On Being White, Female, and Privileged

I’ve never deluded myself into thinking that I have it anything other than great. I’m white. I’m educated. I live in a nation where I can have tough conversations without fear for my life. Generally. Well, it depends on the company I choose to keep. Florida. Texas. And where I choose to have those conversations.

And what saddens me most is that those with voices, those which have both the volume and reach to say what needs saying and can create an impact…aren’t saying anything.

In a Facebook discussion with one of my community members yesterday, I received this message:

Thanks for being brave with your opinion in light of how public a personality you are.

My response?

That’s the reason I have to be brave — because if I’m not, what example do I set?

What saddens me most is that, except for my very small corner of the digital world and perhaps a slightly larger corner in the physical one, I’m essentially nobody. I’m a 40-year-old woman in Denver, Colorado with a business to run and bills to pay.

But what I do have is an audience. And what I can no longer be is silent.

I find it impossible to sit here and live in a world where someone feels the need to thank me for speaking up. We’ve all been silent too long. Today’s post is a plea – from a very white woman who’s existed on multiple levels of the socioeconomic scale – to wake the fuck up.

Remember your privilege.

Having existed with less than $10 in the bank, I’ve made choices on which bills do and don’t get paid in a certain month. I’ve lived without health insurance. I may or may not have even taken a few trips around the house and down into the basement, maybe the garage, to look for things that could be sold on eBay or Craigslist. You know how that is—those times when every credit card is maxed out, a job may or may not be a reality, and the dog decided to eat a #$%^&*ing sock and needed $1,200 in surgery. All of this happens, of course, right before rent is due.

When did we become so privileged that we forgot that there are those who work to (barely) survive and rely on social services such as low-cost and free health clinics, food stamps, subsidized housing, and other social programs to make their worlds work and keep their bellies somewhat full from day to day?

And before you dare chime in that living like that is somehow their choice (because for most, it’s not), or how epically broken the social services programs in this country are (because they are), I’ll ask you to consider one thing:

When did we become so arrogant as to think that the way we’re privileged enough to live is better?

Is it better that we lose appreciation for what we have and have earned than remember what it was like to bust ass for every dollar at a wage, while abominable, but we’re oh-so-fucking glad to get the check every week?

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not signing up to shutter my small business and go live a life in a Texan border town where 90% of the population lives below the poverty line. I happily live a life filled with First World Problems.

I run out of coffee – I have to drive to Starbucks.

I’m a half hour late for my massage appointment – damn, I only get an hour-long session.

I have no reception on my iPhone and my Facebook status updates aren’t loading –HOW WILL I ENDURE THE 15-MINUTE WAIT FOR MY MASSAGE APPOINTMENT?

First. World. Problems. They’re not better. They’re different. And if I’m brutally honest, we’re each a little bit of an asshole for forgetting that our problems are, in the grand scheme of things, likely pretty infinitesimal.

The laws sweeping this nation affecting issues such as women’s rights, voting rights, and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” aren’t written for those of us with privilege and our First World Problems.

They are systematically targeting those who do not enjoy our privilege. Those who don’t get to pick their primary care physician – they’re grateful for whoever happens to be volunteering at the clinic that day. Those who often do jobs that neither you nor I would ever deign to – as we dare to pass them by without a glance because they clean the resort rooms where our spent towels are strewn on the floor. Those who walk down a suburban street and are instantly targeted as ne’er-do-wells and hoodlums on account of the color of their skin.

These laws don’t protect people of privilege. They target those without it.

“If I had $100 to pay for birth control or pay the bill for lights, I’d pay the lights,” said Saldana, a Brownsville native and single mother. (Bloomberg)

And lately, well, lately we’ve started yelling. HALLELUJAH! Something has inspired us to speak out – but all I hear is yelling. I don’t see any action. And here we sit, people of privilege – yelling and doing nothing with the access we have and the financial clout we hold.

WHY yelling is useless without ACTION

Maybe you have that friend who has the same crisis, over and over, and you give them advice and they still go back and date that asshole because he says it’ll be different this time.

It never is. And it’s annoying. And you’re stuck hearing that same story at three weeks intervals because the same shit happens again and again.

This is what happens when we yell at our government instead of taking action to effect change.

On Facebook, I see people who agree with one another yelling at one another instead of wising the hell up and asking how – together – we can make a difference.

Stop moving your mouth. Start acting.

The first thing you can do is hold lawmakers accountable for the measures they pass. We just have to begin speaking their language. It’s one filled with dollar signs.

Here’s how to be fluent in two steps: skip it and fix the ignorance.

Just Skip It

Your purchasing power is one of the most powerful tools you hold in any business or legislative situation. Pissed at how corporations are buying favorable legislation? Become one of them.

You’re already not eating at Chick-fil-A because you don’t like their stance on gay marriage.

Why the FUCK would you consider going to Texas or Florida and spending your hard-earned cash if you’re upset about legislation in those states?

You can skip SXSW 2014. You can also skip those Disneyworld and Florida beach vacationss. There are plenty of other conferences where you can canoodle with friends — and vacation spots? Well, they abound as well.

Let’s have a look at the impact of decisions like those and the dent you and I can make together. You can speak a language that lawmakers understand. With your actions, not just with words.

The impact you can have by skipping SXSW 2014

When convention organizers weren’t fond of Arizona’s SB 1070, the one essentially allowing for racial profiling in the name of “immigration reform,” they voted with their wallets. The State of Arizona reports a 30% decrease in convention traffic since 2009 (SB 1070 was passed in 2010), amounting to a difference of $136,000,000 per year. The state is also just now beginning to see the true effects of convention organizers boycotting their state, as organizers (according to the article) tend to book locations three to five years in advance.

Here’s how YOU skipping SXSW 2014 in Austin, Texas can have the same impact on the Texas economy as immigration “reform” did for Arizona:

  • SXSW reports $190,000,000 added to the Texas economy over the nine-day period for the 2012 event.
  • Demographic breakdown: Attendees are 60% male and 40% female – 302,700 attendees reported for the 2012 event

By those figures (and might I say, damn), women alone represent a purchasing power of $76 million dollars for the Texas economy over a mere nine days.

You can do something about that.

Tell SXSW that you’re not going to drop the $2,000-$3,000 to come out this year. Why? Because Texas isn’t friendly to women. SXSW is one of the leaders in encouraging more women to “be at the table” in the tech community. So – why would they host an event in a state that doesn’t want women sitting down…pretty much anywhere? Head to their event in Las Vegas instead this August. Nevada has plenty of places for women to get the care they need without the draconian laws of Texas. And if it’s a concern, there are no public funds allocated for abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Tell the Austin venue where you book your company’s party every year that you’re not booking this year because you can’t contribute to an economy that says the covering on a clinic’s floors and the number of parking spaces makes a clinic “safer.” It only makes it harder for clinics to comply with surgical center standards, effectively putting them out of business. Oh, and you should probably follow the money on how Rick Perry, the Governor or Texas, and his sister both stand to gain from this legislation mandating abortion clinics upgrade to ambulatory centers. Nothing shady there. Nope.

You could also hit up World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon next year instead.

