The rights of transgender individuals to use the bathroom which aligns with their gender identity has become a major hot button issue in the past few years. I didn’t have much cause to think about it until recently, when I saw a sign posted at a local YMCA that states that individuals are allowed to use the bathroom which correlates with their gender identity. Again, I never thought about it until I was on line with my daughter for the bathroom at another (different) location and an individual dressed in women’s clothes and wearing a wig, was on line ahead of us. No one said anything. No raised eyebrows or exchanged glances, or at least none that I noticed. The individual went in, went out and that was it.
Maybe because I live in a very liberal city, maybe because I’m woman and the bathrooms are typically multi-stalled or maybe because it’s not that big a deal, but I think unisex bathrooms are a reasonable way to be inclusive and respectful towards everyone. Who knew that ‘Ally McBeal’ would be way ahead of its time? I thought about this and wondered, what about locker rooms? The reality is, not everyone is a decent human being. If the YMCA’s policy allows access strictly based on self identity, then you make the grave assumption that everyone is going to be forthright and honor the spirit in which the provision was made, but we know that’s not the case.
My issue is that in an effort to be on the right side of history, politicians are putting the cart before the horse, causing anxiety and resistance to what is an important cause. Unless re-design happens within the necessary areas to make it more amenable for everyone to use, everyone shouldn’t use them.
Can you imagine a year where they didn’t televise the Oscars? Probably not. Whether you watch the show or not, it’s a staple of the awards season, synonymous with artistic excellence. Well, if you’re a person of color, these representations of achievement might not align with your ideals of creativity or entertainment; a silent, black and white film can win Best Picture…in 2011, but Spike Lee doesn’t get a statuette until 2018…m’kay. The debate about what is and is not worthy to be called high art can rage forever, but one thing I know: I am very well versed on what white culture values in their art, but have white people had the opportunity to be exposed to minority excellence in the same way? The NAACP Image Awards aired on and off broadcast television since 1995, finally finding a home on TV One. The ALMA awards now air on Fuse TV after a years long hiatus. Contrast that with the CMAs which have aired consistently on network television for 50 years. Broadcasting excellence, specifically on network television, is a great way to expose mass audiences to quality (not just what’s popular) and variety in American art. It honors the idea that what is good, looks different to different people and that having one doesn’t invalidate the other.
It removes the pedestal and replaces it with a platform.
Hopefully, you glanced at Twitter to see the short life of the ‘You were at my wedding Denise’ meme, which started as Meghan McCain’s short, dry reply to an acquaintance’s criticism of The View and, at the time, seemingly McCain as well. The turnaround was quick:
And the reversal even quicker:
For those checking the time, the apology was yesterday and by the end of the business day today, shirts were ready for shipment. I’m not mad at the hustle, virality goes as quick as it arrives. What I’m mad at is the manner in which she decides that getting called out for social hypocrisy (you could have not gone to her wedding, Denise) is actually a form of emotional manipulation. She’s the person who comes to your dinner party, cleans her plate, asks for seconds and then you find out she was making fun of your cooking abilities.
‘You were at my wedding Denise’ – what to say to the other face your ‘friend’ is talking out of.
Liam Neeson, yesterday, gave an interview to the British newspaper, The Independent. He gives a testimony, affirming his humanity, in all of its ugly glory and his reward? To be called a racist and to be asked to consider the feelings of ‘an innocent black man knowing that he could have been killed’. Like Kevin Hart before him, Neeson is being asked to consider the feelings of those he may have hurt who, heretofore, had no knowledge of, interest in or concern for his actions. I am not a fan of cheap or political apologies. I don’t believe that people should apologize for hypothetical pain; pain is very real, visceral and tangible. You can objectively count its victims. It is not amorphous and vague, lacking real effects or clear connections. Holding strangers guilty for the possible distress they might have caused makes as much sense as demanding redress for the punch that could have hit you in the face. We live in a time where victimization is a fast track to a public platform, so we shouldn’t be surprise that it’s becomes more attractive to be in the cross hairs.
