I survived some of the most visceral cyber-bullying of my life in the past few days, and it came from people within my own community.
I learned a lot about some folks, and I’m wiser, stronger, and more convicted than ever.
This is a resource post for all the Good White Person™s out there. You know, the ones who say things like “It’s not my fault I’m white! Don’t generalize white people!”, or “I’m appreciating your culture! You should be proud!”, or “Why do you hate all white people, look I’m a special snowflake who’s not racist give me an award for meeting the minimum requirements for being a decent human being”.
Well, if you are actually interested in understanding racism and how it ties into cultural appropriation, please read instead of endlessly badgering PoCs on tumblr with your cliched, unoriginal arguments and repeating the same questions over and over.
On White Privilege
aka don’t blame me just because I’m white:
- It’s Not My Fault I Was Born White: Basics of White Privilege x
- Racial Divide x
- Endless Examples of White Privilege x
- You Cannot Know What It’s Like To Be A Racial Minority x
- Intersectional Feminism x
- White Privilege Does Not Mean White People Have Perfect Lives x
- White Privilege and White Supremacy: A Presentation x
- You Will Never Experience Racism x
- Understanding White Privilege x
- White Privilege and Double Standards x
- Systematic White Ignorance x
- The Invisibility of White Privilege x
- The Luxury of White Privilege x
- White Privilege: The Harry Potter Analogy x
- Privilege Denial Bingo x
- Privilege and Cost x
- Check Your Privilege 101 x
- Whiteness x
- Whiteness is Not A Culture x
- White Privilege and Racism x
- Deeply Embarrassed White People Talk About Race x
- When White Anti Racists Talk About ~Their Struggle~ x
- White Privilege As A System x
On Reverse Racism
aka you are being racist against white people:
- Are White People Racially Oppressed x
- White People, the new Racial Minority x
- People Don’t Value Pale Skin!! x
- There Is No Such Thing As Reverse Racism x
- Racism vs. Not Racism x
- But White People Are Discriminated Against In Foreign Countries x
- The Myth of Reverse Racism: Why Cracker is Not N**** x
- Satire: A Step Wise Guide on Being Reverse Racist x
- Racism Against White People vs. Racism Against POCs x
On Cultural Appropriation
aka I’m just appreciating your culture:
- The Basics x
- Identifying Appropriation x
- But When We Wear It … x
- Why Can’t I Wear It (Hipster Headdresses) x
- Not Yours x
- If You Take The Bindi x
- White People Do It Better x
- Multiculturalism and Appropriation x
- Cultural Appropriation and Portrayals In Print Media x
- Diminishing the Cultural Significance of the Bindi x
- The Cultural Appropriation Bingo x
- Why We’re Fed Up of Your Responses x
- Identities Are Not Costumes x
- Hinduism And Appropriation x
- Religion and Privilege x
- Bindis Are Cool x
- Exotic India x
- What’s Wrong With Cultural Appropriation x
- Racism, Bindis and Ganesh Tattoos x
- BUT YOU’RE SPEAKING ENGLISH! x
- Cultural Appropriation Trolls x
- Guide to Being An Appropriating Douchefuck x
- New Age ~Culture Mixing~ x
- In case you’re tired of the prose, here’s poetry x
- Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bindi x
- Appropriating and Sharing x
- Our Culture is A Punchline Until It’s a Trend x
- Homage Or Insult x
- Tattoos and Appropriation x
- Bollywood is Not Synonymous With Indian x
- College Party Costumes and Stereotypes x
- Dotheads x
- Bindis and Racist Humour x
- Hindu Iconography x
- Misuse of Hindu Iconography x
- Your Appreciation Doesn’t Help Us x
Assorted Vials of White Tears and Miscellaneous Antidotes
aka I can’t change that I’m white/not all whites are racist/we are all humans:
- Unoriginal Arguments Refuted x
- Quick Checklist: You Might Be Racist If x
- Your Opinion Isn’t Necessary x
- I’m Not Responsible For My Ancestors x
- The Kumbayah Myth x
- Proud to Be White x
- Good White Person x
- We Don’t Hate White People x
- Brutality of Colonialism And Why You Can’t Tell Us To Forget the Past x
- People Who Claim Not To See Race Are More Likely to Be Racist x
- All Races are Beautiful Said the White Girl x
- Race Blindness Is A Luxury x
- Well, You’re Racist For Calling Me Racist x
- I’ve Read About Its Significance, I Know What It Means
- Angry Because Someone Called You Racist x
- We’re Not All Like That x
- People Only Care About This Trivial Shit On The Internet x
- I Can’t Apologize for Being Born White, It’s Not My Fault x
- Why Can’t You Tell Me What I’m Doing Wrong x
- It’s Easy to Be Color Blind When You’re White x
- A Diagrammatic Guide To White Tears x
- Conversations I’m Sick Of Having With White People x
- Why Do You Hate White People x
- I’m Trying To Be Cultured x
- Sisyphean Conundrum x
- What is Your Problem x
- We Are All Human, We All Bleed Red x
- It’s Just A Bindi x
- How Not To Respond To Accusations of Racism x
- I’m Italian And 0.009% Native American x
- What White People Think Racism Means: A Venn Diagram x
- White Guilt x
- White Pride!!!111!!! x
- I Like *Insert Foreign Country* I Want To Live There x
- You Have So Much Hate, Fighting Fire With Fire Won’t Help x
- BooHoo, Don’t Call Me Racist x
- Not Everything Ended With Your Ancestors x
- The Racist Reaction x
- I Don’t See Why That Is Racist x
- Crummy Apologies x
Okay. I agree. I’ve been socially conditioned not to notice racism and recognize my privilege. What can I do?
