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Friday, January 12, 2018

Scene On: Seeing White - Episode 8 Skulls and Skin

Seeing White - Episode 8 Skulls and Skin
Several good book references are in this link, books by the authors/ experts he speaks with.

I'm also reading this collection of Steven J. Gould's natural history essays called Bully for Brontosaurus:

One the same day I hear this podcast, Skulls and Skin, I also read the essay Petrus Campers' Angle.

I originally thought they discussed Camper and Gould was somewhat dismissive of much culpability, saying he was a product of his time, so I was thinking- uh oh. But I'm going to sort out who the podcast talked about and where this guy I just read about fits in- and how I should feel about him. 

Petrus Camper- b.1722 in Leiden. Artist who became a professor of anatomy in 1755.

He was bothered that for the one traditionally black Magi in paintings (one of three was always black), they apparently used a European model and just painted them black and he wanted to see a more accurate representation. Skull measuring would help him understand this difference as well as why children weren't painted in their proper proportion either, so he measured young and old too. 

His facial angle is the beginning of craniometry and later became known as the father of scientific racism as his work was used as a springboard for bigots who wanted to use science to justify a conclusion they had already made up. He is problematic in that he assigned beauty to white Nordic types and Greek statues - I say arbitrarily- but of course it's because that's his in group. The image of the progression of beauty in the book is racist in that it has an ape with the lowest angle, then a black man, then a Greek statue as representing perfect beauty. Though his work and question he was answering weren't racist, he left the door open for those who wanted to to make some pretty wild claims. He was a monogenist though and stated that the skin color is not obtained through your genes, so he's got that going for him.


Now for these other guys mentioned in the podcast.

Samuel George Morton collected skulls from the 1830s- 1850s and considered the father of American physical anthropology. This is where I may have become confused. So many fathers. So this is the guy who was trying to prove the superiority of white people. Not to be confused with the guy who started measuring skulls. . .

Linnaeus (Sweden) is the father of taxonomy and he gave us the name homo sapiens in the mid 1700s. He described four types of humans.

Johan Friedrich Blumenbach (Germany) is the father of anthropology and named five types in the late 1700s. He gave us the term Caucasian because he thought people who looked like him were beautiful and also another arbitrary declaration of the supreme beauty of Georgian women, people of the Caucasus.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oprah 2020? Are we going to do this every single time?

After the Golden Globes, Oprah gave a stirring speech railing against misogyny and we all needed to hear that. It was a great speech. But really? President? I woke up to a sea of calls for her to run for President and petitions like this for her to run. We do NOT want that.

Remember the Zuckerberg hubbub?

He did some philanthropy stuff in Texas and got the rumor mill grinding. I'm not sure if that was exactly the start, but I found an article from January 2017 to that effect. We were all hoping to ring in the new year with female leadership and renewed push for equality in all sectors on the heels of 8 years of our first African American president. When that didn't happen, maybe people were grasping at straws and looking for a person acting more like a leader than what the electoral college gave us- which would have been almost anyone else- but many people all at once, at that time, fixated on Zuckerberg. . .

Now, part of this negativity or so called hyperbolic hate I'm about to unleash on Oprah, she doesn't deserve personally. The idea I'm attacking is that of looking to celebrities to solve our problems and believing they care about you or know about you because you watch them on TV five days a week or heard a great motivational speech they made. We worship celebrities in this country and we need to think bigger and be introspective, especially when it comes to the office of president. Don't limit yourself to entertainers because one is now president. We can reset the bar. This is still a democracy more or less. We know- if we read a little and think- what qualifications a president needs or what level of humanity we would like to see in a world leader.

On Zuckerberg, don't forget the environment he came from, lest we forget- you don't want to bring that to the White House:

Back to Oprah, this week's celebrity prez fantasy. . . and my week of Facebook micro blogging.

No no no no no no no no noooooo.

We can't afford to lower the bar. You do not want a celebrity. Yes, anything is better than the steaming pile of garbage in office now. Don't compare the future president to THAT.

Maybe you do want a celebrity. Maybe we are a nation of vapid idiots incapable of rational thought or any introspection whatsoever.

I give up if we are seduced by every person who gets up and puts words together in a semi coherent fashion without lying every other sentence. Every person who gives a moving speech is now qualified to be president.



The quote here really sums it up.
Oprah Winfrey for President: Have We All Gone Bonkers?

