‘Being Poor’ and the Margin of Error

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Shortly after Hurricane Katrina came, when a bunch of people who should have known better blamed the poor in New Orleans for not getting out of the city, John Scalzi wrote a post on his blog Whatever called ‘Being Poor’. It is an amazing post, one I revisit regularly, and when I do I read as many of the 2000+ comments it received. A good ways down that wall of comments that are equally amazing as the original post, Scalzi comes back in to refute a troll and clarify a couple of issues with this gem: “Being poor is not…

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Cultural Appropriation and Death by Hoodie

Protester holding a photo of Trayvon Martin in a hoodie
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First they wear the hoodie to rebel… Someone in a marginalized culture starts wearing clothes and hair a certain way (spats, Afros, bell bottoms, baggy pants, hoodies) that those in the dominant culture are not wearing it. (And that fashion is used as shorthand for ‘threatening’, and oppressed people get killed) Authorities in the dominant culture cry out against the ‘radical’ fashions of ‘those people’ (And that fashion is used as shorthand for ‘threatening’, and oppressed people get killed) Then they wear the hoodie to fit in… Young people of the dominant start importing the style from the oppressed culture…

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Sexual Harassment: On Unwanted Advances and the Context of ‘Compliments’

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Tarquinius and Lucretia (Photo credit: Wikipedia) For Those Who Think I Rant About the Patriarchy and Misogyny Too Much Go read this. It isn’t about being ‘too attractive’Sexual harassment: It’s not about censorship, or criminality, or ‘being too sensitive’ It’s about ‘compliments’ that take no notice of the person being ‘complimented’, of her fear or unease or simple lack of interest. It’s about a society where men who do these things are unremarkable but women who object to them are subjected to abuse, harassment,  or worse. It’s about a context where women know that unwanted compliments lead to unwanted advances lead…

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‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: The Racism in the Stew

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My husband has decided he cannot talk to me about what happened to Trayvon Martin. He says I’m a troll. (He’s probably right).  We got caught up in the definition of institutional racism and the inevitability that ‘stand your ground’ laws would be used within that context. Do I need to back up and explain a bit? Trayvon Martin was the 17 year old African American boy who was walking home from 7-11 with a bag of skittles and an ice tea (‘wearing a hoodie!’ some people who don’t understand what they’re saying might say) when he was gunned down…

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