Seeing the Other Side

Once again, we are hearing about a white cop shooting a black man. It’s awful. It really is. And our media feeds are filled with #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter again. We’re seeing constant bickering between the sides, filled with facts, assumptions, and insults. We’re seeing Obama, Donald Trump, white people, black people, and the police blamed for the racism and hatred in society. But who’s fault is it?

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Not Speaking Out

If you use the internet at all, which I assume that you do, since you are here, you’ve surely heard about the most recent shootings, including two men, and almost a dozen cops. Many people are posting their opinions on the matter– who is at fault, what needs to change, and how everyone should be reacting.

While that’s fine, talking about will get more people involved, and hopefully something will change, there are some troubling things being posted on social media. I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “If you are talking about this, then you are part of the problem” or “If you don’t post about this, then you are ignoring the problem, and you are the reason this keeps happening”. Comments like these are a huge problem.

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Dislike of Slang

How often have you heard a slang word that just sounds so stupid to you? Why do other people think it’s cool? Clearly your slang is much cooler than theirs. Right?

What is slang anyway? Why do we have it? Why does it change so much?

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Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

This seems to be a debate every year around this time. Some people say Merry Christmas. Some people say Happy Holidays. Some people get mad if you say the wrong one.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, its about inclusion.

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Don’t Stay in School

Now, I’m a big supporter of education. I believe that the more we know about diverse subjects, the better off we are in our personal lives, the relationships that we hold, and our careers. I’m also a huge fan of learning for fun. Some people collect figurines, some people collect coins, I collect knowledge.

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Who Deserves Respect?

There’s been a lot of talk about respect recently. There are fights between cops and citizens, men and women, and so on between any two group who are somehow different.

We’ve all seen “#blacklivesmatter” over the last several months. And there have been people who changed it to “bluelivesmatter” or “#alllivesmatter” So who is right and who is wrong?

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The Key to Knowledge

Have you ever wondered how some people get to be so smart? Or maybe they just seem to understand everything. Maybe they were born smart. Is there a genius gene? I don’t know. Maybe…

But I find the easiest way to learn, and be one of those “smart people” is to ask two questions. How? and Why?

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Courage and Caitlyn Jenner

Sorry to bring it up. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it by now.

Caitlyn won that courage award she was nominated for. To her: congratulations; it was well deserved. To everyone else: get over it.

Whether or not you think that being trans is a legitimate thing or whatever, there is no need to insult her. By calling her sick, or a freak, or a fag, or whatever childish insult you’ve come up with, you’re only showing us what kind of person you are. You’re only making yourself look bad. You aren’t hurting Caitlyn’s image at all. As she said in her speech, she can take it.

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The Confederate Flag

This will probably be the most controversial thing I have ever, or will ever post on here. I am posting this because I think it’s something that a lot of people are either over-looking, or not understanding.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, symbolism is very important to humans. We place meaning on objects, patterns, colors, pretty much everything. Flags are often used to bring a group of people, a culture or sub-culture together. It allows us to feel pride for our community. That being said, not everyone in a community thinks exactly the same on every issue facing the community.

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Labels are a Necessary Evil

I often hear people say that those who dislike labels, just don’t want to address the issue. I both agree and disagree. Label are both good and bad.

If you’re confused, let me explain. By labels, I mean the words that people use to describe their identity. For example, male and female, gay and straight, etc. (I recognize that there are more identities than these, but lets keep it simple).

So how can they be good and bad? That’s confusing.

Well, lets start with the bad, and end with the good; its always best to finish on a positive note. Labels can be bad because people don’t tend to fit perfectly into boxes. We have this image in our heads of what it means to be male; strong, brave, powerful, smart, etc. But not every man is all of those things. In fact, most men probably aren’t all of those things. They don’t fit into the box of masculinity. It works the same for women. We are taught that women are small, delicate, soft, nurturing, etc. But I bet you can’t think of a woman who is all of those things. Even if you did come up with a man or woman who fit those descriptions, I bet you can think of one who can’t. The truth is, not every man is the same as every other man, and not every woman is the same as every other woman. There are plenty of nurturing men, and powerful women. We don’t fit into boxes.

So labels work perfectly for men who fit into the masculine box, but they don’t work so well for the men who don’t. The same goes for women. So are using these labels harmful? Maybe. But one thing I’ve learned as a student of social science is that if it exists, it has a function. So what’s the function of labels?

They’re descriptors. They help us explain who we are and what we like. If you’ve spent much time looking at things in the LGBT community, you’ve probably found someone explaining their identity, and it looks something like this: “Hi, I’m a straight, demisexual, biromantic, cis¹ male, and I like unicorns.” (I just made that up. This is not how I identify, nor is it how anyone I know identifies). So what are all of those words? What do they mean? Why does this person feel the need to say all of that? My head hurts.

I’m not going to spend time explaining all of those (read about them here), but they are just using labels to quickly and easily explain who they are and what they like. If you know what all of those words mean, you’ll quickly understand that they are a male, who was born male, they are interesting in having both male and female romantic partners (though not necessarily at the same time), they are interested in having sex only with females, and they only feel sexually attracted to a woman after they have formed an emotional bond with that woman. Do you see how long it took to say all of that? It was much easier when we used labels.

Conclusively, labels can be limiting, but they do help us explain ourselves in a much simpler manner. Isn’t it much easier to say that you’re an accountant than to describe all of the responsibilities of the job? That’s why we have labels. While it’s true that some people may not know what a particular label means, it’s never a bad time to learn!

Whatever your stance on labels, be respectful of others with differing opinions; they have their reasons!

¹ The term “cis” is an abbreviated form of the word “cisgender”, which means the person identifies with their biological sex, or the gender they were born as.

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Part of the Daily Blogging Challenge July 2015