Monday, December 27, 2010

Google News

Today was the first time I visited Google News. I've never before checked it out, as I thought it was just a typical current news, which I get on other sites. I followed a link about the white-washing Yazoo City's Citizens Council scandal. What I found sucked me in for hours now. It's an amazing archives of mass number of smaller newspapers, some scans are older than 100 years. There are many missing, but it is still awesome. I've read pieces from "The African American" published in the weeks following the bus boycott in the South, offering first-eye witness reality. After checking a few different dates, I moved to others. "Baltimore African  American" caught my attention. I was wondering what it would have soon after the assassination of MLK. The articles were great. You could feel the raw emotions, tears and rage. There is no history book that could present it better.

I saved a few articles that especially caught my attention, that I will try and use in some of my classes.

It was also interesting to browse the sides of these newspapers. Advertisements, notices or various slogans. What is interesting, but sadly not very surprising, most of the advertisement that feature humans are of white persons. There was a number of ads for straightening hair and cosmetics, also featuring white women. I guess it was not worth it to appeal to the target group, as they would take it anyway... 

Monday, December 20, 2010

bloody racists

I have read the article about Mississippi's governor whitewashing history and spreading gospel about racist Citizens Council. You would think they were holding hands with poor black kids when taking them to finally desegregated schools for which they fought so bravely! Is he in such a denial, or simply feels it is not politically beneficial to be openly supportive of a hateful, racist organization? It was mentioned that he remembered participating in an event where Dr. Martin Luther King spoke... among other white and black folks. Suddenly it's all "take back King" for whites, started with Glenn Beck. It's such a perverted, twisted way of racist game, that it's hard to even comment on it. What is going on? Do the Americans really know nothing about their own history? With the accepted changes to history textbooks from Texas board of education, I am not surprised... celebrating the Secession, whitewashing the times of Jim Crow laws, glamorizing the slave oppression times.

I just can't wrap my mind around it. I don't get it. I am able to understand a lot, I know where it comes from... but I am extremely rational, all logic. I can't understand how others can't understand what I know to be obvious and simple truth. Like that humans are all same, and race is a cultural concept. Or that we have a truly awesome history of evolution. That our, Western, culture is just one among others and the only thing we got better at was to oppress and kill off other tradition deemed "primitive". I see ads or tv shows and can't just watch without seeing sexist, racist or fat phobic elements. How can it be that it is not as obvious to others?

I guess the data stating that almost half of the American believe in Creationism explains a lot. It's a sad, sad place sometimes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

living with anxiety

I have a serious anxiety disorder. And even if I meet with a therapist every week, and take various medications, I still struggle. It really doesn't help I am also introvert, shy, have low self-esteem and some light social phobias. I function best left to myself. I love being able to live on my own, with no roommates. My home is my haven, my asylum from the constant attack of people. I work at school, so I have to cope with noise, kids, interruption, misbehavior, occasional strangers, public announcements and similar stressors. I am able to do it, and most people are surprised when they find out I am nervous in interaction with people. I am able to put on a good act, I am doing whatever I have to do... but the price is high. I need time to reload. Hours of solitude, doing nothing or doing something - as long as I can be by myself. Whenever there is a particularly difficult day, I am physically drained, exhausted and unable to do anything productive.
It is also not easy during the waiting time for something big... I can't stop the constant attack of thoughts, images, scenarios of the upcoming event. No matter what I am trying to do, I worry constantly.
Even when the event is quite harmless... like a friend staying over. It's an invasion of my safe haven. She was supposed to come yesterday evening after a party she wanted to attend. The whole Friday and Saturday I was nervous. Cleaning, moving things, all the time nervously going through scenarios and automatically assuming the need to explain myself for various things. Suddenly the one thing that is the symbol of safety and calmness - my home, became the source of stress and attack on my low self-esteem. I felt defensive, I was expecting ridicule and harsh judgement about my decor choices, mess, or unfinished projects. Especially that this friend has sometimes a tendency to "fix" things. Small things... without asking taking off stickers from second-hand books. Cleaning candle holder from artistically and beautifully melted wax (I stopped her in time), putting things away where she thinks they should be... and generally feeling too at home in my own place. I feel attacked, and really uncomfortable.

In the end she didn't come, didn't feel well enough to go to the party. I can't even describe the relief... I am glad I put away some stuff and straightened up the apt a bit, as it's been waiting for it for a long time. But it also made me realize how stressed I was.

And I thought I would be able to get off the meds soon. I realized that some year ago I felt every day the way I felt over the two days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

making friends

I am an Innie. It's not easy to make friends for people like me. I am anxious in social situations, it takes me ages to get to used to someone's presence, not to even mention some kind of intimate relationship. In addition to being an Innie, I also have some social phobias and anxiety which really don't help. The only way I feel comfortable getting to know someone is kind of by accident. As a side effect or unexpected consequence. Like when in school and realizing after couple months that there is one or two people I really enjoy, and somehow we are friends without thinking about it. Setting me up terrifies me, no matter how good someone's intentions. Social gatherings exhaust me and hardly ever lead to anything significant (unless repeated multiple times in a natural way).

So now, I think I am getting a friend. Slowly. There is this guy who is an intern, who was present in some of my classes... I kept forgetting his name which was embarrassing (twice I didn't introduce him by name to my class b/c I forgot it) and I still don't remember his family name. Our first conversations were awkward and stressful (to me), it was more about what I thought I should have been saying, than any natural creation. But slowly we started to joke here and there, we realized we have some similar hobbies. We started to comment on FB, and somehow a thought came to me: "I think it would be nice to hang out with him, even outside of work".

I like it that way. Slowly, naturally, no pushing, no expectations. If we don't like each other enough to be friends, we simply remain in our work-roles. All this process (that took over two months I think), reminded me how typically difficult my social relations are. I guess I should be glad I am an Innie, it must be a hell for anxious Extrovert with social phobias...

