2017 Elections Are Upon Us!

Hello everybody.

While midterm coverage is largely focused on the parts of Congress that do very little, vital (and bizarre) midterm elections are going unexamined. State legislators pass a lot of bills, and some of that efficiency is thanks to a group called ALEC that writes legislation for them. It's as shady as it sounds!

If you are a Minnesota resident, it is election time once again. Minnesota is one of those states that has an election every year, and it is important to vote in those elections. And as John Oliver reported, local governments get more done than the federal government - unfortunately, people tend to not focus as much on what is happening locally. So I am here to help you find out what is on the local elections. For more precise information, make certain to go to the State Secretary of State's website to look at a sample ballot. If you know your address, this will give you all of the information on the ballot itself, including a PDF to download to bring with you.

The vast majority of US judges are elected, forcing many judges to pander to the electorate and accept campaign money in order to keep their jobs. This seems slightly troubling... Connect with Last Week Tonight online...

Now, Minnesota has 87 counties and 854 incorporated municipalities - also, 1,785 governmentally functioning townships, 56 unorganized territories, and many other areas [4] that I will not get into here. Now, I am not going to go into every single election happening - I am just going to do a few municipalities that people have requested that I look into. These will be in order of city population - however, if anybody wants me to make an addendum, it’ll be first come, first served. The cities that have been requested are Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Edina, and Saint Louis Park - the 1st, 2nd, 12th, and 20th largest cities in Minnesota.

It is important to vote and to know who you are voting for, because you are voicing your opinion on how things should be run. Your elected officials work for you - they are not your leaders, but the reverse. You are the leaders, and you need to be informed. From State Governor to District Court Judges, you are deciding what elected officials are enforcing, legislating, and ruling on. Be informed, and make it count. If you're not involved, you may find that your city has placed you in, as John Oliver puts it, "the fuck barrel." So be involved.

Flag of the City of Minneapolis

City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County (population 413,651) [1] [5]

Mayor:
Captain Jack Sparrow (Basic Income Guarantee)
Gregg A. Iverson (DFL)
Betsy Hodges (Incumbent) (DFL)
Jacob Frey (DFL)
David Rosenfeld (Socialist Labor Party, Socialist Workers Party Endorsed)
Troy Benjegerdes (Farmer Labor)
David John Wilson (Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns)
Charlie Gers (Libertarian Party)
Tom Hoch (DFL)
Al Flowers (DFL)
Raymond Dehn (DFL)
Nekima Levy-Pounds (DFL)
L.A. Nik (Independant)
Ronald Lischeid (People Over Politics)
Ian Simpson (The Idea Party)
Aswar Rahman (DFL)

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board:
Park & Recreation Board At Large (Elect 3): Devin Hogan (DFL Endorsed), Bob Sullentrop (GOP Endorsed), Londel French (DFL Endorsed), Mike Derus (DFL), Russ Henry (DFL Endorsed), Charlie Casserly, LaTrisha Vetaw, Jonathan Honerbrink (GOP Endorsed), Meg Forney (Incumbent) (DFL)

Park & Recreation Board District 1: Billy Menz (Green Party Endorsed), Mohamed Issa Barre, Chris Meyer (DFL Endorsed)

Park & Recreation Board District 2: Mike Talley Tate (DFL), Kale Severson (DFL Endorsed)

Park & Recreation Board District 3: AK Hassan (DFL), Abdi Gurhan Mohamed (DFL), Charles Exner (Green Party Endorsed)

Park & Recreation Board District 4: Jono Cowgill (DFL Endorsed, Labor Endorsed), Tom Nordyke (DFL)

Park & Recreation Board District 5: Steffanie Musich (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Bill Shroyer (DFL), Andrea Fahrenkrug

Park & Recreation Board District 6: Brad Bourn (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Jennifer Zielinski (GOP Endorsed), Bob Fine, Robert Schlosser

City Council:
Ward 1:  Kevin Reich (Incumbent) (DFL), Jillia Pessenda (DFL), John Hayden (Independent)

Ward 2: Cam Gordon (Incumbent) (Green Party Endorsed)

Ward 3: Tim Bildsoe (DFL), Steve Fletcher (DFL Endorsed), Samantha Pree-Stinson (Green Party Endorsed), Ginger Jentzen (Socialist Alternative)

Ward 4: Barbara Johnson (Incumbent) (DFL), Phillipe Cunningham (DFL), Stephanie Gasca (DFL), Dana Hansen (Libertarian Party Endorsed)

Ward 5: Blong Yang (Incumbent) (DFL), Jeremiah Ellison (DFL Endorsed), Cathy Spann (DFL), Raeisha Willliams (DFL)

Ward 6: Abdi Warsame (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Mohamud Noor (DFL), Fadumo Yusuf (GOP Endorsed)

