ISO: 1,000 Voices for Compassion

Reblogged for folks who live in the Pacific, because my mobile tells me it is a good time to post for Sydney! Major announcement about the comics schedule coming tomorrow.

Just Gene'O

Updated: The publication date is Feb. 20. The hashtag to use if you want to help this along is #1000Speak. (01/13)

I’ll make this quick. I’ve signed on to a project to get 1,000 bloggers to write about compassion and publish the pieces all on the same day. You are invited. The posting date has not been set and I have no idea how long it will take to find the 1K bloggers.

I already have my post idea. Once the date is set, I will make a decision about whether I can deliver or not. The writing schedule is TIGHT right now. Even if I can’t join in with a post, I’m giving this as much social media support as I can manage. There will be a hashtag, I am sure. And you know how much I love some hashtags. 😀

Here’s a Facebook group if you are…

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Join us for a Feminist Friday discussion of healthcare.

Video

We’re having an open discussion in four hours at Part Time Monster. We’re talking about how contraceptives are not just for preventing pregnancy and how they benefit women in tons of other ways. And how they are a medical treatment that your employer should not be allowed to deny you.

If you’re just going to bed, or just waking up and have a busy work day ahead of you, no worries. Chime in when you have time, and we’ll answer.

We’ve been doing Feminist Friday discussions since March. We do them because we want people to talk to us about their experiences with sexism. We care about it. Given the fact that our constitutional court just placed contraception in a legal category by itself and made it subject to the whims of religious belief; and that a goodly portion of corporate America is poised to take advantage of the loophole, we are feeling a little beleaguered.

Talk to us about this. We need all the wisdom we can muster.

Lawyers, Guns and Money, is what I am saying. Equal parts honest desperation and  pointing out the ridiculousness of it all. We are just people. We have privileges but no real power. Our legal code is the only thing that prevents us from being ground to a pulp, and the highest court in the land has turned against us.

Talk to us. We’ll talk back.

Yes, words matter.

Gretchen at Drifting Through has an awesome post today, This Discrimination is Still OK, which I encourage you to read. She discusses the shaming of poor people and what it means to live in deep poverty, with an emphasis on how it affects children. She begins by introducing shaming, then talks about some egregious things a couple of politicians have said about poor people and a response to one of them in Salon. Then we get this:

The things people say when discussing the poor. They harken to Dickensian times. “Lazy. Victims. Takers.” These words are used to dehumanize an entire group of people. These words offer justification and comfort to those who wish to keep the poor exactly where they are. Poor people are fundamentally flawed, in character and morals. They don’t want to have better or to do better. They want a hand out or a hand up or a free ride. They enjoy this lifestyle. If they were motivated and ambitious and resourceful they wouldn’t be in this position. These are the statements that are repeated. They are hollow excuses for disdain. They are the rationalization for judgment. They are the lame attempts to lift oneself higher while stepping callously on the backs of those already crippled with exhaustion. They are the words of bullies.

In my opinion, that absolutely nails a big part of the problem. In a single paragraph we clearly see how derogatory labeling enables dehumanization and sets the stage for bullying. I’ve said this in other places, but never so succinctly. Language matters and here’s why. Language shapes our thoughts, and our thoughts inform our behavior. The next paragraph goes a step further and talks about the importance of empathy.

You know I don’t ask for shares outright, but I’ll say this. Gretchen’s post is one I’d really like to see passed around. 😉

This post really got me thinking, for two reasons:

  • Poverty is one of three social issues I identified months ago as both pressing enough to justify political commentary on a pop culture blog and something I have enough knowledge of to write about. It’s the only one of the three I haven’t gotten around to covering yet.
  • Gretchen’s post makes me think of our Feminist Friday discussions. Aside from a couple of obvious things like her use of shaming to talk about this, and that she’s talking about children while I’m racking my brain on early childhood education, I’m not sure why I feel the two issues are so strongly connected. I’m just working on intuition at this point, but I’ll figure it out.

And speaking of  Feminist Friday, I’ve been torn all week about whether to write the next education post or whether to talk about Feminism as a label again. There are advantages to either. Several people have said re-visiting the label is a good idea, because quite a few people have joined the discussion lately, and it keeps coming up. So I think I’ll do that this week.

Our very first discussion post, Is Feminism Still a Politically Useful Label? was published almost three months ago and we haven’t talked much about the label since. My goal for Friday is to build on that post rather than simply reiterate it in different language. Do stay tuned.

Yes, Hashtags Are Helping.  Or: Why Shonda Rhimes Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

I wanted to reblog this much earlier. I take Rose’s view of hashtags, and this is my favorite post in a week when I’ve read a ton of good posts. Hashtags are tools, and they’re handy as long as you’re mindful of their limitations and smart about using them. You can’t change the world with just hashtags, but they certainly help. For people interested in activism, dismissing hashtags outright is like taking your home toolkit and throwing out the 3/8-inch wrench because it doesn’t work on 1/2-inch bolts. And we shouldn’t assume that just because people are tweeting to hashtags about social issues, that’s the only thing they’re doing about them.