‘I never want to forget them’: Memorial tattoos help people cope with loss, grief – National


‘I never want to forget them’: Memorial tattoos help people cope with loss, grief – National

by BBG Hub

The passing of a loved one can be utterly devastating. Grief is all-encompassing, and for some, it never really goes away.

Tattoos present a unique way to cope with the grief.

“Memorial tattoos help continue bonds with the deceased,” said Deborah Davidson.

She works as a professor of sociology at York University, and she’s the creator of The Tattoo Project.

READ MORE: More names to be added to singer’s tattoo tribute to suicidal youth

“Tattoos can be understood as a form of public storytelling,” said Davidson. “Stories help us make sense and meaning out of things that happened to us.”

When placed in a spot where other people can see it — as most are — a memorial tattoo is often an intentional conversation-starter.

“People fear their loved one will be forgotten… not by themselves, but by others,” Davidson said.

“[Tattoos] open that dialogue so you can talk about what your tattoo means and remember the person you lost that way.”

READ MORE: How to talk to your kids about the death of a loved one

Some memorial tattoos have a beginning and an end date, making it obvious that it represents a life that has come to an end. However, in Davidson’s experience, most memorial tattoos are more inconspicuous.

“The stories associated with lots of these tattoos are not sad stories. People want to remember their loved ones and have happy memories of them,” she said.

The permanence of body tattoos can also have a comforting quality for someone dealing with tragic loss.

WATCH BELOW: Building up resilience to grief helps prepare for life’s losses

“They’re permanent, so their loved one and their story and their memory will be with you forever,” said Davidson.  “[Tattoos] help incorporate loss into the lives of the bereaved in meaningful ways.”

In a lot of cases, grief is also a permanent fixture in the life of the bereaved.

“There are no five stages of grief,” Davidson said. “A main complaint of people that are grieving is that they’re expected to get over it [after] a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Eunice Gorman, a professor at King’s University College, agrees. She’s an expert in grief and bereavement.

READ MORE: Rejection hurts — here’s how to deal with it

“[Grief] affects everybody differently. Most people will manage to kind of bungle their way through grief… but we know that some people really struggle.”

That’s why some people turn to tattoos as a coping mechanism, of which there are many.

“Coping mechanisms are as unique as the people who are grieving,” said Gorman.

WATCH BELOW: Kingston man pays tribute to Humboldt tragedy with tattoo

Some people will go to support groups, some will read, some will exercise. Whatever a person chooses, coping mechanisms are crucial to surviving after loss.

“People often get tattoos because it’s a remembrance for other people… It’s a way to link them to the person that they loved,” she said. “For other people, it’s kind of a touchstone. They can look at it or they can touch it and they can be brought back to remembering them.”

Courtesy: Alyssa Davies

Alyssa Davies from Calgary, Alta.

“My grandpa hadn’t been doing well and was in the hospital for months. During that time, my grandma was so focused on my grandpa getting well that she didn’t take care of herself and ended up unexpectedly passing away first. My grandpa then passed away a few months later… It was a tough year for our family — particularly my mom.

“My grandpa was an avid gardener and had won many gardening awards in Calgary in his retirement. My grandma and I shared a love for poetry and passed along a book of poems by Robert Frost. I got the butterflies to commemorate my grandpa’s love for gardening and as a nod to my grandma, as Robert Frost’s first published poem was My Butterfly.

“I like to think that whenever a butterfly is near or flying by that it’s either of them saying hello — which probably sounds crazy, but it makes me feel good.

“These tattoos were a great way to commemorate two people who had a massive impact on my life when I was younger. I think tattoos are a form of artwork, and for those of us who aren’t as creative with a pen and paper, artwork that allows us to see the people we’ll always love come to life again.

“I got a lot of tattoos when I was younger that I certainly regret now, but this isn’t one of them. It’s so 2000s and it’s faded and it’s the ‘basic’ butterfly tattoo that a million girls probably have but it still makes me smile and it still brings me joy every single time I look at it… Sometimes we forget memories and people, but I never want to forget them.”

Courtesy: Rob Marshall

Rob Marshall from Toronto, Ont. 

“I got my first tattoo in 2016, five months after my mom passed away following her two-year battle with ALS. While she was sick, I stumbled across this picture online, teared up, and made it my phone background. Something in the way the mother lion was embracing her child — almost enveloping it — made me think of my mom.

“My mom is the reason for all the kindest, most loving parts of myself. She was a constant source of light and love. So to see her suffer as her ALS progressed was the most difficult emotional experience I’ve ever been through. For over a year, this picture on my phone helped me ground my thoughts.

“When my mind fixated on the terrible images of her fading health and suffering, this image was a shortcut to think of everything she meant to me instead.

“I’d look at it and think of her smile, her hugs, the way she’d snort when she laughed hard enough (and immediately turn red in embarrassment), the way she loved without question, without pause, and with her whole heart. After she passed, I decided to get that comforting image tattooed on my forearm as a way to remember her, and to keep those positive thoughts and feelings at the ready.

“It’s there when I miss her, when I think of those difficult times when she was sick, when I’m having a good day that I wish I could share with her. I carry her with me everywhere, every day, just as I carry those best parts of myself that she instilled in me.”

Courtesy: Kathy Kenzora

Kathy Kenzora from Mississauga, Ont.

“I have a ‘dad’ banner tattoo on the inside of my right wrist… I got it in June 2018 in honour of my dad, Bob Kenzora, who died on March 30, 2018. He died following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 77 years old.

“My dad had a ‘mother’ banner tattoo on his left forearm that he got in his 20s while working as a lumberjack in British Columbia. To me, it was always a symbol of his strength and his sense of humour. He used to joke that he got it so that his mom wouldn’t be mad at him when he came back to Ontario.

“After he died, the nurses at the hospital gave us some time to say our final goodbyes. It felt impossible to leave him there.

