In what began as a push to set up an independent public school district, the Village St. George community in Louisiana has now gathered almost half the signatures necessary to become its own city. The southern unincorporated portion of East Baton Rouge Parish is petitioning its 107,262 residents to form a local governing body, potentially creating Louisiana
things ppl say that alerts you to them being the actual worst:
- john was my favourite beatle
- abolishing religion would solve a lot of problems
- i’m not a racist i hate all races equally
- disliking someone because of their political affiliation is ridiculous
- but if you think about it stereotypes do exist for a reason
- god, can you believe people on welfare own iphones
- but what about mens rights
- why can’t white people say the n-word
- i’m just being the devils advocate
Well, white dude with I’m guessing considerable stock in Google, is the library just there for your needs or purposes?
Maybe you enjoyed your exercise in wordplay and making points already made. But what was your point again? Books make libraries so without books libraries aren’t libraries? Books look different so libraries can’t be libraries? Libraries look different so libraries can’t be libraries? You don’t need libraries for books so we don’t need libraries? I’m sorry, what?
Oh but wait, we’re pretending? Pretending what? Pretending there’s an access divide? Pretending there’s a digital divide? Pretending information illiteracy? Pretending folks lack job skills? Pretending college students need help with citation (BAHA HAHAHAHAHHA)? Did I get a Masters in Pretending? I MEAN I DO HAVE A GREAT IMAGINATION SO I PROBS GOT STRAIGHT A’S. OR P’S FOR PRETENDING. I’m sorry, what?
Also read this from BeerBrarian - The End of “The End of Libraries”
On Sunday, October 14th, yet another “End of Libraries” piece appeared. Per usual, it was written by a white male with no use for libraries, because every single time this trope appears, that’s part of the author’s demographic background. Beyond that, it’s a crucial part of the author’s background. It is overwhelmingly affluent white men who argue that because they do not use something, it has no value for anyone. Libraries. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Affordable health care. It’s the same argument.
"The internet has replaced the importance of libraries as a repository for knowledge." Ah, yes, because you can trust everything you read on the internet.
Republicans play this game all the time. “I don’t need it, therefore it’s not important and we should get rid of it.” I can vividly remember the last time I was in a library. It was three weeks ago. I needed to do research and the material I needed was not online. Not every book is completely indexed in Google Books. And yes, an ebook is cheaper and faster than buying a physical copy of a book - but it’s harder to skim through an ebook quickly, and the physical copy at the library costs you nothing (up front; tax dollars etc etc).
Like I said, I was at the library three weeks ago. It was around 4 pm on a Tuesday. And you know what? It was CROWDED. There was a packed sign-up sheet for the computers. Kids and parents abounded in the children’s section. Older people and teenagers read at the tables in the main area. I had to wait in line to check out my book.
Before that, I had spent a lot of quality time on my library’s website. I like to read both physical books and ebooks. My library does Kindle loans. OK, their website is a crappy government website, and it can be a little difficult to navigate, but it’s doable. I read books I probably couldn’t or wouldn’t pay full price for, AKA a big part of the purpose of a library.
Libraries are not useless in the digital age, and even more importantly, they aren’t all empty. Just because YOU, PERSONALLY do not need or use something doesn’t make it a charming but impractical relic of a long-forgotten age.
I work in a library. Here are some of the reasons people come to the library:
They want directions.
They want to collect food/garden/dog waste bags, all handed out free at libraries.
They want to print/photocopy/scan.
They want to access the internet, either on our computers or on their own, via the free wi-fi.
Often this is because they have to apply for benefits, housing or jobs through the official system which is only available online. If they haven’t internet at home, the library offers free internet access. Where else does that? Sometimes they aren’t computer literate, so they appreciate an environment where they can ask for help.
Maybe they’ll attend one of our free IT classes, ranging from the absolute basics to subjects such as Facebook, Office software, job hunting and how to use the Council’s Homesearch website. If they want something specific, such as how to use their own laptop or how to shop online, we can set up a one-to-one appointment, also for free.
Our study spaces are very popular. Often they are all taken by ten past nine, after we open at nine. The number of people who have asked me how much it costs and looked surprised when I explained that using the library space is free and doesn’t require you to be a member surprises me.
They want to read the newspapers or magazines the library buys (recently expanded with the launch of an emagazine service—I get to read SFX for free now, which is cool).
They’re researching their family tree and want to take advantage of the library’s subscription to Ancestry.