And as a woman raised in the State of Texas — I’m not turning my back on Texas. I don’t even live there anymore, but when you grow up in the South, a piece of your heart and soul are there forever. I want to see my adopted home state do better. And my choice is to hit the state where it hurts: my contribution to that $190M of which roughly $76M is coming from those with an XX chromosomal pattern. I’ll stand with Wendy Davis alongside countless others. And I’ll look forward to the day where I can tell my mother, who still resides in Houston, that I’m coming to visit again.

If you’re pissed about Stand Your Ground laws in Florida

Stop going to Disneyworld. Stop taking speaking engagements and attending conferences in the Florida (I just canceled one in November for the South Florida AMA). Stop booking your beach vacations in Miami. Trust me, there are plenty of other beaches out there, in cities that would love to have you and each with awesome deals on Groupon, Living Social, and other outfits like Expedia – who stepped up last year with a bold message about gay marriage, unafraid to join a divisive conversation in an election year.

Vote with your wallet. It works in more places than just the Chick-fil-A drive-thru.

The bigger issue – that of ignorance

In recent days, I have seen some incredibly intelligent people say some pretty stupid things.

First, we’re a nation based on the principle of innocence until proven guilty and must prove that guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. That means that a jury must return a verdict of “not guilty” unless those reasonable doubt standards are met. Don’t know what constitutes reasonable doubt? You’re in luck – here’s a primer. Remember that we know only what we know from our first-hand experiences and what the media chooses to tell us. In the case of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, there are only two people who know the whole truth. One, sadly, will never tell his story. Stop posting these blow-by-blow accounts of what you think happened that night. And stop the yelling for appeal — as you can’t appeal a not guilty verdict in a criminal case, for fuck’s sake. This blog made me laugh and cry at the same time, crafted by a criminal attorney in Florida following Saturday’s verdict.

Secondly, take a look at the schools your children attend alongside your own knowledge. Amidst conversations about teacher salaries (they always deserve more), school closures, STEM education, and encouraging more women to pursue tech-related courses of study – we seem to have forgotten to teach kids and ourselves how things work in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of our nation’s government. If we’re going to be subject to a government here in the United States OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people – we have to become students of those subjects. How many of you can score a passing grade on the U.S. Citizenship Quiz, with 96 questions taken from the actual citizenship test (I took it and scored an embarassing 8 out of 12 – yikes)? Find ways to ensure that you and your kids know the fundamentals of how laws are made. Schoolhouse Rock is a great start (though grossly oversimplified in a world of legislation riders and lobbyists). Talking with your kids about current events is even better.

Finally, we can fix ignorance, but it has to start with us. Yelling without action exacerbates what ails us and will never bring the solutions we crave. Posting a ranty Facebook status or blasting out a tweet isn’t acting. It starts powerful and occasionally productive conversations. Mostly, it’s feeding an argument soon to be lost in the digital ether. Talking is something. Doing is everything. Here are a few ways you can get involved and participate in the democratic process in the republic that is America (PS: America isn’t a democracy – it’s a republic):

  • Contact your representative: Use this site to find your representative in the House of Representatives.
  • Contact your senator: It’s beyond simple – this page lists every U.S. Senator and a link where you can contact each, immediately and online.
  • Join a cause: News stories are ripe ground for finding organizations both backing and fighting issues. Get off your ass. Make a donation. Sign a petition. Attend a rally. Volunteer. You don’t have to march in order to support those who do. Introverts and extroverts each have their powerful contribution to causes.

So – what will you choose?

Change doesn’t come through silence. It comes through those who have the strength, commitment, and determination to say what needs saying and do what others will not. I speak up because, for me, it’s the right thing to do. I can no longer in good conscience say that the laws being passed in this country are for the benefit for and not to the detriment of my fellow Americans. And I have a voice. I have an audience. By doing something (instead of just talking), perhaps I can help effect change.

And it’s not about being a Democrat or a Republican. I’m an American. If we’re going to have a two-party system, I want parties and elections to offer real choices and not simply the lesser of evils. And I want the party that says they’re about less government to stop championing more and more laws that do nothing to improve the lives of their constituency. I want to look at the political parties and go, “Damn – that’s a great point” instead of seeing pundits from one side or the other push out incendiary remarks like this:

erick erickson coat hanger tweet

 

By the way — that link? Links to coat hangers. Stay classy. (Source: MSN Now)

 

You’ll find your threshold of action – but how many more Facebook statuses and tweets will you post and share until you’re willing to do something? I can’t deny that I am white, female, and privileged — and there are days I’m truly embarassed to be each of those things when I see how we treat one another in this country. But I also can’t deny that should I fail to use that to speak up and do something, I’m only part of the problem. File me away under A for apathy. I mean, hell — we’re a nation that gives more bandwith to a shitty sci-fi flick called “Sharknado”  than our fellow man. You can filed that away under F for…well, you know.

So, maybe you’ll skip Texas and Florida this year and maybe you won’t. But after reading this, what I hope you realize is that you have the ability to:

  • Use your purchasing power to create an impact.
  • Hold our elected officials responsible — through multiple avenues — even those in states in which we do not live.
  • Make a choice — which is something that women in Texas (North Carolina, North Dakota, and 12 other states) are watching fade away and that Trayvon Martin probably never had because of a law that says I can pick a fight with you. But if you fight back, I can kill you.

 

 

94 replies
  1. MightyCaseyMedia
    MightyCaseyMedia says:

    Hear you roar, grrlfren!! Every single decision we make in life can have an impact – good or not-so – on others. Living intentionally, or at least AWAKE, is kinda a requirement, right? However, given all the shiny objects and noise that mark a First World life … how’s a person of privilege to know when to drop the iPhone and actually talk to the human being next to them?
    I’m grateful for a childhood spent on the move, and an adulthood spent mostly in the front row of the first draft of history (the news business, before it became the infotainment sinkhole of stupid). What gives me hope is the teens, 20s, and 30-somethings I spend a lot of time with who are connected, tech-savvy … and have souls. ‘Cause my bunch has turned into a heaving scrum of whining, mean-spirited fuckwits.
    Onward.

    Reply
  2. KillianMIck
    KillianMIck says:

    Well said. Every word. I currently live in NC, but have had plans to move out of here as soon as circumstances allow. As a lesbian mother of two gay/bisexual daughters (and a son, but he isn’t as affected), I live in fear for the rights of women being slowly stripped away. We are headed back to the age in which spousal abuse is legal and even justifiable; the true mean of “rule of thumb” will be relevant once again. (It meant that a man could beat his wife with a “switch” no thicker than the width of his thumb.)
    We need to reclaim our rights; but they should never have been in jeopardy in the first place.

