Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Posts Tagged ‘politics

MAGA: Sociology is Magic

Okay I want to explain something.

I’m GRATEFUL for #MAGA Hat student in class today. He is the literal embodiment of why I teach.

We are politically socialized by our families and our religion. We don’t even begin to develop a political ideology apart from our parents until we start to develop our lives apart from them.

(Insert #notall)

This is my Every Student™. My student who came in thinking sociology is an offshoot of psychology. My student who is only there because it fulfills Area E.

We discussed Marx Friday and this student probably talked to his parents about his first week of college. College. Not class.

We start with Marx.

“We should all be Marxist in the sense that…”

Their fears come true.

So, this hat.

Yeah, it was distracting. For me it represents so much.

Hate. Fear. Intimidation. Violence.

But this is a child whose world until now has been small. That’s what college is for, a world expanding experience.

This is LITERALLY #whitefolkswork.

It’s also literally my job.

I don’t demand political agreement. Some of my most conservative students have and are my best students and they take all my courses. They are my favorite. They push back against me and keep me always standing on the data and not shifting sand.

What they do have to do, is learn and engage with the material.

I think sociology is fucking magic.

It is the imagination of the object and subject. The special glasses that never again allow us to see the world and be pacified.

I believe in its power to open eyes, hearts, intellect.

It isn’t perfect. Fraught with racism, sexism, queerphobia, classism, ableism…white supremacy.

But my classroom is constantly arching toward inclusivity, toward justice, toward an equitable world, toward a revolutionary pedagogy.

I believe in what I do

I’m grateful for MAGA Hat.

I have this opportunity. I have this small precious chance to open the door to seeing the world a little more compassionately for this student.

I have this chance to show him what it is like when students of color’s voices are centered. When we talk about disability rather than ability. When we queer the neutral and “normal”.

In a world of measuring how “woke” we all are, maybe I can ring the alarm clock and maybe he will stop hitting snooze by December.

Things I Did Not Respond to on Facebook Today

I decided, with some trepidation, to return to Facebook.  I have some rules for myself, though.  One is to not get involved in religious, political or otherwise contentious pissing contests.  In an effort to maintain my sanity, I’m going to try out a series whereby I passive-aggressively respond to the ridiculousness I see there here. That way, I can have my say and not burn down relationships with people I love.

Episode 1:

Well, at least they don’t list Mary Magdalene as a whore. I’m unsure why we would consider those who are short, have speech-impediments, are skeptical, drink or are aging to be imperfect.  It’s rife with all the -isms.  It also misses a golden opportunity to scream HYPOCRITE! to about 10 people who I’ve seen post this.

As a fat girl myself, I’m all for body/sex/fat positive stuff.  But that isn’t all a scale is telling you.  Especially since your “relationship” (mine is rather complicated, as evidenced by all my bruising.  Hey! come to think of it, I haven’t fallen down in a while) with gravity isn’t constant (see the moon) and your body fat percentage is what it is no matter what celestial body you happen to inhabit.

Dear people of the car rider line…your child shouldn’t need a teacher to open their door to get out of the car. SHOULD your child require this…park yo butt and stop holding the line up!

All the abelism…all of it.

and my favorite

Well, let’s talk about this…

2/3 of those who receive state benefits are children, the elderly and the disabled.  Another portion include veterans and the currently enlisted and their families.

Several studies, including a 1996 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, have found that there is no significant difference in the rate of illegal-drug use by welfare applicants and other people. Another study found that 70% of illegal-drug users between the age of 18 and 49 are employed full time.

Because poor people can’t afford drugs.
They drink.
A Florida television station, WFTV, reported that of the first 40 applicants tested, only two came up positive, and one of those was appealing. The state stands to save less than $240 a month if it denies benefits to the two applicants, but it had to pay $1,140 to the applicants who tested negative. The state will also have to spend considerably more to defend the policy in court.

And it’s unconstitutional because you have to have probably cause to search someone, it  can’t be preemptive.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, said that the drug testing was an unreasonable search. The state can impose drug tests in exceptional cases, when there is a public-safety need for them (as with bus and train operators, for instance). But the Fourth Amendment does not allow the state to diminish “personal privacy for a symbol’s sake,” the court said.

“The simple fact of seeking public assistance does not deprive a TANF applicant of the same constitutional protection from unreasonable searches that all other citizens enjoy,” the court held.
And for more
The reason your employer can make you take a drug test is because they are not the government and they are not bound by the Fourth Amendment. Don’t like being drug tested by your employer? Form a union and put it in the union contract that your employer cannot drug test you without probable cause. To simplify this, the government cannot search your person (peeing in a cup is searching your person) without probable cause. Being poor is not probable cause. Your employer has a fairly wide latitude of things that it can require as a condition of employment.
and this
Fact one, drug testing by the government without probable cause is in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Fact two, in the studies done so far, there is no benefit to performing these drug tests. Fact three, your employer is not the government and is not bound by the Fourth Amendment. Fact four, drug abuse is not just restricted to the poor. It goes across all social classes, and just because the poor have no voice does not mean that they can be made into scapegoats.
Thanks for reading and more coming soon…

Written by thelittlepecan

November 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

Mental Healthcare Reform Isn’t an Option: A Cross-Post from”Pecan Does Parenting”

I write this blog to vent my frustration, provide support for other parents in similar situations and to chronicle my experience parenting a child with pediatric bipolar.

