Jo and the School’s Out Squad discover friendship in their first adventure, The Raspberry Race. Jo gets schooled about being honest, but her biggest lesson is about human nature.
When 6th grader Jo Daniels gets into trouble for eating raspberries from her neighbor’s bush, she gets help from her friends Betsy, Tommy and Leonard, and discovers her neighbor isn’t who she thought she was after all. This middle-school chapter book is filled with adventure and fun for children aged 9-12.
Does success or failure depend on effort, energy, talent and skill? Can someone have all of these things and still not “make it?” What kinds of barriers keep people from attaining their goals?
Some say that the U.S. is a meritocracy – that folks do “make it” or not based on their own effort, energy, talent and skills, and maybe a little luck. Some believe that just about anybody has the opportunity to be successful in the U.S. today, it’s the American dream with our immigrant past, after all! But is it true, or are some people privileged?
Do some folks just have the advantage no matter how you slice it?
Prejudice and privilege are closely related. Our prejudices may even help ensure our privileges. “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks,” according to McIntosh. Those born without the special provisions have a harder time navigating the waters of life.
It is sad that“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” was written in 1988, and so little has changed in the intervening 32 years. Instead, the “racial worldview that we’ve created” assigns some people to perpetual low status, while others are permitted access to “privilege, power, and wealth.”
In fact, your gender, skin color, physical or mental ability, and financial status largely determine your place in our society.
People who identify as white fail to recognize that their whiteness is a racial category at all. Like a fish in water, a white person in the U.S. swims in a sea of privilege and rarely perceives the unspoken social benefits that come from their skin tone.
Whites are taught about racism as something that disadvantages others, they are not usually taught that racism gives whites the advantage. Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyed” is an exception to this. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Elliott is listed on the timeline of 30 notable educators by McGraw-Hill along with Confucius, Plato, Booker T. Washington, and Maria Montessori, to give an idea of how influential her training programs have become.
As a diversity trainer myself for over 15 years, I relied on Jane’s astute analogy of blue-eyes versus brown-eyes to help white participants achieve an “ah ha! moment.”
Jane Elliott received a lot of complaints for placing young people who were white and blue-eyed into a situation where they were disadvantaged as compared to their white and brown-eyed class mates. This few-hour exercise made white adults gasp and protest about the pain Jane was inflicting upon the poor blue-eyed children. For example, they were made to sit in the back of the classroom, they had to eat lunch after the brown-eyed children, and they were not given the same privileges that the brown-eyed children received. Some thought there might be permanent damage done to their psyches!
If damage was caused to the blue-eyed children from a few hours of this treatment, what impact does a lifetime of such treatment mean to a person of color? Some children and adults were able to make the connection between the exercise and the treatment of people of color, and expressed that the exercise was valuable and transformative.
The most powerful transformation, and the reason for the longevity of Ms. Elliott’s diversity training program, Blue-Eyed, is its ability to make people aware of their privileges. https://janeelliott.com/
Peggy McIntosh points out that she had to give up the myth of meritocracy after considering the questions in the Are You Privileged quiz, and accept that “this is not such a free country, one’s life is not what one makes it, many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.”
In order for the U.S. to become a meritocracy, we would need to eliminate artificial barriers to success, those barriers that are based on “race” or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or identification, perceived or real disability, and class or financial status. That’s how to create a level playing field in order for everyone to reach their fullest potential and make their greatest contributions.
When everyone has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, then we all have a better environment in which to thrive, regardless of the color of our eyes.
If the World were 100 PEOPLE:
50 would be female 50 would be male
25 would be children There would be 75 adults, 9 of whom would be 65 and older
There would be: 60 Asians 16 Africans 14 people from the Americas 10 Europeans
31 Christians 23 Muslims 16 people who would not be aligned with a religion 15 Hindus 7 Buddhists 8 people who practice other religions
86 would be able to read and write; 14 would not
7 would have a college degree 40 would have an Internet connection
78 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 22 would not
91 would have access to safe drinking water 9 people would have no clean, safe water to drink
People are/should be up in arms! The actions of the 1% have led to the “late, great United States” and also systematic pillaging of the world. They are against nature – but no they are nature run rampant, as in a swarm of locusts set upon the land in numbers that decimate.
There. Now that I’ve said that, who are “they” and what should “we” do about “them?” (#BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines.)
Right now we are experiencing the dichotomy of the struggle for freedom and the repression of freedom occurring simultaneously. But why would it be otherwise? We are at the Tipping Point.
There is a long history of corporate personhood — the bestowing by our judiciary of 1st and other constitutional (amendment) rights upon corporations.
