Archive for category Society
I’ve written about the ways in which many conservatives seem to yearn for yesteryear. This morning, historian Stephanie Coontz offered a fascinating and compelling article in the NY Times on the dangers of nostalgia:
In society at large, however, nostalgia can distort our understanding of the world in dangerous ways, making us needlessly negative about our current situation.[snip]
Happy memories also need to be put in context. I have interviewed many white people who have fond memories of their lives in the 1950s and early 1960s. The ones who never cross-examined those memories to get at the complexities were the ones most hostile to the civil rights and the women’s movements, which they saw as destroying the harmonious world they remembered.
Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.
There’s a major discussion happening right now about sexual assault on college campuses (i.e. it’s made the NY Times; some other posts and articles here, here, here and here). The basic shape of the conversation can be described fairly simply:
Rape and sexual assault are already underreported crimes. Students on college campuses are victims of rape and sexual assault on a regular basis; college campuses nationwide engage in efforts to minimize reporting of sexual assault on campus and take minimal actions against perpetrators. New regulations are shining a light on the situation.
The consensus seems to be that colleges aren’t doing enough to protect students from sexual assault and aren’t doing enough with regard to punishing perpetrators; it seems to me the worst a college can do is expel a perpetrator and even then they run risks they may prefer to avoid. As I think about this issue, it seems that colleges are trying to thread the needle with regard to legal liability – in the absence of specific knowledge about specific threats to a student from/by another student, they can’t take any action; they can’t expel a student because he might rape someone. Without evidence, they can’t punish a student. In many cases, victims can’t identify the perpetrators. Read the rest of this entry »
I am about out of energy for this week. But I do have the smoking remains of an irony meter sitting in the corner crying to be heard. And a tiny little mangled… something. Something Confucius might have called Ren. Something I almost forgot about. Read the rest of this entry »
But in this case, past tragedy. Tragedy not usually experienced as widely as as it could be, or was in the past.
That’s not saying it couldn’t happen again to anybody, but you know what they say:
Humor is the best medicine:
The fiscal cliff negotiations have simply been too depressing to be believed.
From David Atkins at Digby’s place:
On the long-term consequences, it’s true that the President’s inability to stick to a negotiating position may embolden Republicans to take future hostages. But it’s also entirely unclear that Republicans wouldn’t be emboldened, anyway.
There is no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t do everything in their power to hold the debt ceiling hostage no matter how strongly Obama and Reid had negotiated on the fiscal cliff. If the President takes the Constitutional option to avoid hostage-taking over the debt ceiling, there’s no reason to believe that the Republicans wouldn’t portray him as a dictatorial King George spending hard-working Americans out of their sustenance, justifying their efforts to take even more hostages in the near future out of formerly mundane government functions.[snip]
It doesn’t matter that Americans in general blame Republicans for the fiscal cliff mess far more than Democrats. What matters is that in the vast majority of Republican districts they’re considered heroes for standing up to the evil President, while the few sane or vulnerable ones in the House GOP caucus have no power. So why would they compromise? Why would they buckle? Their voters don’t want them to, and any retreat would only mean a potential challenge from the right. Most of them aren’t the least bit afraid of a Democratic opponent in 2014.
And so the depressing cycle continues. Republicans get crazier and crazier and behave in ever less socially acceptable ways and are rewarded by Republican voters, who as Atkins points out, are even more nuts than elected Republicans: Read the rest of this entry »
The NRA is the enabler of death-paranoid, delusional and as venomous as a scorpion. With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax. – Bill Moyers
The procession of funerals of innocent children under the casual gaze of the gun lobby and 2nd Amendment zealots, reminds us that our public spaces are no longer safe. This is the antithesis of freedom and civic life. Americans must rise up now against this terror and demand basic security for unarmed people.
Please note, I’m using the term homophobic to indicate bias against sexual minorities; the terms heterosexism (bias against non-heterosexual persons) and genderism (attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender – including bias against gender nonconforming, transgender, genderfluid, and third/fourth gender persons) seem more accurate but in my experience a general audience isn’t always familiar these terms.
I was already thinking about the church as an agent of social change when I read Denise Oliver Velez’s post at DailyKos.
None of us—meaning people of color—can fix you. The only person who can begin to right these wrongs is you. Most of us don’t live in your neighborhoods, nor do we work with you, or even go to school with you. Most of us aren’t married to you. Most of you have white children, parents, in-laws, cousins and co-workers.
Few of you get up each morning and say as you look in the mirror while you brush your teeth, “Today, I’m going out to do battle against racism.” You aren’t driven by that, your whole life is not shaped by being the wrong color, and though you may get outraged from time to time, when reminded by the more heinous offenses against us, it isn’t your rallying cry. You expect us to lead the various poc civil rights movements from our own segregated spaces and you’ll join in from time to time, or perhaps make a donation to “our” worthy causes. You don’t wake up in the morning each day and say to yourselves—I have white privilege, and that’s not alright.
You still go to family celebrations with racists. When at gatherings with none of us present rarely do you confront others there with you about their racism. What makes it harder is that you rarely look at your own unconscious acceptance of a world that allows racism and privilege to fester, boil and erupt.
Last week, I was the Art Of Hosting for faith communities. The question of hosting in culturally competent ways came up. What does it mean to host conversations in a racially diverse community? How do we work across cultural lines? Can the church which has for so long been a perpetrator of racism, sexism, homophobia and other biases and bigotries become an agent of positive transformation?