the gaze. Jemima Idinoba, a fourth year international development studies and political science major says, “It is very intimidating[...]I personally feel like that because I noticed that there is a particular section [downstairs]—which is also where most guys [workout]—that girls tend not to go to because they are either too timid, don’t want to be ogled at or don’t want to be laughed at by [the guys there] for using the machines the wrong way.” Idinoba is not the only one who noticed that women tended to stay upstairs. Shuriye recognized this as well amongst other Muslim women: “When I used to do my daily walk-arounds, I noticed a lot of women who wear hijabs stay[ed] upstairs and I always wondered why. I think they would also like to use [the equipment] downstairs [too] because it’s mostly cardio [ellipticals] upstairs,” she ob-
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
served. “I used to feel like that before, but because I have been going there for the past two years I have become more comfortable with being at the gym,” Idinoba continues. Though it is possible for people to feel stares, even when nobody is looking, it doesn’t negate some of the more obvious stares: “I know I can feel like maybe that guy is staring at me but he is probably not. But you can tell when you are working out in front of a mirror and someone is staring at you through the [same] mirror,” Shuriye said. As to what prompts some women to not participate in sports often, Sarah Patel* says, “There’s a multitude of factors including pop culture, body image, family and cultural influences, financial resources, social stigma, and lack of education on health that impede women from participating in programming. Each sport or physical activity might have different barriers, for example, some women are viewed as ‘too masculine’ if they play an ‘aggressive sport’”. Another issue raised was regarding the long-term goals of the program. Patel believes that while it is a good initiative, it does little long-term. While referencing the women’s only hours as a “band-aid’ solution”, Patel also mentions, “You’re just segregating two populations. It’s a complex issue, and there’s no single formula for fixing the problem. Therefore, continuing to critique, improve, and challenge ideologies and programming will help achieve a more inclusive environment”. The idea behind women’s only hours was to create safe and comfortable environment for women to work out in, and so far it’s serving its purpose. Women who take advantage of this facility, such as Shuriye, are satisfied with the results. It’s the common verity that women are much more comfortable performing complex workout positions when they’re around people who share the same knowledge of their bodies, and perhaps the program could provide an even greater service to its student, if that was implemented. *Interviewee’s identity held upon request
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SPO RTS & W E L L N E SS 23 IDIL DJAFER / THE UNDERGROUND
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
24 OP I N I ON RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND
ْمُكَنْيَب َلَعَجَو اَهْيَلِإ اوُنُكْسَتِل اًجاَوْزَأ ْمُكِسُفْنَأ ْنِم ْمُكَل َقَلَخ ْنَأ ِهِتاَيآ ْنِمَو َنوُرَّكَفَتَي ٍمْوَقِل ٍتاَيآَل َكِلَٰذ يِف َّنِإ ۚ ًةَمْحَرَو ًةَّدَوَم “And one of Their signs is that They have created for you, partners from amongst yourselves so that you might take comfort in them; and They placed between you, love and mercy. In this, there is surely evidence (of the truth) for the people who carefully think.” (Surah 30, Verse 21)
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
O P I N I O N 25
A N ANTICOLON I A L P E R S P E C T I V E O N LOVE, PARTN E R S H I P & C O M M U N I T Y Noor Khan, Contributor I want to begin by sharing that religious guidance can be a form of indigenous belief system, and way of life, and the Books are part of my personal ancestral history. When I was young and sat into madressa (a term which is associated with an “institution of Islamic teachings” among Muslims), I heard the above statement from the Quran. I was taught of partnership as an institution across forms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam at home and school. Of all things under contestation in the Book(s), my personal war has been with this. Our conceptions of self, partnership, and community, as well as how we realize commitment to these bodies, have been shaped by being implicated in (post) colonial Western life to different degrees. Relations are implicated in the dialogue of Western modernity in that we are somehow seen as more progressive humans if we have established comfort in the fact that life is in a constant flux. We are to constantly build, and meet new people in our tracks with different skills that help us. This public society is structured upon individualism, in which survival can be easier alone without real social relations. At the same time, Christian, and other, values of partnership and marriage have been coopted by capitalism in that the nuclear family is supported only enough for the economy to retain, and literally reproduce, its workforce. In this space, the formulation and maintenance of loving and caring partnerships are not conversations to be had, and pose as a challenge in practise. In fact, most of us have read Durkheim’s text of how Christian values have been co-opted by capitalism, where partnership, marriage and the nuclear family are supported only enough for the economy to retain and literally reproduce its workforce. So are we utilizing people as so-
cial capital? We witness the love and guidance that we have received from our ancestors become replaced by Western capitalist values of seeing social relations as capital. Sometimes, we are shamed for holding onto things, especially to other people. And this happens, as if we are the colonized, in need of the colonizers help getting rid of the past which holds us down. The shame for holding onto things has tapped into our greatest insecurity of experiencing human loss and heartbreak. We do not problematize individualism in that it helps us avoid our fear. So what is commitment then? I believe that scriptures talk of partnership to encourage us to approach every individual in our community as someone who we will encounter “til death do us apart.” We will always fear flux and loss, but positive intentions and a slight switch of outlook may help us retain partnership and community. Instead of anticipating the end, we should embrace it when it comes. We are more than our productivity, and (social) capital. There is a need to reconnect to our communities and indigenous knowledge systems which guide us in formulating social relations, not social capital. I would like to end off by reflecting on why scripture, and other belief systems declare marriage and/or partnerships as righteous duties. Being respected by our partners make us comfortable with showing them the weaknesses that are products of our life experiences. Mutual commitment is when we are willing and capable of assisting one another in moving past these experiences. Partnership is a declaration that we cannot give in to the depths of our trauma and weakness because we will have failed not only ourselves, but our partners, youth, family and community. Relations can help us build, and bring us closer to unity and conciliation. And “in this there is surely evidence of the truth (of guidance) for the people who carefully think.”
