My First Ramadan Without Hijab  

Jun. 24th, 2017 01:28 am
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Posted by Guest Contributor

This has been my first Ramadan without hijab since 1997. After wearing hijab for close to twenty years, last year, sometime in August, I finally started leaving the house every day without covering my hair. I say “sometime” because removing it was a gradual process. At some point that summer, when the last distant cousin found out, I realized I had done what I had been thinking about for so long. And at some point this Ramadan, this time of family-gathering and mosque-going and Quran-reading, I realized that I haven’t stopped thinking about what this decision means.

I chose to remove the hijab. Did I choose to wear it? That is not as clear-cut as some make it out to be. The hijab just was: it was a phase in my development; it was assumed this was what I would do when the time came. I was ten years old when it happened, it being my first period. The next morning, my mother taught me how to wrap the hand-me down scarf that my sister did not want anymore. I remember feeling uneasy, and that uneasiness worsened when I got to school and confused students (and teachers) asked if I had been to Mecca. I was the only one in that school to wear a headscarf.

For years, I accepted the hijab. It became part of me, the thing that made me most different. Even when I started going to another school where there were other girls in hijab, I was different. Hijab, according to my family, meant  jilbabs, never jeans, and no colors except brown, black, and grey. I wore large headscarves that were pinned under the chin rather than stylishly wrapped shaylas and dupattas. Unsurprisingly, I was bullied. The thing is, back then I can’t remember thinking about taking it off. The bullying made the hijab even more a part of who I was. Why should I try to please “them”, after all? It was probably during this time that I owned being a hijabi most.

And then something changed. I started to doubt the idea that wearing hijab was a religious duty, and that Muslim women who did not wear it were superficial and sinful. It was the focus on the hijab, as though piety was all about the external, which seemed to me the epitome of superficial. I started to resent the double standards of the Muslim community around me at the time, where men freely spoke with women (under justifications of dawah and thinking-of-polygamy) but would be outraged if their wives exchanged a word with a non-mahram man. Growing up in this environment, I had taken it for granted that men went to mixed-gender gyms and swimming pools and forbade these spaces to women, and that men dressed for comfort in the summer while women covered up in stifling layers (and wore men’s socks because women’s socks were too transparent!). But somewhere along the line all of this started to enrage me. And enrage is not too strong a word.

I became aware that I was not happy wearing the hijab, that I maybe had never been happy wearing it, and that I had kept wearing it simply because it was the path of least resistance. And maybe I wouldn’t be any happier not wearing it…but didn’t I owe it to myself to find out?

I don’t want to downplay how difficult it was to decide to take it off. I’ve read too many  “dejabbing” stories that focus only on the personal and spiritual aspects, and I would think: Their circumstances are different. Their families are different, less conservative, less strict, than my family. At least half of what held me back was fear of what people would say and do. That, in itself, told me what I needed to know. What was the point of this if I was doing it only for others rather than for God?

I looked for practical advice. How do you actually take this step? How do you say the words? I found very little. There was some material by an ex-Muslim woman that was helpful, but it only seemed to confirm what my family would say: if you take it off, you are not Muslim.

I wavered, wrestled with doubts, read arguments for and against, and watched endless videos of Muslimahs talking about why they could never take off their hijab. Many of these accounts are unfortunately given the click-bait title “Taking off the hijab,” so those who are seeking advice find themselves shamed for even thinking of taking this step. And watching these self-assured hijabi women did feed the shame that I already felt. I would think: Look at this woman with her successful life proudly wearing her hijab. Am I ashamed of my religion? Why am I giving up this part of me? Why am I weak?  Looking back on it now, I think this was my attempt to go back to being the good hijabi. I ignored the other voice that reminded me there would be nothing weak about taking this step, that I’d worn the hijab from the age of ten to the age of thirty simply because it was what was expected of me, because it was easy to be obedient, to do the expected.