    Reply
  3. BrianFrederick
    BrianFrederick says:

    I love the angle of using purchasing power to enact some bit of change in our society. I’ve always been one (from the days of the old Nokia brick phones) to tell people that if they don’t like the way the service is acting, just drop it and make them come to you for clientele. Of course, with just one person, it won’t work, but a company wouldn’t dare scoff at the loss of a few thousand customers in one day, in one city. There are people they employ to watch these trends and to ask themselves, “Where did we fuck up?” It’s a tall drink of water to pour, but hopefully when social media turns into a tool used appropriately, it can happen.
    I do unfortunately disagree with you about SXSW, however. Austin is a weird town. Their mantra of “Keep Austin Weird” isn’t just hyperbole. They truly are a different city, surrounded by the typical Texas stereotype. Holding them accountable for the actions of a powerful, conservative base inflicts more damage in their quest for independence, or at the very least a voice, in their state government. It’s true, the unbelievable amounts of money that the city receives in March during the event doesn’t all stay there, but know that Austin is down there “fighting the good fight” if that’s the fight that one considers good. Consider them the white blood cell of a much larger organism, who need only the chance to multiply to be able to do their job.
    After we slaughtered one race and created a new country, we opened our borders to whomever chose to come. We threw countless cultures into a bowl and slapped the blender on ‘whip’ expecting that we’d all get along and not hold onto certain values that have been passed on for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Now we’re surprised that the untrained dogs of society can’t get along when we’re in such tight quarters? The unfortunate reality is that we have differences. With differences comes the tumultuous task of defining what is “right” and what is “wrong.” Subjective inferences that can’t be defined. 
    So while everyone was busy posting calculated rhetoric, misled accusations and heated opinions about one case in Florida, dozens others were killed by senseless violence in other parts of the country. Our crafty government also passed legislation that made drug companies not liable for any, I repeat, ANY damage done to a human while ingesting their so called medicinal cures. The country was captivated by one instance, in a flurry of many, that sought only to divide a nation more than what it already was. There is no easy solution, except to not be an asshole, and hope that the people you surround yourself with aren’t assholes either.

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      BrianFrederick Lots of people might disagree with the consideration to stay away from SXSW. I’m a Texas ad have nothing but love for Austin. But I can’t justify putting my money into an economy with draconian measures that are doing nothing to help women. Rather, those laws are demoting them to second class citizens.
      So — do you go to SXSW and feel good about feeding an Austin business owner? Or do you make the tougher decision to share why you’re NOT coming with the business owners you love and put them in the position to tell the State of Texas — this will not do. You are hurting my business AND you are hurting women?
      I don’t know the answer. But my money and my feet? For now, they’ll stay well outside of Texas.
      And PS: yes, this shit is RUHdonk. http://www.whiteoutpress.com/articles/q32013/supreme-court-rules-drug-companies-exempt-from-lawsuits/

      Reply
      • Snexas
        Snexas says:

        Erika Napoletano Why not do a little research & boycott the companies that fund the Texas legislator’s campaigns and the companies those Texas legislators own or are a party to? That makes more sense to me, but I’m just an Austinite that doesn’t want to be punished for this b.s. I was at the capitol almost every day the last few weeks. My Senator fought against this bill. We are not the problem. And I have news for you, if we complain about financial pain to Republicans they’re not going to care one bit. They’d love to see Austin fail.

        Reply
        • Erika Napoletano
          Erika Napoletano says:

          Snexas It’s not about making Austin fail and no one is discounting your presence at the capitol. And kudos to your senator who fought against the bill. I question, however, that the State of Texas would want to see their capital fail. This wouldn’t benefit anyone and would put their jobs at even greater risk.

          Reply
        • Snexas
          Snexas says:

          Erika Napoletano Again, why not skip over the middle-man (Austin) & boycott those who actually fund the campaigns & the businesses these legislators run?

          Reply
        • TamVanHorn
          TamVanHorn says:

          Snexas Erika Napoletano How about both? How about finally saying, enough is enough? We who live outside these places do not get to draw legislative boundaries, or hold ANY state legislator outside our district, accountable. I have purchasing dollars and I control them all. So I will not be in North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, or Florida for the time being. I don’t *have* to go, so I;d rather feed the wolves that are moving where I want them to go.

          Reply
    • SL Clark
      SL Clark says:

      BrianFrederickI agree Austin is weird, but why must the SXSW group remain? I’m sure Boulder would LOVE a change of venue. As far as I’m concerned, every woman in Austin should consider moving As Soon As Financially Possible. This would be the “good” fight in a State dominated by the gender challenged.

      Reply
  4. Barbara Goldberg
    Barbara Goldberg says:

    As a transplanted New Yorker living in Florida I’ve had the opportunity, and I say that loosely, to watch as our elected officials put laws in place that have many scratching their heads asking “What the Fuck”?Iit is not financially feasible for me to just up and leave the state so I do my best to hold my elected officials responsible and make educated choices. I registered to vote when I turned 18 understanding what those rights gave me.It is unfortunate that even voting has become so convoluted through gerrymandering and lack of apathy when it comes time to vote. I’m going to continue to use my vote as part of my voice, knowing that just one vote can make a difference.

    Reply
  5. Cindi_MyFoothold
    Cindi_MyFoothold says:

    We all need to start publicizing the events/states/cultures that we want people to know about – send out the love for them, promote them, buy from them-what a marketing concept, silence to the events/states/cultures we don’t support, mucho exposure for those we do…
    BrianFrederick’s point in his last paragraph is very important and emphasizes why our voices should be raised and votes made. The problem for so many people is that feeling of being so little and our voices drowned out…where we start to be sincerely concerned that the money/power/control that follows (drives?) so many important decisions is instead brokered in rooms we might not have access to.

    Reply
  6. OneJillian
    OneJillian says:

    Right the eff on, Erika. I find it disgusting that those “in power” will flippantly use their position to incite fury from their opponents AND STILL BLAME THE OPPONENT FOR THE RESULTING FURY. 

    AND GET. AWAY. WITH IT.
    And i was just thinking on a drive yesterday while listening to a law professor break down the legality and actionability of this latest affront to personal safety with the full support of “the law”…. Throughout my life, my father has played a persistent, insistent role in the state of KY fighting against this very thing. The *perception* of minorities in the state. 
    And let me tell ya, it has been a thankless investment of his time from most sides except from within the minority community. His continuous work meant there was something to rally around, support and build together. And it took a LONG time for me to appreciate all the time he spent in service to others. Living as the example in your community is an ambitious GOAL, let alone a great starting place.

    Reply
      • OneJillian
        OneJillian says:

        Erika Napoletano there is a LOT of inspiration and leadership to be gained from people right under your nose. People who didn’t wait for a court case that made America mad, but who have diligently been building inroads into the dank dark backrooms where the “real lobbying” happens. Picking up the reins from them is both terrifying and a “too-slow/too-fast” process that absolutely MUST be done. it’s not a sexy march or boycott or one-and-done march on the capital steps…..it’s lunches and certificate banquets and endless week-long meetings to review literally a 4″ binder agenda and materials.
        We have all these ideas to try to re-burrow the holes into the damaged system from the outside….but some of us are in a prime position to RECEIVE a prime position from a warrior who ready to retire from the fight.

        Reply
  7. MarySchmidt1
    MarySchmidt1 says:

    Oh, you’re gonna get into trouble now? (Can I come with?) This reminds me of when I served on the public policy committee of the local NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). I was the token Democrat and would actually – dear me – speak up – when the nice Republican ladies would, for example, go on a tear about “They get free healthcare from the emergency rooms” I would be the lone voice of dissent…and then later I would get phone calls and emails from others on the committee thanking me for speaking up and saying what they thought…this from supposedly successful, assertive women busienss leaders. Sad.

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      MarySchmidt1 ‘Thanks for being honest’ — when I was afraid to be. Yep. Keep doin’ what you’re doing. And to all the conservative-minded women out there, keep doing what you’re doing as well when you find your voice outnumbered. You voice counts, regardless of ratio.

