Culture, I'm just sayin'.

On Compassion

Just FYI: My next interview starts off with a question that uses this word. I was inspired to write this post because I wanted to address something that’s been lurking in the atmosphere.

Let’s start things off off with a definition.

According to Merriam-Webster, compassion is a “sympathetic  consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

These days I’ve noticed that if you suggest that certain people deserve a bit more grace than folks are typically given, some people respond with fear, annoyance, or even disgust.  Although I could feel this attitude in the air for the longest while, at first, I couldn’t place its source. I once mused to a friend, “Why do some men act as though if they’re compassionate, they’re going to lose their [insert vital organ here]?”

And then, one day, I saw it. Proof that a popular media personality believes that compassion is detrimental. Long story short, they seemed pretty convinced that compassion is corrosive. In fact, they argued with such conviction, I couldn’t help but believe they had been railing against the supposed evils of compassion for a long time.

This concerns me deeply. Furthermore, the idea of distorting the definition of compassion caused me to think of the impact of what doing such a thing could have on society. How much harm can be caused by misrepresenting something that is not only perfectly normal, but an important part of the human experience?

I’m bothered because it isn’t only that certain people have bad ideas. My antennae goes up when I notice that these people who have bad ideas have large audiences. Their audiences tend to believe what their leaders tell them. The next thing you know, these people’s ideas have an influence on how their audience members interact with others.  

And what happens when you insist on putting your trust in bad (incorrect) information? Misunderstandings and needless conflicts.

“But I pledged my allegiance to Bro Code. How could it possibly fail me?”

It does. It can. It has. And it will.

In the past, I’ve attempted to discuss serious race-related issues with people that I’ve otherwise respected, only to be met with ignorance and dismissiveness. Stunned, at first, I wondered why. Their attitudes didn’t match what I thought I knew of them.

Yet after observing certain media gurus’ output, I don’t wonder any longer.

What hope does humanity have of getting rid of bigotry when those with an upper hand in society have role models who paint essential human traits in a negative light?

The Surrendered Intellect

No one is an expert on everything.

It’s widely accepted that different people are going to know more than others about different subjects. This is true simply because of who we are and our various lived experiences. And do you know what? It’s okay.

We understand this regarding certain professions. You can’t fix your car yourself unless you’ve been trained to do so.

We understand this related to sex. Due to our firsthand knowledge, women know more about pregnancy than men.

Yet on race, some white people follow a different pattern: They rush to assert themselves, confident that they know more than people of colour about whether something is actually racist or not. I’ve discussed this before.

Sometimes I think about why this happens. I keep thinking that someone should tell these folks: It’s okay to not speak because you lack knowledge on a subject. Especially when misunderstanding something can affect people’s quality of life, or even safety.

Still, certain media gurus attempt to prove how much of an authority they are on everything—including race. I’ve noticed that they may even share their platforms with so-called experts who share their incorrect points of view. Sometimes, these “experts” are even people of color who claim that problems with racism are grossly exaggerated.

And in return? Their audience hangs on their words. I once tried to consider why people remain devoted to such individuals.

I suppose it can be fun to listen to your heroes. You may believe in them, and therefore, believe that whenever they speak or present something (or someone) to you, you’re getting the straight scoop on the real heart of an issue. But here’s the kicker: When you’re consistently given flawed information, the trust that you place in your idols isn’t wisely invested. Faith in paranoia-driven, dishonest rhetoric doesn’t put you on an inside track. It actually derails your–and society’s–progress.

If you’ve read this far and still insist that I’m wrong, what’s your end game? As you make your way through this world, who is it that you want to get along with? Is it ONLY people who look and think like you–and the people who agree with them, without question?

What you choose to believe about the world and the people in it taints your understanding of society. It also harms your relationships with others. I know that some people listen to certain gurus because they’ve bought into the lie that doing so will make their lives better. But if you choose to believe incorrect information, are you really at an advantage?