A while ago I was teaching my kids on the meaning of our sages' saying "find yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend". And I guess I was right, we are "acquiring" friends, not just "finding" them. It's a hard work, full of tension, possible pitfalls and risks. Once in a while worth engaging in.

market-driven society

I admit that I can't understand the position that wants to leave everything to the self-regulatory nature of free market. I am pretty good at understanding various points of view, I like speculating on possible reasons and origins of someone's behavior, political views or oppressive tendencies.
And I can't get how anyone can think free market can regulate everything. Including education, racism, health care, culture, equality, workers' rights and so on. How can you privatize charity and support for the weakest in your society? How can you leave it to the market? Market is driven by greed, not compassion, long-term thinking or tolerance. It is about the profit, the higher the better. It's about stepping over others' backs, it's about selfishness and egocentrism. There is no need for reaching out to the weaker, the underprivileged, victimized by racism, inequality and judiciary abuse.
I remember one person telling me that the government has no place in charity, that this should be left to individuals. That when a person gives or receives charity that way the interpersonal relationships strengthen, character gets stronger and so on. But what about the ones who have no family? Who are asocial and burned bridges with their former friends or neighbors? Who came back scarred and traumatized from wars, unable to keep steady work and fit back in the society? Should we just let them die? Punish them for being born in a wrong neighborhood?
When we leave everything to the market humans become just another numbers in accountant's documents. Market doesn't care about investing in souls, spending on dignity or merging social gaps.

Are these people in denial? Do they really believe that in the quest for ever-raising profits people would remember to take care of the old, sick and weak? Or do they just dream to be part of the top 1% and are willing to step on own compassion for the sake of this dream? I can't understand what is wrong with the idea that spreading wealth helps fight inequality and builds stronger societies.

And I could get the rich supporting these policies, but they are the top 1%, even with all the money they wouldn't be able to achieve so much. They have poor masses supporting them. For what? For a dream of becoming one day another abusive rich pig?


The show, not my own skeleton's.
I fell in love. I started with the books, which are really great mystery. Packed with scientific facts which nourish my nerdy soul, witty humor and very strong, independent heroine. I am reading another one right now, as a matter of fact.
I had no idea it could get better than the books. Not in the detail department or build up of mystery - you can't do it in one episode per crime show. But the character? If it is indeed based on the books' author, Kathy Reichs, I so wanna be her friend. Or bone her (yep, cheap pun) ;-) It's so rare to have such strong, independent female lead role. Who is not only extremely educated, smart and logical, but also atheist, doesn't want children, doesn't watch tv, has questionable social skills (even worse than I), approaches the society with anthropological honesty and fascination. She is passionate, focused, and also beautiful without trying. She thinks plastic surgery is barbarism, admires the way we evolved, treats all religions on the same level (of interesting myths), has no problem with pointing it out to a Catholic partner (who makes fun of voodoo) and so on. I love how she is all in her head, because in a way I feel validated. I am not as smart, and I am not a scientist... But I am all head, thinking constantly and missing a lot of social clues and skills.
In addition to her perfect self, the team is also great. There is a bit of stereotypical nerds with no social skills, but then, it's quite normal to have geniuses who are quite literal, lack social skills or are so much in their heads, they don't get social clues.

So yeah, I am addicted :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dining room inspiration

I feel my dining room is the least "done" from my room. It was the first to reach somewhat of a readiness to be used, but since then it fell behind the others which were revamped and painted. It's kind of blah, boring and dark (it's a North side). I am browsing flickr to check if some inspiration comes... and found almost nothing. So got into some of my decor blogs, having more luck. Here are some finds:

I love this round table. I think in my smallish room it would fit much nicer than the big rectangular I have now. I don't entertain often enough to have such a big table. And I already wonder if I could do it DIY!

from desire to inspire

This one has also a very nice, cozy set:

I like how nice, clean and simple this one is, but I am guessing my chairs wouldn't fit and the room is too dark for such a light composition... 

This table is gorgeous. and heavy enough to accommodate my heavier-looking chairs.
This would also fit nicely. Good shape, not too big.

This blue table is stunning... It would be perfect.
The Upward Bound House by Elizabeth Bomberger eclectic dining room

It's pretty obvious to me that I can't really afford buying new, nice table. So I started to look around for DIY ideas as well... I think I will get a table top somewhere (I saw one on eBay) and make legs from pipes. I wanted to do something industrial for a while anyway. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

growing economic inequality

I've just read a very good article and it got me thinking.

As others, I am mighty worried about the turn of elections. I also can't understand it. I can't get why it is seen as a positive boost to the country's economy when the top percentile gets to be richer and the rest struggle to pay bills. The taxes go lower and lower, and tax cuts for the richest just cause them to stuff their wallets and happily fire workers when used up. The workers salaries hardly changed over the past decades, being below the levels from the '60s. At the same time the salaries of the richest multiplied.
To be honest, I had no idea that the top 1% is when the medium salary is above $368,000 (according to this presentation from Slate). I really thought that to be in the top one percent you have to earn above million $ or something like that... well, that's what the top 0.1% is. I really thought that if you are a successful "small" businessman, lawyer with a partner who's a successful doctor and so on, it will place you in "high middle class", somewhere around top 30% or so... not top 1%.
The huge disparity between the rich and poor is scary. I can't understand how people vote by millions for the rich to get richer instead of helping fellow human to get up on his/her feet and be successful.
Our economy is not stimulated by building one more mansion or one more huge yacht. It's moving thanks to millions who are able to afford going to the movies, restaurants, or for a week of vacation. Who can afford buying grocery, regular clothes and ordinary cars. Who are able to buy new appliances, carpets and books. That's what moves the economy ahead, not the top 0.1% investing in their own riches, not caring at all what is going on with their workers.

I am lucky, I have a job. At least till June. I work like a horse, much more than I should, because these are hard times... As a teacher in a private school I shouldn't be expected to teach 6 classes a day, with no increased salary. But I am still glad I do have a job, where I am respected, appreciated and where I actually like what I am doing. I am by myself, I don't need to worry about my kids, unemployed spouse and bills. I do support my Mom, but as for now I am managing it. And it is truly disturbing that with my teacher salary I am probably somewhere in the top 40%. It really shouldn't be the case.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hello, My Name Is Autsajder, And I'm an Innie.

"Innie" as in "Introvert". I've known that for years, but am reminded of the fact over and over. Last weekend I went for a retreat for my Educators Program alumni. It was really great to meet old friends and teachers. It was also really draining to mingle with so many strangers and semi-strangers. I haven't had the time to relax, chill out by myself, think and do nothing. Every meal with people, enforced conversations, chatting, ice-breakers and sharing. The whole week was really difficult not being able to refresh and recharge my batteries. Facing parent-teacher conference and Open House was triple whammy. Finally this weekend I can indulge in long sleep (almost 11h!), reading, lazy coffee drinking, thinking... Just my way to deal with the overstimulating outside.

