Posts Tagged ‘activism/causes’
The Atheist Experience blog posted a piece by Don Baker on “Media Fawning Over Papal Claptrap.” I posted the link to my Facebook page, and I am crossposting it because it is well worth reading. I too get annoyed anytime the Pope decides to utter something as if it was relevant or a great revelation. The latest condom pronouncement is not some great revelation. It is just him trying to cover his church’s collective ass and his own. His list of gripes against the media’s brown nosing of the Vatican is a must-read. It is high time someone holds the Catholic church and its leadership accountable for their crimes ranging from decades of systematic child abuse to misinformation on health and reproductive issues. Sadly, it won’t be Catholics who for the most part prefer to either remain silent or lash out at others when these issues are pointed out. Sorry, but you are not getting a free pass from me. If you tolerate what the Catholic church does or fails to do in terms of things like protecting children, preventing the spread of disease, and other forms of oppression, you are as much part of the problem as the church hierarchy. No one forces you to remain in the institution.
And we could speak about other religions, but that would be a separate post. Our point for now is that the media really needs to take up its role of critical investigator instead of fawning puppy.
I posted a link to V’s speech and a little commentary last year at this date. This year, given the election in the United States, I think the speech given by V in the film V for Vendetta. So, here is a link to the speech once more.
And if you want to follow along, here is the text of the speech:
“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”
These are some additional readings I found useful or meaningful as I was writing my recent “Making my stand” post. I think they should be shared.
- P.Z. Myers on “There’s Never a Shortage of Smarm Among Evangelicals.”
- Emily Nagoski on “I Don’t Respect You.” “When it comes to bigots who use their religion to justify their bigotry, intolerance, and hate, she says a lot that I want to say and agree with. She writes, “If you believe gay people – or indeed any people – are going to hell, then I don’t respect you. I don’t just not respect your beliefs, I don’t respect YOU. As a person. Morally. I feel morally superior to you. I have contempt for you and I think the world will be a better place when you are dead.” Read on for the argument of why she and those who think like her are not intolerant and certainly more decent than the so-called pious.
- Jeff Jarvis on “The Rutgers Tragedy.” I quoted a small part of this for my post, but the post overall is worth reading.
- And a little humor, because we can use some. Since the all the ignorant and bigots out there like to say that LGBT people have an agenda that they are pushing, the folks at YesButNoButYes suggest that such an agenda starts with “The Gay Alphabet.” Remember, you can’t push an agenda until you know its letters.
(This is cross-posted from The Gypsy Librarian)
“We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther!” –Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, from the film Star Trek: First Contact.
I have been attentive to what has been going on with the recent suicides of gay youths due to bullying up to and including the incident of the bigoted school board member in Arkansas. I have written some things in response, but so far, I kept them in my personal journal. The more I listen and watch and ponder, the more difficult I find it to stay silent, to not stand up, to not say anything. So my three readers can consider this post the one where I draw the line because bullies and bigots come and think they can get away with their crimes and uncivilized behavior. Well, no more. Not if this librarian has anything to say about it, and I do have a thing or two to say. What follows are two small items I wrote earlier that I am ready to share.
From my personal journal, October 6, 2010:
I’ve been wanting to blog about the recent bullying and suicide stories, but I am not sure what approach to take. Jeff Jarvis, in discussing the tragedy at Rutgers University, summarized it well: “It is a story of human tragedy.” What we have here is not just an individual failure. We have a community failure from the parents of those bullies who very likely failed to instill good values like common decency to a society that pretty much is willing to accept bullying. That we had more than one suicide due to bullies in less than a month was probably enough for the media to cover it. But if it had been just one suicide in some small town, no one else would have heard about it, and people in that small town, with the exception of the victim’s relatives, would have likely chalked it up to “boys will be boys” or some similar line. A line such as “kids in school will always be kids” should never be an acceptable cover or excuse for bullying, hazing, harassment, or other kind of anti-social behavior. That adults consistently use that excuse reflects a serious lack of character and compassion.
