I know this is not one of my typical types of posts, but today I’m helping promote a new line of multicultural kids’ artwork. I am not being paid for this.
I met Tracy over at One Brown Crafter through email, as she was searching for biracial and multiracial kids online. We’ve chatted a lot through email and Facebook. She’s an intelligent and savvy multiracial woman of color who finds herself a minority in the crafting world. So she began designing her art surrounding that idea. I love her artwork and plan to buy this one. A piece that Annika picked out for her room.
I love Tracy’s work because it reflects the simplicity of seeing past skin color by acknowledging everyone’s place in the world. She comes from a space knowing what it’s like to feel out of place, but has embraced it and her artwork certainly reflects the spirit of being a child. Please check her stuff out. She’s introducing a new line this fall and I look forward to seeing more of her beautiful artwork.
A Little Bit About the New Line From Tracyville:
Illustrator, recycling artist and blogger, Tracy Viverretta is launching a line of fun, functional and inspirational products geared toward biracial and multicultural kids that officially launches on Labor Day. These handmade products will also encourage self-love and self esteem.
Tracy isn’t saying what they are as yet, but all month long, she’ll be sharing “teasers” of the new goodies on her blog – Tracyville – all leading up to the big reveal on Labor Day. Make Tracyville a regular pit-stop to get the full story on this product line and to join in on her Back-To-School-Labor Day-Product-Fest-Handmakery-Adventure as she conceives, sketches, doodles, designs, sews, draws and illustrates tons of fun and functional goodies for the kiddos.
You can find Tracy’s work at the following locations.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a writer who I’ve been gorging on: anti-racist essayist, author and educator, Tim Wise. I’m only a little embarrassed to say that until last month, I’ve never heard of him. Of all the reading and writing I’ve done over the past few years on racism, I can’t believe I’ve never stumbled upon him.
WHITE LIKE ME brings the work of acclaimed anti-racist author and educator Tim Wise to the screen, exploring race and racism in the United States through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. The film’s baseline aim is to make sense of the seemingly abstract concept of white privilege, and to show how our failure as a society to properly acknowledge and confront the psychological, social, and political effects of white privilege has perpetuated racial inequality and race-based political resentments.
I can’t wait to read his books and see this documentary. I’ve been watching videos on YouTube of his talks and picked up his first book, also entitled, “White Like Me.” I’ll be sure to review it when I’m done. I plan to read all of his books in order they were written.
I urge you all, especially white friends to watch or read some of Wise’s work. If you want a tidbit to see if you’ll be interested, I highly recommend this clip. He will blow your mind with his eye-opening historical accounts of white privilege, how we we became the “white race” and his knowledge of history, politics, economics and how they are all intertwined with the origins of racism. I think after seeing this short clip, you’ll be interested to hear more.
If you liked that, here’s another one where he breaks down his thoughts on the use of the n-word.
Last week I saw this video posted around on social media and my first thought was, “Yeah, that’s cute. Nice message.” But then something gave me pause. So I watched it again. And it occurred to me that this video was a great example of white privilege in children.
Being surprised by racism is a privilege white children have that most children of color don’t have.
Watch it if you haven’t seen it yet:
So I watched it again. And again. And each time, it bugged me more and more.
With each viewing I noticed more and more things to be annoyed about.
Let me break it down.
1. It’s mostly white kids doing all the talking. There are eight white children. Two black children. One Asian child. And one child who looks biracial. The main child of color who talks is the Asian kid.
Are you telling me that you couldn’t find more black children for this video?
So, what’s wrong with white kids doing the talking? They don’t know what they are talking about. It looks like a bunch of white people got together and made this video to prove to the rest of the world that we are doing such a great job teaching our kids about racism.
2. All the white kids say all the same kind of stuff that pisses black people off when they talk about racism. “What? You mean there are still racists in the world? Well, not in my neck of the woods. That’s somewhere else in other parts of the country where they are all just a bunch of ignorant rednecks.”
3. No kids. Martin Luther King Jr. did not “fix” all that stuff. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. And it’s not just in certain parts of the country.
4. Here’s the big one. The black kids barely spoke. And when they do talk, they get cut off. The black boy who speaks the most even says that his friends “say racist stuff to be funny.” He doesn’t think it’s funny at all.
