Archive for the ‘Tolerance’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Feb 27th 2008 at 7:00am UTC

The Religion Map

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008



Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Feb 20th 2008 at 10:01am UTC

Citizen Soldiers

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

So just when you think homeland security mania is causing the USA to close off its borders, along comes this little nugget. A survey of America’s military in Foreign Policy shows that nearly 8 in 10 support the idea of trading citizenship for military service. But on the question of gays and lesbians… not so much.  Matt Yglesias sees shades of declining Rome, but they may have been more tolerant.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jan 29th 2008 at 6:00pm UTC

I, Zune

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Over at Eye Weekly where the most popular topic is this, Marc Weisblott reviews last nite’s Board of Trade event, aiming his very witty key stokes at Toronto’s business community, the Board of Trade, local and provincial officials and most of all, moi – I’m the “Zune” to Toronto’s iPod (zing, zing).  But I have to admit I just don’t think it’s a bad thing when 2000 or so members of the business community are led by a female CEO and board chair, are addressed by an openly gay Deputy Premier, and a mayor who has just launched a pioneering Prosperity Agenda with business, academia and labor. Or then again, maybe I’m just too much of an old Walkman …

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Jan 27th 2008 at 9:45am UTC

Is “Canadian” a Racist Term?

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Click here to find out.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Jan 21st 2008 at 11:53am UTC

Courage and Conviction

Monday, January 21st, 2008


I’ve thought for a long-time he is the most principled person in the race. I am not sure if he will prevail, but I do know these remarks require real courage.

For most of this country’s history, we in the
African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s
inhumanity to man.  And all of us understand intimately the insidious
role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in
our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of
our hands are entirely clean.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll
acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s
vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing
them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in
our community.  For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as
competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division
across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out
on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it
even crept into the campaign for president, with charges and
counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of
illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

America needs this man, but will it have him? At the offices of a design firm in Toronto the other day, I saw a “GOBAMA” sign tack to the cube-land walls of the young designers. I sense the world does too. The full text of his Atlanta sermon are here (via Andrew Sullivan).

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Jan 19th 2008 at 5:20pm UTC

Race and Politics

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

A superb dissection in the Guardian, including this nugget by Orlando Patterson:

“He’s charging a grown man of being uppity. There’s a race–well, I
wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s racist, but there’s a condescension
there …Her husband is saying he’s
an upstart, and she’s saying you can’t think of his as president …

More here (pointer via Andrew Sullivan).

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jan 16th 2008 at 11:17am UTC

Growing Up Immigrant

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

A commenter on my Globe and Mail video piece writes:

Growing up in Toronto, I was from one of those crazed immigrant
families that do nothing but kill wholesome Canadian babies, tear apart
the social fabric of Canada and so on and so forth. I even went to a
high school where gasp!, white people were the overwhelming minority. Of course you can imagine that going to such a school meant that I spent my youth shooting up on
heroin and burning churches. …  My beef with UofT stems from a presentation they put at my
school the year I graduated. Some woman came by to do a presentation on
the school and in an auditorium full of kids (mostly from immigrant
families) the first words out of her mouth where: “Most of you won’t
make it to UofT”.

Ugh … When I went to talk with my high-school guidance counselors about going to a real college I remember one saying essentially: “There’s only one student here who can do that and it’s not you.” And sadly that kind of mentality remains there and here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jan 15th 2008 at 7:25pm UTC

Mr. Negative

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

I just came across this entry by a fellow name Philip Preville, a blogger for a local magazine, Toronto Life,
who according to his bio “lived much of his life in Montreal and Edmonton before he was lured,
like so many Torontonians before him, by the promise of more work and a
better livingroom …”

In case you missed it, the weekend Globe featured the latest in its series titled “Richard Florida Ingratiates Himself.” In each installment, Florida
heaps his brainy-sounding flattery upon a different area of Toronto
while appearing photographed in its midst with a shit-eating grin. First it was Kensington Market, then Dundas Square, now the U of T, which he praises for being nondescript —sorry, I mean “seamless.” The description strikes me as either an insult (“That was a campus
I just walked through? I thought it was just a few low-rise office
towers amid some churches”) or a pleasant fib. If anything, the U of
T’s border streets (Bloor, Spadina, Queen’s Park, College) do an
excellent job of signaling to passersby that there’s nothing much to
see inside the quad—it’s a subtle but highly effective cloistering. But
don’t listen to a sourpuss like me. Just read the final paragraph of
the story, in which Florida—pardon, that’s Dr. Florida to you and
me—lays on the positivity thick and brown as Nutella.