I have found an amazing book by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D, The Introvert Advantage. How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. I am half in, and I already learned a lot about myself. A lot of my behaviors and reactions I didn't even connect with being an introvert, I thought they existed independently. I am also shy and have anxiety issues, which seems to be more common among us, the Innies.

It is difficult not to feel guilty for refusing to go somewhere. I feel bad when someone invites me for a Shabbat meal and I would prefer to just stay home and read a book. Extroverts don't understand us, and we often don't understand ourselves, forcing unnatural behavior in order to "fit".

I embrace my "Innie" self and understand much more why I need my lone safe space to recharge and face the world. This is why I was sure from the very beginning that I was not looking for roommates anymore, Years of that was enough. Now my apartment, where I can relax, put on sweats and take off my bra, is my haven and safety cocoon. I put a lot of energy to make it beautiful, cozy and "mine". I love my privacy and understand that it doesn't mean I am cold or unfriendly.

It takes time to get to know oneself, and especially to not feel guilty about who we are.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Andrea Gibson, the prophetess.

I have no idea how it is even possible that I have never heard about her before. I found a link to her performance in one of the new blogs I added recently to my reader... something intrigued me in the description. An hour later, with heart pounding and eyes tearing, I am in love. I haven't heard such power, emotion and passion expressed so beautifully and powerfully. I think ever.  This is beyond words, I am overwhelmed. And I will find a way to include her poems in my teaching. If her words don't touch someone's heart, I am not sure there ever was one.

I tried to choose one video to post here.. but I am unable. I found her website, facebook, I downloaded some free mp3 from it. I feel hungry for her.

It's quite interesting that in my studies of prophets and prophetic writing, one of the common characteristic is extreme sensitivity to the world's injustice. A prophet was someone who lacked the ability to get used to seeing oppressed, greedy officials and poor widows. Someone who was not afraid to speak his/her mind, even if it was dangerous. A hero fighting with words, passion and tears. Fighting against hope, not giving up, mad with passion for justice.
Andrea Gibson fits this description perfectly.

oh, and she's fraking beautiful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I don't know how the poor people do it.

I live pretty thrifty and generally don't have any problem with not being able to afford much. I am saving, I don't eat out, I wear eBay and goodwill finds. I go for a couple months staying away from any temptations (like eBay), not feeling deprived or anything of that kind. Recently, thanks to a forgotten return, I suddenly had a comfortable cushion of a few hundred dollars on my account. Normally I live juggling between savings and checking accounts, visiting my bank site pretty often, scared of an overdraft. Most of the months I am ending just above zero or have to get something from savings to safe myself from overdraft penalty.
Suddenly I could do shopping without trying to remember how much exactly I had left, I knew that buying a $30 of grocery wouldn't be a risk. I couldn't help it and went on eBay, bought a few clothing items, shoes, posters for classroom and home, some tchatchkes for home and considered much more with the wonderful thought that I could afford them if I only wanted them. It was nice to go to Marshall's and buy $13 shower curtain because it was pretty, without constant thinking that maybe I shouldn't, that it's too expensive. It felt so... normal. I actually thought "so that's what wealthier people shop like". I still felt guilt, I still felt I should rather put it all away into savings... but it felt so good... Now I will have to again tie up the belt as usual, watch the account, be careful and think twice over each item... but it was kind of therapeutic.

And I just wonder how poor people do it. I had a "vacation" from the thrifty routine (even if still thrifty, as I don't buy in regular stores), a fresh breath before jumping back under water. And I don't have to choose between better food or new jacket for a kid. I have nice clothes (even if second-handed), I can afford medicine, therapy and visits to specialists. I have a health care, good job, computer and tv set. I have a nice, spacious apartment with all needed furniture and appliances. I don't have a car, but it's fine, I walk a lot and use a bus.

I don't need much, I don't obsess or run around full of envy. I have wishes and dreams (travels!), but am not bitter for not being able to fulfill them now. But I just wish I could relax when buying simple things, everyday necessities, second-hand clothes or old decorative stuff. The chronic stress is very tiring. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

trivializing the symbols of hatred

In preparation for a class I wanted to find a photo of crowds cheering for Hitler. I teach Holocaust, and at the moment we learn about Hitler rise to power. I googled: "crowds welcoming Hitler". Every other photo was with President Obama. What the fuck, people?! This is offensive on so many levels... I am not even talking about the obvious ignorance of people posting it, but the lack of any understanding, any comprehension of what it actually means to compare anyone to Hitler... this is simply beyond me. It's not only offensive to Obama, as it would be to any normal person, but it is to the 11 mln victims of sick, perverted racist hatred spilled by Hitler all over Europe. It might be that I am extra sensitive, being Jewish and from Poland. There, Hitler is still subject of jokes (as himself), but is never used as a serious attack on anyone, I can't remember anyone ever being likened to him as a way to criticize or express one's dislike of opponent's policies.

The word "Nazi" is never used in a silly way, but the word is still heavy and smells of blood, even a few generations later. I cringe every time I see "grammar Nazi" and similar creations. Or see icon with Hitler and his troops for "admin/moderator". Most Nazis were walking, breathing killing machines, throwing infants out of windows, cutting women's bellies open, burning people alive or shooting dead innocent crowds humiliating and robbing them first. All of them preached extermination, death, supremacy of one kind of a human over another. These words should be remembered for what they stand for, with their real meaning.

The same goes for "Holocaust". This name is reserved for a particular even in History. There is no "animal holocaust" nor "zombie holocaust". There even is no "Armenian Holocaust", but Armenian Genocide. There are "massacres", "mass killings", "destruction", "annihilation" and other terms that could be used, depending on a context.

I have nothing against using Hitler in historical or political comparisons. Using facts, real numbers and events. Real words, speeches and policies. Studied them first in depth and not based on half-truths, stereotypes and myths. Hitler is not a symbol one can stretch to one hateful heart's desire. He was a real person, living in real historical context.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Food for atheist thought

I wish I had that strength and that much of confidence as he has. His words are powerful, his intelligence and thought really inspiring.
I do like my tradition, civilization, culture... but if I had to choose between a world which would be devoid of any religion, and so having no culture with religious origin and enjoying my heritage with complex and great traditions, I am choosing the first option any time. There are great benefits, especially in arts and elements of culture and philosophy... but the negative outcomes overweight the good things.