Ward 7: Lisa Goodman (Incumbent) (DFL), Janne Flisrand (DFL), Teqen Zea-Aida (DFL), Joe Kovacs (GOP Endorsed)

Ward 8: Andrea Jenkins (DFL Endorsed), April Kane (DFL), Terry White (Green Party Endorsed): David Holsinger (Libertarian Party)

Ward 9: Alondra Cano (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Mohamed Farah (DFL), Gary Schiff (DFL), Ronald Peterson (GOP)

Ward 10: Lisa Bender (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Saralyn Romanishan (DFL), David Schorn (DFL), Bruce Lundeen (GOP Endorsed)

Ward 11: John Quincy (Incumbent) (DFL), Erica Mauter (DFL), Jeremy Schroeder (DFL)

Ward 12: Andrew Johnson (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Will Jaeger (Independent), Harrison Bullard (Independent Health Labor)

Ward 13: Linea Palmisano (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed), Bob Reuer (Independent)

Board of Estimate & Taxation (Elect 2):
Carol Becker (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed)
David Wheeler (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed)


Flag of the City of Saint Paul

City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County (population 302,398)

Mayor:
Sharon Anderson (GOP)
Melvin Carter III (DFL)
Trahern Jeen Crews (Green Party)
Elizabeth Dickinson (Green Party Endorsed)
Tom Goldstein (DFL)
Pat Harris (DFL)
Chris Holbrook (Libertarian)
Tim Holden (Independant)
Dai Thao (DFL)
Barnabas Y'shua

Saint Paul Public Schools School Board At Large:
John Brodrick (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed)
Jeanelle Foster (Incumbent) (DFL Endorsed)
Luke Bellville
Greg Copeland (GOP Endorsed)
Andrea Touhey
Marny Xiong (DFL Endorsed)


Saint Louis Park, Hennepin County (population 48,747) [3]

Edina, Hennepin County (population 51,350) [2]

Flag of the City of Edina

Discover Saint Louis Park

City Council:
Ward 1: Margaret Rog, Brian Shekleton
Ward 2: Anne Mavity, Noelle Racette
Ward 3: Rachel Harris, Jim Leuthner
Ward 4: Tim Brausen

Saint Louis Park School Board:
Bruce Cantor
Anne Casey
Christine M Johnson
Mary Tomback
Karen D. Waters


More videos to watch:

Special districts spend more public money than all city governments combined. That's odd considering most of us don't know they exist. Connect with Last Week Tonight online...
Every American deserves an equal vote. But in some states, access to voting is becoming less and less equal. Connect with Last Week Tonight online...

If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.



Works Cited:

  1. “Candidate Filings - 2017.” Candidate filings - Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services, vote.minneapolismn.gov/candidate/filing. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.
  2. “Edina Public Schools.” School Board / 2017 Board Election, www.edinaschools.org/Page/5041. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.
  3. “St. Louis Park, MN.” Elections | St. Louis Park, MN, www.stlouispark.org/government/elections. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.
  4. Stewart, Carolyn. “US Census Bureau Publications - Census of Population and Housing.” Census of Population and Housing - Publications - U.S. Census Bureau, 19 Aug. 2011, www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017. Downloaded the PDF Census of Population and Housing, 2010 - CPH-1. Summary of Population and Housing Characteristics - Minnesota PDF Location: https://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/cph-2-25.pdf
  5. “What's on the ballot?” What's on the Ballot? - Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services, vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/ballot. Accessed 23 Sept. 2017.

Review of "The Orville" - Spoiler Warning

On 10Sept2017, The Orville premiered on Fox. Personally, I rather enjoyed it. This post contains spoilers. Spoiler-free tl;dr version at the end of this post.

The Orville on Fox

Now, I do not like Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) himself - I find him to be incredibly transphobic (for example, the Family Guy Episode “Quagmire’s Dad”), sexist (the song “We Saw Your Boobs” during the Oscars), racist (the Family Guy episode “Baby Got Black” - especially the song “Thank The Whites”), homophobic, ableist, anti-semitic, and a litany of other things. Just type into Google “Seth MacFarlane” and add in any one of these modifiers, and you’ll see many, many reasons and references behind why he is such a problematic individual. I cannot like him as a person, and I will never be able to like any of his comedies. Seth MacFarlane is not a great satirist.

There are two things that really twists my ‘locs, however, that made me give The Orville a chance. The first thing is that Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, was a highly problematic individual (a topic for a different post). The second thing is that MacFarlane is a huge fan of Star Trek and knows it very, very well. He was in two episodes of Enterprise as Ensign Rivers, frequently has Star Trek cast and crew members on his productions, and has brought in many people from Star Trek to work with him on The Orville, including:

It is because of all of this that I gave The Orville a chance - that, and the advertisements that came across my screen were very good (targeted advertising really works well). They calculated what I find to be interesting, and hit me with the appropriate adverts.

