Tuesday, September 26, 2023

End of an Era: My resignation from CRKN

I have written about my resignation on social media, but since I’ve been asked what happened by people not on the socials I am posting here.

I am also writing to encourage all employers to become more aware of and accepting of Autism and other neurotypes. Most workplaces have some neurodivergent employees even if the employer hasn’t been made explicitly aware. Autism Awareness and Autism Acceptance is critical in order to help resolve the fact that there is a huge under-employment problem for Autistic people.

(Long form is on the podcast My Friend Autism: Fired For Being Autistic - How to STOP it )

The resignation

On May 17’th I was asked to go on “Sick Leave” in a meeting with my manager and CRKN’s CEO. On September 6 I sent in my formal resignation as my last day of “sick leave” was September 7’th.

In the view of management, my going on sick leave and resigning were choices I made. In my mind I was not given a choice, as continuing in what I considered an unhealthy work environment was never a valid “choice”.

That May meeting was the worst example of what I had been experiencing at CRKN for some time: a meeting was set up to discuss something I had communicated that was misunderstood, and CRKN management had a desire to reprimand me rather than discuss what was said and why it was said.

There were two general themes I had been dealing with:

  • My disclosure of my Autism was not being taken seriously, and I was regularly reprimanded for things which are well known miscommunication patterns between Autistic and Allistic (non-autistic) people.
  • The skills and experience I had gained at Canadiana and CRKN were being dismissed because “job titles” were being declared as exclusive jurisdiction. There were conversations that needed to happen to deal with confusion generated by different understandings of library technology, but any attempt to have a conversation with management was misinterpreted as if it was an insult toward some individual.

Autism Acceptance

(Video: Why everything you know about autism is wrong | Jac den Houting | TEDxMacquarieUniversity)

In 2018 I turned 50 and my employer flipped from Canadiana.org on March 31’st to CRKN on April 1st. When I went to work on Tuesday I was sitting at the identical desk and was in theory going to be continuing my work.

(See also: History of Canadiana)

A few days later I learned that my mother only had a few more months to live. I spent quite a bit of time out of Ottawa helping my mother until she died in August.

I had become closer to my mother over the summer than I had been for years, and that process and her death made me start to see a psychotherapist. After seeing me for several months, in the spring of 2019 we had a conversation: had I considered I was Autistic, and did I want to get a formal diagnosis?

Friends had been suggesting I consider this since the early 2000’s when it became known that many in the High Tech sector were Autistic. I didn’t consider it because I had internalized the pathologizing of Autism and didn’t think I had any “disorder”. It was, after all, called Autism Spectrum Disorder by the medical community who I thought of as the experts. I had internalized some of the common misconceptions about Autism as well as misconceptions about what a spectrum was (think about radio waves, microwaves and visible light all being on the Electromagnetic spectrum – never think of a single line from 0 to extreme)

I started to take the possibility more seriously as 2019 progressed. As I read more about Autism I saw some similarities, but still had many doubts. For instance, I doubted that I had an “Autistic Mask”. Ya, right – me pretending to be someone else or hiding my true self? I’m a terrible actor, and am told I'm very unfiltered.

In the summer of 2022 I contracted Lyme Disease. I received the correct antibiotics in September, and the rash went away. Unfortunately, some other symptoms appeared: fatigue and quite random joint pains.

As the fall proceeded, I started to notice a difference in my communication style and understanding of the communications styles of others. I had become much more direct, and found it harder to understand why people were ignoring facts in discussions. I then turned back to thinking about Autism and – well – it started to seem clear to me that the fatigue was making it impossible to mask. It was the absence of the mask that made me aware that it previously existed.

I tried to ask CRKN management for what I would need while I was dealing with Lyme Disease:

  • Flexible hours, as I may need to nap during the day : Granted
    • I was also already at 80% contract, and had been for many years.
  • Flexible work location to handle naps, pain, etc : Granted
    • I was already working mostly from home, with very infrequent meetings.
  • Understanding about a lack of energy to Autistic Mask : Denied
    • This was misrepresented by CRKN management.

It doesn't matter how thisk the mask, we will never be neurotypical. We will only ever be burned out Neurodivergents.

Complicated social interactions relating to chain of command, hierarchy, job descriptions and jurisdictions only grew in spring 2023. What I considered illogical/impossible demands were being made, and I was being told I was being insubordinate if I asked why.

It generates considerable stress for me to be told I must perform silent obedience to a hierarchy, and this is what specific members of the management team were regularly demanding.

I was given conflicting instructions that it was mandatory that I collaborate with specific coworkers, while simultaneously told I was not allowed to communicate with them. I was being told to vacate someone else's “lane”, while simultaneously asked to enter that lane to write documentation that should have been written by that position. I made an attempt to hold out an olive branch to improve communications, but that was also misinterpreted and led to the horrible May meeting.

In that May meeting and in the notes from the meeting I was being told that I was "acutely unwell" by a management team that to me had clearly not read the basics of what Autism is.

