Dehumanization in the Age of Globalization

You can’t shut off darkness, but you can provide light. You can’t kill violence, but you can birth and nurture peace. You can’t impeach every politician, but you can become one or volunteer for one. You can’t eradicate all the terrorists, but you can build strong ties across many different borders…

Trigger warning: all of them. Mentioned, but never in detail. 

I don’t believe we’re born with the innate ability to dehumanize another person, I think it’s taught. Hurt people hurt people, dehumanized people dehumanize people. It springs from many wells and hides behind many masks: severe mental illness, religious extremism, a bad upbringing. Whether it’s a knife or a gun or a van or a bomb, to commit an act of mass violence with the purpose of taking as many lives with you as possible before being taken down requires you to sever all ties to your own humanity, and/or that of others. Quite often, there’s a belief-system that goes along with that, be it your own or that of a larger group.

It spans all scales and levels of society – rape, terrorism, slavery, partisan politics. You dehumanize others in order to follow an ideology that you believe not just benefits you, but protects you and perhaps those you care about. You pick a side. Then, you either decide that you have an elevated status, above human, or that others have a demoted status, below human. Or both. 

But if you look at a newborn baby, could you ever tell if they’d develop that type of ideology on their own? What would cause them to turn their back on their own species? Could they really be born not seeing the value in other humans? No, because they need other humans to survive for so long. It would either have to be words passed down through a vehicle (family lore, religion, fiction, outright lies), or come from having had a horrible experience with someone who, to them, represents a certain group. Or both. 

 Violence brings an endless cycle of pain and retaliation, and on it will go until the end of humanity. Literally. We kill their children in the name of ________, they kill our children in the name of ________. Maybe if we stop killing each other’s children, we wouldn’t be in so much pain all the damn time. It’s always justifiable to someone, though. And that’s sad, because that clearly doesn’t work. We hear it over and over, “violence begets violence”, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”, “the best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury”, “you can’t fight fire with fire”. Hitting them back is only going to make them hit back. It’s a downward spiral of violence until someone eventually decides, “Enough is enough! This life (or this group of lives) needs to be wiped out! They’re irredeemable.” POWs, death penalty, air-strikes, shoot-to-kill, genocide, terrorist attacks, BAM! Dehumanized. 

Here’s an ugly, high-road pill to swallow: we really have to stop dehumanizing the Commander-in-Cheeto. The Evil Orange. The father of all Oompah Loompahs. Why? Because the silly names and vilification do 2 things – 1) they give him the perceived power of something otherworldly, which he is not, he’s just another human, one of literally billions, and 2) it teaches the next generation that if you disagree with someone, even on a fundamental way of life, you can simply write them off as “other”. This is where we begin to self destruct, because then we can say horrible things about them and do horrible things to them because “they aren’t one of us”. I can’t stress it enough. We. Are. All. Human. We give… GIVE each other different positions of power and social statutes, most of which were made up centuries ago by a bunch of angry runaways who landed on a different continent and made up the rules as they went, but guess what? We’re all still human. So were they. We really have to figure that out sooner rather than later. 

All social justice movements have the same message: we’re human, we’re tired of being the “other”, and we demand to be treated as equals. All genocides have the same message: we’re superior, you are the “other”, and you must be eradicated. All terrorism has the same message: we are superior, you are the “other”, BUT we know we don’t have the means to eradicate you, so we’re going to randomly hurt you until you give us what we want or leave. 

It’s a scary time in the world, as some try protect and enforce invisible boundaries and ancient ideologies, but this is when we need to dig in and ask ourselves, “How can I make a REAL difference?” The Facebook platitudes and condolences aren’t enough, sadly. So what can you feasibly do? 

You can’t shut off darkness, but you can provide light. You can’t kill violence, but you can birth and nurture peace. You can’t impeach every politician, but you can become one or volunteer for one. You can’t eradicate all the terrorists, but you can build strong ties across many different borders, so that maybe one day, a could-have-been terrorist says, “Oh no… I can’t kill these people. They remind me of _______, and we have things in common. I love _______, and _______ has never hurt me. What am I doing???” You have the power to humanize a group.

