Thoughts from a Recovering Racist

I simply couldn’t not share this article by Joshua Throneburg. It’s too easy to believe that being “colour-blind” is the solution to racism. Thinking that “race doesn’t matter” is a dismissal of the experience of those subjected to prejudice and a denial of the privileges afforded to those who are not. I hope you’ll read this well-considered article.

 

Joshuathroneburg's Blog

Family

I grew up white, not just in the color of my skin, but in the culture of my youth.  My wife and I call it “super-white”.  I was raised in a small farm town in Illinois – white family, white friends, white people at my church, white teachers, white kids in my classes, white players on my sports teams, white players on the teams I played against – WHITE!

My parents are amazing and did well to raise my brother and I as unprejudiced as possible, but that background is a large obstacle when it comes to issues of race.

But I didn’t see it that way.  For many years I was convinced that, in spite of my monochromatic background, I was still able to see race issues clearly and with a balanced perspective.  And most certainly, I would never have classified myself as a racist.

I was wrong.

To…

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5 Reasons Bullying Made Me A Better Writer #1000Speak – Building On Bullying

Sacha Black–Mother, Wife, Writer–writes about how bullying made her who she is. Will she thank the bullies? No. Being bullied, however, was something she was able to transform into determination. Thank you, Samantha, for sharing your story.

 

Sacha Black

5 Reasons Bullying Made Me a Better Writer

I had to coax myself into posting this. Not because I didn’t want to do a post for #1000Speak, but because bullying is one of those things that everyone has been affected by, and I am no exception. It’s all a little close to the bone. Bullying is one of those universal topics that touches the lives of almost everyone. But I want to focus on the positive. On why being bullied made me a better writer. Without having been bullied I wouldn’t have focused on writing in my youth, and I probably wouldn’t have realised writing was my dream. So am I compassionate with the bullies? No, probably not, I know that’s the point of 1000speak, but, I am grateful for the experience of bullying.

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#1000Speak for Compassion–The Tragedy of Cyberbullying and “Slut-Bashing”

I Am Not A Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of Social Media

Recently I read a very interesting book. It was written by Leora Tanenbaum, who first coined the term “slut-bashing” in her book Slut!: Growing Up Female With a Bad Reputation, published in August of 2010. Having been labeled a “slut” in high school merely because she developed early, Tanenbaum wrote an article for Seventeen Magazine and was later motivated to write her first book.

With the proliferation of “slut-bashing” on social media, Leora Tanenbuam took another look at “slut-bashing” in the age of social the Internet. Her new book, I Am Not A Slut: Slut-Shaming In The Age Of The Internet, was released by HarperCollins in January of 2015.

Quote from I Am Not A Slut: Slut-Shaming In The Age Of The Internet
Quote from I Am Not A Slut: Slut-Shaming In The Age Of The Internet, by Leora Tanenbaum

Traveling to several locations and schools in the US, Tanenbaum spoke to female teens, young women, and educators about how the Internet has escalated the problem of “slut-bashing.” While her own research is largely anecdotal, she cites many research cases regarding the situation. She also explains why she believes that current attempts to “reclaim” the term “slut,” such as she witnessed at the NYC SlutWalk, will ultimately fail, being an option only for those privileged to be white.

If you have a female child, educate her before puberty, which for many girls these days occurs at an early age.

Some Helpful Links

Thanks to author Leora Tanenbaum for the inspiration and much of the information provided in this article. Check out Lizzie Crocker’s review of Slut!: Growing Up Female With a Bad Reputation in The Daily Beast.

This post is for the victims of cyberbullying and slut-shaming who took their lives rather than live a life of shame:

Amanda Todd–Coquitlam, BC, Canada (15)
Megan Meier–O’Fallon, Missouri, United States (13)
Phoebe Prince–South Hadley, MA, United States (15)
Jessica Logan–Cincinatti, OH, United States (18)
Alexis Pilkington–Long Island, NY, United States (17)
Rachel Ehmke–Mantorville, MN, United States (13)
Audrey Pott–Saratoga, CA, United States (15)
Felicia Garcia–Long Island, NY, United States (15)
Hannah Smith–Leicestershire, England (14)
Gabrielle Molina–Queens, NY, United States (12)
Rahteah Parsons–Cole Harbour, HA, Canada (15)

 There are many others whom the system failed. Let’s not fail any more!

For a better understanding of cyberbullying and a call to action, check out Anderson Cooper’s blog post: An Anderson Cooper Special Report – Bullying: It Stops Here.

#1000Speak -Today and always you are my family

 In this photo taken Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Dorcas Aiden, 20 years old , speaks to a journalist in Yola, Nigeria. Dorcas Aiden was another of the girls caught in Boko Haram’s siege. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi) The Associated Press

In this photo taken Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Dorcas Aiden, 20 years old , speaks to a journalist in Yola, Nigeria. Dorcas Aiden was another of the girls caught in Boko Haram’s siege. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
The Associated Press

I’m reblogging this message of compassion and empathy from Joyezeka, who currently resides in South Africa, but who has family and friends in Nigeria and Abuja. A sensitive person who tries to remain detached from the pain of others in the news, she had the courage to embrace the victims of Boko Haram as her family, despite the discomfort this caused her because of her fear for those she does know who are in danger.

