Tag Archives: society

Be Less Racist – Eat Less Chicken


I’ve been pretty busy with work, so I haven’t had time to blog, but some of the events that have unfolded over the last few days have prompted me to jump back up on my soapbox for a few minutes. I’m going to make a couple of statements, then expound on them. Ready?

Okay…here we go.

Statement #1: Chik-Fil-A can support whatever it wants.

Like it or not, they are free not to support same-sex marriage. They are free to be a religious-based organization. They can choose to only recognize traditional marriage standards. You can boycott them. You can march in front of their restaurants and call them homophobic, evil or whatever you want. But it’s not going to make a difference. Beliefs that deeply rooted are not going to change because of a few picket signs or angry letters to the editor. I would bet the farm that Cathy et al would close the franchise down before they would change their stance. So, don’t waste your energy. Express your disdain by driving past the restaurant and eating someplace else.

Or you could send everyone you know to a Chik-Fil-A, then have them donate a dollar to a local Gay rights advocacy group as penance.  And don’t forget to let the restaurant know you did so.

Statement #2: Racism is alive and well.

Many of my friends seem to be shocked by this revelation. It makes me smile that some of my friends are so pure of thought that these things don’t occur to them, and it makes my heart sad when I have to point this fact out to them. I wish I could have the same idyllic attitude, but alas, it seems my reason for being is to be a litmus test and sounder of the alarm for others. I’m okay with that. But please, when I tell you that outside of your immediate scope, there are people who still hate on the basis of skin color, I’m not trying to be mean. I’m your reality check. No more, no less.

But the debates from the last few days have made me question things, and so, I am going to throw the big question out there: Fifty years ago, would we have been friends? Would you have supported my right to sit where I want on a bus or in a restaurant, or would you have complained that I had an “agenda” as I was fighting for my equal rights as a black person? Or go back further in time — would you have objected to my agenda to have equal rights as a woman?

No?

Maybe?

How are those fights any different from the one being fought now?

Now, before you tell me, “but it’s not the same thing, you’re comparing apples to oranges,” let me stop you. You’re right, they are two completely different issues.

But they are still both fruit. Fruit born from the same seed of ignorance and intolerance.  Just as the fair and equal-minded had to shout down the detractors to equal right for women and blacks then, the same thing is happening now.

Speaking of detractors, let’s talk a moment about Obama haters.

No, I don’t mean those who oppose President Obama’s policies, I mean those who hate the man.

Dislike his policies all you want. Call him out on what you perceive as a lack of experience and inability to run the country. I got no beef with that.

But those of you who hate him because you hate the idea of a black man being in the Oval Office, I’m onto you, and I will call you out whenever I encounter you. I’ve got a big booming voice, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Because if I let you hate him and remain silent about it, it is only a matter of time before you start hating me. Because I’m black. Because I’m a woman. Because I fit some other stereotype you hold dear to your heart.

So, now, friends,  maybe you understand my frustration with some of the things that have been said over the last few days. For some of you, it’s just idle chatter with no immediate implications. But for me, it is so much bigger than that. I cannot allow anyone  to roll back time and force me to fight for my rights all over again. Not gonna happen. Not while I’m still breathing.

 

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An Open Letter To Everyone Who Wanted Me To Write An Open Letter About Trayvon Martin


(and were ticked off/disappointed/confused by my apathy statement earlier.)

You wanted a rant — here ya go. First a caveat: The words “you” and “yours” are collective. I’m talking to everyone. If it doesn’t apply to you, then you’ve got no reason to be offended. If it does, well…

So, earlier today, I posted that I was…oh let me just pull the quote:

You know, over the last few days, I’ve seen some pretty stupid news items come through my Facebook feed. A 17 year-old boy armed with iced tea and Skittles being shot dead by a nutcase with a cop complex. A lame bumper sticker. Anything from Fox News. Several good candidates for YMBOC.