I've always been interested in the idea of religion, various ways of building up the belief system, rituals, philosophy, complicated esoteric systems. But it is absolutely disgusting what humans are ready to do in the name of it.

I have just read this post and because it does relate that what I mentioned here, although with a particular focus, I post the link to it.
I agree that Jews and Christians who don't take at least partial guilt for the horrible epidemic of gay suicides, live in denial. How dare their preach that gays are beast and sinners, and then go on and say they have nothing to do with it? Judeo-Christianity is the base of this society. And the extreme gay hating that's done by evangelicals and other fundamentalist, as well as many moderates, is the smoking gun.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

another day in subversive teaching: privilege freedom to/from learning

I've talked already a few times with my kids about privilege. How they understand it, what it means to have it etc. The terms was basically foreign to them, other than having it easier when you are older sibling, or being rewarded in some way.

It was really hard to get through, and I really wonder what they thought after. They were surprised with some examples, and I tried to give them mostly in general or about me, not them. They finally came up with their own - that they are privileged to have a chance to learn in a small community school or to live in a comfortable house. We were getting somewhere. But race, size, gender or sexuality were much more difficult. I guess we got used more to talk about money?

I must say I didn't cross the line to use me us underprivileged in terms sexuality... I still have troubles with them. I used "a gay person" as an example. One day I will be completely open. I think it's not about being... ashamed or anything of that kind, but it's just private!

Some other time, with different students we talked about what is freedom and slavery. Their responses were very thoughtful. But, not surprisingly as there is very little said about it, they didn't know there is still slavery in the US. One kid mentioned sexual exploitation and child trafficking. Soon we will have a research project on modern slavery, they will learn more about the situation in today's world, and the ways to help.

There is one thing that is my serious pet peeve. It's the kids who are oh, such victims, because they are forced to go to school and they are "not even paid". As we say in Polish, blood washes all over me when I hear such snotty, spoiled, privileged talk. I told them of course they are paid pretty well with their clothing, roof, food etc. but then they said that their parents have the obligation... yeah, but not to buy iPods, dozens pairs of shoes, iPhones, gadgets, movies, computers.... these kids don't have any idea. When I said that the obligation was set to protect children's rights, they were all in "pfffft" mode. And the argument about small children in factories was almost ridiculed. I was really close to losing it... I just have to remind myself that these kind of attitudes do not change overnight. I just hope she wakes up

just breath... in... and out... day by day.

birthers are toxic.

I was quite not ready for the answer I received from one of my students when I asked why President Obama could be considered an "outsider" (I was comparing him to the Biblical Moses): "he is not one of us". When I asked to define "us", he said: "Americans", when I started to contradict that that's bullshit and he is an American and that it is all a lie, he started to get all confused talking about "I've read somewhere..." and so on. Of course what I meant was that he spent some years in Indonesia and had untypical upbringing, bridging different ethnicities and race lines, being able to have bot an insider, and an outsider point of view. (Other problem being that the kids knew hardly anything and I, the non-citizen, had to tell them the details. but somehow the "born not in the US" sticks.)
I guess after his yesterday's "joke" gesture making squinted eyes when we talked about ancient Asiatics, should have prepared me for today's bomb. Or his homophobic comments some weeks ago how all gays are disgusting because they shave legs, but lesbians are ok (I added "because they are hot"?).

I had a talk with him after the homophobic talk on sensitivity and homophobia and that I, as a lesbian, felt extremely uncomfortable with his comments. He took it in pretty well.
I also very strongly reacted to his "squinting" gesture, telling him that I wold not accept this kind of racist jokes. He was surprised that it was racist.

Today I also tried to push some point across, about not trusting all he reads/hears, to be critical, to not listen in to idiots. But I have no idea how well it would work.

The good thing? He's a 9th grader, and he's in a very good school with strong emphasis on social justice, human dignity and respect. He may still grow up to be a decent human being.

Another student of mine told me she wants to join "Purple Day" in remembrance of the gay youth suicide with our school. i haven't heard about it before... I told her how to organize it, where to begin and whom to contact.

So yeah, there are the terrifying examples of hurtful ignorance, but also very hopeful, sensitive and open minded youth. I hope the latter will grow.

Sanity! In government! About health and body size!

I know, crazy, right? I am glad I was linked to this short video.

Finally! Emphasis on health instead of size is the right way to go. I hope the "positive conversation" will begin soon. We need to finish with the obsession with obesity which leads to crazy fed diets, unhealthy risky food choices, pointing fingers and judging big people, stereotyping them as lazy with no will power or bring it all on themselves for some clandestine cheeseburger sessions.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blackface? Again?

I can't believe how many times recently I stumbled upon a photo of a model in a blackface. What is going on? Do people seriously think it's ok? This one has the same model having two version of herself.

Well, to me it looks like White is fighting with Black. If it was supposed to be sexual ecstasy, then it didn't work well. 

I am not sure it was a good idea to google "blackface model". Calling the findings "disturbing" is quite an understatement. 
This one is not only racially offensive in making the model look like minstrel-era porcelain figurine, but also seems to be selling this girl out. 
I guess the point wasn't to look like a Black woman. Because she doesn't. She looks dirty. Unless for the photo makers Black=dirty.
It's obviously not just for women.

And these feathers are supposed to be... tribal? I guess that's what was on the mind of producers of the following photos, not only adding blackface but also "African" or "natural" scenery and clothes:

If they could they would stuffed bones through her nostrils. I am sure that would complete the picture.

And what the hell is this one about? I don't even try to phantom the photographer's/stylist's thoughts 

The fashion industry is extremely white. Women of color are hardly to be seen anywhere, in ads, on catwalks or billboards. Instead of making a use of the incredible variety of human species, in all the shapes and form of its beauty, we take skinny white women and paint them dark? Forgetting everything about the recent history and still pervasive racist attitudes? Are these supposed to be liberating? sending a "colorblind" message or other bs? Just stop. Show people in their natural beauty. And stop offending and abusing PoC and non-white cultures.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I've realized that I miss using avatars. I have hundreds of them saved on my computer over the span of about seven years in blogging world. Some of them are nothing special, but some are pure gems. I wonder if I could combine blogger's form with the one I am used to from LJ. I guess it might not fit the decor... but I like these small pieces of art. And sometimes they are just the perfect commentary on whatever you are writing. Sometimes tell the world what movie you are obsessing with, without having to tell a word. I like the silly ones and the artsy ones. Sometimes I tend to use just a few over and over again, sometimes I want to have new or get back to old, forgotten. I once tried my skills at them... but I just didn't feel it. I am good at capturing what I see with my camera, not manipulating the image.

