azdesertrose: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] neo_prodigy at Spirit Day
 


It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)

REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.




This is really important to me, although I know it has nothing to do with spirituality, religion, or paganism. One of the members of my circle is gay, I'm bisexual, and I feel horrible for these children who've died so tragically. So wear purple on 20 October, and pass it on. Please repost anywhere you can think to post it.

Edited to change graphic to something that doesn't use pictures without permission

OMG WIN!!!!

Sep. 7th, 2009 08:59 pm
azdesertrose: (Default)
I am floored. Here is a post by a Christian (a Presbyterian pastor) about the ludicrousness of the right-wing opponents of health care reform. I'm not a Christian, haven't been for years and probably never will be again, but it's people like this pastor who give Christianity a good name.
azdesertrose: (Default)
By the lovely Melissa McEwan of Shakesville.

Go read it.
azdesertrose: (Default)
Cross-posted from Human Equality

I got involved in a discussion on a message board that had ranged into same-sex marriage. One commenter said that her husband wishes "gays would keep their sex life in the privacy of their own bedrooms. What he finds most offensive is the militant homosexual-rights activist who screams in his face something like, 'I'm queer, I'm here, and you have to accept me!' He doesn't go around advertising his sexuality, and he doesn't want to hear about theirs either. I can agree with him on that point. Whether it's gay or straight, sex belongs in private, where it's nobody else's business, and no couple of any orientation should be bringing it out in public."

I don't think too many people, gay, straight, or somewhere in between, want to have sex in public. What non-straight people do want is the ability to walk down the street holding hands or arms-around-waists with their partner and not be subject to open hostility, or to be able to marry their partner (with all the attendant societal upsides and downsides of legal marriage), or to exchange a hug and a kiss when one picks the other up at the airport, or any of a zillion other normal interactions between adults who love each other just like any other adult human being. I don't see what's so wrong with that.

I know a lesbian couple who've been together nearly as long as my mom and my stepdad (which is to say well over 20 years), and a gay couple who've been together for nearly 20 years. Why shouldn't they be able to get married? Why shouldn't they be each other's legal next-of-kin in case of emergency?

And if you want to get Biblical, the meaning of marriage has changed SEVERAL times since the Bible was written.

12 Biblical Principles of Marriage

1. Marriage consists of one man and one or more women. (Gen 4:19, 4:23, 26:34, 28:9, 29:26-30, 30:26, 31:17, 32:22, 36:2, 36:10, 37:2, Ex. 21:10, Judges 8:30, 1 Sam 1:2, 25:43, 27:3, 30:5, 30:18, 2 Sam 2:2, 3:2-5, 1 Chron 3:1-3, 4:5, 8:8, 14:3, 2 Chron 11:21, 13:21, 24:3).

2. Nothing prevents a man from taking on concubines in addition to the wife or wives he may already have. (Gen 25:6, Judges 8:31, 2 Sam 5:13, 1 Kings 11:3, 1 Chron 3:9, 2 Chron 11:21, Dan 5:2-3).

3. A man might chose any woman he wants for his wife (Gen 6:2, Deut 21:11), provided only that she is not already another man's wife (Lev 18:14-16, Deut. 22:30) or his [half-]sister (Lev 18:11, 20:17), nor the mother (Lev 20:14) or the sister (Lev 18:18) of a woman who is already his wife. The concept of a woman giving her consent to being married is foreign to the Biblical mindset.

4. If a woman cannot be proven to be a virgin at the time of marriage, she shall be stoned. (Deut 22:13-21).

5. A rapist must marry his victim (Ex. 22:16, Deut. 22:28-29) - unless she was already a fiancee, in which case he should be put to death if he raped her in the country, but both of them killed if he raped her in town. (Deut. 22:23-27).

6. If a man dies childless, his brother must marry the widow. (Gen 38:6-10, Deut 25:5-10, Mark 12:19, Luke 20:28).

7. Women marry the man of their father's choosing. (Gen. 24:4, Josh.15:16-17, Judges 1:12-13, 12:9, 21:1, 1 Sam 17:25, 18:19, 1 Kings 2:21, 1 Chron 2:35, Jer 29:6, Dan 11:17).

8. Women are the property of their father until married, and their husband after that. (Ex. 20:17, 22:17, Deut. 22:24, Mat 22:25).