Now, I remember a time, not so long ago, when any one of these would have elicited a full-blown rant from me.  At one time, I could have written thousands of words on any of the above-mentioned topics.

And yet…

Yeah, I got nothin’.

It’s official folks: I am completely apathetic.

Some of you seemed to take offense to that statement, even though I went on to say:

Now, don’t confuse my apathy for lack of caring or concern. I do care, and I am concerned. However, railing about it just isn’t in me right now. It’s as if I’m in observation mode — just taking it all in, making notes as things unfold.

And observe I have. But I don’t think I’m seeing the same things you are.

Some of you seem to think I should be more outraged than everyone else about this because I’m black.

What the hell does that have to do with anything?Is there some special dispensation code I should be using to show the proper amount of outrage over an unarmed kid being shot to death by a racist prick?

Is it not enough for me to be outraged because I’m a mother?

How about the fact that I’m a human being?

But because I’m black, I’m supposed to automatically be especially outraged over this tragic event.

Bite me.

I Am outraged. It sickens me that in 2012, people are still killing people based on stereotypes, hate, skin color and ignorance. I’m sick and tired of always worrying that when my kids walk out that door, there’s a chance they might not come back.

But you know what I’m really sick of? As aggravating, frustrating, pathetic and sad as the Trayvon Martin situation is, it’s not the first. Today, it’s Trayvon Martin. Yesterday it was Troy Davis. Before that, it was Sean Bell. Before that, Emmett Till.

Don’t know who these people are?

Google is your friend.

And the real bitch of it is…

There will be another one tomorrow, and next week, and next month and next year.

Because you see, so long as people still see black males as “thugs in hoodies” and refer to them as “f****in coons,” it’s going to keep happening. Again and again and again.

And damn if I know how to stop it.

So, you’ll excuse me if once in a while I defer the need to express outrage to others who are just as capable of railing, ranting and raving as I am. Sometimes I just need to back off and be a part of the choir.

 

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An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh


Dear Mr. Limbaugh:

So, you were forced to make an apology to Ms. Fluke and other women you insulted when you called her a “slut” and a “prostitute”. However, I have to take umbrage with several statements in your apology. In an attempt to be fair and balanced, I have included your entire apology in this post. I pulled it from the Huffington Post, I hope that doesn’t rankle you too much:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

Now, I could argue that your whole apology was weak, at best. And I could point out that the coercion is almost palpable. But, instead, I’m going to focus on three specific statements you made. And thank you for the expediency of making all three statements consecutively. This is the passage I’d like to discuss:

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

Let’s break the statement down to individual sentences so each statement can receive the response it so richly deserves, shall we?

(And since you started your “apology” with the idea that you have “illustrated the absurd with absurdity,” I’m going to borrow from that phrase for just a moment.)

Absurdity Illustration #1: I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress.

Here’s a stat for ya, Rush: Men think about sex almost twice as much as women. Notice I didn’t trot out the “men think about sex once every seven seconds” urban legend. That’s a, well, absurd statement, and I don’t need to be incendiary or outrageous to make a point. (You should try that sometime.)  Don’t believe me? Check here, here and here. Also, men see sex more as a recreational activity than women (that point is also supported in the previously provided links). Republican congressMEN created a committee to discuss contraception, and refused to let women participate.

Believe it or not, I agree with you, Rush. It is absurd that a group of men decided to get together and discuss recreational sex. That should have stayed on the golf course, in the locker room, and around the poker table — you know, those other places men work to keep female-free. Here’s an interesting tidbit: when women get together to, oh I don’t know, make a quilt, discuss the latest book club selection or swap recipes, female contraception only comes up if someone’s having an issue “down there.” Otherwise, it’s generally not topic worthy.  Birth control is not recreation for us — for many of us it’s a necessary evil. Period. (Pun intended)

Absurdity Illustration #2: I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities.

