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Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

Fellow White People: Wake the Eff Up. Black People are DYING.

I mean, I know that’s not new news. They’ve always been dying.  They were dying when we kept them as property.  They were dying when we desegregated.  And they’re dying now, even when on paper they’re supposed to have the same rights as us.

I’m as white as White people come. The glow-in-the-dark, lobster the moment I see the sun variety.  I don’t know shit about the Black person’s experience.  And guess what, fellow White person?  Neither do you.

We don’t fear for our lives whenever we walk down the street. We don’t constantly get told, directly or otherwise, that we’re second class.  We don’t know what it’s like to have to teach our children to be afraid of those that are supposed to help us.  We don’t know what it’s like to still be a threat when we’re already pinned down and helpless.

See, when we go on killing sprees, people chalk it up to mental illness and discuss all the ways they’ve could’ve helped us before we snapped.  They detail our lives, trying to figure out where society went wrong.  When we rape people, we’re given light sentences and sympathy, lest a harsher punishment wreak havoc on our gentle souls.   Even when we suck, we have privilege oozing out of our asses.  And when we get killed, society looks for someone to blame rather than wondering what we did to deserve it.

So yes, all lives matter, but our lives have never been the ones at risk.  We were born knowing we mattered, and quite literally every system of society has gone ahead and confirmed that for us repeatedly throughout our lives.  Even you, broke White person.  Even you.  So let’s do a favour and fuck right off with our whiny “what about me?” rhetoric.  I know it’s super hard when everything ever has always been about us and now for once in our silver-spooned lives this conversation isn’t.  Fuck off anyway – our fragile, privileged hearts will get over it.  I promise.

Oh and while we’re at it, let’s stop looking for the isolated incidents where we actually were targeted and acting like that’s totally the same thing as a society of systemic-built oppression and racism, m’kay?  We don’t have to worry our pretty little heads – society already cared more about those incidents anyway.  Because, oh right, our lives were already valued more than our friends of colour.  Tell me again how all lives matter?  Perhaps we can say that when it’s actually true.

For now, wake the fuck up.  Black people are dying.  Stop telling them how they get to react to that. Stop telling them it’s not fair that they don’t care about us – as if that’s what they were implying or that we ever truly cared about them.  Sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up.  Listen for once.  Listen to understand. Recognize that we don’t.  Ask how we can be good allies.  Ask how we can help.  And figure out, once and for all, that Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean that White lives don’t.  Indeed, White lives were the only thing that ever did. I’d be pissed off, too.

 

 doesn’t mean other lives don’t. Like people who say “Save The Rainforests” aren’t saying “Fuck All Other Types of Forests” – Matt McGorry

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2016 in privilege, Random Shit

 

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Pro Vaxxers: It Isn’t About Wakefield. Or Jenny.

Pro Vaxxers: It Isn’t About Wakefield. Or Jenny.

The most frustrating thing I see in pro-vaccination articles, comments, blogs is the constant assumption that the 2 main drivers in the anti-vax ‘movement‘ (you can hardly call it that, it’s not really that popular) are Andrew Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy. Examples are everywhere:

“If vaccines caused the harms Jenny McCarthy and her ilk claim they do, then my persistence in giving them must say something horrifying about me.” – source

“16 Years Ago, A Doctor Published A Study. It Was Completely Made Up, And It Made Us All Sicker.” – source

“Some of the people currently spreading the mumps self-identify with the anti-vaccination movement, a dangerous and scantly informed craze that is probably best known for semi-celebrity Jenny McCarthy…McCarthy was taking her cues from a fraudulent 1998 research paper written by the discredited former surgeon Andrew Wakefield, a charlatan who had planned to launch a venture that would line his pockets on the back of bad science.” – source

Or hey – this entire website dedicated to showing how many ‘bodies’ are the fault of Jenny McCarthy.

I could go on. And on. And on.  Just Google either name to see what I mean. Attached to these and any pro-vax article on social media are usually snide remarks about taking medical advice from washed up Playboy models; how stupid anti-vaxxers are for refusing to give up on Wakefield despite him being debunked on numerous occasions; or, you know, how vaccines are proven by science and science is and has simply never, ever been wrong.

Here’s the thing: It isn’t about Wakefield.  It definitely isn’t about Jenny.  Those are just the two easiest arguments to counter.  For some unknown reason, this belief by pro-vaxxers that these are the anti-vax population’s biggest influences is rampant and incredibly puzzling. I know a lot of anti-vaxxers.  I’m a self-proclaimed hippy, after all – it comes with the territory.  Of those people, exactly zero of them allowed Wakefield or McCarthy to have any bearing on their decision.  Even the most rigid anti-vaxxers I know acknowledge that Wakefield was a piece of shit.  Seriously.  Even if they believe that autism could possibly be triggered (I say triggered, not caused) by a vaccine, they don’t believe this because of anything Wakefield said.  The guy has no credibility on either end of the spectrum.

Anti-vaxxers are also some of the most well researched people I know.  You don’t just generally decide to go against status quo without reading the shit out of the subject.  My anti-vaxxer friends have read, and researched, and analyzed.  Point being – Jenny McCarthy is a celebrity with zero medical background and a very biased viewpoint.  Taking the advice (any advice) from anyone without the credentials to dole it out is irresponsible at best.  Anti-vaxxers on the whole know this. To prove my point, I did an informal poll in a group I’m in that is overwhelmingly anti-vaccination.  No, folks, this isn’t a formal, peer reviewed study and you won’t find it on Google Scholar (although I’ll point out that at one point you’d find Wakefield’s work in there. Irony is a wonderful thing).  It does illustrate what I mean, though.  Of 79 people that responded, 77 of them indicated that Wakefield and McCarthy had zilch to do with their decision not to vaccinate.  2 people indicated they had ‘some’ influence but clarified in the comments that Jenny McCarthy brought attention to the subject of vaccinations which prompted them to look into it more, but that her opinion on them didn’t carry any weight.  Many people indicated they didn’t even know who Wakefield was until they started seeing pro-vaxxers spout his name at every opportunity.