Someone who shares their thoughts with the world may be famous. But that does not guarantee that their ideas are correct.

How does this relate to compassion?

We live in the real world. And in the real world, we have to grapple with negative issues. When we interact with others, as we attempt to resolve conflicts, it’s normal to want to reach positive outcomes. And in order for this to happen, a sense of compassion, or the ability to be compassionate towards others, is useful. Especially regarding sensitive subjects.

You can’t use cold, faux-reasoning to resolve legitimate issues. Whoever taught you this is lying.

Writing those last sentences made me cringe as I realize something. The same people who disregard compassion are also taught not to take various forms of prejudice seriously.

I can imagine the warnings that such folks give to others: “Don’t be compassionate! That’s how they get you!!”

What’s the mindset behind this sort of thing? “It’s better to be a cold, wannabe-intellectual, than a sensitive, vulnerable human being”?

If you’ve answered “yes” to that question, why?

Such a model of humanity is not sustainable, or realistic.

Let’s extend this discussion to reference masculinity. The perspective that I’m referring to is often promoted by male public figures to their predominantly male audiences. Men’s perspectives are also important because of their broader influence on the entire world.

When I think of stereotypically manly things that I appreciate, certain traits come to mind.

But have you considered something? Sensitivity and depth are attractive. Both platonically, and romantically. As characteristics go, they suggest good things, such as the likelihood that someone is trustworthy. And isn’t that a good thing?

Meanwhile, those aspects of your personality can’t function properly if you’re busy attempting to mimic an overly-stoic robot.

So why, exactly, do certain people insist on resisting compassion? From what I’ve seen, they believe that it comes with consequences.

There’s that old myth: The idea that you’re less of a (hu)man if you’re too compassionate or sensitive. Yet it’s a myth for a reason.

I’ve even seen people suggest that those who pursue equity secretly have bad intentions. Yet there’s a difference between getting someone to understand why bigotry is bad, and maliciously manipulating them.  The latter is not something that interests people. It isn’t in any normal individual’s playbook.

Sadly, though, some are so eager to hang onto bigoted points of view that they insist on painting people of color as villains, no matter what we do.

That mindset is more than tiresome. It’s a road that leads to nowhere.

A Word About Your Black (or [Insert Human Difference Here]) Friends

Let’s get back to something that I mentioned earlier: The times when I’ve been surprised by people’s strange attitudes about racism.

Looking back on those encounters, this year, I started to wonder: How likely is it that these people have ever had a serious, deep, honest conversation about racism with their Black friends?

And I’m not talking about chats on the type of bigotry that hits the headlines. It’s easy for most people to see that those instances are dehumanizing.

I’m referring to racism in all its multifaceted, nuanced glory.

There are racist incidents that never appear on your favourite news channel. And when it comes to eliminating those, some people don’t want to face the truth: Stopping regular, everyday racism involves changing people’s ingrained mindsets and behaviour through education, and practice.   

Yet as one Dear Relative has reminded me, ignorance is a choice. One of the reasons that our society is facing today’s challenges is because certain people have consciously decided to ignore reality as others experience it.

You can choose to believe your Black friends when we say that Incident or Behaviour X hurts or is racist. Or you can believe that we are lying. (I was going to say “exaggerating”. But suppose someone has experienced something awful and tells you. And in response, you tell them that they are exaggerating. What do you actually mean?)

What is the actual consequence of believing that people are being honest about the pain that racism causes? Why do people act as though it is bad to do so?

You can choose to explore books and other resources that offer honest depictions of how sinister and pervasive racism is. Or you can turn your attention to those that deny it.

And the deniers are clever. But faux intellectualism can’t obscure the truth.

Racism is real. Trivializing the hardships of people that you claim to care about isn’t helpful. You may get along well with a person of colour. And that’s lovely. But if you deny the veracity of our concerns about things that leave us vulnerable, then your devotion is superficial.


Photo via Josue Escoto on Unsplash. I copied the Racism Iceberg from a source who found it here.

