by Dara Kalima
"I am currently reading this book after seeing the New Yorker article about it a few weeks ago. And it is having a profound impact on me though the book is for a white audience written by a white author.
I live in NY and I only read on the train and I much prefer printed books. So this means in all my brownness sit on the train reading this provocative book. As anticipated, just like when I read White Rage by Carol Anderson last year, I can't help but notice how people look at me when they see the book cover. No one has said anything this time, but if they read the title, their body language immediately shifts. WP grimace and stiffen up, disgust seems to be on their face and POC seem to look more intrigued. I feel both empowered and terrified. I worry about the reaction people will have whether it's to be angry or to complain to my job if they see my work ID. Holding this/these book/s are dangerous for me. In fact this post is dangerous for me.
But it also just makes me sad as I read it. In part because of the 9 day long conversation that happened on my wall when I shared the article saying I'd soon be reading it. People, my friends, some I've know for more than a decade, were so quick to dismiss it, feeling it didn't apply to them, judged them, or that it wasn't helpful enough, creating a huge amount of emotional labor for others and for myself.
It also makes me sad because it validates much of my experience as a black person, as the person made to speak and sound in socially acceptable ways. (Do you know how much it hurts to be told thank you for being eloquent and not angry, as if I'm an acceptable bw? If I expressed my anger will my status be diminished? The well-intentioned tone policing is still tone policing.) It makes me sad to see all the ways in which I am isolated, indoctrinated, and trained to be black in a society hostile to me. It also makes me sad as I read statements my friends have said in my presence listed. They think because we are friends they aren't perpetuating supremacy, but they are, I know they are but they still don't get it. And can't really hear me when I try to say it. I'm sad because though not intended for me, it's written in a way that hits home and is too personal and still challenges me to do better in my use of codes used to my and many POC's detriment.
What makes me saddest still is that though I have tons of friends who are not POC so very few take my suggestions to read these books to learn American history and to learn how deeply engrained racism and it's impact is on all of us. I want to just hand out copies of these two books and beg people to really consider them, because my life, my sanity, the sanity and existence of my loved ones are at stake. I shouldn't have to spend my nights counseling a friend or mentees who are POC on how to exist in this world without losing their mind.
This book gives me hope that some will engage in this conversation but it also makes me incredibly sad to see my life on paper and to know how many people are not going to read it.
Please help. Do the work, keep doing the unlearning. Please.
Massive insect decline
A study that was published in 2018, but recently revised is making news in February 2019 and warns that insect populations are drastically declining around the earth due to pesticide use and other factors.
I'm trying to access the actual study, but the cost was over $50, so I've written to see if I can access it for education purposes to post here. Meanwhile, other news outlets all over are discussing the study.
The report was co-authored by scientists from the universities of Sydney and Queensland and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences. They examined dozens of existing reports on insect decline published over the past three decades. They extrapolated causes for the falling numbers and the conclusions drawn said the effects of insect decline are so drastic in number and time span and are no less than catastrophic. It likely means life as we know it is on a short path to extinction if humans do not make changes.
Key causes of the decline included “habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanization,” pollution, particularly from pesticides and fertilizers, as well as biological factors, such as “pathogens and introduced species” and climate change.
Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide. Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinctionof 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades. In terrestrial ecosystems, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) appear to be the taxa most affected, whereas four major aquatic taxa (Odonata, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera) have already lost a considerable proportion of species. Affected insect groups not only include specialists that occupy particular ecological niches, but also many common and generalist species. Concurrently, the abundance of a small number of species is increasing; these are all adaptable, generalist species that are occupying the vacant niches left by the ones declining. Among aquatic insects, habitat and dietary generalists, and pollutant-tolerant species are replacing the large biodiversity losses experienced in waters within agricultural and urban settings. The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance: i) habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation; ii) pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; iii) biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and iv) climate change. The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climes and mountain settings of temperate zones. A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments.
Norman Rockwell started working as a cover illustrator for The Saturday Evening Post in 1916 where he worked into the 1960's. During that time he did 320 covers for the Post. He also did art for publications that included: Ladies’ Home Journal, McCall’s, Literary Digest, Look, Country Gentleman, Popular Science, and others.
