It’s Time to Really Save the Children

Dear readers,

It is apparent that Q-Anon is trying to steal the save the children movement, and they want to make up stories about kids being trafficked without letting other media sources in on it. Here’s the deal: there are still children being sexually abused, and if you truly want to save them from the perils of sex abuse, here’s how you can do this.

Patriarchal behavior must end. Like now. Don’t let your older grandpas and fathers force affection on your young daughters and sons. It is very vital that daughters and sons alike learn boundaries and consent at an early age. Lets be clear: you want to hug your kids when they want to be hugged, especially after toddlerhood and that’s fine. however, the primary caregiver should be at least showing affection in alternative ways to their children. Babies must be held, I’m not arguing with that, and toddlers must be shown praise for good behavior and no praise for bad. The whole thing must be done right so that the kids’ development doesn’t reach a snag or they don’t suffer longterm into adulthood. So what could snag your daughter’s or son’s development? Patriarchal behavior from old men. So that means daughters don’t need to necessarily show affection when prompted, neither should sons. Since daughters have higher risk of getting pregnant at teen age, please, mothers and fathers, make sure you stress the importance of boundaries and consent with the boys and girls alike, but it will be especially helpful for daughters.

Sexual education must cover consent. Even from the youngest children, consent must be taught in school. Preschool kids have the highest risk of being sexually abused because they don’t understand certain things, things like date and time and frequency, and they aren’t fully developed adults, no kidding. These little ones also may not have the language and cognition to understand sexual body parts and the frequency of such parts being touched, and they may have to act it out in front of you in order for you to understand what happened. For example, if a boy is caught swaying his hips in a sexually suggestive manner, wetting his bed, etc., there could be the possibility of sex abuse. Stay calm and ask your kid, did someone touch you in a way you didn’t like? That’s the best way to go about it with a child so young, according to at least one source I’ve stuck with. Teenagers may be able to express frequency and time and all that, but they are still too young to consent to sexual activity, and should not be married off to their abuser. Seventeen-year-olds in my book should never have permission to marry because they won’t be protected in case of abuse. Child marriage I’ve written about, so go check it out.

Empathy and believing kids must happen. One of my friends believes her daughter, so that is a good thing, but so many parents out there are not believing young women and girls when they say someone raped them or told them they were worthless, tried to touch them, etc. Whatever you do, as a parent, believe your child. Yes, children can lie, but this is not something to lie about. I have said over and over again about how my ex was abusive, and how the community as a whole doesn’t believe me. Well, believing women and girls can change the world, can upend the patriarchal bad behavior of old and young men alike. We must do this in order to save our children. The only way to save all our kids is to believe the ones who are abused. This is vitally important. Just as important, believe it when your son says his preschool teacher’s aid has been fondling him. I thank you for reading and supporting this blog.

Beth

Kids Fearful of going Back to School with Corona Virus Pandemic Around

If you have Apple news, this article will help immensely with kids and Covid19, so please read this. Dr. Bracho-Sanchez, if I am doing this right, is someone I know. I might know this woman, but okay, this is what she wrote, and there’s empirical evidence here.

apple.news/A-gBzRJa6Tq2TkFxgRMhcwQ

Educational Deficiencies in America Drive Me Bonkers

Dear readers,

I’d like to rip a few pages from a book. Yes, education is key to a good society and being a civilized human being. It all depends, however, on what country we’re all located in. Germany has the best model of education I’d like to point out, so you German peoples who can read this, take notes please.

First, the primary school is like all primary schools. Germans have a fancy name for their primary school, greumschool, sort of. I hope I got that right, something like that. But their primary grades cover kindergarten, which is a word derived from German as well, through about the fifth or sixth grade in America. You might spend about five or six years in the schools there, primary grades being the usual fundamentals in learning. Next, you go to German middle schools, which cover about seventh through twelfth grades, but here’s the kicker: sometimes you are able to get tracked into classes and vocations that exercise your strengths. This is something America has no concept of, or at least lacks. In the tenth grade, German style, you’d take a special aptitude test, the Avitur, I think that’s what it would be called. This test would determine, for example, that Little Otto will grow up to be an automobile mechanic, or perhaps little Charlie could end up being a teacher. Your son or daughter is not expected to pass or fail this test, it is purely a test to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. And someone ripped pages from Germany when they wrote the book City of Darkness. Ben Bova, acclaimed scifi author, wrote this story in an earnest attempt to look at America’s future. Bova wrote a story in which all sixteen-year—olds prepare for their “career vector” life choice. Much like the Avitur test in German educational systems, Bova’s career vectors determine which career you will go into. Boys and girls I think choose their career paths, and Ron wanted to be an engineer, or astronomer, or astronaut. However, his dad wanted him to go into business, but Ron was like, fuck it, no. Oh no I won’t. And that’s where the story begins in reality.

The difference in Germany’s education system and the American system is truly astounding. Unfortunately, America is systemically biased and racist, which could lend itself to people manipulating Blacks and Browns to lower class and dirty jobs in the sphere of aptitudes. it already happens, but we need unbiased and antiracist teachers to believe in these bright young African American minds. Trenton, my partner in crime, is a good example of someone who would benefit from a good aptitude track record. His testing would have to have accommodations in it, yes, but he’d pass the English, math, and IT portions of such a test. Maybe we should do something to see if kids would like technology. What would an American aptitude test look like?

I’d say we could try putting in the usual English, other languages would also be offered. Perhaps German, Latin, and Spanish should be. offered as options to take in the aptitude test. But before you get your own version of the main test, you’d have to take a survey. The survey would gauge your likes, dislikes, and other things, but it would show you career paths you might be interested in. Next, you’d have to take a written test, something like one with English, reading, a bit of basic math, sciences, and music and the creative theories and such. Based on the aptitudes tested and the survey question results, then you’d be further tested and then the counselor would meet with the student. The student would use the objectives, some strengths and weaknesses set down by the counselor, to determine career opportunities. For example, if little Willie wants to take cooking and cook for a hobby, he would write in his survey that he enjoys food, food preparation, and other things. Then, he’d take an aptitude test that would study how well he measures, remembers recipes, and can understand and convert Imperial units and European or SI metrics. Those are important, especially if setting the temperature of an oven. Little Willie could be given home economics as part of his aptitude results, but then he’d be given extra math courses if he says, for example, I’d like to own a restaurant. I am using the example of a little Willie because girls are often the ones tracked into home economics classes, which should not always happen, so I decided to go with a guy’s name instead.

