liveonearth: (moon)


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: (moon)
What Clinton's remark broadcasted is how little she thinks of conservatives in general. Her tone was so dismissive ("you name it") as to suggest that every xenophobe on the planet was unworthy of having skin. What she obviously doesn't understand is that we are all conservative at our roots, until these basic feelings are educated out of us, or overridden by culture.  Xenophobes are people too.

It has a lot to do with who we grow up with.  If we grow up in an educated multi-ethnic culture, then ethnicity no longer has such a charge.  But if we are acculturated in a homogenous group, we will feel more comfortable with people of our same kind.  This is the instinctive basis of xenophobia. It is reasonable to be cautious around people whose values are unknown to you, and whose behavior is not predictable.

Xenophobia can be trained in at any stage of life.  I have suffered the hate of the Navajo and Apache when living and traveling in Arizona.  I understand why they hate the white eyes, because I do too, but I personally do not deserve their bad treatment.  Still, I got the bad treatment, and now when I see a tribal member I am on guard.  The same thing has happened to me here in Portland.  I had always liked and respected every Jew I ever met. Then I was mistreated by an attending Jewish doctor who took offense at me saying the words "a Jew" because in her mind she inserted the word "dirty". That word was not in my mind until she explained to me how offensive it was for me to say "a Jew", and then threatened to flunk me, sanctioned me through the college and required that I take cultural competency training. Other Jews near to me have hurt my feelings since then, and I have developed a reaction to Jews that I did not have before, when I lived in Denver next door to the Ashkenazis and thought they were really decent folk.

In spite of all my education and knowing things, I have feelings that are influenced by what happens to me in my life. Does this make me deplorable?

Oh, and all you decent men out there who think that you are not sexist. If you were born and raised in the U.S. you are sexist. Ask any European, male or female. I am a woman. I have never made anywhere near as much money as my partner, in my opinion because he has a penis. Yesterday I drove a vehicle up to a boat inspection station on the highway and the man with the clipboard came up and started asking questions of a man who got out of the passenger door. At the gas station the attendant speaks to the men first. Men here invariably address men first when approaching a couple. This seems like a tiny offense, but compounded into the reality of daily life, a woman knows that this is still a man's world. Clinton knows it all too well. American men, including educated ones, are unconscious of this kind of sexism "lite".  There's no stoning here, but men are not aware of the degree to which they are programmed to be sexist, and should spend more time in introspection around this. I think part of the problem conservatives have with lesbians is the men have no one they can talk to.

I realize I'm making a bunch of generalizations, just like Clinton did. My point is that these base impulses are present in the vast majority of all humanity, and Americans are clearly not above it. Our culture seems to be regressing. In my lifetime I have watched our society and politics become obnoxious. Substantive debate is rare, name calling commonplace. If there is to be a conversation between opposing sides, there must first be respect. Respect is a Universal human need. People denied respect are hostile and possibly subversive.

Liberals in general need to stop denigrating conservatives and dig deep enough into themselves to understand the conservative position. Conservatives need to educate themselves to articulate their concerns and rationales clearly to others. Everyone needs to start with the assumption that the other guys are decent humans just trying to do the right thing, the best way they know how. Then the conversation can begin.
liveonearth: (moon)
Originally posted by [ profile] bill_sheehan at Sunday Sermonette: Putting the Christ Back In Christmas

I’ve written about restoring the ancient traditions of Saturnalia to this blessed time of year (Io, Saturnalia!), but some people just have no sense of tradition. They just want me to put the Christ back in Christmas. Fine, I don’t want to cause offense by wishing anyone “Happy Holidays” when all they want is for me to validate their personal piety. So let’s get Christ into our celebrations.

Just who is this Christ anyway? Christians say he’s a person named Jesus, and we can learn all about him in the Gospels. Sure enough, in the first chapter of the Gospel attributed to Matthew, we find a lengthy (17 verses!) section of begats tracing Jesus’ lineage back to the ur-patriarch, Abraham. In the third chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we find fifteen verses of a reverse genealogy tracing Jesus back to Adam, and ultimately, God.
Read more... )
liveonearth: (moon)
Check out the photo of this convicted rapist who did it again and got convicted again.
Handsome, eh?

