Thursday, November 17, 2016

It’s Not About Hate. Not Entirely.

I think one of the reasons (just one of the many) that racism and sexism and homophobia and and and are all so pervasive in our society is the fallacy of “that person is good/kind/loving and so cannot be.”

Now, let’s be clear about something upfront. These prejudices are always aggressive to the people they are inflicted upon.  Be it volatile aggression or a micro-aggression, it is always aggressive.  I’m not hear to tell oppressed people how they are and are not allowed to define these prejudices.

I am here to explain to other white people that you cannot be absolved from it by saying, “but I’m a nice person. I don’t hate anyone.”

Prejudice can look like hate.  That is made obvious by hate crimes and other volatile aggressions.  But it does not always.  I think even more often it looks like ignorance and passiveness in the face of benefitting, by default, from the systematic oppression of others.  And it looks like buying into the prejudices and fears that maintain those oppressions.

I think this is an especially relevant conversation to be having right not, given the prevalence of defensive Trump voters.  They abound. And they are so anxious for us to know that they are good, kind people who do not hate others.

Fine.  But that does not mean you’re not racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc.  Because if you voted for Trump, you kind of just are.

I’ve seen two defenses that I’d particularly like to address.

The first is from the people who are at least willing to acknowledge that Trump has said and done terrible things, but that voted for him because “of his platform” or “Clinton was worse.”  If the horrible things that Trump has said and done are not a deal breaker for you, then you simply need to examine your threshold.  Because if those things aren’t a deal breaker for you, then that means you’re okay with them being normalized.  If you’re in this camp, you are complicit in the prejudices pervasive in our society.  You cannot be complicit in these prejudices and still claim you don’t own them.

The second defense I’m seeing a lot of is a much more head-in-the-sand approach.  I’ve seen a plethora of Trump supports offer up the whole, “the media blew this out of proportion, he’s really not that bad” argument. Let’s go ahead and set aside the conservative go-to argument about how the liberal media is always lying to us.  It’s not true, but we’ll pretend it is. Because we don’t need the media for this one.  Did you watch the debates and come away without a sure knowledge that Trump is racist?  You watched him actually offer up answers about inner cities and stop and frisk and Muslim watchdogs, etc., and you didn’t come away with the sure knowledge that he is racist? If that is true, then the reason you don’t think Trump is racist is because you think he is right about those things.  You don’t think Trump is racist because you don’t think you are racist.  But you are.  And so is Trump. Did you watch Trump mock a handicapped report and either laugh it of or easily buy the rhetoric that “it’s not what he meant.” You’re ableist. Did you dismiss the way he bragged about sexual assault as “locker room talk?” Own your misogyny.

I don’t want to hear about how kind and loving and nice you are.  Your white feelings and your white insecurities need to take a back seat in this conversation.

If you voted for Trump, you are responsible for all the #trumpconsequences.  You need to wake up, and you need to start unpacking and understanding the role you have played.  And then you need to start doing the work it takes to make it better.

Friday, November 11, 2016


A hand holding a white card that says, "You are a racist!"

I am dusting off this old blog because I no longer feel complacent with silence.
You know, when I was blogging consistently, I had two or three posts go viral. My most popular post was for a homemade anti-itch cream. How trivial.

I’m not back for that. I’m back to make my voice heard on issues that are plaguing our society.

I was so sure that Clinton was going to win this election – the first time I’ve ever been wrong about a political prediction in my life (I feel you, Nate Silver) – but even if she had, I think I would be here now, needing to fight the hatred I am seeing.

Trump’s hateful rhetoric has exposed a sickness in America that white people have been too willing to deny for too long. We are the soft place for racism to land. We are the nation that gives it a pass because we don't want to hurt people's feelings. We want to kindly and gently help each other understand the racism that pervades our society. And we are fine with being patient with slow progress because these problems don’t affect us. Our number one priority is white feelings.

This is our white supremacy. We coddle the feelings of the oppressors because we care more about them than we do the oppressed. This is the American legacy.

But it will not be mine.

It will not be on my watch. I no longer care about whether we can compel people to not be racist with kindness. What we can be is a society where that behavior is not okay. We should be a society that is known for being intolerant of intolerance. We should be known as the people who would never put up with the devaluing of people who don’t look or believe like you. I don't care if they stop saying racist things because society has shamed them into silence. I don't care if they stop doing racist things because they are afraid of the violence perpetuated against them in recourse. THEY ARE NOT WHO WE SHOULD BE PROTECTING.

It is time we start prioritizing whose lives and feelings matter.

It is time to stop caring more about the hurt feelings of the racist than the lives of the people of color.

I will not be silent about this anymore.  I will not be gentle about this anymore.  I don’t care if you get mad at me.  I don’t care if you think I’m perpetuating a culture of anger and hate.  We should be angry about and hate racism.  And if we are not, we should be ashamed.

PS. All of the also applies to the violence we're seeing against the LGBTQIA community and tender straight people's feelings.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Is this still a thing I do?

