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grapefruit18

programs with a focus on anti-oppressive politics

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This whole thread irritates me for the same reason that politics does. Instead of a productive discussion on real and workable solutions to problems everyone agrees we have, and coming up with a plan to fund, implement and get stakeholder buy-in for said solutions, we're all arguing about who is more right, who are the bigger assholes, whose fault it is, and what we're even arguing about. :roll:

I actually really like this thread, despite starting it out by getting a warning (oops!).

 

I learned the political leanings of some more frequent posters on this site, heard about big words like "hegemonies of power" that I haven't heard since I was in my undergrad sociology class, and then I learned some tangible and intelligent thoughts on practical systemic issues like the bail court examples. It's been a good read over a casual bowl of oatmeal.

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Ok. Let's look at an example where you (probably) don't have any skin directly in the game, and which is about as simple as it gets.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/15/bristol-university-lower-entry-grades-disadvantaged-students

 

Bristol University (in England) have decided to make 'contextualised' offers to undergrads. If the high school they went to doesn't get great results, or send many kids to university, they will be offered seats with lower grades than the exact same pupils who went to better schools. There's a whole lot of other stuff going on, but that's the broad overview.

 

Bristol has a lot of very good, and very expensive, private schools. They get great results, and send lots of pupils to universities. Those tend to come from rich families, who can afford the fees, most of whom are white. None of those people will benefit from this change.

 

Bristol also has lots of inner city schools, which don't turn out good results. Lots of them will qualify for this program, to have five of their number offered seats with lower grade requirements, based more off what their teachers think they can do in the future, in a positive and studious environment, than what they've shown they can do to date.

 

Now, I'm sure you regard this is A Good Thing; it's helping underprivileged people, often people of colour, and giving them an opportunity to study at a good institution which they wouldn't otherwise have. It takes account of their background, family wealth, and doesn't continue to punish them for problems in the past.

 

Can you see - whether or not you want to agree - that other people might consider this an attack on meritocracy, and on success? Because that's what it looks like to anyone who's getting straight As in high school, and gets told they might not have a seat available because someone else who's scoring Bs might take it instead. To them, the child should get the reward for high grades. They didn't choose where to go to school, their parents did when they were about a metre tall. Now, they have to work harder than ever, and might get a worse outcome than someone who is scoring measurably worse on standard testing.

 

I think that's an interesting discussion to be had, balancing one person's privilege against another's potential, wanting to do right by them both with limited resources, helping one group of people who have had historical problems, but avoiding actively harming other people who've done nothing intrinsically wrong themselves. The merits, and solutions, are very much debatable.

 

Now scale that discussion up to cover historic land right abuses, community destruction, economic positioning, wealth acquisition, social profiling, conscious and subconscious racism - and that's just to start. If you refuse to debate these issues, and simply announce "I want to study in an anti-oppressive environment", you'll miss out on most of the useful discussion that may help you actually find solutions, or at least mitigations, to the problems you identify,

 

Robots.. robots are the solution to all of our problems!

Edited by HanShotFirst

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I'm reminded of Peterson's outline of the PC GAME

 

1. Identify an area of human activity

2. Note a distribution of success

3. Identify "winners" and "losers"

4. Claim that the losers are losing because they are oppressed by the winners

5. Claim allegiance (often unearned) with the "losers"

6. Feel secure in your comprehensive explanation of the world

7. Revel in your moral superiority

8. Target your resentment towards newly discovered enemies.

9. Repeat. Forever. Everywhere.

Edited by ChrisSquats
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Fine. Well, now you have.

 

 

- But might it not be possible for someone applying for a PSLOC to have no credit history? That's not exactly "a history of being awful with money". I have at least a vague understanding of credit and risk; to paraphrase Kellie Leitch: I have 758 letters after my name, I'm not an idiot (Just a former Tory cabinet minister and MD running on an anti-elitism platform).

 

I'm not saying it's unfair - I'm saying that people being asked to provide co-signers for PSLsOC might not be as rare as BQ seems to think.

Umm, I have? Do you mean that you did? Or did I miss a post in this thread?

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Hegdis, while not disagreeing with any of your observations, the fact that the law may have different impacts on people of different backgrounds does not make the law "racist".

 

The fact that aboriginal Canadians are vastly over-represented in our criminal justice system is a shame. But it's not because the system is racist - it's because aboriginal people commit crimes at much higher rates than other groups. Yes, it's because of the history of colonialism, residential schools, and so on. But a crime is still a crime.

