Black Lives Matter-Ugliness of Racism.

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Woman says police told her to remove car window's tint in possible 'driving while Black' case
A Montreal anti-racism group said it believes her race may have played a factor

Author of the article:Jacob Serebrin • Montreal Gazette
Published May 28, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

Every Tuesday morning, Charlene Hunte leaves her home in a Montreal suburb around 6:30 a.m. to head to the Union United Church, next to Lionel-Groulx métro station, where she runs a weekly food bank.


But on the morning of April 30, Hunte says she was stopped by police as she looked for parking in the nearby Little Burgundy neighbourhood — a stop she says lasted 45 minutes as officers told her to scrape tint off her car windows, or they would have the vehicle towed.

Hunte said the stop left her feeling intimidated, and a Montreal anti-racism group said it believes Hunte’s race may have played a factor in the stop and the way she was treated.

“I was told I have to do it right there and then, and the intimidation was his power that he had over me, saying: ‘You’ve got to do this now, I’m going to tow the car, I’m going to give you a ticket’ — this is the authority he had over me,” she said.

Hunte, 62, said she dropped some things off at the church, which feeds between 80 and 100 people every week, and then planned to park her car and head back to set things up.


That’s when she says she was stopped by a police officer who told her he believed her tint was too dark.

“He said, ‘I couldn’t tell if you were a man or a woman,'” Hunte told reporters Tuesday at the church, after preparing bags of food for those in need.

Soon, she said, two more police vehicles arrived, including a supervisor. She said the supervisor brought a device to check the darkness of her window tint, which was 30 per cent darker than legally allowed.

Throughout the stop, Hunte said, she asked multiple times if the officer could give her a citation that would allow her to fix the issue within 24 hours, but was repeatedly told she had to remove the tint on the spot.

At first, she said, the officer told her to use a quarter to scrape the tint, but she didn’t have one, so she walked over to the police supervisor and asked him if he had 25 cents.


“He looked at me and he says, ‘Why do you need 25 cents?’ I said, ‘Because he’s telling me I have to scrape my tint off right now, but this is ridiculous.’ He says, ‘Well, anything the officer says, you have to comply.'”

An officer then gave her a knife to scrape the window, but it wasn’t easy, she said, and the officers helped her. Once the tint was removed from the driver’s side window, she said, the supervisor told her she could go and that the rest could be removed the next day.

Hunte said she wonders about what would have happened if a Black man had been at the wheel of the vehicle that morning instead of a woman. She added that after the stop, she worried about how things could have gone if someone had seen her with the knife and misinterpreted the situation.


Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, said the stop and the demands that Hunte allegedly faced were “unusual and a little bit draconian.”

He said the incident appears to be an example of “driving while Black,” when police stop drivers because of their race. “It sounds like it; it looks like it,” Niemi told reporters.

Niemi said his organization plans to help Hunte file a complaint with the police ethics commissioner.

Montreal police said they generally don’t comment on specific interventions because they don’t want to influence any legal, disciplinary or police ethics processes, but that people who feel wronged can complain to oversight bodies or Montreal police.

“We do not tolerate any disrespect, misconduct, harassment or criminal act by a member of our staff,” spokeswoman Anik de Repentigny wrote in an email, adding that any victim or witness of those kinds of actions are invited to notify the police service, which will take their reports seriously.
 

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Freed murder convict sues Chicago over eyewitness who turned out to be blind
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Frances Vinall, The Washington Post
Published May 28, 2024 • 3 minute read

Darien Harris was an 18-year-old high school student when he was charged in connection with the death of a man at a Chicago gas station in 2011. He was later found guilty of murder based in large part on testimony from an eyewitness who turned out to be legally blind.


Harris spent more than 12 years behind bars before his conviction was vacated last year. Now 31, he is suing the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and seven officers involved in the case.

“Like countless others, Mr. Harris’s odyssey through a criminal justice system was instigated by a Chicago Police Department that too often devalued the lives of people of color,” alleges the complaint, which was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and first reported this week by the Chicago Tribune.

