Welcome back to another week of me talkin’ my shit.
I was once told by someone that I should try to be more positive, but truly, if it was your job to keep up with the headlines of the week and news of the day, you too would have many people to drag.
At this point, each week is me just trying to get by without pulling my hair out because there is far too much despair everywhere we look.
So without further ado, onwards to the things that grinded my gears this week.
Red FM & Uncles being uncles
Artist, activist, and member of the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective Jag Nagra sparked a movement this week after raising awareness about a segment that was airedd on Surrey-based Punjabi radio station Red FM.
In the conversation, which was released by Nagra on Thursday, host Harjinder Thind discussed the fact that women were putting their children up for adoption at hospitals in Surrey.
Thind prompted doctors and nurses to call in to his show to discuss the topic and to essentially expose the women that were doing this.
He went on, inquiring about “who the mothers are,” essentially victim-blaming without once inquiring about the conditions that put them in these circumstances, or what support they may need from the community.
Beyond the fact that an older man was attempting to be the authority figure to discuss women’s health issues and blaming women that are making choices for themselves in regards to their reproductive rights, Thind and the station attempted to deny any wrongdoing on their part before the audio was released by Nagra.
Prior to the audio being released, the station posted a statement to Twitter, which borrowed much of Nagra’s initial Twitter thread, including the questions she posed about how this story in particular could have been handled better.
In addition, earlier this week prior to the release of the statement, Thind, Program Director Pooja Sekhon and RED FM president Kulwinder Sanghera went on air on Monday to discuss Nagra’s initial Twitter thread. They did not subsequently make the audio available online, despite being requested to.
The charge led by Nagra has caused dozens of responses to flood in on Twitter, with many pointing out that the situation was not a one-off, and that Thind has a history of misogynistic questioning and positions that often go unchecked on air.
In 2020, Thind previously referred to MLA Rachna Singh as a “rubber stamp,” while asking a question in a debate, subsequently refusing to apologize.
In addition, according to CBC, “in 2011, the Surrey Women's Centre said they had filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) against Thind and RED FM, stating that Thind had made inflammatory comments about domestic abuse.”
The harm in voices like Thind continuing to be platformed without any real consequences is that his audience is mostly made up of uncles and aunties who are rarely being challenged in their thinking.
There is no room for progressive voices or for anyone who could potentially challenge their logic, and those that try are actively undermined and gaslit along the way.
A complaint has since been filed with the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) in regards to the discussion, and many are calling for accountability from Thind, as well as for the station to demonstrate how they will meaningfully address these criticisms and correct the historic wrongs.
The reason it is so important to continue talking about this pattern of behaviour is because so many of these uncles in our community have been long protected regardless of what they say or do. The patriarchy is alive and well, and anyone who dares to speak out against it is belittled, gaslit, or dismissed.
The station and Thind are attempting to evade accountability, and know that they can continue what they've been doing for years and still maintain a strong listenership. The consequences of the insular, backwards thinking and questioning allowed on this platform, is that the people that are listening to and watching it then go on to reproduce this logic in their own lives—again, often at the expense of the most vulnerable in our community.
Speaking down on young mothers, (and not once questioning the absent fathers), making irresponsible comments about domestic violence survivors, and undermining women in politics, are just a few examples of the logic that pervades spaces like these.
This has been happening for far too long and it is beyond clear that many people are tired of it. As women, we have long been dismissed by uncles our whole lives, relegated to “women’s spaces,” and told we don’t know what we’re talking about, while men who actually don’t know what they’re talking about are handed the microphone to speak over us.
It’s time we pull the plug, because you can’t quiet us anymore.
But as Nagra fearlessly pointed out, however, it can’t just be on a few voices to hold these men in power to account. It’s often always on the shoulders of brown women to be the ones to raise awareness for injustice and to deal with all of the bullshit from the community that comes with being a woman with a voice.
We try to chip away at outdated ideals but are confronted with not only the harmful rhetoric from the uncles at the top, but complacency from uncles and uncles-in-training of my generation who watch and say nothing because they aren’t impacted.
We can’t fight these battles alone.
And for those in the back, including this troll who Pammy, AKA Coach P from Coaches Don’t Play so beautifully put in their place, let me remind you that women gain nothing from speaking out about their experiences or trying to challenge the status quo and make privileged men uncomfortable.
