Category Archives: #womenslives

I Am Not Color Blind, Are You?

Here in the United States there are some people who believe we live in a “post racist” society.  Apparently even some of my fiends on social media believe this to be true.  It always amazes me when I see comments such as “I am not racist, but…”  or “I believe this….but”, etc. That “but” says a lot about how you really feel inside, whether you know it or not.  While explicit racism is not as common as it once was, (although in the past 8 months it has become more common), implicit racism is very common.

So then “what is implicit racism?”  Let me explain. Explicit racism is overt, obvious……using the N word, talking openly about people who are not white, or Christian, or middle class as being “less than” or not as good as the person who is doing the speaking. Shouting Nazi slogans walking down a street in Virginia. Openly being a member of the KKK. These people are open about their dislike for non whites, or homosexuals, or Jews or Muslims. It is easy to see and hear their racist beliefs and we can choose to avoid them, if we don’t want to be exposed to that bullshit.

Implicit racism is not obvious, and are usualy thoughts or stereotypes or biases we believe and act on, whether we are aware of it or not.  Such as crossing the street if we see a black man walking on our side of the street, clutching our purse a little tighter, thinking poor people are “lazy”, or just don’t try “hard enough” to get themselves out of poverty. Thinking or speaking as if the world would be better if we all “just took Jesus Christ into or hearts”. Or that children would be better off in a heterosexual home.

I see another form of bias these days. Some people want to be seen as nonbiased, or NOT racist, so they say things like “I don’t see color when I look at people.”  Or “I am colorblind.” Let me tell you why I think this is a ridiculous statement.

Now before you get your undies in a bunch, and get mad at me for “callng people oyt”, let me say that I DO understand what they mean, but I think by saying they don’t “see color” they are actually devaluing diversity and differences.  There are cultural differences (in my humble opinion) between races.  They may be small, but they are there.  I think these differences should be celebrated, not done away with.  Cultural diversity (in fact ALL diversity) makes the tapestry of humanity more colorful and vibrant, it doesn’t detract from that.  Why would we want everyone to be the same??? What an incredibly boring world that would be!!

So I am going to say I DO see color when I see people.  I see all the beautiful shades of skin tone, and hair color and hair texture.  I see eye color, and body size, and fully-abled or less-abled bodies.  I see gender, whether male, or female or other.  I see age, and sometimes I can see wealth or poverty.  I see all of those things when I look at people.  That doesn’t make me a racist.  It makes me observant.

diversity

In my opinion, the problem is not in seeing our differences, but in assigning stereotypes and biases to the people we see based on what we see.  To assume when we see a black person that the color of their skin somehow tells us something about their character is the problem.  To see an Asian person and assume they are good at math is the problem. To see a brown person and assume they are not hard working is the problem.   To place stereotypes and bias on a person merely by looking at them IS THE PROBLEM!! This does not just apply to the color or “hue” of someone’s skin, but also their gender, their physical bodies, their mental abilities, their sexuality, age, religion, etc!

Think about it, we can’t even assume that a person with darker pigmented skin is “african”.  They may be of Caribbean, or African, or Middle Eastern, or indigenous heritage.  They may be biracial, or multiracial.  We can assume very little about someone based on external appearances.  Assumptions and assigning stereotypes is the enemy, NOT seeing their “color”.

I think if we do want to truly become a post racist society we really need to think about this, and start valuing all humans for their differences, not try to make all humans the same. Do you “see color” when you look at people?

Go ahead and “see” a person’s color, and celebrate it!  Move past bias and stereotypes and get to know the person,  no matter what they look like on the outside. Find something of value in them, and remove the stereotype! THEN maybe we can become the post racist society I dream of!

I Am Not Color Blind, Are You?

