Step 1

The first step to eliminating privilege is treating everyone fairly. If white Christians are not responsible for Tim McVeigh, Jim Jones, David Koresh etc, why should muslims or black people be held accountable for the actions of strangers they do not know? Heck in America the parents of white serial killers are rarely held accountable for their actions. So next time you try to selectively blame certain groups, remember that makes you part of the problem. When you talk about black on black crime but not white on white crime, you are part of the negative forces destroying our world. When you “otherize” groups and “normalize” yourself, you are part of the problem. When you make excuses for extrajudicial murder that you would not make if the victim looked like you, you are not just part of the problem, you are the problem!

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Evidence speaks: Grades matter.

When my daughter started kindergarten, she refused to do her assignments and tests. She said the work was too easy and she had done the  work in her Montessori preschool. She asked me why she was expected to do “baby work”? She complained about being bored in class. She  could not understand why she was expected to be working on three letter words and vowel sounds when she could read? This is a child who chose to make a model “icosahedron” as a two year old since she needed a shape that started with “I”. So I felt for her and so I listened to her complaining about everything, from the math classes to spelling tests… When she was done speaking, I told her that I understood that she was frustrated. My next words to her shocked me, I asked her “how do your new teachers know how much you know if you refuse to show them on the tests and assignments?” I agreed with her that she was smart and hardworking and she needed to always let her work show what she knows. We had this conversation almost 8 years ago and I think this was the best 30 minutes I ever invested in her academic career. She bought into the idea that people need evidence to believe you. Yes the work is still too easy for her (ok I still need to refresh her memory regularly and she has her limits), but that is another story, however no one can out work her even on “baby work”.

Breast Self Exams: to do or not to do?

In 2002 a comprehensive 10 year study of Chinese factory workers to determine if knowledge of breast self exam (BSE) affected breast cancer mortality was published. This epidemiological study is cited as why BSE is no longer recommended. Unanswered questions include can the results of this study be generalized to different ethnicities, cultures, health systems and nationalities? Also prior to instruction 13.3% of control group (not BSE instructed) had practiced BSE in the past year. According to the authors: “Furthermore, a high proportion of women in the instruction group reported that they had found their breast cancer as a result of practicing BSE, and they sought medical attention after detecting their tumor in somewhat less time than did women in the control group”… Here is a copy of the 2002 paper.
http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/94/19/1445.full.pdf+html

Lady justice does not blink

Our nation has a long history of criminalizing poor and minority children. The early colonists brought with them notions of debtor prisons and children could be imprisoned because their parents were broke. The atrocities committed against slave children, native children, and children of indentured servants are shameful stains on our history. Post slavery,  children’s rights remained secondary to capitalist aspirations as poor children. So why are we surprised that lady justice sees nothing wrong when grown policemen touch female children inappropriately after-all  lady justice did not blink when the blood of children was spilled multiple times.

 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/charges-assault-spring-valley-high_56733c14e4b014efe0d4d59c

Online shaming by parents is child abuse

There is a disturbing trend by some adults to post videos of them “discipling” kids online. They narrate the child’s infraction and then proceed to “punish” the child by verbally or physically abusing the child or humiliating or embarrassing the child. All of these parents claim they are doing it for their child, but I seriously doubt it. They come across as exhibitionists competing for hits off the shame of a child that did not consent to the public humiliation. In what universe is it OK to seek public adulation off the transgressions of your minor child? Even the government recognizes that youthful offenders need protection and typically do not publish their names and crimes, perhaps it is time to protect these children from these adults. If you want to punish your child do it within the confines of the law. Once you post videos that expose your kids to future ridicule, and can limit their career judgment is questionable.

The revolution is being televised?

The past few years has seen revolutions and uprisings all over the globe. From Cairo to Baltimore people are rising and rioting, in reaction to a trigger of some kind, police brutality, oppression by leaders. People are reacting! The 99% marched in reaction to the status quo. But then what? What has changed? What has improved? Revolutions cannot be sustained if they are reactionary, they have to be nurtured and purposeful. They have to be driven by goals and these specific objectives must be focused and deliberate otherwise after the fires stop burning, if they do, the resulting anarchy is often worse than what was displaced.  Sadly all over the globe folks are relearning this.  But then should people just sit and do nothing? Of course not, because if they do nothing the rage just simmers and grows and the riots are simply postponed. Ideally we would address the root causes of the problems and find solutions. Solutions that recognize that human lives are more important than property and $$$. But getting there will be difficult if we wait for elected leaders. Many of these elected leaders are too privileged to relate to the poor or even the middle class. They are clueless about the needs of the people they should serve and cannot comprehend the effect of their words. So in addition to marching, shouting and praying, register to vote. Field your own candidates that will change the status quo. Think before you act.  Remember if all you do is burn your own neighborhood, 20 years from now it may still stay burned. And no one will give a damn until the burning starts again.