White people: This isn’t hard. Really, it’s not.

 

Civil war:  Was about owing human beings. It was not about States Rights (ask the free states who the South told had to return escaped slaves.) #badpeople #badcause #losers 

Owning human beings: #bad

People who downplay owning human beings: #badpeople

Slave owners who had sex with slaves: #rapists, #badpeople

Confederacy: #traitors who took up arms against the U.S.

Confederate flag and monuments to the confederacy: #painful, #insulting reminders to people.

Confederates: #losers #nothonorable

Confederate flag, flying and displaying of: Actual U.S. flag disrespect. (See #traitor. See #bad.)

People who kidnapped human beings from one continent and enslaved them on another: #badpeople #nothonorable #horriblehumanbeings #terrorists

400+ years of systematic and institution racism = #reparationsnow

This was a White country: No, it wasn’t. Ever. Even if that was a thing, it wasn’t. Remember Native Americans? Remember the economic benefits enjoyed by some but created by the enslaved people who did all the actual work and got worse-than-nothing for it?  (#thatisjustastupididea)

 

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What does it really mean to identify as ‘white?’

Someone asked in a Facebook group “What does it really mean to identify as ‘white?'”

Context is everything. I had shied away from this, in part, because White Nationalists loudly identify as White, and they are horrifyingly bad examples of humanity. However, failing to understand that society identifies me as White, and that I benefit from that, only skirts the issues.

To identify as White is to consciously accept what it means to be identified as White by institutions and systems. It means being conscious of the ways in which that identity has afforded me benefits, whether or not I asked for them or recognized them, and how those systems and institutions harm others.  It means understanding that calling a Black woman’s hair “ethnic” or bánh mì “ethnic” but calling burgers and tuna casserole and bobs “American” has so much deeply embedded racism that it’s literally stunning. It means seeing that while White people often say “it’s not a perfect system but it generally works and it’s the best there is,” people of color point out all the ways the system most emphatically does not work and is, in fact killing people.

Identifying as White means seeing that I am not the norm as if anyone who differs from me is abnormal. It also means seeing myself as all-too-normal as in my hair style is exactly as “ethnic” as a Black man’s Afro. Black is not abnormal; White is not the “correct” standard.

Identifying as White reminds me that people of color do not experience the world the same way I do–not even close. It reminds me that my experience does neither validates nor invalidates another’s experience. It reminds me I cannot know what it’s like to be a Black woman, and that trying to speak as, or for, her is ridiculous. It reminds me to amplify her voice.

Identifying as White means seeing that white is not colorless. It means seeing that there are as many different ways of being Black as being White. We White people are prone to say things such as “oh, we’re from many different places” as if all people who we identify as Black came from a single village on one diverse continent. It means accepting that while race isn’t a scientific notion, racism very much is. Even if DNA doesn’t draw circles around “races,” people do, and that is racism and it’s killing people.

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ICE: “We don’t need no stinking badges.”

As we give props to Republicans suddenly being shocked by what they’ve systematically over decades wrought…let’s keep in mind the people who are really taking risks, and facing real, terrible consequences.

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Always believe an autocrat; he means what he says

Why is anyone surprised any more? I get that we can be shocked and appalled and horrified on a daily basis, but…surprised? Trump has never been anything but what he has always been. If you don’t like what he’s doing today, you should have said something years ago.

If you weren’t appalled and activated when a presidential candidate talked about Mexicans as rapists and murderers or talked about having a right to grab women’s pussies just because you’re not brown or female…don’t look for any sympathy for suddenly noticing when the threat is directed towards you. This train has been coming down the track for a loooong time, and it’s never pretended to be anything other than a train.

Even the GOP, in general, has been exactly who they’re proving themselves to be on a daily basis. They promised to “starve the beast” that is government…well, except for the institution they benefit from or feel safe from…and they’re doing. exactly. what. they. said. they’d. do.

Always believe the autocrat will do exactly what he says he’ll do.

#JeffFlake #TooLittleTooLate

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What were you doing when you were 22? Whatever it was, Trayvon Martin never got the chance.

What were you doing when you were 22? I was recently graduated from college. Starting my life with my eventual husband. Wildly in love. We didn’t make much money but that was okay. We had hope that if we worked hard we’d be okay. We didn’t apply for jobs only to be disregarded because we had “black-sounding” names. Were never told to come see an apartment for rent but then told “oh, um, sorry, it’s been, um, rented, yeah” after we arrived because we weren’t the color the person was expecting [fact supported by study after study].
Travyon Martin would have been 22 this year. He never got the chance to have that scary, yet, also hopeful, time in life.
Now this I’ll #NeverForget.

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Reaching out, vs. introspection

ISO ways to talk about people traditionally excluded from institutions and systems that do not lump people together based solely on a characteristic of identity–even though they strongly identify with that characteristic. For example, predominantly white, middle-income, college educated community groups look for ways to “reach out” to “the Vietnamese.” Here’s another example: we talk of “the homeless,” as if we wear our homes or are our homes*. Some of us certainly identify strongly with our homes, but no one would describe me as “homed,” so why would I place as a predominant characteristic on a person the status of their housing? An example, I could say “there are many homeless people in Seattle,” vs “many Seattleites have inadequate or uncertain housing.” They are residents of Seattle. Full stop. People who have first hand knowledge of dire housing conditions have a particular stake in the outcome and a great deal of crucial experience that can inform discussions. If we focus on the fact of housing crises, we can focus on the issues and facts and not the personalities. Needful to say, I should not raise the issue of the status of one’s housing when that issue is not under discussion.

Back to the example of community groups wanting to do outreach…it seems to me that we are asking the wrong question. The question isn’t how to reach populations, but why aren’t we attracting different voices? That’s an inward examination.

Added: elsewhere someone mentioned the idea that “people are people,” which is true and can help with conversation, but that misses the point that the characteristic they share–skin, religion, gender–do put them at risk or form a barrier to systems, institutions, and services.

Thoughts?


*Those homes are assumed to not be tents or RVs. Unless, of course, one is retired, and, typically white, middle-income, etc.

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Facts are not opinions. That’s not just my opinion.

“Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.” This implies all opinions are equally valid, because opinions are “just” opinions. Often the speaker goes on to confuse or conflate facts with opinions: for example, “it’s just your opinion that human beings didn’t walk with the dinosaurs.” No, it’s not an opinion; it’s a fact.

Opinions are conclusions drawn from available facts. Difference in opinions arise because people have different degrees of comfort with subject matter, incomplete access to facts, or incomplete understanding of the facts they know. There is no such state as perfect knowledge, so every opinion is flawed to some extent. Reasonable people can disagree about opinions, therefore we accept that opinions are subjective.

While opinions aren’t facts, their merit can be weighed. If an opinion is based on outdated or incorrect information, or if it contains logical fallacies, it should be discarded by the holder of the opinion and discounted suspect by the audience. Opinions based on many well-understood facts merits more attention than opinions based on few facts. Opinions that ignore facts that undercut the opinion should be ignored.

Facts are facts regardless of season, time of day, or political party. Some facts are firmer than others. Gravity is a fact; a liberal will fall to their death if dropped from the Tower of Pisa as surely as a conservative will. A fact is a fact whether you believe in it or not. Just ask Wile E. Coyote.

Opinions are conclusions drawn from available facts. Reasonable people can disagree about conclusions, and so have different opinions, but two reasonable people cannot disagree about facts.

Assholes are facts, and everyone needs one. That assholes are ugly or funny or weird is an opinion. Only an asshole stubbornly clings to a bad opinion like the US is a post-racial society.

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