In London, Kabul, Manila, Mosul, and Mawari, they are afraid and in mourning today. All because someone cut their and others’ ties with humanity. Every day, thousands die at the hands of other people who have done this too. While we do not have the capacity within us to mourn the death of every one of them individually, we can use the pain we feel for some to propel us towards meaningful change for all. 

One last time, for the folks in the back: We’re all human. 

Your womb belongs to us: Depression, Helplessness, and Pregnancy

It can come from so many places. One at a time, or all at once. The second the word is out that life is stirring in your womb, your body shifts ownership, or so the world thinks. On the front lines is usually your partner, if they’re in the picture.

You talk it out… maybe. Maybe they’re excited, maybe they’re terrified. Maybe they decide this isn’t for them, and they walk. This amazing ball of cells growing inside your body has suddenly taken control of your relationships.

If you choose to go ahead with your pregnancy, you then put your body in the hands of a professional. Literally. Whether it’s a doctor or a midwife, that person is meant to check in with you, inform you of what’s taking place in your body, and give you options for whatever the next step is. Ideally, you trust them. Ideally, you trust their advice, their judgement, and their abilities. Ideally.

I remember my first couple OBGYN appointments. 9 weeks, a lot of questionnaires, few smiles, many nurses. Then there was the state-mandated STI testing. “And because you’re under 25, you have to have another test at 24 weeks,”… Excuse me? And I have to pay for this? After being left in the room alone, which was the only signal to the end of my appointment, I had more questions about… pregnancy in general. They tell you not to Google everything and trust them. “I’m very busy. Are they pertinent questions?” Are you kidding me? At the next appointment, the doctor came in and rattled off a series of questions I’d just spent 10 minutes answering on paper. He paused, so I chuckled, “Ok, now I have some questions for you!” I said. “No. YOU don’t get to ask your questions until I’M done,” He said without looking up. That’s when I walked. I was not going to be treated that way throughout the most important and difficult months of my life thus far. Right there, in that room, is where the pregnant mother begins to lose control.

Then there’s the family-factor. You make the announcement, a grand gesture or an intimate reveal, sharing your new vulnerability with the world, opening the floodgates for love, hate, and everything in between. Family member opinions can really start to embed themselves in your psyche.

“My mother thinks it’s disgusting that I wear a fitted shirt with my big belly. I just got some looser blouses,” She said.

“My dad freaked out every time I ate sushi. He actually micromanaged and criticized every meal we ate around them, it was unbearable,” She said.

“My grandma wouldn’t talk to me for a week after she saw me have a glass of wine. It really hurt,” She said.

Sometimes they’re genuine concern and love, combined with some rusty communication skills, but mostly, it’s a LOT of control and entitlement. As you progress – or sometimes, right from the start – the discussion starts centering around birth. When, where, how, who??? And then, inevitably, no matter what you say, “WHY?”

When are you due?” Then, until you’ve made an official world-wide announcement, it’s Why aren’t they here yet???” and “Why didn’t you tell me first?”

Then there’s location. “Where are you giving birth?” For the vast majority of the population, it’s X hospital’s maternity ward. You’d think that would be enough, but no.

Why don’t you go to the hospital I went to?” or “Why that one? The other one is nicer.”

And heaven forbid you choose anything other than a hospital, because the questions will multiply. “Why wouldn’t you give birth in a hospital? Why would you take that risk?” For me, it was because, once I walked from my doctor’s office, I delved into the research world of birth, and once informed, it was ultimately MY “risk” to take, and I liked my chances.

Of course, there’s the intimate detail of How. “How are you going to deliver? Are you going to get an epidural? Are you going to have a c-section? Are you going to birth in a tub? Are you going to walk?” The amount of interest and stress family members invest in this process can get overwhelming, and discouraging.

