Human Nature, Social Standards

Stroller Stigma

The other day at two in the afternoon, I saw a girl with a stroller, a stuffed baby doll in tow. Stopped further down the same road, I saw another girl pushing her stroller proudly alongside her mother. At first I was happy that her face was showing so much happiness. Then I began to think beyond the emotion. I saw the facts.

These were junior high school kids being released from school. There were no boys pushing strollers. There were no boys carrying the baby in their arms. What I saw one boy do is spin himself, laughing carelessly towards the first girl pushing the stroller. Is this what we are teaching boys to become–bystanders to child raising.

In this day in age both men and women can have more equal opportunity at jobs. It is socially acceptable. How come boys cannot begin learning the basics of stroll pushing and baby carrying? Are we telling them that because it isn’t a 5-ton heavy object (like in construction work) or because it is merely carrying a baby around that it isn’t important. It’s not the weight of the job that counts. It’s the impact of your effort on a child’s life.

Why can’t testosterone or estrogen be a human trait? Many men have embraced their feminine side, but not with the help of early education. From what I saw that afternoon, I gather that we are still pushing gender roles on boys and girls. More women are working alongside men. Why can’t more men confidently be homemakers. Being a homemaker is an honorable job for anyone. How can we stop perpetuating the stigma?

There are also variables that I could have missed: there were also boys pushing carts and I didn’t see them. Perhaps, if this is true, they wanted to wait until home to push a stroller around. Secondly, the two girls I saw might have volunteered for the project at the encouragement of their mothers (who did come from a time where mostly women still cared for children).

It is possible for men to become caretakers. You see proof of this in families were there are two dads. You also see families with two moms take on both working and caretaking. Too many people are making excuses for why they cannot do something. Society keeps telling us how we should run things. Most of us keep letting them. If you have a child or related to one, please tell them both sides of the story. The possibilities are unlimited. I want to see both boys and girls become the best people the can be.

Human Nature, Social Standards

The World

Today I heard someone refer to “the world” when they were talking about something they didn’t agree with. It’s a kind of reference that I hear many religious people use when talking about people who do things “against the Bible” depending on what translation you follow. Using “the world” in that way isn’t just used with religious people. It can used by anyone who doesn’t agree with something.

Everyone has had their own way of being raised. Even the upbringing of my older sister and younger brother is very different from each other as well as different from my own. People are unique and some are more different than others. We all know how it feels to be different in at least one way if not more. So why is it that minority people are against people from other minorities? I don’t have the answer, but I would like to explore the possibilities.

The other day I read this quote by an author (sorry I can’t remember), it said that no matter what intellectual conversation was being had, there will always be someone who will dissagree. So why try to figure out why people who are different and know what it feels like be against someone else who is different. My theory is that most people really don’t like things that are different. Also, most people don’t like change. if something that has been around for thousands or more years has been working, why try to fix it? My answer to that, is that it may have been working for a group of people, but it wasn’t working for another group of people. There are so many instances in history where that was evident. Slavery worked out for the “masters” who owned them, but not the people enslaved. Marriage worked well for the people allowed to be married, but it did not work out for the people who couldn’t be married. In addition, teaching Deaf kids worked out well for the hearing people who didn’t want to give Deaf people their own language and avoid having to learn sign language work out for the instructors, but it didn’t work out for the Deaf kids who spent mass amounts of effort with one pronunciation alone. Even left-handers have to live in a right-handed world. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some left-handed doorknobs? Maybe some higher ceilings and archways for taller people?

If someone doesn’t like certain foods. They don’t eat them. If another girl doesn’t like pants, she will wear dresses. Once you start telling someone who lives differently from you that they can’t have the same thing you have or that they have to be treated differently because of it, that’s where inequalities happen. And that’s when people start to refer to things they don’t like as “the world”. Crime happens. That’s the way the world is. It doesn’t make it any less important.