In the end, I decided I might regret the decision to stop wearing the hijab, but I would regret it more if I never decided, finally, to choose for myself. Once I made the decision, taking it off was easy, even though the aftermath was anything but. To make a long story short, it was more or less what I expected: I was lectured, shouted at, told I was weak and cowardly and ungrateful, and had someone who was once close to me express their disgust by spitting at me. But I burned some bridges, and survived.  

This Ramadan, a year later, I’ve been trying to balance the choice against the lingering regret. Because sometimes I do regret removing the hijab. I miss being the good obedient hijabi daughter, I miss being the visibly identifiable Muslimah, the sister greeted with salaam on the streets. And all of that regret was intensified this Ramadan, when community and family matter more than ever, and when not wearing hijab means being barred from the religious spaces around me. For many, I have become that superficial, sinful woman they warn their daughters about, the one who cares more about this world than the next. I haven’t been to the mosque this Ramadan, because I don’t know how to negotiate wearing hijab to avoid confrontation.

A year on, it is still strange, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my neck. A year on, there are still days when I wish I could undo what I have done, just to be more accepted, just to fit into my community more easily. Part of me even misses being the outsider, the non-conforming religious woman in a secular society. Hijab defined me for twenty years. But one year on from removing it, I am more myself now than I was then.  I don’t struggle to convince others to believe in something I don’t myself believe in, and I don’t instinctively lie about my life in the hope that others will have a better image of my religion. Back then,  I was at once bristlingly defensive and doubtful. Now, I no longer feel like a hypocrite, like one thing on the outside and another on the inside. I am more honest with myself, and more true to what I believe. 

Making your own choices in life, it turns out, is worth something. Regret may be part of choice, but so is self-respect.  

Weekly Update 24 JUN 2017

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:07 am
megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
[personal profile] megpie71
I made a bit of a change to my routine this week - instead of staying in bed until I was ready to wake up on my own (which was about 8am, if not later) I set an alarm to get me out of bed at 6am. Why? Mainly because I was finding the 8am wake-up time meant I felt as though I was getting nothing accomplished in the day - I was having trouble getting dressed before 10am, having trouble getting the housework completed before my spoons ran out at about 2pm, and overall just feeling as though I wasn't getting anywhere. Since the switch to a 6am wake-up, I've been feeling much more positive about the amount of stuff I'm getting accomplished in the day (same amount as previously, it has to be said - I just feel more positive about it), particularly since I'm managing to get a certain amount of it done before 10am, and most of the housework completed prior to noon. My spoons still largely run out around 2pm, but I feel better able to manage things before then.

In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.

What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.

Home!

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:28 pm
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[personal profile] dagibbs
Home again, without any particular delays or problems. I think I get about 3 weeks in Ottawa this time.

Recent Reading

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:04 pm
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

Some things I’ve read recently!

The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

If you didn’t read Nagata’s The Red Trilogy, well, you might want to consider doing so. But whether you have or you haven’t–The Last Good Man is near-future military sf. It’s tense and compelling, and features a middle-aged woman protagonist, an ex-Army pilot who now works for a private military company. During a rescue mission she discovers something that casts a new and disturbing light on an event that she’d thought, well, not safely in the past, but over and done with and accurately understood. But she wants the truth, no matter the cost. If near future and/or military is your jam, don’t miss this.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

This is volume 1 of the Murderbot Diaries, and I suspect a certain percentage of my readers don’t need to hear anything more. Go, purchase, download! You will enjoy this.

Murderbot is a SecUnit–a security android, part organic part mechanical, that isn’t supposed to have any sort of free will. It does, though, and having achieved that free will it secretly names itself Murderbot and then works hard to hide its freedom of thought from the corporation that owns it. It doesn’t actually want to murder anyone, though. It just wants to be left alone to watch its stories. Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill the humans Murderbot has been tasked to protect.

I’m not kidding, I can almost guarantee that my readers will enjoy this. I have already pre-ordered volume 2, which is out in January.

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns

So, Lesbian Space Pirates. Out at the end of October. That may be all I need to say.