9. The value of a woman might be approximately seven years' work. (Gen 29:14-30).

10. Inter-faith marriages are prohibited. (Gen 24:3, 28:1, 28:6, Num 25:1-9, Ezra 9:12, Neh 10:30, 2 Cor 6:14).

11. Divorce is forbidden. (Deut 22:19, Matt 5:32, 19:9, Mark 10:9-12, Luke 16:18, Rom 7:2, 1 Cor 7:10-11, 7:39).

12. Better to not get married at all - although marriage is not a sin. (Matt 19:10, I Cor 7:1, 7:27-28, 7:32-34, 7:38).

How many of those rules do present-day Judeo-Christians advocate? These rules are so violently misogynistic that it defies description.

Then they need to STFU about legally defining marriage as "one man, one woman," because the Bible says so.

The only Biblical reference anyone gave me for that meme of "The Bible teaches that marriage equals one man and one woman" was this: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Gen 2:24)

Okay, yeah, that speaks of marriage as being one man and one woman, but it says nothing to the effect that "This is the way it was, is, and ever shall be."

My point being, A WHOLE LOT of what the Bible has to say about marriage not only demeans women to the status of property at best, but sounds more like the transfer of said property than the union of two people who wish to make a lifetime commitment of love. And if two people who wish to make a lifetime commitment of love just happen to have the same genitalia, who really gives a shit?

I know who: those asshats who feel like it's a personal insult and a sign of the breakdown of civilization as we know it that they have to acknowledge the humanity of anyone who doesn't fit into their WASP, hetero, cisgendered, etc. world.
azdesertrose: (Default)
Just to let y'all know, I started a political blog today, Human Equality. I will be posting my political thoughts there from now on, though I may well cross-post them here.

Edited because I decided to change the name of the blog; I was afraid that I might be borrowing words too loosely.
azdesertrose: (Default)
In 1990, when I was in the ninth grade, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed into U.S. law. I had to research it and write a paper on it for my English class. At the time, the conditions which now render me legally disabled (major depressive disorder with psychotic features and post-traumatic stress disorder) were present but not yet disabling (the psychotic features didn't show up until my late 20s, and the depression and PTSD were manageable at the time).

I hadn't been around many people with disabilities at that point in my life. My elementary school best friend Jessica had a twin sister named Bethany who was blind and severely mentally and physically disabled; Bethany could not feed herself, nor control her bladder and bowel functions, nor had she learned to speak by the time Jessica and Bethany were eleven years old. In ninth grade, my best friend was my next door neighbor, Suzie, who was legally blind; she was severely nearsighted and had been born without a certain type of nerve cell that enables humans to perceive color. She was about six months older than I, but attended the state school for the deaf and blind instead of the local public high school I attended. PaPa (the "a"s are pronounced like the a in apple), my maternal uncle's father-in-law, who, despite only a tenuous connection by marriage to me, always treated me like a granddaughter, had lost the lower portion of a leg and was losing his vision due to complications of diabetes. That was about the extent of my experience with people with disabilities at that time.

I don't remember any more exactly what I wrote in that paper; I no longer have a copy, either printed or electronic. But I do remember that most of what I wrote was about reasonable accommodation, like ramps for wheelchairs and the widespread availability of closed captioning and other adaptive technologies. I believe I said that it was only fair to provide reasonable accommodation, that to fail to provide reasonable accommodation was to disenfranchise people with disabilities. I don't think I was wrong, but I also realize in retrospect that I didn't quite get the whole picture.

Some years later, I remember telling a shop owner that he was in violation of the ADA because I couldn't get my (then infant) daughter's stroller through his shop aisles, so how was a person in a wheelchair supposed to shop in his store? (The stroller was narrower than most adult-sized wheelchairs.)

I remember at various times being on crutches for temporary ailments of the lower extremities and cursing the inaccessibility of public establishments and thinking, "Jeez, what do people who use crutches permanently do?"

I think those are perfectly valid reactions to an ablist world, but that's still not the whole picture.

It wasn't until I became disabled with an "invisible illness" that I really began to see. To look at me, you wouldn't think that I'm disabled. I can stand and walk without assistance. I wear glasses but that hardly counts as a disability. I can hear. I can speak and write clearly in English and Spanish, and I can read and comprehend French and Latin (never was too hot at writing or speaking French, and my Latin is VERY rusty). I can drive a car (even a stick shift) without adaptive technologies (other than my glasses). It took ten years, but I have a four-year college degree.

