A Note On Halloween Costumes: Let It Go.

If your child says “I want to be a Disney Princess”, and you tell him or her they can’t because of their race, you are the problem. You are a broken, sad, possibly confused person, who has utterly lost the plot. 

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Bless their hearts, some people are just born to suck the fun out of everything. I don’t know if God didn’t give them a sense of humor, or if they feel so guilty about something they’ve done in the past that they left their sense of humor behind, but oh goodness. These people are like black holes of emotion, sucking in everything innocent, happy, and joyous.

Like this poor dear, Sachi Feris, who wrote a piece about why her five year old daughter can’t be Moana. (spoiler alert, it’s because the little girl is white.). It’s on the blog  “Raising Race Conscious Children”. I tend to hate things like this, because they ultimately boil down to overly complicating race issues for children, shoving the horribleness of the world down their throats way too young, and/or possibly teaching little white children to be ashamed of their skin. Bravo, you joyless harpies.

If your child says “I want to be a Disney Princess”, and you tell him or her they can’t because of their race, you are the problem. You are a broken, sad, possibly confused person who has utterly lost the plot. Your crappy opinion makes the world a worse place for children.


You’re also – inadvertently or not – teaching your children that there are limits on what they can do, and enjoy, because of their race. You’re literally teaching them to put people in boxes based on race. Shame on you.

In the same way that Evangelical Purity Culture teaches women their value is in sex as much as Cosmo and Hollywood do, this particular brand of “Racial Awareness” teaches racism.

I understand that “race consciousness” is your gig, but your child is innocent, and her mother, of all people, should respect that. She’s a baby. She gets one Halloween to be 5 (or 6, since she wanted to be Moana next year) and you’re just teaching her she can’t, because of her skin color and your personal online branding. She doesn’t need to have her head filled with this crap. Are you going to tell her to go up to non white Rapunzel and complain about cultural appropriation of Germanic Fairy Tales? No, because that’s awful. Are you going to tell the mother of that non white child to consider not having her be Rapunzel? No, because that makes you a twat.

Why on earth would you do it to your own child then? You’re her mother. You’re her natural “safe space”, her defender and protector, and you’re talking down to her, limiting her, telling her to dream smaller, because of her race?

You probably give out Dental Floss on Halloween, too.

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Let me pause here to say I read the author’s entire post. I read a few of her other posts. I completely understand where she’s coming from, to the point that in a conversation with my Republican Husband I can argue her point of view.

I just think she’s wrong, unintentionally (?) mean spirited, and laying her daughter’s happiness at the alter of progressive political correctness.  But the more I look through her posts, the less surprised I am by that.

If you read the article she wanted her kid to be Moana’s sister, which makes no kind of sense when you break it down, because Moana’s sister would still be…wait for it.. Polynesian. The poor girl who wanted to be Moana isn’t even completely white, her dad is from Argentina. Oiy.

She also wrote a blog post with this title: Telling My White Four Year Old About Alton Sterling and Philando Castil (“But they (the police) don’t hurt White people,” my daughter digested and confirmed.” Statistics argue otherwise, but what are facts in the land of feels?) Other posts about how she dragged her children to anti Trump protests (I don’t believe in using children as a political prop, which is why my kid won’t go to political outings with me until she has an opinion of her own), and teaching her child about dissent on the 4th of July, instead of, you know, teaching her about how kickass this country is and how awesome it’s various cultures are, regardless of who’s president.

SHE’S FOUR. Why are you telling her about murder? Why on Earth?! My kid is almost three and I won’t let her watch the movie where Ariel’s mom doesn’t come back because she’ll have nightmares. Have you no respect for childhood? Good Grief. Sweet Baby Jesus, what is wrong with you? Are your children people, or props for your branding and tools to achieve your version of social justice?

YES these things matter. YES raising aware children and having the conversations with them to help them processes these big, awful things, matters. But at four? Really? The line is like ten feet behind you, lady.

Since the child’s father is from Argentina, she suggested her being Che Guevara. This Che Guevara:

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Alright, being honest here, I probably wouldn’t let my kid be Che Guevara.


Guys, there’s a line. We can have conversations about culture costumes (and yes, there are two sides to that conversation. One of them has a sense of humor), but there’s a hard line that most sane, kind, reasonable human beings from all political parties agree on, and that line is Disney.

