Tag Archives: problem

A 6-Year-Old Don Juan Is A Problem

18 Jan

Today, on my way back from the grocery store, I got hit on by a six-year-old.  I assume he was a six-year-old, because he was most certainly prepubescent and no bigger than a slightly overgrown wombat.

He pulled up to the corner of the sidewalk on his tiny child skateboard as I walked by. “Excuse me, miss!”

I stopped and removed my headphones, entirely expecting him to tell me he was lost or ask me where some tiny child theme park was located or if I liked the color green or some shit like that.

“I’m doing this thing for my skate park,” said the tiny male human as he smiled up at me with wide puppy eyes, “where I have to land a trick in order to get a hug.”

Uh.

Uuuuuuh.

Well that’s a weird promotion. Why would they have a kid do that? What kind of training approach are they OH MY GOD THIS INFANT IS HITTING ON ME.

“I… think you should ask your parents for that hug,” I said, once my brain stopped reeling from the shock of being flirted with by someone who probably doesn’t even know if he can grow a mustache yet.

“I did that already!”

“Yeah, well, practice makes perfect.”

At this point, I started to walk away, and this tiny manchild actually began yelling after me, shouting “Aw, come on! Come on!”

I, being an adult and not the size of a wombat, was able to outpace the indignant little human fairly easily and made it home without a small yapping thing at my heels.

Now, let’s talk about this.

The story is amusing. You have a child acting like an adult, and that is often funny, in the same way that pugs wearing sweaters and boots are funny. It’s one thing pretending to be something it’s not. It’s a behavior farce. Lol. Ha ha. Whatever.

But this story is also absolutely fucking horrifying. It’s only funny because I was dealing with a small child incapable of overpowering me or presenting any real threat. But fast-forward ten years. That wombat-sized kid is now a sixteen year old boy who’s probably at least as tall as I am. Move ahead another ten years, and now a fully grown man is the one getting angry that I turned him down and is shouting “aw, come on!” at me while I’m just trying to carry my bags home from the grocery store. Now it’s an adult who’s throwing a tantrum because his line didn’t work and he didn’t get what he wanted. Now it’s someone who’s much more of a match for me physically coming at me with a lifetime of assumption that if he asks for it, I, a complete stranger, should give it to him.

That right there is rape culture. Inside of a six-year-old.

Not so funny now.

Comedy becomes tragedy all too easily. For that story ten and twenty years from now to be different, its revision needs to start now.

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A White and Shiny and Probably Horrendously Inflammatory Blog Post

4 Dec

Dear White People,

it happened again. Another murderer got away because of white skin and a shiny badge. We drive around with our white skin and our shiny cars, mere passersby to injustice on the streets. We sit in our white houses with our shiny lives and ignore the systematic burning of a people to the ground. In both Missouri and New York, we like our white snow and our shiny presents, having the luxury of not caring that outside, it’s cold. We’ve got our white skin and our shiny privilege. We don’t have to worry about frostbite.

Look, I know. I know. I make generalizations. White people are also poor. White people are kind. White people suffer. White people care.

White people built this whole fucking country to be poor in and to be kind in and to suffer and care in ’cause we stole it from yet another people without our skin tone.

We established that this was the best country, our country, and disallowed anyone else access to that pronoun. Even when we shipped human beings over like Fedex two-week arrival packages. “Here, Mary Sue, I got you a nice black girl to help you and Ma with your dresses.” “But Daddy, I wanted the other black girl, with the different nose!”

It is horrible. It is insensitive. It is true.

Slaves could be shot for trying to run away. Apparently this is still true when it comes to white police masters. And those police will not be indicted, because after all, they were just trying to subdue their property. They know what those black skins are like. You can’t reason with them. Just gotta bring ’em down, bloodshed be damned. It was their own damn fault for running away and resisting anyway.

Please excuse me while I go vomit. Alternatively while I go chop off my fingers, because they hate themselves for ever having to write those words.

White people, this is who we are. Maybe not you, individually. But as a people, this is what we have filled history with stories of. This is the name we have made for ourselves.

And I really don’t fucking like it.

We try to make a difference. We volunteer. We tweet. We write fucking blog posts. But none of these are going to pry the arms off the neck of a dead black man. And in the end, that’s really what we needed to do. Before the suffocation even happened.