I’m a political person; loud, opinionated and a die-hard liberal. I don’t intend to make this a political blog, but today I am fuming mad.

Yesterday, we had an appointment with a psychiatrist who specialized in pediatric psychiatry and mood disorders specifically. An hour long appointment cost our family $300. A price well worth it to get our son stabilized.

The doctor is out of network and even though she is a MEDICAL doctor helping our son with a brain disease, his care by her is considered “mental health care”, whatever the fuck that means.

Our “regular” healthcare is adequate. A reasonable copay and when “out of network”, the percentage paid is realistic.

Our “mental health” care (in-network) has a $2000 deductible. So, even if we choose the doctors our insurance company has approved…it will never be reached unless he is hospitalized and even then, it may not be.

We used the Cigna approved doctor. What we wound up with was a BPD kid put on anti-depressants at first. Those of you with BPD or have a loved one on that spectrum know that this is a powder keg scenario. I knew my child was not depressed…at least not in any normative way. But, I trusted our physicians advice.

Then, Seroquel. 25 mg once a day which did nothing but put him to sleep, which he did not need. We went back, saw an incompetent nurse practitioner who AGAIN attempted to put him on ADs which I rejected. Another $100 wasted.

After that, we were rarely able to get in touch with the office, couldn’t get a change in medication on the phone and were rebuffed for asking for a refund for the clusterfuck appt.

My son got worse. He began having auditory hallucinations, panics attacks and more instances of depression along with manic raging.

I called EVERY pediatric psychiatrist I could find. The ones in our network could not see us for months.

Living with a child with bipolar is a minefield. Everything is met with defiance, annoyance, overreaction. It is IMPOSSIBLE to provide healthy family life for other children and spouses or partners. There is no “wait until 2 months from now”. Help must come NOW.

I got ONE call back. A pediatric psychiatrist, a specialist whose office manager met my frantic call with “oh, no, that medication is wrong. We will help you fix it.”

Finally someone who thought I wasn’t “overreacting”.

So, I made the $300 appointment and called my insurance company.

“We’re sorry, your out of network deductible is $4000. Can I help you find someone in network?”

“There is no one in network.”

My son needs MEDICAL CARE. He is not crazy, he has a disability that should not have to define him. I should be able to get him the care he needs without worrying if, after we have FINALLY gotten our sea legs financially, we will be broken and scrambling again.

Mental health care IS medical care. To treat it as something that is somehow fundamentally different from other types of health care is to break the finances of families and individuals, to stigmatize those in need and to deny treatment to those who desperately seek it.

Get it together, America. My son deserves better.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

HB 512, An Open Letter to Senator Henson and the Georgia Assembly

Dear Senator,

HB 512 recently passed the state house and is now on its way to the Senate. As my representative, I would like to express my fear and frustration at this bill and my encouragement for you to vote “no”.

I graduated last fall with my M.A. In sociology and have been an instructor for the past three semesters. This semester is my first in front of a classroom, rather than teaching online.

I love my students. They are smart and engaged, they let me know in no uncertain terms that I have made the right career choice. I am so grateful to have found my place in the world.

However…

in my first several months in front of the classroom I have dealt with students who may be mentally unstable, who can be combative and who often feel entitled. Allowing students to bring a firearm into the classroom limits the ability of a new instructor to safely learn classroom management and to maintain authority over the setting.

We are gun owners, my husband is a navy veteran, and I firmly believe in the REASONABLE right to own a weapon.

A classroom is sacred. It should be a safe place for fervent and excited discussion, a place where disagreements can happen without fear.

It should be a place without the need to go on the offensive, where minds and hearts are opened and critical thinking is fed!

Each State institution has a police force, security officers and/or agreements with local law enforcement to keep students and faculty safe. These men and women are trained to do such a job and in my personal experience are committed to excellence.

The classroom is not the place for a weapon, unless that weapon is the mighty pen.

I don’t want to fear my students.

Please vote no.

Sincerely,
TheLittlePecan
Instructor
University [Redacted]
[Redacted] College

Written by thelittlepecan

March 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Race and Privilege: A Reaction to Wilson’s “More Than Just Race”

In an American society where White Male is default and access to opportunity is taken for granted, Wilson rightfully asserts in More than Just Race that People of Color must take precautions whites do not take and indeed rarely recognize that these efforts to maintain societal comfort in their favor are even occurring (p. 1).  Because special status and ease of opportunity usually go unrecognized by the privileged, it makes it easy to come up with a myriad of unsystematic reasons why persons of color, unskilled laborers and women in poverty remain unable to climb the class ladder.