This unhealthy management style of reprimand first, never bother asking questions, and demand silent obedience to hierarchy pushed me over the edge. I fell into full-on Autistic Burnout after being sent home, and am still in the process of recovering.

(Video: Dr. Service explains autistic burnout, how to stop it, how to recover, and how to prevent it.)

I experienced things in May which I had only read about, and really wish had stayed as theories and not lived experiences. It did, however, remove any remaining doubt I had that I am Autistic.

Over the summer I tried to explain my perspective of what had happened, but CRKN management suggested they wanted to continue the old conversation when I returned. None of the offensive accusations from May were rescinded.

Learning about Autism is something that the management team could have done on their own. I do not feel it is appropriate to require me to be involved in their learning the basics about Autism and other neurotypes. I have the benefit of having anti-racism and anti-colonialism as “special interests” in recent years, and have learned how those within dominant demographics always expect those with “othered” demographics to do the majority of the work towards acceptance of diversity.

I am currently at Part 2 (surveys and other forms filled out, and now waiting for the interview) of an Autism Assessment. I wish I had taken the suggestion to do an assessment seriously back in 2019, but hindsight is always 20/20.

My own learning about Autism has helped me understand the previously indecipherable communications problems I was having at CRKN. The following quote from an article titled “Your Autistic Loved one is not hurting your feelings out of malice” summarizes most interactions with at least one member of CRKN’s management team. What this person did and said made no sense to me, but I came to recognize that person didn’t understand (and didn’t spend time to learn about) my Autistic Dialect.

I think this might be why when an autistic person says or does something that offends a neurotypical (non-autistic) person that many NT people will verbally strike out right away instead of attempting to understand the intention of the autistic person because they think the intention is a foregone conclusion.

My Skills and Experience

I am very thankful for the diversity of experiences I have had in my career. I have done technology work ranging from hardware repair, building networks, security audits, back-end software development (primarily), and even to consulting on business models and software licensing. I’ve been paid to write research for government departments on copyright and patent policy.

When I started at Canadiana.org in 2011, it was for a 6 month contract starting in January to fill in for someone on maternity leave. That summer there was a posting at Canadiana for a software developer, so the systems administrator I had filled in for and I decided to take half each of the sysadmin and software developer jobs as Canadiana wanted me to stay as well.

For those first few years I primarily did systems administration and only a bit of back-end software development.

In 2014 there were some changes: I was promoted to the title of “Lead Systems Engineer”, William Wueppelmann became the CIO, and Julienne Pascoe was hired as “Lead Metadata Architect”.

While I still had systems related responsibilities, there were other systems administrators for me to delegate to as lead. William spent time doing knowledge transfer of his Library Systems knowledge to Julienne and I, and then Julienne and I worked closely together. While I don’t have formal training or a MLIS, working together with Julienne and William meant that I learned about Library Systems, Metadata Application Profiles (MAPs), and library related data models and encoding standards.

I learned how to develop scripts, tools and workflows for parsing, extending, normalizing and transforming metadata records, and other related operations. Working with Julienne I was the primary developer for Canadiana’s Ingest Automation (the custom OAIS packaging system – learning more about OAIS, METS, BagIt, etc) as well as the Metadata Bus (learning about MARC, Dublin Core, AltoXML and custom schemas such as CMR, IssueInfo and TxtMap). I was actively learning from the broader community about Linked Open Data, Bibframe, IIIF and many other relevant emerging technologies in the library and archival technology spaces.

I am very grateful for William and Jullienne for all the knowledge transfer they offered me, allowing me to participate actively in library technology.

Julienne decided not to be part of the merger with CRKN, so left her position in fall 2017.

CRKN posted a position to replace Julienne in 2018, and a similar looking (but not identical) position again in 2019.

The 2019 posting was filled, but the person hired was assigned duties by their manager that more closely related to the Cataloguing Coordinator/Manager that Canadiana had in the past. This generated considerable conflict between the skills/experience I had acquired and priorities I was assigned, and the "jurisdiction" and often conflicting priorities this person was assigned.

I believe we were set up to fail by the management team. I suspect that person felt as uncomfortable with the failed communication as I did.

I want to say this here as much as I tried to repeat at work: These are two different jobs with two different skill sets which combined is far more than any single person could reasonably be expected to do. I am not and was not critical of the individual who was given one job title and assigned different work by their manager. I was trying to draw attention to a specific resourcing problem, and only met with critique of my alleged “tone of voice”.

The manager (not mine) who had hired this person was focused on protecting exclusive jurisdiction they felt should be within their department, and not interested in discussing or solving resourcing problems. That manager focused on new projects, regularly generating resource allocation conflicts for those of us working on pre-existing (and previously approved by committees, etc) infrastructure projects that should have been given a priority.

