Friday Favorites

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hello there. I hope you had a good week. I spent Monday and Tuesday morning with my dad, who was attending a workshop in Las Vegas. It was so good to connect one-on-one and talk non stop!
This weekend, we don't have plans other than Leo's usual hockey games. It should be pretty calm and I'm looking forward to that. What are you up to?
Here are a few interesting links if you'd like to click.

Tuesday was a good, good day!

This government is pro-life you say? I think not.

One of the most disregarded gun control loopholes.

Since the elections this magazine has been so culturally and politically relevant.

The problem with statistics used in the fight against trafficking.

This month is Native American Heritage Month. Here are excellent resources for kids.

This is where I studied and where Joe and I met.

My favorite photos of Paris. I want to buy all her pictures!

(Photo by Daria Nepriakhina)

How to be an effective white ally

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I recently read Tim Wise’s excellent book, White Like Me. The book talks about Wise’s own path toward his understanding of race as white person and his subsequent work toward racial justice.

One of the chapters particularly caught my attention: one that delves into becoming a true white ally. It’s one thing to read about racial injustice, post articles on Twitter or Facebook or even have strong opinions about race in the US. It’s another thing to be willing to do the work of being an outspoken and active ally. Wise has some suggestions on the best way to do that:

- Be willing to listenBelieve people of color or minorities when they tell you their stories. Respect their perspective. Give them credit. One example he gives is to respect the way people want to be called: black, African American, Indian American, Native American, gays, queer? Whatever it is. If someone tells you what they want to be called, do it, respect it.
Call out racism (or any sort of negative -ism) when you see or hear it. Do not let family or friends make jokes that make you uncomfortable. Respond in love (attacks against someone has never made them change their minds!) but respond. As Martin Luther King, Jr said “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” Take this at heart, and by doing so be a role model to your other friends, family members, and especially your children if they’re around you while you call someone out.
Find white role models. This is so important. You do not have to do this alone! Be part of a group if you can. Find someone who inspires you and follow their leads. 
Speaking of leaders, do your part under the leadership of people of color or minorities. Don’t create a movement when one already exists -follow their leads, their needs, their actions.
It’s scary to be a real ally. Do it anyway! The work will challenge you and the
system that is so good to white people, myself included of course. The bottom line is that justice comes with a cost and white people must engage in uncomfortable truths and envision a revision of the socio-economic and power privileges we're accustomed to. And that's ok -necessary even.
Finally, do not expect a pat on the back for your work from people of colors or minorities. Don’t do anti-racism work for people of color -they can do that for themselves. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

     The task is daunting but white people have power from the simple and "lucky" fact to be born white. White people need to use this privilege to exercise leadership in dismantling oppressive systems. 
      If you are interested in joining a movement to end racism, you can check out your local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) here. There is work to be done. Let's do this!

      (Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter)

Friday (cough Saturday cough) Favorites

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wow what a week. Halloween was a blast -Jude (SWAT police officer) was sick last year but this year he knocked on all the doors and loved interacting with people while Leo (wait for it... hockey player) enjoyed spending time with his cousins. This weekend I'm home alone with the kids because Joe is in Seattle with friends. And I've decided not to drink at all until Thanksgiving. Bad timing! What are you up to?
Here are a few links I've found interesting if you'd like to click.

Did you have a good Monday? I sure did.

So much actually happened this week. So here are 3 main ideas that matter.

I don't usually care about the Live Disney event but this cast makes me want to watch it now.

Let's all agree to boycott this one, yes?

Uma is angry. And I should follow her lead  more often.

Get in mah belly.

All of these are true.

2 widely different wilderness-themed books I've enjoyed.

(Photo by Javier Molina)

Me, too

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My mom. She was 15 when she was raped – by her mom’s boyfriend, as is often the case. This single act destroyed the rest of her life. She was so naive and beautiful at that age, though I know that looks and age have nothing to do with why women are raped. Rape is a matter of power, of strength.

Sometimes it’s a matter of persuasion, of insidious guilt. That’s what happened with Weinstein, according to the tape the New Yorker made public. That’s what happened to me when I was 16, with an ex-boyfriend. He was my first sexual partner and though our first time was consensual, our last time certainly was not. We had broken up during the summer and then saw each other again at school. He was older than me and had his own apartment. We met in the street, chatted, and we went to his place, as friends. After a while he wanted sex. I said no and he said “why did you come here then? You knew what you were getting into.” I didn’t know what to say. He started kissing me and lowering me on the bed. I think I said no one more time. He was 5 years older. I didn’t know to forcefully say no and leave. After all, I had come to his apartment, so maybe this was what I wanted. He made me doubt myself. And to him, sex was consensual. For so many years I thought so, too. I knew I didn’t want it, but I didn’t fight it either. To this day, I don’t consider what happened rape, but that last time with him was not the definition of consensual. I felt used and that’s not a good feeling.

I am guessing this is what a lot of women felt with Weinstein. They felt guilty because they didn’t say no enough times, because they didn’t run out of the room or that sweet talking and veiled threats made them “acquiesce” or at least remain silent. And then there is the added pressure of who Weinstein is, or what people would say if they went public or made him an enemy. People would say “you went to his hotel room. What did you expect?”

Is it too much to expect respect? Should women expect to be talked into sex, like it’s ok and understood that men can’t help themselves, and even actually expect sex if they’re alone with a woman? We need to change this culture of rape, of thinking that girls should always be on the lookout, that it’s on us to protect ourselves and prevent rape.

Rape is about power, about gender norms. Until we change this, sexual assaults against women will happen.

(In this post I chose to focus on women here as it relates to my mom's and my own experience, as women. Boys and men are also victims of sexual abuse, as recent allegations against Kevin Spacey show. And in this case, let's be clear that sexual abuse was again borne of power and predatory intents, not sexual orientation.)

PS: the origin of #metoo