So, my pro-vaxxer friends: stop it, m’kay?  Stop it with assuming that everyone who chooses not to vaccinate is blindly taking the advice of a ‘washed up Playboy model’ or a debunked fraudulent charlatan.    It’s not even accurate and such a waste of your focus. You can’t start off by making a misguided assumption about the motivations behind the anti-vax population and expect them to listen.  Wakefield and McCarthy are the easy ones to destroy, but the assumption that anti-vaxxers give a shit about either of them seriously undermines your entire cause.  Who’s going to change their mind on the rantings of someone who hasn’t even taken the time to understand the full scope of the problem? Of course, you will find individuals who have based their opinions on either of these individuals.  There are extremists when it comes to any subject.  Don’t use the one example that you know and generalize the intelligence of an entire population. Also, I don’t give a shit what you think about vaccinations.  This isn’t anti-vaccination propaganda.  I didn’t state my stance on the subject (and actually, you’d probably be surprised).  My request is simply that if you are going to fill up my social media newsfeeds with your rants about how dangerous and irresponsible anti-vaxxers are, at least have your facts straight.  At the very least know why people are making the choices they do.  It isn’t about Wakefield. Or Jenny. I promise.

Update: I’ve often been asked “Ok – you’ve said it wasn’t Wakefield or Jenny. Then what IS it?  You can’t just tell me what it isn’t and not tell me what it is.”   Friends, if you’re truly curious about the real reasons why, you need to ask the anti-vaxxers.  Except that I mean ask and genuinely listen.  Then would not be the time to belittle or shame them, you won’t get the meat that way.  If you are so darn passionate about refuting the anti-vax argument, you really shouldn’t be turning to some random blogger to give you all the answers.  Do some discovery.  The reasons are as vast and varied as anything else and you’ll find themes but nothing that’s one size fits all.   Despite common belief, there actually are peer reviewed scientific studies available that support the anti-vax side.  I know, I know, this goes against everything you’ve ever learned.  You’ll be okay.
If you’re really not sure where to start, I did highlight some of the concerns over here, but the post was never meant to be a be all end all to the argument.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Parenting, Random Shit

 

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World War Mommy

On every post I read and in every mommy group (online or otherwise) that I’ve been privy to I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: the never-ending Mommy Wars.  Posts about feeding to sleeping to diapering all end the same way: this side vs that side in an all out brawl.

I read these new posts or listen to these discussions and the theme is always the same.  Moms feel attacked and judged and thus this irrepressible need to defend their choices and children.  Breastfeed or co-sleep and you’re a crazy hippie whose child will never self-soothe.  Formula feed or CIO and you’re a child abuser who values your own convenience above your babe’s. The insults fly, the back and forth starts and before you know it there is a clear division of crazed mama bears willing to pounce.

Hey, I get it.  I don’t react well to criticism either, especially if maybe I’m not yet 100 % sold on a method myself.  But isn’t this parenting shit hard enough on its very own without the added pressure of every other mother chiming in on your choices?  Aren’t we all in the same boat with the same ultimate destination: secure, healthy and happy kids?

Look, friends. I have some pretty strong beliefs. I wear my babies. I breastfeed. I co-sleep. I have natural births. I cloth diaper. I’ve gone from kind of chewy to all out hippie granola-crunching mom throughout the years. I will defend my choices if asked; I will educate if appropriate. Do you know why? That is how I learned and that is what changed my perspective. I didn’t expect to use half these things when I first found out I was pregnant. “Attachment Parenting”, as coined by Dr. William Sears, is still not mainstream and although it certainly is gaining in popularity, unless you sing kumbaya in a drumming circle on a weekly basis you may just not have access to the information (ok, maybe that was exaggerated. I hate kumbaya). I learned, I asked and I debated. I was willing to listen and willing to explore other methods because the people I learned, asked and debated with were always respectful. They were also diplomatic. They were sharing just to share and didn’t judge me for not knowing or immediately adopting their techniques. They knew that no matter what, I was making the choices I needed to make for my family, for my sanity and for my child’s overall happiness.  Had they taken a different, more defensive and judgemental approach, it’s unlikely I would’ve ever been receptive to a style that I now can’t imagine parenting without.

I don’t care if your newborn shits in a disposable diaper, cloth diaper or in the toilet (google Elimination Communication).  If strap on your baby like an accessory or use a stroller.  Boob or bottle feed.  I know that in the end we all just want the same thing for our children and there are many different routes you can take that will arrive at the same destination.  What the hell do I care what road you take?  If you ask me for travel advice, I’ll happily share by giving suggestions and encouragement – but even if you choose a different journey, I will still support you.  I know that if I tell you that my way is the only way, you’ll likely try a different one just to prove me wrong.  Hell, the stubborn bitch in me would do the exact same thing.

So the next time you feel an innate need to defend your parenting, or criticize someone else’s, take a step back and ask yourself if being negative and judgemental will actually advance you in your goal.  Remind yourself that we are all in this together, learning, and that no one is the expert.  That’s right – not even you.  Ask yourself how (or if!)  you would want the information presented and phrase yourself accordingly.   You will catch more flies with honey and when you find yourself on the other side of the debate you’ll appreciate that same courtesy extended back to you.  Heck, you may even learn a thing or two.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Parenting

 

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