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The Hypocrisy of American Racism

I wrote this post a couple of months ago when 31 American states said they would refuse admittance to Syrian refugees.  This made me deeply angry, not only because states DO NOT have the power to do this (the Federal government decides who can and can’t immigrate to the United States, and refugees can move to whatever state they want to) but because I am ashamed to be part of a country where racism and selfishness have become something to take pride in. If we intend to stay a “super power” in the Aquarian age we’ll need to hold our morality to the same high standards that we do hold economic growth. 

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We are born onto this earth with nothing save for what our circumstances provide. For some of us that is quite a lot, but for most of us it is hardly anything. From that moment on we are making choices. The choice to fight or give up, to share or to withhold, to complain or to have gratitude.

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A Syrian child lives in a makeshift home while his parents search for a country accepting refugees

As humankind we made choices. We took our planet inhabited with many different species and divide it up with lines. We call the lined off areas “nations” and make rules about who can enter where. Some “nations” have lots of resources, clean water, land that can cultivate enough food for its inhabitants, while other “nations” have hardly enough for the children in their land to have clean water and food. In those nations many children die before becoming adults, the whole population dies in their mid-forties, while in the other nations people live into their 80s and 90s.

We have created this world as human beings. A world where there is not enough. A world where fighting, greed, and fear are the primary dealings of our heads of state. A world where guns, bombs, and terror is normal.

When American states make the choice not to accept any Syrian refugees, they are perpetuating the racism in the bedrock of our country.

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A black woman, tormented by angry whites attends school during desegregation.

A nation of hypocrites. For there are no Americans alive today, save for our indigenous peoples and Africans brought here against their will, who are not descendants of immigrants seeking a better life than the ones they were born into. The WASPs, the Jewish, the Irish and Italian Catholics, the Japanese and Chinese, the Caribbean, Mexican, South America and beyond, all immigrated to America to receive racism, prejudice, and difficulties. And then of course, to dish the same racism onto the next wave of immigrants.

Afraid of letting African-American children go to school with white children. Afraid of Japanese people during World War II. Afraid of Muslims, no matter how many generations they’ve lived here, how peaceful and kind they are. We allow fear to prevent us from treating the people who need it most with kindness.

This racism is a choice. Withholding opportunities and access to our wealth is a choice.

Right now, America is saying to the world “we see you in crisis, we see you desperate, we see your children homeless, crying, starving, with nowhere to sleep. We will not help.” It’s a choice to see the world divided into impermeable lines. To see ourselves as rightful owners to the resources we were given at birth, rightful beneficiaries to the wealth of our “nation.”

Instead of helping, sharing, opening, and choosing love, we are choosing withholding. And the cycle continues, a world where there is not enough, a world where greed, fighting, and fear are the norm.

It’s our choice to look at the benefits we’ve had with gratitude and appreciation, and then choose to share what we have, to open our minds.

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How close does a crisis have to come to our own doorstep before we react?

 

Look at my life. Am I perpetuating the cycle? What can I do to override? I may not be able to directly feed a Syrian refugee starving in southern Europe, but how can I serve those less fortunate than me in my family, my neighborhood, my region, my state, my country? It is our small actions of openness, sharing, tolerance, patience, and generosity that can spread love and healing throughout our country so that we as a nation no longer turn away from others in need and instead can use our position of privilege and wealth to help others, throughout the world, regardless of race, religion, or class.

Here are some excellent organizations to support in helping the Syrian refugee crisis:

Carry the Future: providing child carriers for women with small children trekking by foot

Karam Foundation: providing aid for women and children who are trapped in Madaya, Syria without food or basic necessities

Small Projects Istanbul: provides education and community building for Syrian refugees in Turkey

My Note to Pro-Lifers: Let’s Do This!

Let’s Get Ready for an Abortion Free World!!

All my anti-abortion people? I’m with you. I don’t like dead babies. I don’t want to kill human babies, or animal babies for that matter. No matter what trimester, what country, what species, nobody wants to kill babies.

So let’s just brainstorm what we, as a country, will have to do to get ready for a world without abortion:

  • We’ll need adequate maternity leave. Like at least 6 months, so that mom and child are emotionally bonded, psychologically stronger, preventing postpartum depression and a whole host of health issues for both mother and child.(1)
  • Once women go back to work, we’ll need federally mandated and regulated childcare so that women have safe places to put their babies while maintaining their careers. It will need to be free so that women can use the money they make at their jobs to house and feed their families instead of spending every last cent on childcare.(2)  (3)
  • We’ll need to legalize breast feeding in public so that women aren’t spending thousands on formula. We’ll also save taxpayers money on health care costs when babies are drinking mother’s milk which prevents allergies, postpartum depression, obesity, types of cancer and other illnesses, plus enhances infant intelligence.(4) (Breastfeeding also reduces fertility, thereby preventing even more abortions…)(5)
  • We’ll need federally mandated paternity tests to find the man co-responsible for the baby and to ensure he’s paying child support for the entirety of the baby’s life. If he can’t pay, his family, next of kin, and eventually the government will need to pay. It ‘took two to tango,’ and the dance lasts 18 years.
  • And we should probably provide free birth control so that women can be sure to choose and monitor her own fertility once she has a baby.