By Rmkane - SVG trace of the logo from the YouTube trailer., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59084473

MacFarlane created a science fiction show that felt very realistic while being futuristic. From Lieutenant Alara Kitan’s youthful inexperience and eagerness to show that she can be counted upon, to Captain Ed Mercer’s weak attempts at humor to break the ice with his new senior staff, to Doctor Finn being the experienced physician who goes where she feels she is most needed, the feeling of actual human (or humanoid) interaction felt very natural. And the banter - Lieutenant John LaMarr asking Lieutenant Gordon Malloy if he saw the dog licking itself in the background. “First thing I saw,” he replied; the kind of thing that I imagine starfleet crews doing behind the backs of the captain and XO. It all felt like we were watching the crews of an actual starship, not a hero vessel (the Enterprise or Defiant or Voyager being super serious and bigger-than-life at all times), living their lives.

Also, for the most part, everybody seems capable at their jobs. Kitan carried handcuffs with her (as a security officer, why wouldn’t you have restraints on you while on away missions) and made certain to have her people secure the Krill who was left on the shuttle (granted, they forgot to check the shuttle for any Krill, but I’ll give them a pass as they were in a hurry). Lieutenant Commander Bortus attempts to keep a semblance of formality on the bridge, while at the same time being willing to accept unorthodox methods and encouraging his subordinates when it is best for them and for the ship.

O'Connell, Michael. “Fox Sets Fall Premiere Dates, 'Orville' Gets Post-NFL Push.” The Hollywood Reporter, 22 June 2017, 11:00am, cdn1.thr.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/scale_crop_768_433/2017/05/Orville_group_build_ss12_hires2H2017.jpg.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed some of the nods to Star Trek that came up in the course of the episode. Mercer and Malloy’s shuttle ride to the Orville was very reminiscent of James T. Kirk and Montgomery Scott travelling to the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the opening speech that Mercer gave his crew was much like Kirk greeting his new crew (again in ST: TMP), and the Orville leaving Dockyard much like the Enterprise departing Spacedock in The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan. Even the Orville being sent on a false supply mission was similar to the Enterprise being diverted to Planet Q under false pretenses in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Conscious of the King." The gathering of the crew was much like the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Encounter at Farpoint” and the crew trying to get a feel for each other felt like first season TNG. Everything was kind of shaky in the way that first season TNG was shaky - everybody and everything was new, and nobody quite knew what they were doing yet, but they were working on getting there.

The Technology:

The opening scene has many futuristic items - flying cars, tall skyscrapers, apartments with single-vehicle parking. The flying cars in particular reminds me very much like The Jetsons, a huge dome with minimal controls that appears to be flying on autopilot. The buildings are a mix of angular and futuristic with blocky and modern, and all of them have green spaces all over them, as if our modern efforts to preserve life on this planet became a part of the future architecture. Even now, we are incorporating green roofs, solar panels, and miniature wind turbines into our cityscapes and homes.

A holodeck by any other name (this name being “Environmental Simulator”) is a holodeck nonetheless.  “Justin the Ogre” was a wonderful addition - a program being written, with a giant “YOU WIN” added for when you defeat your enemy. It speaks to how humans have been interested in making things fun and giving themselves a reward, and will continue to do so - taking anarchisms and fantasy and playing with them. Right now we play “Dungeons & Dragons,” read Lord of the Rings, and even Game of Thrones is a hit TV-show. We probably will be doing similar in another 400 years.

The computer that Mercer uses in his office is frosted on the backside. So many futuristic computers use hard light technology, but are totally transparent so that the person on the other side can whatever you are typing - this time, one cannot read what is being written. That is so perfect! A portable computer that emits light that is also one-sided so that you can keep private information private.

The com-scanner appears to combine a tricorder and a communicator. It is something that I have always wanted to see - we in the 21st century have our smartphones that do everything while making calls; why not have a scanning device that also calls the ship and other members of the away team? This is a logical progression from the communicators that we have seen in Star Trek and the communications and scientific technology that we have in real life.

And then there are the more mundane things - deflector screens instead of shields (they are pretty much the same thing, but won’t get the name mixed up with Star Trek) and having restraints in the shuttles (literally seat belts - something that Star Trek keeps neglecting, except for the latest movies).

The Uniforms:

Miller, Liz Shannon. “‘The Orville’ Review: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Star Trek’ Rip-Off Is Creatively, Morally, and Ethically Bankrupt.” IndieWire, 8 Sept. 2017, 11:13am, www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/orv101_promo_stills_2017-05-10_005_r_hires1.jpg?w=780.