I see this argument and to me it boils down to whether the application of the law is disproportionate. And when we essentially require stable housing and regular reporting (which may require a car or a transit pass to get to) for bail we are making it more difficult for people who lack those things to stay out of custody.

 

And if you are in custody and now detained you are much more likely to plead than if you were at liberty to wait for trial dates. So maybe part of the lengthy record that got you detained is due to entering pleas on charges that the Crown might not, after all, have been able to prove at trial, had you waited that long. Or worse (and much more rarely) it's due to pleading to things you are not actually guilty of but you don't want to be in jail for months away from your family and community when you could plead and get out today. And so you add one more conviction into your record - which will count against you next time. There is a cycle here.

 

This is not every accused. But it certainly applies to some. And those, in my experience, are more likely to be marginalized people including indigenous individuals.

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Hegdis, while not disagreeing with any of your observations, the fact that the law may have different impacts on people of different backgrounds does not make the law "racist".

 

The fact that aboriginal Canadians are vastly over-represented in our criminal justice system is a shame. But it's not because the system is racist - it's because aboriginal people commit crimes at much higher rates than other groups. Yes, it's because of the history of colonialism, residential schools, and so on. But a crime is still a crime.

Agreed. And while I see that indigenous folks fall into the 'No fixed address' and 'longer record' categories more often due to the historical issues that have reproduced over generations, anyone with similar circumstances will be treated that way, regardless of their race. Is it unreasonable though? You need someone to attend court. They don't have a fixed address. Or they have a history of Fail to Appears. How can you articulate releasing them when you have a mountain of suggestions that lead you to believe you won't see them again once they step outside? Sure it doesn't sound fair, but it's not like the entire population of indigenous people are being treated that way, just the ones who are accused of committing crimes (and to narrow it even further, crimes where it is a straight hold for bail or a history of compliance issues).

 

 

Edit : I guess to be more pointed, I think the bail example was a good point. I just don't see what we can do about it without a) letting people go before court that will likely not show up to their next dates, or b) give everyone free housing. The way it is now isn't perfect, but it's more reasonable in my opinion than those alternatives.

Edited by Trigger

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I'm reminded of Peterson's outline of the PC GAME

 

1. Identify an area of human activity

2. Note a distribution of success

3. Identify "winners" and "losers"

4. Claim that the losers are losing because they are oppressed by the winners

5. Claim allegiance (often unearned) with the "losers"

6. Feel secure in your comprehensive explanation of the world

7. Revel in your moral superiority

8. Target your resentment towards newly discovered enemies.

9. Repeat. Forever. Everywhere.

 

OH REALLY? It reminds you of this? What exactly reminds you of this. Please let us know specifically. 

 

The fact that nonsense like this gets a bunch of "likes" from lemmings in an on topic thread is embarrassing. What a dumpster fire.

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Probably just in a line or two sixteen. I say probably because there's the quick answer to this, and then there's the 40 page version. There's really nothing else in between.

 

Like most law, bail doesn't depend on the few lines in the Criminal Code that describe how it works. It relies, instead, on piles of jurisprudence and precedent. And that precedent boils down to this idea. If you are charged with a crime and you can satisfy the court that you can be adequately trusted and supervised in the community to be released pending your trial, so you can defend yourself on the outside, you get bail. If you can't satisfy the court, you are detained pending trial. "Detained pending trial" sounds innocuous, but really it amounts to a terrible burden that substantially deprives many accused persons of any opportunity to defend themselves, and it's often the difference between a guilty plea and conviction vs. a successful defence and a much lighter outcome or outright acquittal or withdrawal.

 

Now. Bail court is a perfect place for exactly the issues that grapefruit18 has raised to make all the difference in the world. And hey, you crazy-correct-social-justice-warrior-you - see how I'm actually on your side in practical matters? I don't share the mania that some feel about being correct and sensitive in superficial matters, but the substance concerns me quite a lot. Anyway, that was an aside. The point is, it's all about what looks like a reasonable release plan, and what doesn't. Social assumptions flourish. Nuclear families, standard living arrangements, money and employment and immigration status and all the rest of it. It's all part of the atmosphere that determines whether one person gets out and another person doesn't. People and lives and realities that look "right" to the court are at a huge advantage. And that's before we even admit (which is dead fucking true, btw) that a black defendant just looks more guilty to a lot of people.

 

So, there's the short version. I really don't have time for the long one.

 

I think the short version would be to say that you're interested in substance over form. Your post is a medium length version. And then your theoretical post is the really long one, in which you take us on a whirlwind, profanity laced tour of our unstated, hypocritical assumptions. In any case, I agree with what you're saying – I just enjoy nitpicking and don't have any substantive contributions of my own. 