“Before I could go, I felt like I needed another way to remember him, so I took a picture of the tattoo on his arm and promised myself I would get one just like it.

“My dad was my hero and my idol. My tattoo gives me so much joy because it feels like a piece of him will be with me always. I love my tattoo and I know my dad would have loved it too.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What stress is doing to your oral health – National

by BBG Hub

When you’re stressed, the last thing you want to worry about is your teeth.

For some, stress can lead skipping out on brushing or flossing altogether, while others develop habits of teeth-grinding.

Dr. Bruce Ward, a dentist and spokesperson for the British Columbia Dental Association, told Global News that when people are stressed, they often don’t even think about oral health.

“That’s one of the first things to go,” he said. “People basically stop taking care of their teeth because they’re stressed out.”

READ MORE: Managing stress may improve oral health, says Nova Scotia Dental Association

Ward shared a story of a former patient who had developed mouth ulcers and flared-up lips. As it turns out, her stress was suppressing her immune system, allowing bacteria to cause infections.

“It’s another one you really have no control over if you got the bacteria there,” Ward said.

WATCH: The cost of no dental care for Canadians

What else can stress do?

The worst offender, Ward said, was grinding your teeth.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common issue among adults and children. About eight per cent of adults and 14 per cent of kids reported grinding their teeth several times a week, the Canadian Sleep Society reported.

“I’d say the majority of people experience at least some grinding,” Dr. Larry Levin, president of the Canadian Dental Association, previously told Global News.

“It’s often thought to be factored in with some stress in life and I think that depending on what’s happening in your life at the time, you may undergo a period that has a little more tension and that tension can be expressed in tooth grinding.”

Grinding your teeth can impact not only your teeth, but your jaw as well, he added.

READ MORE: ‘Burnout’ is a thing, doctors say. Here are the symptoms

“It can harm the teeth in a number of ways, the most obvious being the surface of the tooth,” Levin continued.

“The enamel is worn off and the tooth becomes a little thinner. When that happens, the tooth is more prone to decay, having an easier access into the tooth. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold things or to more acid things like citrus can be more irritating to people who grind their teeth.”

Ward added he has seen patients who avoided seeking help from a dentist and ended up breaking a majority of their teeth.

“When you ask somebody to grind during the day when they are awake, they can’t do it,” he continued. “But they can grind for hours at a time at night,” adding it makes a horrible sound.

WATCH: Dispelling oral health myths

He said teeth grinding also adds further stress to the joints in the mouth or causes clicking of the jaw. If you are often stressed and live alone, you should check with a dentist to see if you actually grind your teeth — some people are often unaware.

Symptoms to watch out for include raggedy and sharp front teeth. Treatments often include using a mouth guard.

The BC Dental Association also added dry mouth is a side effect of stress, but also the result of the medicines used to treat stress or depression. 

“The mouth’s first line of defence against bacteria is saliva, and without it there is an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection,” the association noted.

And similar to canker sores, stress can also lower your immune system and increase the risk of gum disease.

The Ontario Dental Association added temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can also be caused by stress.

“TMD affects the jaws joints and groups of muscles that let us chew, swallow, speak and yawn. Symptoms include tender or sore jaw muscles, headaches and problems opening or closing your mouth. Bruxism is a major cause of TMD — clenching your jaw muscles can cause them to ache,” the site noted.

Addressing the stress

Ward said addressing your oral health means understanding your stress first. “You have to look at the stress that you are under and how you are going to alleviate that,” he said. “Once you get a handle on that, your oral symptoms will start to disappear.”

If you see a physiotherapist, you should also bring up issues like teeth grinding. Some physiotherapists, he said, will offer exercises you can do during the day when you aren’t wearing a mouth guard to alleviate daytime stress. You should also update your current therapist or counsellor to see how else you can manage your day-to-day stress.

READ MORE: Urges to pee and other ways our bodies react to anxiety

Additionally, if you haven’t seen a dentist, book an appointment.

A dentist can reveal other oral health conditions you may not be aware of, as well as the current state of your teeth, gums and jaw.

[email protected]

— with files from Dani-Elle Dubé

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘I wanted to be one of them’: Man starts off as NYU janitor, graduates as nurse – National

by BBG Hub

When Frank Baez first stepped into New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital, he was hired to work as a janitor cleaning patients’ rooms.

Baez was in his teens at the time, and could hardly speak English. He had moved to New York from the Dominican Republic at age 15 with his mother, Good Morning America reports, and got the cleaning job to help support his family.

But on Monday, 29-year-old Baez graduated as a nurse from the same institution at which he once worked as a custodian.

“It was a very intense program, I’ll tell you that. It was a lot of work,” Baez told CNN of earning his nursing degree from NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

“It was worth it; it paid off at the end. Here I am now, a graduated nurse.”

“While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized I wanted to be one of them,” Baez told CNN. (Frank Baez / Facebook)

Courtesy of Frank Baez’s Facebook

While Baez is happy to be where he is now, the road to earning his nursing degree wasn’t easy.

After working as a janitor in NYU’s hospital, Baez became interested in the medical field and wanted to continue working in the industry. He applied for a job as a patient transporter, taking people to surgeries and tests in the hospital.

Natalya Pasklinsky, the director of Simulation Learning at NYU’s nursing school, was working as a registered nurse at NYU’s hospital at the time. She told CNN that Baez was “always compassionate to patients and families” on the job.

WATCH BELOW: U of R researcher makes ground-breaking discovery in Alzheimer’s

“He would ask the nurses questions about patient care and what it takes to become a nurse. My colleagues and I encouraged him to follow his dream,” she said.

It was through these work experiences that Baez realized he wanted to go to university to learn more about healthcare. He went to Hunter College to get his bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature with a minor in biological sciences, CNN reports.