There are just a few different aptitudes we have to avoid, however. First, no test would ever find that a girl is fit for nothing but sex work. Second, a test would not favor birthmothering only for girls. To be a sex worker or birth mother would be written off as gender biased aptitude statements, and might be a cause of many a lawsuit to a school. Blind women need a fair aptitude result that might put them in better positions, things like restauranteur or master chef, or perhaps they could be given the option of journalism, or even construction work and engineering if they love designing floor plans. The possibilities must remain endless. Germany offers this to all german students, so why the hell not! America, wake up. You need something that totally beats out the standardized test scores. Teachers, teach the students, and let them invite all possibility into their lives. For example, Little Caitlin in kindergarten builds things with legos, loves to play with micromachines, cars, and trucks. Not like her girl classmates, Caitlin would love Star Wars and science related shows growing up, and then, at fourteen, she would do well in middle school science. Here’s another idea: compile this student’s records into her high school aptitude test, and then the counselor could sit down with sixteen-year-old Caitlin and say, “Well, you’ve done lots of things in science. You have a strong aptitude for science and tech, so here are some options. You could do web design, software engineering, or perhaps acoustical engineering, music production, …” blah blah blah blah blah. Caitlin would then choose the career choices she wants, none of which involves sex work, birthing, and cooking. There you have it. If Bill in kindergarten was messing with his mom’s cooking stuff, then later pretended to make food with Play Dough, then later decides to serve folks at a diner, sixteen years later, Bill could bee a chef. Bill would still have to include cooking in his aptitude things, but when little Bill grows to be a middle schooler, the aptitude thing would include all the A pluses he gets in food preparation classes, food sciences classes, and so many other things he could get to know through math, algebra, and so on. Bill would still take a life skills selection in his classes, so will everybody else. However, when he turns sixteen, Bill’s aptitude tests and his guidance counselor will state, “You have shown strengths in these subjects, and weaknesses in these others.” The counselor and Bill will work together to decide what Bill will do for his career path. Either of these students could be your son or daughter, in a far distant generation somewhere. What’s the catch? No standardized test scores.

Beth

Remote Learning Versus In Person Learning: My Experiences

Dear readers,

I’m not surprised that there are parents who don’t want to send their student children to school, in person learning being that which the administration wants and believes in all the more even during a deadly pandemic.

The thing is that online learning could be fixed to indoctrinate rather than educate young girls in Conservative communities, and we must stop that at all costs. For one, some girls in the ultraconservative communities like the ones in Utah and some Christian families might opt for a religious brainwashing instead of educating girls. What is the deal? I have had good experiences with both online and in person learning, but I never did online learning until college days.

I started out in kinder through fourth grade in public elementary schools, but in fifth grade, my parents insisted I have a Catholic education. Some of you may know that the Catholic school had no band, no chorus program that sang anything other than religious music, and no string orchestra, and I think the parents wanted to not teach me the violin. Look at how much private religious education actually costs. It costs a lot more than the violin lessons, and it cost more than the piano lesson that eventually I had to give up. My parents could have had me in an orchestra, a meaningful job playing piano at a bar whether they liked it or not, but they chose to spend all that money on religious education which does not do much good for females with disabilities. What they didn’t know was that girls and boys both had to learn about sexuality in a Catholic perspective from a young age. Well, thank God the high school was in Melbourne, too far for transport, so I went to Titusville High School, where there was a band, orchestra, and choir. Thank God the choir and band directors just didn’t get the religious education point, but they never indoctrinated anyone. My band director, of all the people I might have not gotten along with, was not a religious person to the point of imposing things like girl boy separation. He did tell us about songs and their meanings, half of which were nonreligious and had no Catholic perspective. Religions with conservative viewpoints on girls’ choice and body autonomy really should take this into consideration, but online learning could allow the parent to cocoon the student in question and not allow her to see friends, do things, or have any opportunities to learn and grow as a person. For me those opportunities did not come till I was dropped out of college, and twice I had to drop out because of Rehab and accommodations. I will never be able to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, but moreover, I had to catch up because of the conservative patriarchal bullshit I was exposed to in the home. Mom expected a perfect daughter, someone who would cook and clean and take care of the home, unpaid of course. IF I were to go back, I’d have to charge an outrageous rate anyway by now because the parents needed to appreciate what I could do, but they never did. My dad wanted a perfect virgin of a daughter, but sorry, that didn’t happen because in high school, a guardianship was planted in the legal books against me and I couldn’t marry or date without a guardian’s permission, which I balked at. I left in 2010 because of the way I was being treated, and I won’t allow this to happen again, not even to my own potential daughters. While I was at home, I still had online college, and I took a survey and did chats online with Blackboard. The thing to remember is that online learning should be accessible too, so a blind student might not be able to participate with other kids online, so do your research.

Accessibility and viability of the information your child is being taught is very very important. We don’t live in Gilead, wee live in the United States, for those reading who are actually in the United States. But remember, don’t indoctrinate your kids with a book of Genesis reading unless you want them cowering in the corner saying things like, “What the hell is all this?” I did study Genesis, and believe you me, there’s a lot of flaws in it. For one, the thing about women fighting over who gets more kids. Rachel and Leah were the most dynamic duo of sisters, but they were also sister wives, and they had maidservants, handmaids, they gave to their husband to sleep with. This could be the reason why people may groom girls to be handmaids as young as fourteen, or perhaps they would be arranged in marriage, as was biblical custom. Genesis also hurts gays and lesbians, so I won’t go into what it says and why. This is part of the reason I’m not into and all for religious education until a child is old enough to make his or her or their own decisions about what they want in life, where they want to go, and what kinds of things they want to experience such as dating, prom, and the chance to be married to someone they care about. We also have to make sure we speak up and demand change from the government level so that girls are protected from this type of brainwashing, and online learning may fail some people, but it may not others.

As a person who was educated both in private and public schools, I’d prefer that the child either conservative or not be in a public school. They need to learn facts, not myths, but study the myths as they are, mythical things that are not true. For example, don’t teach that God made everything in seven twenty-four- hour rotations of the Earth, which is damn near impossible, but teach evolution and the Big Bang theory, and teach about the way things were thousands and millions of years ago. My science teacher, Patricia Hutniek, was critical but still taught us to think about all the stuff and theories of the past, and we learned about tectonics and plate division in the earth and all kinds of stuff that a true conservative would balk at. Hutniek taught us to think critically about things like cloning and surrogacy for those who can’t carry, but what she failed to do was explain the compensation for those who carry someone’s kids and how it helps those who want a child. Surrogacy is not my idea of having a kid, but paying a surrogate mother is just way too much. I saw an article in the Washington Post or something of that nature about a woman who carried her daughter’s baby because her daughter could honest to God not carry any babies at all. Now the baby is probably born healthy and the daughter will be able to mother that baby, but with the peace of mind that came with the baby’s grandma carrying her.

