Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bay St. Louis MS, October 2005
I first came to the Gulf Coast in October 2005, a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. 

As nationally and locally we reflect on the trauma and recovery process brought on by that experience, I encourage you to think about how your own community may be growing or stunted.

We are living in revolutionary times, and we have many opportunities to build a better way for ourselves.

With love from New Orleans,

Where to donate money in New Orleans

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Conversations with a real-live misogynist!

My fake neighbor who rents out his entire house on AirBnB stopped by this afternoon, and managed to piss me off within seconds:

White guy my age who is not from New Orleans: Hey, my baby!

Me: I'm not your baby.

Guy: That's not what I meant. I was just saying hey.

Me: Then just say "hey." Don't call me "baby."

Guy: I mean, it's not a big deal.

Me: It doesn't have to be.

Guy: Saying "Hey, my baby" isn't offensive.

Me: [Stares] What do you want, anyway?

Guy: Well, if you're going to be like that...

I've spoken with this particular individual before about calling me out of my name, and he never seems to learn. Not only is it falsely intimate and uncute, it's demeaning.

I'm a woman, and calling me "baby," "girl," or any variation of that diminishes the knowledge and life experiences that I have earned. Unless you're my friend or romantic partner, and we've consensually adopted certain expressions of affection, you don't really need to be calling me names at all.

Also, don't ever tell someone what is or isn't offensive. You don't know all the ways in which I experience disrespect in the world. Especially if I'm taking the time to be patient with you and explain my objections to your behavior, you should listen to and heed my boundaries. You're welcome for pointing out misogyny, which is a form of gender-based violence. Now go and unlearn it.

Besides, there are really only two people in the world allowed to choose my name, and they are my parents. They've been around since I was a wee one, and they changed all my diapers. They can call me whatever they want. But actually, they never call me "baby"; they just call me "Arielle." And you can too.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hibakusha: The atomic-bombed people of Japan

"At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6th, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department at the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in the plant office and was turning her head to speak to the girl at the next desk.

"At that same moment, Dr. Masakazu Fujii was settling down cross-legged to read the Osaka Asahi on the porch of his private hospital, overhanging one of the seven deltaic rivers which divide Hiroshima; Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor's widow, stood by the window of her kitchen watching a neighbor tearing down his house because it lay in the path of an air-raid-defence fire lane; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest of the Society of Jesus, reclined in his underwear on a cot on the top floor of his order's three-storey mission house, reading a Jesuit magazine, Stimmen der Zeit; Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young member of the surgical staff of the city's large, modern Red Cross Hospital, walked along one of the hospital corridors with a blood specimen for a Wassennann test in his hand; and the Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tammoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, paused at the door of a rich man's house in Koi, the city's western suburb, and prepared to unload a handcart full of things he had evacuated from town in fear of the massive B-29 raid which everyone expected Hiroshima to suffer. . .

". . . Hiroshima had been getting such warnings almost every night for weeks, for at that time the B-29s were using Lake Biwa, north-east of Hiroshima, as a rendezvous point, and no matter what city the Americans planned to hit, the Super-fortresses streamed in over the coast near Hiroshima. The frequency of the 'warnings and the continued abstinence of Mr. B with respect to Hiroshima had made its citizens jittery; a rumour was going around that the Americans were saving something special for the city."

- John Hersey, Hiroshima