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
There is no singular Black experience. Often, the experiences of Black folks are understood monolithically when our identities diversify our existences. The Underground took the narratives from six different individuals from different disciplines to further contextualize and pose some answers to the question, â€˜What does it mean to be Black?â€?. There is no definitive answer, and if there is, it would require way more space than what we are afforded, but perhaps we can look to these stories for some insight.
IDIL DJAFER / THE UNDERGROUND
THE BL ACK E XPE R I E N C E S 29
Silence and Stigma:
Mental Illness in the Black Community Dominic Stephenson, Contributor The stigma around mental health is pretty thick. It’s even thicker within Black communities. Growing up in Jamaica, I noticed that mental health was almost never spoken about. While living in both the U.S and Canada, I have met others who could attest to the same thing. However, as I’ve advanced further into my studies, I’ve found new ways to explore these stigmas and am actively working alongside my peers to ensure that more discussions like these are happening. Below are two of many stigmas attached to mental health within the Black community:
“Black people do not suffer from mental health issues in the same way other races, especially their white counterparts, do.” I’ve heard many variations of this sentence before. The hyper-masculinity ascribed to Black men help to create a false sense of immunity to mental illness and vulnerability. It’s stigmas like this that make it less inviting for Black people, particularly our men, to talk openly about their feelings. On top of the more common economic, personal, and social stresses that come with being a provider, Black men have to deal with racism and microaggressions that their white counterparts do not. Police brutality, the re-emergence of white supremacist hate groups and the overuse of terms like ‘thug’ to incriminate their existence, are just a few social triggers that can threaten mental well-being among Black men. Regardless of whether a Black man gives into the false notion of inferiority, he exists in a world where many people harbour hostility towards him, whether they do so subconsciously or with full intent. Though Therese Brochard, a conwww. the-underground.ca
tributor on Psych Central, mentions it is more acceptable for women to show vulnerability, social labels such as “the strong Black woman” and the double burden of facing racism and sexism illicit a source of resilience in Black women that often result in us neglecting our own emotions and needs. Both men and women of color undergo their own struggles, but without a healthy outlet and support system, the result often materialize into failed relationships and broken homes, leaving a disproportionate amount of Black women having to serve as both caregivers and breadwinners. Charisse Jones and Kumea ShorterGooden’s book Shifting: Double Lives of Black Women in America, speaks to the notion that Black women have adapted to finding “humor in heartache.” This coping mechanism is harmful if not coupled with a more direct way of addressing issues. Dr. Monica Coleman, a Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology, reported that during her depressive episode, a friend attempted to downplay this experience by remarking, “We are the descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage and slavery. Whatever you’re going through cannot be that bad.” Let it be known that today, exposure to racism and discrimination is an added stressor to both men and women. The Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities in the UK reported that “those who had experienced a racist attack were nearly three times more likely to suffer from depression and five times more likely to suffer from psychosis. Those who said their employers were racist were 1.6 times more likely to suffer from psychosis.” Often times when those who are targeted speak out, they are commended on their resilience, but the extent of the damage caused on the targets either emotionally or mentally, is not as commonly spoken about as it should be. These studies help to show that experiencing racism can take a serious toll on mental health. FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
“Slavery was a long time ago...get over it.” I’ve also heard different variations of this, even from Black people. While it is important to question the modern day devices that influence mental health, without any historical context, there is no big picture! If we are going to talk about poverty and socioeconomic barriers, it is important to acknowledge the legacy of enslavement and intergenerational trauma as factors that play into Black mental health. People need to understand that just as how it is unethical to ask someone to forget the Holocaust or forget about 9/11, it is just as unethical to suggest that one should forget about slavery. It is not a matter of dwelling on the past but a matter of acknowledging that it exists in order to move towards a place of healing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that undiagnosed childhood trauma serves as the root cause of mental health and behavioral problems in adulthood. If we apply this same notion to the history of physical, mental, and systematic oppression, faced by Black people, then we can understand the value in acknowledging our past. Something that has stuck with me for years is that in order to solve a problem you have to understand that there is a problem in the first place. Discourse is a powerful tool because it eventually translates into action. The way we think and talk about mental wellness will influence the way we deal with issues around mental illness. A group that I co-lead called the Future Black Physicians at UTSC is actively trying to break some of the silence around mental health in our Black community. A lot of the time, it feels like the elephant in the room, but my team and I have gotten the opportunity to hear so many different perspectives on why mental illness is not taken as seriously in the Black community from students here on campus. In general, I’d say people have a lot to say about it, but often times it just takes someone to reach out and start the conversation. This is the first step to reducing the stigma. VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
30 T HE BL AC K E X P ERI ENC ES
The Black and Queer Blues Trina James, VP Campus Life
This article is for all the communities*. I love you! You deserve love! You are worthy of love. Your existence is resistance. Let’s start out with a quick story (most interesting articles begin that way). Being a member of the LGBTQQIP2SAA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, pansexual, two spirited, asexual, allies) I never really had a coming out story. For me, when it came to expressing who I truly was, I would only really do in it spaces where I felt safe. I found the most comfort in spaces with my friends, which makes sense because your friends are your chosen family. As I slowly opened up about my sexuality to some of my friends, I soon realized that a portion of my friends–many of whom were Black–would act completely different around me. There were no more friendly hugs, awkward silences became the norm when I was around, and I began to no longer feel safe around them. It was as if I was no longer human. I was no longer the friend they called in times of need. It’s situations like this that made me realize that homophobia can exist even within a marginalized community like the Black community. In order for me to fully love myself, including my queer identity, I began seeking safety in LGBTQQIP2SAA-friendly places; however, when I look at the LGBTQQIP2SAA community, many of the individuals within it are racist, and express their racist thoughts in so many different ways. Recently, racism, particularly antiBlackness, has presented itself within the LGBTQQIP2SAA community in the way people responded to the 2016 Toronto Pride Parade. Last year’s parade was my first ever Pride. Words cannot even begin to describe the level of excitement I had that day. All of that changed as soon as I saw