I just realized I did not publish a single post on this blog in 2015.  It feels sad to me because it used to be a thing I did so much and so often and it was a real part of my life.

But I can't tell if I'm the kind of sad where you make a change to correct the sadness and turn it into a happiness or the kind of sad where you just say goodbye and let it go.

Is this still a thing I do?

It isn't that I've run out of things to talk about.  I think part of the problem is that I've found other avenues for discussing many of them (like here and here).

And, of course, part of the problem is the busy life I have with the Things.

And really, the biggest problems are depression and anxiety.

But what now?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Open Letter To Whomever Is Writing the Women and the Priesthood Essay has hosted a series of essays this year that have addressed some of the murkier parts of the Mormon history and doctrine. While these essays have fallen short of people’s concerns in a lot of ways, it has also inspired a lot of hope. It is the first time many of these things are being addressed and publicly spoken about, which is just a relief all its own.

There are rumors that the next essay is going to be about women and the priesthood. And I’m excited. And I’m nervous. So I really just want to have a word with whomever is writing the thing.

There is a message I want to send the leaders of my faith. Because I am struggling, and I’m not the only one. So many women are suffering and confused, and dealing with these things silently. And some bold women have spoken up and put a face and a name on this suffering, and the way they’ve been treated has left so many of us feeling lost and tired and hopeless. The church has repeatedly sent the message that it does not want women like us, and we don’t know where to go. I, for one, feel like I’ve spent much of this year begging the church to keep me from walking away, and yet still feel like I’m being shoved out the door.

There is a systematic, pervasive institutional way that we are being pushed out. Time and time again we’ve been asked why we don’t just leave. We’ve been told we’re insubordinate and that we’re a threat to the community. We’ve been called aggressors. We’ve been called cowards. We’ve been told we’re thinking too hard about all the wrong things. We’ve been told we don’t understand. We’ve been reminded of the joy of motherhood, as though we’ve denied it. We’ve been told we already have the power of the priesthood, but that means little to us when we have no authority or encouragement to exercise it.  We have been told just to have faith in the Lord’s plan, as though we should just smile and nod at a God that would see us marginalized for all eternity. People have tried to convince us that the world and God have two different definitions of equality, as though that might help us choose to ignore all the evidence we see that convinces us we are less than.

But never mind all that. We have an eye trained on the leaders of the church because that is where we know we can learn more of what our Heavenly Parents have to say to us. But mostly the messages we’ve received this year are the same ones women in the Mormon church have always been given. Which just feels frustrating and exhausting, because we are begging for some new information. We need some revelation. We need some insight. We are banging on the door of heaven and begging to know more about our roles, purpose, and value in the eyes of God. We believe that understanding women’s access to priesthood power will help us understand Heavenly Mother’s role, and we long for that because we long for her. We want to know of her and who it is we are meant to be in the eternities. All we want is to understand, to serve, and to be more fully integrated into the Kingdom of God.

So, my dear brother or sister, whoever you are, when you write this essay about women and the priesthood, please don’t make proving us wrong your goal. Please don’t write us off. Please don’t belittle us. Please don’t make us feel unwanted and unwelcome. Please understand that our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of the Prophet are strong. Please understand that we believe we are seeking after the mysteries of the kingdom of God as we’ve been instructed to do, with faith unwavering, in the scriptures. Please don’t make this essay a weapon that other members of the church can use against us.

Please say something, anything, to help us stay.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Swiffer Mop/Clorox Wipe

Please read my homemade disclaimer.

I’ve seen different versions of this idea around on Pinterest and the interwebz lately.  I made my own thing to try it out, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I initially used it to clean the floors.

2014-08-20 10.34.52

This was especially awesome at the point in which I would have to throw the Swiffer thing away. I was able just to turn my washcloth over and start mopping with the other side.  The convenience of the Swiffer, without wasting money on those stupid wipes! I have also used these things to wipe down counters, tables and chairs, walls, and even mattresses, all to wonderful effect.

I’m not one to be overly concerned about harsh chemicals in cleaners, although I tend to avoid the rough stuff with my kids around. Generally, I’m okay with whatever if I’ve wiped it down with water after. However, apparently not using harsh chemicals has become such a thing lately that all the kids are dropping major bucks on products that will help them clean chemical free. I find this amusing (foolish?) because mostly I just care a lot more about saving money do than I do about phantom toxins. And I can get a bottle of vinegar—a big one—at my local grocery store for less than three bucks. But whatever, since it is chemical free, a picture of my adorable one year following me around while I mop seems appropriate:

2014-08-20 10.31.31

The recipe for this is simple and easy:

Equal parts water and vinegar
Essential oils, if you want
Fill container with liquids and stuff washcloths inside.
Shake container until the washcloths have soaked up the liquids.

2014-10-29 11.47.24
I am torn by which container is more convenient. The bag holds more,
but I live in fear that it will rip, hence the double bagging. The mason jar is
is more secure, but holds fewer cloths. And pouring the liquid in it is a pain
unless you have a funnel (I don’t). I think I could really get behind a gallon
sized mason jar for this purpose. I’ve never known why those existed.