What I can't do is hold down a paying job. Some days, I am so depressed I cannot get out of bed except to use the toilet. Some days, I can get out of bed but I have to force myself to do it. Some days, I'm so afraid of people that I cannot stand to leave my house. Some days, I can't trust my perceptions, because my eyes and skin are telling me that there are bugs crawling on me. Some days (like today), I'm okay. Occasionally, I even feel really good. Because I can never predict from day to day whether I'm going to be okay or not, I can't commit to a work schedule. Before my condition became this severe, I worked 8am-5pm Monday through Friday (like "normal people"), doing clerical work. I can't do that any more. I'm working with my state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to try to find a line of work in which I do not have to commit to a work schedule and therefore might be able to get and keep a job again.

What I've come to see and detest is the idea that if you can't (or for that matter, don't) earn a paycheck, what you do means nothing to the world at large (but the "don't" part is for a post on sexism, and that's not what this post is).

What I've come to see and detest is that if you differ in any way from the able-bodied norm, you're not real.

What I've come to see and detest is that if you're not in a wheelchair, or on crutches, or wearing hearing aids, or visibly different from the able-bodied norm, you don't count as disabled.

I'm sure that's STILL not the whole picture, but that's disablism, to me.
azdesertrose: (Default)
I have gotten into a discussion on one of my message boards about same-sex marriage.

I haven't had this much fun in a long time.

It seems like nobody can give a decent rebuttal to anything I've said in favor of same-sex marriage.

One poster raised the tired old "the Bible says so" argument; I found a long list of other things the Bible has said are acceptable conditions of marriage, with citations for chapter and verse (amongst other atrocities, that the punishment for rape is that the rapist must marry his victim, unless they were already engaged, in which case they would both be executed if he raped her in town, and he would be executed if he raped her in the country, but in any case, she would no longer be marriageable, and that a woman is her father's property until she marries and her husband's property thereafter). She was able to come up with one quote that says a husband should cleave unto his wife upon marriage and thereafter, but nothing to say that marriage equals one man and one woman.

Another poster put up that bullshit of "I don't mind gay people but they can't be gay [i.e. touch each other in any way at all] in front of me." I jumped all over that, too, with the fact that no one cares if a straight couple makes out on a park bench, but a gay couple who dare to so much as touch each other in public are often subject to horrible insults at the very least.

Someone else protested "in-your-face militant gay rights activists." I said that without "in-your-face militant" feminists, women would still not have the legal right to vote, and husbands could still legally beat and rape their wives. I got a response about Dr. King advocating non-violence, to which I asked for examples of violent gay rights activism. No reply.

Funny how the bullshit melts in the rain of facts. :)
azdesertrose: (Default)
As a woman, I've been aware for quite some time of the inequality of women.

As a bisexual, I've been aware for quite some time of the inequality of non-straight people.

A lot of people seem to think that because we have a President who is a man of color, that racism is over. Um. Sorry. No. I knew that before I started doing all the reading and research I've done lately about racial inequality. Not to say that it's anything less than a HUGE victory for black Americans, but President Obama's ascendancy and election is not a sign of the end of US racism.

One thing I have to accept is that the human equality I would like to see will not be achieved in my lifetime, and I gravely doubt it will be achieved even in the lifetimes of any descendants of mine who might remember me. The baggage of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. is just too heavy and too pervasive to unload that quickly.

But just because I'll never see the end I'd like to see doesn't mean that it's not worth me working toward that end.

I have to keep that last sentence in mind. Just because the problems are too big for me to solve and too big to be solved in the next several hundred years most likely, does not mean that the problems are unsolvable, and it particularly does not mean that solving those problems is not a worthy cause.

It sort of makes me think of The Lord of the Rings. The protagonists were fighting what looked to be a completely hopeless war against an enemy of far superior might. But they kept fighting. And you know what? In the end, they won.

In the end, I really believe that the cause of treating other people with respect and kindness will win over all the forms of disrespect and unkindness and stronger words than those.

