Various writings on culture

Professor Jack Shaheen and Reel Bad Arabs


Jack Shaheen is a Christian Arab American professor of Lebanese descent.After observing how Arabs are portrayed in the media, and especially entertainment, he authored a book: Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood vilifies a people, which is also available as a documentary on DVD.You can see excerpts from it on

Wal-mart to allow unions in China but not in Quebec


Wal-mart has accepted that its Chinese stores will be unionized.

The retail giant employs 28,000 workers in China, and the union is the state-sanctioned All China Federation of Trade Workers (ACFTU).

This is in stark contrast with North America, where Wal-mart closed stores in Quebec shortly after they unionized.

Picking Inauspicious Names For Children To Ward Off Evil


In many cultures, a small number of people pick bad names for their kids to keep them away from envy, evil eye, or demons.In Egypt, you can find some rural families calling their kids strange and offensive names, to prevent harm from coming to them. This is specially true for a family that has all its male children die in childhood, or something like that.Names such as El Shahhat الشحات (the begger), Shehata شحاتة (begging) are used. This practice is not exclusively Egyptian though.Malaysia recently introduced a set of rules to prevent such practices among its varied ethnicities:

Racism Against Oscar Peterson


Another shameful and un-Canadian racism incident in Canada.Jazz player Oscar Peterson is being racially taunted by a group of youth who drive by his house. Peterson was born in Montreal, and now lives in Mississauga.He is a companion of the Order of Canada, had his photo on a stamp. He is 81 years old.From his comments in the interview, it seems the slurs or taunts made threats to his family as well.

Racism At Its Worst: Disabled Black Refugee Beaten By His Own Crutch


Francis Pitia is a refugee from Sudan, fleeing the civil war before peace was established there. He spent time in a refugee camp in Uganda.He came to Kitchener, Ontario.Last week, he was swarmed by bunch of white young men, and beaten to the ground. What makes this appalling is that Pitia is disabled since childhood, having one leg non-functional because of polio. He has to use a crutch to walk. Those who beat him took the crutch from him and beat him with it.He had to get stitches to his cut lip, his ribs hurt and his eyes were still blood shot.

Canada, Multiculturalism And Terrorism


The Calgary Sun had an article by Licia Corbella, where her premise is that Multiculturalism threatens Canada.

She quotes one Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar of  Mount Royal College in Calgary, whom she describes as a "devout Muslim" and "Pakistani-born". He says: "Multiculturalism has been bad for unity in Canada. It ghettoizes people, makes them believe, wrongly, that isolating themselves and not adapting to their new society is OK". Kanwar justified alleged mistreatment in prison because "for accused terrorists, this should be expected". Kanwar also advocates that covering one's face should be illegal.

Toronto Is Third Most Polite and Courteous City


The Canadian Press is reporting on a study by a Readers' Digest survey. In this study, 35 cities around the world have undercover reporters test the population at large for how polite or courteous they are.Toronto came out #3 with 70% of people taking a moment to do the courteous thing. Only New York (80%) and Zurich (77%) are ahead of Toronto.  Elsewhere in Canada, Montreal ranked as #21. The lowest three were Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest, and Mumbai coming out last.The undercover tester for Toronto said that Torontonians "are the only people in the world that will apologize when somebody else bumps into them".


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