Next time you’re talking with someone who brings up something they don’t like, listen to see if they refer to “the world”. You would be surprised at how many people use it. To me it is almost saying, “I give up,” or “I can’t change the way the world is”. Alcohol Anonymous even has a motto that says, “Let live and let God.” Can you imagine if we had that motto for everything from “I’m failing Math” or “My job sucks”. I don’t think anything would get done. We would just be stuck in the same ole place.

Here is a quote that I do have the author for. Just something to think about when you go out there in “the world”.

“When any prevailing prejudice is attacked, the wise will consider, and leave the narrow-minded to rail with thoughtless vehemence at innovation.” By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Human Nature, Social Standards

Fruitvale Station 2009

Five and a half years ago, my brother, our friend and I embarked on our first road trip together. We drove eight hours to San Francisco. We stayed at a friend’s apartment on the first floor. We chose this time in particular so we could be in the city for New Year’s Eve/Day.

My brother and our friend went out clubbing while my friend we were staying with and I went to Tank Hill. We took three cars to fit everyone in our group. We were all very close in those tiny cars, but we made it. Everything was all and well. We enjoyed our time together. It was a lot of fun.

Little did we know that eighteen miles away at the Fruitvale Station, some people were wrongfully taken off the Bart due to some fighting that went on while on the Bart. All I know about the event was what I saw in the Sundance Independent film “Fruitvale”. What I saw was some other guy started the fight. And this particular group of friends got the entire blame for it. And the rest of the story you just have to see for yourself.

My brother had the opportunity to work at Sundance in 2012 and this year. He said that the people whose lives the film is based off were there at the screening. They said that the film was accurate and “it was like reliving it all over again.” Which tells you a little about how well the independent film was made.

Today was the last day the film was showing in the theatre closest to me. You might be able to see the film in a theatre near you. See the film in theatres if you can. If it isn’t available in a theatre near you, watch it on dvd.

Michael B. Jordan, Melanie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer all did an outstanding performance on screen. Michael played the role of Oscar, the guy trying to make a living for his girlfriend and daughter. Melanie played the role of his girlfriend. Octavia played the role of Oscar’s mother. All really difficult roles to play, but all three achieved it.

There is a scene at the hospital where Oscar’s mom, keeps the boys waiting with her in check while maintaining positive vibes. The whole scene is tense. It takes a very strong woman to keep her head up until the verdict is known.

The actors who played the policemen involved also had a hard role to play. To play someone who is so despised for their part at Fruitvale Station, can be a lot to bare. You really hated them.

At the beginning and the end of the film, they played lived footage from the event. It really brought all the emotions home. As someone who was close-by, but did not experience the event like the real people who did, I feel emotionally connected to the incident. I cannot imagine how much emotional pain has taken place because of someone’s mistake. But I know that the family can get by each day a little easier knowing that their story is out there and people are watching it and joining their side.

Human Nature, Love, Social Standards, Spiritual, The Law

You’re Different. I’m Different.

Inspired by my previous blog post “Your Rush. My Rush“, I am continuing the idea that people judge other people’s preference, personality, and importance based on things that don’t matter. What I mean is that one person may say another person’s god is wrong because it’s different than their own. Why can’t we live in a world where we accept that other people view things differently? It doesn’t make them wrong. Religion is a huge hot mess of conflict. Even people who believe in the church branch out from their original church to establish one based on what they believe. Different is not wrong. It’s just different.

Why should your difference override my difference? The USA was founded upon people who wanted a new life and an escape from religious persecution. And you know what ended up happening? In Jamestown, when it was established, people were fined $20 for missing church. That was a lot of money back then. As a country, we have become the judge of what’s right or wrong on things that has nothing to do with the church or state. And I think having a law based on one person/religion/political party’s idea isn’t fair to other people with different ideas.

I’m talking about love. It’s no one’s business who loves who. It’s more important to focus on the people who are hurting other people, not loving another person no matter what their ethnic background, skin color, or spiritual beliefs are. Just because someone else’s love looks different than yours, doesn’t make it wrong. It doesn’t mean you have to love like them either.

