Phase Three

Week 12: The Good Ending

This experience of producing a podcast was a really interesting journey. I have learned that while podcasts are a very convenient, accessible and entertaining form of media, I am not best suited for it. I had doubts about my ability from the beginning, but I do feel accomplished after actually managing to finish it. I enjoyed using Audacity and learning to figure out how to use this software. I think this was the most valuable knowledge that I am taking away from this project, because now I can use this software for future projects. I learned to find articles by scouring the reference lists and avoiding top searches in google for popular sources. Turning the research into a podcast was a really enjoyable way of presenting my work instead of writing a long essay like I have done in every other class. This was a great experience. Thank you, Professor Bell!

Arshi

Podcast Episode: Getting on the Good Side of Gaming

Transcript

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Arshi and in this episode I’m going to address the positive impact of video games on mental health.

Video games have a bad reputation. Teenagers hunched over at tv screen with a controller in hand, and parents yelling at them to do homework or get a job is the most common visual representation we see in popular media. Many, including President Donald Trump, believe that video games make children aggressive and influence them into committing violence in real life. In light of the several school shootings that took place in America last year, Trump put the blame, not on lack of gun regulation, but on video games.  

Trump:

“… a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds and their minds are being formed. And also video games. I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts.”

Trump’s comment opened the floodgates on the age-old debate about video games and their impact, specifically negative impact on mental health. However, despite popular belief, studies have proved that there is no relationship between playing violent video games and committing violence in real life. For example, researchers at the University of York conducted a study, with 3,000 participants, to test if video games are capable of priming aggression in gamers, and the results did not show any change in aggressive behaviour or perpetuation of real-life aggression from the participating gamers.

Seth Schiesel’s op-ed The Real Problem with Video Games responded to Trump’s claim about video games impacting young people’s minds and making them violent. Schiesel said that while there is no relationship between gaming violence and real-life violence, there are other problems that negatively impact the mental health of gamers. He identified issues of bullying, racism, sexism, homophobia etc as the real problems in gaming and contributors of a toxic environment.

While I agree with the problems Schiesel identified in his article, I think there is more to gaming than being in an environment of violence and toxicity. We are familiar with popular games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto which involve mindless shooting and virtual violence, but there are many games out there from various genres that don’t follow the same formula. Instead games such as Mass Effect, Skyrim or Witcher 3 offer gamers beautiful worlds with emotional stories that have the same kind of psychological impact as a really good book or movie. These type of games are known as Role Playing Games in which players have control over how their journey would progress. There are fans and artists who create fanfictions and artwork for these gaming communities. Schiesel talked about toxicity in gaming forums but these same communities are spaces where content creators, fans and game developers interact and form meaningful connections.

I asked Scandaltrash, who is a queer identified artist and gamer, about her gaming preferences and the impact of video games in her life.

Scandaltrash:

“I started playing RPG games when I was about 16 years old. The first one I ever played was Mass Effect. It’s a sci-fi game with really relatable characters, and I played all the games in the series. There is a huge fandom for Mass Effect, and I’ve created artwork for the community. There’s a lot of really great artwork out there for it. This was the first game I played that had LGBT characters in it that’s why it’s so special to me. I think gaming can be meaningful to so many people. Seeing gaming as just problems and only focusing on the negative aspects is not fair to those who game and create contents. People who make these contents would generally get together, talk and become friends. And it’s really great!”

Gaming communities provide space for creative expression and interactions, and just like any social space, it can have the negativity that Seth Schiesel pointed out in his article, as well as the positivity that Scandaltrash described in her experience.

There is evidence that video games are beneficial in the field of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for children. Queen’s University researcher Tiffany Tsui discovered that the game MindLight, which was developed as a combined effort of psychological researchers and game developers, was an incredibly efficient tool for helping children 8-17 years of age cope with anxiety symptoms. Mindlight has been designed to increase emotional resilience in youth in an interactive way. In this game, players enter a scary mansion and are told that their grandma has been abducted and their mission is to navigate through the mansion to rescue her. They wear a neurofeedback headset that tracks their level of anxiety and the gameplay adjusts based on that feedback. Players learn to control their emotionality because in the game if the anxiety feedback becomes high it becomes harder to rescue the grandmother. The study showed that this game was much more effective at teaching children how to manage stressors and emotionality in a practical way. Instead of being told what to do the children were shown how to practice their coping skills through the video game.  

I found the Mindlight Study fascinating because I play video games as a self care method, to cope with symptoms of PTSD and anxiety, and this study indicated that there was scientific evidence behind this positive aspect of gaming. When I’m having a panic attack I turn on my PS4 and play a few rounds of Overwatch or Apex Legends. These are fast paced games that do really well at distracting me and allow me to have a sense of control. I did some research into gaming and PTSD while investigating my topic for this podcast. A study conducted at University of Oxford revealed that playing “Tetris” can reduce traumatic flashbacks which is a common symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In this study, the participants were shown triggering images of real life injury and death, and in the following weeks the group that played the video game reported fewer flashbacks. The researchers believe that the PTSD flashbacks and Tetris are both using the same brain pathway that conjure up mental images. For PTSD that leads to flashbacks and sends the person into a panic attack. But if the person with PTSD is playing Tetris, then the process of gaming overpowers the flashbacks and ultimately helps the person recover from the trigger. Reading about this research was affirming for me that video games can really help improve mental health.

Video games are not without flaws. The community is in desperate need of better moderators and regulations that would be strict on the type of toxic behaviours and aggression that Seth Schiesel identified in his op-ed. Gamers have built worlds for themselves in which they can thrive and survive, and their conventions are not that different from the real world. The social perception on video games has been skewed in a negative way. The positive aspects of gaming is overlooked among people who do not have first hand knowledge about what it feels like to play these games and experience the community. Which is why comments like the one Trump made about video games influencing young people to become violent in real life, becomes sensationalized. Video games are much more than their flaws. For some they are simply mindless entertainment, for others they provide comfort and healing. And then for people like President Trump, video games become scapegoats for avoiding the critical discussion around gun-control. I hope my podcast will make people think critically before making judgements about the gaming community and provide some fresh perspective on the topic.

Thank you for listening!

Arshi

References:

Ducharme, J. (2018, March 08). Donald Trump Blames Video Games for School Shootings. Retrieved from http://time.com/5191182/trump-video-games-violence/

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Schiesel, S. (2018, March 13). The Real Problem With Video Games. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/opinion/video-games-toxic-violence.html

Tsui, T. Y. L. (2016). The efficacy of a novel video game intervention (mindlight) in reducing children's anxiety (Order No. 10663644). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1951294086). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1951294086?accountid=15182

University of York. (2018, January 16). No evidence to support link between violent video games and behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116131317.htm

Phase 3

Take a Listen…

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Simone Kitchen and in this episode we're talking about….Women’s Reproductive Rights.  

Every night at 9pm. The alarm on my phone goes off.  A reminder, so that I won’t forget to take- my birth control pill. I’m a 24-year-old sexually active female who lives in Canada. And I have to say, I cannot thank my birth control pills enough! They’ve saved me from parenthood. Okay, I’m not against being a parent. And my friends on Instagram certainly make it look pretty glamorous. But I’m not anywhere close to being ready for that. After all, I’m still learning how to reload my presto card, so taking care of another human seems like a little bit much. Needless to say, despite some minor side effects and this annoying timer that goes off every day. I LOVE my birth control pills. And let’s be honest, the timer is nothing compared to being woken up in the middle of the night by a crying baby. Especially if.. I dunno, I had an exam the next day. But who’s to say that I would even be able to go to school if I had a baby. Between finances and the time commitment. Well, I doubt it.

So when I read an article by Melinda Gates published in National Geographic talking about how if we want women to participate fully in society then we need to make sure we all have access to contraceptives- I couldn’t agree more! And not only access to contraceptives, but access to safe and affordable abortions should be a basic standard of health care. But as I looked into the issue, I quickly realized that not everyone agrees.

[CLIP: JOHN PAUL THE 2ND, BRAZIL, 1997 ]

If you don’t speak Portuguese, That was a clip of Pope John Paul the 2nd addressing the people of Brazil in 1997 (Archive, AP, 2015) He’s talking about abortion and he says that there’s nothing favourable about abortion. During this trip to Brazil and numerous other time throughout his life. Pope John Paul the 2nd urged catholics to fight abortion viewing it as a crime and shame on humanity.

Now It’s no secret that the Catholic Church is against abortion, but what some people might not realize is that the Catholic Church has also be outspoken against the use of contraceptives.

In 1968 Pope Paul the IV wrote The Humanae Vitae and this was a letter addressed to everyone within the Catholic faith outlining how they should live their lives with regards to the regulation of birth. The Pope discusses the ever-changing society and how Catholics can and should respond to birth control and abortion within their own lives. Ultimately Pope Paul the IV deemed any form of birth control other than monitoring a woman's cycle to be unlawful and against the will of god.  He states;

“Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation.” (VI, 1968)


So when I read this, I would also assume he doesn’t approve of Pulling Out. I mean he does go on to say (and this is a long document, so I’m paraphrasing for clarity), that sexual intercourse that is deliberately contraceptive is a serious error and so intrinsically wrong. (VI, 1968)

Now this was written in the year 1968, so no big deal times have changed since then, right? I mean I spoke with my mom about this and she says that not only has access to contraceptives changed drastically since she was my age, but even talking about sex is way less taboo.

[Clip: Marguerite Kuiack]

But here’s the thing, While I might be happily enjoying my nightly pill without a second to though. There are women around the world who still don’t have access to basic contraceptives.

This past summer I went to Poland. I’m of polish descent and I wanted to learn about my heritage. Poland is an amazing country with the beautiful Tatra Mountains to the south and the vast Baltic Sea to the North. A never-ending supply of home-made Pierogi and pickles. And some of the friendliest and kindest people I’ve ever met. I really thought I was in the best place on earth. But then I started talking to girls my age about reproductive rights and quickly realized that Poland has some serious issues.

To put this in perspective, I’m going to tell you about the findings of the 2019 Contraceptive Index. The EU Contraceptive Index is an initiative by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development to track the access to contraceptives in all countries of the European Union.  So according to this index Poland is the country in the European Union with the lowest access to Contraceptives scoring just 31.5%. Now this is measured by examining a couple of different things including access to information online. And while the initiative found that information about contraceptives was easy to discover online, it is not provided through any government supported websites and it doesn’t include any information about costs of contraceptives or where to acquire them.  The other thing that is interesting to note is that Poland is the only country in the European Union where there is No access to emergency contraceptives without a prescription. (European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights, 2019) So the plan B pill, is not really an option, especially when you consider the short time frame of its efficacy. We’ll come back to this prescription thing later. But first let’s talk about why Poland has such limited access to contraceptives and abortion.

Remember that clip we listened to before. Pope John Paul the 2nd talking about how abortion is wrong? Well Pope John Paul the 2nd was from Poland. That’s right. He was born in 1920 in the town of Wadowice. And to this day in Poland, he is extremely popular and well loved. It seems like every street and school is named after him.  And he is so popular for a reason. You see, Poland is considered to be the most Catholic Country in the European Union. That’s right. 85% of the population identifies as catholic.

So is it a coincidence that the country with the highest catholic population per capita, also happens to have the worst access to reproductive services? I had to find out.  

So to fully understand this. I have to take you all the way back to the end of World War 2.  It’s 1945 and after almost 6 years under Nazi occupation, the Polish people now have a new occupying force- Russia.

Poland became part of the Soviet Union and thus began 44 years of communism. Every polish person that I spoke too about life under the iron curtain gave me a similar answer. Poland felt sad during those times. The buildings were grey and lifeless, there was no food in the shops, professional opportunities were limited, and Catholicism was not encouraged. Nobody had anything positive to say about communism. But there is one thing you should know. In the late 1950’s while communism was still in full swing, abortion in Poland was not only legal but it was common. It’s estimated that during this time up to 500,000 abortions happen each year. (Kluczycki, 1995) In fact, abortions  were so accessible that women from neighboring countries would go to Poland to get this procedure.

In 1989 the iron curtain was lifted. And what you have to understand is that the Catholic Church played an important role in Poland during this time. The church was seen as a symbol of freedom from foreign invaders, and acted as a beacon during the communist occupation. Remember- Pope John Paul the 2nd was a huge source of Polish National Pride. And he became Pope in 1978. So during the final 11 years of communism, Poland had a national hero serving as the head of the Catholic Church.

And because the church acted as opposition and mediator during the communist occupation, it was well positioned and very political when the occupation ended. Resulting in the entrenchment of the church within the Polish government and Polish society. The Catholic church and the Polish government basically starting sleeping together. And just as Pope Paul the sixth expects of good Catholics it seems like neither is going to be pulling out anytime soon. (Erbert, 1998)

The Catholic Church challenged the idea of church-state separation, and heavily supporting specific candidates in elections. Priests and religious leaders were vocal about who theys supported and this is believed to have influenced congregations. You have to remember that most people living in Poland at the end of communism had never lived in a democracy. (Erbert, 1998)

The first target was abortion.


The church campaigned hard for stricter abortion laws. And in 1993 the Polish Government passed an anti- abortion law, making abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, extreme malformation of the fetus or when the women’s life is in danger.   (Erbert, 1998)

Now this law was passed, despite lack of support from the polish people. A survey taken in February of 1993 indicated that only 33.2% of polish people supported the church’s view on abortion while over 50% opposed it.  (Erbert, 1998)

Fast forward 8 months to September 1993 and the Democratic Left Alliance Party and the Labour Union have the majority of seats in government. They have vowed to liberalize the strict abortion laws which would allow abortions for women who had difficult living conditions. Now this is important, because research shows that women living in low socio-economic situations are affected the greatest by unfavourable reproductive rights laws. (Nsiah-Jefferson, 1989)  The amendment to the abortion law was passed in the summer of 1994 only to be immediately struck down by then Polish President Lech Walesa.

If you’ve never heard of Lech Walesa, he is considered the father of polish independence. He lead the revolution that finally lifted the iron curtain and freed Poland from the Soviet Union. So needless to say he was and still is hugely adored in Poland.  

Two years later in 1996 the government got it’s way and succeeded in liberalizing the anti-abortion laws. Only to be met with outrage from the catholic church, and the beloved Pope John Paul the 2nd who declared it a criminal law.

The liberalized anti-abortion law lasted just 6 months, before it was struck down by the Constitutional Tribunal who deemed the changes to be unconstitutional. (Erbert, 1998)

Today women in Poland are subject to the same restrictive abortion laws and  to top this off, laws around accessing contraceptives have not only failed to adapt to modern society, but have even tightened since the Law and Justice Party came to power in 2015. In 2015 The Plan B Pill ellaOne was accessible in Poland as an over the counter emergency contraceptive.


Since then the Law and Justice Party has rolled back access to the Plan B Pill by requiring women to get a prescription in order to purchase it at any pharmacy. This includes in the case of rape. This poses a serious challenge for women who need to access this pill because not only is there a limited time frame for this method to be effective in stopping the fertilization of an egg, but doctors in Poland are granted rights under the Conscience Clause, which falls under article 39 of the Doctor, Dentist, Professions Act.  

And basically what this means is that a doctor can deny a preventative contraceptive, an emergency contraceptive and an abortion on the grounds that it conflicts with their religious beliefs. (Margolis, 2014)

And just to put this in perspective, in 2014 it’s estimated that 3,000 people of which most were medical practitioners signed a declaration of faith stating that abortion and other reproductive services were against their faith. (Margolis, 2014) And in the declaration, a direct quote from Pope Paul the IV’s Humanae Vitae. Yea, remember that letter written to the Catholic People in the late 60’s telling them that all forms of contraception are intrinsically wrong. That’s what I’m talking about here. (VI, DW tresc)

Another thing I want to mention is that Sex Education in Poland has come under fire multiple times in recent years,

In an article published on Humanityinaction.com, authors Susanne Heuck and Jessica Mowles interviewed students about their experience in the Polish school system.

They discovered that a  government-approved and –distributed Family Life textbook stated that Swiss scientists had proven that hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, cause infertility and cancer. And that “Family Life” classes taught at churches reinforce an idea that condoms are barriers to partner unity and love, and that HIVAIDS is only a symptom of a adultery.  (Mowels Heuck, 2006.)

So as a woman in Poland, not only are you at the mercy of your doctor and the education system when it comes to your reproductive rights, but in some cases you’re at the mercy of the Catholic Church. A institution run by men.

I want to point out that Reproductive Rights are a right. Unfortunately as much as I wholeheartedly believe that all women world-wide should have access to contraceptives, safe abortion, and other reproductive services. It has been clear to me through my research that the current systems restricting women's reproductive rights are the same complex, politically motivated and sexist systems that have been in place since long before I was born. These systems are difficult systems to dismantle, especially when men are the ones who are continuously given positions of power in religious institutions, in government and in the very professions designed to serve women.

It would seem that this cycle is bound to continue repeating itself unless we are able to find equal representation between men and women as policy makers, law makers, spiritual leaders and healthcare providers. And as per Melinda Gates argument,I believe  women do need access to contraceptives in order to participate fully in society and this includes achieving those positions of power and leadership. It’s a bit of a catch 22, but I do believe that if we all work together to support women’s reproductive rights here at home, this can help empower women everywhere to continue fighting for their rights.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of A Matter of Opinion and I hope you learned something about the complex laws and systems restricting women’s access to contraceptives and abortion. I’m Simone Kitchen, Thanks for listening.

Works Cited

Archive, AP. (2015). BRAZIL: RIO DE JANEIRO: POPE JOHN PAUL II WATCHES END OF CONFERENCE. Retrieved 2019, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88y7hFkWPus

bkarwowski. (2009, Febuary 1). Polish National Anthem. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQTq07gihqg

Erbert, M. W. (1998). The Roman Catholic Church and democracy in Poland. Europe-Asia Studies

European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights. (2019). Contraception Atlas 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from contraceptioninfo.eu: https://www.contraceptioninfo.eu/node/72

Gates, M. (2017, Febuary 3). Opinion: Want to Empower Women Worldwide? Give Them Access to Contraceptives. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from National Geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/opinion-melinda-gates-contraceptive-global/

Heuck, S., & Mowels, J. (2006). Love Your Neighbor, Bor Not Too Much: Political and Religious Involvement in Sex Education within Polish Public Schools. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from Humanity in Action: https://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledgebase/214-love-your-neighbor-but-not-too-much-political-and-religious-involvement-in-sex-education-within-polish-public-schools

Kulczycki, A. (1995). Abortion Policy in Postcommunst Europe: The Conflict in Poland. Population Council , 471-505

Margolis, H. (2014, October 22). Dispatches: Abortion and the 'Conscience Clause' in Poland

Margolis, H. (2017, June 6). In Poland, Being a Woman Can Be Bad for Your Health. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/06/poland-being-woman-can-be-bad-your-health?fbclid=IwAR01zQixDfSCYaVykm_ps0wsLFnDUO9ua9RL6qPWOdY8vI3iJvzGyeJ1Zwg

Nsiah-Jefferson, L. (1989). Reproductive laws, women of color, and low-income women. In Reproductive Laws for the 1990s (pp. 23-67). Humana Press.

Valkenier, E. (1945-1955). The Catholic Church in Communist Poland. The Review of Politics , 305-326.