      Reply
  8. Snexas
    Snexas says:

    Austin is liberal. We came out in droves to fight this anti-woman, anti-healthcare legislation. Our Democratic Senator Kirk Watson & other representatives were on the front lines of this fight. I don’t see how boycotting SXSW, which is a homegrown event & a boon to tons of locally owned small businesses is helpful. You’re just financially hurting one of the biggest liberal cities in the state. I say boycott the companies the fund these ahole’s campaigns & the businesses these legislators own outside of their miserable part-time job at our state capitol.

    Reply
    • LindaEsposito
      LindaEsposito says:

      Snexas I see the dilemma, but…sometimes the only time the stakeholders pay attention is when their bottom line is hit.

      Reply
      • Snexas
        Snexas says:

        LindaEsposito The TX Republicans would love to see Austin fail & feel financial pain. They aren’t going to care one bit if we say, “hey stop what you’re doing, you’re hurting our economy.”

        Reply
        • LindaEsposito
          LindaEsposito says:

          Snexas Mmm…something tells me that losing a portion of $190,000,000 would cause a bit of head scratching.

          Reply
        • Snexas
          Snexas says:

          LindaEsposito Snexas I’d need to do some research, but we don’t have a state income tax in Texas. I’m not sure how much of that $190,000,000 actually goes to the state of Texas as a whole.

          Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      Snexas And I understand the dilemma — there IS no right answer. And as a Texan, I know full well the political bent of the Austin area 🙂 But how can I spend money in Texas? It’s the same as driving through the Chick-fil-A drive through and stocking up once a week while my gay and lesbian friends fight for equal status.

      Reply
  9. LindaEsposito
    LindaEsposito says:

    One small contribution I’ve made is to spread the word about the importance of black people serving jury duty. I listened to an attorney for the Cochran Law Firm (yes, that one…) who advocated that black people can serve their community by showing up, despite the loss in work pay. Now I’m one to talk, I mean who wants to give up your hard-earned cash and site in a courtroom? But, the crime statistics are what they are, and who better to have a voice and a vote for misrepresented people than other misrepresented people?
    Thanks for mentioning WDS. WDS 2013 was many things. I took my 11 y/o son for the exposure to an alternative educational system. My ultimate take was that there are truly good people in the world–people committed to community and service. And Portland, OR is a beautiful city. Honestly, if I ever end up homeless, I’m heading northwest (pardon the pun).

    Reply
    • ASwirlGirl
      ASwirlGirl says:

      LindaEsposito Great point about Black people serving on juries – I serve whenever I’m selected. The point of the importance of serving was driven home to me when I was in a jury pool for a big drug case in Dallas. I had “important” things going on at work and felt like I needed to be there. I could have gotten off, but then it hit me: I complained about the drug problem, and here was my opportunity to sit on a jury, hear the facts, and make an informed decision on the innocence or guilt of the involved parties. I’ve been serving on juries ever since.

      Reply
      • LindaEsposito
        LindaEsposito says:

        ASwirlGirl –Thanks for the first hand reminder how futile complaining is…funny how we downgrade “important” when it hits close to home. You’re an inspiration, no doubt!

        Reply
  10. Partyaficionado
    Partyaficionado says:

    I would not want anyone to hold me accountable for my state’s government.  I live in Oklahoma.  I vote, donate, volunteer, and yes sometime post online.  I also host a conference.  If speakers and sponsors decided to not come to my event, I’d be out of business.

    Reply
  11. GretchenM
    GretchenM says:

    And one of the biggest ways to act is to VOTE.  Vote in primaries, special elections, interim elections, bond elections. I had a bumper sticker for a while showing Lucy from The Peanuts. The quote read, “If you don’t vote, don’t crab.” Wise words to live by.

    Reply
      • JulianaGregory
        JulianaGregory says:

        Erika Napoletano GretchenM Oh I totally disagree. The political system is set up to be a cluster fuck mind game to trigger personal emotional issues and get us arguing minutia. Am I for gay marriage, yes, women’s rights, of course. The fact that it’s a question in this day and age is totally absurd, and that these conversations completely blow over bills getting squeaked through that allow my food to be poisoned, planes flying over my head spraying god knows what, public aid, help to feed my child via those free school lunches, great, unfortunately it’s poison. 
        This wont get me the popular vote but voting in the big elections seems to me a ginormous waste of time, divide and conquer. Shining example is the last election, I have very liberal values, but I have problems with this slimy douche bag, for one, allowing the poisoning of our food supply while his douchette basks in the joy of her organic white house garden. Disgusting, our political system is laughable, if it weren’t so tragic. I don’t have any say or power in voting they do what they want and they support their cronies. 
        I am however a VERY conscious consumer, and some things I don’t gobble up are popular media, plastic shit from from the evil empire, the latest and greatest electronic, or Starbucks. Why? Because it’s all about marketing, they don’t care, they sell death in cup, loaded in cancer causing causing chemicals, buy from big agriculture that’s demolishing small farms business, our food supply, and our planet. I live for the day every American wakes up and decides to boycott Walmart, bring down one giant at a time. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I drive a car, I buy my token organic from sleazy bastards who’ve pushed hard to avoiding labeling. But casting a vote is far from massive action.

         I am white and privileged, I’m also a single mother living below the poverty line trying to get a business up and running. To me it’s ludicrous to think that a little tally in a box after hours and hours of trying to keep up with the bastards on top of my already full and hectic life, is going to make a difference. Everyone was up in arms about the school loan stuff, did it matter, nope, but big business is still getting huge subsides. Follow the money it all goes to the same place voting’s just another game thrown out by the elitists to get the masses feeling like they’ve done their good deed, all the good people watching network tv believing their free will is casting their vote to a government that works for them, laughable. How long have we been rockin’ the vote, what difference has it made?

         You free me up and I appreciate it:) I had a little heart break when you said Starbucks.

        Reply
  12. SophieLatulippeOuellet
    SophieLatulippeOuellet says:

    I hear that Texas is the state that created the most jobs since the recession. Aren’t jobs what women need the most? And also, since Zimmerman’s case has nothing to do with the “stand your ground” law (mere case of legitimate defence). Why do people hate the law so mucn?

    Reply
    • Partyaficionado
      Partyaficionado says:

      SophieLatulippeOuellet Perhaps because, In this particular case it seems, only one person was able to “stand his ground”  and it wasn’t the person being pursued by a gunman.

      Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      SophieLatulippeOuellet Zimmerman’s case did not invoke Stand Your Ground — but it brings the entire law into question. It’s not about hating the law. it’s about asking our lawmakers to do better.

      Reply
      • SophieLatulippeOuellet
        SophieLatulippeOuellet says:

        Do better… Like what? Sorry I am really trying to understand the problem, Because unless I misunderstand, if you face someone who is also armed, isn’t standing your ground a better tactic? As a Canadian, I never owned a gun, but living alone and having been followed a few times, I understood the need for such a law…

        Reply
        • LouYuh
          LouYuh says:

          SophieLatulippeOuellet As Someone who had been followed several times, and who supports Stand Your Ground, I think you would understand why the kid who was trying to defend himself from the stalker who left his car was trying to defend himself and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Unless you’re just purposefully being provocative and obtuse.