But ye gods, it's such a HUGE problem.
azdesertrose: (Default)
Nicholas, Aysha, and I watched part of a documentary on the history of hip-hop music, followed by a countdown show of "The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs." It was interesting to see the differences in the way Nicholas and I experienced the music being highlighted on these shows. (Aysha was brought up in a rather restricted environment and did not recall much of the music, or if she did, she didn't say much about it.)

To me, what is now considered "old school" hip-hop music was part of the culture of youth in the 1980s. When I originally heard this music, it was part of the soundtrack of my life. It was a new, youthful music style. It was cool. I learned to break-dance (there is an extremely goofy photograph of me, age 8, backspinning on a flattened cardboard box); I wanted to decorate my bedroom walls with graffiti a la New York subway cars. (Mom and Bill wouldn't let me actually spray-paint my walls, so I faked it. I made poster boards of graffiti and tacked them to my walls.)

Part of it, and I mentioned this to Nicholas, is that radio was not as genre-fied then as now; when I was growing up, and really up until about the time that alternative rock burst upon the popular consciousness, the pop/rock radio station might play Salt 'N Pepa, followed by Def Leppard, followed by Janet Jackson, followed by the Eagles. No present-day commercial radio station would play Disturbed and follow up with Nas. You might get that kind of variety out of an independent online radio station, or a college radio station, but not commercial radio these days. And that's a shame, although it is reflective of the changes that technology has brought to music; there are other ways besides commercial radio for an artist to get his/her music to the listening public, but that's headed for a digression and not my point right now.

Anyway, it didn't really occur to me in the 80s that I was listening to black music. It was just good music, new, interesting, fun music. And I don't think that's a bad way to see hip-hop. But it's a viewpoint that is made possible by being white, to be able to see music by black artists about black issues as just good music. (And yes, I know there are white hip-hop artists, but they are the minority.)

And the experience of hip-hop music is very different for someone who didn't come up as a middle-class white girl. Hip-hop music is neither part of nor reflective of my ethnic identity, and that makes a difference to the experience of the music.

And I don't know that you can separate black music from American music. Music historians say that jazz is the first "American" music style. Well, white people did not come up with that one, folks. Rock and roll itself came from blues, which has its roots in the spirituals of black slaves. Elvis was said, even then, to be a white boy singing black music. And separate hip-hop from pop and rock now. Without hip-hop, there would be no rap/rock-fusion-type music, like the Beastie Boys or Linkin Park. And certainly no Kid Rock or Eminem.

I've also been thinking about words. There are a lot of words that refer to non-privileged populations that I would never dream of uttering in reference to a person, that I cringe from uttering even when quoting someone else. And for a long time, it confused the hell out of me to hear members of non-privileged populations using what I consider to be hate speech in reference to themselves. I could not understand why black people would call each other by the infamous n-word, or gay men call each other "fag" or "bitch", for example. It just did not make sense to use words laden with hate. It seemed like insulting oneself. Why would anyone denigrate themselves?

I've heard the explanations about reclaiming hateful words and taking the power out of them, but that doesn't quite seem to wash with me. The words can still be used for hate and denigration, and I think they're ugly words with ugly histories. I fussed at Mike one time for calling himself either a "fag" or a "faggot" (I can't remember which word he used now; this was some time ago) because I hated to see a friend refer to himself with such an ugly, hateful word. If someone else called him something like that, I would have jumped shit but good.

I guess it comes down to respect. I find those words hateful and incredibly disrespectful to say the least, and I don't see how reclaiming them makes them any less disrespectful or hateful. Maybe it's just privilege blinding me, but I don't see how using an ugly word with an ugly history and an ugly connotation makes it any less ugly.
azdesertrose: (Default)
WARNING: This is REALLY long, but I refuse to cut it because it's important.

I've been having a bit of a think (and a re-think) about racism and bigotry.

Let me set out some definitions, first off. When I say racism, I mean prejudice plus power and privilege. When I say bigotry, I mean individual prejudice from members of groups other than the privileged group. Neither of these is a positive trait, but I feel the need to distinguish between the two for the sake of clarity.