VI, P. (n.d.). DW treść. Retrieved 2019, from Deklaracja Odchudzania : http://www.deklaracja-wiary.pl/img/dw-tresc.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0mO6h9-l2_iKUH9uuwpf7xd64OLqNebWf-AFqSeOeoqKZZZ92MNyMRI_4

VI, P. (1968). Humanae Vitae. St. Peter's, Rome

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2019, April 7). Pope John Paul II. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from Wikipedia, the free encylopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II#Early_life

Acknowledgements

rascrifice. (2008, May 4). National Anthem of USSR. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U06jlgpMtQs

BlueMarbleNations. (2011, November 22). Polish National Anthem. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdYCbAjgfh4

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Interview: Maguerite Kuiack, April 6th, 2019

Reflection

If I’m being totally honest, I really enjoy the process of making a podcast! Not only is there the element of creativity involved, but it is also an enjoyable format to write. It really has been a breath of fresh air, compared to all academic papers that are written in University!

I’ve learned that research is an all consuming process. I found myself wishing I had more time to do more research. It’s like going down a rabbit hole and the more you discover, the more research you want to do! I really do believe that I could continue researching the same topic FOREVER, because there is just so much to discover!

I think the other thing that is important it realize is that there are so many different avenues to conducting research and it’s important to consider them all early on in the process. In person interviews, scholarly sources, government documents and journalistic articles are just some of the many ways I decided to conduct my research.

All in all I found the process to be really rewarding and fun and I hope you enjoy listening!

My Best Source

I’ve come across a number of different sources during this process and it’s a huge challenge to figure out which sources to use in the final podcast and which to leave out.

The topic of the access to contraceptives in Poland is incredibly complex and it’s difficult to know how to cover it in a short 20 minutes. But one document has stuck out as being particularly helpful. It’s a paper written by Mirella W. Eberts and published in Europe Asia Studies Volume 50 , Issue 5. It’s called The Roman Catholic Church and Democracy in Poland. This piece is super detailed and really dives into Poland’s democracy following the end of communism in 1989.

While I won’t be using Mirella W. Eberts as a character in my story, I have definitely found this scholarly source invaluable to the research process.

There’s a couple characters that are key to Catholicism in Poland and I intend to use them as characters in my podcast. Pope John Paul the 2nd has had a huge influence on the Polish people. He was from Poland himself and for many of the Polish people, was a a symbol of hope during communist times. But Pope John Paul the 2nd was not a fan of contraceptives, and this poses a unique challenge for women in Poland. Listen to my podcast to find out more!

-Simone

Sources

Mirella W. Eberts (1998) The Roman Catholic Church and democracy in Poland, Europe-Asia Studies, 50:5,817-842, DOI: 10.1080/09668139808412567

Podcast Phase - Final Phase - It's final, We are done...

Podcast Transcript

Clip – “Endometriosis feels like someone is taking an ice cream scoop and scraping out my insides, it feels like I swallowed a bucket of thumbtacks and started doing jumping jacks, like someone shoved their fist down my throat and is trying to pull my intestines out, it makes me feel like I’m screaming at the top of my lungs in a language that nobody understands.” (Danielle d’Entremont. (March 9, 2018))

This is Danielle d’Entremont, a Torontonian journalist, and multimedia storyteller who shares what endometriosis feels like to her. Now imagine feeling all that she described from your teens well into adulthood, because the correct diagnosis is constantly being delayed. Women live with pain like this for so long and one of the reasons is misdiagnosis and constant pain normalization by doctors or medical professionals. But why does this happen so often? That’s what I would like to know. And I’m hoping you do to. 

            From Scratch media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Lisa Marie, and in this episode we’re talking about women’s experiences with the delays of being medically diagnosed with Endometriosis. 

            In Love your body: Introduction by Michelle Da Silva et al. Danielle d’Entremont shares her story and shows a bit of her journey to becoming diagnosed with Endometriosis, “I had extremely bad period cramps, intense pain during intercourse, stomach aches, nausea, cold sweats, fainting and dizziness. In October 2017, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis”. You may wonder why she would say “finally”, and I have the answer to that. Danielle d’Entremont believes that it took so long for her to be diagnosed because her endometrial pain isn’t validated. She was constantly told that the pain she was feeling was “normal” and that is what tricked her mind into thinking it was actually normal, and that maybe she was just imagining pain. 

Reading this is what got me interested in this particular topic, even though there was so little information about the story in this article, I tried searching for more about d’Entremont’s diagnosis delay but also on why this might be happening and how often it happens when it comes to women being diagnosed with endometriosis. 

            Before we get into the why’s and how’s, let me explain what endometriosis is, because I don’t expect many people to know what it is, after all, that’s one of the issues here. Endometriosis is when the endometrium, cells that usually line the inside wall of a women’s uterus, start growing outside the uterus, in places that it shouldn’t be growing, such as on the outside of a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, and the lining of the pelvic cavity. When it comes to a woman’s monthly period when that lining has to shed, because it has grown in foreign areas, the release of hormones during that period cause inflammation. The immune system can’t clean those foreign cell growths, so inflammation continues, causing scarring, neuropathy, organ dysfunction, inflammation, severe cramps, and if left untreated, it might progress, leading to infertility. (Tamer Seckin, M. (Feb 26, 2019))

Although no two women’s pain are the same, one good example to help you imagine the pain these women are going through, is the way Danielle d’Entremont expresses it in this clip – “You wanna talk about pelvic pain? Listen to this audio diary I made a couple of weeks after I was diagnosed “ It’s so heavy, It’s like this… physical weight you feel, and I’m in pain all the time… and I’m trying to stay strong and I’m trying to stay positive but you can’t help but think, what if it’s always going to be like this, what if this is just my life now.” I almost didn’t want to play that for you, it makes me so uncomfortable to listen to, but I think it’s important. That is the Pain of Endometriosis.” (White Coat Black Art (2018, March 10).) Seems pretty serious to me, she is expressing excruciating pain. I think it shouldn’t be ignored or normalized, and definitely shouldn’t be something to wait an eternity to be treated. But let’s see what others think or what others have experienced.

            Ellen a woman who also realized there was a delay in diagnosis because her menstrual pain wasn’t validated, also felt like medical professionals didn’t know what to do about her pain because they didn’t believe it was real, “I think they kind of thought that I was making it up a little bit. Because they were like, “oh Yeah, It’s You again”.”, “They didn’t really know what to do, They just kind of gave me morphine, and the next morning they sent me home.” – Said Ellen (Dusenbery, M. (March 15, 2018)). This all happened in her teens, now Ellen is 20 and still hasn’t been diagnosed, but instead her pain is ignored, and she realizes that there is definitely something wrong with the way medicine is dealing with situations’ like hers. But Danielle d’Entremont and Ellen aren’t the only ones who have experienced this. 

There are many women going through the pain they are going through, from all over the world, “It has been estimated that 176 million women worldwide are affected by endometriosis” (Moen, M. H. (2017)), and the average time for women to be diagnosed is between 5 to 12 years, which means it starts around your teens and you would have to wait until you are approximately 25-35 years old. (Culley, L. et al.; Denny, E.; Moen, M. H.; Barbieri, R. L.) 

Now Imagine being a teenager with endometriosis, to be quite honest, they are fucked because as you can see, they have to wait a long time to receive a diagnosis, and while they are waiting in pain, it possibly might be progressing. It’s almost as if doctors are actually waiting for us to become infertile, for only then to give us an even worse diagnosis then it would have been in your teens, “In one study from the United states, the delay to diagnosis was 3.13 years for women who already presented with infertility and 6.35 years for women who presented only with severe pelvic pain.”. (Barbieri, R. L. (2017)) So if a woman is to go to a doctor with just pelvic pain even though severe, severe enough that she felt the need to go to the emergency, most likely your pain will be perceived as normal, which begins a long delay to being diagnosed (cox et al. 2003b; Denny, 2004b; Ballard et al., 2006; as cited in Culley, L. et al.)

Honestly, women might as well just wait until they are infertile, they might have more luck then, because when going to a doctor with severe cramps, it’s such a hard task, a close to impossible task to convince a doctor, that it’s not just pain, because they always end up saying that nothing is wrong, and then while hearing our pain being continually trivialized, women actually begin to doubt themselves and doubt their own pain. 

Now isn’t that sad? Women start to doubt themselves, the own pain they are feeling, the pain that makes them scream and cry in pain. All that some doctors are doing is creating a stigma around menstruation and endometrial pain, a stigma that maintains embedded into ones brain, and is carried on in life, and passed onto others that the pain that a woman feels during menstruation no matter how painful, is normal, and that women are just exaggerating. 

“In Kate Seear’s studies, author of a book about endometriosis called The Makings of a Modern Epidemic: Endometriosis, Gender and politics, many women with endometriosis who did tell others about their menstrual pain were criticized for it. Some encountered employees or colleagues who believed they were using it to get out of work, or partners who thought it was an excuse to avoid sex, or other women who implied they were seeking attention for something that everyone else endure without complaint” (Dusenbery, M. (March 15, 2018)), this is the stigma that Doctors began, because if they don’t even believe in their patients, then why should anyone else? 

Doctors should be raising awareness for endometriosis, and showing interest and validation because this way if they actually considered that maybe these women’s pain is real then the diagnosis would take less time and it would give a voice to these women living with endometriosis, not as an excuse but actually a valid reason for not being able to do a lot of day to day things, that are difficult while in so much pain. Women with endometrial pain wouldn’t be doubted as often as they are because they would actually have the support from a doctor. The awareness would spread, and the stigma would be lessened if there was a little more validation for these women’s pain (endometriosis.org.(15 February, 2007)). 

 Even if doctors continue to trivialize women’s endometrial pain, I feel like there are so much people in a medical setting that could speak up and maybe help, at least to give some sort of support for women. “Nurses can also be advocates for women who find that their symptoms are trivialized or dismissed as period pain and ensure that they are taken seriously.”, “Nurses come into contact with women with endometriosis in a variety of settings: in accident and emergency departments, primary care settings, and gynaecological departments. They often have the opportunity to discuss sensitive subjects, such as endometrial pain” (Denny, E. (2004).)

 Tamer Seckin, is a board-certified gynecologist and laparoscopic surgeon in New York, who has more than 30 years of experience. He specializes in laparoscopic surgeries, which are the surgeries that are done to diagnose women with endometriosis, by making a small incision and using an instrument called a laparoscope to examine the abdominal area and see where the endometrium cells are growing. After diagnosis and women approval, these surgeons are also able to remove mild to moderate endometrium tissue from unwanted areas. Since he seems to have a dedication to endometriosis, and I wanted to have a doctors point of view, I thought getting information from sources involving him would be the best way. (Tamer Seckin, M)

 According to Tamer Seckin, another common mistake that also is being made that contributes to the delay of being diagnosed with endometriosis is that doctors are diagnosing women with incorrect issues, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cysts, colon cancer, diverticulitis, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy, and fibroids, among many others. Women live for so long thinking that they have one or more of these problems, and eventually in the far future they find out it was endometriosis all along. (Culley, L et al.; Barbieri, R. L.; Tamer Seckin, M)

 Tamer Seckin believes that early detection, early diagnosis and early intervention are the best methods for endometriosis management. These are also the most important ways to get the best treatment results to minimize the damage from endometriosis. (Tamer Seckin, M.). But for this to happen, doctors have to be aware of the symptoms, aware that the severe pain women are feeling is not just normal. Doctors need to look for the common signs such as longer menstrual cycle than usual, constant pain even with medications, bloating, gas, painful sex, painful bowel movements, and infertility. But while examining these patients, they also need to consider that not every woman experiences these signs in the same way. At first a doctor can consider giving medicinal treatments such as, oral contraceptives, and other hormonal agents because they might work for some women, but If a woman comes for a second time saying that those treatments aren’t working, then doctors need to validate that and they should refer women to a surgeon who specializes in laparoscopy, and this way these women can be correctly and timely diagnosed, instead of continuously refusing to give these women the care they need, (Denny, E. (2004); Moen, M. H. (2017); Tamer Seckin, M. (Feb 26, 2019)). 

 If the process to diagnosis would happen like this, then it would avoid the worsening of women’s physical health but also of their mental wellbeing… Oh Yeah, I said mental wellbeing… because it is affected as well… How? You might ask, well let’s get into that. 

 Once again, when a doctor continuously trivializes women’s pain, they begin to think that they are wrong, going crazy, or exaggerating, “maybe all women feel this way and I’m just weak”, that’s how I would feel when my pain was normalized, and then we decide to live with pain in silence for so long. Then some women who are getting hormonal treatments have terrible side effects such as, weight gain, hair loss, nausea, decreased libido, mood changes, and migraines. Dealing with the constant normalization, and/or physical side effects from medicinal treatments are all things that lead to anxiety, stress, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts. The whole process to reaching a diagnosis is an approximate ten-year life of symptoms that can affect relationships, sex, hobbies, and everyday activities including work and caring for children. (endometriosis.org.(15 February, 2007); Tamer Seckin, M. (Feb 26, 2019)) Women live a life of uncertainty for so long, it’s only normal that they would be affected mentally.

            To me this is important to talk about because it’s not something that is commonly discussed, that’s why so many people don’t even know much about endometriosis, clearly not even some doctors know the basic steps to diagnosing a woman with endometriosis, since they feel like it’s “normal” and that women have to “deal with it”. But there is only so much a woman can handle, and this shouldn’t be one of those things that a woman needs to handle. Women need answers, to give them piece of mind, to at least give them the option to seek treatment for something they actually have, which is possibly endometriosis, and not some random disease that a doctor “thinks” women have. These women with endometriosis need a chance at living a “normal” life, and not a stress filled life with the pain a doctor considers “normal”!

References of Opinion pieces podcast was initially based on 

Da Silva, M., Edwards, S., Simonpillai, R., Manzocco, N., Sumi, G., Ritchie, K., & This week in NOW Feature. (2019, January 2). Love your body: introduction. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from NOW Magazine website: https://nowtoronto.com/api/content/1ad5db66-0eac-11e9-a625-120e7ad5cf50/

Danielle d’Entremont. (2019, January 2). Danielle d’Entremont: journalist. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from NOW Magazine website: https://nowtoronto.com/api/content/ba7f7732-0eb4-11e9-96ad-120e7ad5cf50/

 

References used in podcast

Barbieri, R. L. (2017). Why are there delays in the diagnosis of endometri.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://mdedge-files-live.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/files/s3fs-public/obgm0290308.pdf

Culley, L., Law, C., Hudson, N., Denny, E., Mitchell, H., Baumgarten, M., & Raine-Fenning, N. (2013). The social and psychological impact of endometriosis on women’s lives: a critical narrative review. Human Reproduction Update19(6), 631-632 (Diagnostic delay and uncertainty). https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmt027

 Danielle d’Entremont. (2019, January 2). Danielle d’Entremont: journalist. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from NOW Magazine website: https://nowtoronto.com/api/content/ba7f7732-0eb4-11e9-96ad-120e7ad5cf50/

 Danielle d’Entremont. (March 9, 2018).Endometriosis feels like ...Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1181925956001

 Denny, E. (2004). Women’s experience of endometriosis. Journal of Advanced Nursing46(6), 641–648. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03055.x

 Dusenbery, M. (March 15, 2018). Endometriosis Is Going Undiagnosed Due to the Normalization of Menstrual Pain - Teen Vogue. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/endometriosis-period-pain-book-excerpt

 endometriosis.org. (15 February, 2007). Diagnostic delay in endometriosis is confirmed – but why? « Endometriosis.org. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from http://endometriosis.org/news/research/why-the-diagnostic-delay/

 Moen, M. H. (2017). Endometriosis, an everlasting challenge. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica,96(6), 783–786. https://doi.org/10.1111/aogs.13148

 Tamer Seckin, M. (Feb 26, 2019). Endometriosis: Delayed Diagnosis Impacts Disease Management and Patient Well-Being. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Endometriosis-Delayed-Diagnosis-Impacts-Disease-Management-and-Patient-Well-Being.aspx

 White Coat Black Art (2018, March 10). Last Updated: (November 24, 2018 12:00 AM ET). Endometriosis My painful search for answers | CBC Radio. Retrieved April 6, 2019, from CBC website: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/endometriosis-my-painful-search-for-answers-1.4569712

 

Credits 

 "On My Way" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Podcast Episode - Video Games & Violence

~ Video Games and Violence ~ **Informed Consent Form was signed and sent to professor Bell in advance**

~ Music Theme ~

 Are video games the best or worst thing in our lives? Do young children and teens that play violent videogames commit heinous murders because of these games – or was it because those violent tendencies were already there?  Are videogames truly to blame here? Or should parents be to blame for letting their 12-17-year old’s play the violent games that they’re not supposed to be? What’s the truth?

~ Music Theme ~

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion and facts. I’m Katerina, and today we’re talking about if video games are truly to blame for children committing heinous murders or if it’s because the children are predisposed.

~ Music Theme ~

Katerina: 

I think almost everybody has been in a store when they were a teen with their friends and wanted to buy a videogame. So, imagine you walk down to the isle with all the newest games and pick out the one that allof your friends are playing and the one all the popular kids at your school are raving about. Then being encouraged by your friends that your totally look old enough to get this game without telling your parents or even asking for their permission. 

But then you go to checkout and the cashier takes one look at you and asks for your ID and you start to get nervous. Because you’re obviously underaged and you play it off saying something like, ‘oh, I forgot it at home but I’m totally18!’. 

But then they look at you again, this time squinting their eyes and arching an eyebrow, maybe even rolling their eyes before they turn you away. 

In fact, that was my experience back when I was in grade 10. But looking back at it now it was for the better since the game was very violent and definitely notthe best game for a young teenager to be playing. 

Now at the time I hated it, but in the long run I think it was for the better. Being exposed to all the violence that the game had could’ve been bad for me in the long run. Especially since it’s being reported now that it may lead to committing murder in the future.

Elizabeth: 

Hello my name is Elizabeth Tatsiou and I am here to give my opinion.

 

 Katerina: 

That’s my best friend Elizabeth. We sat down to talk about videogames. 

So, what is your general opinion on videogames?

 

 Elizabeth: 

I think they can be very educational because there are a lot of games that really do enrich your development – I mean there’s a lot of puzzle games that require you to really think outside the box. There are studies done that proved that video gamers actually had better dreams. But yeah, I think there are a lot of problems with them because even though there are ratings put in place, it’s still very easy for children to get their hands-on M rated / R rated games. Which can cause problems in their development.

 

Katerina: 

Now Elizabeth brought up a lot of great points. The points brought up were definitely interesting and I found a lot more about them. I found a section from the International Journal of Dream Research’s fifth volume about how depending on the game content and the amount of screen time the likelihood of having bizarre and more life-like dreams increases. They came to this conclusion by conducting a few experiments with different game genres and if gender would play a role in it. In the same section I also saw more of the mentioned points that she brought up along with some others. Like for example, “a variety of cognitive…skills… [possible] more diverse neural networks. Higher levels of non-verbal problem solving…[and] the specialized cognitive ability of visual-spatial information processing…”, according to them could happen, (Gackenbach & Dopko, 2012, p.33).

Another point, again according to the International Journal of Dream Research’s fifth volume that I found very interesting is that they saw an increase in verbal creativity. They believe that it’s because of the games and the gamers now think more creatively, (Gackenbach & Dopko, 2012). Even as she mentioned how puzzles and problem-solving skills are a great way to make your mind think and they’re found in almost every single game once you think about it. 

Also, the accessibility is often in question since it’s getting easier and easier now for children to get games that aren’t for them. The rating system from personal experience isn’t being taken seriously. I think the reason for that could be because parents can’tbegin to imaginejusthow violent games are now.

So how do you stand on video games?