Joyezeka, thank you for your courage, and may we all embrace victims of such violence as family members, no longer dissociating ourselves from what is happening in the world today because it makes us uneasy.

Imagine, even just for a moment, that these victims are your wives, husbands, daughters, sons, nieces, and nephews… Can you feel it?

Our planet is small, and its people are one. Detachment as a coping mechanism is not a solution to the pain and suffering of others. When one suffers, we all suffer. That is compassion.

Click here to find current information about the war against Boko Haram.

 
Click here to view Joyezeka’s moving blog post => #1000Speak -Today and always you are my family.
 

Write and Change the World

I know I promised I wouldn’t reblog another #1000Speak for Compassion post today, but this one is very à propos for the more literary mind.

Thank you D. Wallace Peach for this thoughtful post about the …”small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.” (Quote from Tolkein, spoken by Gandalf)

Myths of the Mirror

JeffersonMost of us have days filled with small acts of kindness. We smile, kiss hurt elbows, throw tennis balls for our dogs. We pay for a coworker’s coffee and leave a big tip. We call a friend in need, chauffeur teenagers, cook a favorite meal, or pick up ice cream on the way home. These small invisible acts often go unacknowledged, but they travel around in overlapping circles, keep our lives balanced and relationships healthy. We see the results in strengthened bonds, deeper commitment, and abiding love.

87230b4a08df4def07bae73905d9319bBut what about those times when we don’t see the ripples? When we toss acts of kindness and compassion into a seemingly bottomless well of suffering and despair? When we perceive no reward for our efforts? When we don’t know if we’re making any lasting difference in our world at all? Some strangers we’ll meet face to face, but most we’ll never know. The poignant tales of…

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Why We All NEED To Be More Compassionate

I promise this will be my last reblog today from #1000Speak for Compassion, but I just had to share this one! I especially like the author’s list of what compassion means to her, and why compassion is good for people!

Thank you, Accidentally-Reflective for this wonderful article on Compassion!

accidentallyreflective

What is compassion?

“Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others:
the victims should be treated with compassion”

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/compassion

Literally, compassion means “to suffer together.”

Unlike empathy (which it is sometimes confused with), compassion doesn’t stop at taking another person’s perspective into account or just feeling that person’s emotions. You feel compassionate, when you also have the motivation and desire to help the suffering person.

You respond emotionally by wanting to understand the situation of a suffering person and you feel compelled to help them.

Compassion Desmond Tutu Photo Credit: 1000 Voices for Compassion Facebook Group

Are we compassionate enough? Why do we only choose to help others now and again and not all of the time?

Would you help a stranger in need if you were running late for work?

There was an opportunity that I didn’t take once. I still think about it. I was driving past a woman…

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Become One with The Subject of Your Compassion | #1000Speak for Compassion

I am writing this post today as part of the 1000 Voices for Compassion campaign by bloggers all over the world. The goal is to have 1000 bloggers speak on compassion today, February 20, 2015 . Here is my contribution to this amazing project.

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion

IMG093I am one person, and my life is small. I live alone with two cats, one IMG_0001whom I adopted as a stray, and the other whom I adopted from a nursing home that sadly had to get rid of its therapy pets due to allergies. (If adopting them was an act of compassion, then it was one from which I profited.) My acts of compassion, like my life, are also small.

I work in a bookstore. Some of my customers use wheelchairs, and some others have “brand new people” in carriages or strollers. It’s a small thing for me to ensure that the floors are clear and that displays are arranged so that there is space for them to get through. I let those who can’t reach the top shelves know that I will check on them periodically should they need help, including my younger customers who will someday be taller than me.

Yesterday, a couple of young men with developmental difficulties came into the store and sat on the floor to read some children’s books. They were blocking the aisle, so I squatted next to them and asked them if I could listen to a story. I told them that I had to be up front by the till to help customers, but I would love if they would join me and read to me while I worked. It wasn’t just a ruse to clear the pathway for others: I really was proud of them, and of whomever had taught them to read.

As I listened to the first one proudly reading aloud to me, I felt incredibly moved by his the little engine that couldchoice of story: The Little Engine That Could. I suspect it was a story with which he’d grown up, and I hoped that someone had lovingly shared that story with him so he’d know how much he could accomplish by believing in himself. As he read, I organised the area around the till, dusting and keeping myself busy, but glancing at him every now and then with a smile to let him know that I was listening.

After thanking the first man for reading to me, I asked the second what he would like to read. Blushing and and giggling, he declined. He had a number of books in his hands, so maybe he simply couldn’t decide which one to read. I hope he and his friend come into my store again, and that next time he will read me a story that has meaning for him.

Thich Nhat Hahn Compassion Quote