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Think we can provide this for all the women who are going through the emotional, often painful, life-changing decision about whether to have a baby or not? Well until we can, we’d better let women CHOOSE whether the time is right to bring their baby into this world.

As it now stands, women do not have adequate rights to be both loving mothers and equal members in society. The least we can do is give them the option to have an abortion.
No pregnancy is terminated without an emotional effect on the mother. Whether its a miscarriage, an abortion, or complications in childbirth that lead to the death of an infant, ask any woman and she’ll tell you she will never, ever forget that moment. It impacts them for the rest of their life.

I actually believe that babies come when they’re ready. If the mother terminates the birth, sometimes the baby soul can be offended and need some spirit-level prayers and healing love, but most of the time little souls understand and can come back once the mother is ready. There’s wonderful stories about toddlers, just old enough to speak, telling their parents how they remember being in their mother’s womb, leaving (due to miscarriage or abortion) and returning for the full-term pregnancy. You can read them in Women’s Body, Women’s Wisdom and Spirit Babies.

I’m pro-choice, without a doubt, but my plea is for the “pro-life” camp to look at the reality women face in today’s world and see that there are so many other social policies that would better support the unborn and newly born babies and the women tasked to care for them. Eliminating access to Planned Parenthood or the option to have an abortion causes so many more problems for an already unequal world.

If the “pro-lifers” put their energy into fighting for some of the above policies instead of lobbying to take away women’s access to our own health care decisions, abortion rates would go down and we’d be one step closer to a more equal, love-filled world.

For further reading on abortion from the baby’s perspective, check out these two books (click the icon):

(1)“The Effects of Maternity Leave on Children’s Birth and Infant Health Outcomes in the United States” Maya Rossin, Published in Journal of Health Economics, 30(2), March 2011

(2)“Crushed by the Cost of Childcare” Alissa Quart, New York Times, August 2013

(3)“Parents and the High Cost of Child Care” Report by ChildCare Aware of America https://www.ncsl.org/documents/cyf/2014_Parents_and_the_High_Cost_of_Child_Care.pdf

(4) “The 25th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Workshop on Breastfeeding and Human Lactation: The Status of Breastfeeding Today” Steven K. Galson Public Health Reports (1974-) Vol. 124, No. 3 (MAY/JUNE 2009) , pp. 356-358 Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25682237

(5) A Case of Promoting Breastfeeding in Projects to Limit Fertility by Alan Berg; Susan Brems

Studies in Family Planning  Vol. 21, No. 2 (Mar. – Apr., 1990) , p. 125 Published by: Population Council Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1966678

What’s your name, Goddess?

by Katina Hubbard

In a Venice, CA juice bar, a girl peeked over the counter to ask me a question:

“Wha sh ss gwen-ed?”
To which I replied, “Excuse me?”
“What’s your name, Nosshneis?”
Confused and frustrated by the whizzing blenders, I looked at her carefully for a moment. Did I know her from somewhere? After a pause I realized I’d never before seen her lovely face, and asked again, “What?”

Wonder Woman: “An amazon princess comes to the world of man to become one of the greatest superheroes of all time,” losing 90% of her clothes in the process.

To which she replied, clearly and loudly, “What’s your name, Goddess?”

Shocked by what she’d said and how rudely I’d ruined her delivery I said simply, “uh, Katina, what’s yours?” She told me and made another smoothie. I didn’t amend our awkward interaction, but what she said stuck with me for days.

We’re all trying to be better people. For me, specifically, a better woman, and a better Katina. There’s our little goals to be more healthy, get a better job, have a healthier relationship, but what if there’s a current running through all of us, that can make us become the better selves we want to be? What if there’s a secret?

Depending on the situation, a woman can become either a “goddess,” or a “bitch,” says Naomi Wolf in her latest novel, Vagina: A New Biography. Though there have been mixed reviews of this book, I find this tidbit anecdotally and personally kind-of-true.

If I’m happy, confident, well nourished, and un-stressed, I act loving, kind, generous, and healing to those I’m around me.

But if I’m tired, stressed, disrespected, insecure, resentful, or overwhelmed, I can become snappy, judgmental, pushy, impatient, and borderline rude. Dare I say it, bitchy.

We’re all dynamic, unique souls, and I don’t mean to generalize. But what I do want for myself and for all the women in my life, is to be more of a “Goddess,” more of the time. Read More

Successful Careers for Women: Do We Sabotage Ourselves?