          Reply
        • lucrecer
          lucrecer says:

          SophieLatulippeOuellet Stand Your Ground did not work for Trayvon Martin. People seem to be forgetting he had a right to defend himself from a man who was pursuing him. Instead, he has been made out to be the aggressor. Interesting, seeing as how he was unarmed, headed home and being pursued by a man with a gun. 
          There is also a woman in Florida who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a gun in the air to scare off her abusive husband. She used Stand Your Ground as defense. She did not kill anyone, but the law did not apply to her. 
          The law is a mess and only supports a select few.

          Reply
        • SophieLatulippeOuellet
          SophieLatulippeOuellet says:

          there is not much difference between the Stand your ground law and the regular self-defence law,which also iinclude a stand your ground clause. I watched a big part of the trial, and from what was presented, until Trevon Martin came out of hiding and there was a physical fight, in no time was Trayvon Martin in a position to think that is life was in danger. But perhaps something elude me. Other than this specific example what do you mean when you say that “this law is a mess and supports a select few”? Perhaps you are right, and perhaps it will be changed… I don’t live in Florida and it would be very difficult for me to intervene…

          Reply
    • Shad Boots
      Shad Boots says:

      SophieLatulippeOuellet Erika Napoletano  Actually, jurors came out and say that they found him not guilty because of the Stand Your Ground law. They received instructions from the Judge saying that they must take that into account, even though it was not invoked. 
      Also, the problem with the Stand Your Ground law has been, and always will be, that it is applied arbitrarily and, in many cases, unfairly. 70% of people who invoke it are acquitted of their crimes. (In Florida, a man shot his wife’s lover in the head and back was acquitted of the murder because of the Stand Your Ground law).

      Reply
      • SophieLatulippeOuellet
        SophieLatulippeOuellet says:

        This is eeird. It doesn’t make legal sense to me…How could Zimmerman retreated while being underneath Trevon Martin…

        Reply
        • ConnorMarc
          ConnorMarc says:

          SophieLatulippeOuellet Why do you insist on starting the story at the confrontation? You simply refuse to consider the events before that. You don’t get to follow someone, instigate a fight, then once you’re losing, blow them away to Kingdom Come…at least you shouldn’t. That’s where the outrage of that law comes. 
          I’m sorry, but Canadian or not, you just don’t seem sincere, credible or serious.

          Reply
        • sophiesvoice333
          sophiesvoice333 says:

          ConnorMarc SophieLatulippeOuellet  Why to you say he “instigated the fight”?  I thought that at the moment Zimmerman was out of the car,  that Trayvon seemed to have ran away and then he came back and jumped on Zimmerman.  The law stipulates that even if someone starts a fight, if he tries to stop it and he believes his life is in danger, he has a right to self defines. There is a difference between lack of judgment (which I thick qualifies Zimmerman) and a criminal act.

          Also, judging from the qualities you attributed me in your previous comments, it would be very surprising that “you are fighting prejudices”…
          ConnorMarc  Re-read what you wrote in your post-scriptum.  I might get opinionated, but I believe that in general,  I try to understand facts and people. Also, I am a very open-minded person with a sick sense of humour right? Erika Napoletano ?   I am not there yet,  but I would like to argument more like according to the lLaws of Rhetoric, which further advances issues rather than launching in to a senseless series of ad-hominems…

          Reply
        • Erika Napoletano
          Erika Napoletano says:

          sophiesvoice333 ConnorMarc SophieLatulippeOuellet I’m putting the kibosh on this thread now.
          1) No one was there except for Zimmerman and Martin. One is dead.
          2) See #1.
          Thanks, all 🙂

          Reply
        • sophiesvoice333
          sophiesvoice333 says:

          Erika Napoletano sophiesvoice333 ConnorMarc SophieLatulippeOuellet   You are so right!!!  I should have my email filters delete messages concerning this topic.  I feel very unprofessional andf ashamed of myself. However, you are a bit of a teacher to me.   i think you are very perspicacious and I want to be a bit more like you for that…  In the meantime, go read my latest blog post…,. 😉

          Reply
        • sophiesvoice333
          sophiesvoice333 says:

          Erika Napoletano sophiesvoice333 ConnorMarc SophieLatulippeOuellet  I jiust realized that you can unfollow a discussion directly from the email. I am both “dumb” and “dumber”…

          Reply
        • ConnorMarc
          ConnorMarc says:

          sophiesvoice333 ConnorMarc SophieLatulippeOuellet Erika Napoletano There’s no way that George went back to his car after he said “OK” when the 911 operator told him that he didn’t need to be following Trayvon.
          You want to believe that Zimmerman is this innocent, good-hearted, jolly neighborhood watchman that somehow got in over his head. I don’t paint that picture. 
          Now I’m not going to paint a total devil picture of him either, but it was Zimmerman’s actions that lead to the death of Trayvon. And for that he has to pay. The fact that he got off Scot Free after killing an unarmed teenager is what has me and so many others outraged.
          What adds to it more is the nonchalant way that people like yourself and others dismiss it or even attribute the death to the victim. I watched the entire trial daily almost all day, and the Defense effectively put Trayvon on trial. It was a damn shame. And the comments and view of JurorB37 gave great insight into what happened inside the jurors’ heads. Lots of prejudices led to that verdict. Prejudices that I picked up in your statements. So you’ll have to excuse me if I respond the way I do to you.
          I’ll remain outraged at this verdict and this law. Do try to see and understand a differnt POV than you have been thus far.
          Thank you.

          Reply
  13. court0516
    court0516 says:

    Awesome post. Here’s what I’m going to do – first I’m going to take that citizenship test. God help me. I like to think I’m a smart person…we’ll see how much I know about my country. 
    Second, I will talk about current events more with my 9yo daughter and soon my 2yo daughter. In fact, my 9yo was watching a movie the other night and it was cut off during the last 5mins when the Zimmerman verdict was read. She asked about it and we told her some scant details. But there is a greater lesson here….we’ll be talking more. 
    Third – I have joined the fight with Wendy Davis and am completely appalled by the link you provided showing Governor Perry’s connection to this legislation. Why isn’t the media covering this??
    Fourth – I will remain informed and not grow complacent only to be sucked in to some twisted version of a group hug known as shared indignance when something like this happens and all we seem capable of doing is “liking” and agreeing or retweeting people with whom we agree. 
    Thanks for this great post – I’ll let you know how I do on the test.

    Reply
  14. bdorman264
    bdorman264 says:

    Easy now, don’t be chasing people away from Florida. We don’t have a state income tax because we have to put up with the tourists and snowbirds every year. 
    Florida is an extremely diverse state; to generalize, I can assure you the people in Pensacola and their beliefs are totally different than Miami even though it’s the same state. 
    Yes, I’m a privileged white middle class male so before I get too worked up one way or another about the George Zimmerman trial, most times it’s best I just keep my mouth shut because I did not sit on the jury and I did not hear the evidence. For what it’s worth, the stand your ground defense was not used in this case. 
    I also know if you pull a gun with the intent to use it, the majority of the time the outcome is not going to be good. But I am not in support of gun control, in my opinion that is not the problem. 
    I try to do my part; I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and I’m the voice of the children who have been placed in foster care because their parents or care givers were doing something bad enough to get them removed. I know what the ‘system’ looks like and will attest there is so much waste and inefficiency it’s almost criminal. 
    I hear ya though, don’t bitch and moan; give me a solution and do something about it. If you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for anything.