the reactions of many LGBTQQIP2SAA individuals and their “allies” to the sit-in hosted by the Black Lives Matter Toronto chapter (BLMTO). Their negative attitudes and remarks reminded me how racist the LGBTQQIP2SAA community can be. Shaming BLMTO for wanting to address the antiBlackness that presents itself within the LGBTQQIP2SAA community, as well as discrediting the work of this group, is anti-Black and racist. Even when I reflect on the way some of the members of my own community, the Afro-Caribbean community, interact with the LGBTQQIP2SAA community, it upsets me. It upsets me to see them treated lesser than and interacted with as if they are diseased, strictly because they are being their true self. These are the same people who get upset when discriminatory remarks and acts are done to diminish their racial identity. As a community who experiences discrimination on a daily basis, we should be more understanding of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community and the forms of discrimination they face. If you look at racism as a mathematical equation (x+x= y), homophobia and transphobia are structured similarly, but with different variables involved (z+z=y). However, as I continue to reflect on how the LGBTQQIP2SAA community perpetuates anti-Blackness and how homophobia and transphobia presents itself within the Black community, I often have to remind myself that everyone is at different stages of decolonizing their minds. Many of these racist, homophobic, and transphobic thoughts are so deeply engraved into our society that we are unable to identify them as wrong and now perceive it as normal. But what is to blame for this? I say, colonization. In 1655, British rule took over Jamaica. Upon stealing this land, colonizers enforced their rules and religion onto the people of this land. With British rule, came an enforcement of laws such as the Act of 1533 (25 Hen. 8 c. 6), that outlined sex with a man and a man, as well as a woman with a woman, as a criminal offence and punishable by death. Law and religion were used as tools to “civilize” the people of this land for over 300 years, while homophobic and transphobic ideologies became rooted in our minds, then reproduced into our beliefs, way of life, and even in our music. Though Jamaica gained independence in 1962, we still FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
claim British norms and ideals as our own. Even in a post-colonial Jamaica, the remnants of a colonial past is replicated through a mixture of middle-class and respectability politics. Our true way of life and understanding of ones’ sexual orientation and gender identity has been erased from our history and replaced with ones that endorse the colonizers’ agenda. Though LGBTQQIP2SAA rights are slowly becoming an accepted norm around the world, British colonizers have failed to address the homophobic and transphobic acts that occurred in nations that they have once deemed as “their” land and have institutionalized this attitude through law. It is important to recognize that Black bodies were stolen from a land that we once called home. Our language and way of life was erased from our core and replaced with one that promotes hatred towards the Black and LGBTQQIP2SAA communities. As we move forward in addressing the racism, homophobia, and transphobia within our society, it is important for us to recognize that identities DO intersect. Though I am Black, I am also a woman and I am a member of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community. In order to actively create welcoming spaces for people in the Black and LGBTQQIP2SAA communities, we must educate ourselves about the history of this hatred and take active steps to address the injustices that have been done to members of these communities. In order for us to make our society more accepting, we need to acknowledge the acts that colonization has had on our bodies and take proactive measures to combat these injustices. It is imperative that the Black community challenge their homophobic and transphobic thoughts, and develop an understanding of the realities of the Black LGBTQQIP2SAA folks within their community. The LGBTQQIP2SAA community must challenge their racist thoughts and acts, they must recognize that the infiltration of whiteness within the LGBTQQIP2SAA community has silenced the Black and Racialized LGBTQQIP2SAA experience. Space for our narrative is crucial to our survival and ability to thrive within this colonial world. The process of decolonization must start from within. *communities: communities I am part of and that exist VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND
NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND
THE BL ACK E XPE R I E N C E S 3 3
Love Justice and
Leonard Clarke Jr, UTSC’s Ecumenical Chaplain
Martin Luther King in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” carefully responded to religious leaders who criticized the activism of King and his followers. King chastised white, moderate religious leaders who actively participated in developing laws and strategies to deny the basic human rights of African Americans, while simultaneously espousing to the fundamental religious teaching of love and care for humanity. King’s letter rejected the dissociation of love from justice. He demanded that religious leaders do more than just talk about love, but rather put love into action. Dividing love and justice into mutually exclusive concepts is not only dangerous it is not human. Love cannot exist without justice and justice will not be fair without love. The desegregation laws during the civil rights era granted African Americans protection from discrimination, but the laws did nothing to restore their dignity. For King, these laws were important but he wanted religious leaders to declare that freedom and equality for oppressed people was morally right. He wanted to hear these leaders say “...the Negro is [our] brother.” King wanted
the church to come together and meet the challenges of racism, discrimination and poverty together. He believed that the most effective way to combat injustice was for people to authoritatively affirm the humanity of their brothers and sisters regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual identity. King expected religious leaders to recognize God’s involvement in the struggle to put an end to racism and discrimination, but their understanding of God’s love was limited. Many of the struggles that were present during the civil rights movement are still experienced in today’s society. There still remains racism and discrimination, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, etc. Although a great deal of progress has been made in breaking down some of these stereotypes, our society has only scratched the surface. All of us can play a part in fighting against discrimination. But our understanding of love for each other must include fighting against injustices. It is not possible for us to love and neglect the need for justice. This view of love is ineffective. A love that is not concerned about the wholeness of humanity will always miss its mark. Love and justice requires all of our participation in the push for equality.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
34 T HE BL AC K E X P ERI ENC ES
A Case for the
Transitional Year Program Leah Woldegiorgis, Jandell Nicolas, and Sheldon Holder, Black Education Project members The Transitional Year Program (TYP) was created by the Black Education Project (BEP) in 1969 to provide access and equity to African diasporic students interested in pursuing a post-secondary degree at the University of Toronto. In particular, the program has attracted those students who did not have formal education because of financial problems, family difficulties or circumstances beyond their control. Currently the program serves students who are under-represented within post-secondary institutions who have experienced systemic barriers in accessing university. This includes, Indigenous people, Black people, other racial minority groups, working class individuals, gender and sexual minorities, disabled, refugees, and low-income women and sole support parents. Says the The Transitional Year Program Preservation Alliance, “The conception and actualization of the program began with students who believed that there were disruptions in students’ education occurring in society due to a white-supremacist ideology that was assimilating, killing, and ripping apart communities it viewed as inferior”. Within recent times the BEP has been revitalized as an initiative to continue the legacy of rallying to save the program from being shut down by the University. For this reason, the BEP is actively working to ensure that the program remains open and accessible for people who cannot take the conventional route to enter the university, in hopes of having a successful academic career. Therefore, the goal of the Black Education Project is to bring awareness to the many ways the university has made this program precarious. The BEP would like to see TYP sustained as a program that bridges the gap between communities in need and the university. The BEP would like to see TYP find a new director and be adequately staffed and funded in order to expand the capacity of the program to the Scarborough and Mississauga campuses. At present, due to the lack of funding and static admissions, the program is unable to make any of this a reality.