“My mother-in-law thinks a VBAC is a terrible idea, she says I’m risking her grandchild’s life. Now I’m not so sure I can do it,” She said.

“My sister told me not to be a ‘hero’ and just take the drugs,” She said.

“My dad keeps sending me these articles about the risks of water-birth. My hospital allows it, but he thinks it awful,” She said.

“I really want a c-section because I tore so bad last time. I’m TERRIFIED of what will happen this time, but my Mom said she had all natural births, and that major abdominal surgery will ruin me forever. She calls every day to remind me,” She said.

Why don’t you want an epidural? You know birth hurts like hell, right? You’re not strong enough for that! We know you! Don’t be a martyr, you’ll never make it!” Was what my family told me.

Forget the media; family members can harp enough to scare the baby right out of you. No joke. But it gets worse.

The matter of WHO is the #1 biggest source of stress I’ve heard from pregnant mothers. Who is going to be at the birth?

“I have no idea who my doctor will be during delivery. I’m afraid I’ll get the ones I don’t like, but there are so many in the practice, there’s no way to know who I’ll get,” She said.

“My doctor got really upset when I said I was considering a doula. She kept telling me how they weren’t medical professionals, and they’ll just get in the way,” She said.

“My mother-in-law insists she’ll be there. I’m really not comfortable with that, but it’s a [tradition, cultural thing, personal thing]. My husband won’t say anything, my anxiety is through the roof…” She said.

During my first pregnancy, I was repeatedly told by family and friends that I was selfish for wanting it to be simply my midwives and husband there when I delivered. Too bad. I was told I’d be a monster if I didn’t let my mother be there with me. Too bad. I was told she’d been there for the birth of all of her other grandchildren. Too bad. I was laughed at and told my wishes would be ignored, and she’d be here as soon as she found out I was in labor. Nope.

“Then I won’t tell you,” I said. And I didn’t. I called hours later to announce the birth of a healthy, happy baby.

I say it now like it didn’t take months of therapy, panic attacks, and sobbing trying to sort out what it meant to be an adult with boundaries. Even with family. Especially with family. Pregnancy is the most important time to define yourself as an individual, funny enough.

We either talk about peripartum and post-partum depression as though they’re simply out of our hands and require drugs, or they’re completely in our hands and we just need to ‘get outside and walk a little more’. Right. Hormones end up being the scapegoat for everything, when they’re really just following the blueprint. Of course they play a role; they’re meant to make you more protective, more alert, and more connected to this creation your body is working so diligently to grow. Sometimes, yes, the hormones get knocked off-kilter by the environment, or were genetically predisposed to go haywire, but there’s so much more to this level of helplessness pregnant women (and new mothers) feel. It involves so much more than sticking a diagnosis on it and throwing pills at it. When there’s a loving, encouraging support network in place for a pregnant mom, so many of these stresses can be alleviated.

And of course, when a woman is expected to put in the time and effort to grow another human for 9 months and somehow get it out of her body and into the world, she gets a little anxious when you say she only has 6 weeks of unpaid time off of work before she need to drop said helpless human off with strangers to take care of it for 8-10 hours a day. Imagine toiling over a work project for 9 months, only to be told that, a few weeks after its deployment, someone else would be taking over primary responsibility. Someone who’s multitasking 5 projects at once, who may or may not be skilled in the field, and who has zero attachment to your project, other than they’ll get in trouble if they let something bad happen to it. Oh, and you get the night shift. Just imagine.

So, what could it be like? I’ve heard it. I’ve seen it!

“He asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, what do you mean what do I want to do? It’s what do WE want to do?'” She said. And they were excited.

“My doctor told me I could birth in whatever position I wanted, and that she’d be there no matter what,” She said. And she was relieved.

“My in-laws said they’d give us time to bond and come over 2 weeks after the baby was born, to help out around the house,” She said. And they did.

