Category Archives: Social Justice

Double post: Let’s talk about The Media day 1

newY’all all know I’m addicted to NPR. You’ve probably guessed that I’m also a sucker for a beautifully written Washington Post, gut-wrenching Atlantic or quippy New Yorker column. But all of my media, including the most conservative channels got this election wrong. Not just a little wrong, bigly W-R-O-N-G. Or big league. Whatever.

Some people place the failure on the proliferation of fake news sites like these. One writer for one of these outlets even went as far as to say “I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me.” Google and Facebook showed up a little bit late to the party, vowing to vet and monitor publishers’ veracity a week after the election.

There are probably some of y’all out there saying “But Clair, you’re a writer. You’ve written articles for The Media. You’re part of it!” Yeah, well, I write about cocktails and I’m a fact-checker. That second part is what you should focus on: it means that I get to regularly pick apart articles to make sure that they’re watertight. It, along with my physics background, means I really like numbers.

“But censorship!” you cry. When approximately 38 percent of the articles on these websites have been found by one survey to be a mixture of true and false or mostly false, it’s damaging to the mere hope of any sort of civilized discourse. In comparison, the so-called mainstream media gets it right much, much more frequently, or about 90 percent of the time.

Here’s the rub: It’s likely that most people who read this post will be ideologically similar to me. It’s conversations like this that must happen over the next four years. But with news sites like this on both sides of the aisle propagating what are literally different sets of facts, the talks are nearly impossible.

If you’d like to get a heads up when you’re visiting a possible fake news site, download the Google Chrome extensions suggested here. To make things even cooler, another detector called FiB has been developed by college students and will hopefully be available very, very soon.

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Take a walk: Self-care

self-careIt may not be an organization doing good work in the community, but you can’t do sustainable good for others if you’re not practicing self-care. Though getting something done after pushing through may be satisfactory, it also makes you susceptible to colds, viruses, and other forms of illness.

For me, that means binge watching something mindless on Netflix (like “Reign,” which absolutely fits the bill) while playing a silly browser game and working out at least twice a week. But if that doesn’t sound like pure bliss, explore your options. Whether it’s an intense workout, dinner out with friends, a long soak in the tub with a beverage of your choosing, or a couple hours of video games, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. Heck, if you love to walk outside or watch videos of puppies, it can be free. Whatever it is, take the time out to care for yourself so you can care for others.

Don’t believe me on this one? Well, check out the TED playlist on the subject or Lifehacker’s take or Psychology Today. Stress, like that caused by your job, home life, political realities, etc., is really bad for your body (Google Scholar backs me up here with more than three million papers for the search). Self-care is a way to re-center, re-evaluate, and give yourself some space to exist in the moment. Cold season is upon us, and I’ll say it again: you can’t effectively fight for others if you’re ill yourself. Be gentle.

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Day Four: the YWCA

ywcaFor this entry, there’s a caveat. I work part-time at the YWCA in our secondhand store, My Sister’s Closet. Fxmmes, if you’re ever in need of cheap work clothes, we have a pretty awesome selection. More info on that in this article by my wonderful and talented best friend.

Though the YWCA is a national organization, each local chapter chooses their service areas based on the area’s needs. For the YWCA of Central Alabama, those four areas are domestic violence services, childcare, affordable housing, and social justice. These programs serve both the heart of the city and the rural areas that surround it.

With a powerful member of Trump’s proposed cabinet accused of domestic violence and who has actively expressed anti-semitic, misogynistic, generally hateful rhetoric, it’s more important to put energy and focus on the good, unsexy work being done to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. That is, after all, the YWCA’s mission.

If you have any questions about the organization, I’ll do my best to answer. Get involved by volunteering, even for a couple hours a week or for special events, or donate.

If you’re ever in need of domestic violence services, call 205-322-4878.

This is part of a series on organizations that will fight tooth and nail to protect the rights of all. If you are looking for resources on allyship other than organizations you can support, check out this list.

 

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Day Three: Crisis Center/Rape Response

crises-centerThe Crisis Center is an organization local to Birmingham, but there are many similar organizations around the country. Though I can’t speak for national call centers, since the election, the Birmingham Crisis Center has experienced a much higher than normal volume of calls. Per their website, their mission is “to serve the unmet needs of people experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues and respond with services that promote coping, emotional health and well-being.”