“I was hoping that I would be able to care for patients in Spanish,” he told the outlet. “I wanted to work with under-served populations.”

READ MORE: Like mother, like child: Living with the same disease as your mom

After graduating college Baez got another job at NYU, this time at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital working alongside nurses. His career ambitions became even more clear.

“While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized I wanted to be one of them,” he told CNN. “I learned how much they advocate for their patients and the passion they have for their job.”

Baez applied and was accepted into NYU’s nursing program, and he continued to work full-time during his first semester.

Now, as the first person in his family to graduate from university, Baez is “very excited” to start working as a nurse and inspire others.

“This is what really drove me; the fact that I wanted to have a career and I wanted to be successful,” he told ABC News.

“I wanted to be a nurse who is helping others and just like my coworkers do at work, they advocate and they inspire me… I want to carry on that.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Some parents turn to bleach to ‘cure’ autism — why these myths are still rampant – National

by BBG Hub

A recent investigation by NBC found private groups on Facebook, linked to YouTube videos, were encouraging parents to use bleach to “cure” their children of autism.

Known as the Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), group members were exposed to video instructions on how to make chlorine dioxide-based solutions for their children. The report found parents left testimonials and anti-vaccine content, while some mothers of autistic children even went undercover to report and ban these pages.

Autism has no direct cause or cure, and experts added as a result, some parents turn to harmful methods.

In one 2017 case, a mother was investigated after giving her six-year-old son a bleach enema to “cure” autism, Metro U.K. reported. The mother claimed autism was caused by parasites that could be “cleansed” using the bleach-based treatment. There is no medical evidence to support this claim.

MMS could be traced back to former Scientologist Jim Humble, who first promoted his “cure” 20 years ago. 

“Humble, 86, claimed he’d used the chemical compound to heal a case of malaria while on a South American expedition. It worked so well, Humble says in his book and on his website, that he named himself the archbishop of a new religion devoted to chlorine dioxide, branded MMS,” NBC reported, adding Humble claimed MMS could cure diabetes, AIDS and even cancer.

READ MORE: ‘It has made me a better person’: What it’s like to raise a child with autism

Business Insider, who also recently released an investigation on the topic, added millions of people had watched MMS videos on YouTube. After Business Insider contacted YouTube, the videos were taken down.

In the past few months, YouTube has been focused on cracking down on harmful content, and in a statement to Global News, said that videos and channel owners were terminated immediately.

“YouTube does not allow content that encourages dangerous activities with a risk of physical harm, and we work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate these policies,” a spokesperson said.

What is MMS?

NBC added MMS also gained momentum in 2015 when former Chicago real-estate agent Kerri Rivera brought the method into autism parenting communities through her book and social media pages. Rivera, who is not a medical doctor, promoted the idea of using the bleach solution to “treat” autistic children.

“Today, she lives and operates a clinic offering chlorine dioxide regimens in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and claims to have cured autism in more than 500 children,” the site noted. 

However, the ingredients that make up Rivera’s MMS solution are not illegal, but in the U.S., it is illegal to market or sell chlorine dioxide-based products as a cure for ailments.

According to a statement to Global News, Autism Canada understands why some parents seek out unproven therapies to help their child.

“We recognize the urgency parents may feel when confronted with a diagnosis of autism, which may lead them to undertake desperate treatments.”

In 2015, the organization released a statement on MMS after it began heavily surfacing on social media pages.

“It was clear that this product had side effects that were seriously damaging to the body.”

READ MORE: Parents of children with autism call for Lisa MacLeod’s resignation during emotional telephone town hall

The organization noted it promotes a multi-disciplinary approach as the most effective way of treating and managing autism.

“For example, there is a growing body of research evidence pointing to the value of implementing changes like diet and/or supplementing deficient vitamins and minerals (nutraceuticals), etc. These are emerging treatments for the underlying factors that contribute to autism and related symptoms. Parents often remark on improved language, eye contact, social engagement and their child’s ability to learn.”

It added parents and individuals should combine medical and non-medical treatments.

“Having different techniques helps to unlock a person’s potential. Medical interventions focus on improving the physical health of the individual while non-medical interventions focus on improving their social and emotional health.”

The organization does not endorse treatments, interventions and therapies, however, it lists them on their website so people can make informed choices.

“It is a starting point for parents and individuals to investigate options that may fit or resonate with them. We state that therapies for autism, like any condition, should be discussed with a trusted medical practitioner or certified therapist before use.”

‘Every child or adult is different’

Electra Dalamagas, a family intervention specialist at Autism Montreal, told Global News that when it comes to autism, every child or adult is different. “They have different needs, they’re unique, and they have different health issues,” she said. “It’s important to not assume a one size [treatment] fits all.”

Dalamagas added autistic adults and children are still grossly misunderstood and this even trickles down into the health-care community. In 2018, the National Autism Spectrum Disorder Surveillance System Report found an estimated one in 66 children in Canada have autism. 

And because autism is misunderstood, parents are often left with confusing, conflicting and inaccurate information online. “There’s a desire to want to help the individuals who have any health issues… but whatever treatment may be recommended can’t cause harm.”

Another problem is how much access parents have to misinformation on the internet. Sites like YouTube or Facebook can create communities of like-minded people spreading false information. And with the recent attention of sites shutting down pages encouraging the anti-vax movement, Dalamagas argued much more has to be done for the autism community.

READ MORE: Canadian autism group calls on federal government for national strategy

She added if you come across any medical or non-medical treatment online, parents should always consult with a medical doctor who works with austistic children before trying it.

The other issue with misinformation, Dalamagas explained, is some children deal with ongoing health issues in addition to having autism, leading to more urgency. Some parents don’t have access to professional health care, either.

Dalamagas said she can see why some in desperation turn to harmful methods, but it comes down to awareness.