As one example, the Archivematica Adoption project we had started planning at Canadiana in 2017 was first agreed to by CRKN in the summer of 2018 soon after the merger, and confirmed again formally in 2019. There was possibly a six month project, but resource allocation issues primarily (but not exclusively) caused by that manager meant this project had barely started by the time I left in May 2023.

This manager was demanding I vacate the jurisdiction they felt belonged to the person they hired. With me gone there would be nobody doing the Metadata Application Profile, data model or (meta)data transformation work I had previously been doing with Julienne and had been filling in for since Julienne left. This manager had for years been blocking knowledge transfer relating to the usage of Canadiana tools and its record databases (which I had been primarily author for, and which the cataloging team wasn’t using correctly). This manager kept suggesting that even mentioning any knowledge transfer was required was somehow condescending.

Given CRKN was still using custom software, it wasn’t possible for any new staff person to learn these details from anyone other than the staff that created and managed the software stack. It isn’t remotely condescending to be aware that no individual could already have known this custom information.

This confusion about library technology and its relation to cataloging meant it was nearly impossible for me to get any of my own work done. Along with a disregard for anything communicated using an Autistic Dialect, I was constantly targeted with odd accusations that I was being rude or condescending to individuals when I was simply trying to get productive work done in a management environment that was dismissing my experience.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Anthropocentric Environmentalism, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and All Our Relations.

I've been (or was) part of what was called the environmental movement from an early age, having a respect for plants and animals that I was told was kinda weird by family and friends growing up. I worry about the mental state of people's pets, and never felt comfortable with the idea of "owning" an animal (no judgment on anyone else -- this is only a personal discomfort).

I eat animals, but prefer to do it in what in my mind is respectful. The closer plants and animals look like themselves the better -- fish have just always "tasted" better to me if the head and tail are still all there.

When I moved from Sudbury to go to Carleton University, I met up with "fellow" environmentalists that connected me with the Peace and Environment Resource Center and from there to the Green Party, etc, etc.

Fast forward to the early 2000's and I started to not see myself in the Green parties, and started to not see myself in PERC. I saw interconnections between the Open (source, access, government, science, etc) movements and Climate Change and other "peace" and "environmental" policies which they did not.They would regularly tell me it was the wrong priority and to stop talking about anything outside narrow silos of thought.

I had to move my activism elsewhere.

Green Party leadership would say things such as "the Economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment" and the GPO even said it would abolish the provincial Environment ministry as all of the government is subservient to the environment and those policies should be core to every operation of government and every department.

They would say these things, but not believe it or echo it in policies: they were apparently brand slogans, nothing more.

Increasingly in the 2000's I became depressed. I didn't think "humanity" was ever going to change, as "humans" were simply too disconnected from the real physical living reality to understand how to protect their own species, let alone any other.

Logically I felt the big problems wouldn't happen in my or Rina's lifetimes: we don't have children, so I simply have to stop caring about these things at all. I'll be long dead before things get really bad. It was a very hard and depressing way for me to try to think, but that is what I was actively trying to do : to distance some of my emotions from my Godkids/etc, and what their lives might be like.

Then in 2020 I finally/properly bumped into anti-racism, from there anti-colonialism, and to learning about domestic (meaning Indigenous) nations.

My stress levels dropped considerably. I felt hope for the first time in an extremely long time.

The "problem" wasn't humanity or human nature, but specific problematic worldviews. Worldviews can be changed by reversing ongoing colonial/genocidal policies (Save the Indian, Save the Man ; Save the Indian in the Child ; protect Indigenous languages/cultures in the Constitution/Charter rather than English or French ; etc) .

The "Conservationist" movement I had believed in was based on the notion that all humans were Anthropocentric and Androcentric, which is simply false (and is in fact part of White Supremacy).

I see connecting to local Indigenous Communities (such as can be found via the Native Friendship Center movement -- Odawa NFC for me) to be critical for any actual Climate Action. These are groups connected to peoples who have had worldviews/laws/etc that help deal with Climate Change -- and these laws were put in place on this continent long before European contact. Domestic (meaning Indigenous) law itself is a form of Climate action policy, long before Climate Change became a visible problem to anyone.

Westerners aren't going to be leaders and should never stand in front of Indigenous peoples. We must show up and be willing to be students, followers and helpers. We still need to unlearn the very worldviews and mindsets which are the cause of existential problems such as Climate Change, and this will happen through interacting with and helping the community.

I don't actually believe in "Anthropogenic Climate Change" as it is not "human activity" in the generic sense which is the problem, but activities originating from a very narrow set of worldviews which have been extremely colonial/genocidal in spreading across large parts of the planet.

There is an extremely common belief that there is no way to solve this problem, or that "democracy" is too slow to deal with it. That policies to deal with Climate Change could somehow hurt "the economy" (however subjectively that term is used). Etc, etc... Over the decades I have heard so many excuses for inaction.