People judge each other. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. We have to make judgments about each other. On a basic biological level, we have to evaluate other people, animals, and objects for possible threat to our personal safety. We also evaluate other people for potential relationships, be they friendships, romantic relationships, working relationships, what have you. What we do not have to do is make judgments about each other based upon anything but demonstrated individual behavior. For example, a job interviewer SHOULD select the applicant who is best qualified for the job, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion/personal philosophy or lack thereof, nation(s) of origin, or any other trait that does not relate to the ability to perform the job. We all know it doesn't work this way in actual practice, but that's the ideal.

Let me reiterate. We, as human beings, should not decide anything about another human being based upon anything but that person's behavior. We should not decide that someone is a threat to our personal safety based upon anything but that person's behavior. We should not decide that someone is a potential friend, or partner, or supervisor/co-worker/employee, or whatever, based upon anything but that person's behavior.

Prejudice is wrong, be it in the form of institutional racism, or individual bigotry. As institutional racism, prejudice is also insidious.

I am a white woman in the United States of America. I am of mixed ethnic ancestry, mostly northwestern European, but I have fair skin and Caucasian physical features.

It's hard to admit that I reap the benefits of racism, but I do. I am a member of the privileged race.

I am also in love with an African-American man. This has given me a kick in the ass to make me think about the differences in experience of life that being white makes.

Yesterday, I read this list, excerpted from “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, about, to put it simply, the cultural/social goodies that racism confers upon white people.

It's a tough pill to swallow, but with one exception, I can't say it's not true.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color. This is the exception. Before I read this list, I had not once in my life ever heard of anyone thinking that talking with one's mouth full had anything to do with one's ethnicity.
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.
47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
50.I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.


It really made me think about things I never even noticed, things that society gives me, as a white person, that any non-white person does not get.

So I'm trying to be conscious. In order for people of color to be on a level playing field with white people, white people must first be conscious of the advantages attached to being white.

Having read this list, I noticed something that I doubt I would have noticed before. In my doctor's office, I saw a little clip on TV featuring the actress S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Lt. Anita Van Buren on the original (and beloved by me at least) “Law and Order” TV series. (The clip was actually about Ms. Merkerson's struggle to quit smoking cigarettes, for the record.) What struck me is that when they spoke to her out of costume, her hair was in dreadlocks. When she is in costume, her hair is in a short hairstyle requiring relaxed hair (I assume it's a wig). It bothered me that, in order to portray a professionally successful African-American, she has to wear relaxed hair, which process (relaxing African textured hair) as I understand it is a way in which African-Americans are encouraged by society to appear more like white people. So in order to portray a professionally successful person, she had to appear more white. That's not fair, and it's wrong.

Nicholas and I had a conversation about this last night, and he remarked that he makes a habit of blowing off unintentionally racist remarks by white people. I replied that there, again, was white privilege in action; no white person would have to condition himself/herself to blowing off insulting remarks, no matter how unintentional or lacking in malice. I also asked him, in future, not to let me get away with it, to call me on my mistakes. (And there again is white privilege in action; the person of color in this situation has to tell the white person that she has said or done something racist.) But the fact is, I can't correct a mistake I don't realize I made, and I don't want to be an asshat just because I don't realize I'm doing it. Actually, I PARTICULARLY do not want to be an asshat because I don't realize I'm doing it. Now, Nicholas being himself (that is to say, an intelligent, articulate person with a lively sense of humor), I doubt he's going to tell me “You're being a racist asshat” the next time I say or do something that smacks of white privilege. (Although, now that I've said so in a public place, watch him do just that for the sake of making me eat my words—and if he does, I'll laugh but I will also take the point that I said or did something racist.)

It's quite a paradigm shift, and it's been on my mind for days. I've been turning it around and around in my head, shifting my thought processes to include thinking about the way that being white makes life different for me than life is for people of color.

In order for the world to come to be the way I would like it to be (amongst other things, for people to be judged on their behavior and not on any other trait), I have to, as a white person, be conscious.

That's not enough. I have to take many more steps to try to bring about the change I'd like to see. I have to live the change in my thinking. I have to try to help other white people see what I've seen. But the first step in bringing about change is to be conscious of what exactly needs to change.

Just stuff

Mar. 10th, 2009 09:22 pm
azdesertrose: (Default)
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I let myself get buried in books for a few days and went all Luddite on the world.

I re-read the entire Earth's Children series, plus Jennifer Government, which Nicholas had been nagging me to read. It's quite good, sort of a latter-day, fast-paced 1984. It was quite easy to read, yet thought-provoking.