I don’t care about this bullshit; you’re making a big deal out of nothing, go home and delete your blog:
Tonight I was at a party and met Geradine Simkins, who is the executive director of MANA, and we exchanged information. She’s pretty badass.
I made sure to hug her and thank her for her tireless work for Midwifery and for pioneering the way in my region, so that I and countless other women could birth safely at home.
Even when we don’t know how much it matters, it all matters.
I’ve been seeing an increased number of posts and commentary coming out of the unschooling and positive, free-parenting movement. And although this blog is not a parenting blog, I ascribe to peaceful parenting principles, and raise my child with very “free” range style of parenting. That is, I provide him with as much freedom and choice as possible, without violating his autonomy, while meeting his emotional, cognitive, and physical needs, in ways that are appropriate for his human development.
I bold that last part because it seems to be a missing caveat in the rhetoric I see coming out of the circles of free and radical unschooling crowd.
This isn’t a post where I’m bashing the unschooling core philosophy. I agree with it. However, the unschooling community tends to be largely a privileged class, and some of the blanket statements coming out of the rhetoric of the unschooling “gurus” isn’t taking into account intersectionality.
Not everyone is coming to unschooling, or the concept, with a background in human development. So when certain things are said like, ‘children should have free-range to food, no bedtimes, and unlimited screen time’ without caveats as to when this is age-appropriate, I compelled to speak up with some critical thinking.
We can give our children freedom and choice, but it has to be in alignment with what they can handle, developmentally. This paradigm of unquestioned free-choice operates on a premise that isn’t consistent with what we know about human development. For example, two year-olds can’t understand cause & effect. They don’t have the cognitive capacity. Toddlers & young children don’t understand time in the same way adults do, so they have limited ability to manage time, or plan ahead. Toddlers can’t self-regulate. That is a developmental skill; it’s a milestone just like ability to use pedals on a trike and tie a knot. Part of parenting is guidance and direction. Reasonable boundaries with explanations as to why such boundaries exist.
I want to focus and critique specifically, the premises and rhetoric that children should always have free-access to whatever food they choose, should never have enforced bedtimes, and unlimited screen time is harmless, since these are the points I have the hardest time with, and the place where everything in my well-educated brain about nutrition, human evolution, and child development pulls out the red-flags and demands some critical thinking. So, step out of our GroupThink box with me, and let’s discuss why free-access to food, no bedtimes, and unlimited screen time may not be in the best interest of our children.
It’s one thing to choose your food battles, and not make things like cookies, sweets, etc. a ‘forbidden fruit’ where it’s so off-limits that it becomes a problem. BUT there has to be limits on sweets, salts, and fatty foods because of the way our bodies respond to those things. This belief that allowing children to make their own food choices, and allowing free-access to food (something I support with contingents) means understanding how the human body reacts to fats, salts & sweets. Simply saying that by giving a child many options, and believing their bodies will tell them when they need to eat their carrots and kale, isn’t necessarily congruent with our biology.
If our current food choices were as they were in hunter/gatherer societies, free-access to food wouldn’t be problematic because snacks would be raw food, mostly. Unfortunately that is not our current food systems, and socioeconomics, access and availability of healthy, raw food choices, and knowledge about our food sources, are major inhibitors to all families having access to the same food choices. Most food available in supermarkets is processed, high in sodium, likely comprised of GMOs and lacking in nutritional quality. Further, most of our food is packed full of what our bodies crave: fats, salt, sugar, because evolution didn’t take into account processed foods.