  • One of the "slowest" forms of democracy is participatory democracy, where all citizens with near-universal suffrage have a say in decision making.
  • This is in contrast with representative democracy where a small subset of people make all the decisions.
  • This is in contrast with a Constitutional Monarchy where all the power is actually vested in the crown through a crown created/authorized/etc Constitution. Canada's constitution has only received minor amendments since the first of 11 British North America Acts was passed in 1867 by the British Parliament -- against the wishes or even awareness of the VAST majority of the relevant stakeholders on this continent.
  • This is in contrast with a Monarchy/Dictatorship/etc where one person (with the help of their chosen aids/etc) make all the decisions. The Westminster Parliamentary System was first designed as a debating club to advise the Crown. (And the Senate? )

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is the oldest participatory democracy on the planet, with non-western scholars generally agreeing that it was likely founded in 1142 (For comparison, John II Komnenos /  Comnenus was the Eastern Roman/Byzantine emperor at the time).

The English called them Five Nations and then Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined this advanced democratic League of Nations in 1722. (which predates the European League of Nations, later called the United Nations, or the European Union, by quite a bit). Their Constitution is generally called the Great Law of Peace in English.

For Comparison, Britain only had comparable suffrage for its weaker democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 1928.

When did the Haudenosaunee confederacy start advocating for policy changes in reaction to climate change? From what I've heard from a few people who are citizens of one of the six nations, their elders started in the 1970's.

Canada, on the other hand, is one of the weaker forms of "Democracy" as a colony with a Constitutional Monarchy, and still actively lobbies internationally for PRO-Climate Change Policies (policies which are universally understood to make the issue worse).

Democracy isn't the problem. In fact, if Canada more closely resembled a democracy, it would not be engaged in so many horrible activities (on this continent and beyond). These are not activities "Canadians" have approved of, but activities they aren't even accurately informed about.

For me, the #LandBack movement and the restoration of Indigenous self-determination (as should be protected under the UN charter as well as UNDRIP) isn't only a matter of "the morally right thing to do". It is a key policy to help protect life on this planet. Global Indigenous peoples saving themselves can serve as examples to teach those that still hold harmful/shallow anthropocentric and androcentric worldviews how to survive, as westerners have totally disconnected themselves from life itself.

Some other potentially interesting links:

Monday, May 22, 2023

Heteronormative sports and fitness, and workplace (sexual) harassment

I have been abruptly sent on a journey of exploration and acceptance of myself. I will finally be going through a process to get an official "diagnosis" about Autism. So many people around me suspect, and so much of what I read/hear/watch resonates with me.

I am an open (source, government, access, etc) type person, and this blog is all about sharing and exploring thoughts (well -- my thoughts -- after all, it is all about me, me, me -- ya, right. Please share your thoughts in comments, as long as they aren't Austism Rejection).

At the moment I am at Movati waiting for a class. The classes are amazing, but the environment regularly reminds me of how I didn't fit into specific aspects of high-school and earlier.

I am not individually competitive, and I hate team sports as I always felt like I am causing the team to lose. I'm awkward, both in my sometimes overly expressive movements as well as my communication. I don't like watching sports as it is the fun that matters to me, so I don't care who wins or loses. I don’t see the point of picking favorite teams, brands, whatever. I enjoy watching my godchildren play -- but it is the play and their having fun that I enjoy, and I can't remotely get excited about who scored/won/etc.

I strive to be my best self, but my concept of best most often doesn't match the concept of best or the expectations of other people around me.

I find the change rooms at these types of venues very problematic. I am aware of my cis-heterosexual privilege. So many people are walking around naked/etc, and these environments are designed based on the oddball notion of a heterosexual gender binary.

I have had to train myself to accept the classes. For Zumba classes I even felt the need to ask permission of the instructor to be learning the moves from her. Other instructors will demonstrate a pose or the use of a ball/foam roller/etc on their own bodies or touching someone that they ask to be a "model". All of this is declared fine, but I have to get used to that.

For Zumba I didn't want to try to learn dance moves from fellow students. Even in the co-ed section of Movati (they have a “women’s” only section), classes are female dominated. Not 50%+1, but more like 90+% women. It feels creepy to me to be looking at a female student as closely and as long as I would need to in order to learn the moves from them.

Some of the discomfort is the physical environment, such as the offensive cis-hetero-normative design of change rooms, bathrooms, etc.

Other aspects are social norms. My brain has a hard time figuring out the magical line someone else has drawn between being your happy friendly self in a multi-gendered environment, and what someone might consider to be sexual harassment.

When I was younger I was able to help girls/women in my age range. I was a good listener, and could offer logic in response to questions. I was perfectly willing and able to tell them how beautiful they were on the inside and on the outside. In some cases I learned at a young age how many females are victims of various forms of rape. That reality of women's lives is far more common than I believe most of the general public is willing to admit.

I have a (married, family, etc) male friend that made the "mistake" of trying to do the same type of comforting interaction as an adult. A female co-worker was feeling very depressed, including feeling they were ugly. My friend mentioned that she was attractive and should feel more confident in herself. No problem in the moment, but later this became a whole workplace sexual harassment accusation. The lack of trust grew between him and his workplace, and eventually he had to leave what had become a toxic workplace for a growing number of reasons.