Did I miss a memo? When did this become something that the American citizens collectively would be required to pay for? I thought the point of the hearings was to discuss if private insurance should be required to cover oral contraceptives. How did that become free birth control lines at the free clinic? I believe that if I’m paying for insurance, then I should be able to get any medication I need to live a healthy and comfortable life. I get highly insulted when I’m paying for a service but I cannot receive all the parts of the service I want because someone determined I didn’t need it. Someone who has NO IDEA what I really need or want. That’s insulting. What if your insurance company told you that you’ve had enough sex in your life, and therefore they will no longer cover your Viagra? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Absurdity Illustration #3: What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

Oh, Rush, Rush, Rush (when was the last time a woman said THAT to you?)…I’ve been pondering this same question for years. I ponder it when I hear statements such as:

  • It’s the woman’s responsibility to take care of birth control.
  • Women who use birth control are awesome. I hate having sex with a condom — it ruins it for me.
  • (When the birth control fails): Not my problem — you should have known you were fertile!
  • (When no birth control is used and pregnancy results) See statement #1 followed by “What do you expect me to do about it?”

You dare to pose the question about responsibility and accountability, while other men place that responsibility and accountability squarely on women’s shoulders. And when a woman does take on the accountability, and a pregnancy results, you point the finger and denounce her.

That’s bad enough.

But then, when the woman takes on the responsibility, but simply asks that her insurance, which she is paying for, offer contraception coverage as part of the planfor which the woman is paying premiums, you have the audacity to insult her and tell her she has no right to make the request.

You’re out of your freakin’ mind.

I doubt you’ll read this, and that’s okay. I didn’t really write it for you to read, since that might mean having some sort of contract with you, and like the flu, I try to avoid things that make me feverish, clammy and feel like I want to faint. I really wrote this for my readers who actually respect your opinion, and for my other readers who think you are a moron. So, let me finish off this post with a brief summary:

Men can get Viagra through insurance. It’s used primarily to treat Erectile Dysfunction. Most men use it for recreational sex. And yes, sex with your spouse that is not a deliberate attempt to procreate IS recreational sex.

Women use oral contraceptives to treat a myriad of gynecological ailments, including infrequent cycles, PCOS, endometriosis, PMDS and acne. They also use it for recreational sex. But insurance doesn’t want to cover oral contraception because women might use it for recreational sex.

If you can’t see the flaw in that logic, then it’s a good thing this is the end of my post, because I have nothing more to say to you.

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Get Involved!


In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is going to be a big day for the Internet. Wikipedia, Readdit, and other pretty popular sites are gonna go black for 24 hours to protest SOPA/PIPA.

Don’t know what that is? Read about it here and here.

(Hope you did that quickly, since they were Wikipedia pages. Ha ha.)

Seriously — read about it here. And check out a video about it here.

I don’t do censorship in ANY sense — when the KKK wanted to protest in my hometown, I was all for it, because it meant I could stand across the street and heckle them.  Westboro Baptist Church? Let ’em protest and hope a house or one of those frozen blocks of airplane waste fall on their heads. If they are allowed to say what they want, then that means I’m still allowed to as well, and you all know how I love to express myself.

In short (yeah, I know too late, but stay with me!), SOPA and PIPA are censorship and blacklisting. I’m not for either of those things. And you shouldn’t be either!

So, thanks to WordPress, who is also a participant in the Blackout, The Classic Quill will be taking part in the formal protest. From 8am to 8pm tomorrow, you will be greeted with a message instead of some snarky remark from me. You’ll live, and I promise to come back with some extra snarky goodness tomorrow night!

Til then, if you can find a way to participate, you should, because this involves all of us, and we should all stand up for our Internet freedoms.

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Jill of All Trades


Every once in a while, someone asks, “What did you do before you became a writer?”.  I seldom participate in these conversations, because I’ve always been a writer.

Now, if you want to know the jobs I’ve worked other than as a writer, well, that’s a different kettle of fish.