“Parents should focus on getting accurate information to make educated decisions.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Some Canadians still believe harmful stereotypes about Muslims and Jews: poll – National

by BBG Hub

Stereotypes around religion, ethnicity and race can have damaging effects on people, yet some Canadians still believe these harmful tropes.

A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Global News found that three in 10 Canadians believe Muslims follow Sharia law instead of Canadian law, and two in 10 think people of the Jewish faith run media and finance.

What’s more, over four in 10 Canadians think that people of different races are fundamentally different from each other.

Though almost nine in 10 Canadians agree that racism is a terrible thing, almost half admit to having racist thoughts that they would not voice. (All of the Ipsos poll data is available online.)

READ MORE: 37% in Ipsos poll say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat?

Experts are not surprised by these findings.

“We’ve made a number of strides … but there is still a lot of racism in this country,” Ruth Frager, an associate professor at McMaster University’s School of Labour Studies, told Global News. “It’s something that we really have to deal with much more carefully.”

Where stereotypes come from

There’s no shortage of religious and racial stereotypes that people believe. As shown in the Ipsos poll, these include harmful — and often inaccurate — perceptions around people’s faiths.

According to Victoria Esses, a professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Western Ontario, people hold both racist views that they are aware of and also implicit attitudes that are deeply ingrained.

WATCH: Poll — Racism is less of a problem now than before

“We may learn these as kids, we may hear them on the news, we may watch them on television shows and we may hear it from friends. We also may develop these views ourselves,” she said.

Esses said people are more likely to have misconceptions of other faiths if they’ve never experienced or taken part in a religious ceremony outside of their own.

“Discussing people’s beliefs or experiencing their religious practices is a way of ‘demystifying’ them,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘A f-ing n-word’ — York Region high school student says she was beaten, called racial slurs

“If there’s a view that Jewish people go into their synagogue and they’re ‘doing something’ in there but you don’t know what, going in there and seeing that they’re praying like anybody else sort of demystifies the whole practice.”

Barâa Arar, a graduate student who lives in Ottawa, said that many people don’t actually understand her faith and think that because she is Muslim and wears a hijab, she is “a victim” or under the control of a male family member.

“I can’t wear (my) hijab and be me; I have to wear the hijab and represent something — perhaps even something sinister,” she said.

“The narratives of weak or oppressed Muslim women are prevalent in both the news and popular media, and I do think many people have internalized them. In fact, that’s how Muslim women become understood as ‘easy targets’ because often people think we won’t fight back.”

WATCH: ‘People are not judging me for my merits’: Quebec graduate student says racist stereotypes are hurting job opportunities

Arar also said that many people think Islam is violent and regressive when, in reality, it shares many similarities with other world religions.

“I think there is a lot of misinformation, and that’s in part (due) to media and post-9/11 narratives,” she said.

Esses said there are also many harmful stereotypes around immigration and new Canadians.

“One of the common stereotypes in the area of immigration is that many of the people who are coming in claiming refugee status aren’t true refugees who are fleeing war and persecution, but they’re just economic migrants who are using Canada’s so-called ‘generous system’ to unfairly get into the country,” Esses said.

READ MORE: How Indigenous midwives help reconnect women with culture and pregnancy care

“There’s also a stereotype or a belief that skilled immigrants come in and steal jobs, and those who don’t do well are draining our welfare system.”

(Research shows this is not true, and immigrants are actually needed to sustain Canada’s job market.)

Frager said immigrants are often used as “scapegoats” for larger economic issues, like the erosion of certain job markets.

“We’re living in a time when we’ve had a lot of deindustrialization, and a lot of people … across the country who work very hard at jobs are not earning a living wage,” Frager said.

WATCH: Public consultations on systemic racism and discrimination begin in Montreal

“Sometimes, this leads to scapegoating and the fear that if immigrants come in — especially if they are seen as racialized, meaning they don’t look like what a ‘typical Canadian’ is supposed to look like — there’s fear of competition for jobs.”

READ MORE: Nearly 50% of Canadians think racist thoughts are normal, Ipsos poll finds

Stereotypes hurt job opportunities

Stereotypes and prejudice may become even more apparent when physical symbols of religious beliefs are present.

This is something Amrit Kaur, a recent university graduate student who lives in Quebec, experiences. Kaur, who is Sikh and wears a turban, said it’s harder for her to land a job because of how she looks.

WATCH: Ontario government document shows $1K earmarked for anti-racism initiatives

“I feel people are judging me not based on my character or my personality, and they’re not looking at my skills but they’re just looking at what’s on my body and not judging me for my merits,” Kaur said.

“We’ve seen this in the Sikh community when someone who applied for a job as a daycare professional was denied … because of her turban.”

Unfortunately, Kaur’s stories are not uncommon.

READ MORE: 1 in 4 Canadians say it’s becoming ‘more acceptable’ to be prejudiced against Muslims — Ipsos poll

Usha George, a professor and director of Ryerson University’s Centre for Immigration and Settlement, told Global News that even if someone is skilled and qualified for a job, discrimination can prevent them from getting hired.

This is particularly true for immigrants, George said.

“Coming to Canada on the point system does not necessarily guarantee a place in the labour market, simply because other sets of criteria seem to be operating here,” she said.

“Race, attributions of race and notions around people’s abilities all play a part in … (getting) a job.”

When stereotypes are politicized

Experts say stereotypes also affect policies and government laws. In Quebec, many have argued that the province’s so-called secularism bill, Bill 21, is discriminatory and primarily targets Muslims.

The bill aims to prohibit public servants in positions of authority — including primary and secondary school teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards — from wearing religious symbols, like hijabs, on the job.

WATCH: International Day for the Elimination of Racism

Kaur said the bill legitimizes racism and stereotypes and is validating some discriminatory views.