It was only in 2012 that I became aware of so-called "Workplace Harassment" policies. This is when Ontario added the grounds "gender identity" and "gender expression" to the human rights code.

The closer I looked at the policies of my workplace, the more I knew I would eventually be slapped and possibly even terminated for violating that policy. And this was a full 7 years before the concept of Autism became real to me, as well as the possibility it could apply to me.

Let's clear up something that should be obvious: women are treated horribly in the workplace under the "Canadian", "United States" and similar governments/cultures. I don't mean some Mad Men misogynist past, but ongoing today. Androcentrism, Capitalism and Colonialism are core to what Canada is, and I would suggest that misogyny is a core part of Canadian identity, values, and culture.

However, workplace policies rarely (if ever) take an intersectional approach. In order to harm-reduce in one area caused by Colonial Canadian culture, policies generally involve harm-increases in other areas.

There is a whole concept of TERF, which is an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. Rather than taking an intersectional approach, we have activists focused on the needs of their specific demographic trait to the exclusion of the other. This issue is not one-sided, as some trans activists simply don’t care about the ongoing reality of misogyny and rape culture. These trans activists speak as if those issues are somehow in the past because -- well -- likely some man on the TV said so.

These workplace policies are WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), which means there are subjective definitions of nearly all aspects of the policy: using the phrase "known or ought reasonably to be known" is extremely culturally specific. Who subjectively decides what is reasonable?

As a likely autistic person, these "workplace harassment" policies essentially put a massive target on me. They are all effectively about rejecting people like me, and many other forms of diverse people, as valid persons in the workplace. In my case they are seeking to ensure my autistic mask remains thick to retain what some call "collegial" or "professional" work environments.. If my mask ever slips and my true Autistic self is exposed in the workplace and a non-Autistic person gets "offended", then I will be disciplined.

There are ways to orient policies and workplace cultures that don't generate offense, but those are rarely (if ever) how these Western European worldview imposing workplaces are set up.

Recommended videos:

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Why it is dangerous to use Artificial Intellegence as an editor.

While I'm not a fan of this Eurocentric colonial document, the so-called "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms" (part of Canada Act 1982) lists as a fundamental freedom:

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

I received an automated message from Blogger (Owned by Google) indicating an article titled "Evidence suggests broadcasters like the BBC don't want our money" written in January 2015 was unpublished.

From the email:

Why was your blog post unpublished?

Your content has violated our Spam policy. Please visit our Community Guidelines page linked in this email to learn more.


The Blogger Community Guidelines contains the following:

Do not spam. This may include unwanted promotional or commercial content, unwanted content that is created by an automated program, unwanted repetitive content, nonsensical content, or anything that appears to be a mass solicitation.

The first paragraph is a good summary of the article I wrote:

Some copyright holders and their lobbyists claim the reason people infringe Copyright is because they don't want to pay, and that copyright infringement is the largest single problem reducing their revenue potential. Evidence I've seen in my decades involved in the copyright revision process suggested neither are true, and that barriers put up by the copyright holders are the largest incentive to infringe and the largest barrier to revenue potential.

(Full article with original links available via the Wayback Engine).

There isn't anything in that article that could remotely be considered SPAM.  Sure, there were links to the BBC and their iPlayer (pages that no longer exist), but that wasn't as a promotion of their product or service but a critique of the corporation.

To get the article back up I have done some link checking (removing broken links), and removed any links to BBC.

I don't know if it was an employee at the BBC (or a devotee of the corporation) that flagged the content for review by a Google bot, but I have a hard time understanding the potential motivations of anyone else.

First rule of BBC club is that you can't talk about BBC club?

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"I am Canadian", and I engage in "Nice Racism"

I've been reading "NICE RACISM: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm" by Robin DiAngelo.

As I read, I can't help but have that "I Am Canadian" Molson slogan and commercial from a few decades ago in my mind.


  • I'm not a lumberjack, or a fur trader, but I support unrestricted resource extraction no matter what the harm
  • I don't live in an igloo, or eat blubber, or own a dogsled, and I have no concerns about the genocidal policies by Canadian Governments against the people who do. (This ramped up in the 1950's, even after Europe started to grapple with the concept of genocide in the late 1940's)
  • I live under a Constitutional Monarchy, not a self-determined responsible democracy
  • I believe it is perfectly reasonable to require someone to "swear (or affirm), That I will be faithful, And bear true allegiance" to a White Supremacist institution as a condition of becoming a Canadian Citizen, or to hold a wide variety of positions of authority (member of parliament, senator, etc).
  • I partly define my identity by thinking I, as a Canadian, am better than a citizen of the United States -- That Canada is better than the United States
  • I believe Canadians are polite people
  • I believe Racism is a US and not Canadian problem
  • I believe Canada is a "just society" and respects human rights domestically and internationally, even thought I have never read the Canadian Constitution, Canadian Charter, or the reports of any Human Rights body discussing Canada
  • I believe all Indigenous Nations on the northern part of this continent lost a war and ceded all their land to Britain and/or Canada in some distant past (that has nothing to do with today), even though nobody can name the wars, offer dates, or provide any documentation for these alleged events
  • I believe "We are a multicultural society"
  • I believe "We pay respect to Indigenous people"
  • I believe "Canada never had slavery"
  • My name is Russell, and I am Canadian!!!