I also learned a lot of evolutionary biology in college and stuff, but trust me, I’m not all for online science labs, plus a blind person would be excluded wholly for being blind, and the microscope assignments would be completely invalid, not able to be used for a blind student. I had to be exempt from all that stuff, and trust me, it made me a bit less than the rest of the class. While the rest of them got to stare at bacteria all day, if I may exaggerate, I was not able to do so.

So what’s my verdict? While I do believe online learning is a good supplement, it cannot take over in person learning. Also, don’t forget music. Students must be taught music, as I said in the last post. Please note that music is important for all people, and it helps with brain development and test performance, so give them the music. LEt the people sing, as I said in the last piece I wrote.

Beth

Cultural Literature IS Highly Important

Dear readers,

Are you interested in learning cultural literature in school or did you learn any good stories you could tell your kids or your student children? IF so, and if you answered yes to both these questions, here’s a hint when dealing with cultural literature. When you’re dealing with Native American and Asian children, in fact any kid who is not Eurocentric raised or bred in a European style home, you have got to make sure that these children are familiar with stories they can connect with. Even with the European bred children, the ones who are considered Caucasian, there are acceptable levels and pieces I could go on for hours about, but legends and tall tales are very important work of what I call “cultural literature.” Then, when a child goes on to high school, like this one young man I knew who did, they should b reading culturally different stories such as that of African and Native authors. Why bother restricting all schoolchildren to reading Eurocentric trash? Here are things to stay away from:

For younger readers, don’t encourage too many stories that put girls in a bad position. Examples include Cinderella and Snow White. However, you can use Little Red Riding Hood to teach about strangers and the dangers of thinking that grandma is grandma, but then gets eaten by a wolf, but it does teach somewhat about stranger danger. I would encourage the Hansel and Gretel iterations but the stories in which princesses are supposed to be shown as weak and meek and only marriageable by rite of the monarchy are not good for kids till they get a bit older and can understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Cinderella is best read outside the class.

It’s hard to find stories for disabled kids, but please make an effort to teach cultural literature that includes disabled kids, teaches about weather patterns and legends beyond the European princess culture. Examples, I’ve read this interesting Abenaki story of an eagle who makes the wind blow, and this one guy was like, I’m sick of it, and tried to stop the wind. When he tied the eagle up, preventing the wind from going, the eagle got mad and blew off the poor guy’s hair. You can’t stop the winds from blowing, the story says. There are other stories I’ve read too, and for a collection of woman friendly stories, especially for Native Americans, I’d recommend the collection called the Girl Who Married the Moon which is chalk full of stories about girls, girls who do things to outwit their enemies. One of my favorites is a Cherokee legend called Stonecoat. It’s about seven young women in their moontimes, women given the power of giving life, who take the life of a stone enemy. These women tell Stonecoat when he says, “Granddaughter, you’re in a dirty way,” that “no, we’re in the sacred way.” These women, all in what we’d call menstruating times, would culturally be respected because of this legend and others like it. Spoiler alert, Stonecoat is weakened by the time he reaches the oldest woman in her moon time and is thrown in to the fire, but the information he provides is invaluable to the tribes. Stories like these validate the existence of Native girls, and can be used for the study of cultral literature, provided the schools include this in the environment so that girls feel included and valid.

When a child is a teenager, going into high school, as I mentioned before, they need to think outside the bun. I think outside the box all the time, but the thinking outside the bun gives girls and boys and others alike an opportunity to embrace classmates and their cultures who are different than the Eurocentric ones. I had the privilege and honor of singing and studying African cultures, so there you have it. Cultural lit is important, and getting to know your identity and those of others is very important. Just keep up the great work when you are reading, and you will come to understand and know every thing you are able to read.

If you are the kind of person who loves to study other cultures, here’s an incentive for you. Rudyard Kipling’s character Mowgli has to study all the natural languages of animals, which lead him to becomig the keeper of the jungle law. HE learns from many people and animals, so why shouldn’t we?

Beth

School Days

Dear readers,

While you’re parenting kids and getting them up for school this fall, beware a few different things. While we’re all concerned about Corona virus and its impact on the education of children, please be mindful of the cancel culture and its impact on literature. Examples include Huckleberry Finn being offensive to blacks, as if the use of the N word wasn’t offensive enough. I think the greatest issue schools have is literature that balances between what we call “window books” and “mirror books.” I’ve covered this before, and I’ll say it again. If your child is reading insipid teenage literature, pull off the blinders immediately and demand that the teacher give them a balanced literature list instead of only modern works.

Here is a list of books I would recommend for each grade level, and a bit of why I recommend these books.

For very young readers, start with books like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which is what we call a mobius story, a cycle that goes around and around and around. This would lead to a project like I did once where we put all the pages and words to this poem about a mouse eating cookies into a mobius circle on paper, colored the areas around the words, and turned the projects around and around. I’d also recommend the works of Dr. Seuss, better known for his rhythm and rhymes but his full name is Theodore Seuss Geisel, and his widow was not surprisingly upset about Grinch movies gone wrong. But for the younger kiddos, Dr. Seuss is perfect because he writes such zany writings that open the door for a child to foster their imaginations.

When a child reaches about second or fourth grade, this is a crucial time for children to read “window books”, books that provide a window to the past, books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I adore Laura’s writings, cautioning that Mary and her blindness could become an issue for some with disabilities. However, the window part of this series allows the reader to observe the author’s and the family’s view of Mary’s prospects for a normal life. Mary Ingalls is not married, and in the books, the family does put her in some dangerous situations because she’s not like laura and Carrie, so read with care. I also would recommend the animals in literature selections like those in the Redwall series,, and some of these are kind of funny. Historical fiction should be introduced, especially books dealing with all kinds of immigrant group problems, including a book called Norrey Ryan’s Song, about the Irish potato famine that rocked Ireland in the nineteenth century. Norrie is a girl who’s forced to go to America and her family struggles like hell to survive, and this is an important thing for all kids to study because this story is like a lot of other immigrant stories. For Asian American history, I’d recommend the work of such authors as Lawrence Yep, a Chinese author who grew up American, but he is still ethnically Chinese. He wrote some pretty great works of literature, and we’ll get to some deep study later on John Steinbeck, but first, study this author because he has some great immigrant historical stories to tell. For the record, American girl storybooks do not count here. Kids need to be reading books by reputable authors in the literature selection at a school or public library, not farm out their reading time with Pleasant Company. While I do like the American Girl dolls, they can provide some sense of connection and girls can collect them, but what about the boys? That’s why they don’t count, and there are no LGBTQI+ dolls anyway. Children in theese grades, second to fourth grade, will have plenty of reading to do at this rate.