As CNBC’s Christina Wilkie, in a rare dissent on Twitter, put it: “I love to watch Oprah saying inspirational things on television. But also I love to watch people who have political experience being elected to national office.”


And thank you Twitter for reacting to Ivanka Trump, first daughter who sometimes doubles as first lady or advisor. She loved Oprah's speech and people gave her a pretty hard time for not seeing the irony given her dad's treatment of women.

Also good - on her confusing "role" from Trevor Noah -


This headline is quite succinct- people are missing the point of Oprah's speech. Bravo.


I posted this from the angle of really, people, don't promote her for president. Do you see what her advisers and cabinet would look like??? I get that Obama was considered a lightweight, but he lived outside the US, had two years as a US senator and was a constitutional law professor. She wouldn't be prepared, she doesn't have a resume.


And last, from 2015, but she's probably still a great neoliberal thinker and we don't want that--


I wouldn't choose her for president, but congratulations to her of the Lifetime Achievement Award. 
It was a great speech. And here it is.

Scene On- Seeing White

Scene On- Seeing White

Scene On has a fantastic series going on. It's 14 episodes about race, addressing things white people don't see because they don't have to. I think it could promote a lot of good conversation and self examination. The first one or two episodes are kind of in introduction, but it builds, getting exponentially better with each episode. By the 5th, I had to take some notes and write them out. Probably no one reads this, but I want to remember these things.


Episode 35: Little War on the Prairie (conveniently episode 5 of the Seeing White series)

This one is primarily about an episode in the Midwest happening at the time of the Civil War that was happening in the east. There is a monument in Minnesota saying how hundreds of settlers were killed by the Dakota warriors. The process of uncovering the actual history and trying to teach the context and actual facts is detailed. I can't do it justice, but Gwen Westerman does in the episode.

AND she wrote a book! 

Also a point that grabbed me was how in the reteaching of the actual facts of the altercation, there was a terrible disparity in quality. One teacher quoted on the show maintained a familiar ethnocentric narrative that you can hear in the Palestinian Israeli conflict or in the run up to our invasion of Iraq of any number of conflicts which is- THOSE people attacked US because that's the only was they know how to solve conflict. We are superior. We use our words to solve problems. And we had to kill to defend ourselves, not because we were trying to steal others' land. That's not an exact quote; I read between the lines a bit.

Tim Tyson captured this problem of mis-remembering on purpose toward the end of the episode: 

And yet there's no memory that white people opposed the Civil War. There's no memory of General Pickett, of Pickett's Charge. He came to Kinston, North Carolina, in 1864. And the first thing he did was he hanged 22 local white boys on the courthouse lawn because they were loyal to the United States government. And you go down to Kinston now and you go out to King's Barbecue, and you look down the row of cars at all those trucks and all those Confederate flag bumper stickers. And I just want to say, you don't know who you are. They hanged your great granddaddy and you got their flag on your bumper. That's kind of interesting.


This one is about the faux superiority of white northerners over white southerners over the topic of race.

This is a topic I've heard many white southerners complain about, especially when I wanted to talk about how we should take all the Confederate monuments down in the south and how it isn't about history or heritage unless there are memorials also to slaves or black people who were lynched, be they slaves before our time or people like Henry Marrow in 1970. 

There are people who wanted to redirect me to talk about how the North isn't so great either, which is both true and  was a diversion from a necessary confrontation that needs to happen.

Also covered in this episode was some overlooked nuance of the PC and anti-PC camps. I often deride (I'm guilty!) the anti-PC crowd for not acknowledging that it is in fact not good to use racial epithets, but I didn't see what they may have been getting at but never clearly delineating- that PC is sometimes partly a code for educated whites to beat up others, to use that as a class distinction. I mistook it for a primarily party divide before, but it was a class division. I don't agree with that use of PC, I always saw it as essentially the golden rule- don't call people names, be kind, treat people with respect.

Also in the episode, Tim Tyson talks about living in Wisconsin as a southern transplant. He heard the complaint of those people from Chicago coming over to get the welfare, which was code for those black people coming to take something of "ours." This kind of thing isn't acknowledged as racism so much as the memory of the segregation in the south, but is just as present and poisonous.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Some book recommendations

January 2018
I made a list of some things I've read that I like. No one really asks me what I read, but here you go! 

Barack Obama's reading list here :) I'll admit I took some suggestions from him.


