Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Peggy McIntosh - associate director of Wellesley College Center for Research on Women & Founder and Co-Director of the National SEED Project

Peggy McIntosh – associate director of Wellesley College Center for Research on Women & Founder and Co-Director of the National SEED Project

“Whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow them to be more like us.” – Elizabeth Minnich

So I’ve been saving this one. There are those among my followers (Facebook, Twitter, blog) who I think desperately need to read this. There are those who may have already. But I fear many are not ready. Their hearts and minds are not open enough.

Of course, that’s not all of you.

So I challenge my readers, whether the title (maybe especially if the title) offends you, concerns you, gives you that creeping feeling of guilt or denial or fear, please read this.

Digest it. Think about it. Apply the list to your life in general terms. We aren’t talking specifics here. We’re talking “I can pretty much be assured on a normal day . . .”

Maybe think about how this list doesn’t apply to some people, and why. How this affects them, their lives, how they see the world and colors their everyday interactions.

Think about it some more and maybe talk with others. Push down that tendency to get offended and feel attacked. Remind yourself, you’re not being attacked. You are being given a chance to grow.

For what good is life if we are unable to learn from those around us?

Peggy McIntosh: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

To learn more about Peggy McIntosh here is her Wikipedia page.

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101
Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem
Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America

Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America

Interesting read on growing up Muslim in a country that is taught to hate you . . .

Anna Fifield: Growing up Muslim in America

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101
Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem

Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem

Legend of Korra

Legend of Korra

So I’m still looking for a blog post on the importance of #ownvoice stories. I can’t believe no one has written this. In fact, I think I’m just looking with the wrong keywords. But I won’t give up, because I want you all to know about this. In the meantime, this article on the effects of television consumption on kid’s self-esteem is an example of what I’d like to share. Not seeing yourself in books and television, or seeing yourself in a bad light, can have profound effects on the psyche of kids.

Marissa Lee: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101

Post #7: Diversity 101

diversity forum flyer graphic_0

 

Ran across this post on Justina Ireland’s blog while looking for an #OwnVoice stories blog post. Still haven’t found that, but this is a nice little primer for those who may not think diversity in media is all that important. Or at least coalesces into one post some of the main talking points for those of us who agree, but maybe don’t understand the whole picture.

Justina is a YA writer of color. And a damn fine one too. Her book PROMISE OF SHADOWS has been one of my favorite reads this year.

Justina Ireland: Diversity 101

**And remember, just like in nature, let’s leave the blog as we found out. No comments. Or at least no negative comments. Let’s not leave our trash behind. Thanks.**

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box

Post #6: Picture from the Box

Dave and Joe

Sunday morning I woke up and realized I had forgotten to create my post the night before. So I looked through my list of links I had saved for future posts, but none seemed quite right. There are several I am anxious to share with all of you, but am holding those for later. And I decided I wanted to share a post on disability, so of course I began to search disability blogs. Huffington and Slate and Time have excellent articles, but if you really want to get to the heart of an issue, turn to personal blogs. They can be crude, irreverent, but often beautiful. They aren’t writing for money or publicity, they’re writing to share the inner most corners and nooks of their hearts.

In my research I found the disability-centered blog of Dave Hingsburger, and though he has many excellent posts regarding what it’s like to live in a world were being disabled is being an “other”, the post he shared on Valentine’s day particularly struck me. As it is so personal and evoked such a visceral feeling in me, I felt I must gain Dave’s permission to share it on my own blog. Dave didn’t get back to me until last night, so I am sharing this post today. It is a bit long, but hit me deeply with it’s pain. I feel it is a very important read for anyone who celebrated their Valentine’s Day with the one they love. Not everyone has always had the freedom to express such emotions.

Dave Hingsburger: The Picture From the box

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America

Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America

Black children

Not really a lot to explain here. Growing up black in America is a far different experience than what white kids have to deal with, no matter how much we want to think otherwise. The Civil Rights Movement happened, and White America wants to think that racism is in the past, yet I would like to share a number of posts that demonstrate that racism is in fact alive and well in this country. It’s hidden. It’s ambiguous. It covers itself up with equality on paper but not in reality. And it’s our job as people who benefit from White Privilege (we’ll talk about that more in a later post) to acknowledge where there are problems and do what we can to fix them, following the lead of our Black brothers and sisters.

Marian Wright Edelman: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2
Post #3
Post #4

Post #4: Why Diversity in Children’s Literature Really Matters

Diversity Kids Reading

Those of you not involved in the publishing industry probably haven’t heard a lot of talk about diversity in children’s literature, but for those of us working every day to create quality and entertaining literature for children and teens, we discuss this all the time. And many of us are working to improve this situation. So please read a first hand account by a fellow writer, Jacob Hood.

Jacob Hood: Why Diversity in Children’s Literature Really Matters

And since I have a few other articles that go along with this, here’s a post that shows the data of diversity discrepancy in children’s literature:

The diversity Gap in Children’s Publishing, 2015

And because I just can’t stop there on an issue that is so near and dear to my heart, here’s a little girl doing something about this very problem:

Marley Dias Collects 1000 Books About Black Girls

I hope these articles offer some insight and education. Thanks for learning alongside me. I’m often reminded of the adage “Listening to learn, not to respond.” I try to remember that in my daily interactions as well as my passive interactions when reading or viewing on the internet.

For more information about this series of posts, please see my 2016 Lenten Challenge, Post #2 and Post #3.