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I see this argument and to me it boils down to whether the application of the law is disproportionate. And when we essentially require stable housing and regular reporting (which may require a car or a transit pass to get to) for bail we are making it more difficult for people who lack those things to stay out of custody.

 

And if you are in custody and now detained you are much more likely to plead than if you were at liberty to wait for trial dates. So maybe part of the lengthy record that got you detained is due to entering pleas on charges that the Crown might not, after all, have been able to prove at trial, had you waited that long. Or worse (and much more rarely) it's due to pleading to things you are not actually guilty of but you don't want to be in jail for months away from your family and community when you could plead and get out today. And so you add one more conviction into your record - which will count against you next time. There is a cycle here.

 

This is not every accused. But it certainly applies to some. And those, in my experience, are more likely to be marginalized people including indigenous individuals.

 

No one is denied bail on their first offence.  And the system does depend on trying to ensure that people attend court.  Even with this 'overly harsh' bail system we have I am constantly having witnesses and court time wasted when accused people do not show for trial.

 

Yeah, it sucks when people are denied bail for less serious charges.  But it's because these people have a demonstrable history of not showing up for court.  Yes poverty and homelessness are big factors in that.  But what else are you going to do?

 

Not that it matters, but debates like this are why I identify myself as a small-c Burkean conservative.  It's very easy to find faults in any number of aspects of society.  It's easy to protest over injustice and to proclaim yourself to be "anti-opression".  But usually when you dig into an issue you find there are reasons why things are the way they are, and any proposed solutions often have substantial unintended consequences.

 

On the specific issue of bail - Hegdis if you know of a study, or pilot project, that has meaningfully been able to reduce the number of people detained for bail while not decreasing the attendance rates for court, I'm all ears.  I've certainly had the following conversation many times "I don't really want to deny your client bail, but he/she has a bad record.  Can you give me something, anything... a stable address, modest cash, a case worker who will assist in making court appearances... so that I can justify consenting to bail"?  But absent that "something"... we really have no choice but to deny bail after a certain point.

 

That's all assuming someone with largely primary ground concerns, mostly property or process offences.  Someone charged with violence, significant risk to re-offend... I'm asking to deny bail every time.

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OH REALLY? It reminds you of this? What exactly reminds you of this. Please let us know specifically.

 

The fact that nonsense like this gets a bunch of "likes" from lemmings in an on topic thread is embarrassing. What a dumpster fire.

Ha I was wondering when you'd show up! Better late than never but here's a go at your challenge:

 

1. Identify an area of human activity

 

Getting into law school.

 

2. Note a distribution of success

 

Some people do, some people don't.

 

3. Identify "winners" and "losers"

 

White cis rich males get in. Black, self-harming, homeless, schizophrenic women don't (well they might according to an example on here but they can't get a bank loan).

 

4. Claim that the losers are losing because they are oppressed by the winners

 

"Hegemonies of power"

 

5. Claim allegiance (often unearned) with the "losers"

 

Numerous personal examples listed in this thread but I'm not going to single anyone out, nor do I intend to discredit their achievements etc.

 

6. Feel secure in your comprehensive explanation of the world

 

"The best possible education is inseparable from one that is structured in anti-oppressive politics" (paraphrasing).

 

7. Revel in your moral superiority

 

See 6

 

8. Target your resentment towards newly discovered enemies.

 

DSman comes to the thread and calls conservative posters "lemmings" and the duality of the viewpoints an "embarrassing dumpster fire".

 

9. Repeat. Forever. Everywhere.

 

This one hasn't materialized just yet but I predict it will.

 

 

Just a sloppy, quick go at it. How'd I do?

Edited by Trigger
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OH REALLY? It reminds you of this? What exactly reminds you of this. Please let us know specifically. 

 

The fact that nonsense like this gets a bunch of "likes" from lemmings in an on topic thread is embarrassing. What a dumpster fire.

 

Brilliant analysis. 10/10

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I'm reminded of Peterson's outline of the PC GAME

 

1. Identify an area of human activity

2. Note a distribution of success

3. Identify "winners" and "losers"

4. Claim that the losers are losing because they are oppressed by the winners

5. Claim allegiance (often unearned) with the "losers"

 

I don't see anything wrong with the first five. Unless you're suggesting that a) there are no winners and losers when there is a distribution of success, b) that winners don't take active steps to ensure that they and people like them keep winning, and c) that progress can be made without allies who are not a part of the disadvantaged group willing to join in the cause.