They want to consult the planning documents for a local development or the register of local voters.
They want to participate in a council consultation.
They may have come to seek advice from an agency that operates a drop-in session at the library, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or the police.
They may be attending an event, either run by the library (an author talk, a book group, baby Rhymetime) or by an outside company who have rented the meeting rooms (theatre productions, ESOL classes, yoga). The library itself has regular events for babies, children, teenagers, adults, adults with mental health difficulties, adults learning English…
We have regular class visits from the local schools. We read them a story and they all choose a book. Sometimes we go to them. It was actually really lovely to see how many children came into the library, talking excitedly about the Summer Reading Challenge we came and told them in Assembly.
Children still look for books when they’re doing their homework, you know. Children who weren’t born at the time of the Millennium and have grown up with the internet.
People actually still read books. Over thirty thousand items were issued in my library last month, and while we certainly have DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, Talking Books, Language Courses, all those added together can’t be more than a couple of thousand.
Free books. I’m sorry, I am never over how wondrous that is. Thousands of books, free to borrow and read. (And for those incapable of making the journey to the library, we have a Housebound service.)
For all these reasons, we are really busy. Dozens of people join every day. Hundreds of people walk through the doors every day. Of course, there are people who don’t make use of libraries, who don’t need them. But really, someone who can’t remember the last time they went to the library can have no idea of the role they play.
Libraries are not irrelevant. Libraries are not cultural artefacts. Libraries are living and changing, a resource and a social space, free at the point of access, engaging the community, offering a wide range of services, accessible to all. And what other institution can you say that about? Libraries are important.
Sure, let’s just shut down every bit of non-commercial community space we have left. That’s worked out great for us so far. :/
H. Samy Alim and Geneva Smitherman, Articulate While Black (via socio-logic)
[great quote and “Articulate While Black” is such a good title *saving for future book/show title]
"Real food" is a term I dislike almost as much as "real women," and for many of the same reasons…
Right this minute, there is someone going through chemotherapy shopping at your grocery store, buying popsicles and ice cream to help their sore mouth, and worrying what the cashier is going to think.
There is someone on hemodialysis buying white bread instead of whole wheat, trying to keep their phosphorus levels reasonable between appointments and hoping for the best.
There is a person attending intensive outpatient treatment for their eating disorder who has been challenged by their therapist to buy a Frappuccino.
There are dietitians picking up a dozen different candy bars to eat with their clients, who feel ashamed and guilty about enjoying them.
There is someone who just doesn’t have it in them to cook right now, and this frozen pizza and canned soup will keep them going.
There are people recovering from chronic dieting and semi-starvation who are buying chocolate and chips at their deprived body’s insistence.
All around us are people listening to what their bodies need and attempting to make the best possible choice within a context of overwhelming food pressure. All of their choices are valid, and every single one of these foods is “real.”
that Lily Allen video is a hot mess and I can already hear the resounding clatter of the liberal white feminists as they fall over themselves to talk about how incisive and right-on it is (Caitlin Moran is already gushing about it on Twitter, as is my boring pseudo-feminist pal from uni)
-she thinks she can name a song after a Three 6 Mafia classic then go on to mock the aesthetics pimp rap was built on
-the line ‘I won’t be bragging bout my cars, or talking bout my chains/don’t need to shake my arse for you cos I’ve got a brain’ means she can join Lorde and Macklemore in the bin for White People In 2013 Who’ve Written Songs That Condemn and/or Parody Materialism In Hip-Hop As Though They Have Any Right To (and as though there aren’t deep-rooted historical reasons as to why lots of rap music revels in opulent wealth). gimme goofy, endlessly loveable 2Chainz snarling BOUGHT A NEW CRIB JUST TO FUCK YOU IN over this puritanical shite anyday
-if she wanted to specifically satire Blurred Lines, the BAGGY PUSSY balloons and the ‘have you thought about your butt, who’s gonna tear it in two’ line would have sufficed
-metatextually using black women as props is STILL using black women as props
-feels like a lot of the choreography explicitly mirrors that of the Pour it Up video, so we have Lily getting on her high horse about a video that is 1000000000x more empowering than hers could ever dream of being. the Pour It Up dancers getting to exhibit their athleticism free of any male gaze vs Hard Out Here’s voyeuristic shots of twerking while a Generic Old White Dude directs
anyway this feels like when Kate Nash decided feminism would be the best way to market her music while trotting about in a bindi and writing songs like ‘I’m A Feminist, You’re Still A Whore’
there’s nothing more infuriating than when people from privilege actually insult people without privilege for wanting status and wealth
I grew up in the fucking projects, have been homeless twice and moved almost 20 times in my life. You damn right I’m gonna want to buy a big nice apartment and have a closet full of YSL. Thrift shops are trendy now but when I was in school I was made fun of for being poor. These white rappers seriously think they’re making valid statements in this. Appropriating, colonizing and gentrifying things then shaming the people who had to endure them for wanting more because their experiences was actual struggle and not an experiment is the surest way to show your entire ass.