Lenten Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab

Dalia Mogahed

Dalia Mogahed – Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington DC

For Post #3, I’d like to share a video of Dalia Mogahed on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Among other topics concerning Muslim Americans in this country, Dalia shares why she wears a hijab, and a few other thoughts on the hijab that I found interesting. Yes you will have to sit through a commercial. Sorry. And yes the video is 6 minutes long. But trust, me it’s informative. In fact, Dalia is a good person to listen to if you’d like to find out more about the Muslim American perspective. She can be found pretty much all over the internet and on every major national news channel.

Dalia Mogahed on The Daily Show: Understanding American Muslims and the Media’s Coverage of Terrorism

Here’s my post on my 2016 Lenten Challenge.

And here’s Post #2.

**Please remember, this is about positivity and learning. No negative comments on here, Facebook, or the links I share. Take what you can and leave nothing behind.**

Lenten Post #2: Coming out again, and again, and again . . .

gems

In Post #2 of my 2016 Lenten challenge (read more here) I’m sharing a blog post I have shared before. It is a piece that affected me deeply and has helped to shape how I see and approach the world and the people in it. Lucas Hargis talks about having to come out to people again and again, and how some people he’s known a long time view that coming out, and it made me think about my own thoughts and reactions to people. I hope it gives you some insight as well.

Lucas Hargis: An Open Letter to Everyone From Back Then

**Please remember, this exercise is meant for the improving of ones mind, not their debating skills. If you disagree with me, or any of the articles I present, please keep it to yourself. I do not want to bring negative commentors to the blogs I share, nor do I care to hear your arguments about what I’m doing. This is for educational purposes. Take what you can from it, but don’t leave your crap behind.**

**And if you have suggestions of articles or blogs that I can share, please leave links below! I would love help in this endeavor.**

I’m giving up HATE, PREJUDICE, and INDIFFERENCE for Lent!

ITALY-VATICAN-POPE-MASS-ASH-WEDNESDAY

Pope Francis leads the Ash Wednesday mass opening Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for Christians, before Holy Week and Easter on February 18, 2015 at Santa Sabina church in Rome. AFP PHOTO POOL / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay, so I’m not particularly religious. And I’m definitely not Catholic, though my boys do go to a Catholic school for various reasons. In fact, I was raised Methodist and I have never fasted for Lent in my life. It always seemed meaningless to me, giving up candy or pop or wine. I’ve since changed that thought, understanding that the significance comes from the heart of the faster and what it means to them, not in the surface presentation of the act. But even after that understanding, I still never participated. Until I read something that made me think twice about Lent this year.

An article from TIME surfaced on Facebook in which the writer, Christopher Hale, talks about Pope Francis’s Lent Message from 2015. You can read Hale’s words here and Pope Francis’s full message here. For good measure, here is Francis’s Lenten Message for 2016. Pope Francis talks about fasting from global indifference and also about having a heart full of mercy. I won’t go into detail, but I encourage you to read all three articles above. They’re short, and full of meaningful words we can all take to heart.

In fact, they got me thinking: In what way can I fast from indifference? I mean, I’m a pretty compassionate and empathetic person. I care about my fellow man and try to do acts of charity and goodwill from holding the door for a stranger to donating money to a charity to volunteering for local charity events. And I go beyond that to try to improve my own heart and understanding by reading about people who are not like me in an effort to understand their view point. What else can I do?

Arguably, there is a lot more that I can do, because I am far from being a saint. Short of dedicating my life to helping others and rejecting all material possessions, I’m not sure any of us really do as much as we could to better the world around us. But the one thing that kept coming back to me is that the cure for indifference is understanding. Without exposure to new ideas, different viewpoints, other experiences, we continue along in our little worlds oblivious to what goes on around us, just outside of our immediate bubble of community.

This, in fact, was a game changer for me. A few years ago I really began to break my bubble and try to see the world through eyes that had seen more than white straight Christian rural America. This is what I had known my whole life. And it was strangling my ability to be truly compassionate about others. Sure I felt sorry for others, but that is pity. No one needs pity. They need compassion, a hand up, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and a mouth to stay closed.

Stay closed? But I’m American! We speak our mind. Freedom of speech! It’s my right to say whatever I think whenever I think it.

True, but no. Understanding doesn’t come with spouting your own ideals and thoughts. Understanding, the battle against indifference, comes when we LISTEN to others, internalize the words, and allow them to help shape our hearts. It doesn’t mean you have to believe every other viewpoint given to you. But you do need to take the time to think about it before completely rejecting it.

So for this Lenten season, I will attempt to post on my blog, Facebook and Twitter, links to articles, blog posts or even Twitter accounts that reflect a viewpoint that might be different than mainstream white straight Christian America. It’s kind of a momentous undertaking, so I may miss some days, but I’ll do my best to share with you some of the things that have helped me to understand my role in this world and how I affect people I will never meet. Through education we can better ourselves and the world around us.

**On a side note, this exercise is meant for the improving of ones mind, not their debating skills. If you disagree with me, or any of the articles I present, please keep it to yourself. I do not want to bring negative commentors to the blogs I share, nor do I care to hear your arguments about what I’m doing. This is for educational purposes. Take what you can from it, but don’t leave your crap behind**

**And if you have suggestions of articles or blogs that I can share, please leave links below! I would love help in this endeavor.**