Rula Jebreel

Susan Abulhawa
Mornings In Jenin
The Blue Between Sky and Water- haven't read yet

Elif Shafak
Bastard of Istanbul

Orhan Pamuk
*Museum of Innocence

Zoe Ferraris
Finding Nouf – series

Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart

Haruki Murakami
The Strange Library
*The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Norwegian Wood
After Dark

Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buried Giant
Never Let Me Go
Pale View of the Hills
*Artist of the Floating World
The Remains of the Day

John Irving
*A Prayer For Owen Meany
The World According to Garp

Barbara Kingsolver
*Poisonwood Bible

Monique Truong
Bitter In the Mouth   A girl who tastes words.

David Guterson
Snow Falling on Cedars

Umberto Eco
Island of the Day Before

Invitation to a Beheading

Jack Butler 
Jujitsu For Christ

Halldor Laxness
Under the Glacier
Iceland’s Bell
Independent People

Madame Bovary

D.H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Albert Camus
The Stranger

Stanislaw Lem 

Star Diaries

Henry Miller 
Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Capricorn

Margaret Atwood 

The Handmaid’s Tale
Blind Assassin

Karel ─łapek 

War with the Newts

Philip Roth 

Portnoy’s Complaint
American Pastoral

I Married A Communist - haven't read yet, how did I miss that?
Human Stain

Thomas Pynchon 

Gravity’s Rainbow

Fyodor Dostoevsky 
Crime and Punishment

Lebov Tolstoy 

Anna Karenina



Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions
Deadeye Dick
Player Piano
Cat’s Cradle


**********     **********     **********


Mark Kurlansky   Cod

Tom Holland   Rubicon

Bart Ehrman   Jesus Interrupted, Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Before the Gospels, How Jesus Became God

Edward Abbey   Desert Solitaire

Raja Shehadeh   Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape

Richard Dawkins   The God Delusion

Christopher Hitchens   God is Not Great

Vonnegut    A Man Without A Country, Letters

Ernst Mayr One Long Argument

Stephen J. Gould 
Mismeasure of Man
Full House
Bully For Brontosaurus
Wonderful Life

**********     **********     **********

Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey

**********     **********     **********

Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow

Timothy Tyson
Blood Done Sign My Name
The Blood of Emmett Till

Trevor Noah
Born a Crime

Bryan Shih
The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me

Angela Y. Davis
Freedom Is A Constant Struggle

**********     **********     **********

Susan Jacoby


Steven Waldman
Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America

Jeff Sharlet
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America

Naomi Klein
Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate

**********     **********     **********

Lynn Povich
The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

Read together- two views of the foundation of the feminist movement
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
In Our Time by Susan Brownmiller

Irin Carmon
Notorious RBG

Jilll Lapore
The Secret History of Wonder Woman

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists

**********     **********     **********


Loree Rackstraw 

Love As Always, Kurt (love correspondence with Vonnegut)

Philip Weiss

American Taboo

Jon Krakauer

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

Neil White
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

J.H. Hatfield
Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President

Najla Said
Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family

Laura Ling
Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home

Roxana Saberi
Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran

Jennifer Steil
The Woman Who Fell From the Sky Woman teaching journalism in Yemen.

Jillian Lauren
Some Girls: My Life In a Harem

Kim Barnes
In the Kingdom of Men

Blair Tindall
Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

Azar Nafisi
Reading Lolita in Tehran

Ghada Karmi
In Search of Fatima
Married to Another Man

Read these two together, they have different memory/ rendering of certain historical events:
Jehan Sedat  My Hope For Peace
Queen Nur  Leap of Faith

Diane Rehm !!!
Finding My Voice

Helen Thomas

Thanks for the Memories Mr. President

Victor Ostrovsky
By Way of Deception: The Making of a Mossad Officer

Firoozeh Dumas
Funny in Farsi

Azadeh Moaveni
Lipstick Jihad

Kai Bird

Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs & Israelis 1956-78

Emma Williams

It's Easier To Reach Heaven Than The End Of The Street: A Jerusalem Memoir

**********     **********     **********

Illan Pappe

Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Jean Zaru

Occupied with Nonviolence: A Palestinian Woman Speaks

Suad Amiry- you'll forget you're reading nonfiction and about horrible tragedy
Sharon and My Mother in Law

Raja Shehadeh
When the Birds Stopped Singing: Life in Ramallah Under Siege
Strangers In the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine

Omar Barghouti
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights

Edward Said
Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question

Paul Findley – former Senator, helped me understand some of the problem early on
Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam

Seymour M. Hersh
The Samson Option About Israel and nukes. Old but good.

