"Real eyes realize real lies"
"People are perfectly happy to see women as sex objects, but the actual biologic of our bodies is apparently gross and unmentionable."
- Our Bodies, Ourselves.
I was at Walgreens buying my brother a birthday card. An elderly woman was also in the aisle. She said “can you believe they have wedding cards for two men and look even two women!”
But she then said “I’ve seen so many changes in my 80 years, it’s wonderful how things are moving forward.”
[internal tears of joy]
She then mentioned that she didn’t know any gay people but that everyone should be treated like they would want to be treated. I smiled and said “you know one now” and pointed at myself. She smiled, patted my shoulder and said “now I do”.
Exploring the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India
In the center of Madurai, the oldest city in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Amman Temple stands as a mythological and architectural symbol of the region. Initially founded in ancient times and rebuilt to reflect urban planning methods around the 17th century, the Hindu temple is dedicated to the legendary Goddess Meenakshi and her husband Lord Sundareswara (also known as Parvati and Shiva).
The 18 hectare (45 acre) temple complex consists of 12 pyramid-shaped gopurams, or traditional gateway towers, which measure as tall as 50 meters (164 feet) in height. These towers are erected along the outer and inner walls of the temple and are decorated with thousands of carved figures from roof to the floor, each representing gods, demons, heroes and animals appearing in Hindu myths. Other attractions of the premises include shrines for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, magnificent hallways and the Golden Lotus Temple tank. The temple is home to around 50 priests and a number of annual Hindu festivals, making it an active place of worship as well as a major tourist attraction of Southern India.
1. Join a peaceful protest.
They’re happening all around the country tonight, including at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, around 7 p.m. Eastern.
2. Recognize that Michael Brown’s death was not an isolated incident.
In 2012, more than 300 black people were executed by police, security guards, or vigilantes. In the last month, three other unarmed African-American men—Eric Garner in New York, John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles—have been killed by police. Those are the ones we know about.
3. Stop saying “This can’t be happening in America.”
I understand the impulse, I really do. But that impulse only comes to those who are insulated and isolated from how America treats poor people and people of color every day. Langston Hughes wrote “America never was America to me” in 1935. If you didn’t quite understand that poem in your junior high or high-school lit classes, read it again, while you think about what’s happening in Ferguson. Let it sink in.
4. STFU about looting.
And call out your friends and family members who won’t. It’s been five days since Michael Brown was murdered. On one of those days, some furious, grieving citizens caused some property damage. Nine have been arrested. Every other day since then, police with more gear than American soldiers going into battle have been occupying the neighborhood where Brown died, attacking peaceful protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets. They’ve tear-gassed a state senator and Al-Jazeera reporters, and arrested an alderman. They’ve demanded that reporters leave the area and arrested two who didn’t move fast enough. “Disproportionate” doesn’t begin to describe it. If you look at all that and still think it’s important to talk about looting for “balance,” you should know that you sound like a racist asshole.
5. Look Around You.
If you live in an urban environment, you’re in a position to bear witness and document inappropriate and abusive police behavior. If you see an African-American neighbor being detained by police, wait to see what happens. Get your phone out. Download the ACLU’s “Police Tape” app, and if you see something that looks off, take a video that will upload directly to their servers, in case your phone is confiscated. Whatever police may tell you, this is your legal right.
7. Educate yourself about the systematic inequality that leads to civil unrest.
The St. Louis American ran a powerful editorial today that fleshes out the history of Ferguson. When you finish reading that, go somewhere quiet for a bit and settle down with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations.” Don’t stop there.
8. Put pressure on your elected representatives.
Institutional abuse of African-American citizens is happening all over the country, and it demands a federal response. Talk to your senators and congresspeople about enacting policies to protect citizens from their protectors. While you’re at it, maybe suggest they work to limit the amount of military weaponry police can inherit from the armed forces.
9. Listen to your African-American friends when they try to tell you why this hurts.
If you don’t have any African-American friends, you might want to think about why that is.
10. Okay, go ahead and tweet.
And Facebook. Tumblr. Instagram. Vine. Amplify the voices of people on the ground, and help counteract the damaging narratives being propagated by some mainstream media organizations. It’s the very least we can do.Written by Kate Harding
Special skills: extensive Harry Potter knowledge, can watch an entire TV show in a week, knows words to every Disney song, can form abnormally strong attachments to fictional characters, Microsoft Word
So you mean, able to retain knowledge, has incredible focus and drive, excellent at processing media, remembers obscure details when needed, and has great skill at creating connections with individuals despite minimal interfacing?
And Microsoft Word?
My resume be like…