I don’t think I’d be able to skate through this week without discussing the obvious, but my entry point into this discussion is more so a cautionary tale on what happens when we don’t mind our business.

Social media has conditioned many to believe that they must share their every passing thought on every possible thing. I promise you, it is okay to shut up and mind your business.

The amount of think pieces I have seen this week on The Slap has left my head spinning—particularly when non-Black people weigh in with their takes on how the incident left them traumatized, and has yet again become a way to police the behaviour of Black folks and justify unwarranted stereotypes.

I’d rather not waste any time, so let’s dive into some of the unhinged takes that we have seen on the TL this week.

Most of the discourses I hated this week came in the form of microaggressions by white people, whose main way to address the incident at the Oscars was to villainize Will Smith and suggest carceral solutions—despite advocating for non-violence.  Many white people felt the need to share their opinions and thoughts on how they were impacted by the slap.

Hanna Phifer summed up the incident and ensuing responses quite well:

“People who claim “violence is never the answer” can so easily suggest an inherently violent place like prison as a solution for every single problem that arises in our society. “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings,” as Angela Davis wrote.”

White women claimed they were traumatized by it, likened Smith to an abuser, or talked about how the Oscars was “no place” for this kind of violence. It certainly wasn’t, but this language and reaction shows how they deem certain spaces and people more or less “civil,” and much of these expectations on behaviour are rooted in and defined by race and class. 

Bette Midler came into the groupchat to echo Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who said that the slap reinforced stereotypes of Black people. A white woman stating that an altercation between two men warrants negative stereotypes is an entirely new level of out of touch. 

If people are going to be racist, they will be racist regardless of how Black, Indigenous and people of colour behave. To argue that racialized folks must be mindful of their behaviour in order to “win over” and appease racists—is a dangerous and slippery slope, and misses the point entirely. 

While many were salivating at the mouth ready to share their takes, Daniel Radcliffe offered a refreshing sense of self-awareness, stating that he simply has no thoughts on the matter. "I saw it, I’m just so already dramatically bored of hearing people’s opinions about it, that I just don’t want to be another opinion added to it,” he said in an interview.

Thank you Harry Potter. Ily.

I think it is officially time that we all let this moment go and move on. Please.

The depreciation of.. Women?

This man calculated the depreciation of women. 

Publicly admitting that you choose partners based on their perceived “breedability” is a wild concept, but none of this surprises me anymore. 

The sentiment of referring to oneself as a “high value man,” is equally as mind boggling. What exactly makes you high value?

Further, to suggest that at the age of 23, a woman has peaked and likely already met the “highest value” man she could is also a complete and utter farce.

The human brain doesn’t even fully develop until the age of 25. I know this because I repeatedly Googled this while online dating to confirm I wasn’t losing my mind. (Although for some men, I think it may be later than this).

Obviously this hot take from an incel has no bearing on anyone’s life, but it truly is a reflection of how some men do view women: as nothing more than mates to breed with. 

This also reminded me of all the times I’ve heard brown aunties (and their sons) talk about how they wish to find a “simple” girl as a wife. “Simple,” meaning; does not speak back, will go along with what is expected of her,  including following societal norms to become a doting and dutiful wife, mother and daughter-in-law.

This hypothetical clock this anonymous man on the internet discusses, is a reflection of how our society sees women as losing value as they age. Women are only valued for how much they can provide through their labour—physical or emotional, or through child rearing. We are also taught that women become less attractive as they age, and the way we talk about women after the age of 30 proves this. 

If you are no longer conventionally appeasing to the male gaze (which in a weird way prioritizes looking as youthful as possible.. which isn't creepy at all), you are said to be inherently less valuable.

I for one plan on aging like fine wine and only getting better with age, even if this random troll on the internet thinks I’m only as good as spoiled milk. But then again, men like this have a way of telling on themselves, and many women know to stay far away from men who so bravely post their unwanted and unwarranted opinions on the internet.

Pope’s apology for residential schools

On Friday, Pope Francis officially apologized for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the Canadian residential school system.

“I feel shame — sorrow and shame — for the role” that Catholics played “in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values,” Francis said.

“I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.”

This is the first apology Indigenous people have received from the pope, who intends to come to Canada to issue another later this year.

While some are celebrating the apology, which was one of the calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report which was released in 2015, others are sharing the weight of what the long overdue apology is actually for.

So while this is an extremely crucial step in the process of reconciliation, it certainly is ongoing, and requires us as uninvited settlers on Indigenous land to recognize our complicity in the continued violence against Indigenous communities, and to raise our voices to support them.

Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools and those who are triggered by the latest reports. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

TL cleanse

I am going to leave you all with one of the cutest and funniest things I’ve seen in a while. A dad Tweeted about a presentation that his daughter created to "expand her privileges" at home.

The presentation, or Ted Talk, included all of her demands which include staying up later and having “more independence and privacy,” and “getting an allowance.”

She then urged her parents to wait for the Q&A before interrupting her presentation with their concerns.

It was an adorable timeline cleanse in what has otherwise been an insufferable week on the bird app—as always.

I'll see you all next week, when there is sure to be another set of discourses to unpack. Until then, have a lovely weekend!

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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