Fighting privilege, prejudice and ignorance

“If you choose to do social justice work, you are going to screw up – a lot. Be prepared for that. And when you screw up, be prepared to listen to those who you hurt, apologize with honesty and integrity, work hard to be accountable to them, and make sure you act differently going forward.” (http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/things-allies-need-to-know/?upw)

 

The Oldest Hatred, Forever Young

semiticsemantics:

Most of the hate crimes in the United States don’t take the fatal form that the shootings in Kansas over the weekend did, and most aren’t perpetrated by villains as bloated with rage and blinded by conspiracy theories as the person accused in this case, Frazier Glenn Miller. He’s an extreme, not an emblem.

This is someone who went on Howard Stern’s radio show four years ago (why, Howard, did you even hand him that megaphone?) and called Adolf Hitler “the greatest man who ever walked the earth.” When Stern asked Miller whether he had more intense antipathy for Jews or for blacks (why that question?), Miller chose the Jews, definitely the Jews, “a thousand times more,” he said.

“Compared to our Jewish problem, all other problems are mere distractions,” he declaimed, and he apparently wasn’t just spouting off. He was gearing up.

On Sunday, according to the police, he drove to a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., and opened fire, then moved on to a nearby Jewish retirement home and did the same. Three people were killed.

They were Christian, as it happens. When hatred is loosed, we’re all in the crossfire.

On Monday, as law enforcement officials formally branded what happened in Kansas a hate crime, I looked at the spectrum of such offenses nationally: assault, intimidation, vandalism.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation keeps statistics, the most recent of which are for 2012. In the United States that year there were 6,573 hate-crime incidents reported to the bureau (a fraction, no doubt, of all that occurred). While most were motivated by race, about 20 percent were motivated by the victims’ perceived religion — roughly the same percentage as those motivated by the victims’ presumed sexual orientation. I didn’t expect a number that high.

Nor did I expect this: Of the religion-prompted hate crimes, 65 percent were aimed at Jews, a share relatively unchanged from five years earlier (69 percent) and another five before that (65 percent). In contrast, 11 percent of religious-bias crimes in 2012 were against Muslims.

Our country has come so far from the anti-Semitism of decades ago that we tend to overlook the anti-Semitism that endures. We’ve moved on to fresher discussions, newer fears.

Following 9/11, there was enormous concern that all Muslims would be stereotyped and scapegoated, and this heightened sensitivity lingers. It partly explains what just happened at Brandeis University. The school had invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a celebrated advocate for Muslim women, to receive an honorary degree. But when some professors and students complained, citing statements of hers that seemed broadly derisive of Islam, the invitation was withdrawn. Clearly, university officials didn’t want their campus seen as a cradle or theater of Islamophobia.

But other college campuses in recent years have been theaters of anti-Israel discussions that occasionally veer toward, or bleed into, condemnations of Jews. And while we don’t have the anti-Semitism in our politics that some European countries do, there’s still bigotry under the surface. There are still caricatures that won’t die.

One of them flared last month on the Christian televangelist Pat Robertson’s TV show. His guest was a rabbi who, shockingly, was himself trafficking in the notion that Jews excel at making money. The rabbi said that a Jew wouldn’t squander a weekend tinkering with his car when he could hire a mechanic and concentrate on something else.

Polishing diamonds?

In a 2013 survey of 1,200 American adults for the Anti-Defamation League, 14 percent agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power” in our country, while 15 percent said Jews are “more willing to use shady practices” and 30 percent said that American Jews are “more loyal to Israel” than to the United States.

That’s disturbing, as is the way in which the Holocaust is minimized by its repeated invocation as an analogy. In separate comments this year, both the venture capitalist Tom Perkins and Kenneth Langone, one of the founders of Home Depot, said that the superrich in America were being vilified the way Jews in Nazi Germany had been.

It’s not just Kansas and the heartland where anti-Semitism, sometimes called the oldest hatred, stays young.

A story in The Times last year focused on an upstate New York community in which three Jewish families filed suit against the school district, citing harassment of Jewish students by their peers. The abuse included Nazi salutes and swastikas drawn on desks, on lockers, on a playground slide.

When a parent complained in 2011, the district’s superintendent responded, in an email: “Your expectations for changing inbred prejudice may be a bit unrealistic.”

