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: (moon)

STILL I RISE

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

liveonearth: (business dance)

The only difference
between people in the North and people in the South

is that down here,
at least people are honest about being racist.

--a black woman

liveonearth: (moon)
The sirens blared for a minute yesterday morning, still tested monthly on the first Wednesday of the month.  My mother has no idea what to do if they go off.  She says she supposes she'd turn on the radio and wait for instructions.  I remember when there was a real feeling of fear, here.  We thought we'd be the first ones to get bombed.  This town was built in the 1940's to support the production of the atomic bombs and other secrets.  Whoever names the city calls it "Secret City" now---it used to be the "Atomic City" but I guess that's not such a popular name these days.

The scientists who work at the labs don't live in Oak Ridge anymore.  I used to think of Oak Ridge as a pocket of international PhD's who were above the southern morass.  Educated and openminded.  That is no longer true.  The road between the plants and West Knoxville has many more lanes, and at rush hour you can see where the lab personnel are going.  My friends tell me that Oak Ridge is become more like the rest of east Tennessee, that is, less educated and more religious and patriotic.

Patriotic externally at least.  On my mother's block most houses have a flag or some sort of "God Bless America" display going on.  My mother has an American flag hanging on her front gate, and there's one in the window of her neighbor's house, and one on the porch of the neighbor across the street.  My father, in another neighborhood, also has one up.  I don't know what exactly all these flags mean.  I think that if you do not display your patriotism, you are suspect of being a terrorist.  I also suspect that the flags declare gun ownership, because the second amendment is enshrined here.  Certainly one would be foolish to threaten anyone, because stickers on vehicles declare that their guns will only be removed from cold dead hands, or that the guns will be smoking hot and out of ammo.  Hanging a flag is in a sense cammo for my relatives who are not so well armed.

Religiousness is endemic here.  Christianity, to be specific.  My mother says Baptists are the dominant sect but the Catholics and Methodists have churches near here and active communities.  I walked by the Methodist church this morning, taking the dog out, and noticed that they have a "First Steps" program for "child development".  Every church has some program for the little ones.  It occurs to me to wonder, does anyone attempt to teach the little ones skepticism and critical thinking?  Are the children getting properly socialized, or dogmatized?  Probably some of each, I suspect.

Oak Ridge is overwhelmingly white.  I did run across a Hispanic mother and her two children waiting for the bus.  She kept them far away from my mother's dog.  And I have seen a few blacks here and there.  The talker who used to work at the gym who now hangs out by the door at Panera to keep social.  He doesn't know when to say goodbye.  Another nonwhite is my mother's old friend Dimitri who is Middle Eastern, and walks everywhere, picking up trash and coins from the sidewalks.  He was an engineer at the plant, has plenty of money in the bank, but lives in a tiny apartment and does not own a car.  I would like to talk to him.  I haven't seen a single native since I've been here, that is, aside from white eyes who were born here like myself.
liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)

  • This epidemiologic analysis revealed that mortality rates are increasing in the middle-aged white male population, largely due to preventable conditions like poisonings and overdoses.

  • Reductions in mortality were seen in other racial groups.

ARTICLE from Medpage, primary care )


SOURCE

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/GeneralPrimaryCare/54456
liveonearth: (blue skinned alien)

Hating people
because of their color
is wrong

and it doesn't matter

what color

does the hating.

It's just plain wrong.

-Muhammad Ali

liveonearth: (blue skinned alien)
I'm reading an article in New York magazine (April 7-20, 2014) about the color of Obama's presidency, and the first thing mentioned is the Bill Maher show in which Bill Kristol was frankly upset at him for saying that the rise of the Tea Party was due to racism. My liberal friends here in Oregon, and the ones that live in the Rockies and the South for the most part agree with this assessment. They are certain that's the reason that some who call themselves Tea Party are in stark opposition to every single thing that Obama says or does, apparently without consideration of the details. It is reasonable to assume that this oppositional defiance is based in that base instinct that Obama is brown and different and must be wrong and evil. But this assumption is simpleminded too; there is more to the Tea Party than simple racism.

Those who hate Obama for his skin are not political creatures. They do vote, and host radio shows, but in they do not make sense or generate policy. All they do is upset everybody, stop policy and new ideas from being developed. We need to shut them up by ignoring them, instead of trying to beat them in rational argument. There is no point arguing with racism or insanity.

There are Tea Party libertarians who are political, intelligent and curious, and interested in shades of meaning without regard for shades of skin tone. These are the Tea Party core that most liberals haven't met, and won't meet, because their experience has been so bad trying to negotiate with the angry racists. There is a rational case for small government, for making the government operate according to the constitution, for the separation of church and state and for making corporations behave like responsible businesses instead of being "persons" with rights but no responsibilities under the law. These concerns need to be discussed and rationally balanced with our desire to take care of the less fortunate among us, instead of dismissed as rantings.

So I beg of you, Americans, to do your best to listen to and respect the other side, whoever they are. I beg liberals to consider that there might be real concerns about the longterm viability of large government. And I beg Tea Party conservatives to offer reasons, to be specific and soften your words when you despise something that Obama has done. It is my conviction that Obama is sympathetic to the libertarian position, but because he is a politician and elected as a Democrat, he must play the game within the parameters of his position or be removed. It has cost him dearly. It will be interesting to see what our first brown-skinned president does after his 2nd term ends and he is free to act on his real inclinations.
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: (praying girl)
We evolved to be tribal, and politics is a competition among coalitions of tribes. When people feel that a group they value--be it racial, religious, regional, or ideological--is under attack, they rally to its defense, even at some cost to themselves. The great trick that humans developed at some point in the last few hundred thousand years is the ability to circle around a tree, rock, ancestor, flag, book, or god, and then treat that thing as sacred. People who worship the same idol can trust one another, work as a team, and prevail over less cohesive groups. So if you want to understand politics, and especially our divisive culture wars, you must follow the sacredness.
--Psychologist Jonathan Haidt in NYT
(quoted here from The Week)
liveonearth: (Default)
p94 new topic introduced to continue next time
auto dom, auto rec, co-dom, x-linked already covered
this all considered to be "simple" genetics
notes )
liveonearth: (Default)
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NO. Because we are animals. Our instinct is to be wary of creatures that are much different. Unfamiliar races are too strange to our animal selves for us to ever completely override that instinct with intellect. It would take either a LOT of evolution as a global community, or substantial racial blending and homogenization, or both, to reduce this response. It appears to me that before either of these mechanisms is complete way we will have a substantial reduction in human populations and return to a more tribal way of living which will separate us and reduce the blending of races, thus slowing or reversing the process.

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