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Diversity, I'm just sayin'.

Take A Knee

This summer, I worked with a group of teenage ESL students. I remember the first time I taught them our national anthem.

Everyone was ok with what we were doing, except one young woman. I’ll call her Emma.

After we sang “O Canada,”  I had the students work through an anthem-related activity. Once we were done, I couldn’t help but notice that Emma looked downright uncomfortable. While her classmates did other tasks, I took the empty seat beside her. We had a quiet conversation.

Emma was adamant. “An anthem is like a vow…” Technically, I knew she was right. However deep down, a part of me was stunned. Emma went on: she wasn’t from Canada, and didn’t want to disrespect her own country.

I dropped the issue. Days later, though, I had students do an activity that brought our anthem to mind. Once again, Emma was uncomfortable. And I was confused. Her reaction was unlike any that I’d encountered before. As far as I was concerned, Emma didn’t have to take the anthem as anything beyond what it appeared to be: A song.

One day after class, I approached my TA. I told him about Emma. His response?

He wasn’t going to stand in the way of anyone who didn’t want to sing “O Canada”.

Did I mention that my TA was Indigenous?

Instantly, I empathized. In the wake of his reply, it’s almost hilarious how quickly my attitude changed.

Looking back I can’t help but be intrigued. Two different perspectives can reveal so much about the meaning of a piece of music.

For one person, an anthem is a promise–when you sing it, you are declaring your devotion to a country. If you sing the anthem of a country that isn’t yours, you are being disrespectful.

For the other, an anthem can be a symbol of oppression. The first time I was present when a Native student didn’t stand for “O Canada”, I was curious. But I didn’t feel offended.

On one hand, I’m proud to be Canadian. Yet I’m not so proud that I don’t see my nation’s flaws. I understand why our past and present moves some of us to take a stand. Negative reactions to NFL players’ peaceful activism have been very telling.

Why should people be expected to entertain others at the expense of their humanity?

Yes, a national anthem is a song. But it’s more than that. It IS a vow–an expression of devotion and pride. And yet, to those who face injustice, its notes might not sound so sweet.

No one should feel obligated to be comfortable with a system that doesn’t value them. If you have strength and courage enough to protest against injustice, I salute you.

Photo source.

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humor, I'm just sayin'.

Selfies suck.

True story: A week or so ago, after I’d done my hair, I decided to take a photo. I picked up my phone, and put the camera in selfie-mode.

The next thing you know, I was making a screwface at the thing, like, “What kind of [new-twist-on-old-swearword] is this?!?” My new ‘do–which was full and luscious IRL–looked like it was finna run off my head. My already-round face looked like a bowling ball.

When I tell you about the amount of prayer and contortions I have to subject myself to in order to look at least 50% like I do in person…? Taking a selfie is hit or miss, I swear. And it often involves more misses than hits. *chupse*

Men, this is why your GF takes 70 000 shots of herself ’til she finds the perfect one. Her camera keeps betraying her.

#imjoking #orami #sometimesilookdifferentinagoodway #butnotalways #selfiessuck #sorta

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Black like me, Diversity, I'm just sayin'.

On “Black Friends”

Demetria just about covered it.

I read a bunch of comments about Adele on Grammy night that were ridiculous. I swear. My eyes rolled so hard, it’s a wonder they didn’t fall out of my head.

Then, I got introspective.

What do you hear when someone uses the words “Black friends”?

We live in an era where people are boldly, unapologetically racist. And I get it. The words “Black friends” have been used again and again (and AGAIN) by bigots when they’re straining to be polite. “No, Jay’s Blackness doesn’t bother me. I have PLENTY of Black friends…”

But this isn’t that.

Like it or not, the fact remains that folks have friends who are Black. People need to learn the difference between “Black friends” as condescending tokenism and its use as an accurate descriptor.

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I'm just sayin'.