There will be Black Elsas and Annas this year. There will be Asian Belles. There will be White Tianas and Moanas, and somewhere, a little boy is probably going to be Cinderella. I know of at least one adult Hispanic Marry Poppins happening this year and she’s gonna be cute as anything (I’m so excited to see her costume) Disney characters are all about being brave enough to be who you really are, working for what you really want, making your dreams happen. Wearing an awesome dress. 

Even if you’re _________.

My little white kid wanted to be Princess Tiana. Because Tiana “makes doughnuts and soup and does her chores and sings”. Quite frankly, these are amazing qualities to emulate, and good reasons reason to be Princess Tiana.

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Your flipping five year old is not trying to “appropriate” Polynesian culture or assert the “power of her Whiteness”. She’s a little girl, who thinks Moana is cool. LET HER BE INNOCENT WHILE SHE CAN. Let her not blink at whatever race being whatever Disney character. There are some things that our children don’t need to be aware of RIGHT NOW. I would go so far as to argue that it’s our job as parents to protect them from some of the ugliness of the world until they’re mature enough to process it. Racism is one of the biggest uglies in the world. Telling your child “You can’t do X because of your race” is a wholly inappropriate way to go about helping them process the ugliness in the world.

A conversation of “You can’t do this because your skin is X and your culture is Y” is not an innocent conversation to have with a child that just wants to be her favorite flipping princess. Limits because of race are not okay. Limiting a child’s imagination and super important pretend play because of their race is just wrong.

The world would be an awful place if we all stayed within our own culture. How much art would we miss out on without appropriation, how much beauty? How much personal growth would we lose if we didn’t poke our nose into other people’s ways of doing things, and let it teach us?

Let kids be innocent. Black Elsa isn’t “Black Elsa” on Halloween, she’s just…ELSA. Let it go, guys. Let it go.

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This is President Barack Obama about to give candy to a Black Princess Belle. He’s doing the right thing. Be like Barack.

Once More For The Kids In The Back

I have to separate the individual from the movement. I have to accept the individual on their own merits and character even if they’re a part of the movement I disagree with.

Just because someone voted for a candidate you hate doesn’t make them a bad person.

Just because someone voted 3rd party or write-in or didn’t vote at all, doesn’t make them a bad person.

It does not make them blind to any candidate’s faults.

It does not mean that they approve of everything that candidate does.

It does not make then guilty of or complicit in any bad things that candidate has done or will do.

People are nuanced. Very very few people are single issue voters. How about we not judge others based on who they voted for?

Yes, there are racist dicks who voted for Trump because he was a white male. Your internet activism isn’t reaching them, and your riots and violence are letting them think they’re right in hating people who disagree or have different skin. Stop it.

Yes there are ignorant sexists who don’t realize voting for someone because she is a woman is just as sexist as not voting for someone because she’s a woman. You calling them names and making fun of their looks just makes them double down on 3rd wave inter-sectional feminism. Stop it.

People have a right to free speech. That goes equally for Nazis, Black Lives Matter, End Of The World Doomsday Cults, and anyone else you can think of.

You should respect their rights in the same way you want your rights respected. This is how civilized society works.

What people do NOT have a right to do is harm individuals or property. In the context of public discourse, words =/= violence, unless they are giving direct orders to enact violence, as in “GET ‘EM!” or “BURN THEIR SHIT DOWN”.

Someone exercising their right to free speech – be it abstaining from anthems, or holding a really damn offensive sign – is not violence against you.

 

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I’ve seen people on the anti Trump side say “Oh, we’re not condemning them, we just need them to see how awful they voted and decry their choice now”. Guys, that’s basically the same thing. It’s a nice way of saying “You need to debase yourself and say I was right all along and you’ll listen to me next time or I’m going to defame you and call you names”. WTF? No. Stop. If you’ve done this, I forgive you. Fully. But please, really, stop it. It’s not helping. It’s making people rally against the Democratic party/ Progressives / etc even more. It’s basically campaigning for Trump in some ways.

If you’re still rubbing it in a Hillary Supporters faces that they lost, stop it. That’s not gracious, and it makes you a dick. We know that Trump is POTUS, and so do they, regardless of how many times they hashtag that he isn’t. You’re turning people off of any chance of having a rational conversation. Losing with grace matters. Winning with grace matters just as much, assholes.


