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: (Gay_batman_n_robin)
I must mark this moment when my LGBT friends are truly heartened by the change in US law. It brings a tear to my eye. My half-aunt in North Carolina is going to marry her longtime partner on Halloween day. Successful gay parents are gloating. My friends from all walks are sporting rainbows. The culture shift is generational as all large shifts must be.

Yes, yes you lawyers out there will have all manner of refinements to put on my headline. I have not read studied on this change, I've absorbed its impact while ignoring the news. It's just not OK anymore for states not to recognize gay marriages. Or something like that. I've heard that a state is still not obligated to PROVIDE gay marriages, but that is another step in a very long series. I've been busy with other things.... but I am noting this vibration through the land that something really has changed... and with it brings a little bit of hope that we might manage other changes.

I'm sure the social conservative media is damning. I need an antenna in that world somehow. (Thinking cult: which cults are most anti-gay?)

That cartoon of the rebel flag setting and rainbow flag rising is everywhere. Show me some fresh art, not so trite already.
liveonearth: (officer?)
Statistics show that the "stroke belt" is also where you have the highest likelihood (in the US) of dying of cardiovascular and lower respiratory disease (smoking), cancer and accidents. Obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome are probable causes, but what about accidents? Why do southerners have the most accidents? Bless their dangerous little hearts....

liveonearth: (Default)

Above: the kind of tricks people will do in this "wave".
more )
liveonearth: (Default)

Remember: Headcam footage of whitewater makes the drops look a lot smaller than they are. These drops are 10-30 feet tall, but no, they don't look it.
liveonearth: (Default)
A friend of mine started this unique yoga instruction business in 2008. She is avid about Anusara, on a base of many other lines of yogic tradition. Her name is Gayle Jann, and if you have a chance to practice with her, I'm sure you'll benefit on many levels.
liveonearth: (Default)
to elect in NC:
--Chad Adams for chairman of North Carolina's GOP
--BJ Lawson for Congress
to defeat:
--hypocrite and former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer
an email I got this morning from BJ Lawson )
liveonearth: (Default)

The image above represents January's rates, and the big news is that three more states have passed 10% employment between January and February.

States with jobless rates over 10% in February, according to the Labor Department:
--Michigan 12%
--South Carolina 11%
--Oregon 10.8% (new on list)
--North Carolina 10.7% (new on list, record high for state)
--California 10.5%
--Rhode Island 10.5% (record high for state)
--Nevada 10.5% (new on list)
--what state do you think will join this list next?
--what state do you think will be last to join?
more )
liveonearth: (Default)

It's another story of a river runner making a living as a river runner. If you're in the SE and want to learn any level of canoeing from a really sweet guy for a decent price, this is the guy to go to. Eli Helbert can do things in a canoe that are beyond most people's imaginations. I know him because we used to work together occasionally on an assortment of rivers around the southeast. I like to paddle the big boats standing up too--though I prefer to have a very long kayak paddle for standing.

a few more pictures of Eli canoeing--very different modern canoes )
liveonearth: (Default)
It is a tiny river, choked with boulders, and the moves are tight. People don't take rafts here, and even excellent canoeists find the moves too tight for boats over 10 feet long.
more )
liveonearth: (Default)

BJ has been kicking some ass in NC. Here we have another Ron Paul Republican striving to take the word "change" away from the democrats, for whom the change in store is a changing of the guard (admittedly much needed), but not a change in the way our nation does I sent him a little bit of money. $29 to be exact. Even if you are a Democrat and plan to support Obama for president, it is in your best interests to seed congress with people who will bring forward the discussion that will end this era of corporate domination of our government. Please put a few of your own dollars toward grassroots candidates like BJ. I suggest $29. It is time our democracy started working again.
Here's where you can donate:
more on BJ )


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