“(It’s) an excuse for people to show racism in the workplace and it is being supported by the government,” she said. “If the government won’t hire you, why should people in the private sector? … This has a trickle-down effect.”

George said that Bill 21 is not an “independent piece of legislation” because its origins, in part, are shaped by 9/11.

“It is all related to the (fear of) extremism that we have seen after 9/11 … and that came together to form this bill to say: ‘OK, no visible signs of religion in the public place,’” she said. “It is associated with a lot of history.”

How to challenge stereotypes and move away from them

When it comes to hiring, Esses said that “blind hiring” is a practice that can help combat discrimination.

READ MORE: ‘Canadians should see this film’ — Colten Boushie doc sets out on national tour

“I think if we have clear criteria for decision-making, we’re less likely to be influenced by our implicit biases,” she said.

Fruger said a lack of education and understanding of different ethnicities and religions helps fuel sterotypes. If someone does not understand a faith, for example, they are more likely to believe misinformation.

READ MORE: University of New Brunswick professor under investigation over white nationalist comments

Combating stereotypes and harmful views starts in the classroom.

“Educators (need to) work on ways to reach children and really promote an anti-racist educational curriculum because we are not doing enough of that here,” Fruger said.

Kaur agreed.

“If we regularly interact with people from faith-based backgrounds who wear religious symbols, that fear goes away, and you slowly realize that they’re no different than you and I,” Kaur said.

“They have families, they work hard, they pay their taxes — they’re no different.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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15% of Canadians would never marry outside their race: Ipsos poll – National

by BBG Hub

At least 15 per cent of Canadians would never have a relationship with someone outside their race, according to an exclusive poll by Ipsos for Global News.

The poll found participants with only a high school education (20 per cent) and Ontario residents (19 per cent) were more likely to share this point of view.

All of the Ipsos poll data is available online.

Natasha Sharma, a relationship expert and creator of The Kindness Journal, told Global News that in large, diverse urban centres like Toronto or Vancouver, being in an interracial relationship is less shocking than it is in rural and suburban neighbourhoods.

“Interracial marriages in Canada are more common than ever and, potentially, on the rise,” she said.

According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 4.6 per cent of all married and common-law couples in Canada were mixed unions — that is, about 360,045 couples. Out of that number, 3.9 per cent of all couples had one person who was a visible minority and one who was not, while 0.7 per cent of all couples included two people from different minority groups.

The data also found some groups were more likely to be in mixed unions compared to others. That year, Japanese individuals were most likely to be in an interracial relationship, followed by Latin Americans and black people. However, two of the largest visible minority groups in Canada — South Asians and Chinese — had the smallest number of couples in mixed relationships.

READ MORE: 1 in 4 Canadians say it’s becoming ‘more acceptable’ to be prejudiced against Muslims — Ipsos poll

Sharma added that while interracial relationships are more generally accepted than they have been in years prior, in some communities and more remote areas in the country, she can see why these types of relationships wouldn’t work.

“Unfortunately, it is still too difficult for some parents or in-laws to accept, and family estrangement on this basis still happens today,” she said. “This can be incredibly painful for all involved, and especially the married couple.”

Preference vs. prejudice

Diversity researcher, writer and lawyer Hadiya Roderique told Global News the results from the poll don’t surprise her.

“You could say that it might be higher in some cases because people could be impacted by social desirability,” she said.

She explained that often in narratives of interracial relationships, there is the idea that people prefer one race over another — and it’s not racism.

Though she understands why some minority groups would not want to date outside their race, Roderique said sometimes, it comes down to prejudice. A Black person, for example, may be more comfortable with a Black partner who understands anti-blackness or other experiences faced by Black people.

WATCH: Interracial couple evicted from property because husband is black

“There’s a difference between preference and prejudice,” Roderique said. “The difference is the word ‘never.’ It is ruling out the possibility that you could never be attracted to someone from a different race.”

READ MORE: Nearly 50% of Canadians think racist thoughts are normal — Ipsos poll

She added there is a clear difference between saying, “I would never date a blond versus I prefer brunettes.” In one case, she explained, a person is implying they would never date someone who has blond hair, no matter the circumstance. This is often the conversation people have when they talk about race, experts added.

“‘I would never date a Black person’ is very different from saying, ‘I have never dated a Black person,’” Roderique said. The other thing about preferences, she added, is that they are not purely biological.

“Our social world plays a very important role in determining what we like and what we don’t like in a variety of things.”

This even comes down to what we find attractive — or what society tells us is attractive — and how we relate this to our dating lives.

“That’s why we have things like anti-Black racism… We’re given messages all the time… Even in the Black community, people will be anti-Black,” she said.

Countless reports have touched on a race hierarchy when it comes to dating. Writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied previously wrote that Black women and women of colour have a place in society’s ‘desirability’ hierarchy.

“And that’s, sadly, right at the bottom. Put simply, Black women — and especially dark-skinned black women without Eurocentric features — are rarely ever seen or depicted as desirable,” she wrote in the Evening Standard.

WATCH: Interracial marriages: Expressing love in the face of prejudice 

Even dating sites like OkCupid have pointed out how some races are more desired than others. According to a 2014 report by NPR, data showed that most straight men on the app rated Black women as less attractive compared to other races.

And when we continue to get these types messages through dating, pop culture or even through family, Roderique said it can sway someone’s decision on who they will and won’t date.

“We can’t ignore the social roots of attractiveness and also the messaging we get on what and who is attractive,” she said.

Navigating an interracial relationship

There’s also the issue that interracial dating may just make some people feel uncomfortable, Sharma added.

“Whenever a person is uncomfortable, it’s generally because they encounter something unfamiliar and are unwilling to ‘try it out’ to confirm that there is nothing to be afraid of,” she explained. “Some people walk through life with very rigid beliefs and biases and look for cues and signs that only confirm these beliefs/biases and discard information that would contradict them. It’s not a very open-minded — or enlightened — way to live life.”