    Reply
    • SL Clark
      SL Clark says:

      bdorman264 So this mean tourists are financing such heinous laws, which then justifies no state income tax for the white male population creating the laws to protect themselves from the tourists? 
      Advil Stat!

      Reply
  15. shane304
    shane304 says:

    Pssst. Your white guilt is showing. 
    It appears you aren’t too hip on Texas and Florida. I can understand that with them showing off their great economy and booming job markets. Showoffs. 
    You lefties get all bent out of shape and try to drag the rest of us into your guilt complex. I hate no one of any color unless they deserve it for their actions. Thoughts don’t scare me, but actions do. I have friends of all colors and sexual persuasions. Makes no difference to me just mind the law, pay your way and be a good citizen. Not all that hard.
    We can’t make it “fair” for everyone. No system can do that anywhere. It’s been proven. What you can do is give everyone a “fair shot”. That is exactly what the United States of America was founded on. And although it is more fair for some than others it is still the best option anywhere in the world. People aren’t beating down the door to get into Sweden, France or insert any other Socialist state here. They want to come here because they have a shot. You can’t legislate “your shot”. You lay it out the best you can and let people decide how bad they want it.
    But like any group, company or society there are always people who can’t make it. No drive, no will, just not very bright it doesn’t matter you choose the malady. Now those that “truly” and I mean truly need the help I am all in to help them. I do it now with m checkbook and with my time. We need to care for those that can’t care for themselves. But we don’t need to care for people who have no desire to help themselves or to move their lot up in life. 
    And guess what. I have absolutely zero guilt for that. We all do what we can to make the best life possible for us and our families. Lastly, this whole Women’s Rights thing is befuddling to me. Everybody acts like they need special help to get by and make it. Come on. They are smarter than men, are graduating from college more and generally have their shit together more than men. Chill on the special rights they need. Just say what you mean – we want free birth control because we are entitled to it and we would like the ability to kill our child anytime before it is born.

    Reply
    • TamVanHorn
      TamVanHorn says:

      shane304 Shane, as a Black woman in a Ph.D. program in Sociology in Colorado, married to a White man, you offend me with every word you type, and reveal that not only do you lack the willingness to think critically about democracy, you also seem uninterested in participating to achieve that. If there was a fair shot for all, our schools would not be both segregated by race and socioeconomic status. The recession would have hit us all equally badly, not decimated the wealth and resilience of the middle class. We would not be 37th in Birth outcomes in the WORLD. So, Shane, in love, get a grip.

      Reply
      • shane304
        shane304 says:

        TamVanHorn shane304  Why do I need to know you are Black? Can’t we just be Americans, why do we need to have 150 different special interest groups? Just come at me with your ideas and thoughts. If you want people to quit profiling and pigeon holing everyone then quit putting labels on everybody. Judge them on actions not the color of their skin. Isn’t that what you say you want?
        Offended? Really? What the hell does that even mean? Since when does an American have the right to “not be offended”? You don’t like my idea fine, but I’m not shutting up so you can not be offended. Chicken shit argument.
        You said; “The recession would have hit us all equally bad”. Again, really? You going to have a law passed that says in the future all recessions will hurt every person equally. Great idea. It is the way of the world. Those on the bottom always get hurt than those on the top. Less resources equals less buffer. Just like all those Fortune 500 companies sitting on tons of cash and not paying squat in taxes. Yet small business guys like me getting raked over the coals and paying a boatload of taxes. Not fair, it’s life.
        So once again excuse me who am I. Just a guy who is employing 22 people so they can feed their families while providing health insurance and dental insurance to their families as well. All while working my ass off 15 hours a day to do it while the government both state (IL) and federal do nothing but try to make it harder for me to do so. Only to watch idiots bilk and scam the system and ask me to pay my “fair share”. 
        Newsflash – I pay way more than my share. Boy hope you aren’t offended.

        Reply
        • TamVanHorn
          TamVanHorn says:

          shane304 TamVanHorn If I could JUST be an American, Trayvon Martin would not be dead. My Blackness is beautiful and important and informs what happens to me every day…you don’t get that. Instead, you chose to call names and label people as liberals and claim the whole women’s right’s “thing” confuses you…well a lot confuses you. So you don’t get it. Go somewhere else then and trouble them. You clearly are not interested in learning. And thanks for paying more than your share. My ancestors who built the country as slaves, thank you for that. Because clearly a couple of gainfully employed, childless heterosexual married people like us don’t pay anything. Good on ya- you got an A in Logic, didn’t you?

          Reply
        • shane304
          shane304 says:

          TamVanHorn shane304 Your reply makes my point. Thank you. 
          Trayvon? Your ancestors? What does either of those have to do with our conversation? Nothing, but you have nothing else. Your blackness is beautiful? OK I’m good with that it just has nowhere in this conversation. 
          There is nothing I personally could do, say or act on to right what happened to Trayvon nor you ancestors. So why would you throw that in? Because you have nothing else.
          I am sure as a PHD you pay more than your fair share of taxes. But I can bet my bottom dollar as a percentage you don’t pay close to what a small business in this country is burdened with.
          Lastly, I don’t care if you are heterosexual or married. You can have be whatever sexual preference you want and be married or not. That has no bearing on our conversation.
          You are making my point.

          Reply
        • TamVanHorn
          TamVanHorn says:

          shane304 TamVanHorn I was pointing out the tax structure that I pay for things I don’t use. So. My ancestors inform me of my connection to Trayvon Martin. I don’t know you, so I can only blame you for what you put on this board. You were dismissive and when confronted with another worldview, you attacked.  Like I keep saying, you don’t seem to want to know differently, you want to lecture Black people and women (groups you named in your original post) for your bad attitude. I’m ok with that, because I know you don’t trust me enough to take my word for it. But dude, you come across and ranty and bananas, not articulate, inclusive, and well-informed. If you care about how you represent yourself, I invite you to do a bit more listening and asking of questions, of people with different experiences than yours, and less telling me what parts of my identity matter. Because you can’t live life in this body, with this history, with these laws…you can’t access that experience any more than I can access the untold privilege you have to not be questioned that your ideas are right and good. So since you can’t access that experience or even know what it is like, try listening to others to come together instead of dissing everyone in your path. It’s bad juju, man.  God loves you and so do I.

          Reply
        • shane304
          shane304 says:

          TamVanHorn shane304 Your ancestors inform you of your connection to Trayvon? Holy cow.
          I don’t hate you. I especially don’t hate you because you are Black. I don’t want to lecture Black people or Women. As stated I do not care what color you are. You keep bringing it back to race and gender. I don’t care about either. 
          On the bright side for you there are soon to be a lot more that think like you than me. That is evident in what is happening today. The takers will shortly outnumber the makers and the system will collapse on itself. So I guess you have that going for you.
          None of my criticisms were directed at you. Don’t know you or your situation. It was a statement of the current state in this country. 
          And I’m not sure what bad juju is, but it doesn’t sound like something I want.
          Best to you and hopefully somebody smarter than us figures this all out.
          Have a great rest of your Summer.