I may or may not stay on the Lamictal. I had started to develop a rash last night, small red itchy bumps on my feet, ankles, hands, and wrists. I took a couple of Benadryl and went to bed, and didn't take the Lamictal today. I called my ARNP and she said she wants to see me tomorrow to look at the rash and make a decision about the meds. The rash seems to have faded, between the Benadryl and not having taken the Lamictal today.

Nicholas' hair is still a work in progress. He took out what I had done because we didn't get around to finishing within the next day or so, and it's best to do the entire head at once or as close to it as can be arranged. So we sat up together and watched movies and I did his entire head, but he fell asleep while I was doing it, and when he examined it, he said that some of the baby dreads-to-be are too thick and others aren't coiled tightly enough or waxed heavily enough so I have to work on it some more. I'm perfectly willing to work on it until I get it right. I just haven't spent much time working on African textured hair, and what I have worked on was relaxed. He has worn dreadlocks before, so he knows how it should be; it's just hard to do on yourself, apparently. I can understand that. You can't see the back of your own head, after all.

Dixie and Nancy are talking about moving out. It would be nice to have the extra space and privacy, but it means we'll lose some income because Dixie pitches in to help cover household expenses. I think I'll also miss having them around for the help around the house they both give. Dixie does some cooking and makes most of the iced tea. Nancy does a bit of cooking and most of the cleaning, which was Cliff's idea since she's almost 22 years old and has no job, so therefore does not pitch in toward household expenses. Before they move out, I've got to get Dixie to teach me to make meatballs and meatloaf, both of which she does exceptionally well and I can't do worth shit. On the other hand, if I want to come out of my bedroom naked, I would be able to do so if the household was just me, Cliff, Nicholas, and Aysha, because goddess knows I've got nothing the three of them haven't seen. We shall see, I suppose.

I almost got into an argument with Nancy's friend Jon (the only one of her friends who doesn't drive me completely batshit) over abortion last night. He is militantly Catholic and therefore pro-life to the point of believing that not even rape victims should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy caused by the rape (not that this situation occurs that often in the real world anyway, and more and more rapists are using condoms these days to avoid leaving their DNA with their victims). The only reason it didn't turn into a loud and vociferous debate (at the very least) was that I cut it short with the excuse that Cliff was trying to sleep and would not appreciate said debate/argument. I really wanted to tear him a new one, though. Pro-life men drive me even crazier than pro-lifers in general; men are not the ones who have to carry a pregnancy. They have no clue what it's like, especially not someone Jon's age (early 20s). And yes, I know men can be raped and I have every sympathy in the world for any victim of any sort of assault, but the plain fact is, women are hurt in that way much more often than men. Jon's argument (re: pregnancy as a result of rape) was that the unborn is not responsible for the crime of its father. Mine is that rape is not just a physical and sexual crime; it is deeply emotional. Pregnancy is also a deeply emotional experience, and I don't think that a woman who is trying to recover from a rape should have to carry the child of her rapist. She can if she wants to, but she shouldn't be forced to. It comes down to this. The needs of a living woman are more important, to my way of thinking, than the needs of a cluster of cells, albeit a cluster of cells that will one day become a human being. We count life from the date of birth, not the date of conception, which can't usually be nailed down anyway. There are just too many situations in which abortion is a viable--and in some cases, the best--option. What about a pregnancy that endangers the mother's life? Why should a 12-year-old incest victim have to bear her stepfather's child? I used to know someone who had been in that situation. It is not healthy to carry a pregnancy so young, and her body paid for it in later years. And when you really get down to it, why should any woman have to bear a child she does not want or cannot afford?

Off my soapbox now.
azdesertrose: (Default)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/18/north-dakota-house-gives_n_167884.html

If you don't want to read the article (it's short, I promise), the North Dakota state House of Representatives has passed a bill giving a FERTILIZED HUMAN EGG the same rights as a person. It isn't law, yet. It has to go through the state Senate first, and with any luck, somebody in the ND Senate has a brain and will stop this lunacy in its tracks.

Can you say "anti-choice" and "anti-women's rights"?

Don't get me wrong. I don't think abortion is the greatest thing ever. From the perspective of a woman who has had an unplanned pregnancy (Mini-me was born when I was 16 and a senior in high school), there are no easy choices in that situation. I chose not to have an abortion, but the choice was available to me. I want the choice to be available to Mini-me should she find herself in that position (heaven forbid), or to any other woman.