Friday, October 1, 2010

braiding the nooses

[image from: QZAP]
I might not agree 100% with each statement (or not fully), but something needs to be done. We can't keep on losing children that way! No one should go through such hell because of gender expression, sexual orientation, gender identification, personality traits or any other thing that makes us individual humans.

I just watched Ellen's message about the suicides. Well said, strong message. I hope more messages like that will reach main stream media.

Halloween is coming

And with it flood of tasteless, over sexualized and simply ugly costumes.
Halloween is not my tradition, so I am not excited about it and don't have any fond childhood memories. In Poland this day is celebrated by visiting family graves, contemplation, prayer and generally filled with very "memento mori" atmosphere.

I have noticed a few entries over various blogs bringing examples of costumes advertised for this season. All of the ones I've seen are offensive for one or another reason. I find them extremely sexist, reducing women to sex objects, often culturally insensitive.

I have decided to look by myself if the bloggers were cherry picking and exaggerating or if indeed it's that bad.
Well, it is bad.
First, the costumes for adult women as compared to adult men:

I found one or two examples were men were portrayed somewhat "sexy", mirroring their female counterparts:

The only images where women were not made up to look like Playboy fantasies occupants, was in a "hoop clown" costume.

Now to the culturally offensive... Looks like the "Indian Princess" and "Gypsy lady" win the competition. I was wondering what a male version would look like, thinking of some bare chest "warrior" disaster. I found even better: woman is the "Indian princess", man is a cowboy. I don't even have words...

What is also interesting, their "teen" section seem to differ only is slightly better breast coverage.

Now to the children costumes. The toddlers are still more or less sweet and cute, gender neutral. But when we enter the section for pre-teen and teens, the division is very clear. Boys' costumes are warriors, robots, fighters, action figures, super heroes/villains and generally strong characters with pants, often bulky clothing disguising the body's shape. Not so with girls' costumes. As far as I've seen all of them have skirts, mostly mini-skirts. The difference to adult costumes is, that the skirts are often fluffy and bulky instead of tightly skin-like. The characters are all over the place... witches, bees, butterflies, skeletons, ballerinas, dancers... I am guessing the girls could use the boys' costumes if they wanted, but it is pretty clear that most of them are made with gender in mind. Let's see some examples:

Differences between boys' and girls' costumes of the same theme:

I think I am glad I am not part of that all. It's a pity how early on the sexualization of little girls begin.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

some links

Mostly for my own benefit, so I won't lose'em.

A primer on privilege: What it is and what it isn't.

A chart showing the benefits of upholding the present tax cuts. Let's see who really benefits from them and how much exactly.

small talk

I went to the ob/gyn today. I haven't been in a really long time (more than eight years I think) so I was nervous and anxious. The character of the visit added to the feeling of discomfort.
I guess I can understand that the nurse wanted to make a small talk, maybe to relax me? But somehow I think she had no idea I was anxious and she was just nosy. I can understand some basic questions... But why when people hear that I am from Poland they feel free to dig for details about my private life? Do they really think it's their business to know where I was educated? And do they have to ask about my spiritual road to Judaism just like that, in the third minute of our acquaintance? And then often comes the sharing. About grandparents from Ukraine (close enough), visiting death camps or asking about Anti-Antisemitism in Poland.
I think the fact that I am not an American gives a permission in people's mind to ask, as if checking if I really have the right to be in their presence. They ask about my legal status (on what kind of visa I am here), about the family (if they are still living in Poland and if they are living in Jewish tradition), about my education (again to check if I am really telling the truth of being a teacher in America), and sometimes about seriously private stuff (if I have a boyfriend, how old am I and so on).

Am I oversensitive? Is it that I am much more of an introvert than the majority of the people? But somehow I feel that the fact of me being from another country works as a catalyst in this case. It might be they simply want to connect with another person, but very soon it changes into interrogation with over sharing about dead family members.

I found it interesting as well that the doctor lated commented on me knowing English in a mock guilty way about Americans not knowing any foreign languages. Really? There is quite a strong minority that's bilingual. There will be more and more of children speaking perfect English and Spanish. There are others coming from all over the world speaking their native languages in addition to adopted English. Aren't they counted as "American"?


I love "before and after"s. Whatever their subject - revamped side table, magazine's style remake or comparison between celebrities' recent and childhood photos. There is something fascinating about them. Change happens all the time around us, but very rarely we are able to notice it clearly. We are part of it, and seeing it's second-by-second progress we can hardly even realize something is going on. It is only when we put together the "before and after" that we can see more clearly. Change in itself is an interesting idea, just the fact that it can, and constantly does, happen. I don't like big changes personally. I know they are necessary and sometimes surprise... but I do enjoy the comfort of routine and the known. If I have to choose between unknown new and known old, I often take the latter. Change is risky. Everyone has different levels of comfort in relation to changes. Each of us has a line, on which the natural vibrant unknown dances between excitement and anxiety.
It might be that because my work (teaching) brings constant surprise,  and my plans often need rearranging  and I am often forced to respond on the spot to unknown challenges, that I need a strong, calm and predictable private life. My home is my haven, my relaxing zone. Here I can hide and reload before I have to meet the world outside. I am so happy I didn't have to move this summer (for the first time in a number of years).

But I realize how much I change. With each therapy session, each article and book read, each good discussion with a student or a friend. I love seeing photos of my decorating process and how my boring, squarish rental became vibrant, colorful and "mine".
oh, I wish I could easier open to the changes and challenges that I face around me.

Someone put it in words so much better.

Not so long ago I've had a discussion over FB on Tea Party and their lack of racism (according to the official statement from the White House). I expressed my annoyance with the administration for being afraid to state the obvious. Tea Partiers are racist, and most of the right establishment and many of the left are racist. But especially the conservative whites who simply can't stand to have an African-American as their president. Obama's election cut open an abscess of decades of quiet racism, political correctness, covering up problems and pretending as if everything was ok and the society was generally "colorblind". The batshit crazy "stars" of Fox News and Tea Party are so obviously the result of deep running racist prejudices and total fear of loosing the white privilege.
Some people who voted for Obama think it makes them holy and omg so progressive, while others try to dehumanize Obama (the birther movement, as American=human in their minds, no other person worth can match their superior American soul) and pretend their attacks got to do with taxes or supposed attack on their rights. I guess the "rights" they are talking about have among them the right to be a privileged asshole unable to see the reality as it is. Instead of focusing on what this country needs at the moment, they simply can't accept that Obama could succeed, even if that success was necessary for the country's recovery. So they will do everything to make Obama's life miserable, and his efforts to get out from the crises blocked.