Ever since its inception, BEP and TYP have been making Black history at this University. A large portion of the TYP’s Black students have been successful within the University’s’ undergraduate and post-graduate programs. The community that TYP represents is diverse and ever increasing, however, the admission rate has been contained since the 1980’s. With this limitation, the number of black working class folks have moderated intentionally or otherwise, amounting in anti-Black racism. Additionally, there is another form of systematic racism taking place within the organization. TYP has been severely understaffed both in terms of faculty and support staff for more than a decade. Presently the faculty has been reduced from 10 full-time professors to four. This reality by itself is enough to create an uncomfortable learning environment. There are four racialized and/or Black identifying professors who live in a contractual nightmare that work precariously throughout the school year. In Superville’s article on TYP, they state that “The entire part-time faculty of the program is racialized people whose negative experiences as educators mirrors that of racialized peoples everywhere in Canada. Racist hiring practices that have ghettoized racialized educators into spaces of lowly professional status have made them ripe for exploitation” For many of us, obtaining a higher education is the only means by which we can advance ourselves in this capitalist society. Historically, the Transitional Year Program has been a place of Black activism and perseverance on campus that produces academic results and social change, while experiencing decades of systemic oppression at the University of Toronto. As the University annually moves from celebrating Indigenous Peoples week to observing Black History Month celebrations, let us take note of the fact that from the program’s inception, students have continuously organized rallies, protests and town hall meetings to make sure the program’s doors remain open. In closing, it is important that we pay homage to the faculty, staff and students of the Transitional Year Program past and present. As well, special mention also needs to be made of the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) who have championed the cause of the TYP.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND
NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND
THE BL ACK E XPE R I E N C E S 3 7
Troubling the Cannons Leal Coombs-King, Sports & Wellness Intern In North America, names like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Malcolm X are synonymous with Black History Month. Their contributions are often immortalized in movies and television and stylized in books and literature. People often learn more about these figures and have become canonnized within the realm of Black history. This could be because Black American history is circulated more than Canadian Black history as Black History Month in Canada was not officially recognized until 1995 by the Canadian government, while Black History Month in the U.S has been recognized since 1976. Nevertheless, the overshadowed narratives of Black Canadians are just as captivating. They have made very important contributions to Canada’s history and it’s important not to overlook them. The Underground has decided to uncover some of the narratives belonging to Black historical figures in the country’s history to shed some light on the paths they have carved.
Many honour Willie O’Ree as the “Jackie Robinson” of hockey because he was the first Black player in the National Hockey League (NHL) and by extension, broke racial and social boundaries. O’Ree was born in the small coal mining town of Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1935, during a time when there were only two black families. O’Ree was the youngest of thirteen children and would begin playing organized hockey at the age of five. After graduating from the New Brunswick Amateur Hockey Association, O’Ree would join a minor league team, The Québec Aces. In 1958, O’Ree was called up from the Boston Bruins, where on Jan. 18, 1958, he would become the first black player to play in the NHL. O’Ree would later recall the racial abuse he would receive from fans and players. In a 2012 Bleacher Report article he was quoted saying, “I particularly remember a few incidents in Chicago. The fans would yell, ‘Go back to the south’ and ‘How come you’re not picking cotton.’ In the penalty box, stuff would be thrown at [me], and they’d spit at me…I never fought one time because of racial remarks. I fought because guys butt-ended me and speared me and cross-checked me. But I said, ‘If I’m going to leave the league, it’s because I don’t have the skills or the ability to play anymore. I’m not going to leave it ’cause some guy makes a threat or tries to get me off my game by making racial remarks towards me.’” O’Ree retired from the San Diego Hawks of the Pacific Hockey League at the end of the 1978-1979 season and five years later, he was www. the-underground.ca
inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. In 2000 O’Ree would be honoured with the Lester Patrick Trophy, an annual award presented for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. O’Ree’s impact at the time may have been undermined but today holds great importance. O’Ree broke through racial barriers in hockey and did it with determination and dignity. As of 2016, there are 25 players of Black descent in the NHL, which could not have been possible without the bravery of Willie O’Ree.