 

Elizabeth:

Well I play some pers- I play video games myself personally, but from what I’ve seen it depends on the person themselves and the genre of the game. For example, if someone who already has some mental challenges plays a violent video game that can portray you know, gore and graphic violence then I think that it can negatively impact them. But also, I think people can play these games like GTA, COD and have nothing bad happen to them. So, I can s- so I’m saying that it really depends on the person overall but I think it can play a role in the violence

Like I have first-hand experience with that because I noticed my brother played video games when he was very young. He would play COD and GTA when he was only like 11 years old at first and I think that might’ve had some play in his development because he has been pretty like violent / aggressive person over the years. So, I think it could have a role to play

 

Katerina:

In the book Mass Media Effects Research, it was discussed how although many researchers point out that they can’t prove the relationships between video games causing children to commit the terrible crimes that are reported. But, there’s many studies that do find that relationship. Although if the child is young and predisposed mentally in any way then it could affect their development and how they are in the future, which does involve these crimes, (Sherry 2007, 245-262).

Although according to Statista, in the US alone in 2018 found that on average 28% of children under 18 played video games (Statista 2018). Even more outstanding was how 85.7 million people used game consoles in 2017, and the hundreds and hundreds of millions of consoles sold as of February 2017, also according to Statista (Statista 2018).

So, do you think it’s more of his fault or do you think your parents should’ve been looking at what he’s been playing in more depth?

 

Elizabeth:         

I think it is ultimately the parent’s fault, especially if it’s a child. I remember when my brother was really young, my dad went to the video game store with him. He basically was there to buy him an M Rated video game that he wanted. So, he kind of like allowed that to happen, but at the same time, if you are older I think its more of - the fault is more on you. Like it really does depend on the age because children are easily influenced by things; and their parents have a lot of control in how their future plays out.

 

Katerina:

Do you think that him being more aggressive or more on the aggressive side is because of the video game that he was exposed to - like the graphic and gory ones and the violent ones. Like GTA and COD and all the other ones. Do you think that they played a role in his development?

 

Elizabeth:

Even before he started playing video games my mom would tell me he was a pretty angry / rude child. But I think it might’ve played a small role. Because by being exposed to these things when you’re growing up, you kind of like – whether you notice it or not you take on some of these qualities. Like when you watch a tv show, you – like if you really like a tv show or a video game you kind of like wanna take on those aspects of your favorite character. Or just like you keep thinking about the world that you’ve been engaged in. and if it’s a violent one then yeah, you have more violent thoughts in your mind, and I think it could negatively impact you. 

Like there are a few – not saying that all video game players are terrible people – but like for example the shooting in New Zealand. The guy was said to have played violent video games. Yeah, I definitely think they play a role.

Yeah, I think it plays a role. Like actually heard – like media can influence you negatively like on all platforms not even for video games. There is this TV show called Death Note where the guy basically commits a bunch of these murders, and it actually inspired a bunch of these copycat killers in real life to do that. So, I definitely think it plays a role, video games as well. 

 

Katerina:

I couldn’t find much on the Death Note inspired murders, but I did find an article by 13thFloor. According to them there were several documented cases where children were suspended for copying what they saw in the franchise. They would write down the names of the people they wanted dead like; their teachers, or their fellow classmates, or people that they didn’t like just like in the Anime. There was even a documented murder where the murderers claimed to be “Kira” which was the alias that the main character took in the Anime. The ages and identities weren’t released since they were under 18 so it’s unclear how old exactly everyone was. But it was clear that they were all very young. (13thFLOOR, 2017)

On the other hand, I did find more on the New Zealand shooting. According to CNN’s article title the, “terrorist attack was made for social media”. They even describe its content as, “opening fire…as if they were targets in a game.” Although the shooter was 28, many sources say that the way that he carried out the attack was from being exposed to violent videogames at a young age. Or at least feeling inspired by the format of them since they way that he recorded it was the same as it is in games like GTA and COD from the first-person perspective, (CNN 2019).

So, then the younger the player is, the more exposed and at risk they are?

 

Elizabeth:

Yeah like a good example is there were 2 girls in middle school I think– 11 or 12 years-old, and they were obsessed with the game Slender Man. And then they were actually caught and arrested because they – I don’t remember if they actually did it or not but they were planning on killing their classmate, and stabbing them for Slender Man. So, that’s a good example right there. Like, if you already have some – if you already are a little unstable, I really think that video games can really push someone over the edge.

  

Katerina:

                        Sadly, the crime wascommitted by two 12-year-olds and they nearly murdered their 12-year-old classmate at the time. At thatage children are so impressionable, that the two girls thought that Slender Man actually existed and they wanted to be with him forever and thought that the only way that they could, was to murder someone. Although one of the girls was found not guilty because she was mentally in fact mentally ill at the time. (The Sun) This case shows that if you’re young, and even dealing with issues that make you unstable, the violent virtual worlds can push you over the edge. And that’s the answer I started to find.

The American Psychological Association stated that and I quote, “perpetrators go unpunished in 73% of all violent scenes and therefore teach that violence is and effective means of resolving conflict” end quote (Kutner 2008, p. 6). An example that I found of this was when a 17-year-old murdered his own grandmother who had raised him. According to ABS-CBN News’ article, he blacked out and began cleaning the evidence before he realized what he was doing. He later confessed to his aunt and was turned over to the custody of social workers. He also came from a broken home so that factor might’ve played a role in his mental stability and could’ve made him more vulnerable and at risk to the violence of the video game called Defence of the Ancients. (ABS-CBN News).

Another case where young teens committed murder was the two Columbine High School shooters. A quote from psychologists Craig Anderson and Karin Dill was, “One possible contributing factor is violent video games. [They] enjoyed playing the bloody…videogame Doom, a game licensed by the U.S. Army to train soldiers to effectively kill.”(Kutner 2008, p. 6). Since they were long time video game players, and also had a record of stealing and were sent to a juvenile diversion program in January 1998 according to CNN. (CNN 2018). This could lead you to believe that they were mentally unstable since they essentially recreated virtual events in reality.

In the U.S. another murderer’s attorney – specifically for Lee Malvo or also known as the ‘DC Sniper’ stated that he taught himself to kill by playing games like Halo. His attorney also states, and I quote, “he’s trained and desensitized with video games…to shoot human forms over and over again,” (Kutner 2008, p. 6).  end quote.

So, do you think in these specific cases the parent should’ve been way more alert and proactive in seeing what their kids were playing on their computer or their game system?

 

Elizabeth:

I think so yes it does fall on the parent to be aware of what their child is doing. There are apps to make it easy to see what your child is doing. There’s like; safety mode, child lock on iPads and TVs nowadays. So, it does make it a lot easier to monitor your children. You could also even just check their search history to see like, are they looking at violent video games, or anything related to them at all. 

But also, at the same time, no matter how hard a parent can try, sometimes children just have a way of getting away with these things. They are really good at keeping secrets, and they can just defy their parents – they’ll find a way. So, I definately think that it does rely on the parents but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Like children will be children they’ll find a way to do what they whether you want them to or not. But So,I think that the reason why it’s hard for parents to monitor their children is because they don’t wanna be – they don’t wanna break their children’s trust. They don’t wanna be like too invasive. But at the same time, they do wanna be there for the child and monitor them. So, I think that’s another role to play. Like being – it’s like a fine line across between caring and toxic. Parents wanna be liked by their children but they also want them to be safe.

 

Katerina:

And do you think that this is y the whole Slender Man example happened? And possibly the other ones mentioned?

 

Elizabeth:

I think so, yeah, it definitely falls on the parents in a lot of these cases but not all. But I’ve notice that even with – like in personal examples in my life I’ve seen parents allow their children to play R Rated games or look at inappropriate things on the internet or even if they do see them and tell them to stop, like they don’t really put their foot down. So, their child just goes, ‘like hey, I’m not actually being punished, so I’m just gonna do whatever they’re not gonna stop me.’

 

Katerina:

Yeah that’s very true because a lot of parents now are being put into the position now where they wanna be the ‘friend parent’– ‘the cool parent’– notthe ‘parent – parent’.

Elizabeth:

There has been a rise of that in recent years. Our culture is changing in general and how we see our parents. Like some places in the world back in the day it was seen that you always have to obey your parents. They are like the firm rule maker. But lately that has changed, attitudes about hitting your children have changed, attitudes about how strict you should be are different now. So, it is good that were trying to be kinder to our children but at the same time there are some parents that take it too far and they are more like a friend then an actual authority figure. And that causes problems with video games and other things.

 

Katerina:

In fact, there has been a rise in the lack of involvement of parents. A lot of what I found is rooted within Church organizations like The Southern Baptist. They say that they’re seeing less and less disciple and are trying to bring it back, (Rodriguez 2015). Many other Churches are doing the same thing. 

But do you think that video games brought it out more and made it more prevalent in how your brother is now

 

Elizabeth:

You know video games were a safe haven but he didn’t realise how twisted of a person it was making him become.

 

Katerina:

So, the moral of the story is essentially, everything is good but within moderation? And if you’re predisposed in any way then parents should be more watchful?

 

 

Elizabeth:

Definitely yeah. People think video games are the sole cause of people doing terrible things, like a lot of school shooters but that’s not the case. It really does depend on who they are as a person. Video games will either push them in the right direction or in the wrong. They already have to be right or wrong in the first place.

 

Katerina:

            And a lot of research does point to that. If the child – especially the younger they are, if they are predisposed in any way then video games could have a terrible impact; and in these sad cases they led to terrible, terrible, terrible murders. So, parents should be monitoring their children much more, and being much more watchful in what kind of games that they give them. They should be looking at the rating system, and even looking at the games in more depth so that they could see what kind of games their children will be playing. And once again, this is still just a matter of opinion, signing off.

                        

 

 

 

References:

 

ABS-CBN News, & Reinir Padua, T. P. (2014, March 9). Teen Kills Grandma for Interrupting 

Game. Retrieved April 1, 2019. Web: 

https://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/metro-manila/03/09/14/teen-kills-grandma-interrupting-game

 

CNN, Marsh, J., & Mulholland, T. (2019, March 16). How the Christchurch Terrorist Attack 

Was Made for Social Media. Retrieved: April 3, 2019. Web

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/15/tech/christchurch-internet-radicalization-intl/index.html

 

CNN. (2018, March 25). Columbine High School Shootings Fast Facts. Retrieved: April 2, 2019. 

Web: 

https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/columbine-high-school-shootings-fast-facts/index.html

 

 

13thFLOOR, & Davison, J. (2017 March 20). The DEATH NOTE Franchise Inspired 

Frightening Real Events. Retrieved: April 3, 2019. Web:

http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2017/03/20/the-death-note-franchise-inspired-real-frightening-events/

 

Gackenbach, J., & Dopko, R. (2012). The relationship between video game play, dream 

bizarreness, and creativity. Verlag nicht ermittelbar. Retrieved: April 1, 2019. Web:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jayne_Gackenbach/publication/267212593_The_relationship_between_video_game_play_dream_bizarreness_and_creativity/links/56cc635b08ae96cdd071b1a3/The-relationship-between-video-game-play-dream-bizarreness-and-creativity.pdf

 

Kutner, L., & Olson, C. (2008). Grand theft childhood: The surprising truth about violent video 

games and what parents can do. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved April 1, 2019. Web:

https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=WWNKwlY96rEC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=video+games+and+murder&ots=8_dI6u5Pbn&sig=aw_5WV4RP2QnyDP6sUCsh59CG8U#v=onepage&q=video%20games%20and%20murder&f=false

 

Rodriguez, M. (2015). Equipping Parents to be Primary Disciple Makers at First Baptist Church, 

Andalusia, Alabama. Retrieved: April 2, 2019. Web:

https://repository.sbts.edu/handle/10392/4896

 

Sherry, J. L. (2007). Violent video games and aggression: Why can’t we find effects. Mass 

media effects research: Advances through meta-analysis12, 245-262. Retrieved April 2, 2019. Web:

https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=yP0C_1SoK8cC&oi=fnd&pg=PT331&dq=negative+impacts+of+video+game+son+predisposed&ots=XUErP4b7Uc&sig=sbu_plvcAecPwY2s9mf-5kZEZ_c#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Statista. (2018). U.S. Average Age of Video Gamers 2018 Statistic. Retrieved April 2, 2019. 

Web:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/189582/age-of-us-video-game-players-since-2010/

 

Statista. (2017). U.S. Monthly Number of Game Console Users in the United States From 2nd

Quarter 2012 to 2ndQuarter 2017 (In Millions) Statistic. Retrieved April 2, 2019. Web:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/320315/number-users-game-consoles-usa/

 

Statista. (2019) U.S. Video Game Console Sales Worldwide for Products Total Lifespan as of 

February 2019 (In Million Units). Statistic. Retrieved April 2, 2019. Web:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/268966/total-number-of-game-consoles-sold-worldwide-by-console-type/

 

The Sun, Cambridge, E., & Christodoulou, H. (2019, March 3). Slender Man Stabbers Slender 

Man Stabbing – Where Are Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier Now and Why Did They Attack Payton Leutner? Retrieved April 2, 2019. Web:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2643061/slender-man-stabbing-crime-scene-anissa-weier-morgan-geyser/

 

Additional Links:

https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-09-20/4-arrested-for-2007-belgian-manga-murder-case

https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/us/lee-boyd-malvo-fast-facts/index.html

 

~ Acknowledgements ~

 

Music: 

            "Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


Literature's Greatest Hope

Music:

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Transcript: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mnwwssjqxquheij/FANFICTION.docx?dl=0

Consent Forms: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qjk8uuq5d994d3j/INTERVIEW%20FORMS.pdf?dl=0

Megan Cerilli Interview: https://www.dropbox.com/s/psfdgvzyalulkvy/Megan%20Interview.mp3?dl=0

-Matteo Cerilli

The Rise of AfD

Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of crisis watch. The topic today I’d like to adress is an article by Monia Mazigh called “The Rise of Hate Politics in Canada” which addresses the rise of Far Right politicians in provincial elections. I want to relate this to a topic of my own. The rise of the Far Right in Germany, a country with historical issues that crash with the rise of such groups. Germany’s history is marred by the actions of certain far right group such as the Kaiser and Adolph Hitler with the Nazi party. With the rise of the AFD, Germany’s Far Right Party, many are worried what the future of Europe might be. Some might even say history is repeating itself.

Germany is one of the most prominent members of the EU, many seeing it as a key leading figure in the political body. If the AFD made a surprising victory like Trump did in America, this would greatly change European politics. A far right party gaining power in Germany would redefine the EU. Many countries would come under the sway of their policies, and decision making by the body itself would greatly be changed, especially in correlection to the Migration Crisis and EU’s handling of it. Speakers for bringing in migrants would greatly lose status, as Germany’s position would allow it argue for far right positions on the Migrant Crisis. This could spell disaster not only for Europe but for the migrants and refugees attempting to seek sanctuary inside the countries. The podcast today will focus on the AfD, the context of their rise, the talk of opposition against the,m, the claims they make, the migrant crisis, the counterfactual by their opposition, and the analysis of their position in Germany. How did they rise, how did they rise? How did they gain a position of power in Germany? That's what we will begin  on, the context.

The primary platform for AfD, is anti islamization, anti immigration and German nationalism. Taking a pride in the past, even as going as going so far as to disregard the sins of their ancestors. The German media unfortunately has played a big part in allowed the AfD to rise. In there Germany, there is a practice amongst journalists known as Hintergrundgespräch which essentially is Media personalities and reporters gathering in the hq of a party and listening to the leaders speak upon opinion, and then taking whatever they say and publishing it as facts (Knight, 2019). The AfD, rallying reporters who will report on what they want to hear, use that to promote their message as they see fit. Many Germans have grown weary of Angela Merkel, exasperated with her Open Border policy with the 2015 Migrant Crisis. Merkel’s famous like “Weschaft Das” we will manage, has further pushed that (Biermann, 2018). Many want change, and the AFD further push that. Many want change, and the AfD appeals to those who believe that Germany has hit a sinkhole, that it is sinking and losing it once had. Preying upon these fears, the AfD rallies supporters in opposition to Angela Merkel and the mass influx of refugees from Syria but also who are economic migrants.

Florian Hartleb, a political scientist said “it was easy for the AfD to play the opponent, and the more we talk about migration, the more chances there are for the AfD.”  (Knight, 2010) He’s referenced to how they play the underdog, the so called saviour of Germany, when in fact they are playing upon fears for their own political agendas. The AfD which has risen to the 3rd largest party in germany has been present before 2015. According to the party, the Refugee Crisis was only a moment in which the German people had enough of their centrist government and decided they wanted a change. The AfD targets many of the German government's decisions. Reiner Erkens, a prominent AfD member in an interview with the Guardian stated that “for years politicians were doing things they did not have a mandate for, which were not even remotely even an issue in elections.” (Hartleb, 2018) He then goes on to describe such issues, such as the creation of the Euro, the so called Hearts 5 welfare program the was launched in the 2000s, Germany giving up nuclear power, the removal of mandatory military service, and donating money to greece during their economic crisis. (Hockenos, 2018) According to him, the final straw, that many AfD members parrot was the 2015 decision by Angela Merkel to open the borders to the refugees streaming in. Their incredibly pessimistic views are a tad bit hypocritical. They rebuke climate change and they claim “Where will all the money take them when Germany has so many problems?” failing to see the future. (Hockenos, 2018) They also brush aside Germany’s imperial past, that was previously mentioned. One of their leaders Alexander Gauland even going so far as in his speech to describe the Third Riech as a “Birdshit in a 1000 years in successful German history.” (German Anger Over AfD Chief's 'Nazi Era Just Bird Poo' Remark, 2018) We clearly that the AfD’s rise  can be credited to a period of disatisication and weariness from the German people amongst the economic crisis that have approached the EU and the German homeland, all of which that have been capitalized by the far right who seek to control and mould Germany to their image.

Moving on I’d like to address to claims made by the AfD and their platform of xenophobia in extensive detail, so that you, the listener can truly understand the perspective that these people speak upon. In an interview by a German news source Deutsche Welle, Alexander Gauland was asked, do you think right wing hate mongers need to be addressed? And he claimed “I don’t know what you mean by right wing hate mongers, you’ll find none here.” However Gauland also stated that Germany's valued soccer player, Jérôme Boateng whose father was from ghana is “An excellent sportsman” and I quote “But I would not want to live next to someone like him.” (Goff, 2016)

Furthermore he called for a travel ban against specific muslim countries and I quote yet again “Not everyone who holds a German passport is German,” referring to people who are not German by roots, claiming they are not truly German simply because they hold the passport (Bleiker, 2016). Despite claiming that he knows nothing or cannot identity so called hate mongers in his party, it is clear that Gauland himself is such a hate monger. He speak against people of different ethnicities, Germans without direct German roots and yet claims to be of a party without hate. It is so crystal clear to see exactly what he is preaching despite what he claims at one moment. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Moreover, in the interview by Deutsche Welle in the interview with Alexander Gauland, they asked about Beatrix Von Storch, a deputy in the Afd and a key member. She claimed that German border guards should be allowed to use their weapons against illegal female refugees and childrens. However, Gaulands reply to the accusation simply  was while it was a terrible statement and unspeakable, they will not be removing her from the party and she will retain her position despite the horrendous statements made (Goff, 2016). Beatrix went on to say in a post online that the attacks in Brussels that had recently occurred were exactly what the people got for their migration policy. Gauland once again said while he did not agree with her statement, she has a point (Goff, 2016).

