Week 12 Link: People in Stories

I’ve always wondered why I gravitate towards writing stories about Caucasian people with typical white names who speak English. Especially since I’m Chinese, have a non-traditional name, and my first language is Cantonese.

I admit that the headline “You can’t do that! Stories have to be about White people” caught my attention. After reading it, I have to say the article brings up many points of merit.

It’s almost like I’ve been conditioned to think the world revolves around a particular group of people and no one else. This way of thinking perpetuates a lack of diversity, not just in literature but in every discipline.

…if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

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Week 11 Link: Real Estate Rights

Welcome to the jungle of Toronto’s real estate market, where buyers will do just about anything to get a property, despite the price.

I’ve always wanted to address the real estate industry because, at one point, I wanted to work in the industry. However, when I was younger, I didn’t realize how flawed it was. And how unjust the market can be to virgin or veteran home buyers.

The Greater Toronto Area’s notorious bidding wars, bullies and jaw-dropping offers propelled the region’s real estate market to a new high water mark for the first quarter of 2016.

Carolyn Ireland

What’s shocking is how much people are willing to pay for a house of their dreams.

In fact, according to The Globe and Mail article:

The average price of a detached house in the GTA hit $910,375 at the end of March.

I doubt many young first-time buyers have a million dollars lying around.

These prices continue to divide the rich from the poor.

Like Cathy Crowe once said

…shelter is also a human right.

Rabble

But with some homes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars or upwards of a million, this “human right” is becoming further out of reach.

Week 10 Link: Parking Infractions and Traffic Congestion

Some parking infractions in Toronto will cost you more starting today.

Although I understand that this is in an effort to “reduce traffic congestion”, I’m not entirely sure just yet how effective raising the fines will be.

I like to think a larger fine will deter drivers from blocking a sidewalk or double parking. However, I doubt everyone is fully aware of this change. So it might take a while before the city sees real results in decreased congestion.

I hope raising the fine will reduce issues with traffic to make it easier for everyone in the city to get around. After all, roads and sidewalks have a purpose.

Week 9 Link: Labeling Those With a Disability

While I’m happy to hear that a woman turns herself in to police after autistic boy’s iPad stolen, the headline also annoys me at the same time.

The headline would have worked just fine without any mention of the boy’s disability.

Interestingly enough, the woman is not described with any other name or label. However, the boy is. This just calls even more attention to his disability, which is quite harmful.

In other contexts, I feel as though this label would draw plenty of unwarranted stereotypes, leading to further stigmatization of individuals with disabilities.

Week 8 Link: Not Paying Writers

I’m taken aback at the fact that the Huffington Post editor thinks journalism is only authentic when you don’t pay the writer.

The editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK, Stephen Hull, said:

If I was paying someone to write something because I want it to get advertising, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. When somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real, we know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.

He’s paid to write and edit. But other writers or bloggers for Huffington Post aren’t.

Many individuals in the arts aren’t paid. And if they are paid, they aren’t paid well. Yet I wonder what the world would be like if we didn’t pay doctors or lawyers or engineers for the work they do.

My bigger issue with this is the message this business is sending to other companies.

It’s okay not to pay. That’s how you preserve authenticity. 

I personally can’t agree or adopt that logic.

Week 7 Link: 2016 Ontario Budget

This year the Ontario budget 2016 walks tightrope between aspirations of social justice and hard fiscal realities.

It’s concerning that the deficit is in the billions, but at least it’s projected to fall to about $5.7 billion at the end of March.

The Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, has said:

“We are doing a little better than the rest of Canada. We recognize the challenges that the global economy still has, there is uncertainty.”

I’m hopeful the government will continue to consider the budget while taking into account social justice issues plaguing the province. I’m afraid Ontario’s financial deficit will affect areas such as education or transit so much so that they can’t deliver on their promise of “free tuition”.

Week 6 Link: U of T Introducing A Gym

I’m pleased to hear that U of T is introducing a gym to reduce mental health issues. Everyone’s health whether physical or mental should be taken seriously. We only have one mind and one body after all.

I do think the gym will be beneficial for students. I hope the university doesn’t stop there though. This is just one step in addressing mental health issues, but there is so much more that can be done.