Well, the only way to breed that prejudice out of the generations to come is never to shrug our shoulders like that — and never to avert our eyes.

qlicpress:

2014 International LGBTQI Pride Calendar For People of Color

Pull out the flags and pump up the music, because the first pride festivals of the new year are just around the corner!  Below you’ll find a growing list of LGBTQI pride events for people of color.  We’ll continue to update this as information becomes available.  Don’t see your event here?  Feel free to tell us all about it!

View Post

qlicpress:

2014 International LGBTQI Pride Calendar For People of Color

Pull out the flags and pump up the music, because the first pride festivals of the new year are just around the corner!  Below you’ll find a growing list of LGBTQI pride events for people of color.  We’ll continue to update this as information becomes available.  Don’t see your event here?  Feel free to tell us all about it!

View Post

He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

Sir Walter Besant.

The inferiority of women is man-made.

American author, activist, and lecturer Helen Keller, June 11, 1916 (via coyotegold)

(Source: socialismartnature)

So let me see if I understand this. In other words, if we put black people or POC in the film, then people would notice it, and that would have been like really, really distracting, taking people out of the film. So instead, we got a whole bunch of white British, American and Australian actors to represent all mankind, because it‘s just a lot easier?

And, furthermore, putting people of color in the film would have somewhat diminished the biblical Noah, making it look, God forbid, like some kind of Star Trek movie?

Sorry I’m all confused here. I was thinking that, if you want to represent all mankind in a film, then wouldn’t it make sense to have a cast that did actually represent all of mankind, in every color and hue, instead of having an all white cast, and telling audiences to just squint their eyes, and pretend that he’s another race, because it’s all just a myth after all? So black people can’t be mythical too? Nope, I guess we’re too real, too urban.

John: So I actually didn't find the Breaking Bad finale that great -

Mary: Woah woah woah!! No spoilers!

John: it was six months ago.

Jack: Some people aren't caught up yet!

Jimmy: I'm not even past the first season!

John: So I -

Jack: Just don't talk about spoilers, okay? Don't ruin it for me!

John: Oh. Okay.

...

Mary: So this material might have some triggering content, especially for survivors of sexual assault. If you want to leave the room now I'll just give you a few moments.

Jimmy: What the fuck?! If we have to trigger assault, when do we stop?! You know, the real world's not going to be so nice! What if I say I'm triggered by shoes? You all have to take your shoes off! Don't you think exposing yourself to your trigger is the most healthy thing you can do?! WE ARE RAISING A GENERATION OF OVER-SENSITIVE BABIES!!

thevoxbox:

theconcealedweapon:

Abled people complain about disabled people needing accommodations, because “in the real world there are no accommodations”.

But abled people receive accommodations all the time. Cars are an accommodation for those who can’t run a steady speed of 60 mph. Stairs are an accommodation for those who can’t jump from one story to the next. Phones are an accommodation for those who can’t communicate telepathically. Calculators are an accommodation for those who can’t do large math problems in their head. Lights are an accommodation for those who can’t see in the dark. Stoves are an accommodation for those who can’t heat things with their eyes. Clocks are an accommodation for those who can’t tell what time it is just by the position of the sun. Jackets are an accommodation for those who are susceptible to frostbite when it’s cold. 

Abled people receive accommodations all the time, but since it’s considered socially acceptable to need those accommodations, they’re not considered accommodations. But imagine if you lived in a world where you needed those accommodations but most people didn’t. That’s what it feels like to be disabled.

This is an incredibly important post. As one of my favourite professors said, “Technology is not innocent." As in, all technology had to be designed by a human being. And chances are, if that human being had any biases or assumptions that could be translated into the technology they created, they probably wound up in there. Practically everything is designed specifically for abled people. Think about cars, for example. Could you drive a car one-handed? Well, yeah, very likely, but since most people have two hands, they designed the cars to use both hands. Two hands to grip the steering wheel, buttons and levers on both sides of said wheel, etc. There is nothing that says cars are better when you design them for one specific degree of physical wellness, but yet that is exactly how they’re designed.  This extends to virtually everything human-made you see. I do mean everything.

So for the love of heaven, please don’t whine and complain when you see disabled people of any variety getting “special accommodations.” All technological design is purposeful. Every piece of technology you see was designed to accommodate someone. If you’re lucky enough to be accommodated by something’s most common design, don’t be an ass to people who would be better served by an alternate version.