Black In The 519

blackinthe519-notitleI’ve lived in Small Town*, Ontario my whole life. Although certain things are happening now that make me feel hopeful, there are a few aspects of life here that get on my nerves. I’m one of the displaced: A person of colour who has struggled to make peace with life in a non-diverse part of Canada.

In the past, our town’s lack of diversity has driven me nuts.

Although certain changes are making things about living here more enjoyable, I can’t help but feel as though something’s missing.

Just the other day I was talking to someone who works here but lives out of town. They asked me what Small Town is like. “It’s quiet.” I cautioned. As I walked away, I wondered what I was thinking. Was “quiet” some sort of euphemism for “white”?

I’ll be honest. Ideally, I think a person should love where they live, but I’ve struggled. I realize that my lack of social interaction is my own fault. Yet in some ways, being here has been challenging.

ORIGINS

Once I was old enough to know where I was born, I figured it was a mistake. A horrible, horrible mistake. My parents immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean (Barbados and Trinidad) before I was born. They settled in the GTA and pursued their education. Eventually, my father got a job out of town. He was hired locally to work as an elementary school teacher.

Thus began Mom and Dad’s exodus from paradise. They settled in Small Town in the 70s. My mother and I have been here ever since. All along, it’s been hard not to notice the disconnect between us and our surroundings. Growing up, I used to wish my parents had fought harder to stay in Toronto.

SIGHTINGS

If I’ve made my town sound like a gigantic washroom with a Whites Only sign out front, I should apologize. That isn’t my intention. I remember one Black woman and her family used to live on a street near our house. They moved away several years ago.

Overall, my town’s lack of diversity is a major factor in the reason I’ve tried, repeatedly to make my escape. However my attempts have proven to be unsuccessful. The only place I can really imagine settling is Toronto, and that city is ex-PEN-sive with a capital E.

Meanwhile, since I fist graduated from university, I’ve begun to notice the occasional person of colour in town.

A few years ago I was taking music lessons. One day as I was leaving, Mrs. Music Teacher’s husband came home. When I saw him, I was stunned. Mr. Music Teacher was a Black man!

You know that moment when you’re shocked by someone but you don’t want to stare because that would be rude? Yeah. That’s what happened.

“How long have you been here?” He answered, and I’m ashamed to admit that I could barely believe him. If Mr. Music Teacher had, as he claimed, been here for years, why hadn’t I seen him before?

There’s a Latino family in my neighbourhood. A few days ago I saw a hijabi near downtown. Every time I see a person of colour in town, I feel a twinge of hope mixed with sorrow and curiosity.

Things started to really hit me though when I first saw a Black student at the grocery store about a year ago. She was with a friend. I couldn’t help but wonder what life was like for her here in town.

Was she like me—ever-conscious of the fact that she was an “only”—apart from her family, the only Black person around for miles? I couldn’t help but wonder if like me, she planned on leaving as soon as she was old enough to do so?

Well actually, that’s a lie.

I saw two other Black teenagers a few nights ago when I went to McDonalds. Once again, I wondered what their life was like. Have they been here for a while? Were they ever teased when they were younger, like I was?

THE MEETING

One reason I don’t like to venture out and about is that there’s a 50% chance that I’ll feel unwelcome. (Living here, I notice that either people don’t care less, or they seem to be genuinely bothered by diversity.)

A few years ago there was a public meeting on the county’s future. I moseyed over and sat towards the outer edge of the room. As usual, the speakers seemed concerned about preserving our county’s heritage. However that heritage has involved agriculture and manufacturing—industries that offer no options for those whose talents lie elsewhere.

At one point in the evening one speaker got up to speak about what he didn’t want to see unfolding in our town. Every now and then Toronto had been mentioned as a point of contrast. Comparisons to the city can be a sore point for a lot of people. We see its flaws spelled out in living colour on the evening news—poverty, crime, and carding. Yet something about the place keeps drawing people in. There’s a whole generation of Small Towners that don’t live here. I’d be willing to bet my life that the majority of them are in a larger city.

