It’s Time for Whites to Accept Responsibility for Racist Systems

Originally posted on TIME:

I and many other faith leaders came to Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday and Monday because of Michael Brown—an 18-year-old black teenager who, though unarmed, was shot and killed by a white police officer on August 9. My first thoughts when I heard the news were about my 16-year-old son Luke. I knew how unlikely it would be that this would ever happen to my white son in America.

Coming to Ferguson was about Michael Brown. But Ferguson has also become a parable for our nation. Jesus often told parables. A parable is just a story, but often one with a simple but important point.

The Ferguson parable is simply this: black lives in America are worth less than white lives—especially in our criminal justice system. And the parable of Ferguson rings true around the nation, with the many young black men who were and have been assaulted, shot and killed…

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Jennifer Lawrence’s Breasts Aren’t Sending Mixed Messages

Originally posted on TIME:

In a controversial, much-criticizedpost Wednesday on LinkedIn Pulse, business writer Bruce Kasanoff derided Jennifer Lawrence for daring to do the unthinkable (to him): bare her breasts in Vanity Fair magazine. Originally titled “Why Jennifer Lawrence’s Breasts Confuse Me” and later changed to “Why Jennifer Lawrence Confuses Me,” Kasanoff’s piece was riddled with ill-considered and outmoded ways of thinking about bodies, nudity and ownership of our stories. Kasanoff deleted the inflammatory article Thursday, telling Time.com via email, “My intention is to help people, not upset them.”

“If someone outraged me by publishing naked photos of my body, I’m pretty certain my next move would NOT be to then pose semi-naked for a national magazine, especially with a cockatoo,” Kasanoff wrote. As a man, Kasanoff will never know what it’s like to be a woman whose nude photos were stolen and leaked for the entire world to see, nor…

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Atheists Aren’t the Problem, Christian Intolerance Is the Problem

Aine Rayne:

I’d like to clarify that it’s fundamentalist intolerance that’s the problem.

Originally posted on TIME:

If Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s disparagement of atheists was just the ranting of a tinpot politician turned Fox News bloviator, it could be left without comment or fuss.

Unfortunately, not only does Huckabee have to be taken seriously as a possible Presidential candidate in 2016, but his suggestion that atheists who work for the government (primarily elected officials) be summarily “fired” is an applause line in too many quarters in the United States. That nonbelievers somehow deserve to be discriminated against is a view widely shared, particularly among Christian conservatives who seem to think “religion by the sword” is an oldie but a goodie.

This latest bit of hate was offered up – where else? – at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. The ritual hookup between Christian conservatives and Republican presidential aspirants is a right wing, Jesus-loves-us debauch of Homophobia, Intolerance and Militarism, a trifecta easily…

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The Problem with Cosplay Celebrity

Originally posted on Bitter Gertrude:

My husband and I are both 501st. My initial forays into cosplay were through the 501st, and I became an official member in 2007. We did local events. We did cons. And we branched out early on into other areas of cosplay.

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My husband and I out in front of our theatre. Photo by Cheshire Isaacs.

As someone who has always been a nerd, usually in the process of varying degrees of hiding my nerdiness, the cosplay scene was like a dream come true. I’d never been involved in a more openly nerdy, less judgmental activity. It was a way to express your enjoyment of a certain thing and enjoy it along with others. The accuracy, complexity, or creativity of the costume was paramount. I remember examining the craftmanship on one woman’s costume as she proudly told me she learned metalworking in order to create it.

Then . …

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A Project Idea

So, yesterday a friend posted an interesting article about a school district in Florida. Apparently, some conservatives and evangelicals made a big fuss to get Christian religious materials distributed in public schools. Well, the Satanic Church sued to allow their materials in, and the judge agreed that it would be unconstitutional to forbid their stuff while the Christian materials were allowed in. As such, the Satanic Church’s Children’s Activity Book was distributed to the students in the district.

My friend commented that he wished such an activity book existed for Kemetic kids. I couldn’t help myself and jumped up to say I’d be interested in making one. So, if anyone is interested in helping, give me a ring. More importantly, if any Kemetic parents have suggestions for what kind of things they want to see in such a book, please, please tell me!

There’s No Comparing Male and Female Harassment Online

Originally posted on TIME:

News about cyber-misogyny has steadily increased during the past year, since the publication of Amanda Hess’ “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” but many people challenge the notion that women’s online harassment is a matter of specific and particular concern. For example, a piece in the Daily Beast last week argued that men are harassed more often than women online. It’s a common refrain.

The starting point for the article, written by Cathy Young, is a recent survey by British think tank Demos that found that male celebrities are recipients of more abuse overall on Twitter than their female counterparts. This was a relatively narrow and unrepresentative study. There are many others documented in Danielle Citron’s new book, Hate Crimes in CyberSpace, that illustrate pronounced abusive sexism online.

In addition to the difficulty of comparing data sets of varying size and depth, however, comparing male…

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Shut Up Motherfucker, I’m Delicate Dammit

For some reason people (me included) just can’t grasp the fact that words mean things. The whole “sticks and stones” spiel always was, is and will be, total bullshit. Words fucking hurt. Sure, sticks and stones do break bones (there’s a reason you can stone and beat people to death), but words. Words can destroy you like a tap of a chisel against scattered rock. They can turn you into sand.