          Reply
        • Erika Napoletano
          Erika Napoletano says:

          shane304  shane304 It’s funny Shane – we’re not that far apart on a few things. As a fellow small business owner, I concur with the tax burden we bear — as people who both create AND stimulate economies, the “privilege” we have of paying our hefty hunk. I’ve come to look at those times each quarter and month as my, “fuck yeah” times, though — because I *can* write those checks. And I gladly do.
          It’s also funny that you think I’m a “leftie” (which, I don’t really know what a “righty” would be, but I *am* right-handed) — probably based on my belief that we should be expanding healthcare options for everyone, not just women. Women’s healthcare just seems to make headlines. I don’t see anyone dialing back prostate exams for the dudes. Maybe dudes don’t want to talk about having a camera shoved up their asses. Which is probably why we (chicks) find it interesting that men want to talk about shoving an ultrasound wand up our vaginas…but I digress.
          Most of my community knows that I’m pretty much as close to a 50s-era Republican possible, I just can’t get behind the stance on social issues. Maybe you missed the part where I said that I truly wanted the Republican Party to succeed — as I truly do.
          But, I didn’t come into this post calling anyone names. I offered options. And as a future resident of the State of Illinois (perhaps to your dismay), I’ll say thanks for stopping by, soon-to-be-neighbor. It’s funny, isn’t it, how two people might seem so far apart but in actuality, aren’t…these are the things that make me smile each day.

          Reply
        • shane304
          shane304 says:

          Erika Napoletano shane304 Good reply as usual.
          First, I am not a fan of sticking a camera up my ass. Just for the record. And what you stick up wherever -not my concern either.
          You are probably correct that you and I are probably in agreement on about 90% of everything. It’s just that the 10% left can be very inflammatory because we are so far apart. The Al Sharptons and Sean Hannity’s of the world make a great living stirring the shit up and we all jump in the cesspool.
          I would consider myself a Chris Christie Republican -fiscal conservative, but on the social issues I am a lot softer. I am Pro-choice but hope you don’t, I am pro gay marriage, I am definitely no Holy-Roller thumping the bible, but I think they need to leave the 2nd amendment alone even though I own no guns. But I am also pro Ted Cruz and Rand Paul when it comes to smaller government, government waste and our civil liberties. So I am an odd duck in my circles.
          As you will notice Sarah9 and I are the only two on here that disagree with you. Guess that makes us either brave, stupid or actually informed on both sides. 
          I appreciate your responses and like to look at both sides of the fence which is why I watch as much MSNBC (gulp) as I do Fox News.
          Happy rest of the summer to you and welcome to Illinois land of the ever increasing tax hikes and proud owner of the worst bankrupt pension system in the country.
          Peace

          Reply
        • Erika Napoletano
          Erika Napoletano says:

          shane304Sarah9 And I don’t think it’s about disagreeing. I don’t mind disagreement — this community is far from a collection of sycophants (wouldn’t want it that way if it were). And you have a point. There’s a segment of “fiscally conservative, social moderates” that are vastly unrepresented. I’m hoping in 10 years, that changes. Until now, we’re all left with a la carte issues — which makes for shittiness all around.
          Holler 🙂

          Reply
    • Sarah9
      Sarah9 says:

      shane304 I’m with you 100%. Can we stop thinking in terms of skin color -or any other minority- and look at the facts for once? Yes, racism does exist, I don’t deny that; but does it have to be the issue *every single time*? Can’t you people move on and  just be Americans for once? (By the way, I got 86% on the long version of the citizenship test, am I granted citizenship? 🙂 )
      Erika is right: we will never know what happened between Zimmerman and Martin; therefore, we should refrain from trying the case on the Internet. Zimmerman may or may not have acted in self-defense, Martin may or may not have assaulted him. The jury decided it was self-defense. Now we should move on.

      Reply
      • lucrecer
        lucrecer says:

        Sarah9 Erika Napoletano I am not sure who “You People” is referring to, but I will say this. Unless you have been profiled or followed in a store, then racism does not affect you every single day. You can not relate, therefore I understand why you don’t get it being an issue for many people who are not white. I am in agreement, I would like everything to not be about race, but unfortunately, we have people who simple feel it necessary to remind people of any color outside of white that they are some how less than a white person. 
        Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager. Nothing about that is okay ever. Regardless of his color, he and anyone who does what he does is a murderer. I don’t care what your race is, if you kill kids and justify it by saying YOU were attacked and you had the weapon, then you are a coward. Zimmerman has to live with what he did and the rest of us have to deal with the mess that is left.

        Reply
        • Sarah9
          Sarah9 says:

          lucrecer
          Since you’re asking, yes, I have been profiled (for reasons I won’t go into); I am profiled all the time.  In fact, aren’t you profling me right now as someone who never had to deal with racism, hence doesn’t get it? It doesn’t mean that I never screw up or that every interaction I have is about that perception people may have of me.

          That said, I believe in self-defense. If a 6-foot  tall “kid” attacks me, I am going to do something about it. The “kid”‘s skin color doesn’t give him special rights, that would be reverse discrimination.

          Reply
        • lucrecer
          lucrecer says:

          Sarah9 No, I was not profiling you. I simply made a statement, as I was not sure what you meant by “You People.” You don’t have to get so defensive and attack me for asking about clarification. Using a phrase like “You People” is calling out someone who is unlike yourself. There was no need to get nasty.
          I believe Erika Napoletano entire post was to spark discussion, not personal attacks. I would expect you to defend yourself if anyone attacked you. I would not expect you to pursue someone with a gun who is doing absolutely nothing wrong and kill them when they defend themselves from an unknown, unannounced pursuer. That seems to be the one thing many are forgetting about that night. Trayvon Martin had a right to stand his ground against Zimmerman coming after him. 
          You have yourself a great day.

          Reply
        • shane304
          shane304 says:

          lucrecer True with a lot you say. I will never know what it is like to be profiled. There are racists in our country. Both true.
          Although Sarah9 brings up a good point. You have us both profiled as white people who don’t like black people, just because we are white. Not true for me and from what I’ve seen not true for Sarah9. So that runs both ways.
          “You People”? Don’t be so touchy. I believe “You People” Sarah refers to is you people that are on the other side from her. Don’t be so quick to inject race automatically every time. Like my earlier post why do we always have to push everything to race. Geeeeeeesh!
          Racists also come in all colors and ethnic groups. White people don’t have a monopoly on racism. There are just as many black racists as there are white that I am sure of. But for some reason it is OK for it to work that way. It is not and doesn’t help the situation.
          Speaking as white a guy as there is, what am I supposed to do about the white racist idiots? I’m not on their team but I always get lumped in with them because my skin is the same color. I dislike them as much as you do. I won’t support anything they do. Ever.  Hmmmm profiling? 
          I cannot right the atrocious wrongs that blacks were subjected to since the inception of our country, but it seems like that is what is expected. Somebody tell me what to do to make it right. I cannot just go out and erase the idiots from the white world anymore than you can go take care of the stupidity of all the black youth killed every week by other black youth. If I could fix it I would and I am sure if you could go to the South side of Chicago and make all the black on black homicides go away you would. But neither of us have that power unfortunately.
          So maybe just maybe, like the Redhead said in an earlier post, you and I aren’t so different after all. If I don’t lump you in with the racists on the black side and you don’t lump me in with the racists on the white side just maybe we could get to a solution. Or at the very least push those on the fringe so far out that they are not even a factor. Maybe?
          You never know. Best to you lucrecer

          Reply
        • lucrecer
          lucrecer says:

          I did not assume anyone was white. Having heard the terms You People many times, it is always meant as an insult. I simply don’t see it being okay to attack people with assumptions. Many posting here, I have no idea of their skin color and I don’t care. I do appreciate dialogue and sharing points of view. I thought that is what we were doing. I would never group you with racists. If that is not what you are, I would not make such an assumption. I have many wonderful friends of all colors and persuasions. I’d love for race issues to be resolved in our country. Have a great day.

