Author: Kathleen Chen

Toronto Nationalist Rally shows that intolerance is not un-Canadian

Toronto Nationalist Rally shows that intolerance is not un-Canadian How should we define ourselves against a message we don’t condone? Kathleen Chen Canadians tend to be pretty smug about our reputation of having a welcoming and inclusive culture. We buy into the myth that, because a large percentage of us are immigrants or the children of immigrants, we are better at accepting cultures that are not our own. When acts of bigotry and racial violence occur on the other side of the border, we are quick to assume that those kinds of events and attitudes would not happen here. The Facebook event calling for a Nationalist Rally on the UofT campus shows that we are facing the same issues of bigotry and intolerance here and now, in Canada. The rally was created by an organization that calls itself the Canadian National Party, and the event’s stated purpose is to “discuss the nationalist movement in Canada and the future of our country.” After the violence in Charlottesville, it seems naïve and imprudent to give organizations that describe themselves as “nationalist” and “traditionalist” the benefit of the doubt. Seeing the Facebook event pop up was alarming, but it should not have been surprising. This past year, UofT has been the site of heated debates on the issue of “free speech,” even bearing witness to physical altercations between protestors during the “Rally...

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Bending the truth

Fake news and alternative facts in the Trump era It is widely accepted that we live in a post-truth era, in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” according to The Oxford English Dictionary. Unfortunately, this is one of the few things that we can agree on. Though politicians have a poor reputation for truthfulness, Trump’s total disregard for plausibility and consistency, coupled with people’s willingness to listen to the outspoken tone of his speech, and not its content, makes post-truth politics more dangerous. In addition, post-truth accurately describes how people respond to new information; instead of constructing opinions after conducting research, people tend to search for articles which support their existing beliefs, while dismissing those containing opposite viewpoints. This psychological bias easily applies to both ends of the political spectrum. The awareness that fake news was circulated during the presidential election, and its continued influence on public opinion, should make...

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