The suit claims the investigation against Harris, who is Black, was just one example of “systemic police misconduct” at Chicago’s Area Two Police Headquarters. It alleges that police withheld knowledge of the key witness’s visual impairment and that they “fabricated evidence, including false witness statements and identifications through such tactics as coercion, threats, fact-feeding, and promises of leniency.”


The Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability in Chicago and attorneys for the city did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Harris was convicted of the murder of Rondell Moore, who was fatally shot on the evening of June 7, 2011, at a gas station on the city’s South Side. Harris had told the court that he was not at the gas station at the time. But he was sentenced to 76 years after a man who said he was a witness to the shooting identified Harris in a lineup and again in court.

His “whole life was turned upside down without any warning,” the complaint states. He spent his years in prison “in constant emotional anguish, never knowing whether the truth would come out.”

While he was behind bars, Harris and his supporters hired a private investigator, who unearthed a housing discrimination lawsuit in 2003 in which the witness said he had glaucoma, Harris’s attorney told The Post in 2019. A letter from a doctor attached to the suit also said the witness was legally blind and permanently disabled. Police were aware of his impairment, the suit alleges.


Harris successfully filed a post-conviction petition, backed by the Exoneration Project, a free legal clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, and he was released in December. “We are so happy that Mr. Harris is home in time for the holidays and will be able to spend his first Christmas in 12 years with his family,” the organization wrote in a statement at the time.

His petition also included testimony from another eyewitness to the shooting, the gas station attendant, who identified a different suspect and reported “police threats and coercion in an attempt to force a false identification of Harris,” according to the complaint.

In 2021, the Chicago City Council created a civilian oversight commission for the Chicago Police Department after multiple scandals, including a Justice Department investigation that concluded in 2017 that the police department routinely used excessive force and violated the constitutional rights of residents – particularly those who are Black and Latino – and a high-profile fatal police shooting of a Black teenager in 2014.

05-28-2024 08:45AM
 

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Black men who were asked to leave a flight sue American Airlines, claiming racial discrimination
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published May 29, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — Black passengers who were briefly ordered off an American Airlines plane in January sued the airline Wednesday, alleging that they were victims of racial discrimination.


Three of the men filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York. They said they were told to leave a plane waiting to take off in Phoenix and noticed five other black men who also had been ordered off the flight.

The three, who did not know each other and had been sitting in different parts of the plane, said an airline employee told them they were removed because a flight attendant had complained about a passenger’s body odor. The men said they responded that it appeared they were targeted for removal solely because of their race.

American offered to rebook them, but when it became clear after about an hour that there were no other available flights to New York that evening, they were allowed to reboard the plane, according to the lawsuit filed by Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader.


“If American Airlines received a complaint about a Black male passenger with offensive body odor but could not verify the complaint, the solution should not have been to eject eight separate Black men from the plane,” Susan Huhta, an employment law attorney in Washington, D.C., who is representing the three men, said.

American said it was looking into the claims.

“We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us,” the airline said in a statement. “Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people.”

In 2017, the NAACP warned Black travelers about flying on American, claiming that several African American passengers had experienced discrimination by the airline. American promised changes, and the civil-rights group later lifted the advisory.
 

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Federal agency facing international review following findings of discrimination
The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions is to review the accreditation of the Canadian Human Rights Commission this fall.

Author of the article:Catherine Morrison
Published Jun 10, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 5 minute read

An international body is set to review the accreditation of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) after it was found to have discriminated against its Black and racialized employees.


The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), responsible for accrediting national human rights institutions and reviewing their compliance with human rights standards known as the Paris Principles, will conduct its “special review” of the government agency this fall.

“This decision is unprecedented,” said Black Class Action Secretariat (BCAS) CEO Nicholas Marcus Thompson at a news conference Monday morning. “Canada’s human rights record has never been investigated by the United Nations in more than 30 years it has been a member state.”