A man can walk away from an unplanned pregnancy. Yeah, there's such thing as child support enforcement, but a really determined man can hide from that if he wants to. The anti-choice crowd wants women to be stuck with a child they might not be able to support, or might not be medically able to carry, or (in some cases) might not have had any say in the conception of, or just plain don't want. And I can't quote statistics, but I wonder how many abused children were unplanned.

A fertilized egg has the same rights as a person? WTF? So I guess the 40% of pregnancies that end in miscarriage (some of which happen before the woman is even aware she's pregnant) merit a funeral?
azdesertrose: (Default)
So I may have mentioned that Nicholas is black and Cliff and I are white, and that this may cause me some issues with my parents, more specifically my stepdad.

My stepdad is on most topics a really awesome person, but he's got a real blind spot when it comes to black folk. He grew up during segregation, and he absorbed that idea set that black people are somehow worth less than whites. He tried to tell me one time that the black people of his youth were not as clean as white people. (Of the people I've personally known well enough to be informed of their hygiene habits, the black folk outdo the whites on personal care by leaps and bounds.)

I also have to face up to some racist things I've done myself, with my heart in the right place. I told Mini-me one time when she was in middle school that she shouldn't let Bill know she was dating a black kid. I was trying to save her a huge confrontation with Bill, because it would have become one. As it transpired, she broke up with the young man before my stepdad found out about it anyway. But when I introduce her to Nicholas, I'm going to have to face up to my own hypocrisy because no way in hell is she not going to call me on it.

I really try not to be racist. I try to judge people on their merits, not their ethnicity. I try not to let things that people can't control about themselves color my estimation of them, and no one gets to pick what ethnicity they're born into. I myself am a descendant of people who were judged inferior because of the color of their skin and subjected to what comes damn near genocide. (I'm part Cherokee.)

I discussed this with Nicholas and I'm fairly sure I offended him. I didn't mean to. I was trying to be honest about the internal struggle I'm having between accepting him as part of our family and dealing with the implications of that with my parents and daughter.

It boils down to this. Nicholas is part of our family now, and my parents will just have to suck that up if they don't like it. He's a beautiful, intelligent, sweet, witty young man, and I'm glad to have him in my life. I don't intend to come out to my parents as poly right away, so I will let them get used to Nicholas being part of my home as a friend and roommate (which is literally true, as he shares Cliff's and my room) and then later on, clue them in about his true place in my life. Nicholas is more important to me than my stepdad's racist attitudes.

Oh, and on another politically charged topic, DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN the state of Florida for passing Amendment 2. Bloody bigoted idiots. I voted against it, Nancy voted against it, half the people I know voted against it, but there are apparently enough homophobic morons in this state to pass the damn thing. Shit fuck hell fire and damnation.
azdesertrose: (Default)
aka Politics.

Cliff did not vote because his driver's license is expired and he can't find his voter registration card.

I voted for Obama, not because I was a huge supporter, nor am I a Democrat (I'm a registered Independent with Libertarian leanings), but because of the options out there, I think he'll do the best job.

Cliff is now irritated with me because he would have voted for McCain.

No way in hell would I have put a dipshit like Sarah Palin that close to the Presidency.

He can just get over it.

As my stepdad always said, Vote or don't bitch.
azdesertrose: (Default)
One.

I went out and voted today, because as Bill always says, you have no right to bitch about politics if you don't take your ass out and vote. So now I get to sit back and watch the results come in and see if this country is going to take a more liberal bent like I'd like to see. *crosses fingers*


Two.

Dr. Holmes (my gyno) is made of awesome with awesomesauce and a side dish of super-cool. I had been dreading a bit informing her of the whole polyamory thing. She didn't bat an eyelash and was totally cool about it. I always did like her; she's a wonderful doctor. She treats me like an intelligent adult (something a lot of doctors don't do with mentally ill patients), and she's careful with me because of the sexual-abuse-survivorness. But today just confirmed her super-awesomeness.
azdesertrose: (Default)
"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?" - Ernest Gaines

We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on livejournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post as "Gay Rights". If you don't believe in gay rights, then just ignore this. Thanks.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.

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