The Mental Health Field and Our Complicity in Police Brutality and Repression of Racialized People

During Canadian Mental Health Association’s annual Black History Month panel today, I was pleasantly surprised, even shocked, to see Kabir and Letanya representing the Justice for Jermaine campaign at my office. They gave a great talk about the circumstances behind Jermaine Carby, another young man murdered by the police and someone whom was going through the mental health system, as well as the context of police brutality – as did Jordon Veira and Tennial Rock.  The talk focused on the important and urgent need for continued opposition to the police and their targeting of Black and other marginalized people. However, often missing within the mental health field is acknowledgment of our complicity in this brutality we claim to oppose. Just as the police has a long history of supporting state and capital in the subjugation of racialized people, psychiatry and the broader field of mental health has not only assisted in this process […]

“Why do Chinese hate animals so much?” Racializing Discourse in Campaigns Against Shark Finning

I have come across a number of campaigns opposed to shark finning that specifically target Chinatown. For example, an event held in January was entitled “Shark March Through China Town”. In the description, it is stated that “Hong Kong is about 80% of the business for the Shark FIn Soup but YES it is Sold here in Toronto and Canada in the ‘Asian’ Restaurants” (my emphasis on the word Asia). I am very concerned about how the issue is being conceptualized. I am a strong believer in animal liberation and have been active in the movement in the past; however, the continued lack of an anti-racism, anti-oppression framework in much of the animal liberation/environmental movement had left me feeling alienated. An end to the trade in sharkfin is imperative. The act of cutting of fins and tossing sharks back in the water is atrocious and despicable. But the question is, […]