“This now puts us among the ranks of nations like Russia, Iraq and Venezuela who have faced a special review.”

The decision came after a complaint was submitted by a coalition of organizations including BCAS, behind the 2020 Black Class Action lawsuit, and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.


The team also included the National Union of Public and General Employees, the Canadian Black Nurses Alliance, The Enchanté Network, the Red Coalition, the Federation of Black Canadians, the 613-819 Black Hub and the Black Canadians Civil Society Coalition.

Agency says it’s committed to complying with standards
The coalition, whose complaint was backed by findings of anti-Black discrimination from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Senate Human Rights Committee, called for a review of the CHRC’s accreditation status. The agency has been under scrutiny for years due to complaints about its treatment of its employees.

Véronique Robitaille, a spokesperson for the CHRC, said last month that the commission was recently re-accredited with “A” status by GANHRI and remained “committed to operating in compliance with the Paris Principles.” Operating independently from the government, the CHRC was accredited with “A” status first in 1999 and again in 2006, 2011 and 2016.


GANHRI members are typically reviewed every five years, with the two levels of accreditation being “A” and “B” status. The CHRC’s last review covered the years between 2016 and 2022, with its next review planned for 2027. The “special review” will investigate that same period.

“We welcome the subcommittee’s special review and look forward to providing them with detailed information about our work addressing systemic anti-Black racism within our organization as an employer, in our complaints handling function and in our advocacy role as Canada’s National Human Rights Organization,” Robitaille said Monday, noting that the review is scheduled for October.

Robitaille said the CHRC’s submission will show that it has made “significant progress” on how it supports people filing discrimination complaints based on race over the past six years.


“We will also provide GANHRI with information on the commission’s efforts to create a diverse, healthy, safe and respectful workplace through its anti-racism action plan,” Robitaille said.

As of December, GANHRI comprised 120 members, 88 of them holding an “A” status and 32 holding a “B” status.

According to Thompson, if the CHRC is downgraded to “B” status, it will lose speaking rights at the UN Human Rights Council.

He said it will also lose participation rights at its subsidiary bodies and some General Assembly bodies and mechanisms, and the right to vote and hold governance positions at GANHRI.

Robitaille said any of GANHRI’s findings would only apply to the commission, not to the Government of Canada.

This newspaper has asked GANHRI to confirm the consequences of being downgraded.


“The Canadian government has acknowledged that anti-Black racism has persisted, and yet, the government’s failed to take concrete and tangible steps to address the issues but it will tell you that they have,” Thompson said, adding that the new federal anti-racism strategy is “merely a repackaging” of old funding and commitments. He said it also lacks any improvements for the CHRC.

Standing alongside CHRC employee Bernadeth Betchi and Nathan Prier of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, Thompson invited the public to share their experiences of discrimination from the CHRC to submit as part of the review.

He said the coalition will “accept and respect” the findings of the body, but maintains that the CHRC violated the Paris Principles by discriminating against employees and rejecting race-based complaints.


Time is running out, union leader says
With the special review upcoming, Thompson said the coalition made several recommendations to the government.

First, it called on Minister of Justice and Attorney General Arif Virani to remove the CHRC’s power to dismiss claims before they reach the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Second, it urged the government to expedite amendments to the Employment Equity Act, including adding Black Canadians as an employment equity group. Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan announced the government’s commitment to updating the act late last year.

Lastly, it recommended that the minister of diversity, inclusion and persons with disabilities, Kamal Khera, appoint a Black equity commissioner as an independent officer of Parliament to “oversee and ensure equity across all levels of government and public service.”


“Canada’s reputation is now taking a big hit. This was entirely avoidable, and time is now running out,” said Nathan Prier, president of CAPE, which filed a policy grievance against the CHRC in 2020. “We’re hoping that this review will compel the CHRC to change its policies and procedures, and to take the clear action steps needed.”

