Monday, September 3, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Curious (Links for the Week)

Here's what I've been reading that made me smile, die a little inside, and think.

The Good

While this one definitely made me think, the conclusion made me smile because I relate to it so much. PhD in Parenting has a post on how the mommy wars being waged on the internet made her a better parent:
Yes, I sat there with my mouth gaping wide open, sometimes feeling sorry for the people who were being attacked in such a cruel way by others. But secretly, I have to confess that I appreciated those flaming hot threads. It is obviously horrible when you are a direct participant or target in a heated confrontation on parenting styles, but for those observing, I do think there is some value. These flame wars opened my eyes to issues that I never realized were issues. I didn't form opinions based on those conversations alone, but they did serve as a flag. They told me that these issues weren't as black and white as the mainstream parenting books would have me believe and perhaps there is more to the story than meets the eye. They forced me to research, discuss, and consider the choices that I made. They saved me from making choices that I might have later regretted (or maybe not if I remained in the dark).
This cover of Bob Dylan's "All I Really Want to Do" by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper:

The Bad

Several U.S. cities have a shameful backlog of rape kits that they need funding to test. In Detroit, testing the first 150 of 11,000 kits that literally had to be dusted off found 21 serial rapists and a murderer. What do the rest of them (in Detroit and elsewhere) hold?

The Curious

Alas, a Blog! takes a deeper look into some comments about children in public from a Feministe thread that drove me a little crazy:
My main point isn’t that mainstream feminists never have anything positive to say about children and parents. My point is that, among writers with less money and privilege and power, attitudes like the above aren’t actively cultivated and encouraged. (If you think it’s unfair that I seem to have cherry-picked the above quotes from Feministe, just try to find me an equivalent number of similar quotes by, say, radical women of color or low-income radicals–as opposed to radicals with privilege who don’t bother to educate themselves but think anarchism is sexy.) Keeping the focus on individual people who don’t do what you think they should be doing, rather than the deeper social structures that feed these kinds of schisms, makes it possible for privileged people to ignore the hegemony that benefits them. One very basic example: how easy is it to defend “child-free” public spaces when everyone you know employs a full-time nanny?
SPARK has a great post about a classroom exercise where students cast people into different movie roles based on their head shots and what it reveals about racial and gender stereotypes.

After I wrote my post "Red States, Welfare, and Poverty," I read a few more discussions on the same topic. This piece from the Economist ends with a very personal explanation of the author's move from being a "Rand-toting libertarian lad" to a someone who recognizes how systemic racism plays a role in our society:
Here's how I had thought about the matter. One racist acting in a private capacity on his or her racist beliefs can't violate anyone's legitimate, negative rights. (No one is entitled to another's good opinion!) Two racists acting as private citizens on their racist beliefs can't violate anyone's rights. Therefore, I inferred, thousands or millions of racists acting non-coercively on their racist beliefs can't coercively violate anyone's rights. I now think this is quite wrongheaded.
The other piece was from Sociological Images that showed responses to some questions designed to test for racial bias by political affiliation. The results? Not all the racists are on the right. 

That Atlantic piece on the "Fear of a Black President" is very thought provoking. 

What have you been reading?

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