Do you “see color” when you look at people? I do…..

So, here in the United States there are some people who believe we live in a “post racist” society.  Apparently some of these people are even my friends on Facebook, based on some of the posts I see on their walls.  Interesting…  It always amazes me when I see comments such as “I am not racist, but…”  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, implicit racism is rampant.

You may be wondering, “what is implicit racism?”  Well, good thing for you I wrote a paper and did extensive research for my Research Methods class last semester on implicit racism, explicit racism and and how those things make us value (or not) diversity.  So explicit racism is overt, obvious……using the N word, talking openly about people who are not white, or Christian, or middle class being “less than” or not as good as the person who is doing the speaking. 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 nonsense..

Implicit racism is harder to see, and is usually a set of 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.

kerrywashingtongif

But I think we are dealing with another form of implicit racism these days.  People who want so much not to be looked at as racist or biased that they go to great lengths to publicly state their “non bias”.  They say things like, “I don’t see color when I look at people.”  Ok, at the risk of getting yelled at, I am going to publicly say I think that is a ridiculous statement.

*ducking to avoid tomatoes*

Okay, now before you get your undies in a bunch, I DO understand what they mean, but I think by saying they don’t “see color” they are actually devaluing diversity and cultural 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 ambiguous.  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.

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 us becoming!

I believe with all my heart that we can overcome bias and stereotypes that cause so many people difficulty.  Join me in this effort!

Read more about Women’s Lives here. Women’s stories are important!

 

#womenslives

I am a feminist, and I don’t hate men!

Yes, I know, that may confuse some people.  A great many people think feminists are crazy radical women who don’t shave their armpits or legs, and carry on about how men are awful human beings who don’t deserve to be alive, and should just be servants to womankind forever.  Or something like that…..

First of all, as the mother to two teenaged boys who will someday be men, and a stepmother to a wonderful young adult who is already a man, that is the farthest thing from my mind.  If I hated men, wouldn’t I see my sons (i.e. future men) in that light?

However, to be perfectly honest, if I was brave enough to deal with the negative social feedback and nasty stares from people at the gym, I would NEVER shave my legs in the winter.  I just think that extra hair would keep me warmer….. however, I shave because I am not that brave……yet.  Maybe after I turn 50 in October I won’t give a shit about the social stigma.   There is always hope……

But back to the task at hand…..discussing feminism.

I am a double major Bachelor’s student at Old Dominion University.  I was a Psychology Major and then just for fun, I took an elective called Intro to Women’s Studies.  My professor for the class was a woman named Robin Ormiston.  Robin is an amazing Professor, and opened my eyes to so many things that I knew, but never really gave deep thought and attention to before.  Well, I started to give LOTS of things deep thought and attention once I started learning more and more!

So I decided to take on Women’s Studies as a second major because I think I can do something with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies to make an impact on the planet in which I live. Something to benefit the lives of women and hopefully make a difference. To be honest I really want to work with women of color in some capacity, because I believe white privilege exists (a post for another day), and I have a deep desire to do something to end that and to bring all women to equal status in our society, and abroad.

So what I have  learned about myself is that I am a feminist.  I have always been a feminist, I just wasn’t sure how to articulate that in a meaningful way.  Now I can put knowledge and my education to use to stand up for what I have always believed, but didn’t know how to bring it into my way of life, or speak about it in a meaningful way.  Now I have the knowledge from classes as well as my own research to do that.

Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/
Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/

Interestingly there are many, many people who don’t share my vision, or agree with my ideas.  Last year on Facebook, someone accused me of being like the guy at the bar in Good Will Hunting.  At first I was like, that is great, he thinks I am like Matt Damon, someone who thinks for myself, and can show that I am intelligent.  Then I realized he meant I was the ponytail guy who just reads stuff and “regurgitates” it without really knowing what I am talking about.  That actually hurt my feelings.  Because I DO know what I am talking about.  I am not so simple minded that I can’t read, and research, and formulate my own opinions about things like white privilege, and the wage gap, and the horrible way the media works against women and girls, and the genocide of Native Americans and forced sterilization of poor (mostly black) women.  I am almost 50 (as I am prone to say pretty frequently).  I have spent 20 years in the military.  I have been a single mom, and  I actually owned a house in an African American neighborhood in Chesapeake Virginia for 18 months. My two boys were the only white kids in each of their classes, and to be honest I thought it was a good experience for them to be the “minority” for a change.  In fact, I only moved from there because Karol moved back to Virginia from Pennsylvania and we needed more space than my small three bedroom house,  for our newly blended family of 6.