Born July 6, 1914 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond’s parents were prominent figures in the Black community. After a stint teaching in two racially segregated schools, Desmond entered a program at the Field Beauty Culture School in Montréal, one of the few schools that accepted Black applicants. She quickly found success in the beauty industry and opened her own school, the Desmond School of Beauty Culture, to train women in aesthetics and expand the business of her beauty products. On November 8, 1948, while en route to a business meeting in Halifax, her car unexpectedly broke down in the town of New Glasgow. The repair was going to be a few hours and so Desmond opted to see a movie to pass the time. She got to the ticket booth and requested a main floor seat, usually reserved for white people. She was unknowingly given a balcony ticket and was challenged by the ticket taker who told her her seat was upstairs. The teller told her, “I’m sorry but I’m not permitted to sell downstairs tickets to you people.” Desmond rejected this rule and proceeded to main floor seating. She was confronted by the manager who said they had the right to “refuse admission to any objectionable person.” Desmond argued that she was not refused a ticket and offered to pay the difference for a main floor seat. Despite this, the police were called and Desmond was dragged out of the theatre and thrown into jail overnight. Desmond was brought to court and charged with attempting to defraud the provincial government based on her alleged refusal to pay the difference of the tickets. The judge fined her $26. Desmond was not given counsel or informed she had the right to any. Magistrate Roderick MacKay was the only legal official in the court. Though the issue of race was never mentioned, it was common knowledge among the Black community that in New Glasgow seating at the Roseland Theatre was segregated. Carrie Best, the founder of the second Black owned newspaper in Nova Scotia, The Clarion, took special interest in the case and would often cover it on the front page. Despite her conviction, many thought Desmond was innocent. It was only after 62 years that Desmond was finally and rightfully FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
granted a free pardon by Nova Scotia LieutenantGovernor Mayann Francis. Faced with adversity in a time where race relations were far from perfect, Viola Desmond handled a difficult and unjust situation with dignity and courage. She did this by never backing down from her claim of innocence and bravely sharing her story with others. On Dec 8, 2016 Desmond became the first Canadian women and the first Black women to appear on a Canadian bank note that will begin circulation in 2018.
Mary Ann Shadd Cary
Life is rarely ever easy for a Black woman and in the 19th century, a time where a majority of Blacks were being enslaved, a Black women obtaining a degree or starting her own publication would have been a rarity. Even so, that’s exactly what Mary Ann Shadd Cary did. Born into a free Black family in Delaware in 1823, she was educated at a Quaker school in Pennsylvania and in 1852, after the passage of fugitive slave law, she migrated to Canada where she opened her own integrated school. It was also in Canada she started her newspaper called The Provincial Freemen, a weekly publication in which Shadd Cary wrote most of the articles. Holding the title as the paper’s editor and publisher, most of the articles were written by Shadd Cary. When the provincial ran its first weekly issue on March 24, 1853, she became the first Black woman in North America to publish a newspaper, a historic feat achieved when she was only 29 years of age. Though the newspaper folded due to financial problems in 1860, Shadd Cary had not only solidified her place in history but paved the way for other Black women writers and newspapers, including Carrie Best of The Clarion, and many others. Shadd Cary would spend her later years as a school teacher in Washington, D.C and Chatham and as a recruitment officer during the Civil War. In 1883, she pursued a degree in law at Howard University and became the second Black woman in America to do so. Shadd Cary’s contributions to Black journalism are vast as she set a trail for Black female writers in the 19th century and beyond. She was very influential in getting Black families from the U.S to migrate to Canada during the19th century. She was political and intellectual in her approach to abolish slavery and did her best to aid the advancement of her race. The contributions of these as well as many other Black Canadians should be regarded with the highest respect and honour from all Canadians. These three individuals along with countless other Black Canadians have aided the advancement of their race and in their own way have shaped Canada’s history. They have broken barriers, provided voices for the voiceless, and triumphed in the face of injustice. VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND
4 0 A RT S & L IF E IDIL DJAFER / THE UNDERGROUND
I’M FEELING MYSELF Sienna Heesoo Jang, Contributor Picture this: you’re walking into BV 4th floor study space through the elevator, occasionally watching the couples who are trying to get warm on the couches in this icy cold Canadian weather. You finally find a space to sit by the window. After hours of hard work and chitchatting, you look outside the window to take a relaxing moment, but you cannot help but notice all the couples outside. People who are so in love that they cannot help but to have, The Notebook moment before they rush off to class. You catch yourself asking, “Am I the only one not in love this Valentine’s season?” If you are in the same situation, don’t fret. Single folks can have as much fun this Valentine’s without a partner. You might not have a hot and romantic date this Valentine’s Day, but there are many things that you could be doing solo. Valentine’s Day celebrates romance and love, so why not celebrate all self-love? Exploring your own body, knowing how it functions, and loving yourself has both physical and psychological benefits on your health. There are benefits to masturbating. Firstly, masturbating helps to prevent cervical infections and urinary tract infections for women. As well, it is also known to improve cardiovascular health and lower
risk of Type 2 diabetes. For men, masturbation helps to prevent prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and increases immune function. It also helps with stress relief, confidence, and mood. Masturbating regularly is also said to help men last longer in bed. Masturbation can prevent insomnia through hormone and tension release, while orgasm can improve your pelvic floor strength. This self-loving act also improves your mood, confidence, and helps you prepare for sexual intercourse with your future partner. Apart from how good it feels, there are more reasons why people masturbate. Sometimes it helps people fall asleep or relieve headaches and cramps; sometimes your body needs it; some people do it to please their partner and sometimes it can be pure boredom that leads to masturbation. Masturbation can involve a repetitive rubbing or stroking motion on the clitoris or penis. Also rubbing against an object or using sex toys is another way to achieve pleasure. Some people get an orgasm after a few minutes, and some people don’t have it at all during masturbation. There is no such thing as “one way to masturbate.” It is important to find what works for you. Masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of. Whatever your plans are for next Valentine’s Day (or any other day in between), do what makes you happy.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
AR T S & L I F E 41
How To Prepare For The Sex Tiffany Quinn, Contributor Valentine’s Day is a day of romance. A day to pamper your partner and enjoy being spoiled in return and when you’re done with the boring stuff, a great day to have sex, if you choose to do so; however, the pressure to impress your partner with your wily moves can be daunting. Here are some ‘sexpert’ tips to ensure a smooth night of pleasure.