We see time and time again AfD members with their fiery speeches and fiery statements, however when confronted on their platform of hatred, they always seem to double down, claiming that what they say is truth, but the wording itself is the issue. This in itself is simply preposterous, that a party can claim such horrific beliefs, but when confronted by it they so poorly manage to back up their beliefs. Time and time again on camera when confronted by news hosts. And it’s not simply loose cannon speakers spouting hateful speech in the AfD, lone wolves bringing down the parties reputation. One only has to venture onto their website itself to see exactly the platform in which the platform in which they speak of and exactly their beliefs. The bold headline upon entering their website states “It’s About Us.” (Alternative Für Deutschland) That’s their primary statement. It is about us. It’s a nationalist, isolationist and xenophobic statement in itself. But to go on further, looking into their website, you can see under the current issues tab they call for an ending of the migration. You can also see that they speak of freedom of the net. In other words they’re asking the government to stop suppressing their far right speakers, and their hateful speeches (Alternative Für Deutschland). Not only by AfD members, but by key figures on the internet who spout hateful messages. Facebook censorship of far right speakers who preach violence against migrants, shutting down the border, expelling muslims, cracking down on the civil rights of muslims, are all backed up by the AfD and the so free press they believe in.  They don’t speak for freedom of press, they speak for freedom of hate, freedom of stupidity.

Their work spreads past simply their website, they’ve used facebook as a platform, they use social media as a platform, and they have firms in America who promote their messages. Firms that work with Trump, Marie Le Penne, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Grossberg, 2018). Whether it’s internet, digital mediums such as speeches on their videos, posters across germany, the AfD the very first far right party in Germany to win seats since World War Two is continuing to spread its hateful messages. It’s not a matter of lone wolves like I stated before, it clearly is their platform by website, by speeches, by connection; there is no denying what they do, they simply spread hate. It is you, the listener I have given the facts, I have given the sources. All you need to do for yourself is now go and look upon the internet. You don’t need to live in Germany to see their hate. That’s the era we live in, that you can live anywhere and you can take the data for yourself and look at it and you can ask yourself, and you can ask yourself is this the kind of world where a party like this should hold a key position of power in Germany and the EU.

But let’s talk about their primary forefront, aside from the debts, aside from environmentalism, the primary forefront for attracting members with the violence they attribute to refugees and migrants, let’s talk about migrant crisis itself. Let’s begin with the definition of the context. Economic migrants come from North Africa generally, they are those seeking a better life in Germany based on the harsh despartity faced in their country. Then, there are refugees, those coming from war torn countries, who are escaping death and trying to get their families somewhere safe (Quinn, 2016). Of course the AfD hates both, and would rather see both far, far away from germany.

But that aside, let’s get onto statistics and explain exactly what exactly has and is going on in Germany. In 2017 there were 728000 applications for entry into the EU by migrants and refugees. This was actually a decrease of 44 percent compared to 2016, there were almost 3 million applications (EU Migrant Crisis: Facts and Figures). This is applications alone, not including illegal refugees who to the country with the open border policy. The EU protected 530,000 which was 25 percent down from 2016. One of three of these were from Syria, while Iraq and Afghanistan also were prevalent (EU Migrant Crisis: Facts and Figures). 70 percent of those who applied and received it, ended up in Germany. In the Mediterranean, the influx is even larger with many coming over from North Africa in boats. In 2015 and 2016, 2.3 million crossings were detected. In 2017 numbers did drop, to 204,000 the lowest number in 4 years. In total, there are 2.2 million people illegally present in the EU (EU Migrant Crisis: Facts and Figures).This is illegally present, not including migrants and refugees who are either awaiting being accepted, or have already been accepted. The statistics I have given were provided for by the EU parliament itself.

Moving on, the German government in response to the influx of people not only in EU but it’s country itself was quick in response. According to infomigrant.net, the German government has over 1.5 million refugees inside of its county and it’s been pushing the administrative structure to its limit in attempting to accommodate them (Sanderson, 2018). In cooperation with many Eu states, the German government has set up many programs to relocate and resettle them amongst the population of Germany, in town and cities, wherever they see fit. However there are still more and more people and more and more camps that are set up. Border control has cracked down, only allowing in 50 people per hour, and the introduction of patrols at certain train stations has stemmed the flow of people into the country (Sanderson, 2018). Working with charities and volunteers, the german government has set up a registration process to receive the migrants and refugees, figuring the best way to settle the people in and find the jobs that can best suit their qualification, or education to help them create a better life for them in Germany, this influx of people is exactly what they get their members to rally upon, the perception that Germany is under attack, that there are invaders coming towards Germany to destroy the country and its identity.

In 2017, the Deputy leader of Germany's AfD claimed that were have been 447 killings and murders by illegal migrants and refugees alone the year. However BBC goes on to find more statistics to counter this, the german interior ministry stated that 27 of these killings were by illegals alone. The 447 refers to attempted murders and killings by asylum seekers and refugees, yes, but most of them were actually in Germany legally (Reality Check Team, 2018). This could be anyone, not just illegal, these are people who have gone through background checks, who have been let in, it happens that these are disturbed infiducklas and it could be anyone who is committing these kind of attacks. The whole notion that Germany is under attack is a fear mongering tactics to recruit voters for the AfD. In Germany in fact, according to BBC, it has had its lowest crime rate since 1992 (Reality Check Team, 2018). While migrant crime is a issue, it is not the attempt that AfD wants to paint it out to be. The reality  is is that overall crime in germany is decreasing. It is decreasing and has been decreasing since the 1990’s. The influx of refugees has had an economic strain like any influx of individuals will, but the notion that they are destroying the country is fallacy in itself.

The German people as the Alt-Right claims are not going extinct. 80 percent of the population are German with no immigrant background. 92 percent of the population are Germans with German citizenship. So it is only 8 percent of the people who are migrants or refugees (Germany Population, 2019). Germany still has its culture and its people per say if the alt right want to label Germans with no German heritage as such. Their claims are ultimately failure, they are untrue. People have been coming to germany but it is the history of the world that people move from one place to another. German culture, history and tradition is still very much alive.

According to the Guardian, the German government has ordered that the German domestic intelligence agency BfV to monitor the AfD specifically its youth wing, a group which has called for curfews against muslim men and countless other practices to limit the freedoms of Muslim individuals in Germany (Martin, 2019). The BfV are particularly interested it Bjoern Hoecke a member of the AfD who is one of the center driving forces in pushing the party to the extreme right. One of the agency's head members. Thomas Haldenwang referred to Hoecke as a threat to the liberal democratic principles of the German Constitution (Connolly, 2019). While the BfV is not keeping strict surveillance on the AfD, they are still keeping tabs on them and monitoring their actions in hopes of preventing catastrophes caused by the party. In Haldenwang’s words “The BfV has initial indications that the AfD’s policies are against democratic constitutional orders, but those indications are not sufficiently concentrated to start monitoring the party using espionage methods.” (Connolly, 2019) Haldenwang’s predecessor Hans Jorge Massen was moved out of his position as he allegedly had far right sympathies and connections. The choice to enact surveillance on the AfD was met by criticism by alexander gauland, the previously mentioned co-leader who condemned the action by saying “it is completely clear that we think that the BfV’s decision is wrong, it also completely clear that we will take legal action against the decision.” However, Haldenwang fired back by saying “the BfV was greatly concerned by the rising Far Right violent action taken by the party's members.” (Martin, 2019)

Previously mentioned, there are movements in Germany locally and nationally who oppose the AfD; made up of the average Germans who step out of their homes to protest against the statements and accusations made by the far right party. According to Al-Jazeera on May 2018, 20,000 counter protesters rallied in Berlin to demonstrate, in a counter protest against an AfD rally. According to Al-Jazeera’s David Chader, "Many times during the speeches by AfD leaders you couldn't hear what they were saying because they [counter-demonstrators] were playing loud band music and chanting 'Nazis out."  (Al Jazeera, 2018) Al-Jazeera also stated that of these 20,000 they included anti fascists, pro refugee organization, LGBT groups and grassroots movements who all opposed the AfD. The movement according to them was vocal rather than one that resorted to violence, with protesters using their words and nonviolent means to oppose the AfD (Al Jazeera 2019).

In conclusion, throughout this podcast, you the listener have heard countlessly of how the AfD has affected Germany. Its’ right wing rhetoric, it’s absolvation of horrendous deeds committed in the Second World War, its’ anti migration ideals and its’ hatred towards Islam are all part of what the AfD brings to the table. While the German government and people still strongly oppose the AfD, it’s still quiet a threatening force to be reckoned with. It’s still a party that has won seats in the National assembly. It’s still a party that preaches hate, the very first one to win those seats since the second World War. It’s a party that rallies its’ people around hatred. It’s fear of the outsider, it’s fear of those living in Germany even with the passports. It’s xenophobia at its worst. It’s with that hate the AfD has swollen its’ ranks and risen up in prominence and power. They blame Muslims and displaced people for all evils; from poverty to sexual violence. Their hatred knows no bounds, and one can only fear for the future of Germany. Yes, they may only hold 12 percent of the seats, but one cannot forget the Nazi Party too was once a fringe movement, and it too grew upon a platform of hate. Hatred against the Jews, but now the AfD, using hatred to rise in the ranks by hating against Muslims this time, hating against displaced peoples. It is with that hate that one can only hope for the best for Germany.

One can only hope that the AfD will die out, and not continue to rise in prominence. The future of Germany may be dark, but there is still light, there is still resistance, there is still fight left in German people against those who wish to repeat the sins of their forefathers. It is against those who wish to continue the cycle of hate the world has seen for far too long. Whether it’s in Germany, Brazil, America, or even my own home in Canada, that hatred continues to rise, it’s our duty despite political affiliations to take a stand for what is right, instead of plugging out ears, closing our eyes, instead taking a stand by those who need us most in these dark times.I hope you have enjoyed today’s episode of Crisis Watch, have a good day!

Works Cited

Al Jazeera. (2018, May 27). Counter-protesters outnumber far-right AfD rally in Berlin. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/berlin-thousands-gather-afd-counterrallies-180527115334438.html


Alternative Für Deutschland. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.afd.de/


Biermann, W. (2018, June 29). The Tragedy of Angela Merkel. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/29/opinion/wolf-biermann-merkel-refugees.html


Bleiker, C. (2016, June 4). The AfD's Alexander Gauland: From conservative to nationalist. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/the-afds-alexander-gauland-from-conservative-to-nationalist/a-40117652


Connolly, K. (2019, January 15). Extreme-right wing of Germany's AfD placed under surveillance. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/15/extreme-right-wing-germany-afd-under-surveillance


EU Migrant Crisis: Facts and Figures. (2017, June 30). Retrieved from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20170629STO78630/eu-migrant-crisis-facts-and-figures


Reality Check Team. (2018, September 13). Reality Check: Are migrants driving crime in Germany? Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45419466


German Anger Over AfD Chief's 'Nazi Era Just Bird Poo' Remark. (2018, June 04). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44354559


Germany Population 2019. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/germany-population/


Goff, B. (2016, March 23). Interview with Alexander Gauland, AfD | DW | 23.03.2016. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/interview-with-alexander-gauland-afd/av-19137467


Grossberg, L. (2018). The Reactionary Right. In Trump and the Battle for the American Right: Lawrence Grossberg (pp. 68-90). London: Pluto Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1zk0mnf.8


Hartleb, F. (2018, October 31). My Statements About AfD in Berlin Policy Journal. Retrieved from http://florianhartleb.com/my-statements-about-afd-in-berlin-policy-journal/


Hockenos, P. (2018, March 27). Germany Has a Far-Right Enemy Within. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/opinions/afd-german-enemy-within-intl/index.html


Knight, B. (2018, November 14). Is Germany's Media to Blame for the Inexorable Rise of the AfD? | Ben Knight. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/14/afd-german-media-politicians-angela-merkel


Martin, M. (2019, January 15). German Spies to Launch Anti-Extremism Probe into Far-Right Opposition. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-politics-afd/german-spies-to-launch-anti-extremism-probe-into-far-right-opposition-idUSKCN1P91C4


Quinn, E. (2016). The Refugee and Migrant Crisis: Europe's Challenge. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 105(419), 275-285. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24871398


Sanderson, S. (2018, March 06). Measures taken in Germany in response to the refugee crisis. Retrieved from https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/7882/measures-taken-in-germany-in-response-to-the-refugee-crisis





Phase 4: A Scratch Media Episode Premiere!

Scratch Media Episode: TPS and Black Men: Over-representation is a Killer

Hey, I have something to tell you. A Black person is 20 times more likely to be involved in a fatal shooting by the Toronto Police Service than a White person. That’s a frightening number when you know that Black people only make up 8.8% of Toronto’s population (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.3). When the Ontario Human Rights Commission released their report on racial profiling and discrimination, it was a hot topic on the internet. But thing is, this isn’t surprising at all.

(Music Theme)

From Scratch Media this a Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Joline, and in this episode we’re talking about…TPS and Black men: Over-representation is a Killer.

(Music Theme)

Being Black is no walk in the park. Many Black persons get stopped by the police for reasons with little legal basis, and in reality are singled out because of the colour of their skin. Unfortunately, Black men are even more at risk. A study called the Black Experience Project interviewed men from 25 to 44 years old and 79% of them had experienced getting stopped in public places by the police (Environics Institute, 2017, p.47).

In recent years, studies and reports have taken individual accounts from Black persons within the GTA to understand what actions need to be taken and what should be the recommended to mend the complicated relationship the toronto police created. With articles from the Toronto Star, National Post, CBC, CP24, The Globe and Mail, and Toronto Life to provide context to the cases. These studies and reports were used to provide the statistics for this episode:

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2018 interim report:

This interim report is on racial profiling and discrimination of black people by the Toronto Police Service. This helped provided insight into how the SIU director addressed certain cases where racial profiling and discrimination was present.

Black Experience Project:

This a study organized by Enivironics Institute for Survey Research in collaboration with other organizations. This study provides a set of data based on a varied of interviews of Black persons within the GTA.

Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism:

In collaboration with Black organizations and residents, the City of Toronto formed a five year plan to take action against anti-Black racism by making services, spaces and policies inclusive and accessible to the Black community through recommendations and actions.

Throughout this episode, keep in mind the following questions:

  1. What methods does the police use that complicates their interactions with Black men and their communities?

  2. How does it affect Black men?

  3. Who is trying to solve the issues and how?

But first, let me tell you a story. Back 2015, freelance journalist Desmond Cole published an article about his experiences with carding by the police. In the Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times - all because I’m Black, Cole provides an up close and personal view of how police treat Black people. In the Human Rights commission’s report, these type of cases would’ve been generalized as that police officers were conducting unnecessary stops, questioning, and searches. Within their research and interviews, the Commission gathered accounts where the police would reason the detainment in ways like “there had been an incident nearby” or “You match the description of the suspect”, and had even used reasons like they thought he had a gun (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.33).

Desmond’s experiences were very similar, so similar that one time he said that he got stopped by police officers one night and was asked for his identification. Their reason for stopping him was that “There’s been suspicious activity in the area,” (Cole, 2015). Stops, questionings, and searches are absolutely nerve wracking experiences that induce fear in not only black men, but in the entire black community. Desmond had feared his life that night and even wrote, “If they thought I had a weapon, I was convinced that I’d end up being beaten, or worse” [Toronto life, Cole]. Unfortunately, that’s no overreaction. BEP calculated that 24% of men had an experience of police using force against them (Environics Institute, 2017, p.47).

When the human rights commission inquired the SIU for their reports, they’ve gathered many cases that Black men were stopped mainly based on the officer’s own suspicion. An example the Commission provided were that police officers stopped a Black man and his friend in the park because they were hanging out with a backpack in an area that the police said had a drug problem (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.21). In this case, the SIU Director noted that “the officer likely did not have reasonable suspicion that the man was engaged in criminal activity and that the detention of the complainant appeared to be unlawful” (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.21).

Appeared to be unlawful ok...

It’s progress that the Commission revealed the SIU Director’s opinion of these type of cases, but there’s no end result, no conclusion. This report used cases like this one and worse as examples. The many cases they provide as examples with a conclusion we never get to see. Desmond and so many Black men get stopped on the street and are demanded by the police for their identification and their race, height, weight and eye colour is recorded too (Cole, 2015). Black men are caught in a repetitive system that sees the ugliness of carding in city that’s not going to the root of the problem and Desmond finds that this city, Toronto, is giving a false persona when he wrote, “There’s this idea that Toronto is becoming a post-racial city, a multicultural utopia where the colour of your skin has no bearing on your prospects. That kind of thinking is ridiculously naive in a city and country where racism contributes to a self-perpetuating cycle of criminalization and imprisonment,” (Cole, 2015). Carding with all its questioning and searches, frustrates black men and traps them in a cycle and conditions them to distrust the police and the justice system. This affects the perception of Black men and their over-representation increases with the severity of policing methods (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018).

So what does the city of Toronto do to try to combat this issue? Well, through the Toronto Action to Confront Anti-Black Racism, they consulted with organizations and members of the Black community as to what action should be taken based their recommendations and their first recommendation was to “Implement measures to stop racial profiling and over-policing of Black Torontonians” (City of Toronto, p.39). In response, the city of Toronto planned to communicate with Black communities about getting rid of carding, review and improve training to make police to be more skillful and knowledgeable in how they should react and interact in a more respectable way within the Black community. The effort to improve police protocols is an ongoing plan for the city of toronto and is an important one in order to decrease the amount of over-representation before the situation escalates.

Especially in cases like Dafonte Miller, where his altercation with the police resulted in being badly injured. This incident happened in Whitby in 2016 when Dafonte and his friends were confronted by off-duty Constable, Michael Theriault, with his brother Christian. The allegation was that Michael Theriault approached Dafonte as an on-duty officer and began to ask him questions and demanded to know why he and his friends were in the neighbourhood (Goodfield, 2018). The situation escalated when Dafonte refused to answer and ran away, the Theriault brothers caught up to him and started to beat him apparently with a metal pipe. Dafonte lost an eye and suffered a broken nose, broken orbital bone, bruised ribs, and a fracture wrist from this incident and almost face charges, but the Crown withdrew those charges (Goodfield, 2018). The issue here was that neither the Toronto nor Durham police contacted SIU to investigate. Dafonte’s lawyer informed them which led to the SIU to lay charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon on the brothers (Goodfield, 2018).

This case is ongoing, but it this incident was viral that year. It had even impacted some who were interviewed for the Human Right Commission’s report that would be released two years later. Dafonte was mistreated by a man with an authoritative position who was supposed to protect people, but this incident had deeply affected many people. One people the Commission quoted said, “The Dafonte Miller matter affects everyone in the community because it was so egregious and it was hidden and was allowed to be hidden for so long until someone else brought it forward…[it] is a collective experience...someone in your family has experienced some sort of trauma with the police - so it always brings you back to that event… it’s a collective impact…” (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.7).

Whether an officer is on or off duty, they have a reputation to maintain. When they use their position to take advantage of a person, the officer ruins the reputation of the Toronto Police Services and lose respect from Black communities. Racial profiling and discrimination against Black men has a domino effect that impacts Black communities and victims’ families. For example, Dafonte’s incident has greatly impacted his family too. His family had to travel back and forth to court appearances for months. It was a really difficult time for them, especially when Dafonte was in the hospital and later at home. His mother told CBC that “the attack robbed her of her outgoing son, who used to love playing basketball, writing rap songs and making people laugh…[Now] he’s a different person, wounded far beyond the physical injuries” (Reddekopp, 2017).

Dafonte’s mother now fears for both her children and other Black children because of this incident. She and many others are hurt by its impact and severity. It’s an unfortunate result that continues to break down what’s left of the relationship between Black communities and TPS. The Black Experience Project participants showed similar results when 54% of them said that the police do a poor job in treating Black people fairly (Environics Institute, 2017, p.49). It’s more devastating when 87% of participants say that the police’s unfair treatment happens frequently (Environics Institute, 2017, p.49).

This excessive use of force, the Human rights would call it, can get complicated and severe very quickly and can cause a lot of trauma. Many Black men are never the same because of it and and unfortunately won’t be able to go back to their normal lives. The OHRC reviews and analyzes cases like Desmond and Dafonte’s because these incidents they’ve experienced are unacceptable. Actions are required to help erase the bias some TPS officers have and must learn to act accordingly to training so that situations don’t go out of hand and further traumatize Black men and their communities.