We evolved to crave fat, salt, and sugar because those things are not plentiful in nature. The bodies of our children are going to respond and crave these unhealthy options as well, and to give them unlimited access and ‘free choice’ to salty, fatty, sweet snacks, counting on their bodies to crave healthy snacks, is inconsistent with biology and evolution.
Further, it is privileged to assume everyone has the same access to healthy food options, the same knowledge about our food systems, and the same means to provide children with unlimited access to all food.
Another thing that is missing from the equation is the notion of community or familial needs. For example, my child has several food allergies. If it was up to him, he’d eat wheat and dairy and feel like shit all the time, and everyone would be miserable, and we’d all suffer from the ramifications of that “free choice.” We also live on a food budget, like nearly every family I know, and sometimes scrambled eggs aren’t an available option for dinner because I need those last few eggs for breakfast for the family in the morning. And our collective well-being is something to be balanced in the equation of “free choice.” That isn’t robbing my son of his autonomy, it’s teaching him that his needs are met within the context of the family’s needs.
And this is how we teach our children awareness of others. Our choices are never truly ‘free’ and our choices have implications for other people in our family, community, and world. We are interconnected, and we should want our children to understand this concept. Even within their own family. Otherwise, aren’t we just raising coddled, privileged, people who don’t understand their connection with humanity?
Bedtimes aren’t necessarily squelching the light of our children, either, if they are centered around natural circadian rhythms. As parents, we are developmentally capable of identifying when our children are naturally ready for a nap or bedtime, and ignoring those because children should *choose* their bedtimes, again, rests on false premises about child development. And I’m not suggesting sleep training or CIO is acceptable. But laying down with my 2 year old around 12:30 every afternoon so he can take a nap, is not denying him free-sleep-choice.
Limiting screen time isn’t also denying choice or infringing on autonomy either. Screens do stimulate the brain, but science again shows us that they only stimulate one part of the brain. So when a toddler does a puzzle on an app on your tablet, he’s not using and developing the same skills as when he assembles the puzzle with his own hands. Developing brains need lots of diverse stimulation to develop properly.
I think most unschooling parents already know this.
But if we aren’t placing caveats at the end of our statements about autonomy and free choice, and what’s age appropriate, then we’re doing a disservice to both unschooling as a really needed philosophy about learning, and our children and their developing brains a bodies.
You, stop scrolling, we need to address some things about Hyperbole and a Half writer Allie Brosh. Think calling her the voice of a generation is going too far? Bullshit. This woman is one of the most real, relatable, creative, funny, and vulnerable writers of all time. From the pants-wettingly hilarious God of Cake to the needed-to-said-but-everyone’s-too-afraid-to-talk about it Adventures in Depression, Allie’s posts have genius pacing and are fantastic at highlighting the wonderful idiosyncrasies that make her who she is. She’s willing to let us in to aspects of her life that she doesn’t even understand so that people going through similar things can feel less fucking alone in a world that vilifies and over simplifies the complexities of mental illness. Allie doesn’t smile for you, or hand you bullshit platitudes because that. Doesn’t. Fucking. Help. She’ll laugh when she’s damn well ready to laugh and she’ll cry when she damn well needs to cry, and you’ll do both with her because she speaks to the parts of all of us that we thought were too weird and too complicated to be understood.
This Week in History: On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was established, creating the largest refugee population in the world. According to Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, “Jewish forces expelled over a million Palestinians from their homes at gunpoint, massacred civilians and deliberately destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages.”
Palestinians who escaped persecution from Jewish forces fled to Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. As a result, there are now 4.5 million Palestinian refugees without the right to return to their homes in the land now called Israel. Many refugees still retain old deeds and keys to homes now occupied by Israelis.
The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is known as al-Nakba - the Palestinian “Catastrophe” - and is commemorated on Nakba Day on the 15th of May every year, the day after Israeli Independence Day on the Gregorian calendar.
Throughout its history Israel has denied that al Nakba - which started just years after the Holocaust - ever took place, and just recently the Israeli government passed a fascist law that allows the denial of state funding to NGOs that participate in Nakba commemorations. In 2009, it banned the use of the term “Nakba” in school textbooks.
Palestinians don’t consider the Nakba to have ever ended, rather, as Israel continues its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to this day - evicting them from their homes and demolishing others’ - it is ongoing.
Photos: Top: Thousands of Palestinians throng the beach as they are forced out of their homeland / Bottom: An elderly Palestinian couple during the mass exodus, Palestine, 1948 (UNRWA)
may they return one day…
Things I can criticise without getting hate mail:
abortion & anti-choicers