All these thoughts are result of reading a great article from The Village. Really good read.

Brutal awakening

Just got up and started reading news while drinking my morning coffee. Just on there are three different stories about kids or young adults victimized for being gay. There is no progress, nothing is finished and well till we reach the time when no one is bullied for being gay, lesbian, bi or trans. When no kid is forced to censor himself or herself in their gender expression, their choices of clothing, haircuts or music.
I hope the parents of the bullies feel guilty and ashamed instead of denying their children doing anything wrong.
I am glad that in the case of the college student (the one who killed himself after his roommate secretly recorded his intimate time with another man) are charged and face up to 5 years in jail. If people can't figure out that this kind of behavior is morally wrong, maybe at least the risk of serious penalty will keep them from hurting the other.

Here's Anderson's interview with parents of Asher, a boy who shot himself after almost two years of being bullied. According to the parents, the boy was made fun of for being smaller, not wearing fashionable clothes or not owning expensive gadgets, and also for being gay. The boy came out to his parents in the morning of the day he killed himself. The school denied knowing anything, even though there are other parents who also were alarmed by their children being bullied and informed the school about problems.

Material about the death of Rutgers student, who committed a suicide after his roommate recorded and posted on  the internet his sexual encounter with a man. These were adults. What level of moral lobotomy needs to be achieved in order to do such thing? How anyone could thing it was ever ok? How could anyone find it entertaining? It's beyond my ability to understand. And I think I am glad it is.

In this story thanks gods there is no death. But the fact that constant gay bashing and verbal attacks on someone's sexual orientation are called "freedom of speech" are as wrong. I am glad that the victim of this vicious attacks is a stronger and older individual, who was able to stand up to these attacks. But no-one's strength, skin thickness or sensitivity should be ever tried in such a way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another day in The Rich Paradise

It never ceases to amaze me how egocentric and short-sighted many of the rich are. How one arrives at that point? Is it years of uprooting own guilt or working on creating a perfect image of oneself in which one finally believes? Why is it never enough? Why is it so hard to see that the majority of people struggle every day to just get by? Do they really believe that these masses deserve it? That somehow they got what they were asking for? That they are lazy and/or stupid? Is it really so difficult to take some responsibility for the well being of a fellow human? Is it really such an offense to ensure everyone has an access to health care? That workers are paid respectable wages which let them support themselves and their families? While the salaries and general wealth of the top few percents of the society in the past two decades grew between 87% - 256%, it rose only around 10% - 20% for the 3/5 of the society. At the same time the costs of colleges rose over 100%. Inflation-adjusted minimum wage dropped 25%. In 1980 CEOs in big corporations were getting on average about 100 times that of minimum wage worker. Today? It's 1,100 times as much as minimum wage workers. 
To me that is obscene. And they still obstruct any changes to minimum wages, lobby against tax cut expiration, and fight with teeth and nails against any tax changes for them. 

An article in The Washington Post on the drastic and scary raise in poverty among African American and other minority children in DC and surroundings. 

Confuse and destroy! Laws proposed in Georgia, with extremely biased and suggestive language, which would give extreme control over a worker's choice of workplace. 
For example, a hardware store could use a non-compete agreement to ensure that any employee that leaves does not work for any of its competitors or even within the same industry for a number of years of its choosing. The hardware store would use the threat of lawsuits to enforce the contract.

The richest Congress member fights against the expiration of tax cuts for the richest. Of course he has only the best of the country in mind, not his own or his golf club pals. 

Who cares that there are still millions of Haitians waiting for help? The promise and good words should be enough, right? As long as I have full plate, a nice wheels in my garage and a house I can get lost in, I don't care there are poor, hungry and homeless tragedy victims waiting for the relief money. Let's just wait with deciding these stupid details... anyway, the Haitians don't vote for us, so why care?

what's in a name?

I've read Freakonomics a while ago, and similarly to many people, really liked it. Today I spotted on the an interview with the maker of Supersize Me, who is also making a movie based on Freakonomics. The subject of the interview was the fascinating chapter about the impact of names on one's success. I thought it was really great, and gave a lot to think about and offered more than one ways of interpreting the facts and study results.
What put me off on CNN though, was that the title for a link to this interview was "Is your name holding you back?" I know that not all of the names discussed in the book are based on racial or ethnic divisions, but it was the focus of the main study (Sending identical CVs, one with obviously African-American name, the other with Anglo-Saxon sounding name. The latter ones got 35% more responses.).
I find that the title suggests that it's the person's (or his/her parents') fault that others are bigots. Instead of calling it what it might be (racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and various other -isms) the responsibility and blame is thrown on the victim. The speaker suggested that the parent should think twice before giving a kid ethnic name. I am glad that the guy pointed out that the problem is across the board, and calling a child "Hillbilly" name might be risky in a way as well (associating stereotypes about people from rural areas etc.). But again, the problem is not the name, the problem is the prejudice and racism.

At the same time I do think that there should be a minimum of control over the names given to children. In Poland there is too much control (as in many other European countries) - your choice of name needs to be approved. If it's a foreign form of existing Polish name or if the name is offensive, the office may refuse. If the name is foreign, but you have a valid reason (minority, ethnicity etc.) then it is accepted.

I don't care for the "foreign" idea. Yes, it sound silly and weird in Polish if you came with English-sounding names, but I guess after a while people would get used to it.

