general, news notes

I Am My Ancestor’s Wildest Dream

 

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This week was emotionally exhaustive. Donald Trump will be President come January 2017 and if that thought doesn’t make you sad or anxious, then consider yourself privileged. This election was different and felt personal. I went to sleep Tuesday after accepting near-defeat and woke up at 3am to see my fears confirmed. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I was heartbroken.

I cried for the kids that were counting on us to keep their families together and for my loved ones whose fate in this country is uncertain. I cried because even though I know first-hand racism and sexism exist, I wanted to believe that we had come further as a country and that there were statements that we all understood as inflammatory and unacceptable. I cried because as a Latina, as a woman, and as a daughter of immigrants, it was a slap in the face that the majority of this country does not care about my rights.

I had hope that we as Americans had come further. That there were things that a majority of us understood as unacceptable. Xenophobia, sexism, racism. These are ideas that should supersede any political party agenda. And regardless if you know that these isms have always been a part of American politics, the difference here is the blatancy of this to-be presidency. Words matter. They matter to impressionable kids and adults who refuse to engage in critical thinking. The words of Mr.Trump have given every bigot the license to openly express their hateful views.

It’s daunting to think about all the work we still have to do as a nation. But in these troubled times, all I can think to get up every day is to remind myself that I come from a line of strong people. Parents who survived a war. Parents who fled to a new country with nothing. Ancestors who survived colonialism. Strong women who have survived physical and sexual assault. They can fight so I can fight. So I’ll stay mad and to speak up and to be unapologetically brown and be proud and stand up for myself and for anyone else that is threatened.

They can fight so I can fight. Here’s hoping we all stay mad, informed, engaged and alert.

 

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current obsession, news notes

News Notes: Jackson Katz’s TED Talk on Gender Issues

Do you ever hear something that so clearly sums up your opinion on a topic way better than you ever could?

Jackson Katz is an educator, author and filmmaker who co-founded Mentors in Violence Prevention. Mr. Katz recently delivered an eloquent and brilliant TED talk where he argues that intrinsically issue that are viewed as women issues by society are, in fact, men’s issues.

This would be relevant in any point in society, but exceptionally poignant today when new information just surfaced that suggests that Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, knowingly knew of the severity of Ray Rice’s attack on his then fiancee back in April. Meaning with this full knowledge (of which he claimed he only found out about this week), he decided that a two game suspension was sufficient.

Domestic violence is an issue outside the NFL, of course. However, it would be naive to think that it isn’t a prevalent issue within the NFL. Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization of Women (NOW), who calls for the resignation of Goodell cites that, over half of the offenses of which NFL players are arrested for stem from domestic violence, while almost forty percent stem from sex offenses. So clearly this is an NFL problem.

Furthermore – as Jackson so clearly states domestic violence is a men’s issue. We often put the stress and blame of issues on the “victim”, the “minority”. Race issues are problems that people of color should be trying to solve. Gender issues are problems that women should be trying to solve. But in reality – shouldn’t we be examining the “oppressor”, the majority? The NFL is a microcosm that demonstrates the problem with how we deal with gender issues in this country.

The solution isn’t in carrying a rape whistle or not provoking violence, the solution is in education and a shift in how we punish and treat those who commit these crime – usually men, not always of course.

The way we educate, raise and teach our sons needs to change. We need to stress and raise our sons to, of course, not be the aggressors but also to be champions and the voice for a cause that does in fact affect them directly.

Hopefully the NFL and it’s leadership can remedy this situation and serve as a better example for it’s fan’s and society, in general.

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