Or not. Our heroines hijack a colony ship in a bid to join a famous band of space pirates–only to discover the pirates are not, as widely believed, hiding out on Barbary Station rolling in money and loot, but are in fact trapped there by the station’s renegade AI. Why is the AI doing what it’s doing? Is it conscious? Does it matter when it’s trying to kill you?

This book is good fun. Set in the Solar System, lots of action, I really enjoyed this, and I bet you will, too.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Wasting time

Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:46 pm
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[personal profile] thnidu
Somebody just asked on Quora
I posted the first reply:

Who can tell? Look how arbitrary the QWERTY keyboard is, designed to slow typing down as much as possible so the first mechanical typewriters wouldn’t jam.

I can make a WAG that on a computer keyboard it would be put on Option-S (or Alt-S), which is a logical place for it. Which means that Microsoft would put it someplace else entirely. ;-p

Of courſe, that could eaſily create confuſion if uſers weren’t uſed to it. And that would really ſuck.

Maybe tonight I'll post why I'm procrastinating so badly. Or at least my excuse for it.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:41 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] jesse_the_k tells me all the cool kids are doing this:

what boxofdelights likes to talk about

row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;

I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.

Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.

Tell Me Why...

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:29 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
... I bothered to re-activate my phone? Since I did so, two messages have been left, both of them the "Final Warning from the IRS" scam. (Also, numerous calls-w/o-message from Unavailable and from a couple of solicitors - both of those organizations I have given money to but do not wish to talk to.)

Oh, well. When Fall Semester rolls around, it will be useful again.

Reading: The Mountains of Mourning

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:25 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
If the Miles Vorkosigan of The Warrior's Apprentice is Francis Crawford of Lymond In Space, in the novella The Mountains of Mourning he's basically Lord Peter Wimsey In An Isolated Rural District On An Alien Planet*, as he's sent as his father's representative to investigate an alleged case of infanticide in a small village in a remote corner of Vorkosigan District.

For a short book, this packs a lot in. As well as a competent whodunnit plot, the story explores the backstory of Barrayaran culture and social attitudes, particularly attitudes to disability, and more universal themes of generational differences in social attitudes. It's the sort of science fiction that doesn't really feel like science fiction; with the exception of the interrogation drug fast-penta there's no futuristic techology and it's hard to believe it's set in the far future instead of, say, the 1930s. It's an interesting and thoughtful read, and I liked it a lot (though I was a bit taken aback at "Ma" apparently being a formal honorific for older women, but maybe that's just Barrayar).

*The presence of a minor character called Pym, on a planet where most names appear to be Russian or Slavic in origin, did nothing whatsoever to dispel the Wimsey associations my brain kept making, either.

Invitation to the dance

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

Well, not literally.

But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.

And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.

Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.

And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.

*Wibble*

Dear suspiciously rotund cat

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Not my cat, not my house. Please don't be pregnant.

Jane the Virgin... and Friends

NSFW Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:18 pm
petra: Text: "There's nothing magic about words," he said. "They just do things if you say them right." (DWJ - Nothing magic about words)
[personal profile] petra
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
[via email]

Dear Senator Johnson:

First of all, thank you for speaking out against the speed with which Senator McConnell is trying to force his Better Care Reconciliation Act through the Senate.

Secondly-- As it turns out, Senator McConnell had polio as a small child; his health care was entirely government-funded. This is exactly the kind of health care--the kind that provides needed services to children whose parents *are*not*wealthy*--that he is trying to destroy. The hypocrisy of this infuriates me, above and beyond all the other things that I think are appalling, shameful, and horrifying about the BCRA.

The BCRA is potentially catastrophic for me. I have a number of chronic conditions, including Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Restless Legs Syndrome, that are controlled, entirely or in part, by medications--medications that I cannot afford without health insurance. Without the chemical assistance to straighten out my brain chemistry and neurology, I will very quickly become paralyzed by the apathy of depression and the brain-lock induced by OCD--not to mention the chronic sleep-deprivation caused by RLS. And these conditions are all incurable. They can be *managed* very successfully, but I will never be free of them. I need these medications for the rest of my life. (I'm 42. I'm hoping "the rest of my life" is a very long time.)