There have been many articles over the years and of late dealing with the issue of women wanting to “have it all” – a career and a family life.  So I was extremely excited to find Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook’s commencement speech to Barnard College graduates on May 8, 2011, which shed incredible new light on the issue.

Sheryl is 42 years-young and happily married with two kids. In the meantime she’s been Chief of Staff of the U.S. Treasury, Vice President at Google, and now COO at Facebook, where she’s credited with turning the social network from “just another MySpace” into a $104 billion dollar company. (Regardless of your feelings about Facebook,) Sheryl has some extraordinarily insightful things to say to women about sticking with their careers and “having it all.”

Many of us would be happy raising five wonderful kids and spending a lifetime devoted to home, family, and friends. But almost every person I know has a yearning not only to have a family but to give their unique gift, whatever that is, to the world. We’re not all meant to be the CEO of a multinational company, but Sheryl points out that many women, myself included, sabotage their own careers, knowingly, and unknowingly, giving into the outdated idea that men are meant to have careers, and women aren’t. Check out her amazing speech, challenging us all to value and feed our inner voice that says “I’m special, I have something to give to the world, and I must give it.”

Commencement Speech to Barnard College Graduates*

by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

…Pulitzer Prize winners Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof visited this campus last year and they spoke about their critically important book, Half the Sky.  In that book, they assert that the fundamental moral challenge of the 19th century was slavery; of the 20th century, it was totalitarianism; and for our century, it is oppression of girls and women around the world.  Their book is a call to arms, to give women all over the world, women who are exactly like us except for the circumstances into which they were born, basic human rights.

Compared to these women, we are lucky.  In America, as in the entire developed world, we are equals under the law.  But the promise of equality is not equality.  As we sit here looking at this magnificent blue-robed class, we have to admit something that’s sad but true:  men run the world.  Of 190 heads of 2 state, nine are women.  Of all the parliaments around the world, 13% of those seats are held by women. Corporate America top jobs, 15% are women; numbers which have not moved at all in the past nine years.  Nine years.  Of full professors around the United States, only 24% are women. 

I recognize that this is a vast improvement from generations in the past.  Read More

Independence Day: Here’s to Your Freedom

Happy Independence Day. Here’s to freedom from fear, bad habits, unconscious self-sabotage, and hypocrisy! Freedom from ignorance, poor self esteem, and depression!

Here are some quotes about independence, to help us celebrate:

“Associate with noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty. But learn to be happy alone.
Rely upon your own energies, and so not wait for, or depend on other people.”
― Thomas Davidson

“She might be without country, without nation, but inside her there was still a being that could exist and be free, that could simply say I amwithout adding a this, or a that, without saying I am Indian, Guyanese, English, or anything else in the world.”
― Sharon Maas, Of Marriageable Age

“Where we choose to be, where we choose to be–we have the power to determine that in our lives. We cannot reel time backward or forward, but we can take ourselves to the place that defines our being.”
― Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab’s Wife, or The Star-Gazer

“I love your independence, I love that you don’t swoon, I love that you’ll fight me with your last breath if you think I’m wrong, and if I ever have to catch you, I swear I’ll make sure you’re standing on your feet as quickly as you can manage it.”
― Dianna Hardy, The Sands Of Time

“I am anchored on a resolve you cannot shake. My heart, my conscience shall dispose of my hand — they only. Know this at last.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

NOT SO ‘MAGIC MIKE’: ARE WOMEN BECOMING THE MEN WE DESPISE?

by Katina Hubbard

Last night, I accidentally saw ‘Magic Mike.’ I don’t know how I missed the trailer for this little film that has sent American women into some sort of sexual frenzy, but I thought I was seeing a romantic comedy where someone has amnesia. If you’re like me and you had no idea this movie existed, you probably do now, since it was front page of the New York Times’ Art Section and at the top of the box office charts this weekend.

Are images of male models as harmful for men’s self-esteem as images of women are for us?

It’s the classic tale of the poor girl with nowhere to turn except to shake her naked ass for money. She enjoys it, and so does the audience, but in the end gets saved from a life of meaningless sex and drug overdoses by a normal Joe-turned Prince Charming. Except in ‘Magic Mike,’ the poor girl who needs saving isn’t a girl, it’s America’s male heartthrob, Channing Tatum. Read More

WHY GETTING THE WORST HAIRCUT IN THE WORLD IS A GOOD THING

Little Eva’s lopsided haircut. Click here to hear her tell her story.

You may have already seen this amazing audio piece by Jeff Cohen, who interviewed his two daughters aged 3 (Eva) and 5 (Sadie), about what seems to be a right of passage for little kids: the irrevocable decision to cut their own hair. Click here or on the picture to hear the story:

I think this is Women Well Loved-worthy because: Read More