You Cannot Tell Me I Am Not Human

The “no-fly list” in Canada is a destructive framework organized by biopolitics that perpetuates a dichotomous “us” and “them” phenomenon. By creating an “us” or category of people who are allowed to fly and enter in to Canada, an “other” category is created to exclude the opposing group on the basis of being terrorists. Although the “no-fly list” is often described as a means to fight the “war on terror”, it more often works as a discriminatory practice. Kenneth Werbin discusses how there is a racial element to those who are excluded. In many contexts, including this one, race and religion have been approached in discourse as synonymous through generalizations that work to exclude specific groups. I mean, there has to be some suspicion as to why the majority of the names on the “no-fly list” consist of some form of ‘Mohammed’, right?

A satirical comic that jokes about the ridiculous and numerous additions that are made to the no-fly list.

An important note to keep in mind is that this is wholly intentional in its purpose and in no way accidental, as is in any other structural form. Throughout history, biology has been mentioned as having some sort of factual basis. Politics has been approached in a similar manner. Somehow, law has been naturalized in society to be equated with fact. This is quite problematic when laws are written in a manner that oppress and separate certain people in society. The combination of biology and politics, or biopolitics, is a lethal force in the world. By creating a system that targets people from specific groups through political means, a social acceptance of the laws that “oppose terrorism”, or really, oppose “brown, Muslim bodies” existence in countries such as Canada occurs. And more importantly, it is done in a way that seems natural.

Through this specific exclusion of who is allowed entry in to Canada being based mostly on religious or racial identities, a push towards a homogenous identity of Canada is established. Attached to this homogenous identity is a hierarchical system of racism, sexism, classism, and ableism that deems people of the hegemonic groups in these categories as human, and in legal terms, as René Dietrich mentions. As has been illustrated in the history of the United States’ slavery and the conflict in Palestine and Israel, legally considering certain peoples as sub-human is inhumane and has dire consequences. This further pushes political and social tensions. One person is not better than another, and the relationality frame of mind that Indigenous peoples of America harbor needs to be taken in to consideration in the Western world as that could be a turning point to a better way of life individually and structurally.

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