But there is another reason I find it difficult to blog about it. It means making my views more public in a fairly hostile environment. But if I don’t stand up and speak, then who will? For me, this is the right thing to do, and yet I have my fears. As a librarian, I struggle with the illusion many in the profession hold of neutrality against the belief that we should help educate, that we should not only provide information but use our best professional judgment in providing good, accurate, and reliable information. Taking a stand breaks that illusion. It raises a flag stating that this is what I stand for and what I will defend or oppose. Yet, if I remain silent, it would not be right. I don’t think anyone said this profession would be without some risk. Then again, every time I blog, or even post a shared link online, there is the risk of offending somebody, somewhere, maybe even a future potential employer. A lot of librarianship is about image, and it is a pretty small profession where the wrong blog post can get you shunned. I try not to let it bother me. I try not to self-censor more than is necessary. But I am finding it harder and harder to stay silent. The truth needs to be spoken. We have to take a stand for what is right. In my case, writing and blogging are my ways to do so.
Today is National Coming Out Day. I think it has a special significance this year given the series of LGBT youth suicides due to bullying. As Jeff Jarvis said in a post I read a few days back, those deaths are a human tragedy.
What I am thinking about today is the bravery of those LGBT folks who do choose to come out, whether today or any other day. Maybe that is just what moves me to be an ally. Maybe it’s that I think everybody should be able to love whomever they like and not be discriminated against on that basis. That civil rights should be rights for all, not just for some. That if you choose to live in a committed relationship of marriage, the gender of those involved should not be an issue for receiving the rights and responsibilities of marriage.
But what does it have to do with me? I am a straight male (at least I was last time I looked, haha!), so one would think I have nothing to gain or lose. In fact, I may have more to lose–from folks suddenly thinking I may be gay to workplace concerns; East Texas is not a particularly friendly place if you do not fall within its norms and parameters. I do it because it is the right thing to do. I do it because I look forward to the day where coming out won’t matter because it will not be an issue. Just like I hope for a day when no one is judged by race, handicap, so on, I look to the day no one is judged by their sexual orientation. I don’t think I will live to see that day given how much work and education this nation needs before it truly embraces diversity. But I hope that some day, maybe in the days of my daughter’s grandchildren, they will look back at our society and say things like “what the fuck were they thinking?” or “discriminating because someone is gay? How quaint.” Maybe some day, and I hope that day arrives sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, coming out (as an ally) is the small part I can do to bring about better days. It is my small way of saying to those in the LGBT community and the rest of the allies that they are not alone. It is my way of saying that as a librarian my skills and knowledge are at the community’s disposal, and if I can’t find a resource, I know someone who does know. I am here for those who may need a supportive person.
Do I want to be “that” librarian? I sure do. It’s the decent thing to do, and I cannot do anything less. And if certain coworkers don’t like it, then let them stew in their bigotry. They will either see the error of their ways and do the right thing, or history will simply pass them over.
I thought I could remain silent, but I can’t. Not anymore. I am coming out, and I am letting others know.
- Emily Lloyd, on “Being Visibly Queer-Friendly: Please Consider It.“
- Jen McCreight introducing and commenting on the “It Gets Better Project.”
- And because I am a librarian, I feel that I should provide some books to help out. So here is a list of “10 LGBT Books for Teens That Tackle Suicide and Bullying.” Via Lambda Literary. We probably should acquire one or all for our library, but between the tight budget and, well, the usual barriers, I am not sure it will be possible (at the moment).
Update Note: (11/1/10): Wayne Bivens-Tatum, the Academic Librarian, picked up on this post, and he wrote a very detailed, thoughtful, and reasoned response on librarians and our neutral (or not) stances. It is worth reading it in its entirety.
Posted October 21, 2010on:
I found this video (link to YouTube)to be a good lesson not only for atheists but for activists in general. Greta Christina gave a talk to the SSA conference in Ohio on the topic of “What Atheists Can Learn from the LGBT Movement.”
A couple of ideas I jotted down from the video:
- Different methods of activism work for different people. Using different methods simultaneously allows your movement to reach more people.
- We should debate the merits of different approaches– whether to confront or to be diplomatic– but it should not be done on the basis of demonizing the other side. Doing such demonization wastes time and energy.
Found via Blag Hag.