Building Rural and Rust Belt Progressivism Through Social Justice

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(Note: Like many of my social justice activist essays, this one is primarily addressed to white people who are exploring activism. The needs and goals and methods of white activists are often very different than their fellow activists who are people of color due to the effects of privilege) My Personal Journey from Libertarian to Progressive: I wasn’t always the left of Lennon lefty lefterson I am now. From my late teens through my early thirties, I was a die hard, but ignorant and OMG hypocritical, Ayn Rand fangirl who considered herself to be the most libertarian of libertarians. I…

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Factors in Ferguson: What Are White Folk to Do?

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What’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri? I’m one of the whitest of white folk. I try to be an ally to civil rights activists on the front line. And in that context, I’m outraged by what is going on in Ferguson. In a busy life filled with therapy sessions (giving, not receiving), setting up blogs, dealing with family stuff, and fighting a nasty summer cold, I’ve been watching the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, after 18 year old Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. The protests, the police actions, and the posturings by people all…

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Daily Dance (Doused in Misogyny and Racism)

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You know, sometimes I try to live my day to day life and forget that there are people out there who dismiss, despise, or even hate me because of my gender. I try to forget that there are people who dismiss, despise, or even hate others because of their religion, nationality or the color of their skins. Some weeks the news lets me do this, and sometimes I let it. Some weeks my personal life lets me do this and sometimes I let it. This week, neither has been cooperating. Elliot Rodgers is still constantly in the news. People are…

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How To Deal With Bigotry Among Family and Friends

8546896516 08784770931 - How To Deal With Bigotry Among Family and Friends
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Definition of Bigotry: What bigotry is: Painting a group of people with common (usually negative) attributes based on race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or similar classification. Also called ‘prejudice’. Discrimination is the individual decision to act on these broad assumptions. Racism (or other ‘-isms’) is the institutional tendency to design elements of a society (legal system, educational system, media, etc.) based on those assumptions. What bigotry is not: Criticizing an individual or organized group of individuals for making broad statements such as the ones described, for engaging in discrimination, or for supporting or condoning racist (or other…

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Urban Core Gun Violence: It’s Complicated

300px Firearmsources.svg  - Urban Core Gun Violence: It's Complicated
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Hey, I’m all for sensible gun control measures, better gun education, better data collection, etc. But the methods that are currently (February 2013) being considered in Congress are not going to work in inner city situations. There are different cultural issues and economic issues going on in these areas. First, there is a culture of toughness that is vitally important, and very difficult to break down, among those who are a part of it. ‘Backing down’ makes a person a ‘pussy’, calling the police makes you a ‘snitch’, and there is real truth in the belief that you have to…

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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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