 

Obviously 6-9 are more questionable in terms of fairness and effectiveness. But to the cis, white, wealthy, etc. men out there (and others who have lucked out in life) don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't fight for the less fortunate, even if they can fight for themselves, and that it's not incredibly appreciated when you do. 

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On the specific issue of bail - Hegdis if you know of a study, or pilot project, that has meaningfully been able to reduce the number of people detained for bail while not decreasing the attendance rates for court, I'm all ears.

I think a lot of courthouses have a rough equivalent to our Downtown Community Court. It's a project that is about ten years old in Vancouver's DTES and its hallmarks are a comprehensive approach to each accused person's situation. There is housing support, mental health support, addictions support, and dedicated Native Courtworkers who all come together to meet with and assist an accused person. It's been quite successful in reducing the amount of chronic recidivism in that area - and in keeping people out of jail for what I will loosely term "survival crimes" ie petty theft, possession, etc.

 

I agree with much of what you have said. Criminal law can't be the solution to social problems. But it takes a willingness to recognize the context at play and sometimes a willingness to look into programs like DCC to at least minimize the impact of a fundamentally unfair situation. And to loop back to the OP, an anti-oppression viewpoint can be helpful in this line of work for that reason.

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Ha I was wondering when you'd show up! Better late than never but here's a go at your challenge:

 

 

 

 

Just a sloppy, quick go at it. How'd I do?

 

What a completely intellectually dishonest presentation of the views of the other side in this thread. You mixed up different things a bunch of posters have said. 

 

Let me get this straight. This is just a PC "game" and not an intellectually honest world view? Thats the issue. This is a snarky way of saying that somehow there is something "wrong" with this way of analyzing problems. (of course, coming from Jordan Peterson, im not surprised).

 

Lets tackle hegemonies of power. Are you suggesting that minorities(for example aboriginals) or hell, homeless people, don't have societal barriers that could make them less likely to get into law school (because of shitty access of education while growing up, poverty etc)? Especially in case of aboriginals as an example, this has nothing to do with racism and oppression? Or take bank loans. I don't know about the specific example of of schizophrenic woman walking into a bank. But are you seriously telling me that a poor person is not going to have far bigger concerns (and hesitations) with taking on a shit ton of debt as opposed to a rich kid? And that this might be the determining factor in whether they go to law school or not? In the discussion about inaccessibility, this is exactly what posters were referring to. 

 

Lets talk about claiming unearned allegiance. Please, do point to which posters here have claimed "unearned" allegiance to the oppressed. How the fuck do you know anything about the personal lives of people here? Oh and please also tell me again, what exactly is wrong with being on ally of people you think have societal barriers and/or have been oppressed anyways. Because again, this is just a "politically correct game" to you right? 

 

Im also a little confused. An honest opinion that says ""The best possible education is inseparable from one that is structured in anti-oppressive politics" is declaring moral superiority? Are you sure you aren't just a little insecure? And who exactly suggested that this was a comprehensive worldview? Its an honest opinion about the kind of education someone thinks is best for them.

 

And as for your specific comment on me- sorry sweetheart, i don;t consider you and these viewpoints to be newly discovered or my enemies. I wasn't calling everyone;s viewpoints in this thread a dumpster fire. I was specifically talking about the fact that such dishonest garbage like the "PC game" is liked by so many lemmings here. 

Edited by DSman
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Obviously 6-9 are more questionable in terms of fairness and effectiveness. But to the cis, white, wealthy, etc. men out there (and others who have lucked out in life) don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't fight for the less fortunate, even if they can fight for themselves, and that it's not incredibly appreciated when you do.

Do you see the inherent problem though in reducing someone's accomplishments to "privilege" because of an aspect of their identity? How is it okay to dismiss someone's achievements based on their identity, not their actual circumstances because you don't know what those might have been, but solely based on their identity?

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Do you see the inherent problem though in reducing someone's accomplishments to "privilege" because of an aspect of their identity? How is it okay to dismiss someone's achievements based on their identity, not their actual circumstances because you don't know what those might have been, but solely based on their identity?

 

I don't think anyone here is dismissing anyone else's accomplishments. They're just trying to acknowledge that marginalized groups face more barriers.

Edited by Starling
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Or take bank loans. I don't know about the specific example of of schizophrenic woman walking into a bank. But are you seriously telling me that a poor person is not going to have far bigger concerns (and hesitations) with taking on a shit ton of debt as opposed to a rich kid? And that this might be the determining factor in whether they go to law school or not? In the discussion about inaccessibility, this is exactly what posters were referring to.

