I happened to read an article on the good old CBC about a survey that measures how the average Canadian person has incorrect perceptions about the actual demographics of Canada. Things like:
We think a third of Canadians believe homosexuality is immoral, but in reality, only a sliver of the population thinks so.
It’s a great read, because it gets into how the media and politicians tend to focus on what people think is happening rather than what is actually happening. In particular is the “moral panic over Muslims” topic which is really a crazy thing. People believe (apparently) that 27% of the population of Canada will be Muslim in just over 3 years. That’s just crazy, and is provably wrong.
Jasmin Zine, a sociology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, says the perception that Muslims are swamping Canada is part of a “moral panic” driven by media and politicians. To Zine, when a politician makes it a priority to ban the niqab in public service, when few or no people in the federal public service actually wear niqab, it gives people the impression that the Muslim population is both insidious, and rapidly overtaking the non-Muslim population.
This kind of thinking is plainly irresponsible, and probably dangerous. Amplifying hate, unhappiness and ignorance is not the way forward, and in fact it’s actually not the way things really are. The article ends with the kicker for me.
“We have to put some of the blame and some of the shame on politicians who drive into these areas because they believe there’s some political advantage based on the public’s ignorance. And take tonight’s news broadcast. Instead of focusing on racism, instead of focusing on anger, instead of focusing on people who are unhappy, let’s have a news broadcast that’s actually closer to the truth, in which we’ve seen a decline in bigotry. In which we’ve seen an increase in the level of happiness in this country.”
There you go. Have a read, it’s excellent news.