Safer Sex – Lucky Bloke Giveaway!

Long-time readers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of sex, particularly healthy, happy, consensual sex!  I have detailed my views on sex, and I have written about how consent can be super sexy.

If you’ve read my work, though, you will know that I am a proponent of comprehensive sex education.  Break out the bananas and condoms, flavored lube, and latex gloves that can (oh so easily) be turned into a fantastic dental dam!

I order to help you, my readers, practice sex as safely as possible, Change From Within is proud to partner with Lucky Bloke to offer a free month’s subscription for condoms, lube, and dental dams!

What’s Lucky Bloke you might ask!?

Lucky Bloke: Discreet and affordable international delivery of top-selling condoms and lubricant

Sex is exciting. Walking into a store, and purchasing condoms, not so much. And, running out of condoms isn’t just awkward – it can have some very unwelcome consequences.

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Lucky Bloke is offering one lucky Change From Within reader a FREE MONTH’S SUBSCRIPTION delivered to your door just in time for Valentine’s Day!

A Month’s subscription allows you to to choose 18 condoms or dental dams in 3 different styles and 12 pillow packs of lube!  FOR FREE!  Plus, there’s no obligation to continue your subscription after the month’s over.  If you want to continue, you can sign up.  If not, no worries!

To enter to win, all you have to do is click the following graphic and fill out the form!  Don’t worry – it just goes to me (Jamie), and I won’t use your information for anything but this contest.  I just wanted people to have a discreet way to enter the contest (you know, in case both you and your mom read the blog and want to enter but neither of you want the other to know you’re entering).

The contest is now officially closed, and the winner has been notified!  Thank you for your interest!

“Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls” – Racism or Critical Cultural Commentary?

There is a meme sensation sweeping the internet!!  It all started with “Shit Girls Say.”  The concept is that someone (often those who are not a member of the group who is being mocked) mocks the things that a group of people stereotypically say.  Simple enough . . . and sometimes HILARIOUS.

We’ve got Shit Yogis Say, Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys, Shit Rednecks Say (“Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”), Shit White Feminists Say, and Shit Guys Don’t Say (or guys not named Jamie Utt).  The meme has had the power to do some great mocking and cultural commentary and to point out some important realities.  For instance, Shit Everybody Says to Rape Victims and Part II (WARNING, CAN BE TRIGGERING TO SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE) does a fantastic job of highlighting the ways that survivors of sexual violence are often blamed, shamed, and ignored when they seek help after their trauma.

One of the most popular of these videos is Shit White Girls Say . . . To Black Girls:

This particular take on the meme caused the internet (and particularly the Twitterverse) to EXPLODE.  Charges of racism were thrown at the video’s creator, comedian and blogger Franchesca Ramsey.  In response, people tried to explain how this is not racism but in fact is trying to highlight the type of racism that Black Women must deal with every day coming from White Women.

Continue Reading

Hijacking the Language and Legacy of Dr. King

Yesterday, on the day honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, a lot of people were posting quotes from Dr. King to Facebook and Twitter.  By far, the most commonly posted quote was one from King’s I Have a Dream speech that he delivered on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  During that speech, Dr. King said,

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

His sentiment is a powerful one, a sentiment that calls for a different racial reality than he knew as a child or than his children knew.  This quote is part of a radical ideology of racial justice that moves past a negative peace of White Privilege and Supremacy to a justice that is only realized through concerted social action.

Out of context, though, White people LOVE this quote.

As someone who regularly takes part in or initiates conversations about race and racial justice, I have been noticing a disturbing trend more and more often lately: people using the words of Dr. King out of context to silence conversations on race.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

Person A:  A colorblind ideology is not useful!  We need to acknowledge race, its history, and the role it plays in present reality!

Person B:  By bringing up race, you’re the one being racist!  Race shouldn’t matter!  Remember, Dr. King once said that we should “not be judged by the color of [our] skin but by the content of [our] character.

Person A:  That’s completely out of context!  Dr. King saw race as a reality we must face . . .

Person B:  [Interrupts] By bringing race into the conversation, you’re only distracting us from the real conversation we should be having.  After all, White people can be discriminated against, but you don’t hear us complaining!