Why resent Toronto? What draws people to it? Diversity. Racial diversity, cultural diversity, diversity of thought, religion—you name it! In the city, opportunities to learn from a variety of human beings are endless. It’s inspiring to be in such a place.

I remember during the meeting, the townspeople were given the chance to speak. One of them was a middle-aged man. From what I can recall, he only seemed to have one intention—to complain about what he didn’t want Small Town to turn into. I cannot remember the details of what he said, however he spoke negatively of life in the city. I asked him to elaborate and specify exactly what it was about being in Toronto that was so offensive to his sensibilities. I was standing right behind him. When I asked him to clarify his points regarding the aspects of urban living that he didn’t like, his reaction didn’t go unnoticed. My request was met with silence.

I couldn’t help but wonder why. How hard would it have been to say that he didn’t like the crime or the crowds or the stench of overpriced real estate? Instead, he said nothing. That confirmed exactly what I’d feared about some of the people who live here. Whatever it was that offended this man about city living was likely something that wasn’t truly problematic, yet only got on certain folks’ nerves. Needless to say, my mind went straight to diversity. It’s the most obvious difference between life here and elsewhere.

In the week after this forum, I’ll never forget the way the press responded. A reporter from The Small Town Herald was there that night. He made it sound as though the man I’m referring to was genuinely concerned about condo developments over-saturating the town’s skyline. However, I was there. And as I said, his silence over a simple question spoke volumes.

My attendance at that meeting also made me self-conscious and want to assert myself. As one of very few people of colour, in town I almost think I should wear a t-shirt that says, ”I belong here!!”

In fact, while I was there, I wanted to stand up and launch into a soliloquy: “How long have I been here? Since there was a Calbeck’s and IGA!” These are both old grocery stores that were in town during the 70s and 80s, when I grew up. At that point, I would have gone on. “One of the ladies who retired from working at Sobeys has seen me shop with my mother since I was a child!” I might have looked strange, but it would have felt good to say something.

THE COMMERCIAL

Do you know those commercials by the Dairy Farmers of Canada featuring Canadian towns that share names with European cities? We have one. It’s been interesting watching it evolve. At first I was surprised and delighted…And even a bit confused.

It was obvious to me that it was produced by people who aren’t from the area. The first time I saw the advertisement and the announcer said, “This…Is Small Town…” I was stunned. It actually looked diverse. At one point there was a woman in it who had a gorgeous afro. Jokingly, I looked at my mom and said, ”Who in [this place] would have an afro, except for me?”

However, my surprise and delight was short-lived. The last several times I saw the commercial, I noticed something. It seemed as though all signs of diversity, aka actors of colour, have been edited out of existence. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. To me, although these changes were technically accurate, because Small Town isn’t exactly a melting pot…They were somehow wrong.

They also made me wonder about my family’s lack of a local footprint. If only a few people in town remember us, and they pass on over the next few decades, were we ever really here in the first place?

 

*The place where I live has a name. However I think my theme’s fairly universal.

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I'm just sayin'., self-care/self-aware, wisdom

Solid Saturday: Speak UP!!

Here’s a little something from way back when.

https://youtu.be/ynabqDZ2jxo

There’s nothing like hearing your old sense of ambition falling from your lips to remind you of who you are.

For the time being I’ve put my podcast aside. (NOTE: No matter what anyone else says, there’s no such thing as FREE podcast hosting. I mean…sure. Some sites offer “free” plans. But they don’t come without limits.) Meanwhile, somehow I still feel compelled to craft content. This notion really got to me this week. That’s when I got curious…

But, Claire,” I said to myself,”where can I get my stuff hosted for free?”

And almost immediately, the answer came:

Looks like I’ll have to start making videos!!”

Oy vey. Cue the anxiety and excuses.

I took a few test shots yesterday. The lighting was almost as hideous as it was in the video above. I kept struggling with where to put my eyes.