Why do some religious and political people reject same-sex marriage? There are many theories: It goes against their special interest groups. It goes against their religion via the Bible, Quran, etc. The psychological theory is that deep down inside, they aren’t sure of themselves whether they are gay or straight. It’s always easier to follow a book or rules. Seeing someone else fully embrace themselves for who they are makes the people trapped in society’s webs jealous. If we could all get past comparing ourselves to each other we can stop competing for the right way and start competing for human equality.

Human Nature, Social Standards

Your rush. My rush.

Last Thursday Geek & Sundry hosted a live Hangout with several vloggers (video bloggers) from the recently launched vlog site. During the Hangout several cute things, obnoxious things, and strange things were said. In the midst all the geek talk, Katie Satow said some words I took immediately to heart. She was talking about how ignorant some people can be in her little desert of a town somewhere in Canada. She said, “How do you know if your rush is more important than my rush?” Which is a completely valid question. One that we should each ask ourselves.

Let’s talk about the rush. The rush of everyone going where they are going. There isn’t enough time in the world to do everything. So why do some people drive fast in their cars? Why are the drivers of those cars completely oblivious to other cars. Are they late? Are they impatient? Are they apathetic to the other cars around them? I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t like to rush. Even if I’m late, I just like to arrive when I arrive. When cars are behind me driving close to the back of my car, I begin to stress. I don’t know why they don’t just pass me on the right. Someone once told me that there are drivers who like to annoy other drivers like that. Somehow it proves that they are better than you. And that’s what all this is about. Their rush is more important that yours.

The way the question was put into words struck the right cord with me. I never thought about other people getting in my way because they thought the world revolved around them. See my previous blog “The Revolving World“. I thought they were merely impatient or speed freaks. This layer of ignorance has opened up a new perspective for me. Next time I see someone who gets in my way be it on the road or crossing paths, I will chalk it up to their ignorance towards other people. It won’t make it less annoying, but it’ll help me accept it more quickly and move on. So thank you Katie Satow for your words of wisdom. You can follow her on Twitter under her name @BeautyArmory and you can find the other vloggers on Twitter @GeekandSundry and their videos on YouTube with the same name.

Human Nature, Social Standards

Another Stigma

When you think of the word “handicap”, what do you think about? I have reason to think you think of the blue square with the white figure in a wheelchair. We see them in parking lots all the time, but what does it really mean?

As someone who worked in parking before, I can tell you that there is more variety than you think. First, there is the Vietnam Vet who lost the ability of his or her arms and/or legs. Then there are other instances where an accident occured during an athletic activity like mountain climbing or an explosion at an event like the recent Boston Marathon. Whatever the case, some of these people have insurance. Prosthetic arms or legs are ordered. Then surgery is performed. These people eventually learn how to walk again, maybe even run.

Then there are those who don’t have inssurance. All they can afford is a crutch or two. You see them in the grocery store, at sporting events, or even at the bar. Others have wheelchairs or power chairs.

You may think all these people move much more slowly than you and that that is a handicap in itself. The important point is that you see them. These people are out there doing the same things you are. I dont think it makes them handicapped. I would much rather refer to them as limited to certain physical abilities.

“Once we accept our limits. We Go beyond them.” Quote by Albert Einstein –> We all have limitations we have to surpass.

For instance, people who are extremely overweight are considered physically limited. Ive seen them go through my area of the parking lot with the blue placards hanging in their rear window. I admit I thought, “How are they going to enjoy themselves?” The answer is: the best way they can.

These people with obvious limitations think about their limitation ever day of their life. They learn to deal with it and move on. Us passerbys only see them for a moment. We imagine the endurance it would take just to walk through the door. We only have that moment we see. We cant get passed it.

There are also people who are mentally limited. They see letters in words backwards or they are more math and science geared. Whatever the limitation, many people find a way passed it. Those people are not handicapped in my eyes.

I’ve seen articles with pictures of people in wheelchairs who are more active in sports than people will the full use of their arms and legs. I know people who travel the country in a van equipped or not with a door that slides open to let out a ramp. This ramp lets them roll into their car and into the driver’s seat. They are out there doing activities that many people who have no physical limitations don’t do. Are these fully able people the ones who should be called handicapped? Perhaps call it “Actively handicapped?” No, I still think calling it a limitation sounds a lot better.

