Empowering Discussions

Why Representation of Everybody is Good For Everybody: Ending Negative Stereotypes

Because of the high-profile of Hilary Clinton in the international arena, there’s a lot of speculation right now about the chance that the next president of the USA could be a woman. Other countries have already elected women presidents and prime ministers. Women are rulers and warriors, but we rarely see them on the elementary school walls next to our founding fathers. Seeing a woman president doesn’t just give girls and women ideas of what they can accomplish. It gives young and impressionable boys a more well-rounded way of looking at their female peers. When those boys grow up they will not only see women as objects or less than them, but as equals competent at running a country, not just a household. As men they can support their female peers to have as much privilege as they do.

It’s the same as seeing Misty Copeland dance as the FIRST African-American Principle dancer in the American Ballet. Now, not only can aspiring black and brown girls see themselves in that role, but so can their male counterparts who will one day be on stage with them believing that women of color belong in leading roles.

We need to see BLACK males as happy, successful, kind and good fathers to end the violent thug and drug dealing gangster stereotypes.

We need to see independent and intelligent LATINAS as leaders in our communities, not as sex objects or maids.

We need to see intelligent and accomplished NATIVE AMERICANS in politics, onscreen and n every industry, not as victims of colonialism or dressed in beads wasting away on reservations.

We need to see ASIAN actors in dramas, comedies and romance, not just as kung fu masters, mail order brides or sidekicks.

We need to see strong and independent INDIAN women who are not silent victims of acid attacks, sexism or rape.

We need to see women and men of color in our LGBTQ communities as loving parents, not as tokens.

We need to see those who are DISABLED as competent and suitable to succeed in business, science or as athletics, not as damsels in distress waiting for us to save them.

It’s not just young children who need to see them so they too can become all they can imagine and more. It is ALL OF US who need to see this so we can stop our snap judgements and prejudiced views. We need to see real diversity so we can insure that everyone has an equal chance. For those of us with privilege, in whatever form it is, it’s time to step up, to pull strings and level the playing field so we no longer have the upper hand. We must do this not as if we are the only ones who can “save” others who have less, but as their equals. We won’t lose as much as we think, but we will gain so much more!

WHAT STEREOTYPE ARE YOU SICK OF?

WHAT NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES DO YOU HOLD?

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Empowering Discussions

Happy Women’s Equality Day! JUST KIDDING! – We’ve STILL Got Action to Take!

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I’ll keep this rant as short as possible.

I see a lot people who look as white as me having an issue with recognizing they have white privilege. It can be hard to see unless you actually go out in the world and talk to people who AREN’T white. The bottom line is we still have racism, it’s just so institutionalized and sneaky, you have to actually examine our policies and the way people are mistreated to see it and you have to give a damn in the first place. Here’s a recent article about illustrating this major problem, http://billmoyers.com/2014/11/03/voter-id-laws-affect-women-color/

Here is a brief history lesson on the right to vote for women and African-Americans, http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/publications/se/5905/590503.html

Women are still paid less than men, our reproductive health care is still under attack, we’re still more likely to be blamed for sexual assault, most of our political leaders are still white MALES, we’re still ridiculed in the gaming industry and our bodies are still over sexualized and used to sell products and services. All this and we’re almost to the 100 year mark of celebrating our right to vote. Ooops, I mean MY pale-skinned right to vote.

Less than 100 years ago it was illegal for Asian-Americans and Native Americans to VOTE. That means white women could vote! In some southern states black women couldn’t vote due to many obstacles, including unjust laws and violence, purposely planned to discourage voting. http://massvote.org/voterinfo/history-of-voting-rights/

Luckily many in the feminist community are learning to check their white privilege at the door and create truly equal spaces for ALL women(transsexual included). I learned about this privilege at a young age because my lineage is not pure white, and because not everyone in my family is white. Not that it matters to most people since what others SEE is my skin color and they treat me differently than those around me who have darker skin or slanted eyes! Sometimes it is is overt and others much quieter, but I SEE it. I knowingly receive white privilege and it makes me sick!

It’s time to recognize your privilege. Sometimes you need to set it aside and create open ended dialogue and other times you must use it to support others so they can create equal change.