 

 

This actually wasn't the argument presented earlier when I asked. The previous arguments around cost that had been presented focused on access to credit.

 

However, I actually find this argument rather compelling. I'm not sure I agree that individuals comfort with debt is a societal issue, I'll have to think on that, but it is a barrier I had failed to think about earlier. Perhaps people from lower income families are more hesitant to enter debt than even those from the middle class. I'll need to reflect on that.

 

Thanks for the new perspective.

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I think a lot of courthouses have a rough equivalent to our Downtown Community Court. It's a project that is about ten years old in Vancouver's DTES and its hallmarks are a comprehensive approach to each accused person's situation. There is housing support, mental health support, addictions support, and dedicated Native Courtworkers who all come together to meet with and assist an accused person. It's been quite successful in reducing the amount of chronic recidivism in that area - and in keeping people out of jail for what I will loosely term "survival crimes" ie petty theft, possession, etc.

 

I agree with much of what you have said. Criminal law can't be the solution to social problems. But it takes a willingness to recognize the context at play and sometimes a willingness to look into programs like DCC to at least minimize the impact of a fundamentally unfair situation. And to loop back to the OP, an anti-oppression viewpoint can be helpful in this line of work for that reason.

 

You know, somehow, no matter how much I tried, I knew we wouldn't be able to have a bitter debate on the topic.

 

Calgary and Edmonton both have a Drug Treatment Court which is I believe fairly similar, and yes it does get good results.  It is also fairly expensive and demands a lot from it's participants.  It works well as an alternative to court, because the system can always say "if you don't follow through, you have to go back to regular court".  I know it's also frustratingly always perpetually full.

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Ok. Let's look at an example where you (probably) don't have any skin directly in the game, and which is about as simple as it gets.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/15/bristol-university-lower-entry-grades-disadvantaged-students

 

Bristol University (in England) have decided to make 'contextualised' offers to undergrads. If the high school they went to doesn't get great results, or send many kids to university, they will be offered seats with lower grades than the exact same pupils who went to better schools. There's a whole lot of other stuff going on, but that's the broad overview.

 

Bristol has a lot of very good, and very expensive, private schools. They get great results, and send lots of pupils to universities. Those tend to come from rich families, who can afford the fees, most of whom are white. None of those people will benefit from this change.

 

Bristol also has lots of inner city schools, which don't turn out good results. Lots of them will qualify for this program, to have five of their number offered seats with lower grade requirements, based more off what their teachers think they can do in the future, in a positive and studious environment, than what they've shown they can do to date.

...

 

[portion only quoted]

 

I'm in favour of affirmative action in a general sense, even when it disadvantages me. But affirmative action should be part of a process, not an end goal. The end goal should be to improve the equality of opportunity by not having shitty public schools (one reason why I tend to favour the availability of charter schools, an alternative - if the unionized public school can't deliver a decent education, screw them).

 

Even within the same city you have public schools (in the North American sense, not the UK sense, i.e. publicly-funded by taxes) presenting grossly disproportionate teaching experiences. Students at public school A have great teachers, air-conditioning, computer labs, good library and research facilities, etc. Students at school B have to sweat through the late spring and early fall, freeze in the winter (worse in the portables). Add to that factors like more money at home = have more tools to do homework with etc. (better computer/Internet access, etc.) and that exacerbates the inequality of opportunity.

 

Even worse if there's e.g. an abusive home which either the student has to live in, or has to leave and then dealing with difficulties of living on their own (if over 16?) and/or dealing with being protected (one hopes...) by the CAS while, again, trying to do well in school.

 

And I'm not just talking about the US and its ongoing inequalities over 60 years since Brown v. BoE, I mean here in Canada. Even within a city like Toronto, let alone the disparity across the province.

 

To me real equality of opportunity means all children must receive an education (obviously, someone with genuine cognitive disability is not held to the same standard) regardless of their parents' wishes, and regardless of where they are in the same political entity (city at least, ideally province). Private or religious schools or homeschooling are fine so long as, again, they meet quality standards, there's parental choice there. But then you have to oversee colleges and universities, if I recall correctly re TWU  (NOT dealing with the current dispute in this thread, just something I read that ties in) someone who was homeschooled by her parents said that TWU was the only university in the province that was willing to admit her as a homeschooled student. If the province of BC allows parents to homeschool children, it should require all universities in the province to accept such students (whether by testing or otherwise), or else it is failing to protect those students who it allows to be homeschooled.

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