Find a private place:
Unfortunately, the alley next to the bar just won’t cut it. You might be tempted to make your room the go-to place, but unless you live alone, that has its disadvantages. Your roommate probably won’t enjoy the sounds of you and your partner’s heavy panting, and nothing will throw you off more than listening to your parents walk around upstairs. Privacy is important if you plan to shag on, or under, or up against as many surfaces as possible.
While it may seem pointless to make a bed that will promptly be destroyed by flailing limbs, a clean room will set the mood, while your dirty socks will not. So wash your sheets, fold your laundry, and throw out the half eaten sandwich that’s been on your windowsill since Christmas break. Don’t worry - if the evening goes well, your room won’t be clean for long.
Stock your nightstand:
Perfect sex calls for the perfect accessories, so make sure you have within quick reach a couple of crucial items. If you’re planning an erotic massage, have some oil or moisturizer on hand. It’s also a good idea to have a bottle of water close by, to stay hydrated during your marathon of love-making. Have a cloth handy to clean up any messes. Most importantly, make sure all your toys are close by and well organised. It will quickly kill the mood if you have to search around for your favourite vibrator, and you don’t want to stop the action to find that new anal plug. As well, be sure to stock up on your favourite contraception methods of your choice.
Plan a sober evening:
While it’s tempting to use wine to wash down your Valentine’s Day chocolates, less alcohol is more. You’ll want this night to be both memorable and functional. Ultimately, the only important tip is not to stress. At the end of the day, the hype around Valentine’s Day is just that: hype. If you and your partner don’t feel like having sex, there’s no shame in settling in to eat dinner, watch a movie, and enjoy each other’s company - fully clothed.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
42 S C I E N C E & T EC H
Size of the Wave or
Motion of the Ocean? Kyle Osborne, Contributor We humans have been having sex for as long as we’ve existed, and for a lot of that sex, penises have been involved. As someone who identifies as a man, I can confidently say this: I worry about my penis size. To quash my insecurities, I like to tell myself that most other men are just as insecure as I am, and, luckily, scientific studies seem to support my assumptions. DrEd.com, a site for patients in the UK to communicate with doctors online, performed a worldwide study on ideal penis length. Men perceived the average penis length to be on average 14.1 cm (5.5 inches) and the ideal length to be 16.6 cm (6.5 inches). Women, on the other hand, estimated mean lengths of 13.8 cm (5.4 inches) for average size and 15.8 cm (6.2 inches) for the ideal length. As you can see, men suppose higher values for both average penis length and ideal penis length in comparison to women. Based on how men overestimate average penis length, it can be inferred that many men are below the average and ideal lengths. As a comparative agent, another study that measured different men’s penis lengths from around the world found that the average length of a man’s penis was 13.12 cm (5.16 inches) when erect. Men really don’t match up to their expectations, but do their partners really care? In the DrEd.com study, 67.4 per cent of women said size is somewhat important, but not of overriding concern, and 21.4 per cent said it doesn’t matter. Men’s Health “Sex Professor” Debby Herbernick, P.hD., says, “Yes [women], care about the size of a man’s penis, but when it comes to sexual satisfaction, it’s pretty far down on our list of priorities.” In hopes of figuring out how these www. the-underground.ca
numbers and professional opinions match up with the real world, I interviewed some women on campus. All participants are left anonymous to protect their identity.
large and if they would enjoy having regular sex with someone who’s well endowed.
The Underground (UG): Does penis size matter?
AT: No, well, most of the time, no.
UG: Can a penis be too large?
Alexa Thompson (AT)*: I haven’t had enough [penises] inside [of] me to give a good answer, but it shouldn’t be too small.
HB: Yes, too big just isn’t fun anymore. Every girl has a different sized vagina. If it (the penis) is really big, you need a lot of foreplay to get her ready.
Hannah Brown (HB)*: I’d like to say so.
CS: Yes, it might hurt.
Christine Smith (CS)*: I’d say that it depends on the situation.
UG: Would you enjoy having sex on a regular basis with someone who is very big (very long or very thick)?