So, for fun, here is the list of all the jobs (or at least one ones I remember) I’ve held since I’ve been old enough to have the Feds and the state pick my pocket…er…I mean earn a paycheck.

  • Babysitter
  • Waitress
  • Tour guide for Victorian homes
  • Assembly line worker (lawn mowers)
  • Assembly line worker (food processing plant)
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Teacher
  • Tutor
  • Maintenance worker
  • Hotel Maid
  • Check Processor (ran the machine that recorded bank transactions for the day)
  • Check Processor (hand-checked daily credit transactions)
  • USDA Compliance Agent (I went around to grocery stores who applied to accept food stamps and made sure they qualified. This actually was one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had.)
  • Proposal Writer
  • DSL Tech Support
  • Cable Tech Support
  • Computer Tech Support
  • Telemarketer
  • Small Business Startup Consultant (still do this now)
  • Hat/Coat Check
  • Receptionist
  • Telephone operator
  • Dispatcher
  • Bookkeeper
  • Cashier
  • Vacuum cleaner Salesperson
  • Retail
  • RL Polk Surveyer
  • Telephone book delivery
  • Jewelry designer

Those are the jobs I remember off the top of my head. I didn’t count the 3 hours I worked at Wendy’s. Didn’t seem fair. I also did not count the five years of being a Candy Striper or nine years as a chat host on AOL, though both of those volunteer positions took up WAY more time than any volunteer position should (but I loved every minute of both!).

What all this work experience has done is give me plenty of fodder for my writing. I also met some very interesting people along the way, some of whom I am still friends with now. I also learned that, even in jobs where you think you aren’t learning anything practical, you come away from the job with a new skill set. For example, I know how to remove the core from a head of lettuce without slicing it, can tell you what every number on the bottom of a check stands for and the materials in a stained glass window.

So, I’m a Jill-Of-All-Trades, Master of Some, but learner from them all.

So, what interesting jobs have you held, and what lessons did you learn?

 

 

 

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Why Content Writing?


I’ve been asked this question a lot lately. Why do I want to make a writing career out of writing “fluffy” articles about “How To Recycle a Modem” and “How To Cash a Jury-Duty Check.”

My response: “Why not?”

But, Quillie, you could be writing feature articles in big name magazines. You could be interviewing and writing about politicians, famous people, successful business magnates. You could write a best-selling novel…a Tony-winning play, an Emmy or Oscar-winning script…but instead you write, “What Determines If You Qualify For Rapid Refund”!

Why, Quillie, why?

My response: Because I want to, that’s why.

But…but…you could be making WAY more money than you are now! You could have bragging rights about where you’ve been published! You could be a success!

My response: Been there, did that. Got the t-shirt. Donated it to Goodwill. And I am a success, thank-you-very-much.

I’ve been around the freelance writing block more than once. I know the stores. I know the homes and the churches. I also know where the scary man with the van and the bag of candy is parked, the corners where the winos that just want my money slink out of, and where the smooth-talking Pimp likes to pick up the unsuspecting and naive, making big promises to make them a star if they’re nice to him for just a little while…

Yes, I know the business. Sometimes, I think I know it all too well.

So, why do I choose to write content when I could be writing 1,243,675 other things? What it really boils down to is this: I write content for two reasons. I enjoy it and it’s easy.

Yeah, I said it. It’s easy. Lemme say it again:

E-A-S-Y.

Now before you accuse me of taking the path of least resistance, let me make one thing perfectly clear: You’re right. I AM taking the path of least resistance. For once, I’m not killing myself to accomplish a monumental task. I’ve done hard. I  was good at hard.

But hard is, well, hard, and after a while, you get tired.

Hard work is hard work. Hard work makes you tired. Exhaustion from hard work can make you resentful…

Resentment of hard work can make you walk away from a career you loved…

For five years.

So, why did I make the leap from traditional freelancing to content writing?