Person A: *Bangs Head Against a Wall*

The problem with this line of thinking is that it divorces the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a symbol from his lived reality as a radical, anti-war, socialist-leaning, anti-racist activist who recognized the intersections of oppression.  Instead, he becomes a moderate, race-neutral man on a pedestal whose words can actually be used to argue against programs and actions that might realize social justice.

One of the things that is most striking to me about this issue, though, is that it is not a partisan trend.  I find White people on both the left and right using this line of thinking.  For instance, a White, leftist #OccupyOakland activist was recently arguing with Jay Smooth on Twitter about the ways in which colorblindness as a value within the movement is being used to silence activists of Color and their concerns.  Jay Smooth was trying to make the point that it does not help the movement to have an attitude of, “Put aside our differences for the betterment of the whole.”  In fact, that only can create resentment in the movement and doesn’t realize justice.

In response, the White activist had the following to say:

In essence, he was trying to use the words of Dr. King to argue why we should not be divided by race, but this fictionalized Dr. King is not the Dr. King of, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

On the right, I hear a similar logic.  The logic from the right is often that conversations about race are, in themselves, racist because they “choose to judge people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character.”

I saw this hijacking of Dr. King’s legacy clearly from the right in Newt Gingrich’s language on the holiday honoring one of the greatest activists for social justice.

In his speech “honoring” Dr. King, he discusses the Rev. Dr.’s passion, his faith, and his persistence.  He asks people to “look forward” and “ask ourselves to what degree can we give to [young people] the same spirit of hope, the same idealism, the same belief in America, the same understanding that salvation comes from faith in God, and that together we can, in fact, create a dramatically better future for all Americans of every background.”

However, in the same day, a day that honors the man who helped lead the Poor People’s Movement, Newt had the following to say:

Not only is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives paternalistic and classist in his language, but he refuses to see how his racially-coded language could be insulting to Black Americans (and for that he received a standing ovation).

It is insane that someone could speak out of one side of their mouth lauding the legacy of an advocate for justice and the poor and out of the other side to put down the poor as lacking work ethic and as desiring food stamps over jobs while equating the nation’s first Black president as “the food stamp president.”

Whether from the left or the right, this sort of language does little more than defend what Dr. King called a “negative peace” where those who are oppressed must “passively accept [their] unjust plight.”

Dr. King had harsh words in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail for White Moderates like @geekeasy2 and Newt Gingrich, words that must give all White people pause:

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

 

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Check out my post from last year’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration: Forsaking the Dream – Reflections on the Vision of Dr. King.

Racism: Fuel for the Immigration Debate Fire

This morning, I opened my inbox to the usual stuff: a slew of work-related emails, my daily deal emails (which I never even read any more . . . I just delete), and an email from Amnesty International asking for donations.  Mixed in there somewhere was a rather interesting forward titled, “You Want Liberal . . . Check the Last Photos . . .”  Here’s the text and photos from the email:

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer.

Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times.They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved goodbye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy, France and Japan. None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan. They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France, no one in those villages were looking for the French American, the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country.

I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

I wouldn’t start …. dismantling the United States just yet.

FOR THE WRONG THINGS TO PREVAIL, THE RIGHTFUL MAJORITY NEEDS TO REMAIN COMPLACENT AND QUIET. LET THIS NEVER HAPPEN!

 As I read the forward, my blood started to boil.  My usual response to annoying forwards is simple: Delete.  However, in this case, I couldn’t look past the blatant racism I saw in the above piece, so I decided on a different tact: Reply All.
Here’s my response:

Race, Listening, and The Good Men Project

Rather than hosting this week’s piece here on Change From Within, I am actually going to be sending my readers over to The Good Men Project.

I was recently published over at GMP with a piece entitled, “Listening is the Root of Justice.

Here’s a quick excerpt from the piece:

In his piece resigning from The Good Men Project, Hugo Schwyzer put it this way, “Power conceals itself from those who possess it. And the corollary is that privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it.”  As a person of privilege, I know that I cannot see all of the ways that my identity silences other voices, and I cannot see the ways that my privilege works to empower me while disempowering others.

Thus, when criticized for my language, the space I am taking up, or for the ways in which my actions reveal my privilege, my first response needs to be to listen.  No matter how defensive that statement makes me, I need to listen.  No matter how much I would like to retort with a story about how I’m not as privileged as the other is assuming, I need to listen.

Listening is the root of justice.

I encourage you to head over to GMP to read the piece, and if you’re up for a real challenge, wade into the comments.