In an incident OHRC noted, a mother’s house was raided in 2014 by the police. Her son was stomped on, his face was injured, and racial slurs were used by an officer. The officers handcuffed the son and took him to the hospital for medical treatment and was later released without charges. Her other son was grabbed and handcuffed at gunpoint during the raid (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.32). The mother recounted that the officer pulled down her son’s pants and was questioned where the guns were. Despite her son said there were no guns, the officers threatened that the whole family would go to jail if they found any (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.32).

After all that, no weapons were found, no arrests were made, and no charges were laid. The whole family was traumatized, and one of her sons still deals with the pain from that incident, his attitude he has for the police has completely changed, and is fearful of them all together (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.32). The mother couldn’t even trust the police. She wanted to go to the hospital with her son, but was too concern about the rest of her family’s safety (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.32).

The police officers hostility and use of force only produced fear and trauma for the sons and their family. Cases like these the city of Toronto, the Black Experience Project, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission want to prevent. Another recommendation the city of Toronto was given was to “Build a more transparent, accountable and effective police oversight system to better serve Black Torontonians and to strengthen community trust in police” (City of Toronto, 2018, p.35).

The actions the city of Toronto want to implement includes collecting and reporting of race-based data for greater transparency, and review the Professional Standard for discipline at the Toronto Police Service (City of Toronto, 2018, p.35). Also, strengthen the community’s capacity to report and the police’s capacity to investigate hate crimes including islamophobic, transphobic, and anti-Black hate crimes through a committee, and create a team containing community and police members to be a resource in developing and implementing the actions that relate to TPS’s policing and the justice system (City of Toronto, 2018, p.35). If the city of Toronto’s plan works, it can make way for a safer and more trusting city for Black persons. These type of plans are needed to prevent incidents that can harm or even kill Black men. Many of these examples the Commission noted could’ve gone terribly wrong and they want to prevent that especially after the death of Andrew Loku.

Brace yourselves, this use of force case gets complicated.

His neighbours said that he was a sweet man who rarely lost his temper or raised his voice (Warnica, 2015). As a survivor of South Sudan’s civil war, Andrew Loku came to Canada as a refugee, went to school, and was working to get his wife and five kids to Canada too (Warnica, 2015).

Loku was killed in 2015 in the hallway of his apartment building that was leased by the Canadian Mental Health Association as subsidized housing to people who struggle with mental health (Gillis, 2017). Loku suffered from PTSD and depression due to the torture and abused he endured from rebel forces in South Sudan (Gillis, 2017). Richard Warnica (2015) from the National Post wrote that Loku couldn’t sleep because of the constant noise from the apartment unit above his. Other residents even said that the noise was so bad that Loku would sleep in the laundry room instead. Through many months of complaining and asking for the noise to stop, Loku couldn’t take it anymore and the situation escalated to Loku going the apartment with a wooden hammer (Gillis, 2017). The apartment resident called 911 and the police officers arrived shortly afterwards. But when the police came, one of them will shoot Loku in about 21 seconds. Constable Doyle was 13-year veteran who shot Loku when he came towards him with the hammer (DiManno, 2017). EMS were contacted, but it was too late. Loku’s death would cause days of protest from Black Lives Matter for answers. But here’s what makes this incident complicated, the security camera in the building didn’t catch the shooting, it only showed Loku going down the hallway to be shot seconds later by Const. Doyle (Gillis, 2017). So, this case depends heavily on the neighbours and the officers’ testimonies.

Two years after Loku’s death, a coroner’s inquest was made. The Loku family’s lawyer Jonathan Shime pointed out the issues clearly. It took two and a half minutes to get to Loku’s building and no discussion to how they should approach this situation was made, they didn’t even know the building was leased to people who struggled with mental health (DiManno, 2017). Also, during those 21 seconds, Const. Doyle was only screaming at Loku to drop the hammer and made no attempt to de-escalate the situation (DiManno, 2017). Six people interacted with Loku before he got shot and were able to calm him down before the police came (Perkel, 2017). Const. Doyle shot Loku based on his training of use of force and thought of Loku as an imminent threat and pulled the trigger (DiManno, 2017).

Although the inquest’s jury ruled Loku’s death as homicide, it doesn’t carry any criminal or civil liability (Perkel, 2017). The Loku family’s lawyer Shime argued that the officers panicked because Loku was Black and the level of force was unnecessary. Const. Doyle even admitted that he had almost no experience in interacting with black men (Perkel, 2017). The SIU found that the Constable’s use of force was justified, hence no criminal charges were laid. (But was it?) Colin Perkel (2017) from The Globe and Mail documented that the jury made and quote “recommendations directed at the provincial government included one to update standard for de-escalation, crisis communication and outcomes of current police response to persons in crisis”.

And these recommendations were really needed at that time because between 2013 and 2017, a Black person was 11.3 times more likely than a White person to be involved in a police use of force case that resulted in civilian death; and a Black person is also 19.5 times more likely than a White person to be involved in a police shooting that resulted in a civilian death (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.19). There should be more training for TPS on when they should use greater force and to what degree. To build trust and progress, the effort to cooperate with black men and their communities is required in order to prevent over-representation. If these recommendations and plans are used, statistics like 71% of BEP participants who believe the unfair treatment, by the criminal justice system, was definitely because they’re Black (Environics Institute, p. 50), would be lower. The city of Toronto should definitely use the recommendations from the Action Plan, especially the one to invest in alternative models that create better safety outcomes for Black Torontonians (City of Toronto, 2018, p. 35).

Actions to be made based on that recommendation includes interacting with community partners to coordinate a strategy that improves the police accountability and the community’s response to policing and the criminal justice system. They especially noted a break down of ‘knowing your rights’ information which can include translation, expansion, and dissemination (City of Toronto, 2018, p.35). Another action is to create and use alternate methods of policing that focuses on community engagement based on anti-Black racism analysis. Lastly, the action to use other methods to incarceration like using restorative justice models made and used with elders in Black communities (City of Toronto, 2018, p. 35).

The actions and plans need to start sooner than later because Black people shouldn’t be 20 times more likely to involved in a fatal shooting by TPS (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2018, p.3). That needs to be lower. There shouldn’t be any bias in TPS and they need to be trained more on how much force they need to use, how to interact with Black men and their communities, and treat them respectfully. Toronto Police Service need to learn how to react to Black people who struggle with mental health and start learning on how to build a better relationship between them and Black communities too.

Everyone is waiting. Enough is enough, time’s up.


References

Cole, D. (2015, April 15). The skin I'm in: I've been interrogated by police more than 50 times - all because I'm black. Toronto Life. Retrieved from https://torontolife.com/city/life/skin-im-ive-interrogated-police-50-times-im-black/

City of Toronto. (2018). Toronto action plan to confront anti-black racism. Retrieved from https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/community/toronto-for-all/anti-black-racism/

DiManno, R. (2017, June 14). Police officer who shot Andrew Loku describes the last 21 seconds of his life: DiManno. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/06/14/police-officer-who-shot-andrew-loku-describes-the-last-21-seconds-of-his-life-dimanno.html

Environics Institute. (2017, July). The black experience project. Retrieved from https://www.theblackexperienceproject.ca/

Gillis, W. (2017, June 23). Andrew Loku coroner's inquest revealed crucial new details. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2017/06/23/andrew-loku-coroners-inquest-revealed-crucial-new-details.html

Goodfield, K. (2018, February 21). Dafonte Miller testifies at preliminary hearing for cop, brother accused of aggravated assault. CP24 [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://www.cp24.com/news/dafonte-miller-testifies-at-preliminary-hearing-for-cop-brother-accused-of-aggravated-assault-1.3813527

Mitchell, J. (2018, June 1). Trial for Toronto cop, brother accused in Dafonte Miller assault case set for next February. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/06/01/trial-for-toronto-cop-brother-accused-in-dafonte-miller-assault-case-set-for-next-february.html

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2018). Collect impact: Interim report on the inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Services. Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en

Perkel, C. (2017, June 30). Inquest jury rules Toronto police killing of Andrew Loku a homicide. The Globe and Mail [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/inquest-jury-rules-toronto-police-killing-of-andrew-loku-a-homicide/article35512946/

Reddekopp, L. (2017, July 18). Toronto police officer charged after man, 19, beaten and blinded in left eye. Canadian Broadcast Corporation [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/siu-charges-toronto-police-officer-1.4209353

Warnica, R. (2015, July 17). The life and bloody death of Andrew Loku: Toronto police officer’s face ‘went white as a ghost’ after shooting. National Post [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/toronto/the-life-and-bloody-death-of-andrew-loku


Recommended Sources

TVO - Desmond Cole: Black like Me

https://www.tvo.org/video/desmond-cole-black-like-me

Jennifer L Eberhardt Tackling Perception’s Effects on Behavior with “Biased” The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1THOSr7xgLI

Harsha Walia: Do Black Lives Matter in Canada?

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/12/do-black-lives-matter-canada




Acknowledgements

Music:

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

https://www.purple-planet.com/

All the music on the site is licensed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0

Sound Effects:

bbc.co.uk - © copyright [2018] BBC

BBC Sound Effects: http://bbcsfx.acropolis.org.uk/

Used for educational purposes under the RemArc License: https://github.com/bbcarchdev/Remarc/blob/master/doc/2016.09.27_RemArc_Content%20licence_Terms%20of%20Use_final.pdf

Other Acknowledgments:

Thank you Prof. Stephanie and Janet for a wonderful semester!

Phase 3

Week 9

One source that has been especially useful to me while creating my podcast is an article written by The Star newspaper, titled “Known to police: How the Star analyzed Toronto police stop and arrest data”. This source has been very helpful in my podcast creation as it has provided me with insight into how police carding data was collected and analyzed. This is because, in order to asses the information provided, one first must understand how is was analyzed and collected or else the way you interpret the data for yourself could become problematic. It also provides a background into how The Star newspaper obtained this police data, and the lengths they went to in order to secure it.

Another source that has proved valuable to me is a documentary by Desmond Cole titled “The Skin We’re In”. This CBC documentary details the experiences Desmond Cole and his peers have had in encounters with the Toronto Police. This includes Desmond Cole himself overall be stopped by police over 50 times in his life, and not one of those times was he doing something wrong or illegal. I believe pulling information and/or anecdotes from this documentary. I think this because I believe that it will add personality to the podcast, and will resonate more with audiences, as anecdotes and personal stories can most of the time be more persuasive than throwing statistics at someone.

Overall I think that these two sources provide a great deal of insight and information for my podcast about carding within the Toronto Police Services, though of course, many more sources will be utilized to their fullest potential within the podcast.

Week 10

I, just as many others do not like to listen to the sound of my own voice once it has been recorded. Editing the podcast down and having to deal with constantly listening to myself talk on a recording has proven challenging, or annoying to say the least.

In terms of making my podcast fun or entertaining to listen to, I have tried to ensure that it is not simply an information dump onto the listener. I want them to understand what I am talking about and form conclusions about the facts that I have presented.

I intend to use sound effects to enhance my podcast and the overall listening experience of my audience. I do not intend to use many, but only to use sound effects when I state something very important, or something I wish to resonate within my listeners.

PHASE THREE

Week 9 - Show some Character(s)

While going through my sources, the ones that I found particularly useful and that can be used as characters in the podcast are:

  • “Love your body: Introduction - Danielle d’Entremont: Journalist” by Michelle da Silva et al. (2019)

  • “Endometriosis Is Going Undiagnosed Due to the Normalization of Menstrual Pain” by Maya Dusenbery (2018)

With the article by Michelle Da Silva et al., I would make Danielle d’Entremont a character. She is a Journalist, a multimedia storyteller, who shares a story about her experience with endometriosis diagnosis, “While dealing with the lingering feelings of hatred and self-doubt from my eating disorder, I got sick. I had extremely bad period cramps, intense pain during intercourse, stomach aches, nausea, cold sweats, fainting and dizziness. In October 2017, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. I think it took so long because society doesn’t validate women’s pain. I was told so many times “it’s period pain, it’s normal” that I started to normalize it too.”. What she shares is just a short introduction to my topic, and it was the main part that led me to this podcast topic in the fist place, that’s why I found it to be helpful.

With the article by Maya Dusenbery, I would make Ellen a 20 year old woman, who at 11 years of age began her journey with abnormally strong menstrual pain that was constantly ignored by medical professionals, ““I think they kind of thought that I was making it up a little bit. Because they were like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s you again.’ At least once a month, I’d have to be taken home from school by my mom and carried into the house.” A couple times she ended up in the hospital. “They didn’t really know what to do. They just kind of gave me morphine, and the next morning they sent me home.””.

Both of these articles have anecdotal stories of women who have been through the nightmare of living with endometriosis and have dealt with the delay of being diagnosed because of the constant normalization in relation to menstrual pain. One is more of an introductory article, but the second one has more information about why the delay in diagnosis happens, which has proven to be helpful.

References

Danielle d’Entremont: journalist. (2019, January 2). Retrieved March 7, 2019, from NOW Magazine website: https://nowtoronto.com/api/content/ba7f7732-0eb4-11e9-96ad-120e7ad5cf50/

Endometriosis Is Going Undiagnosed Due to the Normalization of Menstrual Pain - Teen Vogue. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.teenvogue.com/story/endometriosis-period-pain-book-excerpt

Week 12 - Reflecting on life… oh, wrong reflection… I meant reflecting on what i’ve learnt here =)

At first when Professor Bell said we were going to have to produce a podcast and write on a blog, I was terrified, and not so sure I would be able to do it correctly, but now… Who am I kidding? I’m still pretty much terrified and not sure of anything at this point, but at least i’ve been trying my best to get out of my comfort zone. I always feel like i’m not quite there yet with my podcast topic, and I don’t think it will ever be narrowed down as much as I wanted it to be, but for now, i’m just going to roll with the punches. Aside from all of that, I have learnt that there are many research tools available instead of using always the same sources. I Think when it comes to sources, the most important and helpful thing that came up in this course was the use of the PARCA test when it comes to identifying if a source is credible. I also learnt to use a whole new interesting application which is audacity, not that I know how to use it 100% but, at least I know where the record button is. I have also learnt that although I have a certain opinion on something, it is always important to consider the other point of view when it comes to writing an opinion piece. All in all this course was insightful and interesting, now I am more addicted to podcasts than anything else, and it was a new experience that I wouldn’t take back.

Lisa Raposo

Podcast Episode: The Ford-Kavanaugh case: Why is it still so important?

Prince Harry finally marries Meghan Markle. France wins the FIFA World Cup. Jamal Khashoggi is murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Canada legalizes Cannabis. When you google events in 2018, these ones likely will pop up. One, that rarely makes those lists, is the Ford-Kavanaugh case. But why is that?

(Music “Pyro Flow”)

From Scratch to Media. This is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I´m Emily, and in this episode we are talking about the Ford-Kavanaugh case.

(Music “Pyro Flow”)

This podcast episode aims to highlight why this case is still so important, especially for our generation. I want to do that by answering the following three questions:

1.       What is the Ford-Kavanaugh case and what has happened chronologically?

2.       What are the arguments in my opinion piece against believing women and how can they be invalidated?

3.       What can we learn from the Ford-Kavanaugh case and why is it still so important, especially for our generation?

“Mr. Kavanaugh had assaulted me in the 1980´s in Maryland.” (ABC News, 27 September 2018, 10:30-10:39)

“I´ve never sexually assaulted anyone. Not in high school, not in college, not ever.” (ABC News, 27 September 2018, 09:08-09:15)

These are both excerpts from the statements made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh in the official hearing on September 27th in 2018.

But what has happened here?

Dr. Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto university in California, came forward with her allegations during the summer of 2018 when she read about her former high school classmate Brett Kavanaugh as being one of the nominees on the short list for the position of Supreme Court Judge.

Short discourse here: The supreme court is the highest court in the United States of America. It was established in 1789 and had its first assembly a year later. There are nine members of the supreme court, 8 so-called Justices and the Chief Justice of the United States. A new candidate must be appointed by the president and then to be approved by the senate, but once that’s done they stay there their whole life. It´s a lifelong tenure. (About the Supreme Court, 2019) Pretty long, right? Also, it´s a pretty powerful position to be in, as it is the last instance and has the ultimate jurisdiction. So being one of those nine judges makes you automatically very powerful as well.  

But back to Dr. Ford: She claimed that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982, the time they both attended high school together in Maryland. (Watkins, 17 September 2018) Kavanaugh denied those allegations. That’s pretty much the Ford-Kavanaugh case in a nutshell.

There have been tons of allegations coming up in the recent months, all somehow initiated by the #metoo movement. Women finally decided to come up with long preserved hurtful memories and talk about what has happened to them.  Like Dr. Christine Ford. In her statement, she talks about how hard it was for her to talk about it and how hard it was to hear about Kavanaugh’s possible nomination to become a supreme court judge. “This was an extremely hard thing for me to do, but I felt I couldn´t NOT do it.” (ABC News, 2018, 10:39-10:46)

After them both giving their statements, an FBI investigation was started, and soon also ended again. Neither Dr. Ford nor Kavanaugh were asked about the case. (Jacobo, Bruce, 6 October 2018) On the 6th of October, after weeks of allegations being made, not only by Dr. Ford but by other women as well (Hauser, 26 September 2018), the US Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as next Supreme Court Judge. The vote was 50 to 48 in favor.

When I heard about our final assignment being a podcast episode about an opinion piece of our choosing, I was delighted. When I read my chosen opinion piece not so much. Do you know how hard it is to try to understand someone else’s opinion if it isn’t your own? While reading Jennifer Braceras article a million times, I was more and more disgusted. Why? Well, just listen:

The central argument of the author is that allegations against men should not be “accepted as true simply because they are made by a woman” (Braceras, 19 September 2018). She uses the recent allegations against judge Brett Kavanaugh as the central example for her demand.

She talks a lot about the passage of time being her main point against believing Dr. Ford. It is a long time. But is this really proof that she doesn’t speak the truth? I don´t think so. Let´s hear some experts:

In an article by Elizabeth Loftus in the American Psychologists she states: “Repression is one of the most haunting concepts in psychology. Something shocking happens, and the mind pushes the experience into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious. Later, the memory may rise up and emerge into consciousness. (Loftus, 1993, p. 518)

A group of researchers led by Mindy B. Mechanic carried out a study assessing memories for sexual trauma of recent rape victims. Within this study they explained a common problem in dealing with repressed memories: “The available literature on memory for personally experienced sexual trauma focuses primarily on adult accounts of prior childhood sexual abuse, leaving a large gap in our understanding of memory for recently experienced adult sexual trauma.” (Mechanic, M.B., Resick, P.A., Griffin, M.G., 1998, p.3)

So, is it possible that Dr. Ford just couldn’t recall the events properly? Yes! Is it possible that her memories improved over time? According to the study Also yes! (Mechanic, M.B. et.al.) This is a phenomenon called hyperamnesia, but I don’t want to get lost in psychology here.

In their Journal Article “The Believability of Repressed Memories” by Jonathan M. Golding and a group of researchers, they state something similar. “By keeping the memory out of consciousness, an individual defends himself or herself against the conscious recollection of the memory and its associated consequences.” (Golding, J.M., Sego, S.A., Sanchez, R.P., Hasemann, D., 1995, p. 570)

I just wanted to make clear that the passage of time is indeed no implication for the wrongness of the allegations.

What Braceras also says is the denial of Kavanaugh. Well, what would you do? Would you say, Oh Yes, I tried to rape her when you are trying to become one of the most powerful men in America?

Most likely not. Let’s move on.