 

I voted for Trump. Am I 100% happy with everything he’s done? OF COURSE NOT. Would I vote the same way if the election were held again today? You bet your ass I would. I didn’t see the other candidate’s POLICIES as worthy of my vote. They were not a direction I believe the country should (have continued to) head in.  The other candidate believed in some things that would have been very bad, I believe, for our nation and my family. So no, even if she’d been the flipping Pope, I wouldn’t have voted for her.

 

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This poor dude was beaten by an angry mob for peacefully supporting President Trump. They then mocked him on social media for peeing his pants. While being beaten by an angry mob. This is a snapshot of a larger problem.

Even though I personally cannot stand her, if her POLICIES had been better, I would’ve have strongly considered and likely voted for her, in the end.

Can we please start talking about ideas, and not continue the great character bashing of our online acquaintances and political opposition? Calling people names doesn’t change hearts and minds, it just rallies people around a common cause.

Can we discuss ideas without using whatever victim hierarchy we need? “Black Lives Matter” is not a full argument. Neither is “It’s A Child, Not A Choice.” People are complex and nuanced, HISTORY AND FACTS are more complex and nuanced (and so awfully boring), and if we are ever to heal the great divide in this nation, BOTH sides are going to have to “give” some.

Let’s use for our example, abortion. Something on which nearly everyone has an opinion. Holding out for “ABORTION ON DEMAND WITHOUT APOLOGY” is not compromise, it’s not meeting in the middle, it’s complete obliteration of the opposing side. And “COMPLETELY OUTLAW ABORTION AT ANY STAGE, JAIL TIME FOR ABORTIONISTS AND MOTHERS WHO ABORT”  is not compromise, it’s not meeting in the middle, it’s complete obliteration of the opposing side.

Neither side is seeking to understand the other, much less build a nation and society with the “other side”. Pro life people 100% think that abortion is child murder. If they weren’t so riled up about CHILD MURDER it would be a little weird. Pro choice women literally think and have been taught that giving a child in the womb personhood denies the mother her own personhood and self ownership. If they weren’t so riled up about denying women self ownership, it would be a little weird.

COMPROMISE ON THIS ISSUE WOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS: No government funded abortions, no government funds to organizations that do abortions such as Planned Parenthood, regardless of allocation of government funds. Abortions illegal after 12 weeks (after a short waiting period) unless there’s a medical issue with the mother or the fetus (this 12 week cut off is what some other 1st world countries do. I didn’t pull it out of my bum).

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This isn’t helpful. Not even a little bit. It’s just pretty freaking awful. Scared lonely mothers need compassion and assistance, not the threat of charges hanging over their heads.

As an anti abortion person, I am not 100% happy with that. I promise you that no pro choice person would be 100% happy with that. But both sides get something, and that’s what compromise looks like. Politically, we ALL need to start looking at compromise, before we get another civil war.

Look at that person who voted for a different candidate. Why did they vote differently? Why are you taking that candidate’s actions and using them to judge that person’s character? If this person supports Black Lives Matter, why? Do they have bad data? Do they have information you *don’t*? Was someone they love the victim of police brutality? If this person waves a Confederate flag, instead of just calling them racist, do you know why? Do you know the long drawn out complex reasons that some think the Civil War was justified? Do you understand that those reasons have nothing to do with slavery and everything to do with the Sovereignty of the States, which is an currently ongoing political battle? Does the person you’re trying to take the confederate flag from think you’re trying to take part of their identity and culture because it’s this flag has grown to mean a lot more in the last 200 years? Do you care? Or is it just easier to scream racist, police what flags they’re allowed to fly, claim moral superiority and call it a day?

When was the last time you saw your opponent as a person, instead of a pile of symbols? A pile of symbols and slogans that you and that opponent might assign different meanings to? When did you last listen and try to see the hearts and the life of a person that puts them where they are, making the choices they have?


To get personal for a moment – I hate Black Lives Matter the movement. I think it’s a terrible reaction to an actual problem (police brutality) that has worsened race relations in this country, and doesn’t intelligently or usefully address the actual problem at all. The movement would happily crush myself, my husband and my daughter, then dance on our bodies because of our skin color. I fear groups of people with BLM shirts and signs, I fear for my safety and the safety of my child. I could go on for an hour about my problems with the movement, but just so we’re clear, I disagree with it’s actions, and I see it as just another form of racism in actuality, and the actuality is far divided from the rhetoric in many cases.