Then, earlier this afternoon I took a look at Jam Gamble’s Facebook page. Jam and I know each other a bit through social media, and she’s an amazing woman. Her pinned post on public speaking really struck a chord with me.

If you feel inspired to do something for your own growth or good, pursue it! Fear exists only to get in the way of your greatness.

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feminism, I'm just sayin'.

The Magic of Misinterpretation

In addition to being shared here, I’ve posted this essay on Medium and recorded an audio version for my podcast.

#BlackGirlsAreMagic

When I was a little girl, there were times when I regretted being brown. My schoolmates used to tease me. Their comments left me curious about having different facial features and lighter skin.

As an adult, I found solace in the pages of The Bluest Eye. I couldn’t relate to everything in Pecola Breedlove’s life. Still, I remembered what it was like to believe that life would have been just a little bit better if only I looked like everyone else.

This week on Twitter, I learned that a writer named Quinn Norton objected to #BlackGirlsAreMagic. This is a hashtag created to celebrate Black beauty in a world where — in spite of the success of women such as Viola Davis and Nicole Beharie — we still often feel pressure to aspire to something else.

After her misinterpretation was righteously rebutted, Ms. Norton retreated and wrote an explanation of her critique that I am still trying to digest. Her essay can be found in full here.

Among Ms. Norton’s claims is the notion that #BlackGirlsAreMagic’s purpose is to display gratuitous shots of women’s breasts. She took great care to declare that

“if you look at #BlackGirlsAreMagic at the moment I am writing this, and you skip over the tweets about me, you can find black girl’s achievement in between a lot of boobs. That bothers me, because the idea what we do something good but BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS is what crushes many girls’ dreams of living a public life. The women who follow each other may or may not see the tag that way, because they may or may not look at that live flow. Even then we tend to look for what confirms how we see a hashtag, because that’s how human brains work.

(emphasis added)

In spite of my familiarity with #BlackGirlsAreMagic, at this point Ms. Norton’s words drove me back to Twitter. In an attempt to make sense of her concerns, I logged into the site and looked up the images associated with #BlackGirlsAreMagic. I found a few photos that were clearly posted by racist trolls. However apart from that, the majority of the images were of Black women looking…Good. Some were dressed up, some dressed down. There were children as well as grown women. All looked perfectly normal and content in their beautiful, brown skin.

The fact that Ms. Norton would see the images associated with #BlackGirlsAreMagic and conclude that the hashtag was designed to focus on women’s breasts is disturbing. Her attitude is reminiscent of an old-school colonialist, desperate to categorize a group of “others” as unacceptable simply because she is not familiar with them.

Furthermore, even if the photos of Black women displaying their cleavage were nearly as plentiful as Ms Norton claimed, her objection would still seem suspect. Black women are women. We have BREASTS. I’m shy about sharing mine with the world, but if another woman is comfortable with posting cleavage shots online, who is it harming?

At another point in her essay, Ms. Norton attempts to be informative regarding hashtag use. With respect to the idea of a person or group’s right to claim a tag, she said that “we can own a hashtag in a community, but we can’t own it a wider public sphere. It has a hashtag life of its own.” I can only assume that here, Ms. Norton meant to enlighten those who use #BlackGirlsAreMagic regarding how hashtags work. However it seems to me that she is the one who fails to comprehend social media dynamics.

Obviously, one cannot own a hashtag any more than a writer can claim to own the alphabet whenever she uses its components to express a thought. Yet from the originator to the community that made it popular, most individuals understand the purpose of a hashtag is to share relevant points pertaining to a particular topic.

To emphasize her point about a hashtag’s malleability, Ms Norton also states that “I’m not wrong about how [a hashtag] can and does change over time and to different audiences.”. And indeed, Ms. Norton is not wrong about the fact that hashtags are interpreted differently by different people.

