The End of Lent: Good Friday

Cross on a hill

The end of Lent kind of snuck up on me. I kept thinking I had more time, more days, because there were more stories I wanted to share with my readers, but this is it. The wrap up of my Lenten Challenge 2016 series.

I’d like to say I will do it again next year, and maybe I will. But admittedly it has been rough going. I’ve had a few people who made nasty comments on Facebook about my posts, which clearly showed they neither read my words nor the articles I shared. And they certainly didn’t honor the idea that the purpose of this exercise was to learn from the viewpoints of another, rather than debate their own opinions.

And really, those are the people who truly need these posts. Not that I expect them to agree with every word, but rather when your heart is calcified by the vitriol of a certain kind of viewpoint, I think it is beneficial to step back, listen, learn, try to understand the people you are vilifying so vehemently. But that doesn’t happen. They just go right on hating what they don’t know.

It really is disheartening to see so much hate and prejudice in the world. And these are often “good” people. They go to church, believe in charity, consider themselves Christians. But then they pass heinous laws, or block LGBT non-discrimination policies in North Carolina, or they call for all Muslims to be banned from the USA, or vote for a candidate that uses hate and fear mongering to further his efforts. I hear things like, “With Gay Pride and Black History month, I feel lost in the shuffle. Why can’t I celebrate being white?” Or “That’s reverse discrimination.” Or “I grew up poor. Don’t talk to me about white privilege.” Or “Black lives matter? I think all lives matter.” All of which skirt the issues and ignore the pain that comes with discrimination in its many forms.

So what’s the cure for this disease? Because I really think it is. It’s a disease of the mind and the heart that spreads through well-meaning people who just don’t understand what it’s like to be “other,” because they’re not other. They are straight, white, cis-gender, Christians in a world that treats them as “normal” or the status quo. Which means if they (and me) are normal, then everyone else is “different.”

And that’s what I’d like to change. Stop thinking of yourself as the main character in everything. Start thinking of yourself as another piece of the immense puzzle that makes up this world. And in order to understand how your puzzle piece fits into the next one, you have to step away from your comfort zone and learn about someone else.

It’s simple really, though it will take time. And Google is there to help you along. Just type in “Growing up _______ in America.” Fill in that blank with whatever seems other to you: black, poor, LGBT, trans, Muslim, mentally ill, disabled, autistic, etc., etc. The list could go on forever. And don’t just read one first hand story. Read several, because every Muslim has a different story. They are not universal. Every person of the LGBT community has a different story. They are not universal. Do this everyday until maybe, just maybe, people stop seeming other to you, and just seem like people.

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Post #43: Life When You’re Not Just Poor, but Deeply Poor

Brandy Price

This is the last of my Lenten Challenge 2016 posts. I’d like to share the story of Brandy, a poor young woman in Philadelphia raising three children. It shares not only the struggle of being poor, but also the indomitable human spirit of a woman trying to make life better for herself and her children.

Alfred Lubano: Life When You’re Not Just Poor, but Deeply Poor

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress
Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait
Post #42: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #42: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

Paul Heroux

Today I would like to share a lovely article by State Representative from Massachusetts Paul Heroux. I know nothing about Representative Heroux or his politics. I don’t even know if he is a Republican or a Democrat, but I personally don’t think that matters. He shares a story of a woman who has struggled with bipolar disorder and this puts a human face on an otherwise impersonal label. It is time we see the people behind the diagnosis.

Rep. Paul Heroux: Being Completely Normal Living With a Mental Illness

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress
Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #41: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

Audre Lorde

The topic of intersectionality is an interesting one, bringing some people to deny its existence all together and others to argue that the intersection of our different identifiers can alter the affects of prejudice. This is an informative article from The Washington Post written by Kimberle Crenshaw that talks about this topic.

Kimberle Crenshaw: Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With mental Illness
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face
Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #40: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headresses

indian halloween

There are hundreds of posts and articles pertaining to cultural appropriation out there, and I could share any number of the ones I have read (though most people would probably ignore them anyway,) but I decided this one was the best one to start with. It’s written by Chelsea Vowel, a Plains Cree speaking Metis woman in Montreal. Chelsea politely and intelligently illustrates specifically why wearing a headdress is offensive, but I think it also speaks to the overall mocking of cultures we do at Halloween (and other times) by creating stereotyped costumes of living, breathing cultures. You can expect me to share many more of this posts approaching Halloween in an effort to educate people as to the offensive nature of appropriated costumes.

Chelsea Vowel: An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #35: We All Do It: Ableist Prejudice Against Disabled Persons
Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With mental Illness
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone
Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #39: Nina Simone’s Face

Jazz singer Nina Simone is shown in London on Dec. 5, 1968, photo. Simone's deep, raspy, forceful voice made her a unique figure in jazz and later helped define the civil rights movement. (AP Photo)

Jazz singer Nina Simone is shown in London on Dec. 5, 1968, photo. Simone’s deep, raspy, forceful voice made her a unique figure in jazz and later helped define the civil rights movement. (AP Photo)

I’ve read several articles articulating the frustration many POC (People of Color) feel in regards to the selection of Zoe Saldana to play Nina Simone in a biopic of her life, but this article by Ta-Nehisi Coates I thought was very illustrative of why this is problematic.

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Nina Simone’s Face

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #34: Growing Up Black and Jewish in America
Post #35: We All Do It: Ableist Prejudice Against Disabled Persons
Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With mental Illness
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood
Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #38: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone

Feminism

“Feminism”, to some, is a dirty word. But it shouldn’t be. There are all kinds of feminism, and many ways for us to fit into a movement. Really, feminism is just the belief that equality is a right that all people should experience, and we should not be judged or discriminated against because of our gender. As you will see from the pictures and brief stories, many people identify themselves as feminists, and not just the usual suspects.

Alanna Vagianos: 9 Portraits That Prove Feminism Really is for Everyone

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #33: 13 Tweets That Define What Growing Up as Lesbian Was Really Like
Post #34: Growing Up Black and Jewish in America
Post #35: We All Do It: Ableist Prejudice Against Disabled Persons
Post #36: The Secret Dual Lives of People Living With mental Illness
Post #37: 13 Things People with Chronic Diseases Wish You Understood

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*