The last three (before my name as the expected finale) were taken from page 98 of "Nice Racism", in a chapter discussing the moves to innocence of White progressives.

As a generalization, Canadians think of themselves as more "progressive" than citizens of the USA. Rather than this being a reason for Canadians to believe this book by a US author has nothing to do with them, it is actually part of what makes this book (as a percentage of the population) more about Canadians than US citizens.

US citizens tend to be more loud and proud patriotic people : Canadian identity includes the belief we are more "nice" and "polite".

I could go through each of the bullets I threw in above, but the ones from the book are a good start.

We are a multicultural society?

The Dominion of Canada is a bi-colonial (Britain, France) series of institutions.

During the P.E. Trudeau era, bi-colonialism was rebranded biculturalism (meaning English and French), and then dishonestly marketed as multiculturalism.

Even the notion that Canada is a "just society" was used as a rhetorical device by the Trudeau government as part of the marketing of what was essentially racist bi-colonial policies.

Culture is narrowly defined as food, clothing/fashion, and other more superficial things which people are allowed to maintain. When it comes to less superficial things it is made clear in the new so-called "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" passed as part of Canada Act 1982 that the official languages, worldviews and laws of Canada remain British and French.

Even though this continent has been a polyglot for tens of thousands of years, with many nations and worldviews, two foreign European worldviews are aggressively imposed by the Dominion of Canada governments.

While Canadian loyalists are quick to call Quebec's Bill 96 racist, they are generally unwilling to recognize that Canada's Charter and most of the core policies of the Trudeau government are far more racist. The Charter isn't a temporary provincial bill that can easily be changed, but part of the racist Canadian legal framework that other bills (including Bill 96) are judged by.

If you have done some of the work to learn about Racism and White Supremacy (systems, not about individuals), you will notice what qualifies as "Rights and Freedoms" has a clear White racial frame that is narrowly focused on the concerns of peoples that emerged from the unique history of Western Europe (a focus on Britain and France).

We pay respect to Indigenous people?

Also during the P.E. Trudeau Era, Trudeau's Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chr├ętien, tabled what ended up being called the "1969 White Paper". This was the then Liberal government's "final solution" to the so-called "Indian Problem". It would be a final "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" policy that wiped out any respect or recognition of Indigenous peoples.

The Trudeau Government tried this again in the 1980's during the so-called "patriation" of the Constitution, and required the Constitutional Express to ensure that the Trudeau's governments Racist/Genocidal ideology wasn't fully encoded in Canada Act 1982.

I mention P.E. Trudeau as many Canadians believe he was a "progressive" Prime Minister. His attitude towards Indigenous Peoples, who he regularly claimed were a conquered people and his support of many genocidal policies, is actually quite informative for understanding what qualifies as "progressive" by Canadians. The younger Trudeau uses more careful and "politically correct" language, but upholds the same general policy goals of his father's government.

I was born in 1968, the same year P.E. Trudeau first became Prime Minister. I believe that P.E. Trudeau was the most visibly racist Prime Minister during my lifetime, as the marketing of racist policies has radically changed over my lifetime even if the overall policy goals have not.

Some individuals may have stopped openly calling for "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" genocidal policies, and some believe in "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion" of Indigenous peoples into Canadian society.  They may not recognize that advocating for inclusion into colonial "Canadian" law/society is itself disrespectful, and is in fact the goal of most of Canada's "Kill the Indian, Save the Man" genocidal policies.

There are some individual Canadians who are advocating the recognition of the Right of Self-Determination of Indigenous peoples. This is a right recognized in the UN Charter that Canada has aggressively opposed starting before the (Eurocentric) League of Nations became the United Nations. Canada was one of the 4 offensive nations that voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which also recognizes the Right of Self-Determination.

As punishment for sending a representative to the League of Nations in 1923 to have their Right of Self-Determination recognized, Canada sent in the RCMP in 1924 to forcibly depose the Haudenosaunee Confederacy -- the oldest Participatory Democracy on the Planet. Canada still refuses to recognize the right of self-determination, or allow any responsible government to be seen to represent Indigenous nations to the Canadian government under Section 35 of Canada's own constitution. Opposing democracy and responsible governments, Canada still relies on the fundamentally racist section 91(24) of Canada's Constitution to determine who to limit "consultation" of Indigenous individuals to.