Sarah Sahagian of Toronto met her partner Brandon, who is Indian and Chinese, when she was 31.

The 33-year-old, who is of English, Scottish and Armenian descent, said Brandon wasn’t the first person of colour she dated, but all her serious relationships had been with white men.

“Brandon was, therefore, the first non-white guy I brought home to meet my family,” she said. “My parents and siblings immediately loved him. However, my grandfather, who has now passed, probably wouldn’t have.”

Brandon and Sarah. Photo courtesy of the couple.  

She said that while she does miss her grandfather, the reality is he would not have accepted their relationship.

READ MORE: Living In Colour returns to talk interracial marriage, cosplay, incarceration and employment

“It saddens and sometimes enrages me to realize he might not be happy for me if he were alive to attend our impending wedding,” she said.

Sahagian said living in a city like Toronto helps — the two hardly get side-eye as an interracial couple.

“However, we have noticed that when we leave the city, we can get glares and even some racist comments thrown our way,” she said. “I know there are racist people in Toronto… However, the high number of interracial couples make us less remarkable. We blend in and do not usually attract a specific person’s ire.”

Making the relationship work

Henna Khawja, 32, and Ryan Hilliard, 33, have been married for five years. Khawja, a Muslim-Pakistani woman based in Toronto, said both her and her husband’s African-American family were surprised when the two decided they wanted to get married.

“On top of the differences in ethnicity, our families also practised different religions, and they lived in different countries,” she said. “My parents have a typical South Asian immigrant experience of arriving in Toronto in the late ’60s, while his parents have a historical African-American experience. Both sides have their own unique narratives of displacement, migration and intergenerational trauma.”

Khawja said it was “a fight at times” because both of their parents were so unfamiliar with the other’s race. But for them, religion played a large role in making it work. About 13 years ago, Hilliard converted to Islam from Christianity after being raised in an African Methodist Episcopal church.

Henna and Ryan. Credit: Calla Evans

“Religion played a huge role in our story,” she continued. “It was what we connected on and what has kept us together through the most turbulent times of our relationship thus far.”

In the end, this also helped the families accept their union.

“His parents respected that he was marrying a Muslim woman, and my family accepted that I was marrying him, despite the differences in cultural identity,” she said. “We had five events to celebrate our union in both Toronto and Chicago spanning across seven months, both communities in attendance to celebrate our Pakistani and African-American traditions.”

Couples dealing with the struggle

It may have worked out for Khawja and Hilliard, but for some people in interracial relationships, it can be a struggle to get your family on board.

Khawja said she and her husband often get asked for advice, and her response is: always be honest.

“It is not easy. It will be a battle, you may lose loved ones in your life, and it is up to you both to decide whether or not it is worth the fight,” she explained. “For us, it was not an option to marry without the blessings of our parents, and although it took time, it was worth it for us. We feel blessed and grateful as a result. For others, we recognize approval may never be an option, or it may not be a safe option.”

READ MORE: 37% say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat, exactly?

Sharma said you should always remember you are marrying a person, not a family.

“Set appropriate and healthy boundaries with all family outside your marriage, and make sure your partner does the same,” she said. “If there’s family tension, be reasonably sure before you marry that you and your partner will put each other first, and step up with healthy boundaries with family.”

Methodology: These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News between April 8 and 10, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians from the Ipsos I-Say panel was interviewed. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Can I fully commit?’: The millennials who have never been in a relationship – National

by BBG Hub

When friends tell Dave they have the “perfect girl” for him, he welcomes the introduction.

The 28-year-old business professional (who asked to use his first name only) goes on dates but has never been in a serious, long-term relationship, and is open to meeting a potential partner. He sees his friends around him getting married, but he’s just not there yet.

READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

“In high school, dating wasn’t something that was top of mind for me. There were crushes and flirting, but I always felt that I lacked the social confidence to take those friendships or crushes to a more serious place,” he told Global News.

“As I’ve gotten older… I have been able to open myself more and have had longer relationships, but now it has gone from, ‘I don’t want to commit,’ to, ‘Can I fully commit?’”

Canadians aren’t partnering up

Dave is not alone in his situation. Experts say it is not uncommon for Canadians in their late 20s or early 30s — a time in life when people traditionally marry and “settle down” — to have never been in a committed romantic relationship.

WATCH BELOW: How to deal with a breakup

“The whole dating game in general has changed,” said Shannon Tebb, a Toronto-based dating coach and matchmaker. “People aren’t really dating as much as they used to and… it’s not like the old days where you have to be married by 25, have a baby and the white picket fence. It’s not about that rush anymore.”

While it may seem surprising that many millennials have never been in a committed partnership, research backs up that our attitudes around relationships are shifting.

As a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute found, 53 per cent of Canadian adults feel marriage isn’t necessary. The poll, which surveyed 1,520 Canadians, found four in 10 adults were never married and were unsure if they wanted to get hitched.

READ MORE: More millennials are signing prenups — and experts say that’s a good thing

Many people who have never been in a relationship don’t think their single status is that big of a deal, either.

“I’m completely comfortable where I am,” Dave said. “I’d love to get married, have a family and all that comes with that life, but I also don’t compare myself to other people. I have milestones in my own life and a career that I focus on.”

Why people are single

Like Dave, 27-year-old Ally (who also asked to use her first name only) likes to focus on her professional goals. The Toronto-based administrator says she’s never seriously dated someone, and is in no rush to partner up with just anyone.

Ally says because she has been single for most of her adult life, she has been able to spend time and energy on advancing her career.

WATCH BELOW: Online dating profile tips

“Sometimes it feels like fitting in another person would be difficult, actually,” she said. “I like the freedom of being single, and that it’s allowed me to focus on my career and get myself into a very secure spot.”

