Books, Self, Society

Racism is a Matter of Whiteness

In recent years, I’ve thought about race and racial discrimination in our world. I’ve written about racism in the American criminal justice system and how it continues the legacy of slavery; how movies vilify characters of color; the indifference towards refugees of color and growing Islamophobia within Europe and the United States; and hostility of white society towards racial justices movements like the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter. By reflecting on the consequences of racism, I have been able to turn the corner racism and see how my white identity is central to the problem and solution.

White people need to realize that racism is a White issue. We–white European people–live in a world of racial ignorance. I lived in a world of racial ignorance growing up.

As the political theorist, Barnor Hesse, explains, the idea of race is fundamentally about the creation of a division between Europeans and non-Europeans, both internally, beginning with the Spanish expulsion or forced conversion of Jews and Muslims, and externally within systems of colonial rule, and of course in the transatlantic slave trade across the Americas. Continue reading

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Self

Living with Anxiety and Depression

Today marks my 30th birthday. As I begin a new decade of my life, I hope to write more and improve myself. This blog post is an attempt to achieve both and to speak openly about an important part of who I am.

Six years ago I was extremely depressed and sought help. This was something that was building for years, if not my entire life.

Large parts of my childhood and early adulthood were saturated by depression. Growing up on a farm meant geographic isolation and limited social interactions. When my parents were away or working, I was often left with my brother, who had a habit of being rough with me. One reminder of this is the pencil lead that is forever cemented in my right knee. I  n response, I acted powerlessly to avoid future harm. This feeling of powerlessness deprived me of my voice and confidence–two pieces of my life I am still struggling with today. This was the start of feeling isolated mentally in addition to geographically. Continue reading

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Podcasts

Podcast Picks of 2017

Listening to people discuss their ideas and opinions is something I truly enjoy. Podcasts are great for this and make it easy to hear the most current stories from North America to the Middle East, from Europe to Australia. All from the comfort of your smart phone or computer.

Last year, I made a list of twelve podcasts (A Podcaster’s Dozen). These were some of my long favorites and some that were great new finds.

Since it’s nearly the end of 2017, I though I’d make a new list. So, here’s another dozen podcasts that I’ve listened to this year. My hope is that you’ll give them a try in 2018. Continue reading

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Society

How Much Is Your Coastline Worth?

I recently saw this demonstration of how mangroves protect shorelines from erosion.

http://i.imgur.com/sD8zEoV.gifv

It’s incredible how Mother Nature has developed simple tools to support biodiversity, even against the powerful forces of ocean waves. Unfortunately, we haven’t been the best stewards of these natural gifts. Continue reading

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Books, Documentaries, Society

The Fight to Control Women

“Recent years have seen a panic over “online red-light districts,” which supposedly seduce vulnerable young women into a life of degradation, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s live tweeting of a Cambodian brothel raid. But rarely do these fearful, salacious dispatches come from sex workers themselves, and rarely do they deviate from the position that sex workers must be rescued from their condition, and the industry simply abolished — a position common among feminists and conservatives alike.

“In Playing the Whore, journalist Melissa Gira Grant turns these pieties on their head, arguing for an overhaul in the way we think about sex work. Based on ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker, Playing the Whore dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticizes both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization, and argues that separating sex work from the ‘legitimate’ economy only harms those who perform sexual labor. In Playing the Whore, sex workers’ demands, too long relegated to the margins, take center stage: sex work is work, and sex workers’ rights are human rights.”

– Summary of Playing the Whore from goodreads.com

Debates about prostitution tend to cover many topics, ranging from informal economics to public health, but ultimately comes down to one central element: control. Control of women. Control over women. Continue reading

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