Right now, I have insurance through the State of Wisconsin. But--as you are possibly aware--the state has been steadily chipping away at its employees' health benefits for the last 20 years, and if the BCRA passes, it gives Wisconsin greatly increased leeway to make state employees' health benefits ever more meager, which will mean my out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions and doctor visits will continue to increase and increase, while my insurance covers less and less of the care I need. (The medication which principally controls my RLS already has a co-pay of more than $100 a month.) And if I *lose* that coverage, I will be uninsurable. I am a walking compendium of "pre-existing conditions"--I didn't even tell you about the chronic migraines or the fibromyalgia or the Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Senator, I need health insurance. I need it to be affordable. I need it NOT to be contingent on my never having been and never becoming sick, because that door slammed shut a long time ago. I need it to PROTECT ME, not benefit the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

I am hoping that, as my senator, you care more about my well-being than you do about providing tax cuts to a handful of people who do not need them. I am hoping that you recognize Senator McConnell's rank hypocrisy and that it angers you as it does me. I am hoping that you will defend me and your other 5.77 million constituents who need, as a matter of quite literally life or death, the access to affordable healthcare that Senator McConnell and his BCRA are trying to strip away from us.

Please continue to oppose the BCRA. Do not let this unconscionable bill be your legacy.

Shades of Red

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:37 pm
[syndicated profile] advancedstyle_feed

Posted by Ari Seth Cohen

g63a2902
Sometimes all you need is a great scarf to make a casual look more vibrant. What are your style secrets?

The post Shades of Red appeared first on Advanced Style.

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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday.

Stiff competition for entrance to private preschools and kindergartens in Manhattan has created a test prep market for children under 5. The New York Times profiled Bright Kids NYC. The owner confesses that “the parents of the 120 children her staff tutored [in 2010] spent an average of $1,000 on test prep for their 4-year-olds.”  This, of course, makes admission to schools for the gifted a matter of class privilege as well as intelligence.

The article also tells the story of a woman without the resources to get her child, Chase, professional tutoring:

Ms. Stewart, a single mom working two jobs, didn’t think the process was fair. She had heard widespread reports of wealthy families preparing their children for the kindergarten gifted test with $90 workbooks, $145-an-hour tutoring and weekend “boot camps.”

Ms. Stewart used a booklet the city provided and reviewed the 16 sample questions with Chase. “I was online trying to find sample tests,” she said. “But everything was $50 or more. I couldn’t afford that.”

Ms. Stewart can’t afford tutoring for Chase; other parents can. It’s unfair that entrance into kindergarten level programs is being gamed by people with resources, disadvantaging the most disadvantaged kids from the get go. I think many people will agree.

But the more insidious value, the one that almost no one would identify as problematic, is the idea that all parents should do everything they can to give their child advantages. Even Ms. Stewart thinks so. “They want to help their kids,” she said. “If I could buy it, I would, too.”

Somehow, in the attachment to the idea that we should all help our kids get every advantage, the fact that advantaging your child disadvantages other people’s children gets lost.  If it advantages your child, it must be advantaging him over someone else; otherwise it’s not an advantage, you see?

I felt like this belief (that you should give your child every advantage) and it’s invisible partner (that doing so is hurting other people’s children) was rife in the FAQs on the Bright Kids NYC website.

Isn’t my child too young to be tutored?

These programs are very competitive, the answers say, and you need to make sure your kid does better than other children.  It’s never too soon to gain an advantage.

My child is already bright, why does he or she need to be prepared?

Because being bright isn’t enough.  If you get your kid tutoring, she’ll be able to show she’s bright in exactly the right way. All those other bright kids that can’t get tutoring won’t get in because, after all, being bright isn’t enough.

Is it fair to “prep” for the standardized testing?

