Hip hop paves the way forward

Mark V. Campbell, Ryerson University

Canada’s cultural institutions need hip hop communities now more than ever. I say this after working as a guest curator at one of Canada’s most significant art galleries — the McMichael Canadian Art Collection — for its first-ever show on hip hop, “…Everything Remains Raw: Photographing Toronto Hip Hop Culture from Analogue to Digital.”

The exhibition, on display until Oct. 21, features Canadian photographers, graffiti writers, painters and video artists whose aesthetic renderings of life within Toronto’s hip hop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s are directly related to this country’s global billboard dominance today.

Hip hop culture, dismissed as fad when it first emerged out of New York City in the 1970s, has grown into a cultural phenomenon with global purchase power which translates differently in countries around the world, from France to Mongolia to Brazil.

Through mainstream media, we have been exposed to many nefarious images of Black criminality as well as images of conspicuous consumption.


Read more:
The Juno Awards finally celebrate hip hop, but is it too late?


The social critique and protest roots of this globalized and youth-driven art form, hip hop, provide some responses to these images and ideas.

One needs only to look at the trajectories of the Pulitzer Prize (awarded to Kendrick Lamar this year) or at France’s world-renowned Louvre (which accommodated the filming of The Carters’ music video) to notice that hip hop culture is doing more than entertaining the masses.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are helping to redefine Blackness.

 

The dozen artistic classics Beyoncé and Jay-Z include in their lavish video for “Apes%$t”, range from the Mona Lisa to the Raft of Medusa. Their images are not just an art history lesson, but also, arguably, a rewriting of the aesthetic codes that denigrate Blackness while upholding whiteness as a beauty standard.

A necessary shift in cultural institutions

Hip hop is not just about rap music. This subculture also includes graffiti art, bboying/bgirling (aka breakdancing) and DJing. Hip hop is a multidisciplinary and multi-sensory art form.

Hip hop culture illuminates a way forward within Canadian cultural institutions’ growth, evolution and vibrancy. It may seem that the spontaneity and improvisation of hip hop — cornerstones of the culture’s innovative core threaded seamlessly throughout dance, djing, rhyming and painting — are structurally and policy-wise an impossibility within cultural institutions.

Hamilton artist and hip hop pioneer Eklipz discusses the three-piece graffiti mural he created for “…Everything Remains Raw.”

 

Yet, thinking about how to take hip hop culture seriously for public-serving organizations like schools, libraries and arts institutions, is a significant and necessary shift in values and operational practices within some of our aging institutions.

The exhibit is an example of how an important cultural institution can work with and for hip hop culture in a way that honours the culture’s innovative, multilayered and postmodern nature. Together, with the team at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, we developed an intercultural competency.

This kind of remixed engagement with the works of the Groups of Seven and the thousands of other canonical visual art pieces is only possible with a generosity on the institution’s part to learn experientially about the new audiences they want to cultivate.

Our goal was to curate a group exhibition of a dozen artists from Black, white, Indigenous, Asian and mixed backgrounds in 2018 while staying true to the mission Robert McMichael imagined when he built his gallery in 1955.

Curating is like DJing

In order to accomplish the daunting task of curating a public art exhibition focused on the multiplicity Toronto hip hop, I relied on the skills and values I learned as a DJ.

For 18 years, I hosted and sometimes DJ’d with my team members Kareem, Martin and DJ Spontaneous. We used our research and taste-making skills to find, create and present original songs and remixes. We relied on interactions with callers, guests and the music itself. Spontaneity and improvisation were central to the process.

Many of these collaborative techniques became critical to the success of “…Everything Remains Raw.” We put diversity at the core and worked with the artists to help create an inclusive exhibition.

Diversity at the core

Through an improvisatory outdoor video works by Mark Valino (in collaboration with various dancers), I encouraged an appreciation of the work of Tom Thomson.

Everything Remains Raw…gallery exhibit.
Courtesy of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

 

David Strickland’s Owl Series was opened up by Norval Morrisseau’s brightly coloured Thunderbird with Inner Spirit allowed for a glimpse into the usage of Cree, Haida and various other Indigenous symbols.