This sentiment is something Jess O’Reilly, a Toronto-based relationship expert and host of the podcast Sex With Dr. Jess, hears a lot.

“I see more millennials embracing a wider range of relationship options without apology; some opt to stay single and others opt for consensual non-monogamy — and of course, everything in between,” she said.

READ MORE: Where are Canada’s singles? The census found them

“Some folks stay single because they find dating exhausting and others are single because they’re busy with work and social obligations, but in most cases, this is a choice.”

There are cases, of course, where being single is less of a choice and more a result of not finding the right partner.

For 30-year-old Mat (who also wished to only use his first name), dating isn’t easy. The Ontario-based media officer has autism, but says his condition is only part of why he doesn’t date.

“First of all, it’s about low self-confidence. I am scared [of] being judged by the person I would be dating,” he explained. “The other reason is because of my neurological condition, I don’t want any children. So everyone who wants to have or has children is a no-go area for me.”

WATCH BELOW: Causes of rejection & how to deal with it

Mat says that he is also sometimes uncomfortable when it comes to the act of dating. He says that social situations can be hard, and online dating isn’t for him.

“I am not a snob by nature, but most dating apps are superficial,” he said. “They are something you use for five minutes and you then tune out.”

Tebb largely blames dating apps for the breakdown in traditional dating practices, like calling someone on the phone or surprising them with flowers. She says that with the convenience of apps, people have started to engage in less-than-desirable dating habits, like ghosting.

READ MORE: ‘Roughest period of my life’: The emotional trauma of calling off a wedding

“With social media and dating apps, you’re always kind of comparing yourself to others or searching for something better,” she added. “People are just making connections through their phones versus face-to-face.”

Wanting to connect

The downside of dating apps is something Nigel D’Souza can relate to. The cook says that he’s tried dating sites but often won’t get responses, and has a hard time meeting people offline, too.

D’Souza says he does want a partner, and it can feel discouraging when he tries to connect with someone but has little luck. The longest relationship he’s had was three months long, and he wants a long-term partner to “grow alongside.”

WATCH BELOW: How to trust your partner

“There are times where I’m neutral about my situation, and try to look at it as a positive [by] trying to work on myself and focus on my own goals,” he said. “Most times, however, I get pretty depressed about it… I see a lot of friends getting married and having kids and that feels like a total dream for me.”

When someone wants to find a partner but is having difficulty, getting out of their comfort zone can help, Tebb says. The relationship expert says that when you feel like you’re “missing out” on things like marriage and kids because you’re single, it’s important to widen your network.

“What communities are you a part of? Do you have a singles network of friends? If not, it should be your priority to build that,” Tebb explained.

READ MORE: ‘Wrong, hurtful and unhealthy’: How to navigate love triangles

She said that by “putting yourself out there” — whether that be by joining a running group, art class or book club — you’re building a larger community.

“You don’t just want to have those married friends, but you also want to have single friends who like to do the same things as you,” she said.

Enjoying the single life

O’Reilly stresses that it’s perfectly OK to be single at any stage of your life. For some people, they are happiest when they’re pursuing goals that best align with them — and those don’t always include marriage and kids.

WATCH BELOW: Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

“It’s up to you to decide whether or not you’re missing out,” she said. “Some people are happier when they’re single and others are happier living with a partner. There is no right way to live, so you have to figure out what works for you.”

While Dave is still hopeful he will meet the “right” person, he is no hurry to rush into a relationship.

“I’m hopeful that I hit the married and family milestones eventually, but if it happens in three years or in 10 years, I’ll be just as happy,” he said.

“For now, I’ll just enjoy partying at everyone else’s wedding.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Reality check: Do you really need that metal wire in your mouth? – National

by BBG Hub

If you’ve had braces in the last decade, chances are you’ve also been recommended a permanent retainer.

The slim metal bar is placed behind the front of one’s teeth, typically glued to the canine teeth on either side of the mouth.

It’s usually intended for years of use. In some cases, a patient can have a permanent retainer for decades.

READ MORE: Canadians support publicly funded dental care for those without insurance, Ipsos poll finds

This can be frustrating for someone who has just completed many long — and expensive — years of orthodontic work.

But, according to Dr. Jay Philippson, a permanent retainer is the best way to maintain your newly straightened smile.

Philippson works as an orthodontist in Duncan, B.C., and is the president of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.

Most of his patients are given a permanent retainer on their bottom set of teeth.

“The bottom teeth are the teeth that tend to shift more than any others following treatment,” Philippson told Global News.

READ MORE: Five popular oral health myths debunked

“If the bottom teeth stay straight, and the occlusion (known as the contact between the upper and lower teeth) is where it’s supposed to be, they actually act as a bit of a foundation to help keep the top teeth straight.”

Permanent retainers are typically given to patients after they’ve had braces — including clear aligners like Invisalign.

If a permanent retainer is in your future, here’s what you need to know.

Why do I need one?

According to Dr. Brian Laski of Laski OrthoSmiles, teeth are susceptible to moving at any age.

“Retention is, unfortunately, something that we have to deal with for our entire lives,” he said. “If we don’t retain the teeth, they will move.”

A number of factors can contribute to your teeth shifting over time.

“Some people believe it’s because there are fibres in the gums connecting the teeth that want to shift them back to their original position,” said Laski. “There’s also pressures on the teeth from our bite, especially if a patient is grinding their teeth at night. Even just normal chewing exerts pressure on the teeth.”

Our facial structure is also constantly changing, which can further move our teeth.

How much does it cost?

Orthodontic work doesn’t come cheap, and a permanent retainer is no exception.

The metal bar can cost anywhere from $300 to $500, but in Dr. Laski’s view, this is a small price to pay if it means maintaining the results of earlier orthodontic work.