Betchi, who is the representative plaintiff in the Black Class Action Lawsuit, said she has been consistently overlooked for promotions, adding that discrimination impacts individuals’ “self-confidence and ability to concentrate and perform at work.”

“With this international review, the government is now on notice,” Thompson said, adding that the coalition has requested meetings with the ministers and is waiting for their response. “It cannot claim to be a global leader in human rights while discriminating against its own right here at home. It must take real steps to implement change that it has already promised and it must happen with Black stakeholders at the table.”
 

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Last stand at City Hall to stop Sankofa Square
Petition with over 30,000 names to be delivered to city's executive committee to stop renaming.


Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Published Jun 17, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

Residents, backed by 30,000 name petition seek to stop renaming of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square.
Residents, backed by 30,000 name petition seek to stop renaming of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square. (Ernest Doroszuk,Toronto Sun)
Call it a last stand for truth and sanity when it comes to the renaming of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square.


A group of citizens is hoping to convince Mayor Olivia Chow and the city’s executive committee to reverse course on the move during a meeting on Tuesday, and they will bring the backing of 30,000 people.

Daniel Tate organized a petition, signed by those 30,000 people, all opposed to the name change. He plans on presenting the petition and his arguments to council, along with questions about the validity of the process that got us to this point.

“We have decided as a populist movement of city residents that we won’t allow council to waste taxpayer money on bulldozing history based on sketchy academic scholarship that was not fair,” Tate said.

“Nobody asked for or wants Sankofa Square.”

Tate noted a Liaison Strategies poll released last January showed 72% of Toronto residents opposed the name change, just 16% supported it and 12% didn’t know or weren’t sure. The opposition was uniform across the city from downtown to Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough and across demographic lines.


Sankofa is a word from the Twi language of the Akan in Ghana, meaning “to go back and get it.” Apparently, nobody went back to get the history that showed the Akan people were sellers of African slaves to Europeans.

So why are we renaming the square to erase the name Dundas?

The move to drop the name Dundas started in the summer of 2020, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in the United States and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. A petition was put forward to the city asking that Dundas St. be renamed, claiming that Henry Dundas — the man the street was named for — perpetuated the slave trade.

The claim is the equivalent of character assassination for someone who has long passed and can no longer defend themselves.


Henry Dundas was a British politician and committed abolitionist at a time when that was not the popular sentiment. In 1792, Dundas worked with William Wilberforce to amend a motion brought forward to abolish the slave trade.


Wilberforce had tried to pass similar motions but failed because they called for what amounted to an immediate ban on slavery. Dundas worked to find the common ground that would lead to the abolition of the slave trade, and slavery, by 1800 in Britain and all British holdings.

While his amended motion passed the House of Commons, it did not win support in the House of Lords and died.

Based on this, people with zero understanding of history or politics have claimed that Dundas prolonged the slave trade, when in fact he was seeking a way to end it. Without his amendment, Wilberforce’s motion would have never received support.


In the end, the slave trade wasn’t abolished by Britain’s Parliament until 1807 and slavery wasn’t abolished until 1834 years after Dundas tried and failed.

Still, based on weak historical knowledge, some poor academic “research” and a lot of political activism, city council pushed to rename Dundas St. As that cost ballooned and the city was facing a budget crunch, the idea was scaled back to just rename the square along with the subway stations named for Dundas and potentially the public library branch.

Council approved the name change to Sankofa Square last December, a move that saw the chair and vice-chair of the Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Management resign a week later. Since then, the name change has moved forward with the board adopting the new name, decommissioning old signage and moving forward with a plan to complete the rebranding later this year.


A letter from the board to the city manager last month stated that they hoped to have significant work on the changeover completed by Aug. 1, which marks Emancipation Day in Britain and former British colonies, with work continuing on the renaming into 2025.

Initially, costs were reported as between $105,000 and $200,000 and paid for by Sec. 37 community funds from Councillor Chris Moise’s ward budget. A letter last month from the city manager said costs could increase by an additional $600,000.

