Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

WELFARE REFORM WELFARE REHARM

Proponents of welfare reform in NPR’s “20 Years Since Welfare’s Overhaul, Results Are Mixed” missed some recent history through their nostalgic rose-colored glasses, and so did the reporting itself:
Clinton welfare reform penalized people including my family for not landing and attending 5 job interviews a day. The single parent who could not achieve this impossible feat had their share of welfare and food stamps and medicaid taken away. It was horrible. The caregivers struggling the most were punished for feeding themselves by taking away their food and necessities. No child care was provided when Clinton welfare reform was first put into place, for years. Single parents, mostly single mothers, were forced under threat of being thrown in jail to attend classes in “job training” that consisted of degrading them. These training classes and skills tests and meetings did not take into account the education of the person or the person’s and family’s particular life situation.
There was no welfare-to-work act. The jobs available to even a college-educated welfare recipient single mother at the time paid $4.25 per hour. Especially with no or little help to transition to working, a parent was “better” off on welfare than working; that is, a single mother did the math and made the right choice to feed her kids.
As soon as a person was working, she would lose low-income subsidized housing. So she also made the choice to keep a roof over her family’s head.
She would also lose any community assistance for people on welfare if there was any.
If you didn’t report some income or help received, you’d be legally punished. So trying to relieve the situation even a little was impossible under the threat of jail.
In the early and mid-90s, single mothers raising a family without a husband were still very much looked down upon and actively condescended to culturally and specifically, by shop owners and managers, by police officers, and especially by the social workers and department of human service officials whose job was to work with and “help” their families.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with; she and children were pro-actively punished and criminalized multi-fold for the agencies’ and programs’ failure to realistically respond or interact with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with. These agencies and programs of the law punished her and the family multi-fold in lieu of realistically responding or interacting with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
This is how I grew up. Through this, despite this, my mother raised her family.

Advertisements
Standard
Articles and Essays

Body slam by NYPD visible by body shaming naked statue

In the pics of the naked Trump statue in Union Square, NYC, you can see behind it the spot where I was beat up, sprayed in the eyes from 4 to 6 inches away, then also bent over, slamming me and smashing with my knees into jutting rocks while lodged up under several inches of a cement slab, the seat of the semi-circular bench behind the bronze  statue of the first mounted military American hero and president (George Washington), by 4 NYPD officers, all at least 150% of my weight and moreso of my strength, for sitting writing poetry in the park and despite my compliance and encouragement of compliance.
I limped for the following month, during the Towers falling and for several weeks after, when I stayed in the Square practically 24/7 because the trains uptown were cancelled, and helped create the Union Square Towers vigil and memorial walls along the fences. We set up donation boxes, and I limped to the corner stores that had managed to stay open or and soon as they were open again to buy candles and poster board, limped with one of the NYU students to the dorm for butcher paper to hang up and markers and tape for people to  post missing person signs.
The officers were part of a strange sudden increase in presence of officers and military personnel & the latter performing drills. This happened 5 days before the Towers fell.
I don’t know if the bench is still there, but my knee and shin deformation and pain is nearly daily.
And I still have a war-rant because I could not return to court after having no choice but to leave the City a couple of months after the Towers fell.  I tried to call in to court, sitting on hold. Many companies including national temp agencies will not hire me today because of it. I’ve never been able to pay my mother back for the long-distance charges those calls racked up.
If someone hands me a soda or beer while watching election season debates, I will press it gently on my right knee until it’s no longer cold instead of opening it.
#nakedTrump #Trumpstatue #policebrutality #doyougetityet #Drumpf #bigotry #NYPD #911 #TwinTowers #Iwasthere #TheEmporerHasNoBalls #Election2016 #bodyshaming #fatshaming #proudbody #chronicpain
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer on qz.com
Standard
Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Questions, Words & Works of Others

Why #FBBlackout just as #BlackLivesMatter movement picks up?

A blackout in the name of #BlackLivesMatter on the second anniversary of #TrayvonMartin’s senseless racist hate-crime murder is planned for tomorrow June 13th for an entire week away from Facebook.  But could it also be a way to divide and isolate the large network of connected people who are/care about Black lives, #BlackLivesMatter, and whose connection, consciousness of it, and simultaneity make a national movement?