I am a thin, white female. If a man tried to touch me and I screamed at him not to, but he persisted anyway, it would be the police’s job to come and save me, because in my case, that man’s actions would have been labelled assault. The police damn well know there are other ways to arrest a noncompliant but nonviolent person. And no way in hell do they want the upper-middle class parents of a white girl coming after them and saying one of their male officers assaulted me. Noooo way in hell would they let that come even close to happening.

Change me into a black man and apparently none of that matters anymore.

If a man held me down and suffocated me after I’d screamed and screamed that I couldn’t breathe, and the coroner fucking ruled it a homicide, there would indictments and apologies from the police department and a mass outcry at the unthinkable wretchedness of it all. I would be a martyr, not an example. That police officer wouldn’t even get to be a mall cop. He’d be in jail. Twenty-five years to life.

Change the color of my skin and my genitalia, and apparently this all isn’t even worth a trial.

This is not justice. This is bias, prejudice, flat out hatred in our goddamn justice system.

What do you do when the laws are broken?

What do you do when we are broken?

And what do you do when that brokenness causes us to break other people?

Kill them, even.

I don’t know what to do. I wish I did. Apologies stopped cutting it about twenty black-victim homicides ago. But… I don’t know how to make us better. I as an individual am trying to do the damn best I can to check my privilege and help as appropriate. I know there are others, hordes of others, who are doing the same. But apparently these hordes are not in the justice system. Or if they are, apparently they decided that the tougher incidences like these are when they should sit down and shut up and pretend like suffocating a black man who uses words like “please,” “officer,” and “sir” is a perfectly reasonable things to do.

I don’t know how to prod us all in the back, to fucking wake us up any time we’re being idiots or accomplices to murder. We’ve lost all the sticks because we made our slaves bundle them up and throw them into our hearth fires a long time ago. We, the collective we, white people, have made this a country of white people first, everyone else be damned if you haven’t made yourself as otherwise white as possible. And it’s not okay. This is so fucking not okay.

We said we were founding this country on equality and justice. We’ve got about two hundred and thirty eight years that say that’s not what we did. White people, we have failed.

Maybe it’s time we got the fuck out. Literally, metaphorically… I don’t know. But nobody else seems to either, because we’ve got a two hundred and thirty-eight year old problem here.

And when everything is white and shiny, it’s hard to see through the glare and notice that.

The economic meritocracy is broken. Let’s ditch.

15 Nov
I here the internet likes cats and infographics.

I hear the internet likes cats.

The world can’t be a meritocracy; the reward system isn’t even.

By which I mean, there’s a whole lot of disparity in the way that the world’s resources get distributed. Where “resources” means food, water, shelter, medicine, money – and pretty much everything else.

Guys, this is not ok.

So, call me a crazy anarchist hippy, or whatever political term of undearment (yes, spelling is intentional) you prefer, but generally, I think that people should pretty much be able to do whatever they want, as long as it’s not hurting other people (or, you know, themselves) in the short or long term. Yes, sure, go out and spend your money however you want, as long as you’re not buying mass amounts of mercenaries or heroine or something.

But, well, purchases are not made in isolation. And unfortunately, it appears that how we spend the resources of the world around us is currently a zero-sum game. Which means that while you’re not directly hurting anyone by buying your second mansion – or second latte – there are other people who because you made that purchase instead of giving the money (or the resource it could have bought) to them aren’t able to get their kid’s dinner, or their wife’s medication.

Now, I’m not saying “go out and donate every fucking chance you get.” There are waaaaay too may organizations out there, for just about every cause there is, for donating to every single one of them to do much good. Not all organizations are made equal, and not all money goes straight to funding what you thought it was. And besides, I get that not everybody out there has spare change to give. It’s okay for people to want to maintain a reasonably enjoyable standard of life. This is not entirely a “people don’t give enough money away” problem – it’s a corruption and inefficiency and societal structure problem as well.

But… still, on a pretty fundamental level, it is a problem with the way people spend money. There are tons of people out there who far surpass the “reasonably enjoyable standard of life” level. Millionaires. Billionaires. Hundreds-of-thousands-aires.

