Last weekend, I received some news that set of my blogging spider-sense (that's a thing, right?) to the point where nothing else really mattered, and I can't write about it due to confidentiality issues and my lack of anonymity. So I am stuck in this space of finally having my blog back and being thrilled to be online and committed to writing at least one post a week, but being entirely unable to think around this one block in my head when I think about social justice.
Does this happen to other people?
I have been talking a lot about the census release, so maybe I will start with trying to write about that after a reporter decided to strip everything critical that I had said about the topic... Wednesday, StatCan released data on families in Canada from the 2011 census and there are headlines about changing families or new types of families. The problem is that single parents and common-law relationships are not new... if you really think about it, it is the nuclear family that is new. But, as a news source, it is much more responsible to assume that the idea of family that exists within eurocentric capitalist patriarchal countries is the original family.
Families take on different forms in various cultures at different times. Same-sex couples are not new, but they are more often openly defining themselves as same-sex couples as opposed to pretending to be just roommates, and laws allowing them to adopt children and get married have allowed them to take part in what we consider to be more traditional family forms. And they are now being measured on the census. Single parent families are also not new, in the early 1900s there were a lot of women with children widowed in the war who raised families as single parents. If we take the census data seriously, homeless people do not count, and there isn't a single person in Canada who deviates from the gender binary.
We have to stop thinking about the census as a reliable source of data or of the results as representing new forms of families as though the nuclear family is the ideal that other families are supposed to strive to achieve as it sets up one type of family as inherently better than other forms. And we have to get more critical reporters.