Friday, July 24, 2015

Things That Piss Me Off Friday - the because why not edition

Waves. Hi. I've been so busy that I haven't even been on the actual computer with more than a hot second to write in days. Kids. So much with the needing and the eating and things.

Plus, we got a puppy. Because I wasn't crazy enough.

This is Oliver. Say hi, Oliver. His full name is Oliver Queen DeBie because we really are those people.


Anyhow, this week has been one filled with all kinds of stories in the news, so we should just get to the things pissing me off (I mean aside from the baby eating the dog toys and the dog eating the baby toys...)

The Bad Blood Twitter Feud
I'm going to try to summarize what happened quickly. The VMA nominations came out and Nicki Minaj wasn't on the list, even though many would argue that she certainly should be. She noticed. She tweeted a comment about not being nominated, saying that videos with a certain body type seemed more likely to be on the list. Taylor Swift, who is on the list and was nominated for a song that is ironically about a feud with another singer (Katy Perry if you're wondering), took the statement personally, then accused Minaj of being divisive towards women.

Nope. Other way around.

Queue the internet explosion. Minaj was making a fair and valid criticism, Swift took it personally and people came to Swift's defense for the most part, taking the focus off of what Minaj was trying to say, at the same time lending credibility to her point. 

Feminism isn't just about all women as though we all exist in a vacuum with the same sets of biases to overcome and issues to deal with. Intersectional feminism, which Swift got a lesson in from the internet in the last few days, deals with the reality that women don't fit into a one size fits all box. This article says everything I'd want to say about the topic and more, but better. I highly recommend that you go read it.

By the way, this isn't just a twitter feud between two singers that is attempting to expose societal biases against the bodies of black women....not at all. I read a piece on Serena Williams by Kareem Abdul Jabbar this week, and it was very well written. Body shaming the bodies of black female athletes (and singers, and anyone for that matter), as he says, isn't just about race. It's about so much more than that and the discussion of the issue has to be multifaceted because the biases that create the issue in the first place are layered.

p.s. Kendrick Lamar should win anyway.

Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Still Doesn't Work
Arizona just released the findings of their welfare drug testing program, and they've fallen into line with what we've learned from other states that have decided that people should be forced to submit to testing for drugs in order to eat.

It doesn't work.

The number of positives captured is almost laughable. Wait, it is laughable. The cost savings are in the hundreds of dollars. HUNDREDS. (I feel like the Count should say ah-ah-ah here)

People need to stop believing that poor people are all strung out on drugs and just looking for a government handout to get high. They aren't.

Oh, but my completely anecdotal evidence that can't be replicated tells me otherwise!

I gotta go with statistics and numbers on this one.

This is classism at its finest, and the politicians (hey, maybe we should drug test them...) have done a phenomenal job convincing people that welfare abuse and fraud is responsible for not just busted budgets but for the downfall of society.

Meanwhile, corporate welfare abounds, costing taxpayers a whole lot more than hungry people ever will.

Call me a bleeding heart if you must, but I just think people should be able to eat. I don't honestly care if people use drugs. Until there is a system in place to actually confront and deal with addiction and mental health issues in this country, until there is an honest discussion of the cost of living for people trying to get off of welfare, until there is a complete overhaul of the way we hand out money in this country (hint, hint, the rich get way more of those handouts than the poor do), I don't think we should be wasting any time trying to micromanage and shame the poor.

Gun Violence. Again. Because we just don't care.
If nothing else, every new episode of gun violence proves that we, as a society, really just don't care about it. We don't.

Another shooting happened last night.

Kids in schools are massacred, people in perfectly good movie theaters gunned down...nothing changes.

The Onion did a great satire piece on it last year, and I'm sharing it again because it's still just as valid. 

Thousands more have been killed since then, but we still don't care.

We don't care enough to fight the NRA, demand actual background checks, limit third party sales. We don't care enough to actually deal with the mental health issues that underlie some of the events. We don't care.

Sound harsh?

It is.

It's also the honest truth.

#sayhername and #blacklivesmatter
Her name was Sandra Bland. She was pulled over for failing to signal, arrested and dead within days. Her death has been ruled a suicide.

The video of the traffic stop reveals her to be a person, a citizen who knew her rights. She wasn't unreasonable, she wasn't combative. Around the internet, you see stories of people who've challenged police authority, who've asserted their rights under the law. People who refuse to even roll down their windows and cite sections of the applicable code, list their rights under the law. They are applauded as warriors of the Constitution.

When a black woman (or man for that matter) is stopped, though, they are supposed to be compliant and cooperative and unquestioning of authority, regardless of whether their rights are being infringed. Sandra's rights were infringed several times on the video alone.

Often the same people who would vehemently defend their own rights are the same ones demanding unquestioning compliance from others. Anything less than that, and it must be their fault if they are hurt or killed in custody. Right?

NO. No no no no no.

Actor Jesse Williams tweeted an epic series of tweets about this issue, and I'd encourage you to read that then take a step back and ask yourself, really ask yourself if you believe that everyone is treated equally in this country.

The #alllivesmatter response to #blacklivesmatter misses the point entirely, primarily because it works on the assumption that people are treated equally, ignoring the simple reality that people of color are far more likely to end up dead in custody.

If you haven't seen it already, OITNB's Matt McGorry generated a chain of tweets crushing the logic of those who claim #alllivesmatter isn't offensive.

Privilege is real, the system is biased, things aren't equal. If that somehow threatens you, good. It should make us all uncomfortable. The only way things can ever change is to deal with the fact that they're really fucked up in the first place.

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