Words burrow into your heart like an insidious horde of termites. See, the thing about termites is that they leave your house full of holes. Millions of tiny holes that cause the wood to be hollow and weak. You wouldn’t even know until something collapsed, because they’re sneaky little bastards. And even when you eradicate them, your home is still ruined. Unsafe, unsound, capable of complete disintegration, at any moment on your head.

Words are termites. They crawl in unseen (or seen, depends on the words and who they’re coming from), and start chomping on you. They break down your bones to feed their thousands of offspring, they tear up your muscles to feed the queen. Your mind falls apart as they consume the juiciest tidbits and the support of your body fails. You might forget they’re there, and all the worse for you, because then you won’t know what’s picking you apart.

Words squirm like maggots, feasting on the dead and dying remnants left by the termites. They weaken you further, and some become the nuisance that are flies. They buzz around until you’ve hit yourself at least once trying to shoo them away or slay them. Words are a difficult pest to exterminate. Worse than bedbugs I would think. Bedbugs at least only bother you at night, as if that’s really a pleasant situation. Trying to rest, sleep, escape from the weariness of the world, and all night they crawl on you, biting and itching. Is that a normal itch? Or one of those pesky words?

Even if you manage to squish the words into oblivion and force the termites out, you’re still left with a dangerous house. Unfortunately, you can’t repair or replace your brain, your spirit. You can try repairs, but you’ll never be the same. It is impossible to make whole what was broken, decayed, dessicated. The category “like new” and “refurbished” comes to mind, but unfortunately you actually can’t get that good. And you become more vulnerable to the treacherous nature of words in the future.

So, why do people misuse words so much? We purposely fling “barbs” and “jabs”. Shouldn’t that be a fucking clue? Why is it so easy to make a hurtful joke or make a prank? Why is it so effortless to be cruel and nasty, even when we truly, genuinely don’t mean to? For some it’s that the offending person doesn’t realize that the person they’re talking to is vulnerable, one who has been badly damaged by a word infestation. Of course, this opens the discussion for why are those words ok period if they hurt the susceptible? Wouldn’t they cause others to be hurt and contribute to future pain? For others the offender is clueless, stupid, or mean-spirited. Somehow words are always just fine until someone gets hurt, and then it all falls apart because the offender was simply hoping to not get called out for being an ass. And still there are those who lash out because they’re in pain, usually because of words, whether freshly ground into their skin or old maggots chewing at their joints.

The reason I’m going on about this is because quite a few of my family members (most of them male) have a disconnect about words and how they mean things. Not only that but a distinct lack of understanding of my personality, mental stability, resilience, and sense of humor. Basically, they say stupid or fucked up shit and it hurts my feelings and they’re always either baffled, offended, uncaring or a combination thereof. Sometimes it’s because there’s confrontation. Whatever, everyone has had nasty words flung due to confrontation. What I’m referring to specifically is jokes.

Anyone with sufficient access to the internet knows these kinds of jokes. Assholish, mean-spirited, cruel, nasty, discouraging, bigoted, and a bunch of other adjectives, these jokes are the ones that are harpoons undercover. They’re demeaning and unpleasant, and they’re often defended when challenged. Not always, since they sometimes come from a genuine place of cluelessness/stupidity/innocence.

From the time I was little I’ve been subjected to such types of jokes. Height, weight, hair, eating habits, talents, and personality have all been fair game for these quips and jibes. I’m not a particularly fastidious person. My feelings are easily hurt, I get offended regularly. I get defensive. I’m softhearted, emotional and empathic. I think deeply, I feel deeply. I’m not that resilient. This isn’t new information. I’ve always been sensitive and acutely aware of others. I’ve also been born to a family that has suffered, and that lashes out and attacks. I have suffered. My mind and spirit has been flogged by words and actions, drained and broken by the parasitic nature of words.

So yeah, when I mention I’m sensitive about a particular subject, like being anxious, shy, and pathologically stage-fright, don’t make a joke about how I “should sing solo so no one can hear you.” Like, are you fucking serious? How is that funny and encouraging to people who are confident in their ability to sing and perform, and who aren’t so easily shattered? This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with unkind, thoughtless and downright cruel, things being said about any talent besides writing that I’ve tried to cultivate. (Never mind that the pressure on me to write because I’m good at it is strong). No one meant to be critical, but I lived with critical commentary, heavy expectations and destructive words.

It’s interesting that some of my friends comment about how strong and vocal I am. They don’t realize how much the iron claw, powerful voice, assertiveness, viciousness and aggression I show hides a quivering, crying puppy. And how much I only show “strength” to keep others from getting beaten with words, or to shore up their failing beams and sagging ceilings. Truly I’m quite fragile. You can see it whenever I get into an argument with those who can hurt me the worst, and when I get hurt. I bite, with force, to keep others and their infectious words, their deadly parasitic language, away from my weak and broken spirit.

So for fuck’s sake, shut up you assholes. I’m delicate dammit.