Sunday, November 23, 2014

Racism - Wrote a Post About It - Here It Go

En Vogue's song "Free Your Mind" is the inspiration for that blog title and is what I think of when I hear about the riots in Ferguson, MO. I've been trying to wrap my head around the whole thing, but mostly what I can do and share with others about the process to check myself and rewire my brain and help re-engineer my brain to think differently about skin color than my culture or mass media has groomed me to believe.

Firstly, let's be clear on what Racism is.

Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

"the belief that one's own race is superior"

I'm better than you because I am part of the dominant group.

Race is the dominant group. It is a:  a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock

or b :  a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics
I am white. Not everyone in my family is white. Some of my relatives have married into a different race and/or have children that are biracial. Do I love them less? No.

But the issue is not family, it is strangers.

When you walk down the street and see a person walking toward you that belongs to a different race, how do you react?

I watched the interview of Toni Morrison by Stephen Colbert and Toni, in her wisdom, says:
"There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race -- scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct... it has a social function, racism."
When we are the top dogs, we have a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is ingrained into our children. We made it. We beat everyone else to this spot. We own things. We make decisions for the greater good. We are portrayed as the heroes, the good guys, the prettiest, the sexiest, the richest, the ones to idolize and look up to.

We get a little cocky. We begin to snub those we feel are below us. We teach our kids that they can be anything they want and then we let them watch programs and movies that demonstrate that the dominant culture gets the happiest ending.

This is not a good thing. It does not promote peace, goodwill, teamwork, or forgiveness.

How do you break down the barriers? You promote kindness. You teach kindness. You show movies with kindness. You raise awareness for acts of kindness.

I'm sad that Secret Agent L is leaving as she did so many wonderful acts of kindness and touched people all over the world with her blog project.

It is up to us to carry on the traditions of those such as she. It is up to us to volunteer, pay it forward, and just do random nice things. It is up to us to talk about them, teach them, and demonstrate them.

Do them across races. A smile, a hug, an open-ended question, or a donated treat can make someone's day. Don't do it out of pity for their skin color, that's tactless and crass. Do it out of love.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Coexist: Shift Your Thinking

I was behind a car with the Coexist bumper sticker, you know, where every letter is a religious symbol? Yesterday as I sat there, I realized that it's not saying that we should all change and become a Giant Cult.

The sticker is saying we should be peaceful.

There is a push for peace out there. I think there always has been, but why hasn't it happened?

In order to truly live and coexist with your neighbor in peace, you have to be willing to do two things: Love, and Forgive.

Now, first of all, when I say love I do not mean that you are bubbling over with affection and care, I mean that you have to not hate them with a passion.

This takes Like, Teamwork, and Cooperation.

Liking someone means you have to put aside your differences, find common ground, work as a Team, and Cooperate when necessary. If you put this in the perspective of a community, there is no gate, but there is a Housing Authority and it's rule is: whatever your neighbor does, accept it, forgive them, and help them if they allow you to.

It begins by understanding that not all people are out there to hate you.

It begins by knowing that people of other religions are mostly peaceful. Just because they worship a different God doesn't make them evil.

Religion is a big part of being healthy, because it makes you think outside of yourself. No matter what God you pray to, you open up to something bigger; you hope, you thank, you count your blessings; and then you begin to think about your family, your loved ones, the problem with your neighbors; and then you think about what you can do to fix that problem, and maybe the solution is for you to stop hating them.

They need to make a Coexist bumper sticker with people of different skin tones and nationalities using their bodies to make the letters, because racism is still epicly abundant.

You can't love others, in a general, you-would-serve-the-homeless-soup kind of way, if you are afraid of someone because they have skin of a different color.

Or if they are lesbian, gay, or transgender.

I am supposed to love everyone. We are supposed to leave the judgment for Judgement Day. I don't truly know what is in someone's heart until they tell me, and to do that, I'd have to have a relationship with them that includes opening up, sharing, and trust. Faces, attire, hairdos can all hide the true feelings inside a person and show the world only what the person wants you to see. I can dress up fancy to feel fancy, but inside, I may hold hurts, hate, and fear.

The way to accept others is to get to know others and begin to see them as PEOPLE instead of as a stereotype. It's easy to love an imperfect person with feelings and things in common with other people. It's hard to love a religion, a color, or a lifestyle. Those are inanimate things.

Shift your thinking.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

I'll Just Put These Here: Random Links

When I browse the internet, I often end up with a bunch of tabs open for sites that I want to share with others, remember for later, or maybe write something about them in a blog post or story.

I can't leave them up for long because Windows 7 HATES to sit and hold them.

One option is to bookmark them all, but without folders labeled by category, I will never want to slog through the list and take care of them. They will sit forever unused.