Rockwell is famous for his sentimental portraits of American life. Words like wholesome and traditional readily come to mind. What many would not associate with Rockwell are poignant paintings of America's struggle with racism and civil rights. Due to the rules of the Saturday Evening Post, where black people could only be included in his paintings if they were depicted in service industry jobs, we think of "Rockwell’s America" as almost exclusively white.
The Servant depiction
This is how the Saturday Evening Post allowed a person
of color to be included in a Rockwell painting.
In an interview later in his life, Rockwell recalled having been directed to paint out a black person from of a group picture for the Saturday Evening Post because of their strict policy prohibiting every day family depictions of minorities. While the Post seemed to relax their rules a bit by the 1960s, publishing Rockwell’s multi-ethnic “Do Unto Others” cover in 1961, their pace of change was not quick enough. In 1963, Rockwell left the Post for one at Look magazine, a publication that was more comfortable discussing and illustrating the racial realities of the time. source
"At Look, Rockwell was free from the Post's restraints and seemed eager to correct prejudices inadvertently reflected in previous work. "The Problem We All Live With," "Murder in Mississippi," and "New Kids in the Neighborhood" ushered in that new focus.
Evolving view of the world
"On July 14, 1964, "The New York Times" ran a story titled, “A 2nd Body is Found in the Mississippi.” Norman Rockwell tore this page from his newspaper and saved it. The story of a racial killing in southwest Mississippi and the arson of two Negro churches mentioned another unsolved case, that of three civil rights workers missing since June 21st. The brief reference caught Rockwell’s attention and laid the foundation for one of his most stirring works. A few months earlier, "Look" ran Rockwell’s powerful message on school desegregation, "The Problem We All Live With." Rockwell received many letters criticizing his choice of subject, but irate opinions didn’t silence him. President Obama requested it for the White House in 2011.
In March 1965, Rockwell began "Murder in Mississippi," illustrating the June 21st slaying of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, in Philadelphia, Mississippi. " Here for all of Rockwell's images and this story in full.
A heroic reconstruction of the forgotten life of a wrongfully convicted man whose story becomes an historic portrait of racial injustice in the civil rights era.
Caliph Washington didn’t pull the trigger but, as Officer James "Cowboy" Clark lay dying, he had no choice but to turn on his heel and run. The year was 1957; Cowboy Clark was white, Caliph Washington was black, and this was the Jim Crow South.
As He Calls Me by Lightning painstakingly chronicles, Washington, then a seventeen-year-old simply returning home after a double date, was swiftly arrested, put on trial, and sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The young man endured the horrors of a hellish prison system for thirteen years, a term that included various stints on death row fearing the "lightning" of the electric chair. Twentieth-century legal history is tragically littered with thousands of stories of such judicial cruelty, but S. Jonathan Bass’s account is remarkable in that he has been able to meticulously re-create Washington’s saga, animating a life that was not supposed to matter.
Given the familiar paradigm of an African American man being falsely accused of killing a white policeman, it would be all too easy to apply a reductionist view to the story. What makes He Calls Me by Lightning so unusual are a spate of unknown variables―most prominently the fact that Governor George Wallace, nationally infamous for his active advocacy of segregation, did, in fact, save this death row inmate’s life. As we discover, Wallace stayed Washington’s execution not once but more than a dozen times, reflecting a philosophy about the death penalty that has not been perpetuated by his successors.
Other details make Washington’s story significant to legal history, not the least of which is that the defendant endured three separate trials and then was held in a county jail for five more years before being convicted of second-degree murder in 1970; this decision was overturned as well, although the charges were never dismissed. Bass’s account is also particularly noteworthy for his evocation of Washington’s native Bessemer, a gritty, industrial city lying only thirteen miles to the east of Birmingham, Alabama, whose singularly fascinating story is frequently overlooked by historians.
By rescuing Washington’s unknown life trajectory―along with the stories of his intrepid lawyers, David Hood Jr. and Orzell Billingsley, and Christine Luna, an Italian-American teacher and activist who would become Washington’s bride upon his release―Bass brings to multidimensional life many different strands of the civil rights movement. Devastating and essential, He Calls Me by Lightning demands that we take into account the thousands of lives cast away by systemic racism, and powerfully demonstrates just how much we still do not know.
King’s online fame began only a few years ago. In 2014, while working as the director of communications for a Southern California environmental organization called Global Green, he got a Facebook message from an old Morehouse College classmate. It was the video of Eric Garner’s killing. “We didn’t even know his name at the time,” he recalls. “If I had to put my finger on one moment, that message changed my life.” ~ source
Click the image below to read straight from the article. Get to know Shaun King. His goal with re-launching The North Star is "to fight back against injustice in the world, be it mass incarceration or poverty or inequity of whatever kind.”