The idea is Black people temporarily leaving Facebook en masse makes an impact on Facebook corporate advertisers with the sudden, collectively large cessation of ad viewership and revenue by African-Americans and allies. Did Facebook itself, Zuck and co., jump in with the #BLM banner on the building to get on the movement’s good side just in time? Not necessarily, but Zuck could have fired the racist employee. Could the Blackout cancel some of the power of the initiative that began on and in some ways relies on the social network, as do many collective conscious awakenings or improvements or movements? The point is to become involved IRL and connect in your/our own communities in face-to-face, physical, local or immediate presence. It is a way to counter the passivity of #Facebookactivism or #clicktivism of the #slacktivist.

Yet Alicia Garza and the #BlackLivesMatters founders used this social media to make the movement, to make change in their local communities and in national community, by getting people involved. Facebook is a tool for these achievements; online communication and connection has made possible or helped to make possible the power of individual connection, numbers, and solidarity since the early days of the internet for people who could access the internet, which has become more accessible–and actually accessed–even for disenfranchised people, though always less so than those better off socioeconomically, which of course means racially, by gender, cissex, ability, et al. So an #FBBlackout also allows people to put aside the digital divide.

Organizer Yefthak Dahn explains: Because Facebook Live was used for the first time in viral, immediate knowledge by the viewing of Diamond “Lavish” Reynold’s filming of fiance #PhilandoCastile getting shot by a white police officer at a short traffic pull over, Facebook and the police and possibly higher government should not have allowed a “technical glitch” to remove the post, nor left it unexplained except for the contradictory and vague information that the video of #Philando may have been taken down by human error or by decision because of its many flags as a violent post.  A blackout by Black people on/of Facebook by one of the richest and most powerful white men in the world demands a stronger position of inclusivity and support of Black people, especially in the face of this targeted fatal violence by leaders and the law that is one advocacy and allyship, since Facebook runs, and runs free, via advertisers. The cost is your information, privacy, exposure to brands and ads, networking and awareness according to Facebook and advertisers’ algorithms, and the value of your demographic and habits to marketers. The Blackout asks people to use other social media platforms.So get on Twitter; don’t sacrifice the momentum.

All people can show Facebook and the slew of companies and corporations advertising on it that #BlackLivesMatter and that we are all affected and are in community by joining. White allies should cause Hellman’s and Uggs and the CMAs to also become financially affected; that might help make a difference in the systemically racist ways our (corporatist) country is run. Make sure you have an alternative way to find out what is happening at protests around the country.  Be aware of the trackability or outside ease of access, besides the lag, of old-school networking communication. Be prepared to keep in contact, make contact more often, including in old-school ways of phone trees, and flash texting, while you are not part of the stream of information and network connecting that you are used to.

#FBBlackout also asks people to experience each other without screen mediation. Allies, especially white people, have a distinct responsibility to get in proximity to People of Color and specifically Black people as welcome and the problems people are facing to work on the racial disparity and end its violence, to work with people and community groups and efforts, to act in them for change in person, in concert, in community with Black people and #BlackLivesMatter.

What is your local criminal justice reform committee doing?  Proximity to and in-person work is necessary above all to stop systemic violence by holding people in the systems of power accountable and racially violent individuals accountable, including those who are upholding it (not just the physically murderous), examining yourself according to the minority voice, then very specifically putting into practice in your daily life changes to dismantle hegemonic white privilege, and by creating events and specifically, locally changing the status quo on opportunity and recognition in your community, in what you are good at and reaching to assist in new realms or work on the problems, where you are welcome, also even in spaces with just white people, and according to the minority voice, according to Black people personally affected.

So please only #FBBlackout to do these actions in person. Please stay networked, and only #FBBlackout if you already have your plans and solidarity down pat against racist pat-downs and stop-and-frisks of Black people, especially that become more violent and fatal, if you can find strength and feel assured personally, spiritually, politically by the knowledge beforehand that around the country people are gathering to make change. if people act, together, without Facebook during all of B/blackout time. Maintain your energy and action together, do not be dispelled and dispersed by lack of connection or communication on the social media site we all use and have relied on. #FBBlackout if you can be stronger without the tool than with it.

Standard
Works in Progress

Gun Control Alt Delete

The U.S. average is one shooting a day. A nation-state where the military can have these weapons but the people can’t, and government en masse decrees via violence–yes, corporate government’s violence–some people as mentally ill in an inaccurate and stigmatizing way primarily for-profit scares me just as much as the possibility of “unstable lone wolves” fatally hating in violent action with weapons. I don’t know the answer, but an essential form of martial law is not it, though the NRA needs to put its mansplaining, KKK-seeded shriveled moneyed dick back in its rapey shorts, and could use some talk therapy.

To the argument that citizens should not be allowed military-grade weapons, we need to back up.  The concept of “military-grade weapons” in the first place scares me; it’s a big part of the problem.  Sure, maybe it’s kind of too late to go back on that, because the weapons are so powerful. But I wonder if societies thought that at every new level of advancement and technology of weapons. And there is empirical evidence of stricter gun laws corrollating to fewer deaths by guns. But, those governments, of Canada, Scandinavian countries, European countries, may be not as corrupt and imperialist, or imperialistically capable and practicing, as the U.S.’s. Plus, *more* people still own guns in Canada, and all citizens serve in the military in some of the Scandinavian countries. How do these factor in comparitively and for the global whole of armed citizens?

A corrupt, racist, classist, and corporate government produced and perpetuates the labeling, stigma, and division by naming some people “mentally ill” just as it criminalizes people often by group (the poor, groups of people of color, by zip code, by religious belief, by citizen/immigrant status, and also accomplishes this via methods [besides classification] of geography and affiliations), forcing other dehumanizing and demonizing permanent labels on them such as “felons,” or “convicts.” Both of these are purposely socially synonymous with violence.  It’s also, purposely, an unpredictable, morphous violence–very similar to the conceptual wars on drugs and terror. The only constant is the simultaneous pressurizing of these primarily arbitrarily and discriminitorily delineated people by also disallowing most employment and opportunistic education and other social participatory and productive opportunity. The perpetuation is the ripple effect of Othering by the people, including those who also may be stigmatized in another of the ways or even the same. The people do the bulk of this divide-and-conquer and -profit work. So because of how that is done, I do not think it solves the problem to simply bar weapons from people branded with these stigmatizations.

Standard
Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Ruffled Draft, Works in Progress