Imagine for a second if Germany had a section of their constitution that granted Power to a specific level of government for "Jews, and Lands reserved for the Jews". Once you do, you can begin to understand how Racist Canada's Constitution and laws derived from it are.

Note the "s" in peoples: This isn't related to individuals or Canada's alleged multiculturalism. This involves many different nations/peoples and not some pan-Indigenous concept. Canada was one of the Eurocentric "nations" that opposed the rights of "peoples" being protected in the so-called "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", which itself constituted a rejection of the notion that UN UDHR is universal. Rights recognized in that declaration are focused on individuals.

These are basic Human Right of peoples that Canada actively denies: Canada is not respectful of Indigenous peoples or their rights, and many genocidal policies are ongoing.

Some individual Canadian genocidal policies like Residential Schools have recently (within my lifetime) ended, but the overall genocidal policy goals simply moved to the child welfare and other systems.

Most Canadians, however, believe the myth that Canada (the system, the governments, etc) are a force for good and justice in the world, and do not feel any personal responsibility for ongoing genocidal policies that these governments do in their name (and thus they DO have responsibilities, even if they are unaware of the harm from their individual action or inaction).

Canada never had slavery?

I have heard this my entire life, and even when growing up the dates never matched up in my head. I assumed, because of what I now recognize as mild autism on my part, that I was wrong and didn't understand.

In 1833 Britain started on a gradual project to abolish slavery. It was not made immediately illegal in the entire of the British Empire, and Britain even compensated so-called "owners" for this gradual policy change.

The USA claims they abolished slavery in 1865, at the end of what they called the "American Civil War", the second of such civil wars where British colonies on this continent fought each other to separate from each other.

Britain unilaterally created the Dominion of Canada in 1867: without the permission or even awareness of the vast majority of inhabitants of the lands that were alleged to be governed by "Canada" at the time. There was then the massive violent colonial expansion of Canada on this continent that happened after that date. (The gc.ca map shows the dates, but the explanations are pretty much propaganda.  Canada never legally acquired "Rupert's Land and the North Western Territory", etc).

A component of the belief Canada never had slavery is that anything that these individuals or their colonial governments did prior to the passage of the first of 11 BNA Acts doesn't count. Somehow what people in these colonies thought and did magically changed between that bill receiving Royal Assent on 29th March 1867 and going into effect 1st July 1867.

The Underground Railroad went both ways across the imaginary line drawn between colonies who remained loyal to Britain and the 13 British colonies that launched the first civil war between British colonies on this continent to separate (what the USA labels a War of Independence 1775-1783).

The primary differences between the United States, Canada, and the Confederate States was not morality, but economic: The economies of the most southern British colonies on this continent were more dependent on cheap labor (slavery is primarily an economic policy), while the more northern regions were moving into other industries.  Where the south relied on cheap labor, the north relied on cheap resources (and thus more aggressive dispossession of Indigenous jurisdiction over land from which these resources would be extracted without concern for any future consequences).


As I discuss each of these aspects of Canadian Culture, I am including myself. I have been part of and indoctrinated by Canadian Culture. It is only recently that I have become aware of and capable of questioning some of those myths.

One of the book chapters is titled "Let's talk about shame".

DiAngelo included a quote from an article by Joseph Burgo Ph.D..

Although many people use the two words "guilt" and "shame" interchangeably, from a psychological perspective, they actually refer to different experiences. Guilt and shame sometimes go hand in hand; the same action may give rise to feelings of both shame and guilt, where the former reflects how we feel about ourselves and the latter involves an awareness that our actions have injured someone else. In other words, shame relates to self; guilt to others.

DiAngelo discusses how White people are often more comfortable expressing shame than guilt as guilt suggests we are personally responsible and that they need to do something (do better, be better). Shame doesn't suggest there is anything to do -- you are what you are, and that's it.

I have realized that I don't feel shame or guilt when it comes to my Whiteness. It is possible that the way that I think might help fellow White people move away from trying to protect their personal comfort/feelings/reputation/etc and move on to helping fix structural problems.

I look at Racism and other systems/policies like I do technology.

What I am, my phenotype including my lack of melanin in my skin, is hardware. Biology is hardware.

Isms, like Capitalism, Socialism, Colonialism, Racism, Androcentrism, Anthropocentrism are software.

I personally categorize some of these systems as malware, and societies with these systems are in need of anti-virus and other anti-malware work.

I know for a FACT I'm deeply personally infected with Racism. This malware causes me to have harmed and continue to harm other people, and I have further infected other people because Racism is contagious.

I am publicly admitting I have engaged in Racist activities. For most of my life I have actively upheld Racist policies because I had not yet recognized this set of software/policies as malware.

It will take a long time, if it is even possible in my time remaining alive, to entirely rid myself of the impacts from the malware infection of Racism. That is not an excuse to do nothing, but a recognition that I must put considerable time into anti-malware work.

These systemic/software problems are not about biology/hardware, and they are not something that we are. This is all software which can (an in the case of malware, must) change.

