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Good morning! This Mother’s Day take a look back at our MOM’s Issue. We published it two years ago (!) but it honestly has so many good ones on topics like mom bodies, losing a parent, queering parenthood, motherhood and capitalism, turning into your mother and talking to your mom about porn, it’s worth revisiting or checking out!

 

  • “It’s not the mere activism that matters, but the type of activism Cole has undertaken. By pushing him into a choice between Black lives and his byline, the Toronto Star has shown its inability to evolve beyond benevolent liberal racism.” Andray Domise on Desmond Cole’s Star exit.  
  • There are unspoken assumptions that come with the territory of being a culture writer who also happens to be a black, Muslim woman, but it’s in Canadian media that I feel those limitations on what I can say — and how I can say it — most.” Vicky Mochama talks to Amani Bin Shikhan and four other writers about how Canadian media fails to value the voices of Black women.
  • As Scaachi Koul points out in her helpful breakdown of Can Lit’s “appropriation prize” debacle, no one on the right made any “violations of free speech” claims in response to Desmond Cole’s exit from the Star, but they didn’t hesitate when Hal Niedzviecki, the now former editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine, Write, faced backlash after writing a piece entitled “Winning the Appropriation Prize.”  The piece introduces an issue dedicated specifically to Indigenous writing, and argues that writers ought to be encouraged to speak from other people’s experiences and cultural identities, effectively “undercut[ting] his own publication’s efforts to highlight Indigenous writers by mocking their very real concerns and contributions.”

 

  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, a group of white and well-established media people came to Niedzviecki’s defense on Twitter and publicly pledged thousands of dollars to a hypothetical “appropriation prize.” While the thread was apparently a joke, for writers who regularly struggle to get their writing published, their voices heard, and their work adequately remunerated, this response revealed some persistent truths about how Canadian media and publishing centres whiteness. As Koul writes:

“The starkest element of this was how ready they were to throw money around. Money that we’ve never seen get publicly tossed around to promote actual diversity in media. Money that they were giving up from their personal accounts; they were willing to publicly pledge $300 or $500 individually for a prize that celebrates whiteness.”

  • Joshua Whitehead, who published a piece on Indiginegativity in the spring issue of Write, wrote an addendum in response to Niedzviecki’s “writer’s prompt”: “I want to tell you that all literature is political, that being apolitical is a type of politic, that any lack of the political is a politics of comfort. You are comfortable because you are blanketed by your ideologies and that literature on your bookshelf is your guarantor. I am here to unsettle you, a good story is a wave that ripples, unshackles earth from cement foundations, cracks open rocks, splits the ego.”
  • Writing with empathy is not enough. It never has been…Empathy has its limits—and, contrary to what some may think, it is possible to both have empathy for a person and still hold inherited, unacknowledged racist views about them.” Alicia Elliott’s important piece on the difference between writing with empathy and writing with love.
  • 5 Incredible Two-Spirit and Queer Indigenous Writers to Read Right Now
  • Goodlife fitness employee DeJanai Love went to back work after suffering a concussion. Love is one of millions of Ontario workers who are not entitled to paid sick days. The province, which is currently considering major reforms to Ontario’s existing employment standards, could help ensure workers are able to stay healthy and secure in their employment experiences. Read more here.
  • In addition to legal reforms to employment standards, Ontario is also considering instituting a $15 minimum wage! Find out more information about this speculation here, and if you haven’t already, follow the Fight for $15 and Fairness for updates and actions.
  • Housing won’t spend money to renovate units or look after other safety concerns, but they can find money to install cameras. As always, the Black community is denied positive resources, but there’s always money to be made for others off of Black bodies” El Jones on  Halifax’s Regional Housing Authority decision to install security cameras in the North End’s Uniacke square.
  • I love this Herstory post, and especially love KD Lang’s comment (“still pissed!”).

Image: from our MOMs issue, by Jonathan Dyck

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