Sheinina Raj’s Ghost of Ghetto Concept (1998) and Elicser’s TDot Roof Tops (2018) both fostered a different appreciation of landscape and environment, one that speaks with and to works by A.Y. Jackson and Emily Carr, among others.

David Strickland’s Spirit Of Hip Hop, 2016. This piece shows the Hip Hop Medicine Wheel and was the inspiration for his forthcoming album.
30 x 40 inches Acrylic on Canvas/Courtesy of the artist

Hip hop as curriculum

Learning is key here as the gallery hosts hundred of schools each year, where elementary and high school students learn about Canadian culture through the paint brushes of people like Alex Janvier and Lawren Harris.

I learned more about Indigenous life in Canada from Indigenous artists like the painter and sound engineer David Strickland, Saskatoon’s Eekwol and the recently MTV Video awardee Dreezus, than the inadequate curriculum I grew up with in the 1980s and 1990s.

Their beats and rhymes are infectious and lure me to look through another window, to see a Turtle Island view of Canadian society, a world few non-Indigenous, settler Canadians know well.

My intercultural competency grows as I experience and enjoy their music, interviews and art.

The presence of these hip hop heads, next to the important works of art-world luminaries like Christi Belcourt, Leanne Simpson and Kent Monkman, are poised to make Canadians more informed and better stewards of the land.

Everything Remains Raw…gallery exhibit.
Courtesy of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

Hip hop’s critical attention

It’s easy to consume hip hop as nothing more than entertainment. However, I believe we should strive to engage hip hop as a living and evolving culture that rhymes across national borders and flattens walls to create bridges of intercultural learning.

The harder work is to engage hip hop as a cultural ethos that refuses to solely entertain, extending a long tradition of Black art forms that predate the market and do double duty now as commodities and social critique.

Hip hop in Canada creates the possibility for more and better representations of all of our lives. For example, check out Montréal’s Yassin ‘Narcy’ Alsalman (formerly the Narcicyst whose music, which makes a guest appearance on Ottawa’s a Tribe Called Red’s track, “R.E.D.” illuminates a world of intercultural artistic adventures via Muslim, Indigenous and African American perspectives in hip hop.

Critical attention to, and appreciation of, hip hop artists’ work in Canada is not a magical solution for aging cultural institutions. Policies, budgets, timelines and all the fun stuff of cultural work complicate the work. But this is the work.

The work ahead to ensure cultural institutions reflect our contemporary society will take collaborative yet inclusive muscle, improvisatory poetics and intercultural competency.

From award committees to guest curatorial ingenuity, our cultural landscape can only benefit from spending time with the various innovations that has given hip hop culture its staying power and its consistently replenishing relevance in fashion, music, language and more.

Toronto-based artist EGR discusses her background and training as an artist for “…Everything Remains Raw”

 

Globally, hip hop culture can have an impact across a variety of geographic, political, linguistic and cultural borders.

If we envision hip hop culture as something other than the dynamic globalized intercultural force it has proven to be, we will miss an opportunity to develop new tools to negotiate our entangled, overlapping and intersecting cultural futures here in Canada.

Northside Hip Hop playlist:

The Conversation

Mark V. Campbell, Adjunct Professor, Radio and Television Arts School of Media + Director for Cultural Strategies, Faculty of Communication and Design Forum, Ryerson University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Trump-Trudeau tiff is the latest in a history of President-PM disputes

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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G7 leaders summit on June 8, 2018. Trump sent angry tweets about his Canadian host shortly after the summit ended.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ron Stagg, Ryerson University

Canadians were puzzled by Donald Trump’s suggestion that national security concerns required tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum — and then stunned even more by the U.S. president’s personal attacks on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the aftermath of the G7 summit.

What perhaps was more bewildering was Trump’s threat to punish Canada for Trudeau’s rather mild rebuke about the tariffs. Even some Americans were so shocked that they leapt to the defence of Canada.

The short-term effect of this one-sided confrontation is causing a drop in value of the Canadian dollar, and calling into question the success of NAFTA talks with a belligerent U.S. administration.

While this very public spat is perhaps the most publicized disagreement between an American president and a Canadian prime minister, there have been notable confrontations in the past.

JFK and Dief disliked each other

In the modern era, perhaps the spat that came closest in tone to the current one was between John F. Kennedy and John Diefenbaker, only in that case both sides were confrontational.