What really hurt me the most while reading the article was bringing up the only two cases where false rape reports have occurred: The Duke Lacrosse case and Jackie’s fictional tale. What has happened there? Jackie told a news reporter that she was raped by several guys at a fraternity party. The news reporter wrote a story called “A Rape on Campus” about it in the magazine “The Rolling Stone.” The story had to be retracted a few months later. Jackie was an unreliable source and her allegations had no grounds. (The Rolling Stone, 5 April 2015) The other case, the Duke Lacrosse case, is very similar. Several players of a lacrosse team were accused of having raped an exotic dancer at a party, which wasn’t actually true or better said never happened this way. (Wassermann, 2010)

But these are exceptions. A study issued by Callie Rennison from the US Department of Justice from the year 2002 shows this clearly: Only 2-10 percent of the rape accusations are false. However, it has to be taken into account that also delayed reporting, the decision of the victim to not cooperate or inconsistency in the victim’s statements lead to mark a report as false.

But this wasn´t even the most shocking number in the report. An estimated 63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported. Never. 63 percent, that’s more than half of it. And, reading things like this opinion piece or watching how Dr. Ford was mocked by the president of the United States for not remembering everything in detail this number, however sad that is, kind of makes sense.

And this is exactly why it is still so immensely important, especially for our so-called younger generation. How we treat women that come forward with these allegations, which are only 37 percent of all, will influence other women as well. If you see someone like Dr. Christine Ford coming up with something so obviously hurting her, then you should treat her right.

And by right I don´t mean this. “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house. I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer: That’s the only thing I remember.” (The Guardian, 3 October 2018, 00:22-00:34) Ladies and Gentlemen, the president of the United States of America.

What has happened to Dr. Ford after the allegations came to the media’s attention? Let’s hear from her:

“My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats. I have been called the most vile and hateful names imaginable. (…) People have posted my personal information and that of my parents online on the internet. This has resulted in additional emails, calls, and threats. My family and I were forced to move out of our home. (…) Apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world. (…) I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person, and no one’s pawn.” (ABC News, 27 September 2018, 15:23-16:54)

Trevor Noah, an American late-night comedian, has something to say in that matter too: “That’s something that a lot of people forget. Dr. Ford isn’t some politician who is running for office. She’s a woman whose life has been turned upside down since she stepped into this supreme court battle royal. She´s gotten death threats reporters flooding her house and she’s been called a political pawn, which is unfair to her.” (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, 27 September 2018, 04:18-04:36)

When hearing this, would you come up with allegations? Rather, not right?

But it´s not just girls and women that are influenced by the treatment of women like Ford. She was not raped. But she could have easily been. But she was sexually harassed at a party. Even though girls drink alcohol or might flirt with you or wear an outfit that looks appealing, they are not asking for it. Consent is still such a big issue and through this case it became bigger.

I don’t want to, but I must insert a quote from Trump again. “It´s a very scary time for young men in America.” (Diamond, 2 October 2018) He said this in an interview after being asked about his opinion on the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh. Well, I would say if you don’t treat women right, then you should have a hard and scary time. With things like this the most powerful man in probably the world makes no point in empowering women to speak up if something horrible has happened to them in the past.

But what even are the most common reasons that a shocking 63 percent of rape cases are not reported?

In an article of the British newspaper The Independent, a survey by Mumsnet from the year 2012 is mentioned: The survey finds that almost 70 percent find that ”the media is unsympathetic to women who report rape”. It also finds that women have a “fear of being blamed, because of their clothes or alcohol intake or for staying with an abusive partner.” (The Independent, 12 March 2012) A large percentage also fears to talk to their families and friends because they are ashamed and embarrassed of what has happened to them. (Mumsnet, 2012) The phenomenon of blaming the victim, whether its by other persons or the victim themselves, is called victim-blaming or victim-shaming. It is still an extremely big thing and a huge problem in the perception of sexual assault.         

And even if you have the power and the bravery to go to the police, you must go through a lot to report the crime that has happened to you: The Edmonton Police has a website that deals with exactly this. It is called: What you can expect when reporting a sexual assault: It has a big list of DONTs at the beginning which include: Do not shower or bathe. Do not change or throw away your clothes. Do not disturb the area of occurrence. They state that there is no time limit. But how long can you go without washing your hair or changing your clothes?

After this you will be asked if you want to be looked at by a nurse. This is only possible the first 7 days.

Then you will be questioned and asked about every little detail of the case.

It is highly likely that after all this the police will decide to not press charges. Only 6 percent of all reported rapists will spend one or more days in jail. So why should you even bother? (Well WVU, 2019)

Through the Ford-Kavanaugh case this all came up again. People started talking about this again. A debate was sparked. It is important that this debate will go on.

I feel like that especially our generation should be aware of all the injustices that still occur in todays treatment of women everywhere. Our generation can be the one that changes things. Let’s teach about consent, lets make it easier and less scary to report rapes and let’s not treat rapists or alleged rapists like they are innocent until proven guilty. Let’s make it guilty until proven innocent. Because who really thinks that Dr. Ford went through all this with a made-up story because she wanted to influence politics is just stupid. Sorry to say it like that, but this is my opinion.

Although this case is technically closed, the discussion about it should be far from over.

But what has happened to Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh afterwards?

Dr. Ford is completely kept out of the public since the incidents last year. However, in an article in the Guardian, her lawyers talk about the difficulties she faced afterwards: “It´s going to be quite some time before they´re able to live at home. The threats have been unending.” (Ross, 10 October 2018)

And Kavanaugh? Well, after being sworn into office, he started as a Supreme Court Judge. The only remarkable thing about him in the past few months was that there were ethics complaints against him, which were dismissed because of his position now. (Kalvapalle, 18 December 2018)

So, nothing has changed. And yet, everything has changed in my opinion. This case has brought my attention to the mistreatment of women who come up with allegations all over the world. Through this podcast episode I wanted to show why it is still so important and why we should not stop talking about the case. This whole thing is far from over. Because maybe in 10, 20, 30 years when I google (if it still exists by then) events of 2018, neither France winning the FIFA world cup, nor Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle will make the top result, but maybe this: The year in which Dr. Ford set an example for all women. Since then the number of unreported rapes has diminished to 20 percent. Maybe that’s utopian. But one can still hope, right?

 

 

References

[ABC News]. (2018, 27 September). Brett Kavanaugh delivers opening statement at hearing [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVJdy3FmlCo

[ABC News]. (2018, 27 September). Christine Blasey Ford delivers opening statement at Kavanaugh hearing [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD8MlhOosEk

[The Daily Show with Trevor Noah]. (2018, 27 September). Dr. Christine Blasey Ford                       Testifies Against Brett Kavanaugh [Video File]. 4:18- 4:36. Retrieved from                        https://youtu.be/QbJgtZbU8LU

[The Guardian]. (2018, 3 October). ´I don’t know´: Laughter as Trump mocks Ford´s Sexual Assault Testimony [Video File]. 00:22-00:34. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us news/video/2018/oct/03/i-dont-know-laughter-as-trump-mocks-fords-sexual-assault-   testimony-video

About the Supreme Court. (2019) Retrieved from https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/about.aspx

Braceras, J. C. (2018, 19 September). Brett Kavanaugh and the limits of hashtag feminism. The Boston Globe, Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/09/19/brett-kavanaugh-and-limits-hashtag-feminism/sokDfHFYGxD4n9Glld5qoI/story.html

Coronel, S., Coll, S., Kravitz, D. (2015, April 5). Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report. An anatomy of a journalistic failure. The Rolling Stone, Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/rolling-stone-and-uva-the-columbia-university-graduate-school-of-journalism-report-44930/

Diamond, J. (2018, 2 October). Trump says it’s ´a very scary time for young men in America. ´ CNN politics, Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/02/politics/trump-scary-time-for-young-men-metoo/index.html

Golding, J.M., Sego, S.A., Sanchez, R.P., Hasemann, D. (1995). The Believability of            Repressed Memories. Law and Human Behavior, 19 (6), 569- 592.

Hauser, C. (2018, 26 September). The Women Who Have Accused Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/us/politics/brett-kavanaugh-accusers-women.html

Kalvapalle, R. (2018, 18 December) 83 ethics complaints against Brett Kavanaugh dismissed because he’s now a Supreme Court judge. Global News, Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/4775834/brett-kavanaugh-ethics-complaints-dismissed/

Lakhani, N. (2012, 12 March). Unreported rapes: the silent shame. The Independent, Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/unreported-rapes-the-silent-shame-7561636.html

Loftus, E. (1993). The Reality of Repressed Memories. American Psychologist. 48, 518-537.

Mechanic, M.B., Resick, P.A., Griffin, M.G. (1998). A Comparison of Normal Forgetting, Psychopathology, and Information- Processing Models of Reported Amnesia for Recent Sexual Trauma. J Consult Clin Psychol, 66 (6), 948-257.

Mumsnet (2012). Mumsnet rape and sexual assault survey results, Retrieved from https://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/we-believe-you-campaign-survey-on-rape-and-sexual-assault

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Rennison, C.M. (2002). Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention, 1992-2002. US Department of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=194530

Ross, J. (2018, 10 October) ´Vile hatred, Hero worship`: Christine Blasey Ford faces an unsettling future. The Guardian, Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/10/christine-blasey-ford-faces-unsettling-future

The Edmonton Police. (2019) Reporting Sexual Assault, Retrieved from https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/CommunityPolicing/PersonalPropertyCrimes/SexualAssault/ReportingSexualAssault

Wassermann, H. M. [Editor]. (2010). Institutional Failures. Duke Lacrosse, Universities, the News Media, and the Legal System.

Watkins, E. (2018, 17 September). Timeline: How the Kavanaugh accusations have unfolded. CNN, Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/kavanaugh-ford-timeline/index.html

Well WVU. (2019) Rape Myths and Facts, Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20170420122045/http://well.wvu.edu/articles/rape_myths_and_facts

 

Phase Three

PODCAST

TRANSCRIPT

First noticed in 2017, the #MeToo movement has created a massive change for victims of sexual assault. Now more than ever before, women are able to speak up about their experiences and receive support. However, as much support it has brought to women, the movement still struggles with the acknowledgement of the male victims’ stories.

(Show Intro)

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I´m Harsha and today we’ll be discussing about the double standards shown in the #MeToo movement.

So, I’m right now sitting on my desk chair and browsing through a particular topic that has probably been one of the most talked about movements of this decade. The #MeToo movement. Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about. The movement is about voicing against sexual assault. Although, the phrase “Me Too” was first used by Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer in 2006, it was only later popularized by American actress Alysaa Milano on Twitter in 2017. Since then the hashtag has brought tens and thousands of people including celebrities sharing their sexual harassment stories.

When we talk about the #MeToo movement or a sexual assault case, most often we imagine an aggressive male perpetrator and a female victim which honestly, is the truth majority of the times. But, what about the times when the roles are exchanged? What happens if the abuser is a female and the victim is a male? Not something that we get to hear regularly, right?

Jennifer O’Connell’s article in The Irish Times really got me scratching my brain out about these exact questions. Her article titled as “#HimToo: What happens if the aggressor is a woman?” where she talks about the hypocrite society and its contrasting response to the victims of sexual harassment is meticulously written.

She present’s two cases: one with a male victim - Nimrod Reitman who is a former graduate student from NYU. He was physically and verbally sexually harassed by Avital Ronell – a 66-year-old female professor of German and Comparative Literature.

The next case is the one with a female victim turned accused– actor Asia Argento who was raped by Harvey Weinstein at Cannes Film Festival in 1997. A few months after her allegations against Weinstein, The New York Times reported that the actress had secretly payed $380,000 to her own accuser: Jimmy Bennett.

Now, when the two stories were out in the media, of course the public had their say. Where Asia Argento and even Avital Ronell got an overwhelming support, Nimrod Reitman and Jimmy Bennett didn’t.

To understand the two cases better, let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Starting with Nimrod Reitman, who claimed that he had been sexually harassed for three years (The New York Times, 2018). The professor via emails referred to him as “my astounding and beautiful Nimrod.” “my most adored one” and “Sweet cuddly Baby.” (The New York Times, 2018)

According to Reitman, it was in spring of 2012 when Professor Ronell invited him to stay with her in Paris for a few days. She would ask him to read her a poetry and lay in bed with him. To this Mr. Reitman said, “That was already a red flag to me. But I also thought, O.K., you’re here. Better not make a scene.” (The New York Times, 2018).

There were several other instances mentioned in the 52-page lawsuit where Professor Ronell tried to get closer with him. She denied all of these allegations by saying it was either him who would give her an invitation or the messages were part of “florid and campy communications.” Although, Reitman did abide by her requests and even responded to her emails with the same use of language as she did because he was afraid of the power she held over him.

The next case which can be is even more appalling since it is about Asia Argento. If you, by any chance don’t know who she is, Asia was one of the main vocal advocates of the #MeToo movement with her accusation against Harvey Weinstein. So, it is quite clear that her name would be the last one you could quite possibly expect here. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, apparently, Asia harassed an underage male victim named Jimmy Bennett and in order to keep him shut, paid him off.

Bennett was 17 and Asia was 37 when the encounter first occurred. A dossier about the supposed assault was sent by an anonymous user to the New York Times, including a selfie of the two in bed. Argento denied the claims.

“I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett,” Argento said in a statement sent to journalist Yashar Ali. “Bennett—who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages—unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me.”

Argento went on to say that her then boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, "decided to deal compassionately with Bennett's demand for help and give it to him."

These cases so very different from each other, yet strikingly familiar have left the #MeToo movement in a state of confusion (Who it represents, what it stands for).

After Ronell was suspended, which was pretty confidential might I add a group of scholars and prominent feminists wrote a letter in defense of her. The letter said that they knew the individual who conducted this malicious campaign against her. When, this letter got out, it was shamed like no other with people calling out the double standards displayed.

Similarly, most of the vocal supporters seemed to be quite when allegations against Asia Argento were made public.

Alright, now that I have provided enough information regarding the two cases, I can discuss the reason behind this podcast. Something, that really itched me the wrong way regarding the two cases was how biased opinions were.

On the surface, society appears to be finally holding those guilty of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse accountable. But, has society really been fair across both genders?

Clearly, if the roles were reversed, even with the allegations being unconfirmed just like how it is in these cases there would’ve been guaranteed howls of protest by now. Bennett even declined to be interviewed because he wanted to handle the matter privately. Honestly, most men are often forced to handle something like assault or harassment “privately,” almost as if men aren’t allowed to be victims. And if there are any male victims then they are shamed. It’s why 50 cent mocked Terry Crews who accused a Hollywood executive for groping him.

Surely, I am not saying to create a special hashtag for men like (#HimToo) neither am I saying to not believe women, what I am saying is that we need to realize what #MeToo really stands for. The movement is more about victims of all types sharing their stories of experiencing sexual assault or harassment.

People are not realizing that anyone can be an abuser. It just so happens that we live in a society where the common misconception is women can’t be an abuser. Maybe, it doesn’t happen often but, it does happen. I think it’s important to reason with this type of a stigma and identify the actual issue.

We have to recognize that sexual abuse is more about “power” than sex or gender. The motivation for the physical violation stems from the perpetrator’s need for control and dominance. Because of our patriarchal culture, it often leads men to believe they own women’s bodies. Or receiving a “no” as an answer is an insult. And so, we need to get rid of the toxic masculinity and stop shaming those who speak out.

Also, we have to start supporting victims regardless of their gender. It is about them, after all. And for that to happen we need to make male victims feel comfortable enough to share their story. It could take a little time for people to adjust, but I do think that normalizing men’s vulnerability can be empowering.

In fact, American Journal of Public Health’s most recent study of domestic violence shows that in reality, women are actually more often the perpetrators. This just proves that sexual predators come in all shapes, sizes, ages and genders. It may sound a bit incomprehensible for those who have a misguided belief that only men can be the accused. That’s why, we need to understand that women may be just as capable of committing acts of sexual aggression as men.

As #MeToo expands, we need to make room for fair hearings, for not just yapping from the sidelines and understanding the situation completely. One way for that to happen is by educating people around you. To teach others to no not thrive off of simplicity, or offer enough room for nuance and accountability. Thankfully, #MeToo’s creator Tarana Burke echoed my thoughts: Men have a space in the movement too (Glamour, 2018).

Taking to Twitter, Burke wrote: “I’ve said repeatedly that the #metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward. It will continue to be jarring when we hear the names of some of our faves connected to sexual violence unless we shift from talking about individuals and begin to talk about power. Sexual violence is about power and privilege. That doesn’t change if the perpetrator is your favorite actress, activist or professor of any gender. And we won’t shift the culture unless we get serious about shifting these false narratives.”

Lastly, as for me and the listeners, we need to get a reality check: Although men commit most acts of sexual assault, men are sexually assaulted too. Like Burke said, harassment and assault in all its forms is never about sex or gender: it’s about power and entitlement. Without a doubt, there are more stories that are yet to be told. That is why, as the movement evolves, it has to acknowledge everyone – male and female. Weather its related to their experiences with sexual assault or being given a chance to be heard. It has to be equal.

MeToo began as an outlet for stories of harassment and an expression of frustration with a culture and a “legal system” that allowed sexual aggression to flourish (Irish Times, 2018).  The movement has definitely resonated with a lot of us, it has been a little exhausting or overwhelming however, that what makes the movement so empowering, and widespread. It has brought us an immeasurable amount of positive change and hope for the future, but we also need to remember that as long as we turn a blind eye to any form of inequality, #MeToo will be required. If we truly want to move forward, we should be able to accept, support, respect and give all victims regardless of their gender space to tell their stories.

To all the victims of sexual assault and harassment, I want you to know that it is never your fault. I want you to know that you deserve the same amount of respect and love like anyone else. I want you to know that you are not alone. I see you, I’m with you and I pray you overcome this soon. I hope we all can look forward to living in a world without abuse.

And that brings us to the end of this podcast. Thank you very much for tuning in. This is Harsha Gehani, signing off.


References

O’connell, J. (2018, August 25). #HimToo: What happens if the aggressor is a woman? Retrieved April 6, 2019, from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/himtoo-what-happens-if-the-aggressor-is-a-woman-1.3605477

Arceneaux, M. (2018, August 28). If We Want Men to Be a Part of #MeToo, We Have to Stop Gendering the Movement Retrieved April 6, 2019, from https://www.glamour.com/story/me-too-movement-men-sexual-assault-survivors



Acknowledgments

Music

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Educational Purpose

Audacity Tutorial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exDscqfOSA0&feature=youtu.be

Helpful Podcasts

Him Too - No Disclaimers Podcast

Sexual Assault - Unusual Blessings Podcast

Others

I would like to thank Professor Stephanie Bell and Professor Janet Melo-Thaiss for challenging me and helping me step out of my comfort zone. The lecture slides have been especially helpful. I am very much grateful and learnt a lot. Thank you again for an amazing semester!!


WEEK TWELVE

Looking back at my experience with the course in general. Its been absolutely lovely and challenging.

I have learnt how interesting it is to do a research and how much organization is needed. I have also learnt the APA style as I had never used it before. Before, I would just scribble down whatever I would see on the internet, but now I have a different a approach. With the research done in this course, it forced me to be systematic with my work. I have several word documents created with all the footnotes needed which was a great help.

As for the podcast, I was extremely nervous to record my voice. It just sounded strange to my own ears, however, hearing all the students podcasts, it gave a little courage. Before, I had never listened to a podcast, but now, thanks to the course I searched a few to listen, at first intending to know the format and later on getting hooked to them. Its been a routine, every night before i go to bed, I make sure to listen to a podcast completely.