Fifth through eighth graders should be reading more serious works. Romeo and Juliet can wait, possibly never be studied abridged. I would recommend poetry as a clear road map to preparing your brain to be baffled by the Elizabethan English that is Shakespeare, but abridged copies of the story of Romen and Juliet can be studied in the lower grades, but eighth graders should seriously take up the study. Drama and plays would really help these grades get acquainted with things like tragedy and comedy, and these grades should also be studying Greek works of dramatic fiction or those plays based on Greek myths like Medea, Jason and the Argonauts, and so much more. Then, we’ll get to serious sexualized tragedy by ninth grade and higher, but if the kids insist on learning about Oedipus the King by tenth grade, they better learn Romeo and Juliet as soon as humanly possible, at least in the seventh grade.

High schoolers should be familiar with works of English, American, and some African lit. Let’s delve into the things they should be reading: George Orwell’s Animal Farm, 1984. Brave New World by Huxley, on top of Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, and then the Giver series by Lois Lowry. Yes, my middle school teacher made us read that in middle school, but there are three more books to read in that same universe. Read them. Prepare the mind for college literature in the eleventh grade by reading the entire Outsiders novel, portraying the Beatnik teenage generations, and then there was more. You could try reading The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, and Alias Grace, all by a remarkably good Margaret Atwood, but these books also contain both history and warning. All high schoolers should be reading books that warn of the coming future. Study Elie Wiesel’s Night, Annie Dilliard’s Holy the Firm, or perhaps Zora Neale Hurston’s Mules and Men and Their Eyes were Watching God. Both books were amazing, and great reads. Don’t try to get the impression that Hurston’s work is bad, or that her use of the N word in Mules and Men is any more amusing than if a white person said it to a black person. These books have history and “window” written all over them. Read A Little Princess by F. H. Bernette and learn about the British colonization of India, where at one time the capital was called Bombay instead of Mumbai as it is now. Next, study Charles Dickens and Kipling, thanks Matilda by Roald Dahl,, and indeed try reading Hemingway and Faulkner. Then try reading as much as possible in the adult category. By the way, Dahl wrote some adult stories, so try reading all the classics, even in high school. Gain an appreciation for Roald Dahl’s books and learn from the master storyteller’s vivid descriptions of good moral character, lessons on children, and so much more. My favorite book by Mr. Dahl happens to be Matilda, and there is a growing list of books that are being banned from schools for stupid reasons, but let’s face it. All k-12 students should be acquainted with a balance of mirror books like the Hunger Games trilogy and that new one that just came out, and then there’s Harry Potter, and then there are window books out there by such authors in all grades like for the younger ones, they should read Beatrix Potter and Beverly Cleary. I read the Ramona books, and now they’re classics. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume should be on all the preteens’ lists. One of my favorite Blume books I’d recommend for high schoolers is Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. Of course, there’s so much you can hear in those books, but the window books should be carefully selected to create a teaching moment. I don’t have English pedagogy in my brain, but I do have an idea of where book learning is going.

What books would I stay away from if I was in k-12? Stay away from the Robin Gunn books, please. Don’t read books by a religious author of any sort, because most of that literature is more of an indoctrination, and overall, not as good quality. Yes, there are Catholics who would prefer you not read Atwood, but who cares. In MCC, there was this one book I would have had to read that was about conversion. Ugh. Boy I would have given the MCC faculty an earful about that. THS might have been racey in their preferences for literature, but at least Jennifer Dick-Thomas, my AP English lit teacher in eleventh grade, has brains. She loves literature, loves English, and has recommended we study Hurston and Dilliard, but she found a good selection of stories. The recommended summer reading list in my eleventh grade AP lit list was pretty straightforward, and I had already tucked into Night before Mrs. Thomas could say anything. I love books, probably as much as Mrs. Thomas, but not a lot of teachers are getting the creative license to teach these works of literature. Why? Standardized test crap. Here’s the key to opening the creative box again: get rid of the FCAT, Florida Writes, and other standardized bullshit in public schools. Mind you, you teachers will be happy when you and your students get together and force change, because we all know that Florida and other states where comprehensive standardized insipidity tests reign, that the government won’t do a darn thing.

Education is missing a lot of creative things, but writing a blog has been for me a creative release, therapy, and so much more. To those who criticize my choices, go away because your criticism ain’t good enough for me. You lack substance, can’t comment anyway, and there are more books out there that meet the so called standards you’re looking for, you’re just not looking hard enough.

One more note about books and literature: let kids explore what window books are acceptable in their milieu of society such as if an Asian American child wants to read Dragon’s gate by Lawrence Yep, or perhaps your Native American child student wants to read Wilma Mankiller’s bio, who cares. Kids need to find time for independent study, connect with books that shape who they are. However, religious authors that encourage imprisonment of women’s thoughts and expressions by the patriarchy should be forbidden in libraries. Instead, read books by Jessica Valentin, a feminist author who encourages people to think. I wrote a whole few posts on sex ed, and that should tie into sex ed class, but no. Books should never encourage lack of imagination and creativity, quite the opposite should be happening.

For the very young readers, make sure you also read the words, not just stare at illustrations and things. Legends around the world should be taught, and I could delve into literature that explores cultural things, again I say Lawrence Yep is a good example, but try Joseph Bruchac for exploring Native American stories and literature. Then there’s Chinua Achebe who writes Things fall Apart, among other works of African literature. There are some books that are written by white and non associated authors, books like Island of the Blue Dolphins and Sing Down the Moon, but those books have been carefully researched. Scott O’Dell is by no means just a Native American author, he has written some stories with compelling amounts of research about the people in the story. Sing Down the Moon, for example, tells the story of a Navajo woman forced to leave her home, along with other Navajo tribes and clans. She tells her story, from her point of view. This is a definite window book into history. If you’re looking for a mirror selection of books, do that while not in class. The whole point of reading is to exercise the mind, open the brain’s doors, and give the child students the ability to communicate with good idiomatic references. American English is full of idioms, so paint them on your pallet with good grace.

Beth

What Sex Ed Should Look Like in the Future

Dear readers,

Before I get into the details of what the sex ed curriculum could look like in the future, I want to tell you how the current state of sexual education not only hurts girls with disabilities, but puts them at risk. I was sent to a private school in fifth grade, graduated there in eighth grade, but before I could, I had to do a joke class. New creation, this class was called, taught us about pregnancy, the birds and the bees, and sexual immorality and all that crap. First and foremost, I’m glad I never spoke about that kind of thing to too many people, the part about new creation being a joke, but it is a real joke. Yes, there are a few things the class gets right, and I’ll explain how. First, let me analogize sex ed with driving a car. When you first meet the car, what happens?