Tupac was right, the ghetto gets robbed for everything.
"Class warfare" being falsely interpreted as "class envy" is the most abjectly ideologically liberal rhetoric I can imagine.
Envy of access to medical care
Envy of adequate food
Envy of being paid the full wages earned
Envy of heat and shelter
Envy of the physical and temporal space to rest
Envy of having basic biological needs met
basically anyone who really shames people for buying their kids shoes or for buying themselves a manicure while poor doesnt understand poverty
poor people often have a lot of disposable income, more than you think, cause they live on cash
they often do not have any means of transforming that cash into assets or into longterm wealth
so yes i had a lot of toys and nice things as a poor kid because you can buy toys at the dollar store too
and like you can pay a lady 10 dollars in cash to do your nails professionally
but you really cannot scrimp, at least not anymore (maybe decades ago you could) to buy yourself a house or to invest in stocks or other things that guarantee financial protection
poor people are liquid- thats why they may have material goods including nice cell phones but they broke ass will always be broke
hell, even banks and financiers EXPLOIT the liquidity of poor people; cash advance places in the hood and the proven empirical facts that cash deposits from banks in low-income neighborhood go towards major investments and are used as liquid assets by big businesses
keeping poor people in cash and banks in poor neighborhoods are major transfers of wealth in this economy
so please spare me your policing of some lady who decided to get some shoes
gotta be honest, people of color folks with class privilege, classism has really wrecked some of my friendships. in fact i have sat a friend down and had a very epic friend break up in which i listed all the ways she acted out classism with me. if you grew up with class privilege and don’t understand what it’s like grow up poor, do not give your friends who grew up poor unsolicited advice about how to “best deal with finances.” we know survival damn well, so well that we have survived with little to no money all of our lives so your advice is unwanted, patronizing and oppressive.
fabian romero- indigenous immigrant queer boi writer
An absolutely brilliant essay about what spending money you can’t afford on the right handbag or shoes might get you in the long run.
One thing I’ve learned is that one person’s illogical belief is another person’s survival skill. And nothing is more logical than trying to survive.
I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about? What is the retail value of a school principal who defers a bit more to your child because your mother’s presentation of self signals that she might unleash the bureaucratic savvy of middle class parents to advocate for her child? I don’t know the price of these critical engagements with organizations and gatekeepers relative to our poverty when I was growing up. But, I am living proof of its investment yield.
Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair.
Read it. ALLLL of it!
"I cannot know exactly how often my presentation of acceptable has helped me but I have enough feedback to know it is not inconsequential. One manager at the apartment complex where I worked while in college told me, repeatedly, that she knew I was “Okay” because my little Nissan was clean. That I had worn a Jones of New York suit to the interview really sealed the deal. She could call the suit by name because she asked me about the label in the interview. Another hiring manager at my first professional job looked me up and down in the waiting room, cataloging my outfit, and later told me that she had decided I was too classy to be on the call center floor. I was hired as a trainer instead. The difference meant no shift work, greater prestige, better pay and a baseline salary for all my future employment.
I have about a half dozen other stories like this. What is remarkable is not that this happened. There is empirical evidence that women and people of color are judged by appearances differently and more harshly than are white men. What is remarkable is that these gatekeepers told me the story. They wanted me to know how I had properly signaled that I was not a typical black or a typical woman, two identities that in combination are almost always conflated with being poor.”
When eating organic was totally uncool
Before hipsters got rooftop gards, my poor, refugee family ate that way because we had to. And we were ashamed
by Pha Lo
To me, the organic food movement has become dizzyingly, surreally chic. Farmers have become rock stars; the most exclusive restaurants name-check them so much you can almost see dirt on the menu. But before organic produce exploded into a $25 billion industry, before city gardening became cool, I grew up in a Hmong refugee community, living the urban organic lifestyle not because it was fashionable, but because we were poor. I couldn’t wait to leave it behind.