Bottom line, there is no way this will be covered by Moise’s ward budget, and it will cost significantly more than advertised. Tate stresses that the money being wasted on this could go to services people need, from busted garbage cans to help for the homeless — real issues in Moise’s ward.

“We’re livid, and we’re not going to have it,” Tate said. “Now is the time for Mayor Chow and all councillors to revisit their positions and stop it once and for all.”

If they are smart, the executive committee members will listen to Tate and those with him.
 

spaminator

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Fact-free debate sees Yonge-Dundas Square renamed
Accusations of racism fly freely as residents speak up against renaming.


Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Published Jun 18, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

Somebody is about to hit a huge financial windfall on this Yonge-Dundas Square name change to Sankofa Square, writes columnist Joe Warmington.
Somebody is about to hit a huge financial windfall on this Yonge-Dundas Square name change to Sankofa Square, writes columnist Joe Warmington.
Don’t confuse Toronto city councillors with facts, they can’t handle them. That’s not hyperbole: Councillor Gord Perks interrupted speakers twice on Tuesday to claim that he shouldn’t be hearing facts as they were presented to him.


The city’s executive committee was discussing the plan to rename Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square. The reason for the name change is the false claim that Henry Dundas, whom the street and square are named for, perpetuated slavery and the slave trade.

Dundas was an abolitionist who pushed to end the slave trade and free slaves across the British Empire years before it happened. Due to political activists and shoddy research – some of it coming from the University of Toronto – council decided in 2021 to remove the name Dundas from streets, subway stations and the city’s square at Yonge and Dundas Sts.


When that became too expensive, council moved last December to change the name of Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa Square. Sankofa is a word from the Twi language of the Akan people in Ghana which means “go back and get it.”


What’s odd is that the Akan people were involved in the slave trade, selling their rivals and others to white European slave traders. When presenter Linda Dundas raised that point, that the Akan people were participants in the slave trade, Perks interrupted on a point of privilege – meaning he was unable to do his job based on what was being said.

“We have a deputant who is straying into territory that I feel violates the city’s oft-stated commitment to confronting anti-Black racism,” Perks said.

Perks went on to say that council wants to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, and that hearing these facts stated could be alienating to some people. Previously, Perks interrupted another speaker, who pointed out that slavery is still practised in Ghana.


Joey Scoleri pointed to the work of the NGO Free the Slaves to back up his well-documented point but was cut off by Perks and Mayor Olivia Chow.

At one point, Perks insinuated that fellow Councillor Stephen Holyday was racist for asking questions about the cost of renaming the square and whether the city was giving up revenue by not seeking sponsorship or naming rights. Perks stated that Holyday was only concerned about the cost and whether this was a popular decision because of race.


“I think it has to do with the fact that this is a very divisive issue, and it goes to whose voices are legitimate in the conversation about the future of the city of Toronto,” Perks said.

Perks went on to imply that anyone against the name change opposed it because due to racism and claimed such people don’t want to address what he called structural racism in Canada.


Of course, another possibility is that some of us are opposed to the renaming because it is based on a false allegation against a historical figure. There are plenty of figures in our past who did support slavery, who were racist, but we are renaming this place on baseless allegations.


Consider that Perks voted to remove the name Dundas based on these false allegations but called an accurate statement about the Akan people in Ghana being involved in slavery racism. This is a man and council that doesn’t like the truth, can’t handle the truth, but wants to proclaim their moral superiority while pushing through changes that simply aren’t supported by the public.

After Daniel Tate, the man behind the 30,000-strong petition had presented and called for council to reverse course, Councillor Chris Moise asked where his petition was to stop the renaming of Centennial Stadium to Rob Ford Stadium. Moise was clearly implying that Tate hadn’t protested that renaming because Ford was white and moments later, with his mic off, Tate said Moise looked at him and said, “You’re a racist.”


Moise didn’t deny the claim when called out by Tate and allowed Mayor Olivia Chow to push ahead with the committee agenda, ignoring what Moise had said.