While I appreciate the sentiment of this piece, I find the nature of it flippant and disrespectful of the seriousness with which we should be discussing race with our kids. It’s one of those messages that is just ignorant enough to be dangerous. This video is a message that we are on the right path. “Hey look, our kids aren’t racist!” But they are, because they are refusing to see color. They aren’t being taught to look at things in a realistic light.
I think it’s very strange that the kids don’t seem to notice that the parents aren’t the same skin color. But I wonder if they just don’t “notice” because they’ve been taught not to notice.
What’s wrong with noticing skin color? Can’t these kids see? I can understand that they don’t care. But that they really didn’t notice it? Sorry, not buying that.
And I don’t blame the kids. They are just pawns in this video. Spouting all the naive rhetoric their parents or mentors have passed on as a Great Way to Teach Kids How Not To Be Racist.
But here’s the thing. If you’re going to teach kids about something, I mean really teach them, you have to teach the whole thing.
You can’t just say, “Everyone’s equal, treat everyone the same,” without explaining where that came from. Yes, of course the topics should be age appropriate. But as they age, kids need to hear about the atrocities in our country. They should be taught about slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, segregation, and white privilege, not just the Civil Rights Movement.
They should be shown that racism is not dead and how it has systemically produced hardships for large swaths of people of color.
We need to challenge all the rhetoric instead of spreading it.
Next time you hear some white person say, “Everyone’s equal” with a big smile and nothing else to go with it; or “Skin color doesn’t matter;” or “My kids are colorblind,” and it makes you a little sick to your stomach, then you’ll know you’re headed on the right path to teaching your kids the true nature of equality.
Yes, we are different. It’s okay to be different on the outside and still be the same on the inside. And it’s okay to notice the differences. That’s what will make us all equal. Knowing our differences and working together to ensure that we are all treated fairly anyway.
So, HB2 passed in the Texas Senate last Friday. I did not watch the live stream or go to the Capitol. I didn’t see the point to be honest. At that point, it was over. I spent that evening feeling depressed and wondering what the realities of this bill mean for Texas women.
I think that House Bill 2 is purely a profit driven bill. It has nothing to do with life. It’s all about money, greed, and ugly power over women in desperate situations.
So, let’s take a look at this and really see what will be the outcome.
Abortions are going to become more expensive. That’s it.
I could be totally wrong, but I think it’s almost guaranteed that they will. And here’s why. The new guidelines are going to cost the clinics more. Not only are the clinics required to upgrade to become ambulatory surgical centers, which will cost millions, but they also must give any woman having an abortion at the clinic access to a physician 24 hours a day. That means more on-call staffing at every clinic.
If the clinics don’t upgrade to become ambulatory surgical centers, what happens then? There are 422 current ambulatory surgical centers in Texas. Will they begin performing abortions? My guess is that at least some of them will. And they will cost a pretty penny.
Take a look at it. And something will suddenly jump out at you. They are for profit centers. I didn’t examine all 422 centers, but it jumps right out at you as you scan the file. Those two ugly words up against Planned Parenthood and any other free/low cost health clinics that are non-profits.
This isn’t about life. This is about money. And it’s a disgusting way to get it, by closing access to health care for poor women and putting a price on an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. It’s quite despicable.
Honestly, it’s even worse than fighting over ideology. At least that, I can stomach. I can understand that many people abhor the taking of a life. But in this case, Texas legislators aren’t interested in saving lives, they just want to be paid for the ones they help get rid of.
This morning when I awoke and read that George Zimmerman had been found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin I was stunned. And I decided to tell my daughter about his murder, even though she’s only 5. Even though we live in liberal, happy-go-lucky Austin, Texas. I’d been wondering when I would need to start this conversation with her, about racist acts. And suddenly, I knew. The time was right.
I wasn’t so surprised about the verdict. After all, it is Florida. (Yes I know that’s offensive, I don’t give a shit. I’m fucking pissed! Plus, I live in Texas, I hear that shit about us all the time, and you know what? They’re right.)
And after all, you know, he’s a black male so he must’ve been doing SOMETHING wrong walking around a white neighborhood. (That’s sarcasm, in case there’s a troll reading.)
As I got up and wandered into the kitchen with my squeaky 5-year-old, a child with brown skin and curly black hair. A beautiful child. An innocent child. A child that was once Trayvon Martin.
I looked at her and I didn’t so much as think, but I began to feel fear. I knew within a millisecond before I opened my mouth that I was going to start down a treacherous path with her. One that needs to start now. Because if I wait, she might not know enough in time to save her life.