If anything, we are actively belittled, silenced, or criticized in our efforts to create change. So while you sit there behind your anonymous account, claiming people are trying to “make a name” off of people like Thind, remember that it's so much easier to sit idly, (and anonymously), by, while people are attempting to create real change.
Some men are bringing our community shame
Speaking of another circumstance in which it can’t be on brown women to be the only ones speaking up, I’m going to need some of y’all to come and get your boys.
Model and radio personality Joty Kay tweeted about a Reddit page where brown men are exchanging nude images and videos of brown women without their knowledge.
According to an update posted by Joty, the page has 381,000 members.
This isn’t the first time something like this has popped up online, as 5XPress reported in 2021, a number of Discord and Reddit channels were doing similar things.
Men who are in these channels, would not only make disparaging and disrespectful comments about the women they were discussing, but also do call-outs, asking others if they happen to have nude images belonging to certain women.
Joty later shared that she attempted to raise awareness about these heinous Reddit pages on TikTok but her video was reported, and taken down. She alleges that it could possibly be from one of the men that are in these groups.
Again, it can’t just be on brown women to protect brown women. It’s exhausting that at every corner we turn, we are sexualized and then shamed for having a sexuality.
Where is the shame of these men? They are the ones giving our community a bad name and harming our own women in the process. Let’s start there.
Love is Blind: Why Shane is just as bad as Shake
While Shake is the obvious villain in Love is Blind Season 2 (I haven’t seen the reunion yet so don’t worry there’s no spoilers here), Shane is an obvious runner-up for most insufferable man on the season.
When I watched the beginning of Shane and Natalie's relationship and his simultaneous fling with Shaina, I couldn’t help but think about how this man had the emotional intelligence of a goldfish.
(If you want to read a delightful review and breakdown about the season and the couples, read more from 5XPress writer Anuja Bhatt here.)
A clip from the reunion was shared online earlier this week, and it truly made me itch to once again watch Shane gaslight Natalie and turn every single one of her concerns back on to her like they were her fault to begin with.
At the beginning of their relationship and subsequently throughout the season we see Shane blaming Natalie for her reactions to his wrongdoing, and deflecting every time she raises a real concern.
In the clip from the reunion, Shane is discussing how there was a reason he lashed out at Natalie the night before their wedding. For those who don’t recall, it was shared that on the day of their wedding, Shane had told Natalie that he “hates her,” and that she was the “worst thing to ever happen to him.”
When Natalie pressed him after the fight, instead of acknowledging that that was in fact not how he felt, he said, “I can’t just keep apologizing.”
The lack of accountability from Shane is a recurring theme, and in my opinion, is just as insidious as Shake’s tomfoolery, but just in a different form.
While Shake is blunt and up front in a disgusting and callous way, Shane attempts to make Natalie feel bad for reacting when he is the one who often causes her harm.
He continues to press her at the reunion until she apologizes, in tears.
"Obviously, something I've done to you, pushed you to that point," she said. "I don't want it to seem like I'm just blaming it on you and those words came out of nowhere. I know that it came from a place of you being frustrated with me or me making you feel like you weren't enough."
Instead of responding with empathy, Shane doubles down and twists her words. "So you don't feel bad about anything you've done?"
And for anyone watching this who has had someone respond this way when you try to raise a genuine concern, or told you you’re the “worst thing to ever happen to them,” and expect you to apologize…?!?!?!? Please run in the other direction and never look back. Please.
Natalie, girl, there’s hope for you and I’m rooting for you. Run!
No spoilers here, just stay tuned to 5XPress for a reunion recap from Anuja.
I really don’t have much else to say this week. If I’m honest, finding the words lately has been extremely difficult. I’m usually not too candid about this because I recognize everyone is having a tough time right now, but with all that’s going on in the world, both locally and internationally, it’s been really hard to focus.
I’m trying to find little moments of joy and peace, often by being offline, but it feels like such a disconnect to be able to step away from what’s going on. It’s complicated, and I’m exhausted. We all are. As I spend my weekend as offline as possible, I send you all the love and good vibes I can muster up, and offer another reminder to hug your loved ones close and be grateful for all that you’ve got. I know I am.
See you next week.
About the author
Rumneek JohalMore by Rumneek Johal
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