And there is a long history of peoples’ struggle for freedom and rights in the US beginning with our Revolutionary War. The two are now pitted squarely against each other. Corporations currently are asserting their power. They want more. Of course, a corporation can’t speak (then how can it have rights and privileges like the ability to contribute to political parties!?) If a corporation can’t speak then WHO is behind what is going on?
Koch Bros and others, have together or separately, by orchestration or accident
of greed, conspired to rid the people of the US of their power once and for
election since the Citizens United Supreme Court case gave a sweeping victory
to Republicans supporting the corporate agenda. This agenda has been rolled out
across the US since in various state legislations, including Kansas (K.S.A.
72-5413), preventing any “labor
organization or professional employee organization or public employee
organization to use dues, fees or any kind of deduction from a member’s
paycheck for the purpose of engaging in political activities.”
Why do the
1% care about ending Union dues? Because the USSC case, Citizens United,
allowed for corporate say (sway) over elections AND for UNION input, too. So
now it’s time to eliminate all competition by eliminating Union power (the last
voice of the people) so that only the corporations have voice.
How are the corporations heard? Corporate dollars can be used to voice political opinions, as can Union dollars according to Citizens United. The Sacklers — the family that owns Purdue Pharma (remember, the ones responsible for the opioid crisis who are opposed to the Affordable Care Act?) can use their corporate dollars to back political candidates that will ensure they keep raking it in at our expense. And voices in union won’t be heard to counter them because Unions may be expressly prohibited from collecting dues from member’s to go to political activities.
What are the
corporate voices saying? In a nutshell:
No more Unions. Corporations want to hear you one at a time not in unison, and not in court but only in mandatory arbitration with an arbitrator of their choosing. Hey, you are an at-will employee and you signed the paper when you were hired. Get over it. Bargain for yourself.
No more Whistle-blowing. Shut up. Get out. You are interfering with potential profit making. The bottom line, ya know?
While we’re at it, no more discrimination complaints, either. Whine to your mama.
No more public funded secondary education. What did you think this education/learning thing was, a free-for-all? A tripling of the tuition rate should get rid of some of the lower stratum. Hey, let’s get rid of PELL, too! That will really reduce the number of losers going to college! But bribes from the rich parents of not-so-bright kids are welcome.
No more public education K-12 – it is clearly socialist. All schools should be privatized and so a nice profit can be made off of each and every “learner.” (REFERENCE CHARTER SCHOOLS scandals; (#BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines.)
No more day care or early childhood subsidies. Hell, let’s gut the Special Olympics. If we could just get rid of disability protections too… (#BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines.)
No more “free judiciary” — Judges should make a profit for filling up for-profit jails and prisons. If people, who are not productive for the corporation otherwise, were in a for-profit jail, then money could be made off of them anyway. Brilliant!
No more abortion. Lots of unwanted babies are necessary for this scheme to work! And no more subsidies to mothers. We don’t want to risk losing potential prison inmates. Besides, what did they ever do for us?
And forget loyalty to party values, or even loyalty to home and country. Partnering with Putin pays.
Hey, and no more “truth”. We don’t want people to know what’s going on.
Since there is a big, ol’ global-warming clock loudly ticking, it makes sense that the 1% ought to be given a good, long time-out. So, don’t forget to support your local union, and #BetsyDeVosShouldCleanSchoolLatrines.
Snow blanketed the town in quiet isolation. It covered the roadways and rooftops and treetops, even the magnificent climbing tree that shaded the Carroll’s tiny well-maintained home across from the grade school. Everything was covered with feet of fluffy white powder. Borne by the wicked winter wind, it had curled around corners to layer unevenly on window ledges, lapped over porch screens to create rippling patterns, and drifted into mounds that covered bushes and bicycles, burying whole cars under its weight. It covered Myrtle’s flowerbeds leaving only some tall stalks visible, outlined in glistening ice.
Sledding behind cars was prohibited, and so Bob, Art, Harold and others got out their skis. They gathered at the top of 14th Street hill, put their skis on and waited, throwing snowballs and shoving each other around to stay warm. They were waiting for the first likely, unsuspecting bumper to come their way.
Art pulled his cap down over his ears, rubbed gloved hands together, and grabbed onto the silver fender of a blue Oldsmobile sliding off on wobbly but confident skis. He guided his way nimbly along the edge of the road, slipping back behind the car to avoid heaps of snow, trash cans, and occasional pedestrians. The hill was considerably steeper than he’d expected. His scarf flapped in the wind like a kite tail as he shifted his weight expertly beside the Olds’. Art was fourteen and fast. But gaining speed wasn’t the hard part, slowing down was. At a T-intersection, he lost the car when it turned the sharp corner to the left and Art found himself continuing forward, flying.