Of course it’s fair, the website claims!  It’s not only fair, it’s “rational”!  What parent wouldn’t give their child an advantage!?  They avoid actually answering the question. Instead, they make kids who don’t get tutoring invisible and then suggest that you’d be crazy not to enroll your child in the program.

My friend says that her child got a very high ERB [score] without prepping.  My kid should be able to do the same.

Don’t be foolish, the website responds. This isn’t about being bright, remember. Besides, your friend is lying. They’re spending $700,000 dollars on their kid’s schooling (aren’t we all!?) and we can’t disclose our clients but, trust us, they either forked over a grand to Bright Kids NYC or test administrators.

Test prep for kindergartners seems like a pretty blatant example of class privilege. But, of course, the argument that advantaging your own kid necessarily involves disadvantaging someone else’s applies to all sorts of things, from tutoring, to a leisurely summer with which to study for the SAT, to financial support during their unpaid internships, to helping them buy a house and, thus, keeping home prices high.

I think it’s worth re-evaluating. Is giving your kid every advantage the moral thing to do?

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

YVR -> YUL -> YYZ

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:24 am
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[personal profile] dagibbs
I'm on my way home, and not traveling on the weekend for a change. Sadly, the weekend weather does not look good enough for it to matter.

Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
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[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:00 am
tiamatschild: Painting of a woman resting on a bridge railing - she has a laundry bag beside her (Stopping By Woods On A Sunny Afternoon)
[personal profile] tiamatschild
My grandpa has been in the hospital for a week, and last night my aunt called and said that he's taken a bad downturn and Grandma thinks all the children should come out.

So Mom and Dad threw a suitcase each together and took off in the truck. They'll be there in a few hours.

I'm close to my dad's parents.

ETA: This side of the family is my dad's side of the family - the grandfather I'm close to. (My mother's parents died when I was in my teens.)

Bingo card for me

NSFW Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
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[personal profile] petra
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What other Nicolls are up to

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )
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Posted by Fred Clark

Those of us who have served time in conservative Christian youth groups recognize this theme from the many, many Why Wait lectures we heard. Your purity and innocence, the lecture always said, are the Greatest Gift that you can offer to your spouse on your wedding day. Setting aside the merits of this particular pitch for chastity, the strange thing here is finding that the inner monologue of jet-setting, secular, un-saved Buck Williams sounds like a True Love Waits seminar.

fatalism o' the day

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:30 am
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[personal profile] metaphortunate
I am not good at political predictions. And I hope I'm wrong about this. But I don't see how we can keep the ACA.

I mean, this is why Republicans have been swallowing Trump's shit, right? For the Supreme Court seats and the right to pass this enormous tax cut? Isn't this what they sold the republic for? If they don't pass it now, wouldn't that require them to decide to have given it all up for nothing? Wouldn't they be taking a huge personal hit to their own opinion of themselves, not to mention their own taxes, and their own donors, for no other reason than to help millions of people they've never personally met and would probably not like if they did meet? Humans are not super good at doing that kind of thing; the richer the worse, the more powerful the worse, and I just don't really see how I can expect these particular rich old powerful motherfuckers to transcend the limitations of their species at this moment in time.

2X 3 Things

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:58 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Three things:

1) Ignorance is not bliss

2) Ignorance is never an excuse.

3) Ignorance is almost never the problem.

Recently there was an incident in Canada, that I will not link to, where a woman went on a racist rant at a walk in clinic wanting a white doctor who spoke English. Thankfully there were people there that stood up to her, which always gives me hope, but the video of the event and her outburst was everywhere for a while. I was appalled at the time but became even more so when I heard the discussion about her behaviour.

The general consensus was that she was "ignorant." People talked about her as if she was in desperate need of some kind of sensitivity training or diversity training or anger management training.

Because, of course, white people aren't ever racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or ableist, or disphobic, or prejudiced in any way. We are just a little misguided. We just need a glass of juice, a cookie, and a 20 minute class and we're back to being good, well behaved white folk. "Poor dear," we seem to say as we acknowledge that what she did was racist and then we explain that while her behaviour might be considered racist, she certainly isn't, "she's just ignorant and needs some in class time with a teacher and a power point presentation."