“I had my baby at home, and my mom and sister were both there for the birth. It was perfect,” She said. And it was.

My TEDx Day: Trauma, Resilience, ACEs, and Life

You guys… I had the most serendipitous day yesterday, you wouldn’t even believe it. I kid you not, by the end of the day I was shitting rainbows. Jake and I went to TEDx Charlotte, held this year at Central Piedmont Community College’s Halton Theater, in the Overcash building, and it was an incredible experience. We couldn’t get a babysitter for A, our youngest, so we chose which talks we were most interested in, brought her along, and swapped off during breaks. The food was great, the people were great, the weather was great, I couldn’t have asked for more, and yet I got so much more.

First of all, I made a few new friends. The diversity of the TEDx crowd was heartwarming, and there was this sprinkle of magic in the air that made all of our differences our strengths, and our similarities these invisible ties. It was lovely! The woman who sat next to me turned out to be right about the same age as me, married, no kids, working in the corporate world. While I tried to ask others “what brought you to this talk?” as opposed to “what do you do?” or “where do you work?”, I still got asked those a fair bit. I was there simply for the awesomeness of TED, but I decided this was my opportunity to pitch my latest idea to the world. My answer was, “Right now I run the house and take care of the girls, and I’m also working on this new trauma-informed parenting peer group idea I have.” I don’t know what response I expected, but that phrase, “trauma-informed parenting peer group” made everyone lean in. Their eyes widened, “Tell me more…”.

Anyway, that’s the reaction I got from this first new friend of mine, and we talked a lot about personal growth, and adversities. She told me she happens to be at the beginning of her own journey of self-discovery, thinking about how the past and her upbringing has influenced her, and suddenly we were elbow-deep in psychobabble. Then, she posed a question that made me stop in my tracks, she asked me: “Why do you think our generation is so determined to dig into our pasts and our traumas to fix ourselves, and why didn’t past generations prioritize it?” I know, the “generationl faults” talk is a sensitive one. Don’t run away yet! Stay, please. I thought about it for a minute, and then said, “Well, maybe it’s just because we can. Many of us now have the luxury of having our base survival needs met, so we’re not in constant fight or flight mode. Maybe it’s just Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” And we both froze. She knew the term, but for those who don’t, the Hierarchy is a pyramid of human needs, which goes from bottom to top like this: physiological (air, food, water, clothing, shelter, sex [for the survival of species – don’t have it if you don’t want to] ), safety (absence due to war, domestic violence, abuse, PTSD, personal security, financial security, health & wellbeing), love & belonging (family, friends, intimacy), esteem (confidence, self worth, respect of others, self-respect), and the top, self-actualization (realizing one’s full potential).

So, the idea is, if you can’t build the bottom of the pyramid, you will have a hard time moving up it, and if your base is unstable but you still make it to the top, you’ll be much more likely to have the entire thing collapse on you. I mean seriously, would you stand at the top of a shotty pyramid? It just makes sense that you’ll struggle to realize your full potential if you don’t have food or security or other human connections, because those foundational needs will be your brain’s major focus. Some of the Western world is seeing that they’re closer to the next step in the pyramid, so they’re reaching for it. Granted, poverty stunts this, and we have a system that keeps the lowest down, but for those of us above the poverty line, the idea that we could build our way to the top of the pyramid is starting to feel more tangible. Gen X and the Millennials are raising kids now, and thanks to the evolution of society, we are moving up the pyramid. The thing is, we’re only, by my estimation, just coming out of making “safety” our highest priority.