In this one book on sexuality I found, written by a certified health and teenage sex pro, I found an interesting analogy to introducing teenagers to the concepts of sex and such. Michael Basso wrote an entire first few paragraphs in the first chapter as though he were talking about driver’s education. It makes sense, but what Mr. Basso wanted to know, regarding the car, was when do I get to drive it? Mike from Monsters Incorporated is best known for that little reason for buying a new car, so he could drive it. But I think both Mr. Basso and Mike from Monsters Inc. could have used a lesson on the behind the hood parts and pieces of the automobile, something akin to what we do when we teach about sexual anatomy. So here’s what the vagina and penis do for each sex, okay, and here are the ovaries. Okay, that’s the same thing as explaining what the clutch pedal of your car does, and here’s the steering wheel. Okay, it makes sense to always make people aware of what parts are private, behind the hood, that sort of thing.

If it gets any better, the school version of “new creation” class gets pretty serious. Morality and eighth grade new creation/family life included discussions about love and dating. Unfortunately, it did not prepare me for the obvious problems I would face in finding a date. It was patriarchally biased so that it would validate my mother’s awful diatribes on how “girls don’t call boys” and “girls don’t ask boys on dates.” Boys at Titusville High probably were threatened in the patriarchal gut when I asked them out for dates. Ugh, I can’t stand the idea of Jason and others I wanted to date in situations where they rule and dominate the female species. It makes me vomit thinking of guys trying to make sexual harassment at school stick, but when a boy gets the same complaint when a girl says it, it doesn’t. Sexism much? Yes.

What the St. Teresa morality classes never would have taught me was that 90% of girls with disabilities like me will have been raped this year. Many women with disabilities, grown women I’ve spoken to over the online platform Skype, have been prior rape victims and they are now survivors, some are thriving. I learned later about the victim survivor thriver system in a rehabilitative spot in 2006, and it took me years to process. My parents did not utterly prepare me for the possibility of smashing the patriarchy, rather they were the patriarchy. I will never try to sum up what the patriarchy is; one should know what it is by now. The matriarchy is a lot more energy driven, and I’m sorry, sorry to see what people say in class is a joke.

St. Teresa did not teach the facts, only the predictions and not based on a scientific facts. They want to tell you how to live right, be clean, all that jazz, but it doesn’t work. STS and THS were both patriarchally programmed against girls with disabilities, and I frequently saw no effort on STS’s part to make girls with disabilities welcome and actually teach scientific facts about rape and the evolutionary explanation of rape. Evolutionary consequences abound for rape victims who end up pregnant, on top of the fact that they are disabled. The rape victims have to either carry or adopt out the baby, according to Catholic doctrine, no abortion is acceptable, and that could hurt someone whose uterus can’t technically carry a child. I knew a woman who had twins, but one of them didn’t make it. It wasn’t her fault, but the Catholic church would have been so obsessed with her keeping both babies, even the one dying, and that’s kind of not what happened. The baby that didn’t make it had to be cremated, and an autopsy report was mailed to the mother, and it was just sad. When a baby dies, sometimes even the woman dies, but that didn’t happen. However, angel babies, as one would call the baby that didn’t make it, are a blessing in disguise sometimes. For this mother, I hope she raises the baby that did make it to understand that sometimes, not everything goes as planned. However, when a baby passes in utero, it can endanger the life of a second baby or woman who carries it. None of this information is found in the STS approved science curricula or sex education no less.

So what should a real sex ed textbook look like? For cisgender heterosexual white males, this book should not even be placed in the hands of such to be ripped apart. So I think the males would, however, benefit from reading such a book if they would please pay attention to waht the book says.

Here’s the basics of what curricula should be acceptable for children in the next generation whether Catholic or not, disabled or not.

1. Starting with the anatomy, all sex ed curricula should give an overview of body parts, and this should start with preschool. Okay, give the preschoolers the proper names for genitalia as well as the physical limbs, lungs, etc.

2. When a child reaches pubic age, around ten or eleven years old, please, I beg the writers of sex ed curricula, include something about evolutionary fertility in a scientific perspective. Talk in this curriculum about girls and transgender boys having periods and such. Persons who have periods should be given a proper heads up about what pregnancy and menstruation does, etc etc.

3. LGBTQI+ individuals should have history in a separate textbook, but any sex ed book should include tips for dealing with parents who won’t accept you as you are. If a parent threatens to kill you over being transgender or gay, or whatever, there should be one or two things in there about this, and resources at the back of the book to help said children. All kids should be accepted as they are, but that doesn’t happen. Catholic schools don’t understand that their dress codes don’t help (see the posts on dress codes), and the worst part of it is that these schools aren’t for kids who are LGBTQI so please, do us all a favor and send them to schools with acceptance policies, good curricula that validates their existence, and so on. Threatening a child with death or punishment for being who they are or for who they love is a bastardly and cowardly thing to do, and as a Christian parent, you should look to Jesus for the answers. Jesus did not say to kill the gay child, he only said love thy neighbor as thyself, blah blah blah. However, the love has become twisted, and Jesus’s teaching has become very patriarchally programmed more than a call to love and care about everybody in your circle. STS simply won’t get that part.

So what to do with Catholic schools? Yes, government shouldn’t stick their noses into private schools, but how can we help disabled females who end up raped in Catholic schools after being exposed to this dangerous curricula? Well, here’s what we need to do.

STS should not have any more family life discussions with second grade classes, and marriage should be edited out of their curriculum. As hard as this will be, the only way a school like this is going to thrive is that they teach consent, acceptance, and comprehensive safety measures for all students, including those with disabilities. Self defense and RAD (rape aggression defense) should be taught to all students, including especially the young ladies and those of female persuasion. I like how my choir director for Soar calls the women and higher singers of chorus “those of the female persuasion” or, because a nonbinary member joins us later, she said, “Soprano and alto” or “trebles”. That makes sense. This director demonstrated full inclusion, and I’m proud of her for that.

STS should never emphasize dating norms. As hard as this is going to be for any religious framed school, keep your rosaries out of my ovaries, as one girl puts it at Notre Dame. In fact, please, if you are at a Catholic university or high school, allow the students to perform the Vagina Monologues, all with women, or transgender male to females, whatever. Study the Good Body, and I Am An Emotional Creature. Those books by Eve Ensler are amazing, and she founded V-Day, so please, whatever you do, do it right. Teach that it is not okay to do violent acts against girls and women for any reason. Teach the boys not to take advantage of girls with disabilities, period. Teach the girls that it is okay to express yourself and have feelings. Period.