But I do think that the control over possibly offensive names is a good idea. It is against the freedom of parents, that's true - but then, we limit the freedom of parents when we see they abuse their children. Giving a child an offensive name is a form of child abuse in my book. A child who is named "bitch" or similar, is set from the start for an emotional hardship and abuse. There should be at least an advice issued to reconsider the idea.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Between freedom of speech and respecting the other

Over at Racialicius is a great essay discussing the issue of "Draw Muhammad Day" and surrounding drama.
There is indeed a difficulty to spot where my freedom of speech ends and someone's beliefs begin. It's one thing to be able to say what one beliefs in, it's another to intentionally belittle and ridicule the other's religion or culture. The author, Thea Lim, writes (emphasis mine):

 I emphatically support Molly Norris’ right to safety. I think it is terrible that she has to go into hiding, and I can only imagine the fear and distress that she is feeling right now.
But. I 100% do not support Norris’ right to mean-spirited mockery. I do not support anyone’s right to belittle, poke fun at, show insensitivity or thoughtlessness towards anyone else’s system of belief – but especially at Islam, seeing how it seems to have become some sort of Liberal American pastime to see who can make the most Islamophobic joke.  And this is while the rights of Muslims to pursue their system of beliefis under attack, all across the Western world.
And of course I support free speech. I support informed dissent. But what Norris did – and South Park, and Jyllends Posten and any other fool who carries on creating images of Muhammad as if to do so is some act of inspired and noble rebellion – was not informed dissent.  It was a nasty and childish response to being told, for once, that there was something we are not allowed to do, or cannot have.

Just today during my Holocaust class I have discussed the stages of Hate. From prejudiced attitudes, through prejudices speech, including ridicule or racist jokes, to discrimination and violence against humans and property.

It often begins with lack of respect for others' culture and tradition, jokes or holy anger about the other's "wrong" beliefs and rituals. It doesn't notice the "funny" rituals in own religion, only in the other. There is nothing weird of strange about the dress of a Catholic nun, but somehow the hadjib or burka are sources of constant racist and/or sexist attacks. People got used to the idea of wearing the image of a person hanging on a cross, but somehow turban or sari are justified sources of amusement.

I guess as long as something is common to the Western, Christian world, it's ok. Even if weird, strange, violent, racist, homophobic, sexist or against logic and rational thinking. Here Thea Lim again:
Sometimes it appears as if  any benign request made by another power to the Western, white, (culturally) Christian world (WWCCW), is received as an affront. As in, how dare anyone else tell us what to do? WE RUN THIS PLACE! As in, this refusal is an extreme manifestation of the way that certain Western, white, cultural Christians think they are entitled to do anything and consume anything, because they are the West, the boss of this town, and ain’t no one ever going to tell them what to do.

I do not like when a religion tries to impose its beliefs on others who do not share the same set of dogmas. But it is one thing if the imposition impacts directly my life (e.g. legislating the ban on same-sex marriage) and when there is very little relation between my life and a particular ban (why would I need to draw a picture of prophet Muhammad?). I don't see it as attack on my freedom of speech, it's a call for respect.
Of course I am absolutely against punishing the "offender" in anyway other than social critique. Violence is not the way to react.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

the daily dose of privilege, racism and homophobia.

Oh, the putrid smell of white, rich privilege...
I got late to catch it in other places, but Resist Racism talks about a blog entry of a law professor who is "just getting by" on his and his wife's $250k combined salary. Resist has both link to google cache and copy of it on his blog. 

This just shows what levels of insensitivity, lack of understanding and absence self-criticism the rich have. They see having big expensive house, two cars, cable, private schools and art classes as basic life necessities. Well, it's not exactly "basic" nor "necessity". What's wrong with living in rented apartment? What's wrong with a public school? What about cutting down on cable? Mowing your own lawn? He even adds their transfers to retirement funds as "expenses". Well, unfortunately in this country that still counts as luxury. Many people know how important that is but can do nothing. They don't even imagine having retirement savings and assume they will work till they die. 

But it gets even better. It looks like many people didn't like this professor's entry... he got all hurt and offended with all these bullies. But that's not the worse... Again thanks to Resist Racism I read his response to "attacks":
The electronic lynch mob that has attacked and harassed me — you should see the emails sent to me personally! — has made my family feel threatened and insecure  …  To those with pitchforks trying to attack me instead of my message, I feel sorry for you. You have caused untold damage to me personally. I may be wrong, even stupid, but I don’t think I deserved that.

I am joining author of the blog in his anger about this professor using such words. He has no right to compare people disagreeing with his snobbish, privileged opinions to lynching. And I have the same thoughts on people using words like "rape", "holocaust", "genocide" or 'discrimination" lightly in a very inappropriate situations. This trivializes their true meaning and cheapens the experiences of people for whom these are not just words but deepest wounds.

Go and read Resistance's commentary, it's really good. 

And because we shouldn't end on such optimistic note, new pearls of wisdom from Ann Coulter:

Marriage “is not a civil right – you’re not black,” Coulter said to nervous laughter. She went on to note that gays are among the wealthiest demographic groups in the country. 

“Blacks must be looking at the gays saying, ‘Why can’t we be oppressed like that?’”

...the gays "ought to start being antiabortion because "once they find the gay gene, guess who's getting aborted" 

[from: GoodAsYou]

Wait a sec... does it mean she believes being gay is genetic? So it's not because the schools talk about condoms, girls wear pants and boys are molested by evil priests homos?
Oh, and there are gay African-American, by the way.
I seriously don't know what's wrong with this woman. There is hardly a word that could be used to call her, everything seems not strong enough. 
I've had enough, time to go sleep. 

donor conception

For a while now I have been researching variety of reproductive options. In the case of lesbians pregnancies it can't just "happen". In the case of a single, economically disadvantaged lesbian with unclear immigration status the possibility is even less realistic.

I have been always a very strong supporter of free choice for women. A woman should be able to decide whether to have children or not. I support both women who decide to never have children or perform an abortion as much as these who find fulfillment in bringing a number of children to this world. It should be the woman's (together with her partner if she has one) decision, based on various factors important to her and those around her.

It is maddening when people call single by choice mothers that they are selfish or that they harm their children. That a woman must have a man to even think about having a baby. I hate that it's often assumed the only reason why they want a baby is because they want someone who would love them unconditionally, like a pet.

For centuries women were left to take care of their babies. No matter who was the father or how the baby was conceived, if it was planned or not, whether the mother wanted it or not, it was assumed she had to take care of it. No obligations of that kind have been expected from fathers. A father who abandons his children still has friends, is respected and doesn't face any social stigma. And if he pays alimony all is good and done. Now let's look how the society treats a woman who resigns from motherhood. She is ostracized, her femininity is questioned, she is belittled and disrespected. Her moral standing is criticized and her mental health under suspicion.

I have always felt that if a woman wants to have a child, no one has a say, unless there is a serious risk involved - then an advice could be offered. It seemed to me that the only reason why single by choice mothers are criticized was because they made the choice, they showed autonomy and stood for their reproductive rights.