I'm tired of ignorance getting the blame for blatant prejudice and bigotry.

Call a bigot a bigot.

Call our prejudice where prejudice exists.

Explaining way someone's behaviour brings into question your own behaviour. Why do you have a need for this to be 'ignorance' and 'poor dear' behaviour?

Remember when teens were coming to the gay area of Toronto and throwing slushies into the faces of people they tagged as members of the lgbtq+ community? The result of all the television discussion was that these teens need training.

No one needs training to know that you don't throw slushies into the face of strangers.

No.

One.

It was blatant prejudice and those teens were wilfully and purposely homophobic.

That woman was wilfully and purposely racist.

Get it.

GET IT?

Accountability begins with naming the problem. It is entirely possible that a woman who yells and complains in a racist manner is simply and maybe even irredeemably racist. It is entirely possible that she believed that everyone else felt like her but was afraid to say it. It is entirely possible that she meant ever racist thing that she said. And if it's possible then that possibility needs to be discussed. We need to own racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and ableism and disphobia and all the other forms of prejudice, we need to recognize that these exist independently from ignorance or a need for training. That these things are even resistant to cookies and classes.

She was racist therefore she is racist. Isn't that an easy step.

Isn't then the question how do we deal with racism or how do we prevent racism or how do we support her victims? Yes, she had victims. Not one word has been said about the impact of her words on the doctors and nurses who were there, on the people of colour all over the country who watched that video, the kids of the people of colour who asked their parents questions about what happened.

That racist woman hurt people and that's not okay and what needs to happen next? For her, for her victims, what needs to happen next?

Three points:

1) racism is a deeply embedded attitude it is not ignorance

2) bigotry needs to be called out for what it is

3) giving excuses to prejudice reveals even deeper prejudice
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Women in engineering and Cornish Black history: I've mentioned Black people in Kernow (Cornwall) before, such as musician and composer Joseph Emidy, and y'all know my passion for engineering, so here's a combination of both. While in Penwith I visited the excellent Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno and was lucky enough to have a guide who used to work there when it was a telecommunications engineering college for Cable and Wireless (back when the people of the UK all owned a share in that successful nationalised international business). My volunteer museum guide was Black. I only mention this because it's likely that if I didn't then most readers would assume otherwise.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973, was the first woman engineering student at this Cable and Wireless college.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, during the 1980s.

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1980s

One more small image, and three book reviews. )

• [...]
four steps forward and three back, and yet nothing
remains the same, for the mountains are piled up
and worn down, for the rivers eat into the stone
and the fields blow away and the sea makes sand
[...]

Butterflies!

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:52 am
shadowycat: (Butterfly)
[personal profile] shadowycat posting in [community profile] common_nature
When I was at the botanical garden, I went into the glasshouse this time to look at the butterflies. I must have timed it right near a release because there were butterflies galore. One rested in my hair for awhile, and I got one to sit on my hand, too. I wanted to share a few of the pictures I took. I hope you like them! :D

 photo DSCN2022_zpsmbvtiu4n.jpg

More butterflies )

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:32 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bessemerprocess and [personal profile] libskrat!

the gift of fear

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:40 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I do think that there is value in Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, even though it doesn't work for me. It doesn't work for me on either end: I'm not much good at understanding strangers' intentions, and don't want to spend enough time and attention on strangers to get somewhat better. And I am good at attracting extra attention from security people, even though I don't intend to steal, smuggle, or damage anything. I don't know how much of that is racism, how much is missing communications cues because I'm partly deaf and have not much peripheral vision, especially on the same side as my deaf ear, and how much is behaving oddly because when I am in a crowd of strangers I am spending a lot of energy wishing that I were elsewhere, and hoping to escape with the least possible eye contact, talking, and being touched by strangers. But just by being myself I soak up enough security personnel attention that anyone who does want to steal, smuggle, or damage things should use me as a stalking horse.


Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.

Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.

I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.

Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
thnidu: winged staff with two serpents coiled around it (caduceus)
[personal profile] thnidu


Oh, Lovely: The Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies Is Spreading

First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death. In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick.


Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn’t totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite.



Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it’s started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.

Links

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
muccamukk: An orange life ring floating in the sea. (Lights: Lifering)
[personal profile] muccamukk
I ended up signing up for [community profile] fandomgiftbox, which is sort of [community profile] fandom_stocking in the summer with slightly different rules. I had fun treating it last year, so why not.

Wish there were more people in my fandoms in [community profile] multifandomdrabble fest. Sign ups open for another day!

I know people have been looking for nice Bill icons from this series of Doctor Who. Here are a bunch made by [personal profile] luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.

I really like this essay by [personal profile] lydy: The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life.
Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"

Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.


Pitssburgh Queer History project has some great archival material here.

ETA: For those who like Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells is doing an AMA here, and here's a quote from the next one.

If we confess our sins

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:47 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

At this point in the sermon, pastors often balk and attempt to do the impossible -- to provide an example of their personal "sin" that is not actually shameful or hurtful or distasteful. They'll bring up some minor matter of akrasia, some petty foible or embarrassment. They'll confess to once saying a dirty word when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hammer, or to being impatient in traffic. Their personal illustration, being something trivial, trivializes the entire sermon.

Being Civilized

Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:05 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I may have made a mistake.

I grew bored with Skyrim not long before I bought my new computer. I contemplated Minecraft, for a change of pace, and Fallout IV, for another FPS. In the end, I bought neither.

Instead, I am now downloading Civilization VI. I enjoyed Civ IV a great deal; I think it was the best version to date. Civ V did not catch and hold my attention; I thought too much had been sacrificed from IV, in the interests of "simplification". What I've read about Civ VI, though, looks very attractive, and so... Steam is about halfway through the download.

I have a lot to do this summer. I can't afford to give too much time to gameplaying.

But surely I can give a little?
:whimper:
oneiriad: (Default)
[personal profile] oneiriad
I keep being a bit late with this meme. Bad me.

Apart from reading, well, there's life. I went on the summer work excursion with my department today. We headed back home to my old town of Elsinore, had a very nice lunch at a couple of centuries old restaurant, then headed out to Kronborg, where a former colleague now works and gave us a short tour. It was nice.

Apparently they now have free-ranging actors in Shakespeare mode wandering around Kronborg. Including Andrew Jeffers as Polonius (I did not immediately recognize him - my brain went: "You look exceedingly familiar. Have I threatened you before?", but it took me a bit to place him. Guess I'm used to seeing him in a dress). Guess that's one thing the Crazy Christmas Crew gets up to during the times that are not Crazy. (Which reminds me - I should make a post with a doodle soonish, shouldn't I?)

Also still playing Pokemon Go. Keeping an eye on all those new gyms that seem to be getting ready for - something. (I'm a little annoyed that the pokestop that I could reach from my work desk is now a gym, because that means I can't spin it right now...) I'm not entirely convinced I'll love the raids and legendary stuff, from what I've been reading. Eords like "most dedicated players" (or something similar) makes me less than enthusiastic.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a reading meme.

What I've recently finished reading

Gerður Kristný: Drapa
The story of a woman who was murdered by her boyfriend, retold in the strictest of old Norse poetry forms. Not as engaging as I'd hoped, but interesting.

Marjorie Liu: Monstress: Awakening
Pretty and pretty horrible. I'm not quite sure I'll remember to look for the next volume, though...

Marie Brennan: In the Labyrinth of Drakes
Cute. Not deep literature - and I think I've managed to spoil myself for something that's going to happen in the final book - but cute and fun and an easy read.

Martin Jensen: Kongens thegn
And so it ends. Hmmm. That series had its ups and downs, and I found myself disliking Winston more and more as we went along. But it's well-written and has an excellent image of the England of Knud the Great. Now - to pick a new medieval mystery series to read, because I'm not quite medieval mysteried out (actually, already decided I want to try the one set in Elsinore.)