I grew up in Del Paso Heights, a mixed-race inner city of Sacramento, Calif. — the kind of neighborhood that had just two grocery stores between endless fast-food and liquor shops, and where we all paid for our groceries with food stamps. It was where we grew organic food and raised chickens in our backyards to survive. And where we did it in secrecy.
Like most Hmong in the United States, our community was from Laos, transplanted here after an alliance with the CIA turned our isolated tribe of farmers into mercenaries — a failed secret war against the Communist Vietnamese that left Hmong as the targets of ethnic cleansing. Lifelong farmers-turned-international refugees, the older generation was ill-prepared to thrive in modern America. They settled into inner cities where many turned to social services as safety nets.
I remember watching grown-ups lose their identities and self-worth, slip into depression and cycles of poverty, illness and suicide. These were clan leaders who once commanded the respect of entire villages, tough guerrilla soldiers trained by the CIA — like my father — and proud providers who had, without writing, committed to memory centuries of the best farming practices. And they were humbled, receiving welfare and food stamps because there was no opportunity then in urban America for their main skill. Still, they farmed in the city for two necessities: food and a wistful connection to the old way of life.
We grew crops in every plot of soil that hinted of fertility — parking lots, front lawns, even inside discarded paint buckets, which made terrific homes for lemongrass and chili peppers. When I was in elementary school, the families in our apartment building worked a farm just outside of Sacramento. Every person, every age, had a job. Meals were planned around what we gathered: We scraped fresh cucumbers, serving them with sugar over ice on hot summer days; we pounded the signature Hmong mix of hand-picked peppers, cilantro, green onions and lime in a mortar and served it as a dip for meat and sticky rice. I remember loving our imperfectly shaped cucumbers because I got to watch each one grow into its own unique shape and thought they all had more character than the “beautiful” ones wrapped in plastic at the grocery store. And I loved mustard greens, which grew in abundance once a year but could be pickled for year-round consumption.
We bartered with each other. We raised chickens in the backyard, letting them out to roam and feeding them by hand. We didn’t have a label for this back then, though now I suppose people call it “free-range,” and it costs more. We slaughtered our own hens, sometimes with rituals honoring the sacrifice of the animal’s life.
With the costs of vegetables offset by our gardens, all the families pitched in to buy a pig or cow from the closest farmer, dividing the meat. This way, we could also afford to buy rice.
But we had to keep our locavore tendencies secret. America’s food rules, which seemed to us to go against nature, left us fearful of punishment. At the time, exactly one person from our clan had attended an American college and became our cultural broker, translating to shamans the world of Western medicine, and to lifelong hunters and fishermen the rules of hunting and fishing. What license was needed for what, how many of what thing could be caught during which season, if you could take fruit from a tree depending on which side of a fence it hung. All of it was too complicated to keep straight, and so it felt safer to keep our food producing regimens to ourselves. I can’t remember how many times my father built, tore down and rebuilt the chicken coop, afraid that neighbors who heard crowing would report us.
“Don’t tell the Americans,” my mother would always say, and, eventually, as I grew into adolescence, I couldn’t agree more. I was afraid of being judged.
My mother sprinkled only fresh-cut grass in her garden, swearing by its ability to grow bigger and tastier vegetables. She often crossed dangerous lanes of traffic to get to a pile of lawn clippings. My sisters and I would jump out of the car to bag the grass, and we did it with the speed of a NASCAR pit crew, terrified of being seen by friends.
The parking lot of our neighborhood Kmart was a regular pickup spot for lawn clippings. In my teens, when merely being accused of shopping at Kmart was an epic embarrassment, you can imagine the horror I felt about being spotted stealing grass from its parking lot. “If anyone sees me, MY LIFE IS OVER!” I’d say. Unfortunately, dramatic teenage declarations of “life being over” didn’t fly in Hmong households, not when there would always be someone around to remind you of the time he narrowly escaped the death camps.
As the adolescent me tried to find her groove, navigating deeper into the treacherous social maze of an American high school, I tried to talk my mother out of picking cilantro and scallions from her garden, cleaning and separating and selling them for 50 cents a bunch at a local Hmong store. It never made her more than $20 a week, but she didn’t care. She was obsessed with the idea of doing something she knew how to do, something that could earn money.