Then, inspiration strikes. I will post them in a blog for myself and others.

While reading a blog full of random links is not my cup of tea, and I feel really hypocritical for doing it, I am going to have to change my thinking from slogging through a list to creative journaling. After all, this link dump is pretty much a history of my brain's entertainment and changing focus. It's a snapshot of my current interest. What better place than a blog for link dumping?

Ugh. The idea makes me frown, but, here goes:


This is really making me regret two things: 1. that I didn't homeschool when I wanted to, and 2. that I don't live in an area rich in experiences like this kid has, as well as rich in my own children's interests.

This post has been circling social media and is a letter from a teacher to parents to address the questions they have about bullying. It also addresses the extreme confidentiality that governs schools and daycares alike. It reminds me that I cannot tell work stories to anybody, nor trust anybody to maintain confidentiality.

If you have a passion for creative pursuits, do it. This motivates me to drop everything and do what I love. Though I can't do that and survive at this time. Sadface.
This link was shared with me by a friend who bought a calendar of these works. As he points out, many of them can be inspiring for a story. (Hey ficlatté dot com, can we have photo challenge yet?)

My youngest is nearly at the age where someone quashes his belief in Santa, so this:

The Autopsy is out on Robin Williams. I know this is a morbid switch from Santa, but mental health is kind of an interest of mind. I mean, I work with disabled kids and I see a lot of different mental health issues. I have lots of friends with mental health issues. It fascinates me. The brain is an amazing organ. Awareness and change in perception is key to understanding.

I want to bake Christmas cookies!
I'm getting links from here: to recipes.

After I eat them, I need to do these bodyweight exercises:

Healthy Cookies so I feel less guilty:

You can comment your fave recipes if you want, or even links to your recent interests. Can't say I will read them all... but I will try!
Oh, and I will be thinking about them from my indoor inflatable spa while it snows outside!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Writer's Rambling

It's officially my favorite time of year: Fall!
It's also my favorite month: NaNoWriMo.

At this point I'm so far behind in writing, I need over 2,000 words a day to meet the deadline.
Not. Gonna. Happen.

Unless I am dishonest.

I am working on the novel I started last year and didn't win with. I was in college and barely had any spare time to write un-college-related words. This year I have become more social and barely have any time to write words.

My career is all official and my classroom is all set up in a newer, more efficient way, but I am still finding that many things are taking up my time. I still have to plan lessons. I still have to plan events. I still have to learn to say no. Sometimes things are suggested and I like to try them, but sometimes change rubs me the wrong way. I have to deal with pushy people, jump through hoops, and do things the way I feel most comfortable; which may mean changing slowly. Emphasis on slow.

That's not all that has taken my time..

My sister called me up to use my mad organizing skills (which apparently accompany my control issues but do not go far enough into the 'cleaning' realm to satisfy my co-workers) to help her dig out from under piles of girl-child toys and artwork. It took 2 Saturdays to do two rooms. It was therapeutic.. for both of us.

Thursday nights Hubby and I have taken up a new hobby.. Trivia night. We go to a local restaurant and so far, we have kicked butt. Well, he has.. I have been able to answer one question out of..60 since we started. But that is not the point. The point is to get out and have adult conversations with people who *gasp* Don't Have Children and who *double gasp* don't understand our jobs enough that it is not worth talking about them.

Trust me, talking about your work is not the way to a healthy relationship. Sure, you have to vent, but if that is how you spend EVERY evening.. not cool. He was totally right in getting me out of the house to meet new people. Thanks, Hon!

Then there was the movie we went to see this month.. and another I want to see coming out. This has been the Year of the Movie for my family. We have seen more movies in theater this year than ever. There were some good ones! It is a luxury that is finally in our price range and we have run with it. It is good family time.

Movies and movie trailers can be inspiring...

I did get a few ideas spinning off of them...

But I didn't write them down in the dark theater, so they are gone forever. *sigh*

I also am still doing a second job tutoring because I love working with Autistic kids. I also love the extra money. It has funded the changes in my classroom, my wardrobe, and even "Awesome Christmas" which will be coming this December. It takes about an extra 2 hours (with drive time) 3 days a week. I find it rewarding, even when the progress takes months or a year. It is a break from the rigors of the classroom. It is a place where I have almost total control. It is usually fun.

I guess writing, like any job, is not always fun. There are days when things don't go the way they should. The muse could be out. The outside comes into your head space or work space. Sometimes non-fiction, blogging, is the only thing that can be written because it is in the way of the creative, fiction side.

Hey, maybe I should do a more non-fiction novel...hmm, confidentiality..

As long as it never gets printed, who cares?!