EDUCATED IN AMERICA

EDUCATED IN AMERICA
   If you don’t get a good job right out of college, she said, you’re fucked. Then the more time passes, the less and less desirable you are or capable you are considered to be. Then, you really are out of the loop, because you’re not up on your college learnings of what’s latest work in the field or industry work of what’s going on, from the inside. Cause most of that shit is kept exclusive, for the in-crowd only. And how can you keep up and research and write articles or whatever without any credit, established affiliation? You’re not allowed places if you’re just a person, an independent researcher; you have to have some company or organization credentials. You can’t even get membership into associations usually if you are not at a company or organization. And how the fuck can you research all this stuff and try to keep up and research and write articles or work on stuff in your field when you’re too busy working at or looking for a job at some shitty place for $8/hr of furious-paced, very physical service work, or figuring out how the fuck you’re gonna get places with no bus fare, and how the fuck all this food stamp/Unemployment/stave off medical bills magnitude of beauracracy works, etc etc. An Anthro/Archeology prof/researcher once told me, as many other academics and professionals and books on academics/employment applications inform, well, we don’t just look at grades/transcript for admission, we look at what kind of job you’ve had. So, after you’ve put all this hard work in to try to survive, and are finally saying, my only option to make any kind of decent steady income and make something of myself whatsoever is to go “back to school,” that is, to grad school, to just try to afford it, work till it drops,  join a church so they’ll help you prioritize internet, and attempt feably to sell your dysphoric  female body online in order to afford to–all those jobs you took, grasped at, fought for because they were what was finally or actually for once available or that you could get to and from, in order to fucking survive–are a negative factor on your application?!?!
   What kind of fantasy land is she living in? Researcher-professors (or fill-in-the-blank) aren’t actually that far removed from reality; they can’t even consider tenure a feasible future anymore, especially if academicking while female.
   Of course, (unless there were a fantastic job, maybe) going to grad school is what you really always wanted and had originally planned to do right out of college, but of course couldn’t afford the insane $200 test and all the insane applications fees, esp. since any reductions or waivers are not available unless you are in ONLY your 4rth year of undergrad as a “traditional” “senior” and going full-time–which of course you couldn’t afford to do, and mostly anyone who is not super fucking rich with some connection like a parent who’s a professor and practically their entire tuition is waived cannot do. And since so many people are of course so fucking broke and struggling, more and more people have been unable to afford to even try to get into grad school, but since there are nothing but unsustainable or just complete shit temp jobs if there are any, it’s the only option other than to return to or continue on in undergrad like I did, presumably since the 2008/2009 crash–there are in fact a few programs that have application fee waivers, but they have waited over half a decade and make sure to keep that information as well-hidden as possible on their websites or application instructions, certainly don’t put it on paper or any other place accessibly or updated. Of course, still you can’t afford to even do all the schools/programs, etc. research necessary and study for the GRE since all that takes so much time, esp. the longer you’ve been out of school, or even if you did it while still in school, you have to do most of it all over again anyway cause it’s been so long; its been so long the profs you were hoping to go to a program under have now moved from the accolade-ed state-but-reputed-enough school back to their rich-ass upper crust 2 lesbian spots ever in the Ivies. People who are younger than you, who hadn’t even started puberty when you were arrested your first year of college, your second year on your own, cause of course you had to work to save money first,  eating plain white rice with the amazing privilege of somewhat edible mystery mustard from previous roommates’ abandoned condiments, have now gotten the jobs and professorships where you are hoping to apply to grad school or where you try to apply to a job, but get to the “Internship” line and start crying in the middle of the library. Then you remember, of course, so-&-so had a car in college and parents who helped pay tuition or pay off loans, so could afford to take the unpaid internship (as if there’s actually any other kind) after college if they have been at this company since then. Whereas the Americorps shit-pay position you were grooming yourself for like a brain-damaged Jester who longs to be a stable boy just to stay somewhere at Pharaoh’s court, though you still have the pride-urge to do such recently re-promoted civil service (Thanks, Obama), an actual government program to improve conditions for the poor and disenfranchised in many areas, that your mentor did…you will never be allowed to do because of the record, permanent criminalization.
That’s around when you realize they are doing this on purpose, and they win. Because all you can do is put ice in a bag on shin, on your shoulder, on your hip the police smashed and pulled out of socket, and try to psych yourself into walking to the illegally-anti-union factory fake in-house “temp agency” to get in line for 90 minutes for a hopeful job for the day.  And don’t forget to do your physical therapy, but by the time Obamacare gets passed, it will be too late anyway, you can’t carry a tray across a restaurant all night, the president and presence of ubiquitous image of “HOPE” will certainly be gone, like the benefit of the physical therapy less than halfway into the shift at the 20-minute lunch break. But, to look on the bright side, to get where you are, your single-parent has a “good” job at a university where she does not get a lunch break, but don’t tell the Union. White-collar jobs are hard to come by, they say. Say you, it’s just as physical as the job at Taco Bell, but at least I get some “food.” Mix extra water in the plastic rice, Yum!; mas! agua! it’s just business; don’t worry, there’s no Union to tell. The Republicrats succeeded in seceding, choked you with their white-collar star-circle flag; it was just the American Dream.
Standard
Articles and Essays, Words & Works of Others, Works in Progress

Bigender Multigender Gender expansive Nonbinary Genderqueer Neutral Androgynous

Bigender Multigender Gender expansive Nonbinary Genderqueer Neutral Neutrois Androgynous

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/384104070/384134300
http://www.npr.org/2015/02/06/384104070/paiges-story

Standard
Articles and Essays, Questions, Words & Works of Others

African American Vernacular English and a lay brief history of dialect integrity!