Because I could. What the hard work taught me was how to optimize my time and turn my interests and talents into marketable areas. It taught me how to research quickly and effectively, write fast, and ask the right questions the first time. In other words, hard work taught me how to work smart.

I mean, jeez, people, of course I know I could be writing for national magazines and/or newspapers. Of course I could write a novel or a screenplay.

But I don’t want to. That’s not where my heart is right now.

For now, I enjoy answering the easy questions. If someone wants to know how their social security benefits are calculated, I am more than happy to answer that question. If a small business owner is struggling to choose the proper organizational structure, I’m thrilled to explain his options.

Because what is easy for me to explain might be causing others to lose sleep while looking for that information. And I get a great sense of inner satisfaction knowing that I provided information to someone seeking an answer.

It ain’t about the Pulitzer, Emmy, Oscar or Tony for me. It’s not about being able to say, “I’ve got a feature in “——-” this month.”

It never was. Not to say one day it won’t be, but for now…

Life is easy, and I’m glad for that.

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We Can’t Save Everyone…


A friend posted a link to this article on Facebook. Go ahead and read it, and then come back here, I’ll wait…

Did you read it? OK — what was your reaction.

Several people have mentioned that this story made them cry. OK — I can understand that reaction, but honestly, I don’t think that was a strong enough reaction, at least not for me.

This story pissed me off.

Big time.

This little girl’s world failed her. Not just her crazy parents and grandmother — not just the plethora of social service and state agencies that were supposed to be monitoring her situation –EVERYONE

Including us.

Yeah, I said it. US. Society in general let this little girl die, after living a torturous four years.

“How?”, you ask? Well I’ll tell ya.

We are a self-centered society. Unless something is happening at the tips of our noses or in our front yard, we think we don’t need to get involved. Sure, we read stories like these and think, “Oh, how tragic, that poor poor little girl”…

Then we go back to playing Farmville or posting pics from our last vacation.

Why? Why do we do this?

The two responses I hear most often:

1. We can’t save everyone.

2. I can’t make a difference by myself, so why should I try?

I swear to God, when I hear those responses, I think my head’s going to explode. Those two phrases have become the excuse mantras for not saving ANYONE.

And quite honestly, I think both phrases are a big, heapin’, steamin’ pile of bull.

I know this is an unpopular and unpalatable stance for many, but it DOES take a village to raise a child…

Especially if the village the child lives in is overrun by idiots. Someone has to take a stand for these kids. I don’t give a damn if anyone helps the adults in the village (well, I do care, but they aren’t the subject of this post at the moment), but these kids’ only crime was being brought into this world to people who can’t or won’t give a damn about them.

This. Has. To. Stop.

Whenever I go off on this sort of rant (and it happens OFTEN), someone always asks me what we should do about it. Well, here ya go —

In cases such as the one mentioned in this post:

1. If you see a child being abused, report it.

2. If you know a child is in danger (especially a relative), GET THEM OUT. One of the most disturbing parts of this story for me was that several of that little girl’s relatives suspected someone was amiss, but didn’t act on their suspicions.

3. If you have any involvement with social services agencies, pay attention to what is being said (or not said) by staff members.

In general:

PAY ATTENTION TO SOMEONE AND SOMETHING OTHER THAN YOURSELF! Yeah, I’m screaming. I know it can be uncomfortable to see things we would rather ignore, but ignoring the issue does not make it go away. Someone has to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Someone has to help this next generation — they can’t help themselves and we are failing them. And if the next generation fails, what do you think will happen to society as a whole? We can no longer wait for someone else to come along and do the hard work. No more excuses.

So, maybe we can’t save everyone. Perhaps some people will “fall through the cracks” (Lord, how I detest that phrase!). But dammit, that is no excuse not to try.

PS — this may seem to be a strange post for a writer’s blog, but it’s here for two reasons:

1. my Other blog site is down for maintenance.

2. As writers, we need to lend our voices to the issue. I mean, that’s why we write, is it not, to inform? To educate? To offer our opinions….?

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