Dear White Folks: We have to stop using the n-word. Like really, really. There was a word invented by White people as a pejorative for Black folks. Our people gave up the privilege to use that word the moment we invented it as a tool of oppression. So here are four reasons why it’s never okay for us to say it — no matter what Black folks are doing.
As important as self-care can be, for many of us, communal care is equally as vital. Healing community is about holding space: holding space for love, care, reflection, laughter, crying, feeling what we’re feeling, dancing, screaming, sorting through, moving past, sitting with, or for whatever else we may need. Because even when my personal life feels burdened, community exists all around me.
If you’re a parent of a school-aged child, it’s likely that you’ve been affected by bullying. With approximately 30% of students reporting being bullied and far more being peripherally affected or even traumatized by bullying, it’s a weighing concern on parents’ minds. That’s why I wanted to offer a quick read for parents who are concerned about it.
I have been reflecting a lot lately on how I can be a better ally. And as we wade our way into 2014, I suppose now is as good a time as any to consider some ways that any person who wishes to act accountably as an ally) can do better in 2014. So here’s my list of 30 ways that those of us who strive to act in solidarity and allyship (most notably inclusive of myself) can be better allies.
I recently wrote a piece on my personal blog that highlighted seven men who are transforming masculinity, and I was blown away by how well it resonated. In reflecting on the post, I realized that it was so popular because it touched on an unfilled need. We need to talk about what a more inclusive masculinity could actually look like beyond “Real men cry, too.”
Bullying has changed profoundly in the Internet era. Yet it has simultaneously stayed the same in how it disproportionately targets the most vulnerable identities in our communities. Prevention starts with this understanding. But understanding the problem does not necessarily inspire action. The problem itself can seem too overwhelming. But we have to empower our communities with tools!
Not only do I love parties, but a big part of my work is encouraging sex-positive party culture on college campuses. Parties can be profoundly dangerous places, especially for women. So it leaves me wondering this: Aside from the changes we can make to ensure party culture is more sex positive, how can men act as allies to women at parties, particularly as we look to prevent sexual violence?
There are lots of ways to be a great “ally” – and innumerable ways to be a terrible one. But it’s not rocket science. There are simple things you can keep in mind and do in order to be a better person “currently operating in solidarity with” the marginalized or oppressed. And while this list is not comprehensive, it’s definitely somewhere to start. So “allies,” let’s talk.
Far too often, young people tear each other down and target one another for sustained violence, harassment, or neglect in order to feel more powerful, particularly when the person exhibiting bullying behavior is feeling powerless. But if we want to end the problem, we have to do the tough work of changing culture and climate. It’s time we change how we talk about bullying.
With rare exceptions, no one who is throwing a party spends the energy so that people will get assaulted. Yet, the grim reality is that at least 1 in 4 college women are survivors of sexual violence, and our institutions are not doing enough to stem this terrible tide. Jamie Utt, sexual violence prevention educator, discusses this phenomenon and offers advice on how to begin the change.