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So, I have been not-talking a lot about #BlackLivesMatter and #ICantBreathe and the host of issues surrounding them, not because I’m not following them and not because I don’t care, but because in this moment, and in this time, I feel like the best thing I can do is to signal-boost actual black voices.

But I have a couple of things I want to say specifically to white people, things that have informed my journey to the very imperfect place I’m currently hanging out, somewhere in the land of “I’m more conscious of exactly how fucked up my perspectives are,” far short of “I’m actually enlightened,” but past the marker of “I understand that enlightenment is somewhere over there.

I really wanted to find the study this fact comes from, but my google skills failed me today. A few years ago, I read a study about racial injustice. The study showed people an act of racial injustice, and then asked them to rank the severity of the act. The trick, in this study, was that before they asked for their ranking, they offered participants the opportunity to confront the person who was being racist.

There were three conditions in this study – the control group, who never had the opportunity to protest, those who were offered the opportunity and took it, and those who were offered the opportunity and did not take it, remaining silent.

Is it a surprise to anyone that those who were offered the opportunity to confront the perpetrator and did not ranked the severity of the incident lower than the other two groups?

To me, the obvious conclusion of this study was that every time we back down and silence ourselves, we justify it by telling ourselves that the world isn’t really that bad. We blind ourselves to real injustice because it lets us feel better about ourselves and about our unwillingness to right the wrongs that surround us.

Every time we say, “These men should have cooperated with the police,” as a response to “These men shouldn’t have died,” that is what we’re doing. We’re seeing an injustice we don’t want to fight and finding ways to make it less. If your son, or daughter, or brother, or father had been engaged in a non-violent criminal act and had been shot dead, you would not be saying, “He should have cooperated.” You would be railing against the unfairness of it.

But pointing out the criminal act makes it okay. “We’re not saying , ‘Black lives don’t matter,’ we're saying 'Criminal lives don’t matter'…"

And we’re ignoring the fact that they DO… when they’re white criminals.

I also want to say that it’s OKAY to not want to pillory the policemen in this case, and still to say there’s a problem. My hand to God, I do not know how I feel about Darren Wilson. I wasn’t there. There are a lot of different accounts of what happened. He had a second, and he thought he was in danger.

But the REASON he thought he was in danger was almost certainly informed by the fact that Michael Brown was black.

In How Our Brains Perceive Race, by Bill Moyers, he talks about the "Weapons Identification Test".

“Images flash rapidly on the screen, and your task is to push the left shift key if you see a tool (a wrench, or a power drill, say) and the right shift key if you see a gun. You have to go super fast — if you don’t respond within half a second, the screen blares at you, in giant red letters, "TOO SLOW." But it’s not just guns and tools flashing on the screen: Before each object you see a face, either white or black. The faces appear for a split second, the objects for a split second, and then you have to press a key."

Spoiler alert: when the black face appeared, people were more likely to misidentify the object that appeared as a weapon when it was actually a tool.

We hear about this story a lot, too – a black man (or child, in the tragic case of Tamir Rice) who has a toy gun is shot because it is believed to be real. Or a man reaching for a wallet (Levar Jones) is assumed to be reaching for a weapon.

Did Darren Wilson believe his life was in danger? I don’t know, but I believe the answer could be yes. Just like it might be for Timothy Loehmann, for Sean Groubert, and for many other officers involved in these shootings. I fully believe it is true for at least some of them.

In a way, the argument reminds me a bit of the discussion over babies forgotten in hot cars. It takes a split second error, and the results are tragic and horrifying and irrevocable. Darren Wilson fired those shots, but it could have been any of a number of officers. It could be any of us.

One of my issues with the prosecute-the-officers perspective is that it feels like a reverse of the issue I talked about earlier – by blaming the individual men, we overstate the contribution of the individual and understate the general societal evils. We want to believe that most people aren't capable of doing such an appalling thing -- but most people probably are.

I have a lot of other thought, in varying levels of cogency, and I may talk about them at some point. But for right now, I just want to say this: Something is wrong, and it is, for better or worse, wrong with me, and probably with you. If you had bad vision, you wouldn’t keep getting angry with people for pointing out that you were misreading things. You would get glasses. We need to acknowledge that we, white America, need glasses. And we need to take people seriously when they offer suggestions on what those glasses might be.

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(no subject)
So I don't think I've blogged about this yet, but we have a for sale sign in our yard and a prequalification in my inbox and around $6K in the hands of various contractors and a realtor and around 40 hours of cleaning chores still pending before our first open house, which will hopefully be in around 9 days, if we make it into MLS by then.