There is an intrinsic and quite basic neglect to recognize the value in statistics on social problems when they contain roads to solutions and the opposite problem when they point out glaring inequalities (p. 2). Privilege suggests that 47% of people (low-skilled, low or no income earners, Black men and single women) do not contribute to society and therefor are not eligible for the benefits of a communal society.  It does not suggest inequality of income, of resources, of opportunity OR maybe most importantly, it does not suggest equity in societal contributions which is actually the case for the bracket spoken about in Romney’s suggestive quote.

Wilson also points out that, as a society, if we can judge a people by the actions it takes rather than the speeches it makes, we have continually determined that systematic denial of opportunity is in the best interest of those with power.  As our workforce and the jobs it contains has become more and more technologically advanced, where internet access is a necessity, a cell phone is the communication utility of need, and even McDonald’s drive-thru employees must have a working knowledge of touch screen applications, our education system continues to deny the poor and persons of color access to skills necessary for even the lowest skilled and lowest paying jobs.  By allowing our poor schools to lag in computer and technology education, we begin a course of systematic racism/classism by denying even the lowest ladders to be unqualified for the lowest skilled jobs.  This winds up favoring middle and upper class/Caucasian applicants (often summer and part-time student workers with more than adequate other opportunities) who may not have families or other responsibilities to support in the same way that low-skilled persons of color do (p. 8).

Due to such limited opportunities, communities and neighborhoods neglected by government and society must create and engage in underground economies and societal norms that create opportunities in the situation dealt them.  These adopted codes of street and shady dealings are required for residents where they are adopted, but these reactions to limited economic and social opportunities wind up being circular, self-perpetuating limitations to upward mobility in the society right outside these communities.  Because of this, the privileged outside the community can with clear conscience deny the causes of codes and any society hand in them by victim blaming and repudiation of any personal responsibility on the part of the people who live in disadvantaged communities (p. 21).

The privileged make assumptions based on this victim blaming mentality because they have never 1. Been without adequate transportation or access to it except in rare circumstances that were easily rectified; 2. Been without emergency or discretionary income, even a very small amount, where poor persons of color live paycheck to paycheck and have little opportunity to save.  When these opportunities arise, they may be denied access to banking, or find their savings obliterated by even a small emergency; 3. Been without an opportunity to relocate should economy or lack of public services necessitate a move and finally,;4. Been in a situation where attachment to space and place became a real and obvious burden to spatial mobility when moving became necessary (p. 26).

Society focuses on micro causes of poverty and lack of economic and class mobility, exposing the normalcy of privileged thinking.  It is only when a macro cause fundamentally changes the life or money situation of the privileged that this class acknowledges as a whole that government, culture or policy may profoundly affect individual lives.  Unfortunately, even when this happens (taxes increase, the public demands more economic equity) a disconnect remains between how these changes can affect a micro situation and how huge system norms affect real individual lives of those born without inherent privilege (p. 27).

Written by thelittlepecan

October 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

It’s Mah Birfday!

As I sit here buried under fifty million inches of snow* on my birthday, finally able to access the internet, I’m pondering what a birthday post looks like.  Like the rest of the nation, I spent the weekend engrossed in the events of Tucson, AZ.  Unfortunately, on my birthday this year, we are a nation in mourning.

The mud-slinging and blame-throwing obviously starts immediately in this country.  No one wishing to accept their own blame for the violent rhetoric we have established here.  I muse about my own ideals and how they might be hurtful and mean, even violent.  We all get wrapped up in our principles at times and say or think things we wish we hadn’t.

As a progressive and non-theist, I often feel myself coming up with extreme statements or agreeing with others who make them.  More than once I have found myself wishing for the nuclear holocaust to hit the Middle East, not because I hate humanity, but because it seems a mess that can never be cleaned up.  “Just bomb them to bits and be done with it.”  Yeah, I said it.

We must take responsibility for our speech.  That is the flip side of that most precious freedom guaranteed us by the First Amendment.  You cannot just talk and expect that no one is listening.  In a time of endless information, you can be guaranteed that someone, somewhere is hearing you, reading you, nodding with you.

No one but the shooter held the gun.  The RWNJ, the NRA, the Tea-Party were not there in Arizona and it is more than a little bit offensive to try and place the murder of a 9year old on the shoulders of ideals instead of a criminal.   However, we must admit that the country is desensitized to violence in the worst way.  We teach our kids to kill through video games from the time they are tots.  We use violent metaphor to make our political statements…and then, when it happens, we all point fingers at everyone but ourselves.

Maybe we should try a little understanding.  Extreme rhetoric doesn’t help anyone and it loses the masses who sit squarely in the middle, wishing for change but failing to see its ability to succeed.  Be the change.  Talk, don’t yell.  Discuss, don’t argue.  Love over apathy, Kindness over hate.

Happy birthday to me and thank you so much for all your well wishes,  I appreciate each one of you.

*Fifty-million=like 6”.  Whatever.  It’s cold.  I don’t do cold.

Written by thelittlepecan

January 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,