          Reply
        • Sarah9
          Sarah9 says:

          lucrecer Speaking of assumptions… I guess I should have said “you the people” instead of “you people.” 🙂 I guess I have to explain now: I am not an American. When I first moved to this country as a college student, I was surprised to see that black students were hanging out with black students on campus, and white students were hanging out with white students. I only know this particular university so I don’t know if that’s the case all over the US, but it’s certainly not the case in my home country. Therefore, I’m always surprised when people keep bringing up skin color. President Obama is the perfect example: whenever I disagree with something he said or did, someone calls me a racist, and why is that? I criticized previous presidents on occasion, why wouldn’t I have the right to criticize the current president as well?
          You have a great day too, lucrecer.

          Reply
  16. JaniceSimon
    JaniceSimon says:

    Thank you for the post, Erika! I’m glad you do speak your truth, and I always appreciate your straightforward nature. I am reminded of a quote: “When a sleeping woman wakes, mountains move.” Here in Texas, many of us are awake and ticked.

    Reply
  17. MichelleDLowery
    MichelleDLowery says:

    Choosing not to eat at Chick-Fil-A hurts the company. Just that one company, and the people who own it and subscribe to views many of us find reprehensible. But SXSW isn’t put on by the Texas legislature or the governor. The Texas state government doesn’t own the hotels or restaurants people patronize when they’re here attending that or any other event. 
    Those big conferences and companies will still get by because not *everyone* will choose to boycott them, but a lot of locally owned, mom-and-pop businesses also depend on conference-goers and tourists. And I’m willing to bet many of them don’t agree with some of the laws Texas is passing. 
    Punishing them isn’t going to change those laws, or change the minds of the people who wrote and passed them. I’m all for voting with your wallet, but to compare Chick-Fil-A to the Texas government–to the entire state and the people who live and work here, and who don’t all subscribe to the same views you find abhorrent–and suggest the same tactic to show displeasure with those views is, I think, a bit off base.
    Another way to vote with your wallet is to donate to political campaigns or grassroots movements that stand for what you believe in. You don’t have to live in Texas (or Florida), or even be affiliated with the same party–or any party–to do that. So maybe instead of saying, “I’m not setting foot in your house until you clean it up!” you can actually help clean it up. 
    Isn’t that what friends–what Americans–do for each other?

    Reply
    • ScrivK
      ScrivK says:

      MichelleDLowery Michelle, with all do respect, I think the two are exactly the same.  You are right that locally owned small businesses will feel the pinch, but that’s entirely the point.  They will start acting as well, reaching out to their politicians to say enough is enough – you claim to support small business but your extreme politics are killing us – and that is how change will happen.
      Change doesn’t really happen at the top, it happens at the bottom when the mom-and-pops and average-o citizens stop tolerating the abuse.
      Excellent point on donating to campaigns and organizations that stand for what you believe in – you are so right. Not all of us can lobby or march, but we can volunteer for these groups or write a check.  And your alternative of not boycotting but stepping in to help is also a completely valid approach.  The point, really, is act rather than just whine.

      Reply
  18. JamesTaylor2
    JamesTaylor2 says:

    Erica,
    Your post on this really moved me. The comments were hard to take as they seemed to devolve into the usual name calling and point missing diatribes. But your thesis is sound. The only way to invoke chenge is to actualy do something! I really got that you have nothing against SXSW, rather that with their power, if they see attendance drop and a movement affot to hurt their bottom line, that they might join the action and speak up from a higher platform than the average reader holds. I’m with you about being something like a 1950’s republican, the latest party line is to be against special interests, when in fact, the whole party is moving to the beat of a very few small (okay really large) special interests. Thanks for your advocacy, change is hard and the roots of division are very deep and hurtful in America, but both sides take issue with the current madness and soemthing needs to give. Bra-fucking-vo to you!!

    Reply
  19. Melissa2161
    Melissa2161 says:

    Thanks for this conversation. 
    We’d have a fighting chance of making a difference with our votes if politicians were actually accountable to their constituents instead of the highest bidders. Until campaign finance laws are changed we have to keep fighting. 
    For those that suggest we “just get over” conversations about race, I think we can do that when it doesn’t make  a bit of difference in the outcome (both in judgment and societal reaction) if Trayvon had been white and Zimmerman black. 
    And for fuck’s sake, nobody should dictate what a woman can or cannot do with her own body.  Unless,of course, legislators also tell men they either have to cover their penises or get a vasectomy. 
    Keep up the good fight, Erika.

    Reply
    • SL Clark
      SL Clark says:

      Melissa2161 Hi Melissa, my view on all women’s issues, not just abortion, are *extreme*, here goes: 
      Men
      should be allowed to vote on such only after they volunteer to be
      surgically castrated. This eliminates 99.9% from the discussion and
      removes the rest from the gene pool. Women should be the only ones
      discussing and deciding such issues for themselves, both individually
      and as a society.

      Unfortunately,
      women are STILL, at least subconsciously, considered “property” in
      every corner of the globe, including here in the US. Sad, especially
      when its an old privileged white guy saying this, but I did grow up in
      CA where some of us are feminists.

      Reply
  20. ScrivK
    ScrivK says:

    I seriously just went from “that Erika chick is pretty badass” to a full on girl-crush.  I LOVE this.  Twitter/Facebook outcries drive me completely bonkers.  This is an awesome post and I just sprayed it across every social media outlet I’m tied into.
    Stay awesome Erika!

    Reply
  21. PhilELegend
    PhilELegend says:

    You. Are. Awesome. 
    Not solely because I agree with the premise of the  article. But because it is so eloquently written and unabashedly honest. And I think I’m in love with you.
    I dont know how I stumbled upon your blog but Im happy to be here. Props to you all the way from Sunny gunny Florida.

    Reply
  22. AlyxandriaRae
    AlyxandriaRae says:

    Excellent article. Having lived in Latin American and Asian countries the past ten years, I have to say that we really do take our rights for granted in the U.S. We have the right to speak out and fight back, whereas in China you get disappeared or dead for doing so, even today. In the U.S. women have more rights than they do anywhere else in the world, unlike in Latin American countries where there are subtle, unspoken negative consequences for women who demand their rights and speak up to get them. So I always appreciate it when someone in the U.S. with a big audience writes a motivational activist article like this one. Love it! And, really, if you want a not-so-mainstream take on what’s *really* happening in the U.S., check out Greg Palast’s work because he’s a reporting genius.

    Reply
    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      AlyxandriaRae I’m late to replying, but thanks for your insightful comment. Having lived outside of the US as well (Japan), I have a different perspective on privilege and entitlement than many, including travels to third world countries in Africa which were entirely humbling.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *