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Showing posts from May, 2017

Conversion Therapy

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Both of these videos discuss conversion therapy, a technique used (typically by religious therapists) to "cure" people who are homosexual of their homosexual urges or impulses. The first video, by BuzzFeed, takes a more humorous approach, and uses the same techniques reported by people who have gone through conversion therapy on heterosexuals to show how ridiculous it is to try to "train" someone not to be gay. The second video, made by NowThis, takes a more serious view and discusses the ways that conversion therapy can be very harmful to gay people, particularly teenagers.

      One reason that conversion therapy is so detrimental is that is comes from a hetero-normative perspective that demonizes gay people as abnormal and deviant. About a month ago, conversion therapy became illegal in New Mexico, making it one of seven states that has banned it. Some religious therapists have argued that it takes away the freedom of choice for those who would opt for the…

Colorblindness

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Perhaps one of the most dangerous things about the current racial dialogue in our country is that is just isn't happening, and color blindness is a popular cover up. Essentially, colorblindness is the ideology that "color doesn't matter," which seems good in theory, but as Dani Bostick explains in her article "How Colorblindness is Actually Racist," it is actually racist for five reasons. First, it "foists whiteness on everyone." The assumption behind colorblind racism isn't that all races are equal, but that everyone should be viewed as if they were white. Secondly, it "strips non-white people of their uniqueness." If white is the assumed normal, and everyone should be viewed as white, then there is no room left for any one of another race or even culture. Third, it "suppresses critically important narratives of oppression" by enabling white people to deny the discrimination and hardships that people of color face. I…

The Abuse of Disability

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If you had an opportunity to park in a disabled parking spot, even if you aren't disabled, would you? Apparently, lots of people would. Last month, a state audit in California found that "roughly 2.9 million people with disabled parking privileges likely are dead." (Miller) But how could something like this happen?

     In large part, is has to do with the legal authority of the California DMV, which lacks "the legal authority to require applicants to provide documentation of their full legal names." (Miller) This means that someone who has a name similar to that of a deceased, disabled relative can continue to renew and keep their permit. Additionally, over 25,000 of the people who are listed as holding permits in the system are estimated to be 100 years old or older, while the estimated number of California residents of that age is less than a third of that. When someone has a permanent disabled parking placard, the state has no way to follow up on that…

My Invisible Knapsack - A List of my Privileges

Here is a list of some of my privileges as a white, straight, cis, able-bodied, middle-class female, prompted by Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack."

1. If I walk into a department or clothing store, I am not eyed with the expectation that I will try to steal something, because of my race.
2. If a police officer saw me walking alone at night, they would likely ask if I felt safe or needed an escort, rather than assuming I am "up to no good," because of both my race and gender.
3. Because I am cis and present as such, no one has ever asked me if I am sure if I am using the correct bathroom.
4. I do not have to go to a special aisle in the grocery store, or even a special ethnic grocery store, to find the foods I commonly want to eat.
5. I am able to pick and choose which of my family ancestries or nationalities to identify with, and without having others question that heritage based on my appearance.
6. Dealing with the …

Kiss me, (today) I'm Irish! Thoughts on the optional ethnicities of white people

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St. Patrick's Day is weird. And I'm not talking about the holiday, what it means or how it is celebrated. I mean the way that white people act on Paddy's Day. It's weird. Suddenly, miraculously, Irish people are popping up out of nowhere, multiplying like rabbits as the day goes on. According to the 2015 Census, 32.7 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, but that is only about 10% of the total population. So why is it that seemingly every white person magically turns into a Irishman on March 17th? I think it has something to  do with symbolic ethnicity. 
    In our society, a black person can only be "black." They may identify themselves as American, Haitian, South African, German, or any other nationality, but due to the color of their skin, our society labels them as an undifferentiated black person and lumps them into the societal ethnic idea of "blackness." Their race becomes a master status that impedes their interpretation by others or…