Jimmy Carter
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid Maybe not the best work on the conflict, but good to hear something other than Israel worship from an American leader.

Sandy Tolan
The Lemon Tree

**********     **********     **********


Edward Abbey – fiction

James Baldwin
Flannery O’Connor
William Manchester A World Lit Only By Fire
Mary Beard SPQR
Sarah Jaffe
Mychal Denzel Smith 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Wonder Woman and Me

*I have no idea whose image this is - I would love to give credit where credit is due - it appeared on Facebook in an ad on a t-shirt website known for selling stolen designs. . . 

I've started reading The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and just the title took me back to my childhood and also feels relevant in this Trumpian world and moment where we're holding a few men accountable for their sexual harassment and assault.

This is the one:

It is a year after the Women's March and we've endured much of what we expected from our tiny handed Cheeto in Chief, more of the same sexism and misogyny along with the demand that we accept it by way of him bragging about such and being given the nation's highest office by the Electoral College. I found it interesting that Wonder Woman became an icon in this moment, then the movie came out-  and on further investigation I was surprised to find that she has always been there. 

I have a somewhat conflicted memory of this particular character in the first place and that mixes with my current knowledge and her resurgence in popularity. 

On the one hand, I'm seeing her now as a feminist icon- strong, righteous (I mean her weapon is the TRUTH! Right?), chosen to lead. Also though, as much as I want to see the movie, the actress, Gadot, has been exposed as a settler colonialist cheering the deaths of Palestinians. She conflates terrorists and civilians and celebrates murder- I might give her a pass for not understanding if she hadn't been a soldier. I don't think the film should have been banned as some demanded, but I think we must discuss that and compare and contrast it with the character she plays and how we want our world to be.

Moving on. . . 

As a child, I was a tomboy. That moniker seems outdated now, but I'll use it for a point of reference. I hated dresses because I wanted to play soccer and kickball and hang on the monkey bars without everyone seeing my underwear. I'd have played with anyone, but usually the things I like to do were dominated by the boys. I was comfortable with them, they liked to do what I liked to do. I never really remember feeling out of place with regard to clothes or activities in the under 10 age group I'm thinking about right now, even in the religious school I attended in Indiana in the mid 80's. And then Wonder Woman will happen and you remember when your world got a little smaller.

In sports and other games, I had no trouble joining in, even being very introverted/shy. When the group of boys wanted to change it up and play superheroes, things got a little less easy, but I rolled with it. I didn't watch the shows or read the comics, so I had a limited knowledge of who I wanted to be. I totally relied on their advice, which wasn't so much advice as unimaginative pigeonholing. Why do I have to be a girl when you can't really shoot lasers out of your eyes. . . ?  I always went into the choosing of the characters with some excitement- I mean there are guys who can be invisible, climb walls, shoot fire- whichever ones were popular in the 80's, I can't remember and I still don't read those comics- but it was incredibly fun to think about being able to do any of these things. Swinging on the bars felt like flying- how would it be to just take off into the clouds. Who would I be? I could be anything I wanted, this was pretend. Nothing was off the table in my mind. I didn't give it a second thought. One guy always had to be Green Lantern. I'm sure he had a good reason- we all let him have that by default. When my much anticipated moment came, I was chosen to be Wonder Woman. Fine. I had no idea what was so great about her. Nothing, I thought. She has a rope and she's in her underwear. And she's the only girl, like me. I should have guessed. GREAT! The first time probably wasn't so bad honestly, but it became a pattern. One I came to dread. I was always the girl. I never got to try anyone else and I disliked the inevitable "choice" of character for me. Can't we go back to kickball? But I had a friend who wasn't so athletically inclined, so I felt bad about not wanting to do this thing he liked better. I remember that disappointment well- you think all possibilities are wide open, you can be ANYTHING you want. But not really. It's an illusion. Your bright, sunny, wide open world is now a narrow, dark hallway. The game is rigged and you really have no choice. I had no idea how close to the truth I was at that point in life at just 7 or 8 years old.

Melodramatic? Maybe if it were one incident. Women continually endure things like this throughout our lives and the balance of them can be soul crushing. I'm sure I'm not the only one. This is simply one of the first times I remember it happening. It's not a bad memory necessarily. I wonder if anyone from the time remembers it differently. Memory is a funny thing. 

