1. Emergency Asshole Kits
Halifax will now be offering “emergency asshole kits” to people who feel the need to snatch the hijab off a woman’s head, spit on her, tell her she’s a terrorist, leave racist and misogynist comments about women who wear hijab, write emails to the DSU threatening them for offering the kits, or send hate speech to reporters who cover the story about women wearing hijab who experience violence.
I wrote a story about emergency hijab kits, and today I'm getting anti-Muslim, anti-semitic, anti-LGBTQ emails. I'm not going to quote or screenshot, because it's pretty repulsive. But here's my story: https://t.co/sWPGRDhVyD
— Brett Bundale (@bbundale) November 29, 2017
Anyone who feels that they might engage in these activities should quickly call security who can deliver the kit to you anywhere in the city.
Each kit will contain a piece of fabric for you to tie your hands behind your back until the urge to grab at a Muslim woman, or leave a comment about how you want to “shit in her hijab and strangle her with it” passes. Kits will also contain pins. Feel free to stab your fingertips with these pins until typing becomes more painful to you than the need to leave comments detailing how your “white cock” is going to rape Muslim women.
The kits will also contain emergency numbers, which you should call to get yourself taken off the street immediately.
The kit includes tips for bystanders who witness their family members and friends being racist assholes. Tips include, “just because you were friends with someone in residence in first year doesn’t mean you have to defend them being a racist asshole” and “it might not be the best thing for your husband to be a police officer right now if he can’t restrain himself from racially profiling people.”
The kits are multi-purpose and can also be used for people who blame murder victims for their own murder because they went to a bar, people who defend men who sexually harass women in the workplace because now the women are going “too far,” and people who think rapists on campus are just “kids having a good time.”
This trial is already horrific garbage and it's only going to get worse. pic.twitter.com/KOmsi6h9K7
— Jacob Boon (@RWJBoon) November 28, 2017
Kits will also be available to university officials who believe that because something wasn’t reported to them means it never happened, and whose institutions also coincidentally received a D+ grade in how sexualized violence is reported and handled on campus.
Another aim of the kits is to educate people about just how many racist assholes there are in Halifax.
In order to encourage racist assholes to use the kits, they will be labeled “emergency free speech” kits or “it’s okay to be white” kits. The hope is that people who believe they’re being oppressed because Women of Colour have the nerve to not be okay with being told how a dick in their mouth is going to shut them up will call for an “it’s okay to be white” kit. While they are distracted by seeing the contents of the kit and believing that sharia law is imminent and we are all going to be forced to wear hijab now, the officer can move in and secure them.
2. Jeffrey Goes to Jail
Last week, in their story about an event held at Alderney Gate Library to reduce the stigma for children of incarcerated people, CBC mentioned two books intended to help children understand incarceration.
I read both of these books while bored in the waiting area of a provincial jail, and I have to tell you that the book where Jeffrey visits his incarcerated father is quite disturbing. Jeffrey and his mother take a long drive to the facility, and then the next half dozen pages of the book literally detail the massive surveillance and security apparatus that the child has to go through.
Jeffrey and his mom wake up early to drive hours to get to the institution. We learn that first Jeffrey and his mom have to remove all their outer clothing and put them through the metal detector, then go through the metal detector themselves, then have a security wand waved over them. Then Jeffrey’s mother has to remove her wedding ring, and the officer rubs the drug scanner over it. They walk through doors locking behind them, and walk by fences and barbed wire. They go into a room and stand with their arms out and the dog comes and sniffs them. They walk through more doors to the visiting area. Going through security is pretty much the bulk of the book’s content as far as I remember.
I’ve been through this security screening as an adult visiting federal prison, and it’s a very stressful and sometimes invasive procedure. There are all kinds of horror stories about false hits on the drug scanners caused by things like hand sanitizer, or gasoline, or road salt. If you’re lucky with a false hit, you get turned away and have to drive hours home, often with young children in the car who have been up since before dawn. More likely, you can be banned for visiting for months, and your loved one may also be searched, segregated on suspicion of trafficking drugs into the institution, and banned from visits.
I know women who have offered to be strip searched after a false hit, just to try to be able to get the visit.
People who are terrified of dogs have to stand there while the dogs come and sniff your ass and crotch. It’s humiliating, and anxiety-inducing for many people. Imagine your grandmother in a wheelchair having to be sniffed, having her chair searched and scanned. It’s degrading.
(Once you get through all the security, you can walk through and buy a limited amount of pop and snacks for the visit, except in reality half the time the pop machine is empty, or it’s broken and doesn’t get fixed for two months. This is not featured in the book. Neither is mommy having her body scrutinized to see if her skirt is too short for the dress code, if her shirt’s sleeves are long enough, if she’s wearing layers or pockets or a hood, if her clothes are “too body hugging,” if she has open-toed shoes, etc. etc.)
Once you’re in the visiting room you’re allowed a brief hug and kiss at the beginning of the visit, and at the end, but any other touching is strictly monitored and you will be warned and removed from the visit, and potentially banned for coming back. These means that your loved one can be sitting in front of you crying and you can’t reach out and touch their hand.
And, in fact, these are better visits than in provincial where you’re only visiting behind glass and talking through the phones, which is why people will offer to be stripped just in order to be in a room with their loved one for a couple of hours.
Reading about a child being put through the procedures really ought to make us think about how traumatizing it is that we force families to visit in these conditions. Reading Jeffrey Goes to Jail didn’t so much make me think that a child reading it or having it read to them would feel calmed and prepared to visit the jail, so much as it really brought home how horrifying it is that we put little children through this.
Consider how many visitors have themselves been victims of physical or sexual trauma, and how difficult many people find it to have their bodies treated in this way.
Consider how many people are incarcerated for crimes of poverty, or for addiction or mental illness, and how treatment and supports are what they really need.
Consider how many people incarcerated experience generational trauma from residential schools and cycles of violence, and how now their children have to be subjected to dogs and metal detectors and scanners just to see them.
Consider how virtually all women in jail have experienced sexual violence, abuse, and exploitation.
Over 70 per cent of women in prison are mothers. Many people just don’t see their children because they don’t want to subject them to those experiences. Many children end up in care as a result of having an incarcerated parent.
In a more compassionate world, a book like Jeffrey Goes to Jail might cause us to really consider what we are doing to children by incarcerating their parents, and we might think about whether putting people in prison for non-violent crimes of poverty or addiction or mental illness is really the best solution for our families and communities.
One of the greatest predictors for future incarceration is having a parent in prison. The effects of parental incarceration on children include depression, self harm, anxiety, difficulties in school, addiction, and a greater possibility of experiencing violence.
If we believe prisons are supposed to prevent crime and keep communities safe, obviously what we are doing is not working. People don’t tend to care about “criminals” and believe they are getting what they deserve, but maybe thinking about little children walking through those locked doors and being scanned and sniffed might possibly make us see how damaging our investment in prison and punishment really is.
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