I am not being dramatic. (That’s also for the trolls.) That’s the worst part of this conversation.
So, I said to her as we prepared to make banana pancakes, “Baby, I’m a little sad this morning.”
“Why mama?” as she colors in her coloring book.
So I began to tell her. I told her that a man who murdered a boy named Trayvon Martin was on trial. I told her that he got away with murdering Trayvon.
“Trayvon Martin had brown skin like you, baby. And he was walking in the dark, alone, and he was wearing a hoodie, you know a jacket with a hood? And this man thought he looked suspicious. Do you know what suspicious means? (Explain the meaning of suspicious, move on.) So this man picked a fight with Trayvon Martin and then he shot him in the chest with a gun. And Trayvon Martin died.”
“I’m feeling really sad for his mama and daddy right now, because their son died last year. And today, the man who murdered him is going to walk free.”
I choked up a little as I spoke to her, surprising even myself. I am not a very openly emotional person. But as I sat down next to her, she put her arms around me and said, “Don’t worry mama, that won’t happen to me.”
God. She gets it. She fucking gets it! She cut right to the chase.
It was downright chilling.
I wondered immediately and even during the moment if I was doing the right thing by telling her about Trayvon’s murder.
I went on to tell her that I didn’t want her to worry. And that part of the reason he was killed was because he was alone and in the dark. He’s older than you, 17. And I also told her that he should have run.
He should have run.
I wish we didn’t live in a world where we need to tell our brown skinned children that they can’t stay and fight. But that they must run.
Does anyone actually care about the Trayvon Martin case? Because I don’t. Why is it being covered by every major news station as if it were the case of the century? No one I know in person or online mentions it at all. It’s tragic that a kid died, but what makes this case so special?
Um, yeah, dude, I care! Uh, maybe parents of black children care? Maybe parents of black boys care even fucking more? Um, maybe Trayvon Martin’s parents care? Maybe black people care? Maybe white people care? Uhhhh Wait. Do they?
For the most part, it’s not a case that catches the attention of the average person in my daily life.
But then I tell myself that it’s in part because of the Texas legislature. But I know that’s not true. If we weren’t having this debate in Texas right now, I’d be paying closer attention to the trial. And I’d be posting about it and here’s what I’d get.
Now, I don’t know that for sure. But it’s what I guess because when I’ve posted before about Travyon Martin it’s been mostly other moms of biracial kids who I know online showing concern about the case.
So, do we care about Trayvon Martin any more than we would if he was any other murder victim?
I don’t know. But my white friends should. And here’s why.
If you’re white and liberal and you don’t care about this case, then you are continuing to protect the status quo of a society that allows these types of cases listed below.
To me, Zimmerman was guilty from the outset. I realize that in the eyes of the law, he must be proven guilty. But the facts were in from the get go. Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin.He shot an unarmed child in cold blood. I don’t care if Martin threw a punch at Zimmerman or even tried to beat him on the sidewalk.
Trayvon Martin was the one under attack. Trayvon Martin was the one defending himself and he lost.
Why didn’t Zimmerman run if he was scare? Kick Martin in the nuts. Why the fuck was he even out of his truck?
Get the fuck away if you’re scared. Don’t shoot an unarmed kid.
The only difference between Zimmerman and the cases I’ve listed below is that he lives in a different time period than one and the rest of them were just a lot fucking dumber than Zimmerman and some admitted they were racists pieces of shit.
If you are white, you should care about Trayvon Martin. He was a child. He was not doing anything wrong. He was profiled and murdered in cold blood on the street by a racist. It is so obvious to people of color.
It is easy for me to see it because Trayvon Martin has the same skin color as my kid. So let me put it to you this way. If the case was all the same, but Trayvon Martin was a white kid with a football jacket on walking down the street chatting on the phone with his girlfriend, and some guy pulled up, picked a fight with him, and then shot him, he’d already be in jail. I guarantee it.
This trial is a potential travesty. There is already speculation that Zimmerman will walk because nobody knows for sure if Martin was the one beating Zimmerman. But to people of color, this is a clear case of profiling and racism, so why it isn’t being treated as such in the courtroom?
So what if Martin was high? Or even had been in trouble at school? Or called George Zimmerman a cracker? It’s not all that uncommon for teenagers to get into trouble at school and smoke pot and call strangers obnoxious names.
White kids do it to y’all. And that doesn’t make them career criminals. The fact is, we hold a much different standard to black boys in this country. They must toe the line and if they don’t they get busted down. It’s not really a far cry from slavery days.