Any Catholic diocesan school should work closely with a special school for disabled children, and this might be a good way to get students aware and accepting of those with disabilities. However, all diocesan high schools should be educated in developmental and physical disability history. As part of the service project at MCC, Melbourne Central Catholic High School, I think there should be a requirement for all students to serve the disabled and go visit them on occasions like Christmas, Birthdays, etc. The students will provide friendship like in Best Buddies, but this would be a requirement for all students. The requirement to join a Best Buddies service team would help the disabled students not be isolated in their own special room all the time. Behaviorally handicapped students are often abuse victims themselves, and some are like that because of brain anatomical anomalies. However, that need not encourage MCC students from doing the right thing and being generous with the disabled population. I also believe that diocesan schools should be required to teach scientifically based psychology classes, so that they learn about things like what happens with schizoeffectives and so on. If a schizophrenic individual hears a voice or sees things, it’s a symptom they have to deal with. Also, psychology classes would help the students consider, not require them, to get a career in psychological therapy and specialize in disabled people and their needs. There is a need for psychologists in all school avenues that can believe disabled women so that these women can get the care and services they need while recovering from rape and sexual abuse. Family members often molest the women with disabilities, so this might require the women to leave their immediate home families, but it would be worth it if a psychologist says to the parents, “You need to keep this registered sex offender away from your disabled daughter.” IS it that hard? Social work should be an emphasis at all schools, including Catholic ones, because we the human race are going through a big transition point in which the patriarchy is happily being smashed, and women are doing the right thing.

Diocesan schools should be required to do service at nursinig homes, unpaid service that would require them to visit, feed, and care for elders just like in the Giver, but for all students. If you’re a med student, ditto for that.

All these things do have some relevance in the sex ed curricula. We should be teaching our children that the elderly do like it, but they do it amongst themselves. That we should also teach that adults should never ever have sex with kids is a ditto for those who are under eighteen. Mary K. Letourneau obviously had problems, having had sex with a sixth grade student, bearing two children for him, and after being married for a time, they split up. Now, she’s dead. However, let’s define Mary’s action as abusive, and then we need to be cautious in looking at what Mary did. Yes, the consequences for her children in both marriages have been bad, but for her, Mary wasn’t the right fit for Vili anyway because of the generation gap. Even if she didn’t abuse Vili after he turned eighteen, there’s a problem here. Women offenders are traditionally relationship driven, so it’s hard for me to analyze this without saying that what Mary did was wrong. Yes, it is common for boys to have crushes on female teachers, but what these copycat Mary Letourneaus are doing is wrong. There are many copies of Mary K. Letourneau running around in many schools, and these women are usually insecure. Kids in all schools should be encouraged to step forward and report the male or female offenders to a trustworthy adult, and I’d have done it if God forbid a coach molested me. I’m glad it didn’t happen, but to hell with the way a school might have handled this. FSU lost a great teacher in James Nally, convicted of soliciting sex from a minor out of state, and she might have reported it. Good for the girl who did this, and sadly, Nally had been a professor of piano music until that incident. Now, he’s a registered sex offender in the state of Florida or Kansas, I don’t know where. He was disgraced, rightfully so, and his disgrace should be a lesson to other adults who plan to solicit sex from minors. A minor with a disability should be more cautious because even family can’t be trusted. If Nally’s victim was disabled, who would believe her? I don’t know if anyone would.

The big thing that schools are not doing is believing women. If you are interested, please read the book “believe me” by Jessica Valentin. It’s a good book, and I can tell you, it’s awesome. Thank you for reading, and if you want to comment on this post, please use the Facebook or twitter thread from which this post comes. Thank you again.

Beth

What to do About Prejudice, Color Based Violence, and Ableism

Dear readers,

I’m first going to talk about WordPress related stuff. My friend Hailey has deleted WordPress for now, but I hope she can get a new PC or laptop she can more easily rely on, so that she can still contribute to the blog. The editor is amazing. However, I think it’s rather trying to try and teach how to use this editor to very wide ranges of people. I feel a bit impatient that people don’t learn as quickly as I do, so if I were a teacher, I would have to do a more advanced class of peoples and other sorts of students that are interested in doing advanced stuff.

As a blind person, I want to point out something very blatant in our society and something that needs to change. But first, let me tell my own story of overcoming misunderstandings about people of color and other people who are considered “black” or “brown.” I’ll start at the beginning. I didn’t know much about my own heritage, but I was nine years old, and my mother later told me stories about how my and her family’s heritage affected job placement for her grandfather at the post service in Texas, but that’s a whole other ballgame. My personal story begins at a dorm in St. Augustine, and unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that my roommate was black. Hell we fought like cats, I don’t want to say cats and dogs. But girls are compared to cats anyway. I think cats fight worse than dogs, but still, I went away feeling guilty that I hadn’t bonded properly with the roomie in a way that was satisfactory. I later joined the girl scouts, and things got really fishy for me because I was learning things in the Girl Scouts of America handbook that school wasn’t exposing me to at all. For one, learning about black people and brown people was a moot point at the private school I attended because all they had were lighter skinned rich folks, including several Puerto Rican children from the same family taht delivered my baby brother, my oldest younger sibling that is. I think he did a fine job, otherwise my brother wouldn’t be here, but Dad said that the doctor responsible for delivering his firstborn son was sending his kids to school with me, and I thought it was strange but didn’t think about race and stuff. The brother of the classmate whose father delivered my brother into the world was a science nerd, a big whiz with weird inventions etc. However, that had nothing to do with being Puerto Rican, not at all. I think the doctor provided a steady mentorship for his own son, daughter, and other kids. I’d like to say that no matter who does what, though, race was not taken into account.