The reasons for the animosity were numerous. Diefenbaker, from an earlier generation, came from a modest background. He saw Kennedy as a spoiled rich kid. Kennedy felt that Diefenbaker, who spoke in language suited to the 19th century and tended to lecture, boring and pedantic.

The Canadian was an anglophile who regarded the United States as a brash upstart which was a danger to the Canadian economy. The late 1950s saw a surge in American investment in Canadian natural resources. The Kennedy administration wanted Canada to cut ties with post-revolutionary Cuba, which it had refused to do, and to accept nuclear weapons under American control, stationed on Canadian soil.

Archive video from the Canadian Broadcast Corp. on U.S. President John Kennedy’s visit to Ottawa in 1961.

Kennedy visited Ottawa in 1961, hoping to pressure Ottawa on these and other issues. He pronounced Diefenbaker’s name incorrectly, which offended the thin-skinned prime minister, and accidentally left behind a memo listing ways the Canadians could be “pushed” to accept the American position.

When the memo was found, this only confirmed Diefenbaker’s worst ideas about the Americans. Reportedly, Kennedy had scrawled “SOB” in the margin, no doubt in frustration. Kennedy’s description of Diefenbaker to his confidants was, as they say, not suitable for a family newspaper.

Another irritant for Diefenbaker was Kennedy’s friendly relationship with Diefenbaker’s opponent, the Liberal leader Lester Pearson. The Liberals had changed their position to one of accepting nuclear weapons. They got along so well that the Kennedy administration assisted the Liberals to defeat Diefenbaker in 1963 by sending Kennedy’s personal pollster, an early expert in the field, to assess what the public wanted.

Did LJB grab Pearson by the lapels?

However, Pearson had a falling out with Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson. Though Pearson’s government sold war materials to the United States, its position was that the United States should withdraw from Vietnam.

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and President Lyndon B. Johnson talk with the media at Camp David in 1965. The day before this picture was taken, Pearson had delivered a speech that questioned the U.S. role in Vietnam.
The Associated Press

The Canadian government did not heavily emphasize this position, because it didn’t want to create a rift with its ally, but in 1965 Pearson gave a speech at Temple University in Pennsylvania in which he suggested it would be best if the United States withdrew. Johnson requested that Pearson come to see him and then tore into Pearson.

Accounts of the meeting vary, in terms of whether Johnson grabbed Pearson by the lapels or not, but he definitely said something like, “don’t come into my room and piss on my rug.”

Pierre Trudeau angered Nixon, Reagan

Pierre Trudeau was the prime minister who incurred the anger of two presidents.

In his youth, Trudeau had visited China in the 1950s, when it was unusual for foreigners to go to the newly communist country, and as prime minister he had a friendly relationship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, arch-nemesis of American conservatives. Trudeau was regarded by these conservatives — and even some who were not conservative — as a leader who was, at best, soft on communism and, at worst, a fellow traveller.

Richard Nixon, who had been a supporter of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy during the latter’s anti-communist crusade of the 1940s and ‘50s, looked on the flashy and long-haired Trudeau with suspicion. It didn’t help that Trudeau gave a speech in the early months of the Nixon administration, claiming the anti-ballistic missile system the United States was developing would threaten world peace.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau introduces President Richard Nixon to members of the welcoming line at Ottawa airport on the U.S. president’s 1972 trip to the Canadian capital.
(CP PHOTO/Peter Bregg)

While generally not paying a lot of attention to Canadian-American relations, Nixon was angered when the Trudeau government introduced a motion in Parliament condemning the 1972 renewed bombing of North Vietnam. Nixon continued to have a personal dislike for Trudeau (whom he privately referred to as “that asshole”), but subsequent economic threats by the United States were worked out amicably.

After good relations during the Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter years, another strong anti-communist, Ronald Reagan, took office. Ever the gentleman, Reagan did not engage in public criticism of Trudeau.

Reagan opposed Canada’s NEP

This situation was helped by the fact that Reagan generally did not engage in the development of policy, which could lead to conflicts. However, he listened to those who did and this led to a confrontation over Canada’s National Energy Policy (NEP), introduced shortly before Reagan took office.