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(no subject)
Do you know why I have such a hard time with Vorkosigan slash?

I realized it today, while DRUNK OFF MY ASS and rereading my own pornfic.

Because I cannot imagine that Miles is both gay (or bi) and NOT ALREADY IN MAD SEXY LOVE WITH DUV GALENI.

That is all.

This entry is brought to you by lime juice concentrate, lots of ice, and plenty of tequila.

The end.

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(no subject)
This is the absolute funniest thing I have watched in at least a month. Hands down.


Near the end, there is video of kids trying to not eat a marshmallow.

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Kids are awesome, part 35232
I've been teaching the kids French, since I am That Kind of Parent. We haven't gotten very far, but we can do bonjour, comment vous appelez-vous? and numbers to 5 and that sort of thing. I've been trying to introduce ça va into our conversations, and Wes is having trouble absorbing it and the possible answers, which for now are bien, mal, and comme-ci comme-ça.

So today, as I do periodically, I call out, "Bonjour, Wes."

Wes replies with his practiced, "Bonjour, mom!"

"Ça Va?"

He stares at me blankly for a moment, and I repeat: "Ça Va?"

He brightens and triumphantly crows: "COOCHIE COOCHIE!"

I love my kids.

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(no subject)
I just made what is seriously the BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE. As in, ever.

Tonight was my 8-year anniversary, so I wanted to do something special. I've gradually come to the conclusion that for special meals, we are way better off eating here than going to restaurants, because we get better food for less money.

We agreed we'd start with beef of some sort, and drove to the local butcher shop, where they raise and process their own cows and pigs in humane, open-pasture kinds of ways. We bought a pound and a half of tenderloin steak, fresh, and brought it home. I made Steak au Poivre with it, using Alton Brown's recipe, including the Cognac Cream Sauce.

I wanted to do something special for a side, so I made up a small portion of Kimberly Morales's Warm Shrimp, Quinoa & Spinach Salad from Poor Girl Eats Well, which has very quickly moved into my favorite meals ever list.

I don't usually photograph my food, but I did today, because I wanted to immortalize the experience. The entire meal, counting meat, shrimp, cognac, and all, came to around $33 for the both of us. The steak was unbelievable tender. It felt like cutting butter. It just slid apart under the slightest pressure from the knife, and had an amazingly rich flavor. The shrimp was excellent, and the spinach gave the whole dish a fantastic hint of crunch.

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Got work?
So, I've been refraining from doing this for a while, but I think it's time to reach out.

The company I work for is currently undergoing a major hiring drive, looking for people in all kinds of fields from registered nurses with experience in drug interactions to project managers to IT folks.

One of the openings we're having a hard time filling is on my team, for a Java developer with some spring/hibernate/sql experience. If there's anyone out there who's looking for a job and would be willing to work FOR A FANTASTIC COMPANY in Billerica, MA, bounce me a message or a comment here, and I'll pass your stuff on to my manager.

The only real REQUIREMENT is Java experience in a senior/principal level, though most of the people we're bringing in have some spring/hibernate, and if anyone had GWT or SmartGWT, that would be awesomely awesome.

I know it's a long shot, but I figured I'd reach out. If anyone knows anyone looking for work in the area, too, feel free to bounce me a note and I can get some of the particulars of applying to them.

Job still rocks. Have vacation next week. Life is good.

I am celebrating Super Tuesday by writing a letter to Olympia Snowe telling her why I fangirl her and thanking her for her commitment to her own ideals and our country's best interests. Also, I am saying that I am sorry she's retiring, but I understand why she is.

It has made today much more happy-politics than it otherwise would be.

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(no subject)
I keep thinking I've been desensitized and numbed to the kinds of rhetoric that happens in elections, and then something happens to set me on fire with rage and hatred.

This is the most openly ill any election season has ever made me feel, though. I can't even get to anger, because I am stuck in queasy horror.

Seriously, this was my PARENTS' fight. How, HOW, did the issue of BIRTH CONTROL and PRENATAL TESTING come up again, in the year 2012?

And what the everloving FUCK is wrong with Virginia? For real, you guys.

This feels like a bizarre twilight zone version of an election. Are these HONESTLY the candidates we have? Honestly? How the hell did this HAPPEN?

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Kids are hilarious.

Wes just lost a debate with me and started to slink off in a half-pout, falling dramatically into the doorframe and saying, "I need to have breakfast! I'm sooooo hungry. I am SPANISHED."

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