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Thursday, Jan 21, 2010
Where white kids are depressed, black kids are pathological, even when demonstrating the same behavior in a classroom. NPR's Tell Me More investigates why "Blacks, Latinos Less Likely Treated For Depression". Perhaps the facts of race explain insanity for many, and there's no treatment for that.

The facts of race in America too often mean that non-whites are crazy by definition. Non-whites have even had to prove that ‘race’ still impacts all of us today. One of the clearest examples of this is the pathbreaking American presidential race of 2008- the longest, most covered and most expensive campaigns to date. The real deal is why’d it cost so much for America to elect it’s first non-white president?


As a presidential candidate, for example, Barack Obama had to explain ‘race’ in an eloquent 37-minute speech, as if it were his (racial) responsibility. Recall that many folks could not connect with Obama’s main presidential rival because she never made clear how gender impacted her reality; she ‘pretended’ it was unimportant, and even ‘wore the pants’ until it was too late. If Hilary Clinton had early on made speeches like her concession speech, Americans might have responded to her very differently. I would imagine that many people of color in America have felt such pressure in their daily lives, and continue to deal with the stress of this pressure on their own. The denial of the impact of race is enough to send someone into a frenzy, but luckily there are now ample studies demonstrating racial disparities in all facets of American life. As an American voter, I would appreciate knowing how any candidate perceives race in America, as well as gender and class disparities. But the reality is that it took a crazy Negro candidate to lay that path in any meaningful way. Never has any politician spoken so clearly about the impact of historical social differences on the social disparities of today. Back to racialized insanity…


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Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010

When more folks today seem interested in protecting their anonymity online, and are even concerned with the death of a social networking account following an actual physical loss of life, it’s important to take a few moments to step back and reconsider the beauty of remembrance and its potential for immortality. For example, Dan Fletcher’s widely circulated article discussing net-death, “What Happens to Your Facebook After You Die?”, appeared on Time.com in October 2009. The article was prompted by the blog entry “Memories of Friends Departed Endure on Facebook”> posted by the social network’s founder, Max Kelly, who spoke about “memorializing” instead of deleting profiles, allowing users to visit friends for as long as their server is up. Kelly’s thread that was prompted by the death of his own best friend, and his own desire not to simply forget. Fletcher’s article demonstrates that many folks genuinely want to know that the net has the ability to forget, though seasoned users know about the near immortality of the cache!


Unlike most other people I know who are around age 30, I think about death a lot. As a gay man, I grew up in a time and place that placed death at my doorstep. HIV/AIDS has lost its initial tag as the Gay Plague (G.R.I.D.), though the attachment to the lives of gay men seems indelible. Although I am trained in, and now work towards HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, and have over the years befriended many people living with AIDS, I still vividly recall the first time that I knowingly met a seropositive individual.


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Monday, Oct 26, 2009
Forced retirement is a lot better off than the dishonorable discharge many face under DADT, and the gap in pay and benefits is huge.

We should all just be plain ole Americans, right? And we could all just get along because we all have the same fair chances, right? Just consider how many men and women in service suffer in silence. In his interview given to YouthRadio.org, young veteran Joseph Christopher Rocha comes out about how during his Middle East war tour, he suffered everything from “being duct-taped and locked in a dog kennel to being forced to simulate oral sex with other men”. Reporting this targeted hazing—which then becomes a hate crime—means loosing one’s career. Ain’t that America.  Y’all love that shit, doncha!


Think of it this way: These are the stories gay kids get to read about at their breakfast table while they’re figuring out how not to tell mom, how not to piss off dad, and how to stay outta trouble in school with other kids—because the first thing kids will say (even in the presence of adults whose silence betrays them), should anything go wrong, is “fucking faggot” (or, my personal favorite: “Sugar in his pants”). Girls might have some latitude, but by kindergarten, kids have plenty of hateful words used specifically to hurt and abuse them, too!


The Navy and the pettiness of DADT in the all-American school


The terror queer kids face at school is still left comfortably inside the closet, and on this account, both mainstream gay advocacy groups as well as death worshipping zealots converge. Rather than extending Christian fellowship to these kids, many modern fundamentalists anchor their cause around rejecting gay marriage and hate crimes initiatives. They fall silent when asked where kids learn to hate so much. So, former president Clinton’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was already alive and well in the all-American school.  It was already a learned behavior from childhood. All Americans know exactly what I am talking about, but nothing brings this closer to the heartland than hearing an adolescent say something like: “That’s so gay!”


What about the gay lobbying group the Human Rights Campaign? HRC is advocating for gay and lesbian military conscription. The HRC “is the battered wife of the Democratic Party establishment, and its time to walk out,” according to longtime outspoken activist Andrew Sullivan.


Not soliciting whores alongside his fellow seamen was enough to out Rocha, and the teasing, taunting, and humiliation ballooned from there. “It made me feel that I was an animal, and the fact that this was done to me by my highest leadership in the United States military and the American military—a representative of the US government—was daunting to me.” It was not hazing, intended to bring a new trooper into the fold. This was a plain hate crime, and we ought to call a spade a nasty bastard and not retire him and his flock, but, think of more critical ways to… naw, just discharge him on the exact same terms as they discharged Rocha!


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