Designed to decrease the revenue of (largely American) oil firms and to subsidize exploration by Canadian firms, leading to the Canadianization of the oil industry, the NEP caused an immediate backlash from American firms, which began to withdraw exploration equipment from Canada.

Reagan showed little frustration in public, but confided his feelings to his diary. Combined with the Foreign Investment Review Agency, which screened major purchases of Canadian firms by foreign buyers, the NEP represented to the Reagan administration an anti-American shift in Canadian policy. Relations remained strained until Trudeau left office in 1984.

What distinguishes all of these hostile disagreements from the current one is the very public nature of the disagreement, and the public threat to punish Canada for its prime minister’s rebuke of the American president.

The ConversationThe question is, will this rift prove as transitory as previous ones or will it lead to a prolonged period of political or economic instability in Canadian-American relations?

Ron Stagg, Professor of History, Ryerson University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto is healing and resurgence in action

File 20180608 191978 1muve93.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Designs by Jeneen Frei Njootli on the runway at the Frost Moon Showcase at Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto last weekend.
(Red Works Photography) 

Riley Kucheran, Ryerson University

Last week, Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and beyond gathered on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee in Tkaronto for the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO).

After decades of smaller endeavours (Chi-Miigwetch to the Elders, forerunners and friends who laid the groundwork), a fully realized IFWTO has come to fruition. Founder and artistic director Sage Paul, along with developmental director Kerry Swanson and producer Heather Haynes, launched a beautiful new festival that centres on community and land.

It was not your typical fashion week.

A slideshow of selected events from Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.

Signs that Indigenous people do fashion differently appeared early at a preview hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum. Fresh off its installation at a nearby Toronto intersection, Jay Soule (aka Chippewar) hung a sign between two silenced mannequins that asked, “Hey Canada shouldn’t ‘reconciliation’ mean the return of stolen land and honouring the treaties?”

‘I found some electrical tape in a ball on the floor I decided to put an X across their mouth’s to signify Indians in this country being seen and not heard. The way tourism Canada uses Indigenous people as the token marketing tool to the international community. (@chippewar)’
Chippewar/Instagram 

A few days later at a reception hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the thunderous songs and spoken words of Rosary Spence and Tantoo Cardinal reverberated through the halls of Queen’s Park. The scene recalled the disruptive power of a painting by Kent Monkman, who came to talk about his recent collaboration with Jean-Paul Gaultier, a noted cultural appropriator.

Daddies (2016) from Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience.
(Kent Monkman)

Four days of runways

Four days of runway shows were organized around moon phases — New Moon, Berry Moon, Harvest Moon and Frost Moon — which honoured emerging talent, regalia makers, matriarchs and northern designers respectively.

As an Ojibway PhD student studying the role of clothing in colonization, and Indigenous fashion as a mobilizer of cultural and economic resurgence, I was honoured to moderate IWFTO panels and to witness the workshops and runway shows.

Warren Steven Scott look during New Moon.
(Red Works Photography)

All designers put their heart and spirit into their clothing and honoured the past while looking to the future. My personal favourites included: Warren Steven Scott (Nlaka’pamux, Toronto) of Comrags, whose collection is deeply rooted in family and community and pays homage to the clothing of his aunties (who helped with the crochet); and Tania Larsson (Gwich’in/Swedish, Northwest Territories) a founding member of Dene Nahjo, a non-profit organization that focuses on cultural revitalization projects in the North, like urban hide tanning workshops in Yellowknife.

Larsson’s “Protect the Caribou” piece spoke to the interconnectedness of our relations: Without caribou, there is no Indigenous fashion, or food sovereignty or existence itself.

Tania Larsson’s ‘Protect the Caribou’ look from the Frost Moon showcase.
(Red Works Photography) 

Interconnectedness was also a lesson shared in workshops on black walnut dyeing with Carola Jones, and ravenstail weaving from the east led by Meghann O’Brien and Navajo rug weaving from the west led by Barbara Teller Ornelas and her sister Lynda Teller Pete.

Holistic connections

In a panel, Jones and Ornelas discussed the significance of culture, story and process in their practice. We found that common among our Nations is an innovate frugality that comes from a deep respect towards land. Knowledge about plants, growing seasons and sustainable agriculture is at the heart of what makes Indigenous clothing so healing.