"Can we agree on this one thing? No one is born hating. Let's start
there. Let's work together to help unlearn the hate in those who feel it."
In an interview with Michel Martin on NPR Shaun King explained, "In 1847, Frederick Douglass published one of the most influential antislavery newspapers of its time -- The North Star. In the newspaper's first issue, the abolitionist, himself formerly enslaved wrote, "It is evident that we must be our own representatives and advocates, not exclusively, but peculiarly, — not distinct from, but in connection with — our white friends."
Martin wrote, "Now, 171 years later, activist and journalist Shaun King and his friend Ben Dixon plan to revive the paper next week. King says that it's "necessary for where we're going and where we are as a country on issues of voting rights, police brutality, mass incarceration," that people have a news source like The North Star. He says he wants people to have the information they need in order to take a stand on these issues."
In the NPR article, Shaun was said, "What Frederick Douglas and Dr. Martin Delany knew all the way back in 1847 was that for 250 years in the United States newspapers really were on the fence about slavery, and what they knew was that we need a periodical that we manage that we curate that isn't on the fence, that's strongly against it."
Shaun continued, "There is kind of this spirit in journalism to tell both sides of the story and to just let the listeners choose what they want to choose, and I understand that and there's a place for it, but on some issues we really do need to take a stand.We felt like instead of starting over from scratch, it would also give us an opportunity to revitalize something beautiful that was started generations ago."
The North Star launches February 14, 2019.
I love that feeling of being awed and impressed by someone. This 16-year old girl is remarkable. I would love to have long talks with her.
Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.
So let me make some things clear about my school strike.
In may 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.
I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.
I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.
When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.
On the 20 of august I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.
Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people ”behind me” or that I’m being ”paid” or ”used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one ”behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.
I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.
And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.
Furthermore I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.
My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses.
That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in august instead.
Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book ”Scener ur hjärtat” will be going to 8 different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses and animal rights.
And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.
Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been ”normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things - like just sitting down outside the parliament - speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.
Also there is one complaint that I ”sound and write like an adult”. And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that "the climate crisis is a black and white issue”, ”we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases” and ”I want you to panic”. But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.
And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.
There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m ”just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed - just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to - then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.
I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.
And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk ( https://www.ted.com/…/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_…/up-next ), in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began.
And thank you everyone for your kind support! It brings me hope.
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
posted Sep 08, 2017
Here’s the post of the FB friend asking for understanding about white privilege:
To all of my Black or mixed race FB friends, I must profess a blissful ignorance of this “White Privilege” of which I’m apparently guilty of possessing. By not being able to fully put myself in the shoes of someone from a background/race/religion/gender/nationality/body type that differs from my own makes me part of the problem, according to what I’m now hearing. Despite my treating everyone with respect and humor my entire life (as far as I know), I’m somehow complicit in the misfortune of others. I’m not saying I’m colorblind, but whatever racism/sexism/other -ism my life experience has instilled in me stays within me, and is not manifested in the way I treat others (which is not the case with far too many, I know).
So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you? If I am to understand this, I need people I know personally to show me how I’m missing what’s going on. Personal examples only. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I only want to understand (but not from the media). I apologize if this comes off as crass or offends anyone.
Hi, Jason. First off, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve quoted your post and made it part of mine. I think the heart of what you’ve asked of your friends of color is extremely important and I think my response needs much more space than as a reply on your feed. I truly thank you for wanting to understand what you are having a hard time understanding. Coincidentally, over the last few days I have been thinking about sharing some of the incidents of prejudice/racism I’ve experienced in my lifetime—in fact I just spoke with my sister Lesa about how to best do this yesterday—because I realized many of my friends—especially the white ones—have no idea what I’ve experienced/dealt with unless they were present (and aware) when it happened. There are two reasons for this: 1) because not only as a human being do I suppress the painful and uncomfortable in an effort to make it go away, I was also taught within my community (I was raised in the ’70s and ’80s—it’s shifted somewhat now) and by society at large NOT to make a fuss, speak out, or rock the boat. To just “deal with it,” lest more trouble follow (which, sadly, it often does); 2) fear of being questioned or dismissed with “Are you sure that’s what you heard?” or “Are you sure that’s what they meant?” and being angered and upset all over again by well-meaning-but-hurtful and essentially unsupportive responses.