Then in class yesterday another student articulated what I feel about feminism in a two word response.  She said she believes feminism is “Common Sense”.  It was as if the sky opened and light shone down from the heavens.  COMMON SENSE!  YES!!!

So I want to list some of the “Common Sense” ideals feminists (including myself) strive for:

Equal pay for equal work….of course

Clean water no matter where you live or your economic status…….yup

No more gendered violence…..yupper

Treating humans with respect and dignity no matter their race, gender, orientations, ethnicity, economic status, etc etc etc….absolutely

The right to live as we choose……yes

Women have the right to be in charge of their own bodies: size, shape, contraception (or not), decision to have children (or not), and most importantly have agency over what happens to their bodies……..without a doubt

Unearned privilege is a system that oppresses and subjugates and marginalizes and should be removed from society………correct

That is just a few, but truly this blog is long enough, and I can write whatever I want here, so this topic can definitely be revisited whenever I want…..MWUAHAHAHA  I have the POWER!!!!!!!

I_Have_The_Power

Thank you Robin!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Care About 50 Shades of Grey!!

Okay, I have a confession to make: I NEVER read 50 Shades of Grey.  Yep, I just googled it and realized it is 40 Shades of GrEy, not GrAy. See, I know NOTHING about these books.  According to Wikipedia it is a trilogy, and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

Photo credit: www.brandsandfilms.com
Photo credit: www.brandsandfilms.com

I know that many of my friends have read these books.  Lots of giggles as they sat around talking about the books.  And hushed tones at certain parts of the conversation.

Interestingly, according to some articles I read this book’s fan base is primarily heterosexual married women over the age of 30. Hmmm, so what does that say?  Do married women harbor a secret desire to be dominated?

Do they harbor a secret desire for a handsome young entrepreneur to sweep them off their feet after making them sign a waiver?

Now I am just as interested in soft porn as the next gal.  I have read it, and am sure I will read it again.  I have read soft gay porn, and soft hetero porn.  Porn is porn.  Porn is not bad.  Bad porn is bad.  Good porn is not bad.  (I have NEVER written the word porn so much in one paragraph in my life.)

I suppose one of the reasons I have never read this series is the female lead character.  After reading the Twilight Series I promised myself I would never again read a series of books where the lead female character was weak, and simpering, and pining for her man, unable to take care of herself without him next to her.

And just to be clear I am on Team Jacob!  Jacob is warm and wolfy, and a beautiful Native American with history and culture.

Edward is a tool.  Cold, hard, pale, selfish…….. need I say more?

But I digress.

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but from what I understand the lead female character in these books is an awkward virgin who is self conscious and unsure of herself.  She is an easy target for this rich and  powerful man to control.  He wouldn’t need to ask her to submit, it seems as though that is built in to her nature. In fact, I heard from people who read the book that he ignored her use of her “safe” word on at least one occasion.  Now I have nothing against BDSM, and the way I understand it BDSM is all about trust, which is the whole reason for the safe word to exist in the first place. If he ignored her safe word, that just goes against everything about proper BDSM sex.  Also, the power differential in the relationship between the main characters is abusive in my opinion.  Whenever one person has the majority of power it is problematic. The man totally dominates this relationship.  That is no bueno.

So a couple of years ago all I heard about was these books and how I need to read them. I was told they are “so good”…..ummm, I’ll pass thanks.

Now all I hear about is the movie.  How it needs to be a “girls’ night”.  Go to dinner, then see the movie together.  I will skip that event.

My girlfriends were able to talk me into seeing “Magic Mike” (Tinkerbell is a HUGE Channing Tatum fan and she said I would like it). I did like it actually.  I am a Matthew McConaughey fan, and I just think he is sexy as heck…..however, I will not be talked into seeing this one.

So I suppose after Feb 2015, I will have to endure my friends giggling and speaking in hushed voices again (especially if the children or husbands are around) with pauses in the conversation to look up and see who might be in the room listening.

Sigh……