Barbara Teller Ornelas and Carola Jones discuss Navajo weaving and black walnut dyeing.
(Red Works Photography) 

This is the brilliance of Indigenous design: It is inherently and holistically sustainable, and intimately connected to a web of human and non-human relations. It is also the significant depth lost when cultural (in)appropriation occurs, the topic of a fiery panel with Jesse Wente, Ariel Smith (Native Women in the Arts) and fashion lawyer Anjli Patel.

Teachings about ethics, roles, responsibilities and values are embedded in Indigenous design processes and lost when appropriated. And unless we fix the radically inequitable power imbalance this will not change.

This panel touched on issues such as institutionalized and normalized cultural theft, the lack of legal protection for Indigenous cultural knowledge, and the role of online social media activism in challenging the fashion industry.

Cultural appropriation is not an issue of intellectual freedom or free speech but of colonization itself, the panel concluded. They then discussed Indigenous sovereignty, solidarity with Black Canadians and revolution.

Indigenous futurisms

Indigenous futurisms and the imaginative power of science fiction was the topic of the last panel with Elwood Jimmy, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Skawennati.

We mused on questions posed by Jarrett Martineau on the electronic episode of CBC’s Reclaimed: “How do you imagine the future? What do you want it to look like? And how do you get there?”

Cultural (In)Appropriation Panel.
(Red Works Photography) 

We discussed what Indigenous design can contribute to a sustainable future that seems increasingly unlikely, what our clothing might look like in the future and how technologies of communication, extraction, and manufacture might be harnessed by Indigenous peoples.

A chance to move forward

As our gathering concluded, the resounding sentiment was that IFWTO felt like imagineNATIVE in its early years. The film and media arts festival, now in its 19th year, is nationally and internationally recognized. This provides much hope for the future of Indigenous fashion in Tkaronto, Turtle Island and beyond.

That the team pulled off such a comprehensive event in a short amount of time is impressive. Even more incredible is that they carved out space for gathering and celebrating our culture, which, as Jesse Wente pointed out, was illegal for nearly 75 years under the Indian Act.

It is so rare that we gather like this. Early settler-Canadian colonizers saw the power in our numbers. When we gather we strategize, mobilize and revolutionize — not to mention socialize! We need to do it more often.

The ConversationThe four days of IFWTO left me exhausted but spiritually nourished. It is a shining star in a beautiful constellation that guides us forward.

Riley Kucheran, PhD Student, Indigenous Advisor, Ryerson University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Gender parity and queer awareness needed in mathematics


File 20171109 13351 1xy0l29.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Hidden Figures, the movie, showcased the importance of Black women in mathematics.
(Twentieth Century Fox)

Anthony Bonato, Ryerson University

Equity, diversity and inclusion — EDI — is a trending concept these days. Many institutions now have policies, initiatives and even vice-presidents devoted to EDI — including my own institution, Ryerson University. There is much discussion about how EDI affects productivity and innovation.

Recently, EDI in mathematics was brought to the public discourse. Last month I sat on a panel for EDI in Mathematics at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. Also, Ryerson Science and the Canadian Science Policy Centre recently released the report: Forging Paths to Enhanced Innovation which I highly recommend you read.

We, unfortunately, have an EDI crisis within mathematics. For example, the average Canadian mathematics department has on average fewer than one-fifth female professors. There are only a handful of gay, bisexual or lesbian mathematics professors in Canada that I know. My own department has only three women faculty out of 21 tenured or tenure-track professors: Our percentage of women math faculty members is only 14 per cent.

A visualization created by the 10 and 3 on mathematics departments in Canada’s universities (2015).
http://www.the10and3.com/where-are-the-women-professors-in-canadas-math-and-science-departments/

I’m a gay mathematician. I’ve faced challenges in my journey to full professor of mathematics and I talk about these challenges when I can. I am hoping to inspire others to do the same.

Up until now, I’ve found the silence on EDI in mathematics, especially on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans issues, deafening. I had no role models or advocates as I progressed in my academic career. No one talked about EDI in mathematics departments and few professors or students were public about their identities. There are, however, a few vocal advocates for EDI right now, like Dean Imogen Coe at Ryerson. That makes me think we are on the right track.

