13 Feb

Cheerleaders are Never on the Field

interwoven strings

Photo credit Derek Σωκράτης Finch under Creative Commons

I am a provocateur.

I like art and ideas that stir the heart, mind, and soul. I like being moved.

When I watched Beyonce’s video, Formation, last weekend, I was stirred. It was, at once, a celebration and a call to action. It was loving, hopeful, defiant, and angry, and it said get your shit together. In short, it was art, and it was provocative.

The educator and artist in me loves that Beyonce has inspired and stirred so many. Engaging racism, sexism, classism, and systematized oppression is a complicated, messy endeavor. The activist in me loves that so many white people are unsettled and uncomfortable with the images and words in her video—we don’t change if we aren’t uncomfortable.

I am hopeful that this is another opportunity for us to have deeper, more engaged conversations on racism. But the collective response reminds me that we, in particular white people, haven’t accepted our painful, ugly historical legacies of systematic oppression. Sadly we aren’t yet ready for this kind of conversation, and we are struggling to collectively hold that pain, find healing, make meaning from it all, and make change.

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09 Nov

White Man Rules

Southwest Boarding ProcessAs we have previously discussed, systems have consequences.

And when we create nested systems within larger systems, often times those who benefit in the large system receive the benefits of the nested system, unless we account for it to be otherwise.

Case in Point–A few years ago, Southwest Airlines revised their boarding system from a “first come, first served at the gate” model to one that gave the early boarding spots to those who checked in online first. This was a natural evolution as the internet became more prominent in our lives.

Southwest additionally created their version of a tier system to honor and recognize its regular customers, which is also not uncommon in the airline industry. Southwest then revised its boarding system once again to reserve the early boarding spots to their frequent travelers with high tier membership and those that bought into the full fare ticket price.

On face value, this is a good system for recognizing brand loyalty by an organization that prides itself on low-frills, and is also fairly simple, which sets it apart from other brand-loyalty programs. On face value, nothing in this system is set up to unequally reward one group over another (assuming of course that the value within a capitalist system of rewarding customers who have given you a lot of their money is fair—but that is another post).

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15 Aug

Fear and Courage

Photo by dryhead

Photo by dry head under Creative Commons license

Fear is a powerful thing.

My eight-year-old son told me the other day that “taking a chance was scary.”

Fear prevents you from showing up, from being vulnerable, from taking a risk, and being who you are. Fear can protect you in times of crisis, but often times we conflate emotional discomfort into danger, and this is where we get ourselves into trouble.

Fear holds me back from making this post, from truly answering myself when I ask what I really need, and from sitting in the silence. I want to be perfect and infallible. This is the message of a capitalist, patriarchal society.

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16 Jun

Earth Work

Yesterday I worked the earth. this is not a normal thing for me. I have a job that utilizes my mind and my heart, but not my body. And I dont like to garden. Yard work has always been a chore for me, because, I believe, it does not move me in the way art, or music, or parenting the kids, or teaching all move me. I look at Nicole after spending the day in the yard with the plants and the vegetables, and bringing a sense of life, love and healing, and she comes in with a well-worn, but sparkly smile of joy from the day. With the exception of making a big batch of compost, I have no joy in working the yard.

That said there is something magical about driving your hands into the dirt, to hold it, and feel it, and become one with it. I love the worms and the roly-poly bugs (the snails and the earwigs, i can do without).

Photo Credit by kleuske

Photo Credit by kleuske

I love that way that it feels and how it makes me feel. I want to play in it.

But yesterday had a confluence of events that had me outside. The first event, one of the scouts in Jackson’s troop was finishing up the final service project that is required to become an Eagle Scout, and he needed help. the scout was improving the land at a community nursery and had built a large planter. We spend our time shoveling chicken manure into wheel barrels and putting them in the planter. once the manure was in the planter, it had to be spread around.

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