UG: Do you take size into consideration when picking a long-term partner? AT: No, I value performance over size. HB: I think sex is very important in a relationship, and if you can’t pleasure them, it won’t work. CS: Only in extreme situations, like (if) he has a micropenis. It seems relatively obvious now that penis length isn’t a huge deciding factor in how women pick a sexual partner, which makes sense considering that female sexuality and pleasure has multiple levels to it: psychosocial and anatomical. In a study done at UCLA, researchers presented a group of women with 3-D penis models and asked them to pick their “dick of choice” (DOC). Interestingly, most women seem to care more about girth, not length, when picking a partner for a one-night stand. The women showed ambivalence when picking for a long term partner. The UTSC interviewees gave their opinions on whether a penis can be too FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
AT: As long as they can perform (without poking) me in the cervix, sure, but probably not. HB: I guess so; I’d have to be really lubed up or turned on. CS: No, I don’t think it would be that pleasurable, even if he really knew how to use what he had. Picking through all of this information brought to light some reoccurring sentiments: it pays to be average sometimes, and it’s more about the motion of the ocean rather than the size of the wave. Everything seems to revert back to being able to turn your partner on and pleasure them. To quote Men’s Health 2009 Girl Next Door, Nicole Beland, “There’s nothing worse than a man who thinks he has a HUGE penis and is therefore God’s gift to the ladies.” Everybody has to put in some effort in the bedroom; what you’re born with helps, but it’s more about effort. * Interviewee’s identity held upon request VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SCIE NCE & T EC H 43
sex robots Rezoan Arnob, Contributor Sex robots are real. There is no questioning it, and there is solid evidence to support it. Matt McMullen, a developer from California, is already promising a type of sex robot that features fully-functional and welldeveloped genitalia; however, the pressing questions arise when we consider the future of sex robotics: what type of ethical and moral concerns will arise out of these new technologies? Will it be the next step to enhance sexual prowess or will it affect humanity in all the wrong ways? Westworld, a critically acclaimed HBO TV show, illustrates the moral and ethical dilemmas of sex robots. In this series, human beings have the luxury to visit a virtual world, albeit a very realistic one, that resembles the wild west. In this world, they are given full freedom to do anything. This vast domain is filled with life, most of which is artificial. Lifelike robots serve to satisfy the guests of Westworld. These robots, in terms of aesthetics, look human, and over the course of the season, prove to be just as intelligent. Bringing Westworld into the conversation is a great way to explore the ethical and moral dilemmas that may arise with the progress of sex robot technology. One of the first ethical and moral concerns we may face in the future is that, when these robots do reach the technological point of artificial intelligence (AI), can they be considered sentient life? Sentient life, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is defined as a state of being “responsive to or conscious of sense impressions.” If that is the case, would sex machines of the future be considered sentient life, even if they were composed of machine parts? Certainly, in the case of Westworld, they are. The artificial beings in the show are able to think independently, improvise, and realistically scream when endangered. The main character in Westworld, Dolores, was able to scream realistically when dragged down by a human guest, whom intended to rape her. If we imagine a future that contains artificial intelligence that is able to convincingly convey such human reactions, would consent be required to have sex with sex robots? It is an interesting question to ask because, regardless of how much research can be done, there is no clear cut answer;
however, an interesting real life analogy would be prostitution. In the world that we live in, there are sex robots and dolls available, but many people would not be able to afford one: the sex robots that are supposed to arrive next year, featuring fully functional genitalia, are expected to cost up to $17,000 CAD; in effect, people who wish to reap the benefits of such accessible sexual satisfaction but cannot afford making purchases valued so highly will seek alternative sources. Going back to the ethics of consent, people pay sex workers for pleasure-making purposes, but what if the buyers undermine the sex-workers’ autonomy and take advantage of unpaid sex, or worst of all, abuse the workers? Common knowledge has it that, regardless of one’s profession, every person has basic rights that cannot be denied. If this is the case with sex workers, what about the robots of Westworld and our hypothetical robots of the near future? In the coming time, would the advanced robotic creatures be able to perceive, and subjectively be guaranteed rights just like humans? The question is a fascinating one, but there is an important distinguishing difference between sex workers and sex robots: sex workers are identified as such based on their profession, but they are not wholly defined by that aspect of themselves, whereas sex robots are manufactured so that sex is their primary function--it is their purpose. Another moral concern we may face in the future is the concept of dealing with sex robots that reach a high level of consciousness. We may not have reached a Star Wars level technology peak, but in 2015, an early level of consciousness was detected in robots based on a series of experiments conducted by scientists at The Rensselaer AI & Reasoning Lab in New York on three Nanobots. The purpose of the experiment was to test the autonomic decision making process of these miniature bots. In this experiment, the three robots were programmed to think that one of them was given a pill that prevented the ability of speech. The three Nanobots were given the objective of identifying which of the three robots were given the pill. The process really tested the improvising ability of the Nanobots; it was only a matter of time before a robot talked and said that he knew that he was not given a pill. “Sorry, I know now. I was able to prove that I was not given a dumbing pill.” This experiment definitely proves that artificial
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
intelligence mechanisms are capable of being aware of their own existence: a basic level of self-consciousness. So, now you may be saying, ‘We have established in our current world that robots do have a basic level of consciousness, but what does that have to do with the moral and ethical dilemmas that sex robots, and robots in general, will face in the future’? Well, that’s just it; we established that prostitutes should have access to basic human rights regardless of their profession and have boundaries that customers paying for their services must abide by. If that is the case, in the hypothetical future, if sex robots do reach that peak point of consciousness, shouldn’t they be given the same level of basic rights? For example, in the future, if sex robots are complaining of pain which prompts them to ask the human to pause for a while, shouldn’t we respect that instruction and pause? Going back to Westworld, another moral and ethical dilemma it raises is the concern of memory being wiped out from the machines. In the show, scientists remove or completely reboot the machine every time there is a hint of rebellion. In some cases, scientists give these robots false memories taken from real human beings, making them think they are someone else. Taking these lessons from Westworld, what realistical concerns can we expect to face in the future? First of all, the removal of memories or placing false memories inside of a robot is more of a moral concern. In Westworld, when a character named Bernard found out he was being used and the memories he was given were not his own, he completely broke down, succumbing to intense psychological trauma: the character was given memories of a wife and a son he never had. Let’s say, in the future when these sex robots have the capability of consciousness, when they witness a horrific crime or they themselves are victims of abuse, they forget about it because some scientist implanted a button on the robot that removes memory. Ultimately, this idea of wiping out memory or placing false memories can be relegated to an issue of the god complex. What gives us the right to play puppet-master with these robots, who should have the right to control their own paths? Westworld may be a TV show, but scientists and the robotics industry would be foolish to ignore the very tangible moral and ethical concerns that it raises.