What does it tell you?
What it tells me )
liveonearth: (House religion psychosis)
I am just home from a terrific talk on cults by Lisa Kendall of Portland, Oregon. Her family joined a cult called The Move of God, which Wikipedia calls a nondemoninational charismatic Christian group. It happened because her 7 year old sibling made friends with another 7 year old on the walk home from school, in a city that seems as safe as Portland.
Read more... )
liveonearth: (moon)
I'm happy to read that California colleges are adopting this new standard which says that in order to not be rape, sexual interaction may occur when both partners are conscious and actively consenting. I hope that this new standard is widely adopted and eventually becomes law for the nation, not just a few colleges.

My partner points out that it does not remove the possibility of a "he said she said" standoff in court, and this is true. It requires education, so that everyone knows that it is the standard, and support such that all persons feel empowered to say "no" when they want to.

What this standard does, in my mind at least, is raise the bar ever so slightly for aggressors seeking sex. It removes the defense "She didn't say no" from play. I have been appalled to see that a raped woman cannot get justice unless she gets hurt. If she is not injured, and does not have ejaculate on her, then the court could find "no evidence" that she was raped. Requiring that a woman be injured or that there be witnesses who heard her screaming "no" before you believe that she was raped is a terrible baseline, but in practicality it plays out this way. This is why even in our supposedly open culture most raped women do not seek legal recourse. It's not worth it.

I would like to believe that a good lawyer or judge can elicit signs of the truth from a person even when they are trying to hide it. I would like to think that attentive jurors will instinctively know when someone is lying. Perhaps I am too idealistic about our court system, and it malfunctions more than it functions.

There's nothing direct or simple about the way sexuality plays out in our culture and legal system. Messy is more the word for it. Within a relationship that has been sexual in the past, men do take advantage, and women do submit in order to not be hurt. That submission is not consent. For young men who have no partner, the situation is worse. I have read that many young American men today are angry at women because they cannot get the sex they want. One such young man took up a gun to express his anger. Intense desire is normal, but such anger is dangerous. Modern youth partake of online porn that gives them an unrealistic view of sex and does not educate them on the delicacies of dating or seduction. It is an unhealthy situation, and this standard does nothing to resolve it. Who is going to teach the young people how to talk to each other, to be respectful, and to flirt gracefully? I do not know. I only know that the social structures that used to educate us about proper mating behavior have fallen apart, and nothing has taken their place.

At least here raped women are not stoned to death, though I can comprehend how this would be better for the males in a patriarchal system. She can't complain if she's dead. At least in colleges in California, "yes means yes" is an excellent new dividing line between consent and submission or worse.
liveonearth: (sexy tits)
I am a river runner. From way back. My father got me started, in canoes first. When I was very small he would put me in the bow of the canoe, tell me to paddle, and surf the canoe in river waves. We used to camp by creeks up on the plateau, and he'd let us take the insulite pads that we slept on and go hiking up the stream to float back down on the thin beige mats. I got my first kayak when I was 11. It was a cut-down Mark 4. I was already too big for it, or at least, it was uncomfortable and I always got fiberglass in my arms and legs when I used it. I only used it a few times, once when I got hypothermic on the Nantahala and had to be plowed to shore by my dad's canoe, and once when I got tangled in vines on the Green and completely panicked. I didn't paddle for several years recovering from these experiences.
ruminations provoked by another woman's story of becoming a guide )
liveonearth: (Default)
I have made a vow to attain Enlightenment in the female form - no matter how many lifetimes it takes.
--Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist nun
liveonearth: (Default)
They spend all day in their dripping wet rainforest camp. The men stay in their tents and their sleeping bags as if they existonly only to live in them. The women do what the men are always too tired or too uninterested or too caught up in a conversation about sport or politics to be bothered doing. They work. They peel vegetables. They collect firewood. They fetch water from the river up the steep and awkward bank to the campsite. They wash dishes. They help the guides organise the camp, unpacking and packing barrels. Repairing equipment. The men reserve their energies for some future conjectural at of courage. The women's courage is of a type that endures this day of rain. Meanwhile the men get depressed. The men feel some embarrassment that women are on the same trip and doing things that really only men ought be doing. The guides prefer it. Nothing, for a river guide, is worse than an all-male trip. They are boring and lazy and inclined to foolhardiness. They are considerable work to look after. They are generally not in the same class for company. Aljaz likes sitting down with the women around the fire....
--Richard Flanagan
another quote, p224: )
liveonearth: (Default)
If you are a woman, especially. Women are more likely to be described as "cooperative, affectionate, helpful, kind, sympathetic, nurturing, tactful or agreeable", and it turns out the last thing you want is for someone to sing those praises for you in a recommendation letter. Why? Well researchers at Rice University did a study in which they took the personal pronouns out of recommendation letters. The readers couldn't tell if the applicant was male or female. They controlled for all the concrete academic reasons that a person might be selected, or not, in a medical and academic field, meaning that the letters were sorted as to be equal in that regard. Then they asked "who would you hire"? The answer was that the people hired would be the ones described as "confident, aggressive, ambitious, dominant, forceful, independent, daring, outspoken and intellectual". And those words of course were more often applied to men. If you apply those words to a woman, you're practically calling her a bitch in our culture. So women can't win. No big news there, but the lesson is clear. We can influence our reference letter writers to use a different paradigm in speaking about us, and get hired more.

