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.

Post #30: Intersectionality

Intersectionality Metaphor

I wanted to share an article from the Washington Post today. It deals with intersectionality and explains the history and the context of the term. If you haven’t heard it before I encourage you to read.

As an example, we often hear that women in America make around $0.79 to every dollar a man makes, but the gap for women of color is even more staggering:

wagegapbrokenupbyrace-011

This is just an example to highlight how discrimination in this country is affected by the intersectionality of identity factors. Please read Christine Emba’s article for more information:

Christine Emba: Intersectionality

*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 #25: We can disagree without attacking . . .
Post #26: A Letter on ‘What It’s Like to Have a Sibling with Autism’
Post #27: When no gender fits: A quest to be just a person
Post #28: DeRay McKesson: Tackling Racism in the Black Lives Matter Movement
Post #29: Never assume that you’re magically free of prejudice . . .

*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 #28: DeRay McKesson: Tackling Racism in the Black Lives Matter Movement

Deray and trevor

DeRay has some interesting thins to say about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement if you’d like to learn a little more about him and what he is working for. (Sorry about the commercial before the clip. I couldn’t find one without it.)

DeRay McKesson with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show: Tackling Racism in the Black Lives Matter Movement

*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 #23: What You Imply When You Call a Disabled Person Inspiring
Post #24: 9 YA Authors Discuss Music, Chronic Illness, and More in March’s YA Open Mic
Post #25: We can disagree without attacking . . .
Post #26: A Letter on ‘What It’s Like to Have a Sibling with Autism’
Post #27: When no gender fits: A quest to be just a person

*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 #20: #OscarSoWhite

oscars-2016-chris-rock

Last night Chris Rock addressed the Oscar controversy regarding the lack of POC representation in the Oscars and by extension in Hollywood itself. You can see the entire monologue below:

 

To put it into context, see this post by Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer below.

Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer: Hollywood Should represent all of Us! The Truth of #OscarSoWhite

*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 #15: #BuzzWordsBeDamned
Post #16: Listen and Learn . . . 
Post #17: Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions
Post #18: Discussion: Body Positivity in YA – Where’s the Love for Curvy Women?
Post #19: Beyonce in Formation

*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 #19: Beyonce in Formation

beyonce

I’d like to share a post that followed the release of Beyonce’s Formation video and her Super Bowl performance. I know many though that was no place for a political statement, regardless that the white performer (lead singer of Coldplay) literally wore his political statement on his arm. The problem wasn’t the political statement, but that it wasn’t a statement for the white masses.

This post puts Bey’s Formation in context. The context of what it means to Black America.

“. . . this critique is just further proof that African-Americans can’t have anything or express ourselves fully without first considering if we’re “race-baiting” white America.” – Priscilla Ward

It’s time for White America to take a step back from their outrage and take a cold hard look at racism in this country. Start by listening to Black Americans. You don’t have to agree, but it is imperative to fix the problems in this country that we attempt to understand where others are coming from. We, White America, have had the front of the stage for so long, it’s time we listened to other voices.

“The backlash to “Formation” is proof that even in 2016, black artists have to make anything, especially something as wildly popular as a new Beyoncé song performed at the most mainstream of all TV events, the Super Bowl, about white America’s feelings and politics — even when the song is about anything but that.” – Priscilla Ward

Maybe, just maybe, this song wasn’t for White America. And you know what, that’s okay.

Priscilla Ward: White Beyonce haters don’t get it: “Formation” isn’t “race-baiting” – but it is unapologetically about race

 

*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 #14: #DisabledTwitter Needs to be Dominated by Disabled Voices
Post #15: #BuzzWordsBeDamned
Post #16: Listen and Learn . . . 
Post #17: Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions
Post #18: Discussion: Body Positivity in YA – Where’s the Love for Curvy Women?

*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 #11: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person

floyd-trailer-park

Today’s post is a companion piece to yesterday’s Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I feel as a person who has benefited from being a white, middle class, educated, US citizen it is my obligation to understand how taking any one of those attributes away could vastly change how I experience life in this country. And so I am sharing this article with you.

When I first heard about White Privilege a few years ago, my reaction was kind of the same as this author’s. But I actually read her article first, then had to follow the links to truly understand what she was talking about. Gina gives several links that give a broader definition to those who may not be familiar with all the terminology. So be certain to explore deeper if any of this doesn’t fully make sense to you.

Gina’s essay explains further how we experience white privilege, even if we don’t realize it, and also how that white privilege isn’t the same for all. Many factors can alter how it affects you. Seriously, if you read one of my Lent Posts this year, this is the one.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person

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 #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

 

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