liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/nyregion/bronx-hospital-shooting.html. He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (Default)
Maher crossed a line with his joke, but that's what comedians do. It's the taboos that make jokes funny, the fact that they refer to something that is painful or secret. The US history of enslaving Africans is not secret, but it is painful. The pain is felt by many of us, perhaps not the same for those with other colors of skin, but there is no doubt that it has marred many generations of our society. When/how will we ever get past it? Can the descendants of slavery ever forgive?

My great grandmother lived in the piedmont of North Carolina and owned a slave. Am I guilty? Should I be punished for that? I have been punished, and I'm sure I will be punished more. Do I deserve this punishment? I go out of my way to protect and include black people. Does my calling them black people make me a racist? How about brown people, red people, white people? Does my effort to be inclusive make me an ass? Is there any way for a white person to broach this subject without it being negatively received? I know I am priviledged but I am not immune to the attitudes of people around me of every description.

Racial relations get worse when people are unfairly punished. I was born with no ill will toward any group. Painful experiences in my life have led me to be wary of certain groups of people. Usually it is the people who have historically been abused who later become agressive or condescending. Jewish people have treated me badly, moreso than Blacks but some of them too have assumed that I am a racist and helped to make me into one. It is understandable, but it does not result in the whirled peas that we seek.

Those who say Maher should be fired for racism, seriously now? He did not call anyone else a nigger, he was referring to himself. His joke was on TV and showed that he understood the class system that was applied to black slaves in our nation. Who else but a comedian can publicly break taboos and get people talking about it? If we are to heal these wounds, we need to talk about it. Keeping it secret and taboo does nothing to reduce the pain. Time passing, generations shifting, that reduces the pain... but I wish we could do it faster.

This brings me to the question about words. The word nigger is apparently 100% taboo, at least for a white person to say on TV. It appears to me that it is just a word. It is not the word that I am worried about, it is the attitude. Certainly words and attitudes are linked, but it is not a 100% correlation between saying the word nigger and being a racist or promoting racism. I do not believe that Maher is a racist. I think he is trying to defuse the tensions around our dark history and get us all to laugh, together, and let the pain slip away.

What other words are taboo? I can't think of any that the two white men I live with react to as strongly. Honky? LOL.

I wish "bitch" were less acceptable. The word has been applied to me many times in my life, usually because I refused to do what a white man wanted me to do, or because I got angry. The word bitch has been used to suppress the will of a huge class of people, and it is still in common usage and acceptable in rap music and other places. I am allowed to get angry and to assert myself without deserving denigration. But women have been put down for a long time and a large segment of our population would like to keep us down. If Maher had said "I'm a bitch", I would not have been offended. That is not the same as him calling someone else a bitch.

I would like to hear from the descendants of slaves in the US as to whether they think Maher should be fired. I bet they will say no. He is doing his job, making us laugh out things that hurt.
liveonearth: (moon)
This documentary is well worth seeing.  It explains how the 13th Amendment did more than free the slaves, because it had an exception that said criminals could be imprisoned.  A massive cultural effort ensued to criminalize blacks, and our so-called "criminal justice" system was not sufficient to protect them from powerful white men determined to keep them down.

A Netflix documentary (called 13TH) shows us is just how easy it is to criminalize a previously enslaved population.  This history is ugly, and the present is not pretty either.  The percentage of our populace that is behind bars far exceeds that of any other nation, and the percentage of that imprisoned mass that is black or brown in skin color is also ridiculous.  There is definitely something wrong.

13TH was directed by Ana DuVernay who has quite a resume.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ava_DuVernay
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13TH_(film)
What I learned so far (we haven't finished watching the documentary) )
liveonearth: (bipolar_express)
Bruises fade and skin heals, but the mind remembers. Physical punishment is still prevalent among US families. This study found the prevalence of physical punishment without "more severe child maltreatment" was 5.9%. Boys get physically punished more than girls, 59.4% to 40.6%. Blacks get beat more than whites. Asians and Pacific Islanders (including native Hawaiians) were the least likely to get whupped by their own parents.

The harsher the physical (or emotional) punishment was, the higher the odds of an axis I or II diagnosis. Axis I diagnoses include major depression, dysthymia, mania, mood disorders, phobias, anxiety disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse or dependence. Axis II diagnoses include several individual personality disorders and cluster A and B disorder diagnoses. The researchers concluded that 2-7% of all mental disease is attributable to childhood abuse.