Robert Venditti & Van Jensen: The Flash: Savage World
Why does everybody want to eat Barry?

Hans Gregersen: Mads Lange - kongen af Bali
I thought I should read something about Bali before going there, and since a Dane played a brief, but important role in their history, I thought I'd read about him. Maybe I should have picked one of the newer biographies - this is one is pretty dry and illustrated with black-and-white photos from the author's vacation to modern (well, mid-90s) Bali - and I was still left wanting a tv series.

Mike Mignola: BPRD: The Warning
And we're back in the present - I liked the former volume's trip to post-war Berlin better.

What I'm reading now

Siri Pettersen's Råddenskab, which now has Hirka Tailless running around in our world, The Long Utopia by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett (mostly Stephen Baxter, I suspect), and Eifelheim by Michael Flynn.

What I'm reading next

Probably A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe. Probably.

Total number of books and comics read this year: 109

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

bingo card meme

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:11 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Personal bingo meme that people are playing on Twitter and elsewhere!

You can google "bingo card generator" and fill one out with your interests. Then you can use a photo editor to check off interests that you have too.

My card is also at Flickr:
https://flic.kr/p/VL1xcd

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 2.37.46 PM

transcription )
watervole: (Default)
[personal profile] watervole
 Watched a programme on Japan today and googled Hokusai afterwards.

Remember all those tentacle sex fan porn stories?  (Harry Potter fandom in particular has it's share)

Nothing new!

Hokusai's print "Dream of the Fisherman's Wife' is below the cut....  (If I've worked out correctly how to do a cut.  It's been a long time since I used one)

Read more... )
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

reading wednesday

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:55 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan.
The conceit of this book is brilliant. She has to stay single, for complicated family reasons, but her plan will stop working if she turns down any reasonable offer, so she has to make her person repellent enough to counterbalance the attraction of her considerable fortune -- without letting anyone see that she's doing it on purpose. I love it when the obstacles in a romance are not stupid! I love comedy of manners, when it puts extra constraints on the protagonist's solution space! Especially when the protagonist using a formidable intelligence and an immense amount of work to seem foolish and ineffectual!
I was disappointed that this book ignores the constraints that don't assist the story it wants to tell. (For example, these unmarried gentlewomen would not go to a dinner-party in a house without a hostess. One of them is accompanied by a chaperone, another is with her sister, and that is adequate for excursions in public places in daylight, but after dark, in a house full of young men -- no. It would not do.) These elements might not move the story forward directly, but they would do a lot to make the societal forces our heroes are working against seem powerful and real.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer. DNF. It isn't a bad book, but the more I read of it the more I found myself resenting the idea that it would be one of the approximately 3000 new books I have time left to read. Its greatest appeal for me is how thoroughly Schumer fights against shame. Read for Tawanda book group.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I put a Climbing Mount TBR challenge on my Habitica To-Do list, but I'm not sure how to tackle it. Two of my book groups are on summer hiatus, so I have room to move. I like [personal profile] melannen's FMK polls, and I keep thinking I could do that too, but when I look at my shelves and ask, "Which of these are you going to read, really?" and "Which of these do you need to keep, really?" my answer is always, "All of them. All. Yes, even that one."

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:40 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] woldy!
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

“One of the things we are figuring out is have these guys been off the coast and we haven’t seen them? Are they moving inshore for a different reason?” said Sorensen.

YES AND I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Let me know when they reach Washington.

They're known as the "unicorn of the sea", apparently, so should clearly be claimed as a symbolic animal by you (glowing) asexual people out there.

yes I know it's not the same kind of asexual okay

ETA: Wikipedia just provided me with this beautiful quote:

"I have just watched the moon set in all her glory, and looked at those lesser moons, the beautiful Pyrosoma, shining like white-hot cylinders in the water" (T.H. Huxley, 1849).

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