‘Be it resolved that political correctness has gone too far.’
In the shadow of the global refugee crisis, Islamophobia, #BlackLivesMatter, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report, the Liberal government’s Bill C-16, and the rhetoric of the American presidential election (19 days later), four debaters and three respondents take the stage to discuss an inescapable theme of our time: political correctness. Has it gone too far? Or do we need more of it? Does ‘correcting our politics’ actually change how we think and act as a society? In the end, does political correctness change the way we treat one another… for better or for worse?
Pro (For the Motion)
Ali Chahbar (@AliChahbar) was born and raised in London, Ontario. He attended the University of Western Ontario where he completed an Honors degree in Political Science. Ali obtained his Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Windsor and now practices law at SMG Law Firm in downtown London. Ali currently serves on the President of the Boys and Girls Club of London. He has served on the board of directors of many local organizations including the London Elgin Middlesex Crimestoppers Association as well as the board for Kids Kicking Cancer. Ali and his wife live in London and are the proud parents of two beautiful young daughters
Susan Toth (@TothSusan) has lived in Saudi Arabia, Chile, Brazil, and Canada. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster and her Bachelor of Law degree from Western. She is currently a practicing civil litigator, specializing in employment, labour and human rights law. Susan is an adjunct professor at Western and Brescia, and is also on the board of directors for the Urban League of London. When not lawyering or teaching, she scuba dives and snowboards
Contra (Against the Motion)
Mojdeh Cox (@womenincolour) is an Ontario, Canada based professional in the labour movement who works to advocate for, protect, and fight towards better rights for working people. Her interest in the intersectional nature of race, gender, and class inequality and inequity is intricately woven in her work. Mojdeh has an expertise in devising and facilitating anti-oppression and anti-racism workshops and forums. She is a feminist, activist, working mom of four who is an advocate for human rights and equity. She is also a founder of womenincolour.com and a writer for Our Times, Canada’s independent labour magazine.
Jeffrey Preston (@jeffpreston) is a long-time disability rights activist who currently teaches Digital and Not-for-Profit Marketing in the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business at Fanshawe College. His recently released debut book, The Fantasy of Disability (Routledge, 2016), conducts a psychoanalysis of the representation of disability in the media, such as Glee and Degrassi: The Next Generation, an attempt to demystify ableism in popular culture.
Tim Blackmore is a professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. He teaches in the Media Studies program. He has researched and written at length about war, war technology, propaganda and popular culture. His book, War X, focuses on the way humans understand the world of industrial warfare. His next book, Gorgeous War, is about different ways we use images and media to make war look attractive to ourselves.
Frankie Condon (@frankie_condon) is an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. Frankie’s books include I Hope I Join the Band: Narrative, Affiliation and Antiracist Rhetoric and she is a co-author of The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice (both published by Utah State University Press). She is currently completing research for her third book, Absolute Equality: The Radical Precedents of Post-Racial Rhetorics in the 21st Century, funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Frankie lives in Waterloo with her partner, children, two dogs, a cat, and a chinchilla named Sid.
Sheri Doxtator (@sherideez) is a citizen of and currently resides on the Oneida Nation of the Thames Settlement. She works as consultant in a variety of sectors, most notably as a professional fundraiser. She was elected to the position of Elected Chief in June 2014 for a two year term. She is A’no:wál (Turtle clan) and her name in Oneida is Teyotawunli (pronounced DAY YO DAH WUN), which means ‘travelling woman’. Sheri’s studies include Fundraising Management, Social Profit Sector Management, Spanish studies, Indigenous studies, Political Science and Business. She is a proud Iroquois woman with a long history working for and with all Indigenous people.
Michael Trudgen is a guitarist who loves finger-style guitar, composing, and performing. He was the rhythm guitarist of Messes and Miracles and is the current rhythm guitar for With A Fox. With A Fox’s first song “Rockshow” made it to the finals for Made in London in 2016 and is a feature song with ERIN Radio and Blues & Roots International Radio. His solo work is folk, rock, and contemporary, and his technique has been compared to Don Ross. Recently Michael performed his solo originals in the Whisky House Battle of the Bands, where he took second place of 24 entries.
Monica Dikkes (@mcdikkes), founder of Ready, Set, Draw, has a passion for using art as a tool for wellness and social change. Whether she is developing Person-Centred Plans, drawing out Business Models & Strategic Plans, or reading about visual intelligence, she loves supporting people’s personal and professional growth. Monica holds a BES in Urban Planning from the University of Waterloo, and has studied fine arts at the RijksUniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands, and the Alberta College of Art. Monica lives with her son and their cat (Bob) in Lucan, ON, where she also works as a Developmental Services Worker.
Jeremy Jeresky is a community based artist working in London, Ontario. He received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Western Ontario. His practice focuses on the creative facilitation and exploration of multi-polar narratives. These are generally based on the lived experiences of his many collaborative partners. Through a multifaceted approach to story telling, Jeremy seeks to shed light on fundamental questions regarding essential or spontaneous characteristics of our individuality within the ever shifting and complex dynamic of community living. Central to his project is the use of the arts to promote public conversations based on principles of equality and equity.
Tristan Johnson (@TristanPEJ) is a PhD Candidate at Western University, studying 21st Century and Digital History. Tristan produces the Step Back History channel on YouTube. Wolf Hall Debates: Political Correctness features the premiere screening and public release of Political Correctness: A Brief Introduction, a short film produced by Tristan specifically for the occasion.
James Shelley (@jamesshelley) is the convenor and host of the Wolf Hall Debates series. He suffers from chronic obsessions with asking big questions, pondering history, and reading classical literature. He is also an avid writer. James works as a Coordinator at the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (Western Health Sciences), teaches fitness classes at GoodLife, and does freelance videography work.
Help Spread the Word!Has political correctness gone too far? Monday, October 17, 7pm @londonlibrary #WHDpcClick To Tweet .@AliChahbar @TothSusan @womenincolour @jeffpreston debate political correctness: Oct 17 #WHDpcClick To Tweet Thanks to @londonlibrary @ULldn @LdnCommFdn @LdnArtsCouncil for presenting #WHDpc on Oct 17!Click To Tweet Oxford-style debate + filmmaker + musician + visual artists = #WHDpcClick To Tweet Why political correctness is a pivotal discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21q2qbgyuJ0 #WHDpcClick To Tweet
- Rogers TV – daytime London (Friday, September 30, 2016)
- 106.9 The X FM (Tuesday, October 11, 2016)
- London Free Press (Tuesday, October 11, 2016)
- The Regis Magazine (Sunday, October 16, 2016)
- CBC Ontario Morning (Monday, October 17, 2016) (Starts at 26:17 mark)
- AM980 (Monday, October 17, 2016)
- Photos (London Public Library)
- Political Correctness, has it gone to far? Conclusions on debate (Blog post by Dan O’Neail)
- The End of Political Correctness (Blog post by James Shelley)