So, again, I’m glad you asked, because I really want to answer. But as I do, please know a few things first: 1) This is not even close to the whole list. I’m cherry-picking because none of us have all day; 2) I’ve been really lucky. Most of what I share below is mild compared to what others in my family and community have endured; 3) I’m going to go in chronological order so you might begin to glimpse the tonnage and why what many white folks might feel is a “where did all of this come from?” moment in society has been festering individually and collectively for the LIFETIME of pretty much every black or brown person living in America today, regardless of wealth or opportunity; 4) Some of what I share covers sexism, too—intersectionality is another term I’m sure you’ve heard and want to put quotes around, but it’s a real thing too, just like white privilege. But you’ve requested a focus on personal experiences with racism, so here it goes:
1. When I was 3, my family moved into an upper-middle-class, all-white neighborhood. We had a big backyard, so my parents built a pool. Not the only pool on the block, but the only one neighborhood boys started throwing rocks into. White boys. One day my mom ID’d one as the boy from across the street, went to his house, told his mother, and, fortunately, his mother believed mine. My mom not only got an apology, but also had that boy jump in our pool and retrieve every single rock. No more rocks after that. Then mom even invited him to come over to swim sometime if he asked permission. Everyone became friends. This one has a happy ending because my mom was and is badass about matters like these, but I hope you can see that the white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.
2. When my older sister was 5, a white boy named Mark called her a “nigger” after she beat him in a race at school. She didn’t know what it meant, but in her gut she knew it was bad. This was the first time I’d seen my father the kind of angry that has nowhere to go. I somehow understood it was because not only had some boy verbally assaulted his daughter and had gotten away with it, it had way too early introduced her (and me) to that term and the reality of what it meant—that some white people would be cruel and careless with black people’s feelings just because of our skin color. Or our achievement. If it’s unclear in any way, the point here is if you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or your life where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.
I remember some white male classmates were pissed that a black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t.
3. Sophomore year of high school. I had Mr. Melrose for Algebra 2. Some time within the first few weeks of class, he points out that I’m “the only spook” in the class. This was meant to be funny. It wasn’t. So, I doubt it will surprise you I was relieved when he took medical leave after suffering a heart attack and was replaced by a sub for the rest of the semester. The point here is, if you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation, you have white privilege.
4. When we started getting our college acceptances senior year, I remember some white male classmates were pissed that a black classmate had gotten into UCLA while they didn’t. They said that affirmative action had given him “their spot” and it wasn’t fair. An actual friend of theirs. Who’d worked his ass off. The point here is, if you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it,” you have white privilege.
5. When I got accepted to Harvard (as a fellow AP student, you were witness to what an academic beast I was in high school, yes?), three separate times I encountered white strangers as I prepped for my maiden trip to Cambridge that rankle to this day. The first was the white doctor giving me a physical at Kaiser:
Me: “I need to send an immunization report to my college so I can matriculate.”
Doctor: “Where are you going?”
Doctor: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”
The second was in a store, looking for supplies I needed from Harvard’s suggested “what to bring with you” list.
Store employee: “Where are you going?”
Store employee: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”
The third was at UPS, shipping off boxes of said “what to bring” to Harvard. I was in line behind a white boy mailing boxes to Princeton and in front of a white woman sending her child’s boxes to wherever.
Woman to the boy: “What college are you going to?” Boy: “Princeton.”
Woman to me: “Where are you sending your boxes?” Me: “Harvard.”
Woman: “You mean the one in Massachusetts?”
I think: “No, bitch, the one downtown next to the liquor store.” But I say, gesturing to my LABELED boxes: “Yes, the one in Massachusetts.”
Then she says congratulations, but it’s too fucking late. The point here is, if no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, you have white privilege. CONTINUE TO ORIGINAL POST
Images of how black men are controlled by white men.
by Betsy Seeton
MONTH SHOULD BE
M O N T H
This is a blog covering and discovering injustice anywhere. It's about race, racism, hatred, love, tolerance, intolerance, ignorance and wisdom. It's about climate change, and all things earth, all things people, plants and animals. It's about change makers and light shiners. It will follow The North Star and report here.
I would like to think that, "One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings," as Franklin Thomas said.