As posted to the United Front-Civil Rights Organization:

posted by Lex Scott

 

When white people or teenagers in general use it, they are still using AAVE (African American Vernacular English). It’s not only used by African Americans anymore, since our culture is mixed, and (especially suburban teenage male) whites were sold Black culture in pop culture (namely hip hop in the late 80s), and people who are not Black/African American feel a right to co-opt it. Also, I think since AAVE is an American dialect, Americans in general (of all colors and creeds) might use it sometimes, in certain settings–whether an authentic way they learned to talk or not, a later adopted dialect. I agree it can make people sound “uneducated,” but that’s because of race (and class) hegemony pushing whiteness=rightness in education.

The responses to the original anonymous Tumblr post point out that there is a grammar system, i think it’s also called a pattern of syntax, to “You [delete to-be conjugation] + article + noun object-of-sentence” or “You [delete to-be conjugation] + adjective.” And that in fact it *matches* the grammatical system (or pattern of syntax?) of Standard American English (SAE), or “proper” English.

Of course in actual life, in reality, at a job interview or in a professional situation, yeah, it sounds uneducated or is considered unprofessional–but that’s because the Anglo dialect (SAE) is the one given clout. It’s also why AAVE is termed a “vernacular,” language spoken in daily life, colloquially.

African American Vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English.**

See, even though AAVE (and other dialects) actually have grammar or syntax patterns = rules…they’re devalued simply because they’re not the norm (SAE) that white Americans developed for English, by natural random language evolution and on purpose, especially for education and for professional speaking.

Ask yourself: How does it sound when someone speaks with a British cockney accent? Educated or uneducated?

If you are a person who’s not African American and/or did not learn to speak AAVE growing up, do you ever say phrases like, “Where you going?” or even “Where ya going?” These also omit the “are,” the to-be conjugation (though I don’t know if it is happening in the same way linguistically!).
And would you say this, would you speak like this in a job interview or in a professional setting?^^

**African American vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English:

Because English is largely lacking in the subjunctive and other general or what-if verb tenses (cases? Linguists please help me out here!), or doesn’t have a different-sounding word or verb conjugation for the subjunctive or a certain verb tense, Africans who were brought here retained these tenses from their African languages. For instance, saying “She be…” + adjective or + -ing verb, using the infinitive auxiliary, or helping, verb is actually from Yoruba tribe language structure! And from some other African languages, if I remember right what I’ve learned. And it’s a structure **more complex** than that of English! It makes for an additional verb tense. English is missing this kind of verb tense and murky with others: for instance, describing a chronological spot on a timeline that’s distinctly in the present but also a lasting, though undefined, length or range–so when Africans from many different tribes were learning English, suddenly forcibly put into English-speaking American environments as slaves, people or a single person from one tribe mixed up with people from all different tribes who spoke different languages, and communicating, especially learning some English was a matter of life and death, these verb tenses / sentence structures stuck around! The African language infusions clarify the English or add to it.
(Linguists, please correct, if the infinitive in “pronoun + infinitive” structure is not an infinitive auxiliary!)

^^…What if in your job, and maybe in your life in all aspects, you never have to use “professional” speak…? When African Americans and other race people of color, and poor whites and light-skinned people before the category of “white” was so omnipresent as the norm, were kept out of “professional” jobs and business and life, there was no need to learn or adapt to “professional” English of the dominant educated class/race/group. So in that sense of course it is just as “professional” to use whatever dialect you speak–or even a different language or what’s called a “pidgin” (mixture of two languages into a business/commerce dialect) or a “creole”!  If you *are* a business person, say, a butcher or owner of a butchery, and you, say, talk to the German shepherd (no pun intended nor offense meant!) to get lamb and the Jewish Rabbi who speaks Hebrew to get Kosher meat and first-generation Italian immigrants and Irish immigrants, etc., will you speak perfect King’s English or Standard American English of the year 18-something-or-other or the early 1900s? If you are an African American who until segregation mostly was only interacting to do business with other African American people, except maybe sometimes with a few working-class People of Color and/or white, probably immigrant, people…what dialects of English would you speak?

Standard