“This is no way to run a city and no way to interact with your fellow citizens,” Tate said after the fact.

He’s right, this shouldn’t be the way things operate, but it is how Toronto City Hall runs. Fact free, decisions based on feelings of righteousness and insults and dismissal of those who disagree.

The vote to rename Yonge-Dundas Square to Sankofa sailed through the executive committee unscathed, unlike those who dared to speak up and were called racists.

Welcome to Olivia Chow’s Toronto.
 

Ron in Regina

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Suck-a-my-ass square.
That's the solution! Brilliant!
To try and avoid any connotations to any person involved in slavery, history, residential schools, colonialism, settler-ism, various other -ism’s, etc…if the absolute need is there to rename these streets & squares in Toronto… perhaps we can come up with some names here that fit the formula?

If so, “Separate but Equal Square” would be out (too pre-1954 American) though it fits the Multiculturalism thing as opposed to the Melting Pot thing…

Perhaps the Canadian Charter (I know, charters-farters…nobody believes what’s written in them) influenced naming something like, “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability Square”??

It would have to be shortened to and an acronym to fit on a sign that’s not the length of the intersection…but maybe I’m onto something here? Is anybody personally offended by the above suggestions beyond the guy who would have to make the sign and hang it?

Maybe if it was just shortened down to “Charter of Rights and Freedoms Sec. 15(1) Square” & it had a barcode on it that could be scanned by anybodies smart phone that would spit out the long version onto your screen?
 

Tecumsehsbones

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To try and avoid any connotations to any person involved in slavery, history, residential schools, colonialism, settler-ism, various other -ism’s, etc…if the absolute need is there to rename these streets & squares in Toronto… perhaps we can come up with some names here that fit the formula?

If so, “Separate but Equal Square” would be out (too pre-1954 American). Perhaps the Canadian Charter (I know, charters-farters…nobody believes what’s written in them) influenced naming something like, “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability Square”?? It would have to be shortened to and an acronym to fit on a sign that’s not the length of the intersection…but maybe I’m onto something here?
Maybe name them after people who never came to the Americas nor expressed any interest in them or opinion about them? Chinghiz Khan Street? Frederick the Great Square? Confucius Boulevard?
 
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Ron in Regina

"Voice of the West" Party
Apr 9, 2008
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Regina, Saskatchewan
Maybe name them after people who never came to the Americas nor expressed any interest in them or opinion about them? Chinghiz Khan Street? Frederick the Great Square? Confucius Boulevard?
But did any of the above do anything to anyone that could be considered…as an “-ism” in the current blame game?
“Charter of Rights and Freedoms Sec. 15(1) Square” & it had a barcode on it that could be scanned by anybodies smart phone that would spit out the long version onto your screen…
I’m still kinda liking this idea. Someone in the future could find offence with it and then they can change it again to something else like Hitler Blvd which by then might mean something else… but we will leave that problem to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. That’s the tradition.
 

Tecumsehsbones

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But did any of the above do anything to anyone that could be considered…as an “-ism” in the current blame game?

I’m still kinda liking this idea. Someone in the future could find offence with it and then they can change it again to something else like Hitler Blvd which by then might mean something else… but we will leave that problem to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. That’s the tradition.
Well, two of them would no doubt piss off the conservatives for being non-White and non-European. The other would piss off the liberals for being White and European.

And of course, Confucius was a Communist. At least a significant number of conservatives will think so.
 

Ron in Regina

"Voice of the West" Party
Apr 9, 2008
24,397
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Regina, Saskatchewan
Well, two of them would no doubt piss off the conservatives for being non-White and non-European. The other would piss off the liberals for being White and European.
Yep. Of coarse. Or we could be adults about it? I know it sounds far-fetched, but we’ve done it in the past so there is a….term for this.😉
And of course, Confucius was a Communist.
…& a Palestinian (I just made that up).
At least a significant number of conservatives will think so.
Sure. Why not. Might as well throw in Groomer too.