However she misunderstands the influence that those who have nothing to do with a tag have on its interpretation. If a hashtag is irrelevant to a cause that someone cares about, there’s a chance that he won’t find it meaningful, and in all likelihood, dismiss it. That’s the way most hashtags work. Not everyone will find sense in a particular tag’s creation. Still, that’s nothing for them to worry about. If I stressed over every hashtag that I couldn’t relate to, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

As an aside, I can’t help but wonder, if #TransMagic was used to celebrate members of the Transgendered community, would it have been met with the same level of presumptuous imposition? There’s no shame in admitting to being wrong about a situation, without attempting to insult those that you unfairly criticized.

The wonder of humanity is how different we are in spite of our similarities. I believe these differences ought to be celebrated, and above all, respected. However, that was not the case with Quinn Norton’s critique of #BlackGirlsAreMagic. Her words provide an example of a bias within society that needs to be corrected.

I long for individuals to understand: There’s nothing wrong with giving those of us who are non-white or outside of society’s gender norms room to appreciate ourselves and each other. In those circles, ideas that do not pertain to you are bound to be discussed. Yet that does not mean that said discussions are inherently wrong.

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feminism, I'm just sayin'.

Ode to the “F” word.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

  1. Today marks the launch of the Women’s Freedom Conference. You can attend it online for free.

2. Yesterday, this article showed up in my Twitter timeline.

I sent out a response.

I reckon there may be a few people out there who didn’t hear the “f-word” until Beyoncé uttered it. However, most of us know–and can teach them–the truth.

Feminism existed long before Bey was born. It’ll remain long after she’s gone. And more importantly, her contributions have done nothing to hurt the movement.

BeyFeminism2

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I'm just sayin'.

Are You Oppressed?: A Checklist for Contemporary Martyrs

THINK, Dear Reader. Are you really, truly oppressed?

persecutionmeme

Source

It’s a serious question. I know it’s hard to tell these days, what with all these folks getting their way. Let’s face it, though. We don’t exist in a vacuum.

Surviving in the same country as ne’er do wells, it can be hard to tell if their Evil Agenda has taken control of your environment. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

Are your movements restricted? Are you prohibited from sections of public places such as restaurants and theatres? Are you banned from certain establishments altogether?

Do officials deny you certain services while placing no restrictions on those of another, dominant culture?

What about education?: When it comes to school, can you only send your offspring to institutions reserved for people of your background? If you attempt to do otherwise, is your family met by folks spewing verbal and physical threats?

ElizabethEckford
Source

If you’ve answered “no” to the questions above, then congratulations! You’re NOT oppressed!

KimDavis

Source

Sorry, Kim.

Be a dear, please.

Stop believing the lie that when people who have nothing to do with you are allowed to live their lives as they choose it’s a sure sign that they’re about to destroy yours.

Inspired by this Gawker piece, along with this weekend’s Twitter mayhem.

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I'm just sayin'.

Sporty Sexism

It’s now evident to me that when I’m about to fall asleep, I need to resist the urge to check my phone. Chances are I’ll find something that leaves me vexed and itching to write an essay.

Consider last night. Meet Exhibit A:

MensHealthSexistSports

Hmmm.

I don’t follow sports very closely. Yet during the World Cup, I was mesmerized. My poor mother had to put up with me sitting in front of the television yelling

Kick it. KICK IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!!

over and over again.

As for the article itself, it was everything that that tweet suggested. The original title was “The Secret to Talking Sports with Any Woman”. I don’t know if Men’s Health let it see the light of day. Nevertheless, basically, it stated that when it comes to sports, women will be able to relate to the action on a field if they share a connection with the players who are running around on it.

And how is such a connection forged? Through regaling us with tales of compassion from the players’ lives. To break it down further, we “need story lines”.

I don’t know. In the moments when Soccer Fever took over, do you think I cared one whit about who was invested in whose life, or which players paid attention to Charity XYZ?

Nope.

In all seriousness, Journalists, we women do not need so-called manly things to be softened in order to appreciate them. We can enjoy pastimes like sports just as they are, no primping required.

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