liveonearth: (T Mug)
(post bumped forward from 5/24/08)

Constant toothy smiling can cause stress, high blood pressure, depression and heart problems according to Johann Wolfgang Goethe who studies smiles at the University of Frankfurt. "Zapf recommends that 'professional smilers' take regular breaks to relax, rid themselves of aggression and recuperate from the effort of smiling." There are some jokes in the article about how German customer service isn't the friendliest on the planet, anyway.

SCIENCE: on emotional work

more )
liveonearth: (Default)

Three times now men have been acquitted of rape charges because a jury or judge believed that a woman's pants could not be removed without her assistance. I'm skeptical. Maybe I should get some skinny jeans. I suspect they can be peeled off rapidly and forcibly once the buttocks are cleared, considering that the hips are so far above the top of the jeans. But on the other hand, there are plenty of unfair rape accusations made too, there should be repercussions for wrong accusations. Thank goodness we have the right to a jury of our peers! Too bad so many of our peers have gone stark raving mad.
liveonearth: (Default)
National Organization for Men Against Sexism

article by Jack Straton: What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men?

and on the Prevalence of Rape in the US
liveonearth: (Default)
The other day I was musing about the sexist assumption of a neighbor of mine that I am going to medical school to be a nurse. I was caught once by the riddle about the boy's doctor who turns out to be his mother when in my mind the doctor was quite male. I am sexist too, in that I assign roles to people based on gender. It has happened again. A girlfriend told me that she is involved with a married couple. In my mind I saw a man and a woman. But the picture didn't work in my head, because my friend is a lesbian who just doesn't get physically close to men. Never has, doesn't want to. So I couldn't understand how she was hooking up with a married couple, until I saw a picture of the couple, and there they were, a couple of lesbians. Oh. OK, here in Oregon, and in California at least, I guess I'd better stop seeing marriage as a man and a woman. Because I confess, until now, I have. Who gets the word "marriage"? If we were being fairer than fair, we'd share the word too.
liveonearth: (Default)
Thanks to [ profile] ngakmafaery for sharing this article. In it Mark Morford of San Fransisco suggests that Obama inspires people not through great speeches or brilliant policy, but because he has a higher energy. Something about his presence blows people away. Perhaps Obama is an exceptional being who touches our higher nature and raises collective consciousness. I believe that he has begun to do that, already. He doesn't know much about foreign policy, but he seems to have an open heart. I still have hope that we will turn back from the precipice.
news brainstorm: thoughts about VPship and sexism vs racism )
liveonearth: (Default)
I met him on my way in from work. I have met him before---Jim, the gray-bearded bellied man who lives in the middle layer of the house next door. We talked briefly. He was going fishing. He loves to catch sturgeon, and salmon. Suzanne wanted to fish for sturgeon. Jim fishes for them at least one day a week. He says he has caught many. I tend not to believe anyone's fish stories until I see the picture.
more )


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