The landscape in context

To better understand why there are so few LGBTQI2S voices in mathematics, I gathered together some statistics that might shed light. First, to make a broader point, I start with some shocking statistics related to gay youth.

According to Egale, a LGBTQI2S advocacy non-profit, about one-third of LGBTQI2S teens have attempted suicide, compared to seven per cent of youth in the general population. About half of LGBTQI2S teens have considered suicide, and 19 per cent of trans youth had attempted suicide in the previous year. Almost 70 per cent of trans youth reported verbal harassment over their gender identity, and about half of LGBTQI2S teens were harassed over their sexual orientation. One in five LGBTQI2S adolescents were physically assaulted.

Out of 195 countries in the world, homosexuality is criminalized in 72 of them. That’s 38 per cent. Same-sex marriage is a good indicator of a positive environment for LGBTQI2S folks, but only 23 countries (that’s seven per cent) have legalized same-sex marriage. We are all waiting to see the results of the Australian same-sex marriage referendum this week.

One of my undergraduate professors said that mathematics is a byproduct of luxury in a society. People will not do mathematics if they are struggling with other more basic issues like personal safety or acceptance.

It’s tough to encourage youth to study calculus when they are getting beat up for being who they really are. When your government criminalizes your identity, it makes it that much harder to think about number theory.

There are no surveys that I am aware of specifically regarding LGBTQI2S folk in mathematics. None, and it’s 2017. There is only one relevant survey: Queer in STEM, which was a U.S. national survey, published last year in the Journal of Homosexuality and written about last year in Wired magazine.

The survey had 1,400 responses to a 58-page questionnaire and we may glean some interesting things from it. A majority of participants (57 per cent) were out to their colleagues, which is slightly higher than the U.S. workforce at 47 per cent. That’s positive news.

Also, when there was better gender parity in an academic department, participants reported a higher degree of openness. So better EDI in your STEM workplace makes LGBTQI2S folks more open. When there was a higher degree of openness, participants reported a safer and more welcoming environment.

Changing the culture

There are a number of measures we can take to support EDI.

We need an articulated strategy to achieve gender parity in mathematics departments in the not-so-distant future. To do this, we need to pay special attention to academic hiring, which has a lasting impact on departments owing to the long-term nature of tenure. The process — the way in which we do this outreach and hiring – is incredibly important, as are the outcomes for greater diversity.


(Shutterstock)

There must be greater attention to EDI in senior roles such as mathematics department chairs. I did a stint as department chair and encourage my colleagues, especially my women colleagues, to do the same. We also need to see greater diversity in all levels of university administration and in the leadership in professional societies.

There should greater emphasis on EDI in endowed research chairs. Given the poor track record of universities nominating women for Canada Research Chairs, the Government of Canada introduced new measures for greater EDI in these positions. I hope one day there will be endowed chairs in mathematics specifically aimed at LGBTQI2S people. An Alan Turing Chair has a nice ring to it. The same holds for student scholarships both within and outside the university.

We need to work to make sure our LGBTQI2S know they are not alone. They need to know they are just as capable of progressing successfully in mathematics as their heterosexual or cisgendered counterparts.

Mathematics is a difficult subject regardless the context you are working in and we need as many minds as possible to advance the subject. A proof of the Riemann hypothesis is possibly sitting in some transgendered teens brain as I write this. What an incredible tragedy if that proof never comes to fruition.

There are a small set of groups devoted to queers in STEM. Spectra is one group I know of supporting LGBTQI2S folk in mathematics. Other organizations focus more broadly in STEM, such as LGBT STEM, National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Implementing the ideas described in the recent Forging Paths report by Ryerson Science and the Canadian Science Policy Centre, such as changing perceptions and challenging stereotypes within STEM-based professions, would send us in a positive direction.

We have a long way to go, but I am convinced that with collective effort, EDI in mathematics is achievable. We can no longer hide behind claims that mathematics is genderless, racially neutral and independent of LGBTQI2S issues. Mathematics is studied by people, and its application affects people.

Mathematicians need to embrace our diversity as a strength, not as a burden or weakness.

The ConversationDiversity gives new perspectives and challenges the status quo. Isn’t that what mathematicians actually do for a living? We can and we must do this.

Anthony Bonato, Professor of Mathematics, Ryerson University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.