So, if you still don’t think this is a big deal, take a look at a few cases where black men have been killed simply for being black.
If you are a white liberal, you should care. Because if you don’t, then you are a part of the racist society that continues to let black men be killed at the hands of white racists. And I know that you don’t want that.
Yes, most of them were convicted. But it’s still hard to see how it continues to happen. We must send a message that racist murders will not be tolerated. They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old boy who was had his eyes gouged out, beaten and ultimately shot to death for flirting with a white woman in Mississippi in 1955.
James C. Anderson murdered by three white boys who just went looking for a black person to kill in Jackson, Mississippi in 2009.
Johnny Lee Butts a black man who was killed in a hit and run in 2012. Again, in Mississippi. (For god’s sake, if you’re black and you live in Mississippi, get the fuck out!)
Everett Gant a black man in Port St. Joe, Florida shot in 2013 by his white neighbor who confessed his crime to police by saying, “I only shot a n—er.” Gant had gone over to Butler’s apartment to confront him about calling a child a n—er. Butler shot him in the head and then sat down to eat his dinner.
While these cases continue, they aren’t given the credence they should be given. Media reports on them with details of the racism as if it were just another cause and effect. People are shocked and horrified for a moment. But they continue to happen.
It’s looking possible that Zimmerman could walk for his crimes. The judge has ruled the jury can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, probably to give them a choice, if they don’t feel he deserves the second-degree murder charge.
But if George Zimmerman is not convicted, it will send the message to white racists that the murder of black men and boys is still open season. Profiling that leads to murder should be given additional penalties and consideration inside a murder trial. This is not just about murder. This is about racism, stereotypes and the continued assault on black men in our country. It needs to stop.
My thoughts on abortion/reproductive health and rights are pretty liberal. I’m all in favor of legalized abortion and have zero moral qualms with the act, but I was not always this way.
Growing up in the Church of Christ, in west Texas, with a preacher grandfather, I was influenced heavily by the conservative side and until I was an adult and began to contemplate having my own opinions and was able to examine facts, rather than Biblical beliefs, I was essentially told what to believe by the church.
Until I was confronted with my own sexual nature and began giving it some genuine thought, I was completely in the mind that abortion was a sin and murdering babies was wrong. Then I began weighing the aspects of abortion with potential slip ups, combined with not 100 percent effective birth control methods and human nature’s chemical desire to practice procreating without any intention of giving birth.
For all my caterwauling on Facebook and Twitter, I still wonder privately about the few friends I have who consider themselves pro-life a term I use hesitatingly, but for this occasion, I will. I use the term because I do believe that there are some people out there who genuinely believe that life begins at conception and that they are mortified and ill at the thought of abortion. I believe that these people are few and far between. I do not believe the politicians or the celebrity-status religious mouth vomiters. I think these people are playing on the naive and devoutly religious. For all the ways I disagree with these people, I still understand that this is what they truly believe. And they are the only ones on the opposing side that I have any sympathy for in this debate.
So, even though I have my doubts as to the existence or truth about the man Jesus in the bible, who I think was likely a myth or perhaps a really great guy who was blown out of proportion, I wonder, what would Jesus say about this debate?
From what I know of Jesus, which is plenty, although admittedly rusty memories from my childhood, he was a pretty loving sort of guy. He hung out with prostitutes. He preached love and acceptance. He healed the sick. He hated the greedy. And he he was beloved by all who met him. Hell, he even had followers. Oh, and wasn’t he the guy who said we shouldn’t judge people?
So, here’s what I think Jesus would say about the current debate over abortion.
I think he would likely not be a big fan of abortion. In fact, he might even say it was wrong. I’m not sure about that. But here’s what I am sure of. I am 100 percent positive that he would not be at all happy about people using his name and image to revile women who abort their unborn children.
I believe that he would say we should love them and he would ask what is it about our society that makes these women feel the need to abort children? He might ask what we could do to help women not feel the need to have abortions. I think he would ask why on earth the republicans think it’s a good idea to close down clinics that provide reproductive healthcare to women. He might even ask why we weren’t educating young people, men and women, about sex and birth control choices. I’m not sure what his stance would be on the pill or condoms. I think that’s a pretty gray area even amongst the varying Christian denominations.