And then there’s our government. Oh god, our government. I’m referring specifically to the one that sits around most of the day in an air-conditioned building in Washington, DC (except for when they, you know, decide they don’t want to talk to each other anymore for a few weeks…), though what I’m about to say is probably true for pretty much every government. The US head haunchos collect so much fucking money every year, largely in the form of taxes from the lower and middle class, and is absolutely terrible at spending it. Because instead of funding domestic aid programs and poverty-prevention programs and welfare options for women fleeing abuse and higher salaries for teachers and a whole bunch of other things that might actually help relieve a lot of the poverty and homelessness in this country, it’s somehow more necessary that the government buy even shinier weapons for our military (because apparently wars are won through an our-technological-dicks-are-bigger-than-yours contest or something…), even as we by and large forget about the actual military people after they’re done shooting guns at non-Americans.

But anyhoo. That’s a really long rant, and there’s still a slightly different direction that I’d actually prefer to take this.

Let’s discuss a solution.

Vaguely.

Now, what I’m about to propose may sound like heresy. And yes, I understand that it would involve massive global reform, all the way from the level of the government down to local NGO’s, but with the understanding that I’m taking the spherical cow physics problem approach here, let’s move forward.

So – what if we just finally sucked it up and decided that we are in fact living as a collective pool of humans with a collective pool of resources, instead of a bunch of individuals who just don’t give a fuck about anyone we don’t actually have to deal with, as long as we can have that second latte every day?

I know it may sound like “raging dangerous communism,” but what if we had a “third party” (NOT our government, which already sucks at just doing its own job) decide who’s getting taxed how much and how all of that collective money is being spent (I know, I know, oh god, all the logistics), and see if we can’t do a better job of spreading around our polio vaccinations and PB&J’s?

“But I don’t need the government telling me how to spend my money!” Oh how many times I’ve heard this one. I understand. Yes, you have worked hard for that money. And it’s not optimal that someone else would take some away. But you did not make that money in a vacuum. And because all the collective money-spenders of the world haven’t seemed to do much besides make things worse while they’ve been running around without anyone really telling them what to do with all their dollars and cents, it’s time someone steps in and tells them how to clean this all up.

Think about it. How similar does this all sound to a belligerent teenager with a messy room? Yes, he knows his room is starting to sprout its own ecosystem, but it’s Friday night and there’s a party, and he’s worked hard on his homework all week, so doesn’t he deserve to go out and have a little fun?!

You know what that teenager’s mom is going to do? She’s going to tell him that he already had a little fun at that other party last week, that she’s been asking him to clean his room for weeks now, and since he still hasn’t done it, she’s freezing his assets – a.k.a. the car keys – until he’s learned to show proper respect for the rest of the people living in his house and not let his room turn into the source of a house-wide mold infection – or at least get rid of whatever rancid pizza box is causing that retched stench. And – if the teenager’s got a particularly vindictive mother – that mom might even tell her son that hey, his sister hasn’t been able to use the car for three weeks, so it’s her turn to have the keys anyway, never mind that he’s paying more towards the car insurance and gets better grades than she does. Because we were all supposed to learn share back in, like, kindergarten. And when you live in a collective, whether it’s a family of four or a world of almost seven billion, you base resource distribution on the recognition that there is another human being standing before you, not on what kind of “productivity value” has been arbitrarily assigned them by the luck of the draw that is existence. Because think about it in terms of a family; if members were given resources based on how much economic productivity they contributed to the family, live-in grandpas and hospital-bound newborns would be shit outta luck.

Because again, you can’t make the world a meritocracy when its reward system is broken. In the urban US, working 50 hours a week might get you enough to pay for a nice studio apartment, eat out a few times a week, and take a yearly vacation. In rural Pakistan, working 50 hours a week will get you a sore back, a sunburn, and oh man, your kids didn’t starve to death! Though oh hey, your medication-less wife did still die of a totally treatable infection…

So, how about until we’ve managed to become responsible global teenagers and cleaned up the world’s resource disparity, we freeze some people’s assets, reallocate what we have, and create a mother figure (you know, crowd-sourcing knowledge is a thing…) who can tuck in all the respective governments for a nap until they stop throwing hissy fits and learn to share better? Sound like a plan?

Yes, I know, it would be almost impossibly difficult.

But then again, people said that about airplanes too.

Did I mention that I just bought tickets for a flight on Monday?

 

 

Feel like shouting yet? The awesome Harry Potter Alliance has a plan (Hunger Games-based, brilliantly enough) to make some noise at our own Capitol about how we feel about all this economic inequality:

http://oddsinourfavor.org/