This week in post racial America...
There are so many people who like to pretend that racism is over, that everyone is equal, that the atrocities of the past are all back there in the past. Nope.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
The Justice Department's investigation into Ferguson revealed that...wait for it...the city has a pattern of predatory and discriminatory practices based on race. Shocking, right? Not so much.
Yet another police shooting of an unarmed young man has ignited racial tensions. This time, Tony Robinson is the name written on protest signs, and this time the location is strikingly different than Ferguson. Madison, Wisconsin is generally a progressive area with liberal views. Even still, the statistics paint a picture of disproportionate arrests, incarcerations and poverty.
The SAE chapter at the University of Oklahoma has had their ties with the school formally severed after a video was released this week. The song sung in the video, one that includes words of the worst variety, the ones you won't catch me ever typing out here. The video is as bad as you'd think and I'm not linking it here. If you want to watch it, it isn't hard to find. Initially all kinds of people affiliated with the fraternity tried to say that it was a one time deal, but....ummmm...they all seemed to know the words pretty well. Videos of prior times this particular song was sung have surfaced too. It isn't just this fraternity at this school either...stories are starting to trickle out about other chapters of this (and other fraternities) at other schools.
President Obama held the hand of Amelia Boynton Robinson as he walked across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma over the weekend on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. President Obama, the very man held up by those who claim that just because we have a black President means racism has ended, the very man routinely attacked in ways that white men in his position never have been, said this:
We just need to open our eyes and ears and hearts to know that this nation's racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.
Things I won't do to people...
There is this trend lately on the internet where blog posts written purely for shock value are gaining traction. The more outlandish, the better. The more humiliating the story is, the most shares it gets. Hooray for pot stirring!
I won't write things like that for a few reasons, not the least of which is that I am not going to toss my kids or my friends or my husband under the bus for a few views. I'm not going to embarrass people here just for a few clicks.
Nope. Won't do it.
Guess I'll never be famous.
Daylight Savings Time and PARCC testing
The outdated idea that is daylight savings time began this past Sunday at 2 a.m. Hooray.
It's a pain in the ass, for sure. Usually it means that we have a few rough mornings then get on with life.
This year, the powers that be at the school district decided that the Monday after the time change would be THE PERFECT TIME to introduce the brand new standardized testing program. Do these people even own a calendar???
Yes. Let's pick what is quite possibly the worst day of the year to initiate testing. That makes so much sense. (sarcasm)
As for the PARCC testing itself, I could write a damn book about all the things wrong with it. Instead, I'll make you a list. Because people can't get enough lists these days. (I'm looking at you, Buzzfeed)
1. Colorado alone is spending $36M on testing this year. $26M of that is going to Pearson directly. To one company. Tell me that doesn't send up some huge red flags. Tell me that this isn't about money. Tell me. I dare you.
2. Initially there were a lot more states on board with the PARCC testing. Many of them have backed out because of how bad the tests are already...but not Colorado. Awesomeness.
3. The tests are vague, the questions are confusing. The calculator given to kids for math is one they've never used before in an unfamiliar format.
4. All the tests have to be done on the computers. HUGE disadvantage to kids who don't have access to this kind of technology at home. Issues with kids who struggle with computer usage for any other reason. Creates scheduling nightmares because the schools only have a limited number of computers licensed with the software for the test (that we are paying a shitton of money to Pearson for)....leading to the testing period extending weeks or months so that all the kids can rotate through the labs and complete all the tests. So instead of having schedule irregularities for a few days...we're talking MONTHS of interference.
5. My older kids tell me the tests are confusing and strange. The younger ones are so nervous about them because of test anxiety that I'm going to have to do some major negotiations just to get them out of the car every day for the next 2 months.
6. The preliminary reports on the tests aren't looking favorable. Locally, a state senator took the test recently, only to be completely shocked with how difficult the test was. The software was confusing, the questions demanded work to be shown a particular way to receive credit and he questioned how the kids and teachers were supposed to navigate this system. Awesome. Maybe this is proof that elected officials have no business telling schools how to teach and assess kids.
C-sections and placentas
Hang on, I'm going to throw some stuff. BRB.
Oooookay. So there is this movement underfoot to make c-sections more "gentle", which is great and all, but what we really need to do is work on actually reducing the c-section rate in the first place. We need to stop inducing mothers who don't need it. We need to let women go into labor on their own and we need to give their bodies time to do what they are supposed to do. We need to stop interfering so damn much in the process, trying to force it into some artificially constructed parameters. We need doctors who encourage women to attempt VBACs and doctors who are skilled at breech deliveries.
Surgery is not better. Period.
I've gone through both. My C-section sucked.
There will always be a percentage of deliveries that require c-sections for a variety of reasons including legitimate safety concerns, but that number is nowhere near 1/3.
Also, I've said this before and I'll say it again....if you have an issue with women consuming their placentas, keep it to yourself. No one is making you eat anything, they have their reasons for doing it, leave them alone. It's only considered "weird" because we have a "weird" idea that birth is sanitary and sterile here, we think we're better than most of the rest of the world, oh and we forget that we're mammals.
I ate my placenta. You want to attack me for that, come at me.
I dare you.
47 Senators pretending the President doesn't exist
To be honest, this one really deserves its own post, but I doubt that I will be able to get around to it, so I'm including it here just in case.
If you haven't heard, Senator Tom Cotton drafted an open letter to the leaders of Iran, signed by 46 other Republican Senators, basically saying that they questioned the validity of the weapons negotiations and reserve the right to undo any agreements that the President enters into with them once he's out of office.
In addition to just being a horrible idea, this is arguably an act of treason, albeit one that will likely never be prosecuted.
The President has the authority under the Constitution to negotiate with foreign officials. The Constitution has pretty specific limits on the right of Congress to interfere with that process, and the Logan Act specifically forbids the exact kind of interference this letter amounts to.
The legality of the letter is debatable, sure, but the larger issue here is the message this sends to the rest of the world, which is that we aren't presenting a unified front.
'Merica, where we believe our pissing matches are more important than international diplomacy.