Sunday, February 20, 2011

Systemic Discrimination or Not

So yesterday I attended a NCCP course on a document called the Aboriginal Coaching Manual. The document was originally developed for aboriginals that coach aboriginal athletes, but it later broadened to include non-aboriginal coaches that coach aboriginal athletes (that's me!). Considering the large aboriginal population in Riverton I thought it would be a good course to take.

On the whole I enjoyed the course. I was the only non-aboriginal there, but my opinion was valued just as much as everyone else's. I learned some cool stuff about aboriginal culture, like the significance of the feather (which is prominent in aboriginal art and symbolism) in their teachings. Some pretty cool stuff.

I will admit, when we did the module on racism I was a little bit nervous. I considered pretty carefully when and what I would contribute to the conversation, and most of it was really good. I was a little worried it would degenerate into an "everybody against the aboriginals" discussion, but it really didn't. We talked about non-aboriginals being racist against aboriginals, yes, but we also talked about the reverse and even aboriginal-on-aboriginal racism, so I thought it was a good discussion.

Here is the one thing I opened my yap about that may have rubbed one or two people the wrong way.

We had just discussed systemic racism, loosely defined (since I don't feel like pulling the book out) as seeming neutral rules or procedures that lead to discrimination. And after that, we were talking about positive ways to deal with a situation in which a racial slur/action is used against an athlete. The final step was worded roughly as "Build up the self-esteem of the Aboriginal young person."

This was where I felt I had to voice an opinion. I argued that the statement should simply be "Build up the self-esteem of the young person", why do we need to specify Aboriginal? Is this not a mild form of systemic discrimination?

A woman in the group said to me "Because this is the Aboriginal coaching manual."

I responded to that with something like "Yes, but we can also be in situations where we coach a mix of aboriginal and non-aboriginal athletes. If we want to eliminate racism, shouldn't we remove that distinction from the process of dealing with it?"

She didn't really respond, but a guy sitting next to me said I raised a really good point. Part of the reason I spoke up was the latter part of the definition of systemic discrimination also said that sometimes it needs to be pointed out by an outside party because an organization might not even realize they are doing it.

So what do you think? Was I way off base or on the right track?

Extra Tidbit: I did have the thought during this module that competitions that only aboriginal athletes can enter might also be a form of systemic discrimination but I didn't want to push it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Riverton's Biggest Loser

Well, after getting on the weight loss bandwagon, then falling off temporarily, I am getting myself back on the horse so to speak, beginning with tonight's weigh-in of Riverton's Biggest Loser. It started as a question on Facebook and has spiraled into a weight loss competition which should have around 20 people participating (by my guestimating, anyway).

There is a pretty big carrot at the end of the road with this challenge. Each participant pays $40 which goes into a prize pool, and at the end the winner gets the pot and I think second place gets their money back. So if we have 20 people participate we're looking at a potential winnings of almost $800!

The money would be nice, but really I'll be glad to be doing this with other people. I don't think I'll ever get south of 200 pounds again due to my build, but if I can get down to around 220 I'd be pretty happy with that.

My plan is to adjust my diet, play badminton once a week, run on the elliptical 3 times a week, and curl once a week. I already do the curling and badminton, so I just need to add that elliptical time on the physical activity front.

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Dad Stuff

Sarah keeps laughing at me about how involved I am in planning things for the baby. I was the one who found the crib, I've been looking at bedding and strollers online, I even made a 3-D mock-up of the nursery on the computer yesterday so we could look at different paint colour options. Sarah loves that I am so involved but as I say, I think she finds it a little funny too. And based on the online research I've been doing on strollers, crib safety, etc, everything out there is targeted at the moms, not the dads, so I guess maybe I'm not the norm.

I guess I just want to contribute somehow. Sarah is doing all the hard work carrying the baby. She's right in the middle of being a parent already. It just feels to me like the only fatherly thing I can be doing right now is things like constructing furniture and installing new carpets. It's how I feel involved, even though I prefer the design process to the time when I finally lug all of my office stuff down to the basement.