 Support FREE SELF DEFENSE Classes through my new campaign, Gofundme.com/freedefense

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Empowering Discussions, Social Action

The Environment of Racism, Stereotypes and Fear

I used to enjoy picking up litter because I was doing something so great for our environment; picking up trash so it could go in its place. Then I learned that the litter is the result of a deeper problem. The real problem is how we produce stuff and our addiction to having things. Our consumer mentality is so selfish we don’t seem to notice or care that all the stuff and packaging we buy is the reason why we have trash. All the cheap plastic stuff we buy every week for fun or retail therapy results in trash. Every time we buy a bottled drink, coffee to go, or pre-washed veggies in plastic containers we are choosing pollution. Every time we buy something mass-produced in a factory which inevitably creates waste we are creating trash.

 Now I pack snacks in reusable bags or containers and bring a water bottle. When I do get a drink to go I choose a drink that can be in a paper cup because unlike plastic the paper cup will actually degrade. Often I bring the cup home and use it repeatedly until I can recycle it. I bring my own produce bags to the store and choose fruits and vegetables that are package free. More and more of what I buy is in bulk and reusable bags. I also stopped the unhealthy habit of retail therapy which was much harder and rooted more in the decision to get out of debt than environmental reasons. When shopping for goods I first look at thrift stores and my local Buy Nothing Group. My monthly trash bin is a lot lighter these days, but what about non material consumption?

 If we want to get rid of the litter we need to start with the root of the problem and stop creating so much trash. It’s a lot like racism. We need to pull out the root of hate, which is fear, to end racism. Lately I have begun to look at my own fears in the forms of stereotypes.

I used to consume a lot of media and noticed the harmful stereotypes back in High School watching “girl power” tv shows where women had to look sexy if they wanted to be the hero, good girls were submissive and bad girls were rebels. If the show was “progressive” enough to have Black, Mexican, Asian or Native American characters they were usually the bad girls or the poor girls that needed to be saved by the white protagonist.

Then I noticed in movies how often thugs, criminals and villains were almost always Black drug dealers, Mexican car thieves, Asian gangsters, abusive Indian husbands, drunk Native Americans or all rolled into one terrible person and not coincidentally the only token non-white. Just recently I realized how “Trans” people were often portrayed as sick twisted individuals who wanted to dress up as their opposite gender to molest children or become serial killers.

Why are humans inclined to be so afraid of what is different? Why do we hold so many prejudices against those who are different? Why does it take so long to realize we are holding onto fear?

I admit to falling for these stereotypes. I used to cross the street if I saw a group of men hanging out because I assumed they were dangerous. Unless they were standing around in suits they must be up to no good.  I would avoid eye contact with anyone dressed in drag because for some reason I felt uncomfortable around them. It wasn’t until a few year ago when I started examining my ideas about people was I able to see how these media controlled images were creating a fear of those who are different in my mind.

Growing up in a diverse family of different colors and accepting of different sexual orientations I often felt immune to such fears, but I was wrong. Even I held unrealized prejudices. I have to check myself all the time now to understand the reason someone makes me uncomfortable. Is it because of societal expectations or my intuition? Sometimes it is my intuition telling me to be aware, but more and more I comprehend that they are not making me uncomfortable, but I’m projecting fear onto them.

Throw in some white privilege and more than likely I make them uncomfortable based on their own fears. In the racist, violent environment that is America their fears are much more justified and much more real than mine.

These days I’m less likely to cross the street and more inclined to smile and nod or say a simple “Hello”. I refuse to live in fear based on a stereotype.

So what kind of litter are you producing? What fears of those who are different do you hold? Analyze those fears, think about what you consume, both material and through your thoughts. Check yourself.

My inspiration for this post can be found on one of my favorite blogs: http://www.ototsy.com/2015-is-the-new-60s

Ready to stop the racism that litters our streets? Get involved with groups like the Coalition Against Police Violence, thecapv.org or Af3irm, http://www.af3irm.org/af3irm.

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 Want ideas for a healthy lifestyle free of depression? Read my other D.I.Y. Therapy posts.

Looking for books that support your personal development? Read my book reviews.

Check out my T-shirt and greeting card designs on Zazzle.com/OviedoStyle and my books on Amazon.com

*If you like this blog share it…

 

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Fight.Back.New.Kindle.CoverPreview this book on Amazon.com

….

word art book, affirmations book
Available at Bookemon.com

Read this book before you buy at Bookemon.com/book-profile/word-art-and-affirmations/153646

….

feminist writers, learn about feminism, teaching girls feminism, Fierce, Generation of female empowerment
Get your copy at Amazon.com

Find this and more empowering books at Amazon.com/Leah-Oviedo/e/B007LMUEJ2

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