I usually do about 2 Cups water and 2 Cups vinegar with about 30 drops of essential oils.  I’ve been using this cleaning blend, which is a combination of oils that are lauded for their antibacterial and antifungal properties and whatnot.  But any oil or blend that is citrus based or the tea tree family would have the same.  You could also just add a splash of lemon juice. Or, since you don’t need more than the vinegar to clean, you could just add a few drops of whatever smells nice to you.  Or nothing at all.

Easy peasy and super awesome.

You’re welcome.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thing 2 is 4

And he has been for over a month. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, BLOGOSPHERE.

I’ve been super nostalgic about this kid’s birthday. I think it is because I keep comparing how Thing 3 is at that age of 1 to how his brothers were at that age. This has reminded me of the super sweet, cuddly, funny boy that Thing 2 was as 1 year old. Not that he is not also sweet, cuddly and funny now. He still is. But he has also been a three year old for the past year… which means the sweet, cuddly, funny boy has been disguised as a terrorist for much of the time. And I can see that phase passing. He is becoming more human and more reasonable, slowly but surely. However, it’ll never be the same as when he was in the early toddler stages, and I kinda miss that. He was a pretty easy baby/toddler to take care of. 

I was determined to not have a four year old in diapers, and thought it was only his stubbornness holding us back. So, Husband and I told him that after he was four we weren’t allowed to buy him any more pull-ups because four year olds are not supposed to wear them. Four year olds have to wear nice underwear that they keep dry and clean. We counted down the pull-ups and when they were gone we switched. So, instead of having a four year old in diapers, I had a four year old that was having a lot of accidents. And at first I was just sure it was because he was being stubborn. But it didn’t take long to see that the whole thing was making him miserable. He wanted to do it, and wanted to do well, but he was having so much trouble. And it became pretty clear he was starting to feel a lot of shame about it. I took to the interwebz and have learned that late potty train actually isn’t all that uncommon, and is often because of biology. So we’ve taken a step back. And I have a four year old in pull ups. Whatevs.

Love this kid.

wesley 4 birthday

Birthday   1 Year
image   Wesley 3
2 Years   3 Years
wesley is 4
4 Years

Friday, August 29, 2014

I’m All About That Bass, But if You’re Not That’s Okay Too

I’ve had Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass stuck in my head for weeks now. It is unbelievably catchy, and she does have a great voice.  And you just can’t deny a tune that *makes* you move with it.

And I wanted to love it upon first discovering it because of the body positive message. I can get behind lines like this:

I see the magazine workin' that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
C'mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

But I struggle with loving the song, because I believe there are some serious missteps. I wish that we could present a body positive message for fuller figures (of which, I have to point Trainor is just barely—she is by no means a “big” girl) without dissing other body types. This song loses me with these lines:

'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.

I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

Some of these are less offensive than others. You could probably say any girl of any body type has “junk in all the right places” because whatever that “junk” is, I would hope it would be applied to a wide and inclusive view of beauty. But, I balk at the idea that there is a “boom boom” that all boys chase or that there is a certain body type they prefer to be in bed with at night for a few reasons. First and for most, I hate that any standard of beauty would be defined by the male gaze. But also, there is no one true beauty type for all boys. At least, there sure as hell shouldn’t be. When we are working on body positive thinking, I think we need to work on women (and men) defining their sense of beauty and confidence internally. They should not be dependent on how attractive they think they are to the opposite sex. Especially if they think they need to be attractive to all boys. How daunting is that?

But then Trainor gets even more aggressive using terms like “stick figure silicone Barbie doll.” The implication is that a thin girl is plastic, not real. But her realness and beauty are just as valid as any other body type. I hate that she has to be perceived as unattractive to send a message that full figured girls are also attractive.

And the worst of them all is the phrase “skinny bitches.” Upfront, I’m just going to say that no woman ever should be referred to as a bitch … or compared to an animal/thing in any way. The idea that women do this to each other is maddening. A patriarchal system depends on women being perceived as less than human. Using language that encourages this is never okay. And in the context of this song, the application of the word to skinny/thin women infers a personality trait—a disagreeable one—is connected to a physical trait. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

To be fair, this most offensive line is followed up with the words “No I’m just playing.” But that is not enough. If Trainor wanted to present a true body positive image, she wouldn’t even pretend to demonize all women of a certain body type in order to promote another. Women who are born into thin body types can’t help it any more than women who are born into bodies that are curvy and plump. Vilifying them because our image conscious society is solely focused on them doesn’t help promote an inclusive idea of beauty. It only trades in one evil for another.

Maybe I can’t blame Trainor solely for this though. She had a co-writer, and a lot of times for pop stars that means they sat in the room, maybe giving some input, while a songwriter wrote their song. And then, as it turns out, maybe it was someone else who wrote this song altogether … Either way, even though I might bob my head and sing along when it comes on the radio, I’m super disappointed that it had the potential to be a great feminist song, but failed to send the right message.


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