The Greatest Generation had it rough: When you’re worrying about the government taking your sons in the draft, or losing a child to polio, you don’t really have time for, “Hmmm, how do I make sure my child has enough fulfilling experiences today?” They yelled and probably beat the everloving shit out of them to keep them safe, because “Dammit, we didn’t manage to keep you alive through all of that to have you go do something stupid and end it early!!!” Was it right? Nope, but that’s the level they were working on. Then, you get a generation that was raised to believe you must hit and suppress kids to teach them and keep them safe, but they don’t quite know why. They faced their own issues as adults, like suffering through multiple financial crises, large-scale terrorist attacks, the invention of the 24hr news cycle (don’t kid yourself, that shit is damaging and devisive as hell), and a few of their own enlistment (yet highly expected and pressured) wars. On top of that, they fought to get us the human rights we have today. We wouldn’t be talking about anyone repealing Roe v. Wade without those actually involved. So now, those aren’t our (the middle-class Western world’s) problems anymore. Today, we’re worried about proper nutrition, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about a national shortage of food. We’re worried about safe brain development for our kids, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about having them eaten or mauled by bears. Hey, there was a time.

I’m not trying to dismiss the things our current generation is fighting for – just the opposite, I want to encourage them – which brings me right back to my new friend’s question: “Why do you think our generation is so determined to dig into our pasts and our traumas to fix ourselves, and why didn’t past generations prioritize it?” Because our generation can, and their generations couldn’t, but they got us to the point where we can, so we absolutely should. AND because, in lieu of the draft and famine and bears, our fight or flight brains are identifying and targeting new threats to our society and our children. To us, our own traumas feel just as threatening as polio or a bear because they’re working on the same pathways in our brains. For those not worrying regularly about actually being able to eat and feed our families, abuse is our bear. Those just trying to make ends meet can absolutely raise their children in a calm, gentle, trauma-free way, but they have far more obstacles to overcome, simply because their brains are prioritizing things like keeping a roof over everyone’s head, as they should be. Sadly, there are still too many people living that way.

My analogy about the bear comes from my new idol, Dr Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician in California, and quite frankly, a superhero. Dr Burke Harris is fighting tooth and nail to bring something called ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) to the forefront of Western medicine. Very briefly (because she explains it better), in the late 90s, the CDC and Kaiser Permanente sent predominantly white, middle- and upper-class, college-educated, health-insured Americans a survey about their upbringings.

**Trigger warning, all the triggers, and I’m not trying to be funny**

They created a way to measure 10 ACEs:

1) Physical, 2) sexual and 3) verbal abuse.

4) Physical and 5) emotional neglect.

6) A family member who is depressed  diagnosed with other mental illness; 7) addicted to alcohol or another substance; 8) in prison.

9) Witnessing a mother being abused.

10) Losing a parent to separation, divorce or other reason.

From Dr Burke Harris’ website, “The results of the ACE Study had two striking findings. First, ACEs are incredibly common—67 percent (2 out of 3 people) of the study population had at least one ACE and 13 percent (1 out of 8 people) of the population had four or more ACEs. Secondly, there was a dose-response relationship between ACEs and numerous health problems. This means that the more ACEs a child has, the higher the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression and cancer.” Let that sink in.

They’ve since added many more factors. The study also found that the negative effects on one’s health are not necessarily due to the fact that these individuals might drink, smoke, overeat, or do other drugs at a higher rate. No, it’s because, as you’ll see in Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk (yes, you will watch it), if you experience those things regularly as a child, your brain is stuck in survival mode, being pumped full of fear hormones, making your heart race, tensing up your body, and getting you ready to fight or run… as if you’re being chased by a lion. Every day.

There are also resilience factors that help mitigate the effects of ACEs.

1) Believing your mother loved you as a child

2) Believing your father loved you as a child

3) Having people other than mother and father, who you believe loved you, take care of you sometimes as a child

4) Hearing stories that when you were an infant, others enjoyed spending time with you, and that you also enjoyed it

5) You had relatives who made you feel better if you were sad or worried as a child

6) Neighbors or parents’ friends seemed to like you as a child

7) Teachers, coaches, youth leaders, or ministers were there to help you as a child

8) Someone in your family cared how you were doing in school

9) Family, neighbors, and friends talked often about making life better

10) You had rules in your house you were expected to abide by

11) When you felt bad, you could almost always find someone you trusted to talk to

12) People noticed you were capable and could get things done as a youth

13) You were an independent self-starter

14) You believed that life is what you make it

These are things we all need to be highly aware of because our ACEs are our new lions, our new triggers, our new threats. They will kill us young if we don’t deal with them ourselves, and we risk repeating the cycle with our children. It’s a hard road to go down, but if you can, you should. You can get your ACE and Resilience scores here.