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
44 S C I E N C E & T EC H
Romance on the Silver Screen Rezoan Arnob, President of Entertainment Tech Daily Go back to the times of When Harry Met Sally, Braveheart, It Happened One Night, and The Graduate: compare the themes of romance and conquest in those iconic films to the romance genre of the current day. A lot has changed, contemporarily speaking; the romance genre has gone through a significant transformation that was seen across many mediums. When Harry Met Sally, in particular, presents a series of thought-provoking questions about romance, one of which is: Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way? Braveheart, on the other hand, does not present the theme of romance as a central fixation, but rather, as a tool to further progress the plot and story, giving the main character, William Wallace, motivation to fight against the British when his love interest dies by their hands. It Happened One Night and The Graduate serve as great talking points to show the early stages of the romance genre, specifically in relation to the period of time they were released. It Happened One Night was released during the Depression Era, circa 1934. Directed by Frank Capra, the film tells “the story of the unlikely romantic pairing of a mismatched couple - a gruff and indifferent, recently-fired newspaper man (played by Clark Gable) and a snobbish, superior-acting heiress (played by Claudette Colbert).” To many film goers and fans of the romance genre, It Happened One Night is arguably one of the best films of the genre - this could be due to its timeless embrace of the notion of ‘old fashioned’ love. Moving from It Happened One Night to The Graduate, an immediate paradigm shift can be detected, from an age of classic romance to a tale that symbolizes powerful sexual revolution. In The Graduate, several sexual encounters show that the idea of abstaining from sex until marriage is just not à la mode anymore; furthermore, some parts of movie represent sex as something that can be done without emotion, intimacy and attachment. An evolutionary pattern can definitely be spotted based on the movies that are
used as examples. The movies take us on a chronological journey, beginning at a time of pre-sexual conservative ideals, moving towards a time of embracing sexuality and revolutionizing intimacy, then moving on to a period where romance is simply used as a device to progress the plot. We are living in the age of shipping-as defined by Urban Dictionary to refer to the practice of making “fan fictions that take previously created characters and (present) them as a pair”--and cult fandoms, which hold massive social followings. If a love story is not riveting enough, producers and the like will receive backlash to the extreme point of death threats. This is why the ‘shipping’ concept is so central to discussing the contemporary romance genre right now. Shows like The Walking Dead, Arrow and Supernatural have massive following on social media, and while it is not necessarily an issue about romance as such, the issue of social media enabling cult-based fandom demands still remains a serious conundrum for the entertainment business. Fans should definitely be able to voice their opinions, but if they overdo it and pressure franchise, then it takes away the creative freedom of the franchise to progress their plot in whichever way they intend to. Andy Liu, a third-year UTSC student, expresses his feelings on the issue of the constant social media threats that writers, producers, and staff of established franchises of TV shows and movies face: “If you don’t like the direction of the show, or the different couples, then don’t watch it.” Quite a bold statement to say, but it ultimately sums up the situation of the never ending struggle between the fans and the staff of respected TV shows and movies that feature romantic relationships between characters, or lacks thereof. The contemporary period that we live in now is unlike any other that we have faced before. The Romance genre not only has to deal with how best to present the genre in a modern domain, it also has to deal with the political decision making processes and growing demands of the fans and social media.
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
SCIE NCE & H E A LT H 45 RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND
FEBRUARY 2 - APRIL 5, 2017
VOLUME 36, ISSUE 06
U NDE R G R OU N D I S H IRING SECTION EDITORS: NEWS (1), SCIENCE & TECH (1), SPORTS & WELLNESS (1)
ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR
Description: • Think of original article ideas for respective sections • Manage a group of writers to produce quality articles • Edit all articles on production weekends • Regularly contribute articles to UG
Requirements: • Journalistic writing and editing experience • Leadership experience • Familiarity with Canadian Press style guidelines • Availability every other weekend for production (during academic year, excluding exam period) Application: Resume, cover letter, TWO journalistic writing samples
Take photos regularly for UG, on and off campus (including cover photo) Manage group of photographers to ensure articles have a photo Edit photos for each issue
Requirements: • Extensive experience using a DSLR camera • (Owning a DSLR camera is an asset, but not a requirement) • Leadership experience • Knowledge of the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop (photo editing) • Ability to generate & execute original photo ideas based on article topics • Availability every other weekend for production (during academic year, excluding exam period); a flexible schedule will be helpful in this position Application: Resume and cover letter, and TEN DSLR photo samples
Questions? Email email@example.com ALL APPLICATIONS DUE ON APRIL 15 BY 11:59 p.m. to firstname.lastname@example.org (include position in subject of email). We thank all applicants for their interest but only those who qualify for interviews will be contacted.
WANT TO JOIN A STUDENT ORGANIZATION THAT LETS YOU ENGAGE WITH THE CAMPUS? THE UNDERGROUND, the official student publication at UTSC, is hiring for the following masthead positions for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Description: • Compose layout of each issue of the publication
Description: • Manage/update finances of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Press (includes overseeing annual audit, developing budget, etc.)
Requirements: • Experience with print production; extensive knowledge of InDesign, Illustrator, & Photoshop • Ability to create graphics if given a theme or idea Application: Resume, cover letter and THREE graphic samples
Requirements: • Previous experience in acccounting (Accounting-stream management students will be given priority) • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel Application: Resume and cover letter
Description: • Read and edit final drafts of all article content • • Requirements: • Extensive knowledge of Canadian Press style guidelines • Extensive editing expereince • Must have knowledge of journalistic ethics
Description: • Communicate with advertisers to book ads for each issue • Work with university press ad agency to ensure advertising
Application: Resume and cover letter, and TWO writing samples
Requirements: • Previous experience in marketing • Strong interpersonal skills • Experience with Adobe Photoshop is an asset, but not a requirement Application: Resume and cover letter