While Cubans and Puerto Ricans populated my private school classes, there was something notably missing. African Americans were noticeably out of the school’s student and teacher rolls. There were several reasons for this: money and perhaps the black potential students weren’t attending Catholic church. This didn’t give me any opportunity to learn about Black and African American cultures, so I relied on books and magazines, but that wasn’t enough. I personally wish there had been a better avenue to a gateway to black culture for me. That gateway came when I was in eighth grade, however, or maybe seventh or sixth, but it was the annual Zora Neale Hurston festival, which takes place in Eatonville, barring any weirdness with viruses and such. Thet Hurston festival opened my eyes to something very special, and the first things I was introduced to were black arts, no not the wickedly evil stuff. I’m talking about the African American heritage of many people who were forcibly brought here as slaves, and believe you me, they developed some amazing resilience despite the great suffering the people bore. The same could be said of the Jewish and Muslim peoples, but let’s focus on the african Americans for this story. I realized that the story, craftsmanship, and culinary delights I was being exposed to was not all of the culture together, but it was surely what some whites might refer to as a gateway drug. I ended up reading Hurston’s literature, and thought, well, black or white, we all experience love. I ended up reading books about interracial dating and marriage, and discovered that even after Loving V. Virginia had been decided, America was still hanging on the threads of segregation. I saw it firsthand, and it was mostly my dad, who grew up in a Bostonian Italian family, completely white, no knowledge of privilege and other things. He even went so far as to declare that I had all my civil rights, which was bullshit, on a bike ride we did one evening. My father is learning, as are countless other Italians, English peoples, and so many others, that white privilege doesn’t mean go out and kill your neighbor who’s black. My dad has come to realize that even though he put a stop to me being with a couple black friends, I think he’s coming around slowly but surely because Trenton does get hellos, even though they seem empty to me. The thing to remember about my overcoming prejudice is that I never thought that someone could just grab a weapon and kill someone they didn’t like, whether it was Cassie Bernall in Columbine, or the Mexicans in El Passo. I personally don’t care, I wouldn’t kill a soul, wouldn’t hurt a fly. Not unless that fly bit me in the ass, and then I’d have to either kill it or maim it because bugs are bad, right?

When I went to high school, I met many a black person, white, Hispanic, etc. No more hanging out with the select private school group, and in the cafeteria, I could try and make friends with the jocks, I didn’t care who it was. I had my band friends, of course, and I had my chorus friends. But there was still something nagging at me. I wondered why de facto segregation still existed. I observed at THS, on no uncertain terms or conditions, that the black students always hung out together. This included a subgroup of the black jocks, the Nazarene folks, and countless others, but I felt out of place and there was no diverse hanging out at THS. I hate and still hate to this day the fact that THS just doesn’t have enough diverse hanging out. If I were the principal, I would have instituted rules to encourage classes in social sciences and any other life skills selection that allow students to talk to one another blindfolded, and I’d have to break down the racial barriers that plague the school, but it’s a statewide problem. Racism is structural, built in to the system sadly. I could do nothing for the students, even though I spent one lunch with Orien, and we shared a bag of funions, oh well. However, Orien and I have since matured and he got a slick job as a flight attendant. He’s also survived cancer, and his family supports his every decision. I’m glad Orien has gotten through life itself, and Ii’ve seen my parents realize that I now love my current, and I didn’t care if Trenton or his family had been black or white or polka dotted or purple or orange. Color means nothing to me now that I see whawt humanity needs to do.

With the recent killings of black men, as recent and as old as 2010 that I’ve observed, I’d like to offer a proposal as to waht to do with all the police officers involved in shootings with minorities, how to prevent such shootings, and what we can do to better humanity all around.