In addition to their Crisis Line, they also offer services for rape response, teens, kids, and seniors. Rape Response is an extremely valuable asset for Birmingham, and has a specially trained nurse on site 24/7.

If you’re interested in getting involved, they take donations here. They’re constantly in need of volunteers at the crisis line. In case you need their care, their main number is 205-323-7777.

This is part of a series on organizations that will fight tooth and nail to protect the rights of all. If you are looking for resources on allyship other than organizations you can support, check out this list.

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Day Two: Southern Poverty Law Center

splc_logoFor 45 years, the SPLC has been a powerful legal and educational voice for civil rights. Their specific program focuses include children’s rights, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, economic justice, criminal justice reform, and monitoring hate and extremist groups.

SPLC has tracked the instances of reported hate crimes, not just over the past few days, but since their inception. What’s changed is the rate at which they’ve occurred. From Wednesday to Friday, they logged more than 200 incidents. Usually, 200 to 250 hate crimes are reported in six months. These occurred in two days. Two. Days.

If you’re interested, follow them on Facebook and/or donate here.

This is part of a series on organizations that will fight tooth and nail to protect the rights of all. If you are looking for resources on allyship other than organizations you can support, check out this list.

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Day One: Allyship

Not enough.

Since the election, a lot of people have been posting about wearing safety pins as an outward indication that you’re an ally. For some, it’s the first step they’ve ever taken towards allyship, which is cool. But a symbol without action, is no longer enough. It may have been co-opted as a symbol of solidarity per this Facebook post. If you wear one, make a plan about how you will react when (not if, when) you see injustice. Isobel Debrujah has a lot of information on how to get started.

If you want to be an ally, please don’t ask your People of Color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, people of faith, people of no faith, and Othered communities. And for the love of everything holy, don’t tone police them, especially not in this time of grief.

One tough thing to keep in mind: Being an ally isn’t about you. It’s not about shouting your views from the rooftops, it’s about your actions. And yes, I recognize my privilege and the irony in posting on my personal blog about how to be an ally. There’s not much more I can say on that end, so on to the resources:

  • If you see something happening, this video has a great plan of action for how to reaction.
  • Everyday Feminism has a tag on how to be an ally or a better ally. This page is updated regularly. They also published an article on How To Be A Proactive Ally.
  • Christopher Keelty does some good work on Medium about easy ways to become an ally to non-White groups. Spoiler alert: speak the hell up.
  • For a hard read on how not to treat Women of Color, check out Shannon Barber‘s “Dear White Ladies.”
  • Need some ways to start working on racial justice? Showing Up For Racial Justice has resources for you.
  • Scared for your Muslim friends? Follow CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They’ll be featured separately soon.
  • Check out the Trans* Ally Workbook to challenge what you know about gender.
  • For a heaping dose of body positivity, check out Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham.
  • If you feel alone, join the Facebook group White Nonsense RoundupThis group was founded “by white people to address our inherently racist society and stand up against racism in our own families, work spaces, and communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color.”
  • Call your representatives’ offices. Let them know that the civil rights of every human in their district are a priority in how you’ll vote. When election day comes around, get to your polling place and cast your ballot.

Edited at 19:30 CST on 11/13/16 to include a link on making a plan for how to be an ally. Thanks to Anna Lisa Ciaccio for the link! Edit: 11/13/16 21:43 CST to include calling representatives. Edit: 11/14/16 20:21 CST to include 5 Ways To Combat Racism video. 23:37 CST first graf edited for tone.

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New focus for Blog Like Crazy

And now, for something completely different. 

Y’all have probably noticed that I haven’t posted since Tuesday. The election results and subsequent wave of hate crimes, hate speech, and general bullshit have left me with a lot of deep grief.
Here’s the thing. As a cisgender straight white woman, I experience a goodly amount of privilege. Much has been written from this viewpoint that expresses what and how I feel. It’s not my place to do that again.

Instead, I’m going to resume Blog Like Crazy for a different purpose: To highlight organizations working to preserve the rights of People of Color, LGBTQ+, women, people with disabilities, and all Othered communities. To be a signal boost for writers of color. To provide resources on how to be an ally. Because it’s up to us, White people, to LEARN how to be allies. It’s not on these communities to teach us.

If you don’t think there’s a problem, unfollow me. If you believe that the reaction to this election is the same as the other side’s to 2008, these posts are not for you. I’m not here to argue, I’m here to provide resources. Love trumps hate. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. 

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