Some 33 years later, I'm finally embracing Wonder Woman. I may even love her. She came to the US to fight for peace, justice and women's rights! How did this even exist then- in the 80's or in the 40's or now for that matter? I can't wait to find out.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Roy Moore, Republican values and religious freedom

A few thoughts while listening to a favorite podcast:

Listening to Tuesday's show- Final Thoughts on the Alabama Election. They were discussing the reasoning behind some conservatives' voting for Roy Moore - that they don't like his sexual abuse and pedophilia, but are voting for the seat, the Republican platform and in many cases only the abortion issue.

On this episode they were talking about the double standard on what is termed morality and values between Democrats and Republicans and I definitely can relate. I used to be told I'm sinning for supporting Democrats who committed adultery and got divorced and remarried (big deals for the group I was with- but even when I was in that, I considered consensual bedroom things none of my business) but when I brought up McCain or anyone like that, there was silence.

(Note- My religious group i left was anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-alcohol, etc, so all my references are specific to that)

While that is frustrating - getting them to use their value system equally - the more disturbing thing is the importance to them of banning abortion and how they frame it. They've obliterated the meaning of religious liberty or taken it hostage. It used to be about your right to practice your religion freely and for there to be no state religion or religious test for running for office, but in religious conservatives' hands it means something quite the opposite- they have the right to infringe on your rights because of their religion.

If abortion is legal, they have the right to not get one and it doesn't affect their religion, health, privacy or lives in any way. And I know their argument then goes to them "paying for abortions" through taxes or healthcare (which if you take it that far, they "pay the salary" of immoral people in Congress and no doubt eat at places with bars which in the same way would be condoning drinking whether or not they partake), but this is of course ridiculous given what the money actually pays for. . . It just seems like an obvious violation of our basic rights when you can ban something based on bible verses and call it your freedom of religion. I don't know who said it, but this seems applicable- The right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.

I know that people whether in religion or anti-vax or whatever will believe what they want regardless of fact, but I feel the need to keep defining freedom of speech and religion every chance I get and making that distinction of where that freedom ends and becomes, rather, infringing on the rights of others. I fear we're losing the battle for the meaning of those words much like the way the fake news meaning came and went.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tale of two shootings: NYC on Halloween and several dozen in a TX church Sunday

There's something that reeks in the Republican response to recent violent attacks involving guns. We all know what it is. Some don't want to say (or act) because they are afraid of the gun lobby, but feel quite comfortable attacking marginalized groups as though that's the common denominator.

I mean besides the absurdly unequal response depending on skin color, which we will return to a little ways down the page. . . 

Try GUNS. This is the problem. Common sense regulation, not free for all zero restriction fearmongering about taking away your dubious "right to bear arms" and demonizing those who desire safety.

Or domestic violence (I put the dates for your information only, the content is relevant.) If you can't get angry over women being assaulted because we're human, perhaps you can pay attention because it often leads to violence that could affect YOU:
Oct 10, 2017:

August 15, 2017:

June 16, 2017:

June 15, 2016:

The color of the shooter's skin determines what response Trump and Republicans give:

Link to follow her account:

The Republican response always reeks of xenophobia and politicization of anyone but white shooters.
These links are about Las Vegas but discuss the difference in coverage of a white shooter vs other shooters.

You can compare with the coverage of the Halloween attack in NYC and the attack on the church in Texas. I was dumbfounded by the immediate assessment of terrorism for the brown man and zero mention of the race, motive, identifying features or ideology that appear in initial reports of people of color. But it's how I knew immediately the shooter was white. No assumptions, no scouring of his social media to grab a phrase to quote as proof of assigned motive,  no pontifications on the role of his political or religious views and how we should crack down on those.

Here's a pretty good piece on the difference in reaction of the President to the two recent tragedies involving guns, but shooters of different skin colors:

Here is the transcript link and a significant passage on how disturbing it is to politicize and paint certain perpetrators in a light convenient to push an agenda that plays easily into the hands of actual terrorists, while urging caution and support for zero gun control when the guy is white like the people in power. Why do you think ISIS tries to claim responsibility for any attack, even Las Vegas? Recruitment. And Republicans apparently want to help with that.