  1. First, we need to think about the gifts of color and vibrance. How do we use them? I read the Giver more than my share of times, and in the book, spoiler alert, Jonas learns about colors, and learns why his community can’t or won’t see them. In the communities, the sameness applies to everything: clothing, skin tones, hair and face complexion. Jonas has a different appearance but nobody talks about it because it is deemed rude. However, the community does have its flaws. The more important part though on my mind is the use of colors and how we can better ourselves, and how it is dangerous to have sight and see the colors with our eyes. Yes, a rainbow is pretty to look at, but the darker colors are always seen as undesirable, and the eye is taught to see the darker color as “black”, the brain then registers the color as “bad” or negative in some way. There’s also a lot of prejudice because people have the ability to see colors. I can say, if I were a sighted person who could see the color blonde for instance, “I don’t want to associate with blonde haired girls.” What does that statement show? Now I do have smart blonde friends, dumb blonde friends, but do I care? No, but I could care less what blonde hair looks like. Blonde doesn’t mean dumb or smart either, it just has this golden hue in your hair. However, it took me a while to set aside my blonde jokes, and I now ask if it’s okay to even speak them because it brings attention to blondes. Black haired people get the same attention in some other cultures, but color of skin and curl of hair should never be considered in hiring of jobs either. Hijabs, either the ones worn by Muslims or other such cultures, should also never be a kicker when hiring people. If we see that a person in a profile pic is black, however, I think it really needs to be duly noted that it doesn’t mean you should be afraid of them. One way we could stop police brutality against darker skinned blacks might have to involve taking away the colors, going to Sameness like in the Giver, and I wrote about this in a post to a friend whose sister died in such a confrontation. Sadly, the person who died was disabled and multiracial, which really doesn’t help the other side. There are good cops, but that’s hard to find in terms of black people trusting them. I would rather see a community that trusts based on the content of character and not color. Educational curricula should be changed to reflect the pros and cons of taking and using colors. Should we be able to bother learning about and perceiving color? Sure, to a degree. However, I don’t want any child of mine to look at a pale skinned woman and think, why does that lady look like she just came out of the freezer? The other thing I don’t want is that same child looking at someone darker than them and saying, did they put dirt on themselves? I would calmly explain that skin has different hues, and that if your face isn’t dark, it is disrespectful to copy a darker person’s look. For example, when you play Harriet Tubman in a play, it’s fine to wear the shift tunic that slaves wore, give the audience some sort of authenticity. However, black children should be recruited in that effort, not a white child, because it would allow a black family to see their roots in that child’s authentic portrayal of such a wonderful hero. Education and schools must integrate, and for kindergartners, I want to see kids learning songs in different languages like Swahili, Somali, Masai, and other african tribal dialects, and not just English. There’s a very simple Swahili song called Jambo Bwana, which literally means, “welcome”, and my choir director taught this to her students. The youths sang it well, and I must admit it was fun hearing it sung. Jambo was done to the accompaniment of drums. The djembe drum is very important and still plays a very important role in many African tribal ceremonies and dances, and all kids, from two on up, should learn to drum and dance like fools if they so desire. When I say dance like a fool, I mean just go with it. Feel the rhythm, dance like you never danced before. Trenton plays the djembe drum, and I can’t wait to get to my drum so that Trenton and I can one day play in the park. We’d drum all day if we could, but this excitement about drums did not start in music classes till fourth grade. I did learn about Australia, Beethoven, and many other things in Christy Scheiner’s elementary music classes, and I’m glad to say she taught me to be the best pianist I could be … and that was besides my regular piano teacher, who was really excited about me playing Beethoven, and Mrs. Scheiner chose me to play the Beethoven pieces because I exhibited good skill at the piano. I had always wanted that, and I got that. There was a fourth grade program we did that incorporated the life of said composer, and the third grade that year did a story about the Capeti Plane, and it was about an African rainmaking thing of some sort. They learned a simple African folk piece that accompanied the story, and Mrs. Scheiner narrated the rest, which was fun, and it involved a lot of percussive instruments, this befitting an elementary music school class. Why am I talking about this? We’re losing all this to testing demands, and if we talk about it, it might come back. I want to archive my memory of such things in this blog so that people can understand what culture education does. In high school, Professor Husted, the Spanish instructor I was assigned, taught us not only language, but culture. Yes, he threw in a few expletive words, but taught us about Spanish speakers and how they normally use expletives, not so much the words themselves. He also taught us about how to love in Latine cultures, which believe it or not, whawt we say as “I love you” really means, if translated more direct in Spanish, it means, “I want you.” Love is serious in Latine cultures, as I learned later. Te amor is one way to say I love you, but then there’s more precise words for like, love, and want in the romantic sense. All this I wouldn’t have learned if it weren’t for Spanish class, even though I received a B. Spanish has too many verbs, but I’m glad I took the time and effort to learn a bit of that language. I confess my Spanish sucks, and I have since lost some. However, thanks to a Cuban friend of mine, I now understand a bit of reggae tan, what it talks about. Again, a culture lesson was learned. This helped me overcome a lot. Now I could tell my Puerto Rican friends that “Okay, I know you love this kind of music, but it sounds a bit cheap. Let’s try some more formal Spanish ballads if you want a good party.” I’d especially be able to help someone plan a quinceniera for a daughter if I knew anyone currently having one. This is cultural integration our children are not getting. Okay, on to the next item.
  2. Cops are using militarized weaponry. What if we encouraged law enforcement to put down your arms and pick up books and stun batons only? Yes, if a really out of control criminal drives you bonkers, you can stun him with a taser, and I wouldn’t recommend Aunt Lydia’s little electric cattle prod. Those things are dangerous, but tasers or just light stun guns would be okay but not to be used in certain circumstances. If a cop walks into a classroom with black children, he is to calmly escort the recalcitrant person out of the room without handcuffing them as well. Perhaps for a six-year-old, cops should never be used, however I must say that middle schoolers do have raging hormones. There are ways to neutralize kids without violence, however. Instead of cops, why not hire only one school officer to protect the campus from outside weirdos like the guy who shot up Parkland that one year? However, we need more counselors and evaluations so that kids can get help, not be punished for being dark skinned. Let’s incorporate Brian Crosby’s idea of eliminating the Malcoms in the Middle thing. No more middle schools, so we would have the seventh and eighth graders doing things with kindergarten children, and the kindergarten teacher watching over the older kids might encourage them to behave properly. Smaller schools might also be the key to fighting policing of kids’ behavior. For one, if you put too many people in a space, they’re gonna fight, go violent, and perhaps go bonkers on each other. Teenagers are highly sensitive individuals with hormones, brain cortex shrinks and expansions all the damn time, and changing bodies and their changing voices. I couldn’t recognize my seventh and eighth grade boy classmates when their voices changed. It made me nervous, and then my brothers’ voices dropped. Oh no. Teenagers need lots of space, and tracking educational routes might be needed in this case. For example, Trenton would have a huge aptitude for math, science, and computer information tech, so why not throw a guy his type into those classes? Tech classes would involve coding, computer basics to start with, but coding and language and programming and development of apps, something I never saw growing up. Trenton would have benefited from tracking, and staying in one room at a computer station while the teachers moved about the school grounds instead and no bells ringing. All this would then lead to my next proposal.
  3. What if we still have police brutality and officers still kill children, arrest little ones, and shoot black people? If we don’t go with the first two items, the third item I’m about to propose might not work as well, but at least the Minneapolis police force is four officers down, and they had been fired after killing the latest victim of the brutality pandemic in the United States. Don’t blame the Corona virus, it’s worse than that. My own partner is afraid of being shot by the cops, and it’s obvious in some of his demeanors and speech when I bring it up. Here’s another idea.
  4. If we train our children to respect different cultures, colors, hues, etc., and demilitarize the police, and then go as far as changing the structure of education, we might be able to do about 75% good on this promise. However, we also need to be mindful of laws and law school. Black lawyers are in short supply, and I want to see more of those people in law. When someone is brutalized by the police, the officers should indeed be fired and then charged with murder, prosecuted by an impartial jury of their peers, and sent to jail if found guilty, which should be the case anyway because the evidence is not something that would lie as easily.

The first item on my list might sound a bit darn radical, but let’s face it. We have a problem with ableism of all kinds for disabled people. We need to have disability studies courses available to children as young as sixth grade, and then maybe as young as kinder, put the children together with special needs/disabled kids in the same room. While developmentally disabled children need an extra boost in learning basics, there are many blind people who run the gamut of geniuses to the dumb as a fence post types. I have many friends who run the gamut of easy to explain things to to harder to teach things to, and I confess I’m nuts about some things and many others about blind people, but they are a microcosm of the sighted universe, and that’s a fact. There are radicals, apologists, and weirdos of every kind in every community. Oh well, I confess I am weird in some ways, but weirdness should be the law to me at least. The thing I hate about the community of blindness is the inability to work together. To stop police brutality, we all, disabled or nondisabled, black, brown, and white need to work together. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, where the hell you come from. We need to put privileges in check, work with people we don’t necessarily like or respect, and furthermore, we need to overcome the prejudices. We need to separate the words “liar and cheater” from the word Italian, for example, and other such associations with black people. Try this exercise as I close this entry.

There was a list of ethnic groups in social work class, and our task was to associate words with those groups, and it didn’t stop there. We talked about disabled, religion groups, and other such subgroups of human beings. So think about every manner of human being and classify some things in your head that come first when you think of words like black, Africans, Asians, white, Italian, Irish, etc. What word comes up in your head at first? It might be a sign of bias, and if you are struggling to overcome such bias, that’s okay. You have a lifetime to do something about it, so why not research the groups you’re concerned about: Somalis, Native First Nations/Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and other things you could associate with words depicting bias. Thank you all for reading this post, and I hope to start a good discussion, albeit a good one, in the Facebook or Twitter threads.

One final note: I can’t forget to mention that disabled people come in all shapes and colors, but if only one word comes up for disabled people in your association evaluation exercise, you might want to spend time with disabled people. Same applies with black, gay, and other minority groups. Get involved with GALA choruses, pride orgs, and disability related volunteer or paid work.

Thanks again, and have a great rest of the time I haven’t written much. I might write some more depending on the news.

Beth