SOURCE
http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/767353?src=cmemp
the stats )
liveonearth: (Default)
'Dr. Laura' to end radio show over racial controversy
source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081706418.html?wpisrc=nl_natlalert

Did you know she has a PhD in physiology? And that she called gays "deviants" and "biological errors"?? Deviant = actions or behaviors that violate cultural norms (incl formal rules & social norms). What is not deviant about being gay? We haven't changed our culture enough that it is normal. Yet. It is an interesting question to me: What sort of culture would be totally OK with gayness? What cultures have been? Anybody know the history? It is my impression that homosexual behavior, especially among men, happens more when there is wealth and idle time. But that's just a reflection of some impressions I have about the time of the Romans, and comparison with the last generation of wealth here in America.

But back to Dr Laura and her decision to ditch radio in the face of the public outcry over her "racist" remarks the other day. Suffice it to say that the standard of PCness now required on the radio and most places in the public sphere to some degree limits frank conversation. Everybody offended about something, and we can't talk without people's buttons getting pushed. But that's what America is all about anyway, right? Our right to be hostile and defensive in the face of perceived threats? Our right to get rid of anyone who says something that we don't like?

text from Washington post article by Paul Farhi )
liveonearth: (Default)
http://mediamatters.org/action/drlaura/
(you can listen to what she said here, it's 7 minutes long)

Media Matters wants to chastise Dr Laura Schleissinger who spoke about racism on the radio, calling her comments racist and "breathtaking". She is a bit feisty and sometimes rude, but I don't think she is a racist. Apparently she has said some things that "attack" lesbians as well, but I haven't heard them to know what I think of her position there. I have never listened to Dr Laura before, FYI, so the clip above is all I know about her. I essentially agree with her point with regard to racism and black activist culture, but it is such an unpopular position as to cause trouble. Most people can't wrap their heads around it. The truth that she sees is that the black PC position on racism has become "hypersensitive" to isolated words/references, and is too easily triggered by comments which are not actually racist. Some blacks become unable to see that not every remark that mentions blacks or contains the word nigger is inherently racist. For example, I'm not racist, but by agreeing with Dr Laura (or putting "nigger" in print) I could be labeled such. Even Media Matters didn't get it. Media Matters is a useful media watchdog that busts A-holes (Beck, Limbaugh) in the news constantly, demanding apologies and inciting public outcries against public figures. Media Matters calls Dr Laura insensitive and over the top. But I think they need to look in the mirror, and think a little bit harder. I would call her cranky and tired of reverse racism. PCness limits our ability to communicate frankly about important issues by making some words taboo. I want the media to listen and hear and report on what they understand, not to enforce PCness.
liveonearth: (Default)
In 2005 a 23 year old gay man was murdered in Arizona, and found in the Colorado River near Yuma. I lived in Arizona then, but I did not hear about it. I heard a lot about the Japanese woman who was murdered and found in Havasu Creek. But the boy who played girl was not in the news, not in the river grapevine. I just found out about him today, though an org called Equality Arizona. How they found me and my Oregon address I do not know. I guess I must have made my position known enough about my belief that people have every right to love who they love, and no right to say who someone else may love. It just strikes me as ironic and sad that I hear about this death now, near the end of 2008, from another state. I suppose I'm more tapped into the gay rights movement than I have been in the past. I'm certainly getting more willing to express my views.
olds and news tidbits )
liveonearth: (Default)
Guess what ethnic group is most likely (88%) to believe that homosexuality is not inborn, and also most likely to say that gay marriage should not be legalized?
answer )
liveonearth: (Default)
A legitimate indication for giving pneumovax is sickle cell anemia, because the destruction of the spleen causes increased susceptibility to encapsulated organisms including Strep, H. flu and Salmonella. One must administer the vaccine before the spleen is fibrosed, to give the individual ample opportunity to develop an effective immune response to these organisms. Sickle cell patients are more likely to suffer from salmonella osteomyelitis, which can result in avascular necrosis, esp of the femoral head.
liveonearth: (Default)
What three serum findings can each independently justify a diagnosis of anemia?
answer )

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