He winced a bit now as he stretched, still sore, but he was the first one up as he usually was on cold mornings, up before anyone scratched a match to the cast iron to light the wood stove, when fingers of ice still tickled at the spine, encouraging a shiver. This morning was no exception. He nursed the cut that was sure to turn into a scar and remembered the impossibility of being airborne and the pain of landing as he scuttled into his jeans.
Do not attend a hate rally! Instead, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 10 Ways to Fight Hate you should, “Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.”
Rallies and marches held by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups are protected under the First Amendment. If we are able to stop one group from gathering, then what groups would be prevented next? Rather than risk losing our rights under the First Amendment, “our efforts should focus on channeling people away from hate rallies.”
Do you follow the trends, have the latest gadgets? Do you watch TV, follow the popular shows? Do you believe the things you read on facebook? Are you able to think for yourself? Are you able to reflect and consider, or do you react and follow along? Just how manipulatable are you?
These are important questions to ask yourself in a hot and volatile world that is only getting hotter and more volatile. Global warming and lies. Deception and gain. Greed and death. Ho hum. Change the channel, will you? Oh! You can’t.
49 years ago today the My Lai Massacre brutally took the lives of almost 400 unarmed people—including mothers and babies, and the old. More people were victimized than just those slaughtered that day. Innocence was lost all over the world as news of the atrocity—of the evil committed by good American solders—altered the way we look at ourselves. Group evil was acknowledged due to the My Lai Massacre, and rightly feared. But what has been done since to understand group evil and prevent its recurrence? Apparently, very little.
Does time fly when you’re having fun? Have you wasted all your time? Are you losing time? Is it possible that you’ll never find the time again? Is time like sand in an hour-glass? Is time money?
It appears most of our expressions referring to time communicate that time is a commodity. But is this true? Is time anything at all? If we agree the clock is ticking, does it tick the same for you as it does for me? Are we all subject to the same time restrictions?
It turns out that the answer is “no.” Einstein’s theory of relativity explains how time passes more slowly for those moving at greater speeds, and more quickly at greater heights (people age faster living at the top story than the bottom. If there’s a message in any of this it is: move fast and stay low!)
What little we know about time raises some interesting questions.
Let’s say you carefully measure someone’s physiology—their breathing, heart rate, blood-pressure, etc.—and then ask them to view random photographs that might be expected to trigger a measurable emotional response. Dean Radin’s experiments demonstrate that people in fact responded in the expected emotional way—joy, sadness, fear—in response to certain images, but their response was documented prior to seeing the photographs!
Are you free to make your own decisions as a “conscious” being, or are you predisposed—fated—to think and act in certain ways? What part does chance or randomness play in your life?
Imagine you are a physics student and you’re about to fail a class in quantum mechanics. You’re scouring the depths of the library for something, anything, to help you write a good enough paper to get a passing grade. (It is 1967 so you can’t just Google it.) On a dark, lower shelf a small, dusty book calls to you and you pull it from its undisturbed resting place of several years. The dusty book was John Bell’s thesis on entangled particles and the struggling student was John Clauser. The rest is history.
John Clauser got his PhD in astrophysics and went on to contribute greatly to our understanding of quantum mechanics, in spite of his rough start. John Bell was rescued from obscurity. Bell had an idea for an experiment to test Einstein’s assertion that there was a hidden or unknown cause for the troubling behavior of entangled particles.
Entangled particles, like separated Siamese twins, remain interconnected even at great distances and with no identifiable means of connection or communication. Einstein was certain there must be some undiscovered “hidden” force behind the weirdness, or as Einstein put it, “spooky action at a distance.”
Is there something hidden behind the curtain—some unseen cause that makes sense of entangled particles? John Bell’s rediscovered experiments offered a way to test Einstein’s theory. The testing hasn’t stopped since.
Is consciousness like cruising in a canoe on a calm river that gently flows in one direction? Or is it more like a jet-ski ride where we leap over the water’s surface and then slap down again and again like a zig-zagging bull-frog?
Physicist Sir Roger Penrose thinks human consciousness works as discrete conscious moments, more like a jet-ski ride. We don’t recognize them as individual “moments” because consciousness feels continuous; it feels like a smooth ride.
In these discrete moments we interact with the quantum field. Imagine the quantum field as an ocean of waves where the tips of the waves represent physical reality and everything else potentiality. In this view, our perception of the material world is just the crest of a wave in the sea of possibility, and consciousness is an act of riding the waves.
According to research on the brain, we have 40 to 100 or more experiences of “cresting” each second. Or to put it another way, we have 40 to 100 experiences of conscious awareness each second. Stewart Hameroff has studied consciousness from the perspective of an anesthesiologist. What is it that removes consciousness when you “go under” from anesthetic drugs? What is it that restores consciousness? What the heck is consciousness?