The same event, different players: Hurricane Florence is barreling through the Carolinas. A car drives past a barricade, floodwaters take over the vehicle and not everyone can get out time. Later, the bodies are recovered. If you are the sheriff tasked with determining the criminality/negligence of the situation, it would appear to depend on one thing: whether or not you are a police officer. Two separate incidents occured, one involving a young black mother and another, involving two police officers transporting mental health patients. The earlier stories both indicate a poor choice was made to go around a barricade, but only the one pertaining to the young mother inquired as to whether or not charges might be filed despite the fact that the exact same mistake was made. A few weeks later, two different outcomes: the mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter; and the police officers? Are given pink slips and a convenient excuse. Apparently, they were waved through by National Guardsmen because they were in a law enforcement vehicle. No mention is made as to why they would be waved through in an area under watch for flood or who the individuals were that waved them through and whether or not they would be held accountable. Also, why didn’t the earlier story mention that the National Guard were in the area at the time? Things that make you go, ‘hmm,’ and ‘mmph.’
Where you’re from is not who you are, what you do is.
Yes, there are crappy places on earth to live, but that’s not the point. Whether some of those crappy places include Haiti and El Salvador, countries reportedly named by President Trump in an article from The Washington Post, is also not the point. Assuming that people who come from these countries are also crappy IS the problem. Colonization, corruption, unrest, and natural disasters all play a part in the quality of life within a nation. And none of those factors can be easily controlled by the average citizen. The average citizen simply wants a better life which is what immigration is all about: getting the hell out of s***holes. From the Pilgrims to the ‘poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ we are descendants of people who mastered the art of spinning straw into gold and this thread is woven into the fabric of the American experience and, most importantly, American success.
I was talking with someone at church about plans for next week when I tacked on to my statement, as I often do when I’m speaking about the future, “God willing.” Nothing special, but this time I got a little chill. One that I wasn’t able to shake. It occurred to me in that moment that even with the hopeful ‘God willing’ amended to the end of my sentence, there was no agreement on God’s part to honor my request. The feeling stayed with me awhile and forced me to think about what I wanted to say and do if this were my last day or week. The words came quickly; thinking about death made me ashamed to be annoyed by the constant contact of my daughter who loves to plop herself in my lap when we play on the floor or read stories. I’m her recliner, pillow, footrest and squeeze toy. This closeness is temporary, no matter how healthy I am. Why not enjoy it? I thought about my son whose vocabulary has exploded recently. He won’t tell me about his day without incessant prodding, but will scold me because I gave him the wrong lunch on Thursday. After the umpteenth rebuke from a kindergartner, I’m done, eyes rolled heavenward, but why not laugh? Marriage has been a work in progress for my husband and I. On rough days, I reminisce about my single life, studio apartment and freedom..and then I remember how content I was with myself, which is a good thing, but it didn’t help me grow as a person. Marriage has made me take a long hard look at myself in a way that other personal relationships have not. I admit, I’ve become a better person, but why not think of the improvements first when the going gets tough instead of the benefits of singleness? The sickening sensation faded, but the questions didn’t. I want to live a long, healthy life, but I have no guarantee and contemplating meaningfully about death made me focus not on the things that I want to do, but rather on the energy I was placing on my loved ones. Deciding to look with love, feel with love, express love can happen in a moment, just like death.
An apology is an acknowledgement of wrong and hurt. Causing hurt is not in and of itself a wrong thing; truth, constructive criticism can cause hurt, but that’s not necessarily wrong, it’s a natural response to hearing something that is not liked. Apologies are a benefit of relationship. You don’t owe apologies to people you don’t know and don’t care for. Causing physical pain is always the exception, but the rule remains the same. In short, stop asking strangers to care for your feelings! It’s not their job.
I, along with a friend, will be reading through the entire Bible this year. I’ve tried a couple of times; was so eager to do it once that I attempted (and failed at) a 90 day plan. After awhile it became more and more ridiculous to talk about Christianity without having read the book. So…here…goes…everything…
PS: You can be a Christian and not read the Bible, right?
So, let me get this straight: There was apparently a HUGE hack of Target’s point of sale systems, nationwide, during a period of about two weeks (November 29-December 16). If you shopped there at that time, your credit/debit card information is at risk. The theft was serious enough that the Secret Service is investigating. So far, Target had this to say:
That’s right, nothing. Something this serious and they’re silent, likely worried about losing money during the Christmas shopping season. Tsk, tsk!