We should not feel shame, and we should never feel like there is nothing we can do.

I am quite angry with "Canada" (A set of policies, not a place or a group of people) which not only actively spreads and enforces malware, but seeks to make it illegal to work on anti-malware strategies. There is so much funding to spread Canadian malware, including entire Canadian Federal government departments.

I Am Canadian, but not a loyal, patriotic or proud Canadian.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Reviewing "Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders", a book about colonialism.

I posted a review of the book Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders on GoodReads.

The book was informative, but not what I expected. It was frustrating to read, and I had to put it down and do something else regularly.

Imagine a book about Xinjiang (New Frontier) that spoke as if all human history on that area of land started in 1955 (When Xinjiang was made an autonomous region by PRC) and made absolutely no mention of the Uyghurs. The book would be entirely quotes and discussion of jurisdictional squabbles between individual groups of Han Chinese politicians/bureaucrats, other Chinese colonies/autonomous regions/provinces, and the central People's Republic of China (PRC) government.

This is essentially what this book about is about, but for the British imposed colony of Newfoundland. The narrative is that Newfoundland was a "responsible government" in 1832 (a British colonial occupation is somehow claimed to be an example of self-determination), this artificial British granted legal fiction designation was rescinded in 1933, and Newfoundland became a province of the (also not self-determining, also not an example of "responsible government") Dominion of Canada in 1949.

Unlike with the Uyghurs who are relatively recent peoples to that region claimed by China, the Inuit, the Innu, the Mi'kmaq, and other Indigenous peoples have stewarded various parts of the lands some wish to call "Newfoundland and Labrador" for millennia.

The underlying policy discussed in the book is merely the British Empire consolidating debt and setting up protection of its British North American interests after the WW2, and yet this book claims there is something relating to "democracy" and "responsible government" involved.

Page 62 provides a good summary in the form of a quote from Hume Wrong:

"considerable interest in the House of Commons in the status of Newfoundland, adding that there was a strong feeling that the present system of commission of government over a people of purely British stock was repugnant to a great many members."

This book helpful in understanding what White Supremacy is, and learning about individuals that remain loyal to those worldviews, policies, and institutions.

Newfoundland stands as a cautionary tale of why we should be concerned about what China is doing in what it calls Xinjiang, given how much more damage the British Empire (re-branded Commonwealth, FVEY, etc) is causing and has yet to be held to account in any way.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Monday mourning : The British Monarchy still exists.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced on September 13'th that September 19, 2022, will be a National Day of Mourning in Canada. Some Canadian provinces and some workplaces are also observing this day.

I won't be morning the death of a person, but the ongoing existence of the British Monarchy -- the symbol of the British Empire.

At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913 the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23 per cent of the world population at the time, and by 1920 it covered 35.5 million km2 (13.7 million sq mi), 24 per cent of the Earth's total land area. (Wikipedia)

While many other monarchies have been appropriately abolished, Britain did something entirely different which was to re-brand their monarchy and colonies to claim that they were decolonizing. The "Royal Family", as well as being a corporation protected from taxes and liabilities other corporations would not, has been actively involved in that re-branding : including using the claim that it was a "Family" and had values similar to a family. This is the ongoing existence of an institution responsible for the greatest amount of colonialism and genocide our species have ever experienced, which has never been held accountable for any of its atrocities.

There is a claim the monarchy is only ceremonial, and doesn't have any power. This is how powerful the propaganda has been:  This is a corporation whose stolen wealth is "inherited" by future members of "the firm", and which has considerable sway on the policy of many subsidiaries of the British Empire. The policy that was put in place by the Monarchy may have been signed by an individual that has been dead for centuries, but the policy and the Monarchy still exist institutionally.  The monarchy is not about individuals but institutions : and it is the same institution, with its policies still enacted and promoted globally. The constitutions of several countries would have to radically change in order to ignore a royal proclamation, even at this date - creating an international policy and constitutional vulnerability that should have been closed decades or even centuries ago.

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-lived British monarch, and oversaw the bulk of the re-branding. Even as an individual she was not guilt free, both for what she did and for the many things she did not do which any moral individual observing the suffering caused by that institution would work to resolve.

German Reich was the constitutional name for the German nation state that existed from 1871 to 1945. (Wikipedia). While it is discussed as having three periods, I don't hear about Germans or peoples of regions invaded by this empire celebrating it. It may be remembered that way because they lost two wars where allies from across the world were drawn in (The so-called "World Wars").  The loss of these wars is the reason for the three periods: 1871–1918, 1918–1933, 1933–1945.  The fallout of the first world war lead to the rise of nationalism in Germany and multiple elections of the Nazi  Party.

Not having lost those wars doesn't excuse the ongoing existence or celebration of the British Empire or British Monarchy. These institutions are not examples of the "good guys" winning -- for these wars and even the treatment of European Jews by European Christians, there were no "good guys", just a winner who were able to brand themselves as heroes.

See also: What does being a Canadian mean to me?