#lovenothate

The test for those who think they aren’t Privileged

So I have been talking about privilege for many years.  I have gotten into arguments on Facebook and Twitter about privilege.  People almost always come back with (particularly white heterosexual males): “I am not privileged.  I have had to struggle”
Ummmm, okay, so privilege is not about whether or not you have had to struggle in your life.  It is about how society in general perceives you and judges you with regards to things like your gender, sexual orientation, race and financial status.
Donald Trump is about to be inaugurated this morning, and I find it incredibly worrisome! I find his choices for Cabinet members worrisome. How did we get here? I think it is because of some people in White America who don’t understand how privileged they really are, even though they think they aren’t. So I think it is important for those of us who are white to take this privilege test so we can understand better exactly what privilege is for ourselves!
 So, How much Privilege do you really have?
Please feel free to share your number (if you are comfortable) in the comments on the blog so it becomes more apparent to all how privilege works.
privilege-definition
Give your self one point for every comment you can say yes to: (I added the stuff in Italics)
1.  I am white.
2.  I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3.  I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4.  I have never been mocked for my accent.
5.  I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
6.  I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.
7.  have never been called a racial slur.
8. I have never been told I “sound white.”
9.  A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.
10. I am heterosexual.
11. I have never lied about my sexuality.
12. I never had to “come out.”
13. I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.
14. I have never been called “fag.”
15. I have never been called “dyke.”
16. I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.
17. I have never tried to hide my sexuality.
18. I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.
19. I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.
20. I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.
21. I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
22. I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”
23. I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.
24. I am a man.
25. I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.
26. I still identify as the gender I was born in.
27. I have never tried to change my gender.
28. I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.
29. I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.
30. I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.
31. I have never been catcalled.
32. I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.
33. I have never been raped.
34. I work in a salaried job.
35. My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.
36. I don’t have any student loans.
37. I have never gone to bed hungry.
38. I have never been homeless.
39. My parents (or someone else) pay some of my bills.
40. My parents (or someone else) pay all of my bills.
41. I don’t rely on public transportation.
42. I buy new clothes at least once a month.
43. I have never done my taxes myself.
44. I have never felt poor.
45. I have never had to worry about making rent.
46. I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.
47. I have had an unpaid internship.
48. I have had multiple unpaid internships.
49. I went to summer camp.
50. I went to private school.
51. I graduated high school.
52. I went to an elite college.
53. I graduated college.
54. My parents (or someone else or the VA) paid (at least some of) my tuition.
55. I had a car in high school.
56. I’ve never had a roommate.
57. I’ve always had cable or Direct TV
58. I have traveled internationally.(not military service)
59. I travel internationally at least once a year.(again not for military service)
60. I studied abroad.
61. I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.
62. I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is. (Or know what it is but have never had to use it)
63. I spent Spring Breaks abroad.
64. I have frequent flier miles.
65. My parents are heterosexual.
66. My parents are both alive.
67. My parents are still married. (or would be if they were alive)
68. I do not have any physical disabilities.
69. I do not have any social disabilities.
70. I do not have any learning disabilities.
71. I have never had an eating disorder.
72. I have never been depressed.
73. I have never considered suicide.
74. I have never attempted suicide.
75. I have never taken medication for my mental health.
76. I can afford medication if/when I need it.(and have a co-pay I CAN afford, even if I think it is too high)
77. I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
78. I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”
79. I have never been shamed for my body type.
80. I consider myself to be physically attractive.
81. I can afford a therapist.
82. I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
83. I have never had an addiction.
84. I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.
85. I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.
86. I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.
87. There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.
88. I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.
89. I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.
90. All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.
91. I am not nervous in airport security lines.
92. I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”
93. I have never been called a terrorist.
94. Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs, or my sexual orientation
95. I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
96. I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.
97. I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.
98. I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.
99. I have never questioned any of my identities.
100.  I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with
I originally thought I scored a 30, but I actually scored a 31.  Which is a bit better but not by much!
I believe my score is only 30 because as a JEWISH, WOMAN in a SAME GENDERED relationship who has also struggled financially as a SINGLE MOM, I cannot get as many points as if I could remove one of those labels.
This also brings up intersectionality.  Look how many words in the above sentence  are bold.  I could also add OVERWEIGHT to those categories……I have many “adjectives” that describe me…. that is what intersectionality is in a nut shell.  We are many things, not just one, and each one of those adjectives, (or intersections) forms how we view ourselves and how society as a whole views us.
Please feel free to comment about how this made you feel if you are comfortable.  Until we start having a discussion about privilege it will be more difficult to remove these labels that cause separation in our society.
#womenslives  #blacklivesmatter

Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?

So, many of you may have seen this heinous picture on social media and wondered if it was real?

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

This happened at Old Dominion University last week.

No way would this be allowed at a college that says it prides itself on educating it’s student body and faculty about ending sexual aggression and inappropriate sexual behavior, as well as sexual harassment. A University that has “Safe Space” training on a regular basis to end harassment of LGBTQ people, and a large and quite diverse student population? Old Dominion Univerity has online training for faculty and administrators about sexual harassment and how to deal with it if a student confides in them, or they witness it, etc.