I was a bit hesitant if I would’ve enjoyed this course or not because of the podcast. But, honestly, the podcast is probably the reason why I ended up liking the course, although a little later. I have learnt a lot about my writing and the different types of sources. I am very thankful to the course instructors for guiding us through and hopefully, I am able to deliver a decent performance.

WEEK TEN & ELEVEN

Honestly, I am finding the entire process a little difficult. I am already not really good with technology especially with sound software. The pressure is getting to me which is kind of affecting my sound as I am stammering. I am also quite shy to record my own voice for so long and maybe, that is why my persona once I start recording has a nervous breakdown. I do want to get through this as that will mean I am finally able to get out of my comfort zone. However, the audio is very much disturbed as I am living in residence with noisy neighbors and residents slamming doors at any given hour. I plan on recording the final version at midnight or early morning when the floor is silent for the best audio quality.

WEEK NINE

Through the sources I have used, the ones that can be used as characters for the podcast are:

1) “#HimToo: What happens if the aggressor is a woman?” by Jennifer O’connell (2018)

2) “If We Want Men to Be a Part of #MeToo, We Have to Stop Gendering the Movement” Michael Arceneaux (2018)

Regarding the article by Jennifer O’connell, I would make Asia Argento a character. Asia, was one of the most prominent voices during the #MeToo movement with her accusations against Harvey Weinstein. However, it was shocking when it was revealed that she supposedly harassed an underage male. In my podcast, she plays a very important role as she is the focus of the topic.

I would also like to have Avital Ronell, Nimrod Reitman and Jimmy Bennett as characters since, they are also serving the focal point of the story along with Asia Argento.

In the article by Michael Arceneaux, I would have Terry Crews as a character. He is an American actor, an activist against sexism. Crews revealed during the #MeToo movement that in 2016 a male Hollywood executive groped him but, did not report it since, he was afraid. For my podcast, he is an example of a male victim who found courage and ignored toxic masculinity to talk about his experience with sexual harassment out in public.

The two articles share how there are men who are sexually harassed yet, chose to be quiet since, they have the fear that the society would shame them. I found both articles very helpful because they are informative and detailed.

References

O’connell, J. (2018, August 25). #HimToo: What happens if the aggressor is a woman? Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/himtoo-what-happens-if-the-aggressor-is-a-woman-1.3605477

Arceneaux, M. (2018, August 28). If We Want Men to Be a Part of #MeToo, We Have to Stop Gendering the Movement Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.glamour.com/story/me-too-movement-men-sexual-assault-survivors

PHASE THREE

Week 9:

A source that particularly stood out for me is an article by Sharon Marris, a news reporter for Sky News, and the article is titled, “Sir David Attenborough: Sea plastic's impact on albatross is 'heartbreaking.’” To be more precise, it wasn’t the article that stood out for me, but the video clip attached, which is of Sir David Attenborough addressing what he saw single-handedly in regard to Albatross and plastic on the beach, while filming Blue Planet. Sir David Attenborough, a very important broadcaster and natural historian, is my first character and his importance is his recognition of how plastic pollution really does have a direct affect to seabirds. In the video clip, Attenborough states how he saw an Albatross feeding its chick (baby), and what he saw was not food going into the baby’s mouth- but plastic.

Another source that stood out for me is apart of the Environmental Reviews Journal, by Jennifer F. Provencher, Alexander L. Bond, & Mark L. Mallory (2014), titled “Marine birds and plastic debris in Canada: a national synthesis and a way forward.” This research article stood out for me as it directly addresses my main argument which is “Why is plastic pollution such a danger to seabirds located in the Great Lakes?” The authors of the article are all of scholarly background. Provencher has a PhD in Biology and now currently works for Canadian Wildlife Service (Provencher, 2017), Bond is an ecologist and conservation biologist who specializes on marine birds (Bond, n.d.), and Mallory is an associate professor at Acadia University in the Biology department (“Mark L Mallory,” n.d.).

These characters are evident as they are experts in their field. I would consider their work to be a good source as their knowledge and experience in their fields not only allow for research to back up their argument, however, their first-hand experience also assures me that they are not a bias source. These characters tie together as they are both in relation to seabirds- and plastic in marine environments. These characters have the outlook that plastic is indeed impacting marine life, rather than claiming the opposite. They fit well with my episode topic as they provide both evidence and insight to the situation, and explain the impacts and dangers.

References

Bond, A. (n.d.). Applied Conservation and Biology. Retrieved from https://alexanderbond.org/

“Mark L Mallory.” (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Mallory

Marris, S. (October 20, 2017). Sir David Attenborough: Sea plastic's impact on albatross is 'heartbreaking.’ Retrieved from https://news.sky.com/story/sir-david-attenborough-sea-plastics-impact-on-albatross-is-heartbreaking-11052475

Provencher, J. (2017). Jennifer Provencher. Retrieved from http://jenniferprovencher.com/

Provencher, J. F., Bond, A. L., & Mallory, M.L. (July 16, 2014). Marine birds and plastic debris in Canada: a national synthesis and a way forward. Environmental Reviews, 23(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2014-0039

Week 10/11: Episode Sample!

This is a sample of my introduction to my episode. It’s coming along!!

I found it difficult to actually see how my podcast would form. At first, I didn’t think I had the right voice for podcasting, but after I got into it, I really enjoyed it. I had to do many many takes for certain parts, as my voice sounded too low in comparison to the rest of the episode. But, once I discovered how to speak to sound the best, it was a breeze from there. Adding sound effects was difficult as I didn’t want to make it too cheesy. Finding music that is royalty free was also very difficult. So far, I’m proud of my podcast. I think my sample sounds pretty darn good.

Week 12: FINALLY. The episode. It’s here.

Link to Episode Transcript: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fX2A5hYoLMebX0Sdl2tKoOxbwoqVbxCzbM5_rVq9KUI/edit?usp=sharing

Acknowledgement: "Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Phase Three: Coming soon will be over soon

Week 10/11 (March 22-29, 2019)

When it comes to sound, my main struggle is setting the tone for my podcast, so far I’ve gone with a suspense-thriller theme, but I don’t know if I pulled it off. I’ve recorded the my introduction so far and will probably continue with this unless it’s not recommended. I decided to keep the music simple and have a sound effect or two.

Sounds better with headphones.

Week 9 (March 15, 2019)

Welcome to the Final Phase!

Hear are my Podcast Characters:

Andrew Loku

Andrew Loku was killed by police in 2015 due a disputed he had with the apartment above his and had a hammer with him in the hallway. The dispute was a result of months worth of complaints about how much noise the apartment above him was making and he was having trouble to sleep because of it. The building had residents including Loku associated with the Canadian Mental Health Association, so there was the expectation to deescalate the situation because of his history with mental illness. However, based Loku friends and residents’ eye-witnessing accounts, the officers shot Loku within seconds of seeing the hammer without attempt to convince him to drop the hammer. Many said that this situation had only lasted seconds and Loku didn’t get a chance to react. Loku friends knew that this situation could’ve been prevented this type of behaviour was unlike Loku, for they knew him as a kind man who never lost his temper or hurt anybody. The police rash reaction to this situation had cause great controversy and protest from Black Lives Matter Toronto.

Mutaz Elmardy

In 2011, Mutaz Elmardy was detained by police from the disbanded Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy team (TAVIS) on suspicion of violating bail and possibly carrying gun. One of officers punched him twice in the face and then they cuffed him, leaving him on the icy ground for twenty to twenty-five minutes. The officers arrested Elmardy base on a hunch and carded him based on stereotypes and the colour of his skin. Elmardy went to courted on grounds that he was unlawfully arrested, searched and assaulted by one of the officers. Fortunately, when Elmardy appealed in 2015, he was awarded $27,000. In 2017, Divisional Court Judges granted his appeal and increase the total damages the police have to pay to $80,000.

Dafonte Miller (optional)

Note: Although this took place in Whitby, the officers involved were Toronto police officers.

In 2016, Dafonte Miller was confronted by and a police officer and his brother, and was interrogated about his whereabouts. The situation went out of control and Dafonte was chased, punched, and beaten with a metal pipe. Although Miller was arrested initially, his charges were dropped in 2017. Miller sustained serious injuries from the assault including a lost eye, broken nose and bruised wrist. Miller’s Lawyer got SIU involved in the case, and the officer and his brother are currently facing charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. The trail still continues.

What’s the connection?

All threes cases were of Black persons that ended up beings victims to the police officers’ racial profiling and flawed ideologies. I chose these case to show a variety of results that Black people experience at the hand of police and how it affects the victims afterwards.


References

Gallant, J. (2017, April 8). Ontario court awards $80,000 to man who was punched, cuffed in case of racial profiling. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/04/08/ontario-court-awards-80000-to-man-who-was-punched-cuffed-in-case-of-racial-profiling.html

Giroday, G. (2017, September 11). Damages awarded in racial profiling case. Law Times[Toronto]. Retrieved from https://www.lawtimesnews.com/author/gabrielle-giroday/damages-awarded-in-racial-profiling-case-13653/

Goodfield, K. (2018, February 21). Dafonte Miller testifies at preliminary hearing for cop, brother accused of aggravated assault. CP24 [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://www.cp24.com/news/dafonte-miller-testifies-at-preliminary-hearing-for-cop-brother-accused-of-aggravated-assault-1.3813527

Mitchell, J. (n.d.). Trial for Toronto cop, brother accused in Dafonte Miller assault case set for next February. Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/06/01/trial-for-toronto-cop-brother-accused-in-dafonte-miller-assault-case-set-for-next-february.html

Warnica, R. (2015, July 17). The life and bloody death of Andrew Loku: Toronto police officer’s face ‘went white as a ghost’ after shooting. National Post [Toronto]. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/news/toronto/the-life-and-bloody-death-of-andrew-loku

PHASE THREE

WEEK 12

After having completed and submitted the episode I have to admit that it was a lot harder than I expected it to be.

What I have learned is that when conducting research, going through multiple sources is key to finding the source that you need. For example, when I started my research I began at the surface, looking at what google gave me. Then in those surface level sources they would reference other sources and it went on and on like that until I came across something that would work for me. Doing research is a lot more than looking at the surface, it requires a little bit of digging.

Also, trying to write in a way that wasn’t academic was difficult. When I recorded my podcast I didn’t want to sound boring and trying to find a way to say research in a language that wasn't academic proved to be a challenge. I really had to go back and forth from recording and rewriting to get the information in the way I wanted it.

Something that helped me a lot in the process was storyboarding. I am not the type of person who will create an outline before I start working, only because I like to do it in the end, but outlining a project like this helped me to see what I was doing better. I also broke up my episode into different chunks so when working on it I would work on one chunk at a time.

WEEK 9

One source that I have found useful is this book and an essay that I found by Matthew Rubery. The book Rubery has published is a collection of essays by different authors that deal with audiobooks and their impacts on society. The essay is “Play It Again, Sam Weller: New Digital Audiobooks and Old Ways of Reading” looks at how audiobooks affect how we see literature in today’s society. Rubery’s works are good for my podcast because I believe he will be able to build credibility for what I am trying to convey. He has a PhD from Harvard and he is a professor in literature at the University of London. He also writes a lot about audiobooks as a means of reading; for instance, he even writes a blog about audiobook history.

Another source that I found useful is an eBook by Booknet Canada that shows statistics of the uses of audiobooks in 2018 in Canada. This is useful because it shows how many people are actually using audiobooks as a means of reading. Using Booknet Canada as one of my characters is useful because it gives the audience numbers instead of simply saying “audiobooks are on the rise”. 

Sources 

Rubery, M. (Ed.). (2011). Audioboooks, Literature, and Sound Studies (Vol 31). New York: Routledge. https://books-scholarsportal-info.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/uri/ebooks/ebooks2/taylorandfrancis/2013-03-25/3/9780203818039

Rubery, M. (2008). Play It Again, Sam Weller: New Digital Audiobooks and Old Ways of Reading. Journal of Victorian Culture, 13(1),58-79. Retrieved from https://qmro.qmul.ac.uk/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/9127/13.1.rubery.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

Readers Are Listening: Audiobook Use in Canada 2018. (2018). Booknet Canada.Retrieved from https://www.booknetcanada.ca/readers-are-listening

Phase Three

Week 9:

In another entry I mentioned 2 different pieces that I found were very complementary to each other. The entry I’m referring to is one that I made for week 6. To sum it up; I found one had a more bias directing study for it to lead to a specific outcome being against videogames. The other was much less biased and directing to the other side being all for videogames. The studies looked to me to be structured in a way that would provide a desired outcome that they would want for their study to have. This is just my opinion after all, but to me it does look that way when I looked closely at the two. I could use them as characters by engaging them amongst each other and also possibly these two in a short comparing and contrasting way. It could show how different people’s opinions are on the topic and that there are so many different opinions on this topic.

 

Work Referenced to:

Schutte, Nicola S., et al. “Effects of Playing Videogames on Children’s Aggressive and Other Behaviors 1.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 18.5 (1988): 454-460. Retrieved March. 14, 2019.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00028.x

Van Schie, Emil GM, and Oene Wiegman. "Children and Videogames: Leisure Activities, Aggression, Social Integration, and School Performance 1." Journal of applied social psychology 27.13 (1997): 1175-1194. Retrieved March. 14, 2019.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1997.tb01800.x

Week 12:

Looking back at making this podcast I can say that I learned a lot. I learned that I’m not as bad with technology as I thought I’d be. I found myself becoming more and more familiar with the technological tools and making each edit sound better than the last. The power that all of these tools hold is definitely opening up my eyes to the great opportunities that they can provide people and the uses that they can have. I’ve learned from the research that I’ve done here is that each ‘type’ can pose a different aspect and / or point that could make my final podcast as accurate as it could be. It was definitely a great experience taking this class and doing this podcast. 

Phase 3-Final Product: Immigration Nation by Sophie Corbiere

See full transcript here.

Music Credits:

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Podcast Transcript: Immigration Nation

INTRO MUSIC

From Scratch Media this is “A Matter of Opinion,”  your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Sophie Corbiere, and in this episode we're talking about immigration in North America.

Trump: “And I’ll say it very honestly, and I’ll say it very straight, immigration is the fault in all of the problems we are having” (Simon, 2018, 0:11s).

Trump: “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems” (Schwartz, 2015, 0:13s-0:22s).

Trump: “How ridiculous, we’re the only country in the world, where a person comes in and has a baby and the baby is a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits, it’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous and it has to end” (Cole & Liptak, 2018, 1:03s-1:17s).

Trump: “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them. But we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and a rate that’s never happened before” (BBC News, 2018, 0:01s-0:17s).

It’s been impossible to avoid the many recent news stories about Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to keep out illegal immigrants (Holpuch, 2019).

Imagine you are a 19-year-old woman escaping a violent country on foot to walk thousands of miles to a strange country. Now imagine you are also eight months pregnant with another 3-year-old child and you have to scale a wall before you can give birth to your baby in a foreign country. Then, the foreign country says that your newborn will not be considered a citizen of that country. You might then be close to understanding what Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez has gone undergone (Alexander, 2018).

Trump has said that he is considering signing an executive order to end birthright citizenship in the United States, in an attempt to deter illegal immigrants (Friedman & Serhan, 2018). But these policies have real tangible consequences on people’s lives, such as Ms. Serrano-Hernandez and her family. If the newborn does not get citizenship what’s gonna happen to Ms. Serrano-Hernandez? Will she be forced to leave the U.S. and go back to her home country? A country she tried so desperately to leave? And if the baby does get citizenship, what will become of the 3-year-old?

In my podcast, I will be exploring the topical issue of immigration, such as the history of immigration in The United States and Canada as well as exploring the main reasons why people oppose immigration. Since there are so many reasons to oppose immigration I’ll be focusing on the most damaging reasons, primarily the myths that Trump himself spreads in his hateful speech.

I’ll also be looking into birthright citizenship, what it is and which countries around the world practice it because despite what Trump might say, the United States is not the only country in the world to practice birthright citizenship. And I’ll be questioning if countries should be practicing birthright citizenship and what happens if countries choose not to practice birthright citizenship. Does anyone have the right to citizenship based on where they were born?

MUSIC

First though: let’s look into the history of immigration in the United States and Canada.

So as we all know from history class, the first immigrants to the Americas came with Christopher Columbus in his now infamous voyage on behalf of the Spanish Royalty in 1492 (European colonization of the Americas, 2019). Eventually other countries also colonized parts of the Americas, and as a result 95% of the indigenous population were killed by genocide and disease (European colonization of the Americas, 2019). But there was also great economic growth as a result of immigration, as immigrants provided much of the necessary labour for construction of integral infrastructure such as the Trans-Canadian Railway which connects the country coast to coast (Marsh, 2009; Avery, 2013).

Daniel Griswold, the Director of Trade and Immigration at George Mason University in Virginia, concludes that “Today, one out of every four people residing in United States are either first-born or second-born generation immigrants” (Griswold, 2018). Many immigrants have come to North America in order to fill a specific economic need in an industry, such as specialized workers not available among the native population. According to Pia Orrenius, the Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, “44% of medical scientists are foreign born” and “42% of software developers are foreign born” (Orrenius, 2016).

Orrenius also explains how the benefits of immigration outweigh the costs by illustrating that “immigrants grease the wheels of the labour market by flowing into industries and areas where there is a need for workers- where bottlenecks or shortages might otherwise dampen growth” (Orrenius, 2016). Therefore, according to Orrenius, they tend to complement native-born workers instead of directly competing with them in the job market.

Now, there are many examples of this in history: such as the influx of Mexican workers into the United States during and after WW2, which was instrumental in mitigating shortages as a result of the war (Orrenius, 2016). Then again in the late 70’s and early 80’s during the oil boom when there were record migrations to Texas. In the 90’s during the internet boom where migrants came for high-tech jobs and then once again during the construction boom of the 2000’s (Orrenius, 2016). These immigrants who came to the United States and Canada and worked hard and contributed to society then had children who became citizens through the birthright citizenship law.

MUSIC

So, what exactly is birthright citizenship and how many countries practice it?

“Jus soli” is the legal term for the commonly used “birthright citizenship” and it translates from Latin into “right of the soil”. It basically means that an individual has the right to claim citizenship, or nationality, from the State in which they were born (Jus soli, 2019). And by the way, most countries practice some version of this law. In fact, “jus soli” is practiced in approximately 30 countries: most of them in the Western hemisphere (Jus soli, 2019): including Argentina, Canada, the United States, as well as Tanzania and Pakistan in the Eastern hemisphere. In other countries, the highly restricted version of this law requires that at least one parent must be a citizen, national or legal resident of the State in question. It is this restricted version of “jus soli” that is widely practiced in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa and it is this version of “jus soli” that has been criticized for contributing to economic inequality and statelessness (Jus soli, 2019).

A simple Wikipedia search reveals that “in international law, a stateless person is someone who is ‘not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law’” (Statelessness, 2019). In 2018 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there are approximately 12 million stateless people around the world (Statelessness, 2019). Since they hold no official record, it is difficult to determine how many of those are in the United States or Canada. The impacts of statelessness include a lack of protection for your human rights, a lack of opportunity and a lack of political participation (Impact of Statelessness, 2019). According to the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, people who are stateless face issues “including: accessing education and healthcare, finding gainful employment, buying or inheriting property, registering a car or a business, obtaining a birth certificate, driving license, marriage certificate or even death certificate, opening a bank account or getting a loan; falling back on social security, and enjoying a pension” (Impact of Statelessness, 2019).

According to the law of “jus soli” Ms. Serrano-Hernandez’s newborn would have the right to claim citizenship from the United States. However, Trump would like to end birthright citizenship.

MUSIC

Interviewer: Legal scholars believe you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution.

Trump: With an Executive order.

Interviewer: Exactly.

Trump: Right

Interviewer: Uh, have you thought about that?