Right, so that was all a product of one interaction I had. One. I had about six other conversations that were equally as enriching, and moved me more towards implementing this trauma-informed parenting group. I talked a LOT of trauma talk, which has been happening more and more with friends and strangers lately, and I think that’s a very healing, cathartic thing. Jake met another Canadian, who introduced me to his wife, who works with mental health and substance dependence patients to help them through their trauma, due to her own traumatic past. A (the toddler) befriended a bunch of young college students, guys and girls, who absolutely turned to mush when they saw her. They talked about their nephews and nieces and cousins and parenting, and they said how important they think it is to do it right and to know how to parent effectively and treat your child with respect. I was shocked! They held A, huge smiles pasted across their faces, and she was totally content. I ran into an old acquaintance (Tracey Moore, or Dr King himself, for those who know him) who works at CPCC’s main campus, and told him about someone else’s idea for a course we want to collaborate on. He walked A and I up to an office that he thought would like to hear the pitch, and they were intrigued so they sent me to another guy, who put down what he was doing and walked us over to a woman he really thought might want to hear what I had to say. She wants to get this other idea off the ground in the Spring, but more to come on that later.

Easily, the most incredible conversation I had was with one of the presenters. I got to talk to (well, ermm, I was pretty persistent) Charles Hunt, who was the only one to silence the entire auditorium with the power of his talk on resilience through childhood adversity. Charles founded Audacity Firm, where he does coaching and workshops to help people grow (either individually or for corporations bettering employee relations) through resilience, teaching you to have the AUDACITY to not let your trauma own you. Pretty bad ass, no? He took pictures of my notes, saying he was humbled, and that it would help him know what was really resonating with people. Smart guy. I’d been telling him about my course and I said, “One of the portions is going to include working through Nadine Burke Harris’ ACEs.” He looked at me, then shook his head a little. “Do you… know what ACEs are?” I asked him. He did not. Suddenly, I had something to offer HIM, something he didn’t know, but that wasn’t even the most… well, humbling part. When I explained it all and it sunk in, he said, “Wow, that would explain my [health problem, because I don’t even think he expected to say that, and it’s not my place to put it here].” Yeah, he may incorporate the statistics from ACEs into his strategy to help others, and that would be great, but I may have just opened a whole new path for him to research his own health, and change his life trajectory, so that he can live longer to help others, and continue to heal his own trauma. Now THAT was fucking amazing. Plus, he’s willing to collaborate, or help me a little with this parenting project. At the very least, we’ll pay him to be a speaker. So, there’s that.

Whew, I think that’s all I have to say right now. Here’s a link to all the talks. All of the speakers are local, and all are looking to share ideas and collaborate. Seriously, I talked to about 1/3 of them and they’re really amazing people. I know I’ll definitely be attending another TEDx. Now that I’ve dropped that huge mind bomb theory on you, try not to contemplate it too hard, and have a great weekend!

Gun or no Gun, Keith Scott was NOT “Going Armed to the Terror of the People”

​Laws, right? In the wake of Keith Scott’s death, I’ve been very outspoken, and I’ve heard alot of arguments on both sides. There are definitely some bullshit arguments, let’s go over one of them. 

“According to NC open carry law, holding your weapon in your hand is considered Going Armed to the Terror of the People. So, you know, he deserved it.” 

Let’s see what the law says, shall we? 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.3.

6. Going Armed To The Terror Of The People 

“By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm him/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others. The North Carolina Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Therefore, persons are cautioned as to the areas they frequent with firearms.”