A friend asked me yesterday if I was freaking out yet about being a dad. I haven't freaked out yet, but when I actually allow myself to start thinking about all the little things I easily could freak out. I'm pretty good with kids, they usually tend to like me (especially Westman children for some reason), but that's when they are a little bit older. I'm not as good with infants, so that will be a whole new experience for me.

But for now, the construction side is all I can do.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why I Love Mennville

Mennville really is a great place to live. Even though many of us are not within easy walking distance of each other, there is a true sense of community that I absolutely love.

I thought I'd share a few experiences of mine to highlight just why Mennville is so darn awesome.

The other day my car started making a nasty noise as I was driving through town. Del happened to be on the street as I drove by, and he offered that I could bring the car over to his place and he'd take a look. So over to Del's I went, and after picking up some parts I went back the next day and we worked on the car. I have pretty much zero skills when it comes to fixing a car (I know where the gas and washer fluid go, does that count?), but Del took the time to actually show me how to do things, even when he was probably so frustrated with my lack of skill he wanted to punch me (which I said he could do if he needed to). Del never lost patience with me though, he just helped me when I needed help and let me work away when I didn't. I pretty much cemented my "least manly man in Mennville" post while working on the car!

At the same time as my car problems were going on, I posted a request on Facebook to see if anyone was going to be in Arborg with a truck, since I needed to get my now-fixed lawnmower home. I quickly had three replies offering to help me out, and Corey brought it home for me in the back of his van.

My car is still in Del's shop, so a phone call later and Lindsey said she'd drive me to work!

I don't know how I'd survive living in the country without such great friends and neighbors all around.

Another act of kindness that struck me as being awesome was again a result of Facebook. Jared had put up on his status that he could really go for a cold Pepsi, as he was out combining in a field. Shortly thereafter, Anita offers to bring him one and from what I could see on Facebook she did just that.

So for all of my fellow bloggers that live or lived in Mennville, I put this challenge out to you; why do you love Mennville? Let us know!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Help the Guilty, Forget the Victim

I read this story today about two 11 year old boys who attempted to rape an 8 year old girl. That got me angry enough, but then I thought a little more about the article.

    Sentencing them to three-year supervision orders, the judge Justice Saunders said: “I do not accept that what happened was a game but I do accept that you did not realize how serious what you were doing was.”

    He said that to impose any sort of custodial sentence would be “counter-productive” and not in the best interests of the boys, the Press Association reported.

Okay, I get that rehabilitating these kids, especially at this age, is the way to go. I don't really have a problem with that, though there should be some punishment to go with the rehabilitation.

    “Because you are so young, the court is mainly concerned with doing what is best for you with the aim of ensuring that you do not do anything like it again. That means you must be helped to understand the seriousness of what happened.”

So here we are, talking about what is best for the boys who attempted to rape this little girl. The judge then comments that he is not forgetting her and says the following.

    “Everyone will sympathize with her for what she has gone through. Not only what happened to her as the victim of these offences, but also to have to give evidence about them.

    “I hope that she will be given all the help that she undoubtedly deserves to get over her experiences. I very much hope that she and her family will not be forgotten by the authorities.”

So here we have two attackers and a victim. The attackers are given court ordered supervision to look out for their best interests. The victim will "hopefully get help". How about the boys' families being ordered to pick up the tab for that poor girls therapy, or whatever means she needs to recover from such an attack?

Unbelievable. Court ordered best interests of the attacker, and nothing but a best wishes to the victim. Absolutely terrible.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Awesomest Awesomeness in the Known Universe

I love 40 year old foreign superhero films!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


The other day I was inspired to play around with images of the actors in the upcoming Avengers movie. Since I can't draw to save my life, playing with existing images is the only way I can visually express myself. :)