Link to video:

From video transcript:
In contrast, the president immediately sought to try to divide Americans and further his own political agenda. And what do I mean by that? It’s things like what you were just discussing earlier: trying to basically score political points, to feed his agenda, his long-standing policy to radically transform our immigration system, to significantly curtail, if not outright stop, the immigration of nonwhites to the United States. And this—and we could just see, in contrast, after the Las Vegas shooting, after the Charlottesville attacks, we did not see the president calling for changes in policies, like gun control policies, after the horrific attacks in Las Vegas. But here we see the president immediately calling for changes to the immigration system.
The other concern we have is Senator Graham, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, claiming that he and the president had a phone call the evening of the attack and that they both agree that this is a religious war. This was deeply disturbing to us, because we know—and I think all Americans can agree—that violence, unfortunately, has no single faith, race or political ideology, whether—you know, you just look no further than the Charleston attacks, the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting, the congressional baseball game attack, to know that violence, unfortunately, it comes in various forms. And so this is just deeply, deeply disturbing. And furthermore, the New York Police Department’s own deputy commissioner, John Miller, yesterday, in a press conference, very explicitly and clearly said Islam is—had no role in this attack.

From a Twitter account you should probably follow:

On thoughts and prayers. . .

It's not so much that thoughts and prayers aren't nice, it's that sending thoughts and prayers to victims of mass shootings whilst accepting millions from the NRA makes you politicians look like liars and hypocrites. In case it wasn't clear.

People Fed Up With ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Demand Action After Texas Church Massacre

Thoughts and Prayers and NRA Funding

Friday, October 27, 2017

New BK ad on bullying. . . and application to sexual assault

BK PSA on bullying:

My Facebook commentary on the ad:
Whether we're talking bullying or "run of the mill" sexual harassment, it's time to stand up. Having a president who is a blatant misogynist and racist and bully, the dissonance should now be so loud that you can't sit quietly by. YOU, apolitical person, have to lead. YOU, person who'd rather not get involved, be the first to say this is not ok.

I like the messaging here, the challenge to get involved when you see it happening. Disrupt the culture of silence. But it also made me think of the resurgence in awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the outing of Harvey Weinstein and some other famous people. While I think this is great, I do think the headlines about Hollywood getting cleaned out are a little overly optimistic and misses the much greater problem for everyday women who aren't getting justice and never will due to the pervasiveness of the silence, shame and duty to protect men at the expense of women. That would be rape culture, as it is named.

And men speaking out and disrupting the culture of silence is the solution:

The Vast Majority of Perpetrators Will Not Go to Jail or Prison

But what about all those false allegations?? What about men?? Doesn't this happen ALL THE TIME? No. No, it does not.

A few facts to help you get rid of misconceptions surrounding rape. For starters: it's not about sex and false allegations are rare.


So I'm going to offer a bit of pushback to my own post here. No, wait. It's more intersectionality than pushback actually. What about these false accusations on campus? Here's one, doesn't this indicate how flawed the system is? Some think the problem is that men are convicted too easily or women "cry rape" too often and ruin men's lives. This is very misleading, though. The other inference you could draw is more supported by evidence- see the next paragraph.

There have been some harsh punishments to make the news and our dimwitted Education Secretary is all over it. Betsy Devos  has been meeting with Men's Rights groups to get ideas on how to "fix" Obama's protections for women so that we are in fact less protected. I think it's great to want to provide equal protection under the law- this should be everyone's goal- but that is clearly not what's going on here. The problem isn't Title IX and too many women accusing innocent men of rape. In many cases, an old wrong plays a role and that is systemic racism- the very same phenomenon that was responsible for the deaths of Emmet Till and Henry Marrow and the wrongful convictions of the Central Park 5.  This is explained quite well here:

The real problems are not that too many women lie about being raped and the campus policy encourages it or that too many men are having their lives ruined by women "crying rape," it's that black men are targeted for incarceration on the whole, including for rape- and concurrently the fact is rape is under reported. These are the actual problems we need to be addressing.

More on that:

Study: Black people more likely to be wrongfully convicted

Further reading. Yes, a BOOK! 
The New Jim Crow

Also circulating online recently was this quote from Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox . It describes what it's like to be a woman living in our culture, rape culture.

“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’ “Then I ask women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine. Here are some of their answers: Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.
“That, my friends, is what it’s like to be thought of as prey.”

In the same vein, many things I do without even thinking are on this list: Change the locks when housekeys are misplaced. Avoid eye contact with men trying to get our attention. Never open the door for someone we’re not expecting and stay still until the doorbell stops ringing.Driving in a circle if we sense we might be followed. Walk with our keys grasped between our fingers in case we need to use them as a weapon. 

In the same way men are so shocked by famous people getting caught assaulting women, they have no idea this feeling of lack of safely is absolutely pervasive in our worlds.

And in the segment, wtf did she just say. . .Mayim Bialik. . . whyyyyy??