My family searched for new places to grow food while I became increasingly afraid that outsiders would find out we lived in a replica Hmong village, built to resemble what the older generation knew as “home.” Then one day, I was outed by a classmate as a food stamp user as I stood in the collection line to count money for my mother. That was the day that I decided I hated everything about the way we got food — from the paint-bucket chili peppers to the communal pig, cut up in pieces, ready to be bagged and shared. I wanted to run away from this mess. I wanted to be one of the cool kids. I would feed myself like they do.
Now, as an adult, I don’t have a garden. Years after I finished college and was well into the working world, long after credit cards made checks obsolete at the grocery store, I still insisted on writing checks to pay for my brand-name groceries. The defiant child food stamp user in me still needs the validation that comes from putting pen to paper and declaring, in writing, that I earned the right to take this food home.
But who’d know that, just as I finally shed a former life of organic necessity, my mother would be the hip one? Now I go to the market and hear people boasting about the eggs in their backyards, or how much their garden looks like the one on the White House lawn. My best friend, also a former Hmong child gardener, laughs with me about collecting lawn clippings. If only we had had cool recyclable cloth bags with eco-friendly slogans, we joke. If only we could be heroic, claiming to be launching a food revolution. But for us, there was no room to think about glamour. That life just felt backward.
I imagine now how many “I told you so’s” my mother would impart on me if she could grasp the enormousness of today’s food movement: Pesticide-free produce, hand-fed chickens, cuisines boasting minimal ingredients all represent billions of dollars to be made. And, irony of ironies, now people’s food stamps can’t even cover the costs of organic and local produce at our markets.
But I stood recently at a popular farmers’ market in San Francisco, where I now live and where my relatives have a vegetable stall. Surrounded by a flurry of patrons enthusiastic about locally grown food, I felt … proud. Proud that Hmong farmers owned their own stalls, their tradition of necessity now trendy and profitable. That day, my uncle gave me a bag of cucumbers and tomatoes from his stall. He said he had heard all about my schooling and my travels, and that he was proud I had made it. But as I looked at my bag and at all the customers flocking to his stall, I couldn’t help thinking he was making it in his own right.Pha Lo is a freelance writer/nutrition educator and teaches food budgeting skills to low-income parents.
Okay so I saw another person rant about the authenticity of food and white people being sanctimonious, but here’s where I’m confused. All of my Asian friends, whether American or not, despise the Westernized version of our foods and how white people gobble it up and then ask us stupid questions about it later. I constantly rant about white people saying they love ‘naan’ or ‘paneer’ as if those are the only two foods in the entirety of Indian cuisine.
Another example would be when I made friends from Hong Kong through the Johns Hopkins CTY program, and they were appalled and embarrassed by the American version of Chinese food. They, and some Chinese-Americans, started laughing and talking in Mandarin about how Americanized food sucks.
This has a lot of classist overtone as well, because I know that some Asian people - of all ethnic backgrounds - open up these restaurants because they don’t have many options. Also, getting American people [whether white or non-Asian] to eat our food is difficult because they aren’t accustomed to it and [white] people have a tendency to make fun of our food anyway.
I’m at a loss because on one hand, it isn’t okay to be classist and shame our fellow Asian families for doing what they need to do to assimilate and survive and avoid racism, but on the other hand, it’s annoying for Asian people to deal with more stereotypes about our cultures and the food we eat. If you guys have some thoughts, we could start a discussion here because it’s a slightly contentious topic.
To complement the Census Bureau’s recent release of annual poverty, income and health insurance statistics, recently the bureau released data from the American Community Survey. The survey’s findings, which can be difficult to navigate for the average person and will likely emerge in the coming days, have already highlighted some interesting state-specific information.
Among them, New York City is found to have the widest income gap of any U.S. city, with a poverty rate of nearly 15 percent and a median household income of $64,000. Overall, the Census Bureau found there were not significant statistical variations from last year, aside from increased health coverage nationwide in particular for children and teens. And so, despite economic stimulus efforts in the U.S., women and people of color continue to earn lower wages, and are at higher risk for living in poverty.
this is gonna sound fucked up cause i really love lucy and her family but sometimes i really just cant stand to be around middle class people, the things i see them focus on or worry about, the things theyre allowed to worry about, i get so nervous in my stomach, i cant put my finger on the exact reason i get so anxious
they drove me home last week and i pointed out all the new buildings they were creating on the boulevard near my house and lucys mom goes “oh thats great, maybe itll make this area better because this neighborhood is not good” and i just chuckled a little bit because why should i get mad when someone economically superior to me acknowledges that my neighborhood is shit?
that was what i asked myself when i felt the needles of anger picking at my armpits