I am an Old Dominion University student!  I am a woman!  I am a mom of a son who is starting college this year!  I was absolutely amazed and disgusted that these young men thought those banners were an appropriate thing to hang from the railing of the upper deck of the house they live in.  I have walked past that house many, many times.  I never knew that a few cretins lived inside there.  They displayed the banners on freshmen move in day.  I wonder how many parents saw that and were concerned?  I wonder if any of them dis-enrolled their children from ODU because of the message those banners sent?

If I was a parent with my child and saw those banners I would have asked why that was allowed.  Now to be completely transparent, the banners wee NOT on school property.  They were hung from a house directly across the street from the campus library.  Apparently it is a house where a chapter of Sigma Nu members reside.  To their credit, the President of the National Sigma Nu organization issued this statement.

As soon as I saw it on social media I sent an email to the ODU President. My email stated:

Dear President Broderick, As an ODU student and a mother to a young man who just started TCC and wants to transfer to ODU I am absolutely appalled and disgusted with the picture I saw on Facebook today that was taken by a Norfolk Police Officer.

If I was a parent with a child attending preview week at ODU I would have unregistered my child (male or female) immediately!   I would not want to take a chance of my daughter being preyed upon, and I would not want to take a chance of my son becoming friends or sharing a classroom with other young men who feel that this behavior is somehow okay. 

We have had bad publicity in recent years at ODU with fraternities and sororities engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, was well as sexually motivated attacks on young women.  Is this the type of atmosphere the Administration at ODU wants?

I am truly ashamed to say I am an ODU student, and hope these young men will be brought to heel and punished!  Maybe this fraternity should no longer be accepted at ODU.  Just my .02.

I look forward to seeing swift action being taken to punish these young men and correct the pervasive inappropriate attitudes shown here. 

Maybe ODU should take a page from VCU’s play book and require mandatory online training for all students about sexual violence prevention, bystander intervention and risk reduction.”
I sent the email at 4:47 pm on Saturday afternoon.  At 6:45 that evening I received a response back from President Broderick.  It was informal and sent from his iPad, which actually makes it very authentic in my opinion.  Just a guy responding with his thoughts and feelings:
“Actually we have been mandating for new students what you suggest for the last three years. I can assure you we are taking this seriously. This offends me on all levels as it does all faculty, staff and students!”
No salutation or closing.  Just a guy sending a response.  I appreciated that, and felt like it was his genuine thoughts and feelings!
Then a few hours later I received the “official” email sent by his Assistant, Velvet Grant. So I asked:
I would like to know as a student AND a parent of a prospective student what consequences these young men are facing for their insensitive, derogatory and sexually harassing behavior? 
I also emailed back President Broderick and said:
How can I help get this kind of online training available to our current and prospective Monarchs?
If you have been mandating this for three years what needs to be done to make it happen?
I will help.
At that point I received the “official” email from Ellen Neufeldt who is the Vice President for student enrollment and engagement services:

Ms. Wood,

President Broderick shared your e-mail with me that you are interested in reviewing some of the training we send to students.  I am copying Traci Daniels, Deputy Title IX coordinator, so she can get you information this week. 

We just finished an live education program delivered to all our first time freshman on Saturday and have on line education for other students as well as layered education programs throughout the year.  We can get you the list of communication and education sessions.  If you would like to discuss the education and formats, I would be happy to arrange a conversation with the lead organizers.

I appreciate you commitment, care, and concern. 

She got my name wrong, and I am not sure if she is being patronizing or not…..I don’t know her…..Maybe I have  stumbled upon a way to use my double major degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies for some employment??

But the bottom line is that it might be more important to have an open discussion about This incident.  Just a frat boy prank? Or more about rape culture?  The fact that these young men thought this was okay, just floors me.  I don’t get it, and the comments on the Wavy 10 Facebook page are extremely disheartening as some people are basically just saying this is “normal” “pervy” college student dude stuff.  Really???

Can’t we teach our boys better than this?  Can’t we expect more from young male college students?  Do we want our daughters, nieces, friends, sisters, etc exposed to this type of thinking and subsequent behaviors??

I say no, and I will do whatever I can to change this type of negative behavior at the school I love! Until those changes happen, women will not be able to feel completely safe here.

#womenslives