But I do know for sure that Jesus would be loving and wholeheartedly accepting of the women who choose abortions. I imagine that if he visited an abortion clinic he would tell the picketers to put down their signs and look at the women with eyes of love instead of screaming “murderer” at them. I think he would ask how we could offer better choices.
Well, I’m no son of God, but I do think that I get a pretty good feeling as to how he would feel about this issue and I’m pretty sure he would dislike Rick Perry intensely, although, he would also say we should pray for him as well, since he is clearly on the path to hell.
Sitting up late again last night, watching live stream testimony on Texas House Bill 2, which will effectively reduce the number of abortion clinics to five from 42, reduce access to abortions, birth control and all forms of reproductive health for many women.
Initially, I was pretty sick over this whole thing, although, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. This is the same legislation that’s been passed in a number of states across the country already.
I’ve been glued to this obsessively since last week. I took Annika to the protest on Monday where thousands of people showed up in protest. It probably won’t matter. It’s unlikely that anyone can stop it at this point.
What kills me is the rhetoric.
The lawmakers are so full of shit. They say that HB2 is pro woman. They say they are trying to make sure that abortion clinics are safer. But ironically, their own people sold them out when it came to testimony. Blue shirt after blue shirt filed in talking about murdering babies. They know the score.
The anti-choicers don’t give a shit about women. All they care about it forcing their own religious beliefs down our collective uterus. I wish I could say that I thought the lawmakers were doing what they thought was right. But I can’t even believe that. Cynic that I am, all I can see is their selfishness. Their desire to win votes. Some potential monetary gain and a power grab.
Aside from all that, imho, this is a slippery slope for health care laws. Can we now make laws about what others can do based on religious beliefs? Is this what we’ve come to? Their time will come. Shit always goes both ways folks.
I know there is a big push right now to get the Christian right wingers to have lots of babies in the hope they will overpopulate the conservative side. I can only hope that this tactic backfires. It’s very possible that it will.
Although my parents are Democrats and always have been, I was raised with that way of thinking. Abortion was murder. Sex before marriage was a sin. My parents have since become more open minded and less rigid in their way of thinking, realizing the grey areas.
But aside from my parents, my upbringing involved a lot of religious zealots, narrow minded and uneducated mentors, preachers, youth group leaders, teachers, parents of friends, who all thought this way. This is what scares me. What I grew up with. What I know to be the truth about the way these people think and behave toward youngsters. Even as a teenager, having this bull hockey shoved down my throat, I knew that shit was wrong. It pissed me off to no end the amount of work involved to bring sex education down in the state of Texas. This stuff has been decades in the making. It will take years to undo the damage and by then, many, many lives will have been ruined.
Even if these bills pass, and they almost certainly will, barring a miracle, what we are talking about is happening right now. So what can we do to focus on the future?
Fundraising will need to happen so that we can help abortion clinics get the funds needed to upgrade facilities to stay within the law.
New legislation will need to be written and introduced to force hospitals to give admitting privileges to abortion doctors.
Women in big cities will need to find ways to support women in rural areas who don’t have the support to get to a big city and get an abortion.
There will be a 48 hour period that a woman will have to stay nearby so she can take both doses of RU486 (mifepristone) at the doctor’s office. Some women will not be able to afford the trip, plus a two/three day stay at a hotel.
Not only is abortion under attack, but the even more baffling thing, that nobody’s really talking about is sex education. Not only do they want women to stop having abortions, but they aren’t willing to educate young women and men about how to have safe sex. These religious zealots will stop at nothing to ensure that Texas is filled with young, unsupported, uneducated, pregnant girls.
These are just the things I can think of. I’m sure there will be more. But we can’t just keep fighting this in the legislature. This will affect Texas so much more if we have an explosion of unwanted pregnancies all over the state because women can’t afford to get an abortion or don’t have the support they need to get birth control or perhaps support for their unwanted pregnancy.
I urge everyone in Texas who against this legislation to get involved in whatever way they can to support women and help fight this battle on a local level. Contact your local Planned Parenthood or chapter of Naral. Ask what can be done. Post things to your Facebook feed and Twitter accounts. Let women know that we’re supportive. Teach your kids about sex education. Find some way to help or donate what you can. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, but I am not going to just let this shit slide when I know how it feels to be one of those young unsupported and scared girls with people filling my head with shame and misery. It just doesn’t have to be that way. They might win the legislation. But that doesn’t mean they have to win the war.
There were thousands of us at the Capitol on Monday. Let’s make sure our voices continue to be heard.