Archive for the 'Gender Equality' Category

Using Your Voice

Over the last few days I physically lost the ability to use my voice. Some sort of virus and trying to make myself heard while coaching hockey combined to where I couldn’t actually create sound without pain. Everyone I know thought this was very amusing and it must’ve been extraordinarily hard for me to not talk for a few days. 

While I did miss conversing and talking, the silence for myself was actually very nice. Being forced to slow down how I communicate and look for simpler ways to express myself, was amazing! This experience has truly driven home the message that communication is about so many different aspects. It’s not just about what I say, it’s about how I say it, the environment I see it in, who I see it too, my demeanor, and the words I choose.

Coming back into my voice today, I now have two new goals to work on in my life.

The first is to make sure I take that extra pause and really think about the message I’m trying to communicate and how I communicate it. I know this will be hard for me, and I will fail a lot at the beginning, but in the long run it will be better for how I interact with everyone around me.

The second stems from the first. Only by expressing ourselves can we truly make a difference in our own lives. Before we can ever help others or make a difference in their lives, we have to learn to use our own voice for ourselves. I do not mean simply speaking up, or talking to others. I mean understanding who you are and expressing this in what, where, when, how and why you choose to speak up. To speak up on behalf of others, you need to have a very clear understanding and confidence in who you are and what you believe then. Otherwise when the inevitable pain comes, you will be unprepared to sustain your voice.

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Open Mind?

When you ask me to have an open mind, what are you really asking?

Are you asking me to not be an obstructionist? One party has had the slowest rate of approval, and most open positions, for judicial and administrative appointments since the Civil War/Reconstruction Era. Post reconstruction (1881) was the last time a Supreme Court nominee had no action taken by the Senate.

Are you asking me to withhold judgement? Should I not judge a Party that has thousands of comments on record espousing hate and discrimination? 

Or, are you asking me to wait and act until after you have destroyed all I hold dear, and my children are physically or emotionally harmed because they are mixed? 

NEVER ON MY WATCH

I can and will oppose your hate filled, anachronistic and hurful platform. I will however, unlike many, never call into doubt your humanity becuase we disagree. If you really want to discuss open-mindedness moving forward, join me in recognizing those who disagree with you are equally human and American. Then, I am sure we can have a contructive conversation on our differences. 

Why It Matters

In the last couple of years before she passed, my great grandmother was fond of telling stories of her youth. Most of her stories were funny and upbeat, or even if they were a little more somber, she made them funny. Every so often, however, she would share stories of her family being refused service, lodging, and any other form of discrimination you can think of. The key takeaway I had from the stories, was the fact that people saw her and her family as human first when they chose not to discriminate against our kind.

At this point, I’m sure a few readers are asking, why does this matter? What point are you trying to make?

As we struggle with discrimination, hate, and by us moving forward, we should always remember these things have a impacted all of our families at one time or another. Even if we’ve chosen to forget.

Most of Irish side of my family has never forgotten. And for those who have, shame on you. No one, for any reason, deserves to be not denied basic human civility, empathy and the capacity to do what’s best for their family.

I for one will not standby if I am witness to such inflammatory language or outright discrimination. Simply saying that people can be safe with us is not enough, we would make sure that they are safe anytime we are around. We nust be a barrier between those who have chosen the path of hate.

Never On My Watch (NOMW)

BiNaration

I know it’s a little behind schedule but I just finished reading Outliers and years of responses to it; as well as many articles   proving/disproving some of the ideas within. I was most struck not by the book or the ideas (which I did enjoy and liked) but by the standard American response. Instead of discussing the nuance of the ideas, we either jumped on board or firmly denied with little or no middle ground.

There were no fewer than five really thoughtful ideas on why people are succesful, yet we seem intent on the 10,000 hour idea. So much so that there is a whole industry now around 10,000 hours and all else in the book might as well not exist! What about the idea that Harvard should just do a lottery of their applicants (which by the way would be fair becuase it would remove the inherent bias in the admission process)? Or the idea that being lucky enough to be born in a specific month or year are key contributors to success?

Instead most Americans became fixated on a binary approach to an extremely complicated question. An approach by the way that the book clearly says won’t work by itself!!! 

Why is it that Americans so often respond with the emotional maturity of a 14 year old to these pressing societal issues? Why are we so intent on quick fixes or something having to be 100% correct or incorrect? Hasn’t life kicked each of our individual asses enough times to know this is rarely true?

I didn’t wrote this post today to tell everyone why we are a BiNaration. I wrote it so next time you became engaged in a new process or idea, you stop and think before you fall into this all in or all against mentality. 

Cheers and Rock On

Male Emotional Honesty

Over the last month I’ve had five female friends relate horrible stories about verbal and physical treatment and assault. As they’ve shared their stories what struck me was this article from the NYTimes about Male Emotional Honesty. I see my younger self and many males I know and have known over the years in this article.

I see the connection because so many of the causes of horrible male behavior (see dick pics, trolling, slut shaming) come from how we gender conform men. If we want to create a society where women don’t face constant verbal abuse and potential for physical abuse and assualt, we need the change to happen in our men. Men need to be taught not only how to express themselves emotionally, but that it’s ok and preferred for them to do this.

If this is an issue for you (which it should be for all of us) look at the young boys around you. Make sure you are teaching them to be emotionally aware and connected. Don’t be afraid to stand up for them when they are being horribly emotionally stunted and gender conformed before your eyes. Only when boys grow up and KNOW it’s ok to have emotionally mature conversations and relationships across all gender lines, will we see a true improvement in how woman are treated.   

Avoiding Extremes

When we look at any situation, we bring all of our upbringing and baggage (good and bad) with us. All of this background data and noise creates our own sense of what we see, hear and believe. Thus the title of this blog Filterpret. 

Now something all of us can learn is to slow down our reactions and recognize how and why we react in the manner we do. This is important as we learn to suspend our naturally occurring judgements or “stop” the tape. Which also leads to avoiding extremes of thought and reaction.

There are two articles in Salon I rad today about David Bowie and underage groupies. Taken together they are a good look at each side of thought and how we can look at a situation and not go to the far extremes of opinion or reaction. 

I find this to be truly important in daily life and larger unique events. Looking at a situation and showing empathy to all parties, regardless of agreement or disagreement with their stance or action, is vital to being human being.

Here are those 2 articles. 

David Bowie Dark Side

David Bowie another perspective 

Heavy Sigh

Just read this article about a book (a same gender fairy tale) twice approved being read in a classroom leading to 2 people having to resign. What immediately came to mind is Mark Twain and I wonder what he’d say. One of the reasons Twain’s books (see Huck Finn) were banned is that they actually depicted slavery in the horrible light it deserved. He also had the audacity to depict Jim as a person deserving of our respect and empathy.

I think Twain might say this ban will increase sales and hopefully poke a finger into all the Sunday Christians with too much time and too little sense on their hands.

Here is a quick hit of banned books that have shaped US culture.


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