You Know What Doesn’t Work So Well? Private Prisons

workingamerica:

The myth put forth by private prison corporations like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group that private prisons are cheaper than public prisons is shattered by a new report from In the Public Interest, thus undercutting the primary rationale for prison privatization efforts across the country. When pushing for contracts with the many states that use private prisons, these corporations claim they are the better option because they can run prisons more cheaply than the government can. But this report not only dispels that idea, it highlights some of the less-than-savory activities the corporations engage in because of the perverse incentives created by these contracts.

The report details several methods through which private prison companies mislead governments and the public about their supposed cost savings, particularly hiding costs of private prisons, inflating public prison costs, benefiting from mandated occupancy minimums and delaying cost increases until after contracts are signed.

Numerous studies have shown that private prisons are more expensive than their publicly run counterparts. The report details a series of meta-analyses of individual studies conducted on the comparative costs between public and private prisons, and all of them found that cost savings, at best, were minimal for private prisons—in many cases, private prisons were more expensive. One of the few studies that showed private prisons to be more cost-effective was funded by the prison companies and is currently the subject of an ethics inquiry at Temple University. A close examination of many of the states that have invested heavily in prison privatization has shown the failure of the “private prisons are cheaper” idea:

  • Arizona: The state found private prisons can cost up to $1,600 per prisoner per year, despite private prisons often only housing the healthiest prisoners.
  • Florida: Three separate multiyear studies found the majority of the private prisons in the state failed to meet the legally mandated 7% cost savings, while half of the private prisons failed to save any money at all.
  • Georgia: In 2011, private prisons cost the state $45.81 per prisoner per day, compared with $44.51 per prisoner per day in publicly run prisons.
  • Hawaii: The state found the projected savings of using private prison contractors were based on bed capacity rather than the actual number of people incarcerated and that indirect administration costs were not included.
  • New Mexico: Over a five-year period, the state saw its annual spending on private prisons increase by 57% while the prisoner population only increased 21%. A significant portion of the increase was because of automatic price increases included in contracts with the private prison corporations.
  • Ohio: The state expected the private operation of the Lake Erie Correctional Institution would save the state $2.4 million a year, but it has turned out to instead cost the state $380,000 to $700,000 a year.

As the report notes:

To maximize returns for their investors, for-profit prison companies have perverse incentives to cut costs in vital areas such as security personnel, medical care and programming, threatening the health and safety of prisoners and staff.

There are several different reasons that savings fail to materialize. CCA and other companies explicitly seek to increase their profits by changing the details of previously signed contracts. They do this by raising the per diem rates the state pays for each prisoner or by requiring occupancy rates of 90% or higher or the state pays for the empty cells in order to reach the required level. Private prison companies cherry pick their inmates and refuse to house more expensive prisoners. Many contracts exclude those higher-cost prisoners, such as those in maximum security, on death row, female prisoners or prisoners that have serious medical or mental health conditions. Companies also make their costs look lower by inflating the cost of public incarceration when making their sales pitch. They can do this by leaving out overhead costs in their prisons, not including costs the state has to pay in either public or private scenarios in the private prison cost but keeping them in the public prison cost calculation, and leaving out the additional costs of overseeing and monitoring private prisons that the state must engage in if it properly oversees its contractors.

At its national convention last year, the AFL-CIO came out in opposition to the privatization of prisons and the profit motive being used to increase incarceration.

Read the full report.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

Is there a “morning-after pill” that prevents HIV?

plannedparenthood:

image

Someone asked us:

Is there a morning after pill for HIV?

This is a great question! The short answer is “kinda but not really.”

There are medicines that help prevent HIV after someone has been exposed, called Post-exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP. Sometimes people think of PEP as “morning-after pills for HIV,” because it can be started up to three days after being exposed to HIV – but that’s where most of the similarities end. 

So how is PEP different from the morning-after pill (aka Plan B or emergency contraception)?

Unlike emergency contraception (which is just one or two pills taken over the course of one day), PEP consists of 2-3 different drugs that must be taken for 28 days.

Even after completing the treatment, you would need to be regularly tested for HIV for about 6 months after exposure.

The tricky part about all this is that many people don’t know if or when they’ve been exposed to the virus. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 people with HIV don’t even realize they’re infected.  PEP is a pretty involved medical process that you really need a doctor to help monitor. It’s not something everyone can pick up at the drugstore and take after unprotected sex, “just in case.” 

And remember: if you’re sexually active, always use condoms, get tested regularly, and encourage partners to do the same. If you or your partner is living with HIV/AIDS, ask your doctor how you can manage the risk of exposure in your relationship and reduce the chances of spreading the infection. 

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

India's Top Court Recognizes Third Gender Category