There are no exact answers. Just think about it. Try not to ostrisice the next person you see with a crutch or wheelchair. Maybe open the door for them. Quit thinking, “What do they do for me?” Instead think, “How can I make their day a little easier?” Who knows the kind of effort they have to endure everyday with or without the social stigma they receive when they walk out the door or their home.

I want to end with one more thought to chew on. Art is something many people enjoy. Some create it and others observe it. There are those who think if you can’t appreciate art, you are mentally limited. Some others think that if you spend any time in the arts, you are wasting your time. So who is right? No one. It’s a matter of your own perspective. Do you want a well balance one or a limited one? It’s up to you to decide.

Judge Now

Social Standards

Roots of Displacement

I was born in 1984. This is the year George Orwell predicted his story where Brother is always watching you. He is in your television screen, your neighbor, your lover, and perhaps he is even yourself.

What I remember of elementary. I began kindergarten in 1990, the beginning of the decade known for grunge music. How does a child grow up in the age of “I don’t care” also known as apathy? I can tell you it was easy. From ages six to eleven you only think of having fun and who you can have have fun with.

I hung around the people who brought toys to school that were against the rules. I created the person who became the person who everyone hated because she was so bad. Her mom was a first grade teacher at my school that year. Everything this girl did she learned from me even though I didn’t go as far as she did. I kicked the aluminum can and she made it flammable and set it to explode. I dated a boy in third grade. He was the first and last boy I would ever think I was attracted to. We both had “clubs”. I had zero members and he had two others. I joined his because it was obvious to me that his club was better than mine because it had more members. Never you mind I should tell you what we named our clubs.

In Fourth grade, it seemed that I was finally getting the hang of homework and what teachers expected of me. I was lucky that year. I had the most anal retentive teacher in all of our elementary, Mrs. Anderson (I’m actually using her real name here). I ripped a piece of paper in half by folding the paper in half and licking it. She told me, “I can’t believe you didn’t use a pair of scissors. You are old enough to be civilized.” I thought, “Whatever. I wanted the paper cut and used what I had on me.” This is when I knew for sure that I was not the student every teacher at my private school sought after.

I broke all the underlining rules of my school. These are the rules none of the teachers told you was “wrong” according to them and their religion. I hung out with all the people I wasn’t supposed to hang out with.

It wasn’t until I was twelve in sixth grade that I knew I was going to get in a heap of trouble, more than I have ever before. I’m not going to tell you what I did, but you might be able to guess from previous posts. I’ll leave it up to you to research that. But this, I knew, I was going to be expelled (even though I was expelled from preschool at the same school. Yes, it’s true). I learned to keep quiet. I chose my friends carefully. If I saw the same characteristics I had in someone else, I avoided them completely (with one exception…another story).

I was the quiet one in high school. I tried not to laugh at things. I didn’t know what was against the religion of our school. It seemed as if anything they didn’t like was against the religion. I had no idea what that was.

Now that I’m done with that school and it’s almost ten years in the past, I am almost the person I wanted to be…except hiding myself has killed my motivation. I want to be the change I want to see in the world, but it’s much harder than usual.

My elementary years were the best years of my life. I ran and played with the boys. The guys wanted to know if I liked them and I never told them (even though every girl liked S.J.). We got to play in the playground twice a day, three times if we were a good class as a whole.

If you’re a parent with a child in elementary, let them be. You know once they get into junior high and up, the pressure to be something you’re not rises more and more. If you are that child in elementary, don’t let them take your spirit. And to everyone else who has already been jaded by everyone around you telling you what you should be and what you should do, the road back to yourself is long and hard, but you can do it with the right environment and people. Find a group. There is a website called meet-up that has almost any kind of interest. Go to concerts. Amanda Palmer concerts are the best events to find those who can relate to you (even if you are different from them). Like her song “Bottomfeeder”, fall into the crowd. Those who hold you up are your friends. Look into their eyes. Trust them. All those people who stood in your way will fade away.