SHIT I CAN'T MAKE UP: Convo between my 7year-old students today
(Names have been altered slightly, just in case.)
I have a new crusshhhhh
Me too! On a boy!
You're a boy with a crush on a boy?
Yeah he's really cute.
(pause for a bit)
Boys can like boys. I just can't marry him because boys can't marry boys.
Yeah they can. You can marry whoever you want.
YEAH my tia has a wife so now I have a titi and a auntie.
Okay. Then maybe I'll marry him.
(from across the room) No you can't you're seven.
(Age was apparently the only foreseeable problem anyone of my elementary schoolers could see with gay marriage. I almost cried out of happiness. Later, when I was asked if boys could kiss anyone they wanted, I replied "only if they want to kiss you back." And Josie responded "Yeah! Your body your life.")
For anyone who’s ever wondered “how can a person so fat even be happy?!” I am going to fill you in on a little secret.
First, drop “so fat” from the sentence. “How can a person even be happy?!” sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? I mean, I think we can all understand how a person could be happy or sad or whatever. Right! See, that’s all you need to do. See me as a person instead of as just my fat.
Do this any time you start to ask yourself something like this. “How can black people…” “How can gay people…” “How can female people…” etc etc. You’ll cut down on a lot of stupidity that might otherwise (inadvertently, I am sure) fall out of your mouth.
The onslaught of laws focusing on denying reproductive health care rights is a concerted campaign against women. These laws are not grounded in science or evidence-based medicine.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that access to family-planning counseling and to the full array of contraceptives is a basic and essential component of preventive health care for women.
Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides cervical cancer and mammography screening, contraception and other preventive care to millions of women, are egregious and disproportionately hurt poor women.
As physicians for women’s health care, ob-gyns see firsthand the havoc that punitive ideology-based laws have on the health of women and their families. These ill-conceived laws are based on the pretext of protecting health, but they do anything but that.
Mandating that women be legally forced to undergo transvaginal ultrasound or any other medical procedure against their will and against their physician’s judgment is an outrageous violation of patient autonomy and the confidential doctor-patient relationship. Decreasing access to family planning and contraception will only increase unintended pregnancies and negatively affect family and societal health.
Politicians were not elected to, nor should they, legislate the practice of medicine or dictate the parameters of the doctor-patient relationship. Our message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out of our exam rooms.
JAMES T. BREEDEN
President, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
[NB: more people than just cis women are affected by anti-choice laws.]
I want you to imagine something—really imagine it. One of your favorite actors or actresses is on stage at the Oscars and they’re getting an award for a movie they did. It’s a brilliant movie and their performance was so amazing that they absolutely are the only person who should be getting the Oscar for that category. They step on stage in their brilliant attire. They’re happy and you can see it radiating from them but you also get a sense of how nervous they are.
They begin to speak proudly but also a bit shakily. They say, “Thank you for this. Thank you for acknowledging my work; this film meant a lot to me. Thank you, but I couldn’t have done this alone. If it weren’t for the other people working on this film: the writer and director, the other actors and actresses, the editors, the people who showed up every day and made working on that set not just a job but wonderful, then I wouldn’t be here today. Without all the people who came before me and worked so hard in this industry, I wouldn’t have had the tools needed for this role. Thanks to them and to you.”
Okay. Got that? Now imagine the same role, the same actor or actress, but instead they give this speech: “This award is amazing and I deserve it. This film wouldn’t be half as good if I hadn’t been there to make it. You’re welcome.”
You see, this is what acknowledging privilege really is. Privilege isn’t some evil force or an insult. It’s just what it means that you aren’t living in a vacuum and that people have come before you and done a lot of work and made a lot of sacrifices so that you can get where you are. It doesn’t take away the laudability of the work you yourself have done, it just acknowledges that you’ve had help to be able to do that work.
It might mean the sacrifices your parents made so you could go to college. It might be the stagehand who showed up every day so that a movie could be made. It might be the long history of dominance that certain types of people have held within a certain culture. It can mean all kinds of things. The point is we experience privilge everyday without becoming offended by the fact that it exists. In fact, as with the examples of the actor/actress above, we generally like it when people acknowledge their privilege. That actor/actress who said “I deserve it and you’re welcome” would likely inspire scads of scathing articles and reactions online. Why? Because it’s cocky and WRONG to believe that anything so big and complicated like a film came together because of one person’s role. A lot like life.
We like when people acknowledge privilege and find it non-threatening, until it comes to race or gender, etc. Then, for some reason, we get all unreasonable and find it to be an insult. The thing is, it’s the same privilege. It isn’t threatening. If you are white, you were born with white privilege. It doesn’t mean you’re bad. It doesn’t mean your life is easy. It doesn’t mean the work you do doesn’t have merit. It just means that you have hundreds of years of history behind you where being white has been treated as the best way to be.
Ditto for gender. Male privilege doesn’t mean that men are bad or that they have easy lives or that their work doesn’t count. It means that for years and years, being male has been treated as the way to be. Ditto to being thin. Every person out there has struggles of their own; life isn’t generally easy. No one is suggesting otherwise. Just like no one’s suggesting that the actor/actress above didn’t do the work/play the role well enough to deserve the fruits of their labor. It’s just important to acknowledge the people and forces who made such work possible.
White and male and thin privilege don’t suppose that white people and male people and thin people are bad or evil or even racist, sexist, or sizist. Having those privileges doesn’t make you any of those things, but ignoring your privilege does. It also makes you seem ignorant and as though you haven’t been paying attention. You can be male and/or white and/or thin and struggle, but what you can’t do is pretend that being white and/or male and/or thin doesn’t come with some perks that people who are non-white and/or non-male and/or non-thin don’t experience.
Having those perks doesn’t make you bad, just like winning the award doesn’t make the actor/actress above bad. But ignoring those perks does make you a jerk just like the actor/actress who gave the “I deserve it” speech.
NB: there are many kind of privilege that I did not address here. They exist as well and I am not attempting to ignore or erase them. Also, I am white, female, fat, queer, & an agnostic theist. So, my privilege is a mixed bag.