His personal diatribe doesn’t bother me: I’m a big boy, I can take it.  But listen to how he tears into his home town. I have been wondering for some time now why people like Preville are so negative and insecure about what Jane Jacobs’ said is North America’s greatest city.  And these folks are not critical in the way New Yorkers are – with an attitude of “my city may have problems but it’s still the best around.” People like Preville are all too ready to rip into this town at the drop of a hat. Some call it “tall poppy syndrome” but I think its even more cynical and disturbing than that.

My piece in the Globe and Mail was about the enormous advantage having a world-class university in the center of the city is. I am not trying to ingratiate myself with anyone: why in god’s name would I have to.  I’ve spent the better part of a three decade academic career criticizing local leader and “squelchers” for damaging their communities.  My piece, actually, was prompted by a ludicrous article in the New York
on how Yale is working to remedy more than 50 years of damage it
has inflected on its home town of New Haven.  I contrasted the integration of University of Toronto with its surrounding neighborhoods with the walled-off, moated-up, university-as-biggest-slumlord-in-town model found in too many US cities.  I’ve studied university-community connections for more than two decades, and my positivity was because Toronto actually does this better than just about anywhere else I’ve seen. I noted that this was, to me,  the most striking spatial feature of the city by far – one that many people in Toronto take for granted and most people outside of Toronto and Canada are relatively unaware of.

Maybe a stint in one of those New Haven neighborhoods Yale is helping to “revive” might turn him around.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jan 15th 2008 at 4:14pm UTC

The Tolerance-Competitiveness Connection

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Leading investment banks are coming face to face with intolerant attitudes toward gays and lesbians in many of Asia’s up and coming centers.  The main driver: talent attraction and retention.  Whether or not Asian centers can become more open-minded and tolerant will determine how far they can rise as global talent centers, or if cities the Sydneys, LAs and Vancouver of the world capture more and more of that role as global talent hubs.  The Financial Times reports (h/t: Ken McGuffiin).

Investment banks’ efforts to recruit more gays and lesbians is partly an attempt to attract the most talented employees. At a time when Asia has become the world’s biggest region for deals
such as initial public offerings, investment banks are struggling to fill the
new positions on offer. And the intense hiring competition makes it crucial to
ensure talented gay people are not deterred from applying because of a
combination of Asian intolerance and western macho behaviour on trading floors. … But in most of Asia, gay people still face discrimination and censure – both in and out of the workplace
– amid a blend of religious intolerance, family conservatism and legal bans,
often inherited directly from British colonial rule.

While economists and business analysts worry about regulation and business climate factors, fact of the matter is when it comes to talent attraction and retention, tolerance is becoming more and more of a key factor in regional and national economic competitiveness. When will economists and policy-makers wake up?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat Dec 8th 2007 at 5:12pm UTC

Tolerance, Social Capital, and the Mosaic

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Toronto is the most immigrant-heavy large city in the world with residents hailing from 183 of 227 countries, according to the most recent data. My new hometown seems to be doing something right, according to these two stories in today’s Globe. Columnist John Barber writes:

The suburbs of Paris are blazing. Londonistan is spreading fear across the globe. Every European government is cracking down on the new dissenters, one way or another, spurred on by neo-fascist parties that continue to gather alarming amounts of public support. Yet Toronto, shielded by its liberal complacency – not to mention anti-hate laws that prevent the easy importation of the European debate – somehow manages to turn homegrown terror into a real-life sitcom. … Those who decry the dangers of this heedlessly liberal immigrant city fret especially about the lack of unifying “Canadian values” our tolerance tolerates. But what other than values could inspire such tolerance? … Secular humanism is a muscular creed, and nowhere in the world is it more deeply emplaced than here.

Martina Jimenez adds that:

Keith Banting, a professor with Queen’s University’s School of Policy Studies … recently replicated some landmark research by the American political scientist Robert Putnam. … Likewise, Prof. Banting found lower interpersonal trust in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods in Canada. The larger the presence of visible minorities, the less trusting are the white majority. Members of racial minorities, in contrast, are much less trusting in neighbourhoods with a strong white majority, and their trust rises as ethnic diversity increases. But Prof. Banting’s research did not show lower voter turnout in diverse neighbourhoods — or less support for the welfare state or community group involvement. “We do find on the interpersonal trust story similarities with the U.S,” he said. “But it is a decline, not a collapse, in trust, and doesn’t lead to a decline in participation in civic organizations.”

The top issue for almost everyone I talk to, including top business officials, is how do the city, province and country better and more rapidly assimilate new immigrants professionally and well as culturally.