“Think of it as an insurance policy,” said Laski.

“I think people would much rather invest a little bit extra for retainers at the end (of treatment) in hopes that they don’t need treatment again during their lifetime.”

READ MORE: ‘I didn’t think I’d be able to smile again’ — Specialists help to save Bowmanville woman’s smile

Philippson agrees.

“I think we realized, as a specialty, that the teeth can and do move at any time… but people were going through a time-consuming and relatively expensive procedure to get their teeth straight,” Philippson said.

“It’s incumbent on us to provide them with the ability to keep those teeth straight.”

There’s no guarantee that the teeth will move, but the permanent retainer is an easy way to ensure they don’t.

“If I could tell a person, ‘your teeth aren’t going to move,’ it would be great! I just can’t do that,” said Philippson.

Is it forever?

While the glue that binds a permanent retainer to your teeth isn’t magic, the hope is that it lasts for a while.

In Philippson’s practice, he prefers that his patients keep the retainer until they are at least 20 years old.

At that age… if they want me to take it out, I will (but) I’ll caution them that those teeth can and do shift,” he said.

The main reason Philippson sees patients request to have the retainer removed is tartar retention.

WATCH: The cost of no dental care for Canadians

You likely suffer from this if your dental hygienist has to spend a fair amount of time cleaning the tartar off the area behind your front teeth where the retainer is.

“I monitor my patients for three to four visits after the braces come off, every six months or so,” said Philippson.

“If my patients come in… and the tartar is building up, I’m not going to want to risk the gum disease that can go along with that.”

However, in this instance, Philippson would still recommend a removable retainer to replace the permanent retainer.

READ MORE: Dartmouth man ‘feels punished’ because he was denied provincial dental benefits for working full time

Laski, on the other hand, recommends a lifetime retainer.

“These retainers need to stay in for life,” he said.

Laski treats several adults, many of whom are returning to an orthodontist after two or three rounds of treatment.

“That proves that it doesn’t matter if you’ve always had straight teeth or if you’ve had orthodontic treatment… teeth are susceptible to move at any age,” Laski said.

“It’s most frustrating for people who have had orthodontic treatment because they invest a lot of time and money. Certainly, they don’t want to have to go through it again.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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4 Calgary bars make list of 50 best in Canada – Calgary

by BBG Hub

Four Calgary bars are among those featured on a list of the 50 best in Canada in 2019.

The list of Canada’s 50 Best Bars, compiled by the website Canada’s 100 Best, was released on Monday and features nine spots across Alberta.

These are the best 100 restaurants in Canada right now

The bars are chosen by a panel of judges from across the country.

According to a statement on the website, a great bar starts with an atmospheric setting and an exceptional beverage program.

“We think excellent cocktails are just like the best food: they should respect the past but do more than simply repeat it. And we think that any good bartender should be able to pull off that trick with a non-alcoholic mix, too.”

The Calgary bars featured on the list were Proof (8), Betty Lou’s Library (37), Bar Annabelle (44) and Milk Tiger Lounge (48).

Canada’s 50 best bars in 2019

  1. Bar Raval – Toronto, Ont.
  2. The Keefer Bar – Vancouver, B.C.
  3. Civil Liberties – Toronto, Ont.
  4. PrettyUgly – Toronto, Ont.
  5. Atwater Cocktail Club – Montreal, Que.
  6. ColdRoom – Montreal, Que.
  7. Maison CloakRoom – Montreal, Que.
  8. Proof – Calgary, Alta.
  9. Botanist – Vancouver, B.C.
  10. The Bar at Alo – Toronto, Ont.
  11. El Pequeño – Montreal, Que.
  12. Gift Shop at Ossington – Toronto, Ont.
  13. Clementine – Edmonton, Alta.
  14. Nacarat – Montreal, Que.
  15. Prohibition – Vancouver, B.C.
  16. The Diamond – Vancouver, B.C.
  17. Lot Six Bar & Restaurant – Halifax, N.S.
  18. The Shameful Tiki Room – Toronto, Ont. / The Shameful Tiki Room – Vancouver, B.C.
  19. The Cocktail Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  20. Bar Bricco – Edmonton, Alta.
  21. Baijiu Bar – Edmonton, Alta.
  22. Midfield Wine Bar & Tavern – Toronto, Ont.
  23. BarChef – Toronto, Ont.
  24. Nénuphar – Quebec City, Que.
  25. Paris Paris – Toronto, Ont.
  26. 1608 – Quebec City, Que.
  27. Roost – Winnipeg, Man.
  28. StillWell Beer Bar – Halifax, N.S.
  29. Chez Tao! – Quebec City, Que.
  30. Lobby Lounge – Vancouver, B.C.
  31. Noble – Halifax, N.S.
  32. Thirteen Pies Pizza + Bar – Saskatoon, Sask.
  33. The Bar at Ayden – Saskatoon, Sask.
  34. Le Royal – Montreal, Que.
  35. The Cocktail Bar at Hawksworth – Vancouver, B.C.
  36. Five & Dime – Saint John, N.B.
  37. Betty Lou’s Library – Calgary, Alta.
  38. Soif Bar à vin – Gatineau, Que.
  39. Birreria Volo – Toronto, Ont.
  40. Lopan – Toronto, Ont.
  41. Le King Hall – Sherbrooke, Que.
  42. Burdock Brewer – Toronto, Ont.
  43. Mahjong Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  44. Bar Annabelle – Calgary, Alta.
  45. Coffee Oysters Champagne / À Toi – Toronto, Ont.
  46. The Cloak Bar – Toronto, Ont.
  47. The Woodcutter’s Blanket – Whitehorse, Yukon
  48. Milk Tiger Lounge – Calgary, Alta.
  49. Grapes & Soda – Vancouver, B.C.
  50. Luxus Lounge – St John’s, N.L.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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