With all of it I thought the option of lesbian pregnancy using donor sperm is a good option. Maybe not perfect, and it would be great to find a donor who would like to participate in some way in the child's life, but still pretty good. But recently I stumbled upon opinions that creating life that way is evil and morally wrong. And it was expressed by children conceived that way... That conscious decision of bringing a child with no known father is hurtful and traumatizing.
I've never thought about it that way. My mother doesn't know her father, and knows only the name of her biological mother. But of course it wasn't a conscious decision, that was war and its consequences.
I do know my father, but hardly know where my family came from, who were my ancestors. And yes, I would like to know- but I don't find the lack of knowledge hurtful or traumatizing. My mother also seems pretty ok even after years in awful communist, post-war orphanages before being finally adopted by a single woman.

Is it really so bad? Is it selfish? Is it traumatizing? Is it worst than a child who is born from a one night stand? From bad relationship that ended soon after?
Personally I would prefer to know that my mother wanted me so much she chose to use donor sperm, than to know it was a random guy or some jerk who abused my mom and didn't want to know about me. But of course it's all speculation, I do know my father, who was in long relationship with my mother.
And what about couples who use donor sperm? When a child has two parents, but one might not be the biological one. Are genes really that important?

this kid is on a roll!

I wish more kids were thinking the way he does. Heck, I wish more adults were thinking that way!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

education reform drama and some graphics

Great, great article on education reform, myths, mainstream ideas and blaming the wrong person (a teacher). Making teachers scared of being fired anytime based on idiotic standardized tests which say nothing about the child ability or intelligence, is, well, on the same level as the STAs. The occasion to talk about it was Oprah's special, which, according to Colorlines, was more of a government infomercial than objective, critical assessment of the situation.

If they indeed praised Finnish system that way - heck, implement it. Full with complete, free healthcare, childcare and schools that I am pretty sure do not include classrooms with 40kids in them.

I teach, and sometimes I feel I dont' do a good assessment on each and every kid, that I dont' do enough to reach to every kid, to give a chance or attention appropriate to each learning style or personality. I have 5-12 kids in the classroom. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to have more 20. And to have above 30? That's factory, not education.

I guess this is isn't really relevant... but we need a bit of bitter-sweet fun, right?

Now this one is much better. I just found this absolutely fabulous blog. The author adds own comments to free-domain pictures, like this one:

Friday, September 24, 2010

this and that.

some interesting, moving, or funny things I found today. I obviously am using my days off to break a record in reading online :)

1. A wonderful advice for all women who struggle with male dominance at work:

Jezabel added a few extras to the citi's list:

1. Women tend to have two X chromosomes — you are not heard.

2. Women menstruate in public — emphasizes your femininity and deemphasizes your capability.

3. Women sit vaginally — the power position when seated at a table is to have a penis.

4. Wear panties in meetings — boxer-wearers are seen as more assertive and knowledgeable than those in lacy underthings.

5. Women have wombs — children come out of wombs. Men don't reproduce, they conquer.

6. Ovulate — women ovulate at the smallest provocation which erodes your self-confidence. Men tend to move into sperm producing mode.

7. Women tend to smile inappropriately — an "inappropriate" smile is a smile that is on a woman's face.

8. Observe "Rules" — rules are made to be broken by men. When women break them, it is a violation of workplace culture. When women follow them, it is self-sabotage. To be safe, avoid being a woman whenever possible.

9. Being invisible — 90% of adult humans are unable to visually perceive women. Solution: wear a bear suit.

10. Offer a female handshake — the best way to combat this is to have a man's hand transplanted onto your wrist. Or purchase a giant foam hand at a sports stadium. These are very masculine and you are sure to be taken extremely seriously while wearing one.

2. Here you can see a seriously well done example of "If Facebook existed long time ago".

3. Great, simple and well done explanation of changes in health reform:

4. Another great idea to spread awareness - this time it's social education. From social images - using the style of historic site sign, the authors make strong messages about social injustice.

5. Disproportional poverty levels among minorities. Read full article at "poverty in America".
"nearly 26 percent of blacks and just over 25 percent of Hispanics were poor in 2009. Only about 9.4 percent of white Americans were poor during that same period of time. To be fair, gargantuan gaps between white, black and Hispanic poverty rates (and income levels (pdf)) aren't new. They just got worse — much worse — in 2009.

The reasons are complex and interrelated. They rage from the quality of schools and teachers that serve the nation's low-income kids to, yes, poor personal decisions. But they are also the direct legacy of decades of discriminatory policies and practices affecting everything from the way housing is sold to the way banking is done and other wealth and poverty drivers far too numerous to name. And it's not just a question of what's happened in the past. Poverty disparities are very much a function of what is still happening right now."

This is really a shame. The fact that the richest country in the world has such high levels of poverty is a disgrace. I am coming from a pretty poor country, but everyone could go to a hospital, get medicines with big cuts, single mothers get help, and there is paid maternity leave. I knew people who couldn't afford buying new clothes (ok, almost all of us throughout the years... even now I can't buy new clothes, old habit...), but never hungry.

I just can't get it. How come it is ok to kill and spend obscene amount of money on war, but it is morally wrong to "give away"? Why "tough love" is somehow seen as the ideal? Does it really matter if the single mother is "spoiled" by getting enough money from the government that when combined with her salary (which is what? 67% of what she should be getting if she is a woman of color?) she could have a decent life for herself and her children? Is it really so bad? Why so many people who work hard can't afford health care? How come the income of the top percents of richest Americans multiplied may times, while the minimum wage actually dropped? No one on minimum wage is able to lead modest, but decent life. It's just impossible. The myth that the poor are all lazy, drunkards and have no will power is just such a lie.

How difficult would it be to cut off some from the military spending and build more schools? Hire more teachers so there would be no more than 10-15kids in a class, so each would have individual attention? Why not invest in parks, play fields and after school programs so the kids would have choices and enrichment programs instead of hanging out on the streets where troubles can easy find them? Why not fund hobby-clubs, homework support, support for the very talented and the struggling ones. Education could help millions of kids getting better future. But it just happens that the rich and white middle class who make the majority of people with power, have their kids in good private schools or nice suburban public schools, with tennis classes and private tutors. They talk the most about "everyone has the same chance, everyone can go to university" or whatever other crap. such a bs.

Here is another image that shows the discrepancies in income depending on ethnic background (from family inequality):