Trump: Yes

Interviewer: Tell me more

Trump: It was always told to me that you needed a Constitutional Amendment.

Interviewer: Right

Trump: Guess what?

Interviewer: You don’t?

Trump: You don’t.” (Cole & Liptak, 2018, 0:37s-0:52s)

MUSIC

So Trump wants to end birthright citizenship, but how did birthright citizenship begin?

What are the historical reasons for birthright citizenship in the United States?

Well, birthright citizenship was adopted in the United States after the Civil War, in order to allow freed slaves to become citizens. See, at the time, many in the South were bitter about losing the war and did not want freed slaves to become citizens of the United States, even if they and their ancestors had been born there (Anton, 2018).

After the case of Dred Scott vs. Sandford in 1857 in which it was decided that no black American could ever be a citizen of the United States, there was a constitutional amendment to overturn this decision and specify the definition of an American citizen to include all those born within its borders (Anton, 2018).

So, all this leads me to question: Why does Trump and his supporters want to deter illegal immigration so badly and will the wall even be an effective way to do this?

Trump would like us to believe that America is being overwhelmed by mass immigration both legal and illegal, however, this is simply not true. “The rate of U.S. immigration today is well below historical average and below that of many advanced nations” according to Griswold (Griswold, 2018). A wall would not significantly deter illegal immigration as most illegal immigrants in the United States arrive legally with a visa and then they overstay their visa (Griswold, 2018). In fact, “¾ of immigrants reside in U.S. legally” according to Griswold’s research (Griswold, 2018), however Trump likes to focus on the ¼ who are here illegally.  

Also, it’s important to know that most immigrants coming from the South are escaping extreme violence and persecution in their home countries. A more efficient and cost-effective way of reducing illegal immigration would be for Canada and the United States to expand policies allowing for more legal immigrants to come to their countries and find legal work (Griswold, 2018).

Trump is especially concerned with what he calls the caravan: the caravan consists of approximately 7,000 migrants who have travelled more than 4,000 kilometers from Central America (Migrant caravan, 2018). The majority of the caravan are from an area known as the “Northern Triangle” which includes Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. All three of these countries have been severely impacted by the violence of the civil wars in the 80’s leading to corruption, drug trafficking and gang violence. These countries consistently rank amongst the most violent countries in the world (Labrador & Renwick, 2018 ) and the people in the caravan are seeking asylum from this violence including Ms. Serrano-Hernandez who travelled from Honduras looking for a new life for her family.

MUSIC

Trump: “When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me (Schwartz, 2015, 0:01s-0:10s).

There are many myths surrounding immigration and they are often used as reasons to oppose immigration entirely.

Myth #1:

Opponents to immigration claim that immigrants will isolate themselves in their own communities instead of assimilating into the native culture (Opposition to immigration, 2019).

However, the reality is that immigrants are continuing to assimilate into North American culture and learning English just as those that emigrated before them (Griswold, 2018). “Second- and third generation immigrants are overwhelmingly fluent in English” according to Griswold’s research (Griswold, 2018).

So, we should be asking ourselves if we are doing enough as a country for new immigrants to learn our language. It would make more sense to invest in more English as Second Language programs than to say immigrants shouldn’t come to our country because they won’t learn English.

Myth #2:

Opponents to immigration fear that immigrants will compete with natives for employment opportunities and government benefits (Opposition to immigration, 2019).

The reality is that there is no evidence to suggest that immigrants will take away jobs from natives, rather they seem to complement native workers instead, by filling in those roles that cannot be filled by natives.

Also, immigrants pay more in taxes over the course of their lifetime than they use in government benefits (Griswold, 2018). Thus, the argument that immigrants use more in government benefits is one that is rooted in false information.

Trump: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. [...] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (Schwartz, 2015; 0:33s-0:52s).

Myth #3:

Critics often make the claim that immigrants contribute to higher crime rates.

In fact, this is Trump’s favourite reason to oppose immigration, however, the reality is that studies have shown that the relationship in between immigration and criminality are highly overestimated and that immigrants are far less likely than natives to be incarcerated (Opposition to immigration, 2019; Griswold, 2018).

Myth #4:

Critics fear that immigrants will bring deadly infectious diseases with them when they cross the border.

Now, while this is possible it is highly unlikely due to the medical advancements in society today.

It has been said that this claim has been largely exaggerated by opponents in order to instil fear in the population against immigrants (Opposition to immigration, 2019).

There are vaccines for many of the traditional diseases that historically plagued the native population five to six hundred years ago, when immigrants from Europe killed 95% of the indigenous population (European colonization of the Americas, 2019).

This scenario is not likely in our day and age due to the many vaccines and medicines that are now readily available.

So then, what are the risks of immigration and what’s at stake?

The migrants themselves are at extreme risk for a dangerous journey on their way to their goal country. Immigrants are also at risk of not being able to work legally as we’ve heard, due to their immigration status and the lives of people looking for a better life in North America are at stake, as is our identity as “the nation of immigrants.”

What are the benefits of immigration? Why should we continue to accept immigrants at all?

Pia Orrenius states that: “Immigration fuels economy, when immigrants enter [the] labour force, they increase the productive capacity of the economy and raise the GDP” (Orrenius, 2016). Pia Orrenius goes on to explain that: “High skilled immigration- a pronounced trend since [the] 1990’s, has been linked to innovation- specifically to higher patenting rates among immigrants. […] Greater innovation among immigrants appears to boost it among natives too” (Orrenius, 2016). So that means that the creative and professional ambitions of immigrants benefits and inspires the native population as well. Orrenius further demonstrates that: “wage inflation and skill shortages can choke off investment therefore leading firms to expand elsewhere. An inflow of labour from other places allows an economy to grow faster” (Orrenius, 2016). Therefore, what Orrenius is basically saying is that without immigration our economy would suffer from companies offshoring work to other countries.

Griswold points out that immigrants increase productivity through innovation and entrepreneurship. Griswold goes on to say that: “immigrants make up 17% of U.S workforce, file 1/3 of patents and account for 1/3 of U.S. workers with a PhD in the STEM industry. Their incomes rise but so too do those of the natives” (Griswold, 2018). Immigrants help in keeping a younger American demographic as most people coming to a new country are younger and, according to Griswold, this is a “sign and source of American dynamism” (Griswold, 2018). Griswold further illustrates that immigrants help sustain the U.S. federal retirement program by paying income taxes and by slowing the rise of the imbalance in between workers who contribute, and retirees who benefit (Griswold, 2018).

MUSIC

Conclusions:

In my opinion the statistics and research show that the benefits far outweigh the potential risks related to immigration. I believe that the laws of birthright citizenship are appropriate for a country that has a history of accepting immigrants and that was built with the help of immigrants and their hard work. People like Ms. Serrano-Hernandez are simply looking for the same opportunities offered to immigrants in the past, a symbiotic relationship that has been beneficial for the immigrants as well as the adoptive country.

I also believe that we as a society benefit from immigration through an increased social diversity and culture and economic growth. In my opinion and according to the research, the benefits of immigration outweigh the potential costs. North America’s history of accepting immigrants has resulted in a richer and more diverse culture and a stronger and more influential economy. Immigration has helped to make North America the world player on the economic market that it is today (Griswold, 2018).

From Scratch Media this was “A Matter of Opinion.” I’m Sophie Corbiere and that was your guide through opinion to the facts.  

     

MUSIC

Obama: “My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forbearers were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.”

OUTRO MUSIC

Works Cited

Alexander, M. (21 Dec. 2018). None Of Us Deserve Citizenship. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/opinion/sunday/immigration-border-policy-citizenship.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fmichelle-alexander&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection.

Anton, M. (18 Jul. 2018). Citizenship shouldn’t be a birthright. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/citizenship-shouldnt-be-a-birthright/2018/07/18/7d0e2998-8912-11e8-85ae-511bc1146b0b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b453af454028.

Avery, D. H. (16 Dec. 2013). Immigrant Labour. In The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/immigrant-labour.

Cole, D., Liptak, K. (31 Oct. 2018). “Trump Claims He Can Defy Constitution And End Birthright Citizenship.” CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/30/politics/donald-trump-ending-birthright-citizenship/index.html.

Friedman, U., & Serhan, Y. (31 Oct. 2018). America Isn’t the ‘Only Country’ With Birthright Citizenship. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/10/birthright-citizenship-other-countries-trump/574453/.

Griswold, D. (23 May 2018). The Benefits of Immigration: Addressing Key Myths. Mercatus Center, George Mason University. Retrieved from https://www.mercatus.org/publications/benefits-of-immigration-key-myths.   

Holpuch, A. (15 Jan. 2019). What exactly is Trump’s border wall and why does he want $5.7bn for it? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/15/trump-mexico-border-wall-status-migrants.

(2019). “Impact of Statelessness.” Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. Retrieved from http://www.institutesi.org/world/impact.php.

Labrador, R.C. & Renwick, D. (26 June 2018). Central America’s Violent Northern Triangle. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/central-americas-violent-northern-triangle.

Marsh, J. H. (25 Mar. 2009). Railway History. In The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/railway-history

(26 Nov. 2018). “Migrant caravan: What is it and why does it matter?” CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45951782.

Orrenius, P. (2016) Benefits of Immigration Outweigh the Costs. The Catalyst, 2. Retrieved from https://www.bushcenter.org/catalyst/north-american-century/benefits-of-immigration-outweigh-costs.html.

Schwartz, I. (16 June, 2015). “Trump: Mexico Not Sending Us Their Best; Criminals, Drug Dealers and Rapists Are Crossing Border.” Real Clear Politics, 0:13s-0:22s. Retrieved from https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/06/16/trump_mexico_not_sending_us_their_best_criminals_drug_dealers_and_rapists_are_crossing_border.html.

Simon, A. (19 June, 2018). “People are angry President Trump Used This Word to Describe Undocumented Immigrants.” Time, 0:11 s. Retrieved from http://time.com/5316087/donald-trump-immigration-infest/.

(20 Nov. 2014) Transcript: Obama’s immigration speech”. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/transcript-obamas-immigration-speech/2014/11/20/14ba8042-7117-11e4-893f-86bd390a3340_story.html?utm_term=.e95427f42514.

(17 May, 2018). “Trump: Immigrant gangs ‘animals, not people’. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-44148697/trump-immigrant-gangs-animals-not-people.

Wikipedia contributors. (26 Jan. 2019). European colonization of the Americas. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=European_colonization_of_the_Americas&oldid=880271864.

Wikipedia contributors. (27 Jan. 2019). Jus soli. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jus_soli&oldid=880480064.

Wikipedia contributors. (31 Jan. 2019). Opposition to immigration. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Opposition_to_immigration&oldid=882851608.

Wikipedia contributors. (16 March 2019). Statelessness. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Statelessness&oldid=887976639.

Recommended Resources

Batchelor, C. A. (1998). Statelessness and the Problem of Resolving Nationality Status. International Journal of Refugee Law, 10 (1/2), 156-183.

Belluz, J. (20 Apr. 2012). Is Canada discriminating against foreign-trained doctors? Macleans. Retrieved from https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/is-canada-discriminating-against-foreign-trained-doctors/.

Benvenuto, J., Laban Hinton, A. & Woolford, A. (2014). Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America. Duke University Press.

Blitz, B. K. (2009). Statelessness, protection and equality. Oxford Department of International Development.

Cohen, M. (1 Nov. 2018). Numbers to know about birthright citizenship. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/01/politics/numbers-birthright-citizenship/index.html

Deaux, K. (2006).  A Nation of Immigrants: Living Our Legacy. Journal of Social Issues, 62 (3), 633-651.

Fernandez Campbell, A. (12 Sept. 2016). The truth about undocumented immigrants and taxes. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigrants-and-taxes/499604/.

(13 Sept. 2017). Humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Government of Canada, Immigration and citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/refugees/claim-protection-inside-canada/after-apply-next-steps/refusal-options/humanitarian-compassionate-grounds.html.

Ignatow, G., & Williams, A. T. (2011). New Media and the ‘Anchor Baby’ Boom. Oxford Academic, 17 (1), 60-76.  

Kerber, L. (2005). Toward a History of Statelessness in America. American Quarterly, 57 (3), 727-749.

Lederer, J. (2013). ‘Anchor baby’: A conceptual explanation for pejoration. Journal of Pragmatics, Retrieved from Elsevier, 57, 248-266.

Mathieu, S. (2001). North of the Colour Line: Sleeping Car Porters and the Battle against Jim Crow on Canadian Rails, 1880-1920. Labour / Le Travail, 47, 9-41. doi:10.2307/25149112.

Momani, B. (17 May 2018). Immigration is a net economic benefit- this is a story Canada should build on. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/immigration-is-a-net-economic-benefit-this-is-a-story-canada-should-build-on/article31854798/.

Newberry, S. (7 Mar. 2018). Northern Ontario badly needs doctors. But ‘forcing’ them to work there is no solution. Healthy Debate.  Retrieved from https://healthydebate.ca/opinions/northern-ontario-doctors.

Ormonde, M. E. (2012). Debunking the Myth of the “Anchor Baby”: Why Proposed Legislation Limiting Birthright Citizenship is not a Means of Controlling Unauthorized Immigration. Roger Williams University Law Review, 17, 861-886.

Sindic, D., Morais, R., Costa-Lopez, R., Klein, O., Barreto, M. (2018). Schrodinger’s immigrant: the political and strategic use of (contradictory) stereotypical traits about immigrants. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Retrieved from Elsevier, 79, 227-238.

Thompson, E. (17 Apr. 2018). Trudeau government boosts funding for environment, immigration.CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-government-spending-budget-1.4622518.

Uechi, J. (6 Apr. 2017). Canada has a plan to stop qualified immigrant doctors from driving taxis. Canada’s National Observer. Retrieved from https://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/04/06/news/canada-has-plan-stop-qualified-immigrant-doctors-driving-taxis.

Wikipedia contributors. (7 Feb. 2019). Immigration to Canada. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Immigration_to_Canada&oldid=882158511.

Wikipedia contributors. (31 Jan. 2019). Michelle Alexander. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michelle_Alexander&oldid=881138261.

Week 12

I have learned that it is crucial to be organized when doing research. I made a Favourites folder for all of my links and every time I found a new link, I added it to my folder. This made it easy to access again easily. I also used one master list for all of my research and wrote down the references in APA style right away, including the URL. I categorized it by topic and used colour coding to identify if it was an academic source, a popular source or a government source. Once it was used it got highlighted as well. All of this helped me keep track of all of the information and what I had used. 

I have also learned about podcasts. I didn’t really know what they were and had certainly never listened to one. I like the Science Vs. podcasts and have enjoyed listening to them. I also discovered that Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye does a podcast and I have been listening to his podcasts and loving them. My husband and I will listen to them while driving or I will listen to them while doing the dishes or taking a shower. I also learned about rhetorical aural devices and how to write them into scripts. I enjoyed learning about the genre. 

Most importantly I have learned the power of staying positive. I was not looking forward to recording a podcast due to the technological requirements but with the instruction from the professor, help from my husband, and my tenacious attitude I have learned a lot which in turn boosts my confidence about what I can achieve.

Week 10 and 11

I am finding it difficult to make my podcast an enjoyable experience. I do not like the sound of my voice so for me it is not an enjoyable experience no matter what but what I intend to do to combat this is to first: use a radio persona. I will change my voice a bit to make it more enjoyable. And I will ask my husband to listen to the podcast and tell me what he thinks as he gives me honest feedback. 

I want to use clips of Trump speaking, but I think it could easily become too much so I will have to be careful that I pick the right ones and not too many so that Trump’s voice does not overpower my own. I think I will also have to be mindful of my cat when recording that she doesn’t meow or make noise so it is not distracting. 

Week 9

I found two sources to be possible characters for my podcast. 

Dr. Pia Orrenius has a PhD in economics from the University of California. Dr. Orrenius the Vice President and Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and manages the regional and microeconomics group in the Research Department. Her research focuses on the Mexico-U.S. migration, unauthorized immigration and U.S. immigration policy (Economists, Pia M. Orrenius).

Daniel Griswold is the Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University. Griswold has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Masters in the Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Griswold is a nationally recognized expert on trade and immigration policy (Daniel Griswold). 

Both of these characters are experts in their field and complement each other as one holds a PhD, the other does not. One specializes in unauthorized immigration and the other is an expert on economic trade relations. 

I will also be using Donald Trump as a character. I want to use clips of him speaking as I think it will be powerful to hear him speaking out against immigration for reasons that I will then debunk. 

I am thinking of also using the character from my opinion piece “None of Us Deserve Citizenship” by Michelle Alexander. Her name is Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez and she is a 19-year-old woman who “scaled a wall along the United States-Mexico border while eight months pregnant and gave birth within hours of placing her feet on American soil” (Alexander, 2018).

Works Cited

Alexander, M. (21 Dec. 2018). None Of Us Deserve Citizenship. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/opinion/sunday/immigration-border-policy-citizenship.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fmichelle-alexander&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection.

Economists, Pia M. Orrenius. (n.d.) Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Retrieved on March 14, 2019 from https://www.dallasfed.org/research/economists/orrenius.cfm.

Daniel Griswold. (n.d.) Mercatus Center George Mason University. Retrieved on March 14, 2019 from https://www.mercatus.org/daniel-griswold.

-Sophie Corbiere

Phase Three

Week Nine

As the recording of the final podcast episode comes closer and closer, particular sources have proven themselves very helpful. The first one would be a report by the U.S. Government of Justice, which deals with False Rape Reports and Rape Reports in General. This source is so helpful because it is from a reliable source and gives me the exact data I need to prove my point. Another source that stands out for me is an article by Eli Watkins for CNN, in which the details about the Kavanaugh case are outlined. This source helped me to fully understand the case. Furthermore, other articles about the accusations have helped also (Hauser, 26 September 2018; Abrams, 4 October 2018).

My sources are secondary characters in my podcast episode. They complement each other in a way that they all prove my point and make my episode more interesting. It gives me more credibility using sources as characters in my episode. Only through the usage of sources a valid point can be proven.

References:

Abrams, A. (2018, 4 October). Here Are All the People We Know the FBI Talked to for the Kavanaugh Report. TIME Magazine Retrieved from                                                                               http://time.com/5415845/kavanaugh-fbi-investigation-witnesses/

Hauser, C. (2018, 26 September). The Women Who Have Accused Brett Kavanaugh. The              New York Times. Retrieved from                                                                                                               https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/us/politics/brett-kavanaugh-accusers- women.html

Rennison, C.M. (2002). Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention,      1992-2002. US Department of Justice. Retrieved from                                                                  https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=194530

Watkins, E. (2018, 17 September). Timeline: How the Kavanaugh accusations have unfolded.    CNN, Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/17/politics/kavanaugh-ford-    timeline/index.html

Week Ten/Eleven

 

When I first heard that the final assignment for this course is going to be a podcast, I wasn´t concerned about finding enough material or the amount of work I must put into it, but about the technical difficulties I will encounter. This is still the case and is mostly affecting the sound effects in my podcast episode. I find it extremely hard to make the podcast enjoyable as I am under the expression that sound is like the salt in soup- it makes the podcast interesting and engaging.

Many people in class talked about having issues with hearing their own voice on audio- I surprisingly don’t have those. English isn’t my first language and hearing my own voice in my mother tongue, German, makes me cringe. But listening to myself in English is totally fine and I am also kind of proud of myself as it doesn´t sound that bad.

Sound effects and music will be a part of my final episode, but they won´t be the focus of it. I want my content to stand out and not my sound effects. However, as stated above, I think that sound effects can make a big difference between a rather boring and a highly enjoyable episode. As it is the case with almost everything, less is more: too much sound effects could be distracting the audience from my content.