Let’s assume, for a minute, everything the city has said about Kieth Scott’s death is true. Nowhere in the statute does it say, “Sitting in your parked car, on private property on which you live, smoking a joint, while also holding your own personal firearm is a violation of this statute.” 

EVEN IF HE HAD A GUN, he wasn’t on a public highway. He wasn’t even in public property. He certainly wasn’t causing terror to others until he supposedly pointed the gun at the police (which we have yet to see any evidence of).

Alright, let’s assume Scott was actually guilty of “Going Armed to the Terror of the People”. What’s the punishment for that? 

Class 1 misdemeanor. G.S. 14-3(a). What’s that mean? 

“If the offense is a misdemeanor for which there is no classification, it is as classified in G.S. 14-3”.

These particular offenses are benign enough, and so widely varied, that the punishment is up to the courts. You follow? Ok. 
Now, they do have… some parameters around imprisonment and fines for non-classified misdemeanors. 

G.S. 14-3(a)(1)

(1) If that maximum punishment is more than six months imprisonment, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor

G.S. 15A-1340.23 (b)

The amount of the fine for a Class 1 misdemeanor and a Class A1 misdemeanor is in the discretion of the court.

That is it. That is everything NC has to say about brandishing a weapon in public. In public. In a threatening manner. On the streets. It’s not even a felony, and it’s CERTAINLY not a curbside death sentence. 

What ended up happening with that man who waved his gun out his car window in a crowd uptown, during the protests? I know they called his license plate in to the police. I sincerely hope he is charged with Going Armed to the Terror of the People, and serves no less than 6 months in jail. 

Also, did you hear about that older gentleman in Wake County in July who was pointing his shotgun at cars on the highway, and when approached by the officer, pointed the shotgun at him? What happened to him? When he didn’t comply, the officer proceeded to tackle him, wrestling the gun from him, and took him in to be properly charged. I’m sure his family was happy he was taken alive. 

Please click the links to verify the *sigh* race of these two men. 

Always click the links.

Throw me another one, I dare you.

My Identity (Crisis)

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This last week-and-a-half, I’ve been pondering the mystery that is Rachel Dolezal, the President of the Spokane-Washington NAACP chapter, a woman who presented herself to be African-American but who was born very much caucasian. I read the news articles and thought, “That was stupid. She could have just been a white ‘sympathizer’ and still become the chapter president. Attention whore.” Thursday morning, I woke up to the tragic news of the Charleston terrorist attack on Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. For me, these two stories converged in a very unsettling, but ultimately cathartic way. Let me explain.

I am Afro-Peruvian. By birth. But I don’t speak much Spanish at all. I am also Canadian. By adoption. My parents are white. My adoptive parents. This week, I learned I’m transracial. Who knew? I live in North Carolina with my white husband and our white-but-tans-really-well daughter. A year ago, I found myself grappling with my own identity for the sake of my daughter; today, I’m doing it for myself.

Continue reading “My Identity (Crisis)”

Women’s Rights vs States’ Rights: The Ongoing Battle and How it Affects Birth Settings

Image by J. Costea Photography
Image by J. Costea Photography http://www.jcosteaphotography.com/

We are facing a national women’s crisis, and nobody’s willing to do anything about it. Is it because the operative word here is “women”? Because that’s what it feels like. In the US, the vast majority of women don’t have a choice as to where they are going to give birth because of the widespread belief among medical professionals and policy-makers in the US that only hospital births are safe. In reality, traditional, out-of-hospital settings, such as freestanding birth centers and home births, have been proven safer and cheaper for low-risk, healthy pregnant women. Countries with socialized medicine know this and are actively recommending it because healthy women having healthy babies in hospitals are a strain on their system, as they know it leads them to more unnecessary, costly interventions.

Continue reading “Women’s Rights vs States’ Rights: The Ongoing Battle and How it Affects Birth Settings”