However.

Not everyone that is a part of Black Lives Matter is an ignorant, foolish, racist person. Many who are vocal, who make stupid tweets and say stupid things are,  but I can’t assume the person in front of me, or on my twitter feed, or facebook is. It’s frustrating. It’s difficult.

My gut instinct is to feel that people who are very pro “Black Lives Matter” are very anti my family. Us vs Them. But I have to fight that instinct in my gut that says ‘THEY HATE YOU, BE AGAINST THEM” and talk to them as people. Share links, share information. Share, don’t condescendingly scream, is if one tweet makes your argument. Ask them why this data and that data.

Turns out, you can’t tell if a person is racist based solely on their stance on Black Lives Matter. Some of my friends who are very active parts of the movement I would trust with my daughter’s life, no questions asked.

At the end of the day/tweet storm/ conversation, if they haven’t said “I think white are horrible and shouldn’t have rights”, I need to treat them as if they aren’t against my family and myself because of our skin color. I need to force myself to believe the best in them, even if we both walk away still disagreeing. I need to see them as a person of value, of humor, of whatever their personal character – which is so so so much more than politics – is, not just this one or three labels of their politics that I disagree with.

I have to separate the individual from the movement. I have to accept the individual on their own merits and character even if they’re a part of the movement I disagree with. We all do.


We – you, me, Keith Olberman and Tomi Laurhen – need to start seeing the “other side” as people, and having conversations about these things.

Conversations that are longer than a meme or 140 characters.

Conversations where we listen. To broken and scared hearts.

Conversations where we can both walk away with different opinions, still, but see the other person as person, and go forward attempting to live peacefully and build a society with that person of a different opinion.

Conversations that maybe, just maybe, don’t have a damn thing to do with politics, where we can just enjoy the company of another human being and let their hearts and minds add to the richness of our lives.

If you haven’t had a cup of coffee or a meal with someone you vehemently disagree with politically in recent memory (like, a week or two), I strongly urge you to do so. And don’t talk about politics. Talk about their lives, their kids, their favorite books and their dog and their mom’s health. Ask how their baby is. Talk to the person. Love the person. Leave the politics at the door.

These conversations are good for us. They heal us and add to us as people. If we have enough of them, we might start to heal the nation.

 

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Here’s a crazy idea: America is not a religion

It is very easy to be more excited about your nation, where you live right now, than it is to be about your Savior, who walked here 2,000 years ago. Be honest with yourself & God, who or what did you worship today?

Today is Sunday. When this is published it will probably be around 9 or 10 PM EST, Sunday night, July 2nd, 2017.

All across the United States today, Christian churches (not all, but many. Too many) took a day off from teaching Christ and made patriotic declarations about God & Country. The church I was raised in sang a song about how “The Cross is my Statue of Liberty” (gag). Pulpits were pounded, veterans and military were praised, and people were berated for having questions about the direction the country is headed (or for not having questions, depending on your political team). The Battle Hymn of the Republic was sang next to worship songs about Christ’s death on the Cross. Red white and blue buntings hung from pulpits and tiny hands waved flags.

It’s weird, you guys. Growing up, I didn’t realize exactly how weird, or wrong, or heretical it was, but it is in fact all of those things. I have no problems with any of those patriotic activities, except when you tie them to church, or make them equal with and a part of your faith.

Your faith should be in Jesus Christ, not the United States. Therefore, you should not worship the United States alongside Jesus Christ. 

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So here are some crazy ideas of churches on Memorial day weekend, 4th of July weekend, etc:

-Jesus did not specifically endorse the United States

-Worshiping the United States is idolatry. Christ is greater than Country. 

-Christians who are not patriotic are no less Christ-like than those who are patriotic.

-Consider what exactly you’re doing when you drape the cross with the American Flag, or the pulpit, or replace some of the worship music with patriotic songs. 

-Jesus is not personally in favor of your political party. Every side and independent philosophy does things that would make Jesus facepalm so hard.

-It is very easy to be more excited about your nation, where you live right now, than it is to be about your Savior, who walked here 2,000 years ago. Be honest with yourself & God.

 
Don’t misunderstand or me. I friggin’ LOVE this country. I am “Don’t Tread On Me” (or “no step on snek”, however you roll) for life. The United States – Under Obama or Under Trump – is the greatest nation on the face of the earth. I won the genetic lottery to be born here, and that’s true for everyone born here, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender or religion. ‘MERICA.

But this crap? This has to stop:

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Jesus didn’t say anything specific about the US. While the bible and Christ do speak about Government, I’m preeeety damn sure that wrapping a Flag (any flag) around a cross counts as Idolatry.

This is kind of a crappy subject for me. I’m way more excited, in general, about being an American than I am about being a Christian. Christians kind of make me twitch in the bad way, and Americans are….everything. From amazing to horrible and back again. We’re all kinds of crazy, a nation built on the idea of “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR SHOOT ME RIGHT THE HELL NOW, CAUSE I AM PUTTING UP WITH YOUR TAXATION BULLSHIT NO MORE!” (paraphrasing).

Christianity, to me, comes with baggage, and being an American, to me, comes with hope. (I am, by the way, 100% aware that this is backwards. My hope *should* be in Christ.  I am working on it. I won’t lie and say I’m all fixed up and have my faith screwed on right, though. )

But even *me*, broken, bitter, jacked up me, who’s crawling her way back to the Body of Christ, I’m saying “Uh, let’s not worship the country, let’s worship Christ”.
 

So maybe, pastors, fellow moms, people in charge of guiding the next generation – let’s focus on Christ in church, and other things outside of Church. Just a crazy little idea I had.

Happy 4th of July!

Kathy Griffin Has A Right To Be Gross.

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

Yeah, she does. I don’t like the image of her holding a very realistic looking severed head of Donald Trump. I find it abhorrent, disgusting, and question her motives since it’s Ramadan. What message, exactly, is she trying to send?

The reality is that it doesn’t matter what message she’s trying to send. Or that it’s offensive. Or that Barron Trump didn’t realize at first that it wasn’t really his father’s severed head (good job MSM, an 11 year old thinks it’s possible for his father’s head to cut off and used in a photoshoot. We’re just running away from “civilized”, aren’t we?). It doesn’t even matter that it’s Ramadan, and Muslims/ISIS are currently actually beheading people overseas and blowing up children.

It doesn’t matter. She didn’t actually hurt anyone, she didn’t directly tell others to go commit violent acts. It’s her right to be a twatwaffle.

 


Your feelings about her art, her words, her expression of self, simply do not matter when it comes to the legality of the matter, and if she “can”. My feelings, your feelings, the feelings of college students everywhere, do not next to the right free speech. Freedom of thought and expression. It is absolute. It is important we understand this is a fundamental right. None of our other rights matter if this one isn’t upheld. When this topples, the rest follow. It’s why we have the Second Amendment in the United States. The Second protects The First.

You, by the way, have the same right to be a twatwaffle. Or jerk, or asshole. Independent Fundamental Baptist preachers have the right to spew vile lies, call people faggots, and generally warp the gospel of Christ into the gospel of bullies, college students without one foot in reality have the right to call white milk racist.

From sea to shining sea, we all have the right to be complete idiots and blowhards, if we so choose. ‘Merica.

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With Great Freedom comes Great Responsibility. This is why people hate big government, by the way. The Bigger your Government, the smaller your freedom. There’s no perfect balance of the two.  People who want bigger government want less personal responsibility – like paying for their own, um, life. The cost of the government covering your basic life needs that you yourself should cover, is that you have less freedom. They spy on you, they tell you want you can and cannot do.

Big government is like living with your parents – as long as you live under my roof and eat my food, you’ll obey my rules. As someone who is thankful and proud to be an American, I say: Fuck that noise.

Freedom is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires character and self policing, and dealing with the fallout of your own actions and words, because you are responsible for yourself. This is how we should raise our children. This is how we should live ourselves.

We are blessed here in the United States to have Freedom of Speech, and if we wish to keep it, to uphold this precious right for which blood has been shed, we have to defend “icky” speech like Kathy Griffin’s as much as we defend speech we agree with.

I will leave you with the words of the great Neil Gaiman, who puts it far more eloquently than I should ever hope to. I strongly suggest you go read the post in it’s entirety, as it’s well worth the time to not only read, but muse over as well.

“If you accept — and I do — that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said.

The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don’t. This is how the Law is made.

People making art find out where the limits of free expression are by going beyond them and getting into trouble.”

– Neil Gaiman