From the very first trailer, I was able to readily identify the meaning of everybody’s uniforms and accurately figure out almost everybody’s positions at a glance. Purple is Admiralty, Blue is Command, Green is Science/Medical, Red is Tactical/Security, and Orange is Support Services. Gray is most likely enlisted/NCO. The officers ranks on the shoulders clearly indicate what ranks each person is. Also, they have pockets. Star Trek is famous for lacking pockets, but The Orville decided to not go that route and include them anyway (plus, it helps resolve the first episode while keeping in-show continuity). Plus, the uniforms are very clean, very smooth, very much Star Trek like without being a complete ripoff of Star Trek.

The Characters:

Commander Kelly Grayson is the perfect executive officer - knowledgeable, compassionate, and gets people to improve themselves without them even knowing it. Malloy reminds me of certain friends of mine who are flippant about things that others take seriously (like one’s job). “I’m worried about my job! Alright? This is very important to me.” Gordon then proceeds to act like an idiot - I’ve known many people like this (I will not name names), who will put your job at risk for their own amusement. Mercer is very inexperienced but earnest, finally getting what he has dreamed of since he was a child.

Dislikes:

MacFarlane leaned way, waaaaay to hard on the ex-wife trope. While Mercer was bringing up the divorce in inappropriate situations, and in the most unhealthy of ways, Grayson handled it like a professional - even the one time he used it as a tactical advantage instead of ignoring his duties, she went ahead and used it as a tactical advantage while making her point. But MacFarlane also fell into the trope of having the female lead being more capable than the male lead, and yet she is the XO while he is the CO.

“You got wood” is not better than “happy Arbor Day” as a catchphrase when you win. Only Mercer, Grayson, and Doctor Aronov knew what Arbor Day was, and that was a minor disappointment. This is just a personal gripe, though - very minor.

TL;DR VERSION - SPOILER FREE

I liked The Orville - it reminded me of first season Star Trek: The Next Generation, from everybody being new and uncertain to the fantastical technology to the going somewhere new and not being sure what will be there. Even down to having to wait for commercials (I watched it on broadcast TV while sitting on a couch with friends), I felt like I was watching TNG again. I am looking forward to seeing more episodes.


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


I'm still here - things have just been hectic!

Good evening, all! Just a quick note to you all before I head off to bed.

My apologies for not posting more regularly as of late - things have been incredibly busy. I have ended one job, started another job, gotten reacquainted with some old friends, helped other friends with their kids, and dealt with a multitude of other things. At the same time, I have begun drafting two blog posts as well as worked more on a science fiction story, so I have not been totally idle on the website end of things! I can't say with 100% certainty when I will have the next post up, but I hope that it is very soon. I am getting settled in on this job, and other aspects of life are smoothing out.

In the mean time, I have done a few things to the website, which some of you may have noticed. First, I have made it possible to subscribe to blog posts! I'm still working out the web formatting, but one step at a time.

Secondly, I have a Patreon now - I created it to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. For those who want to make a one-time donation, I also have PayPal and SquareCash.

Thirdly, I have created a calendar to show when I am going to be on panels at future events. If you are planning on being at one of these conventions, please feel free to come and check out the panels!

Take care, all. Another post coming ASAP.


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.



The GOP is not the Party of Lincoln - A Brief History. Part I: Whigged Beginnings

Note: Due to the length of the topic, this will be a multi-part post.


An iconic photograph of a bearded Abraham Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.

Alexander Gardner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Back in June, a friend of mine said “I really think it's time for the Democrats to reclaim Lincoln from the Republican Party.” It was quickly pointed out that Lincoln was indeed a Republican [4], which is factually correct, but ignores the differences in the politics and policies of the Republican Party of the 1860s and the Republican Party of the 2010s. When looking at political parties of any era, especially when comparing parties of said eras, it is important to take into account the political realities of the time, the stances of the parties, the viewpoints of the members of the parties, and what the parties were voting for. For example, in my blog post about Minnesota’s voting history, I brought up that Minnesota overwhelmingly voted Progressive (Bull-Moose) in 1912 [1][6][9], while the Republicans had the majority in 1972 [2][7][9] and the Democrats in 2012 [8][9][10] - in each case, the candidate who won Minnesota happened to be the more progressive candidate. The same goes for Lincoln.

Depending on one’s point of view, the United States is currently either in the Fifth or Sixth Party System [Note 1][Note 2], however, Lincoln and the Republican Party of his era were in the Third Party System. As the Second Party System came to a close, the Whig Party was collapsing - slavery was a major issue that split the party. In the northeast, Whigs cared about national unity but didn’t care about slavery. In the north, Whigs thought that slavery was incompatible with the (then) modern economy. In the south, Whigs supported a strong textile industry and often found themselves aligned with the northeast as well as supported a stronger fugitive slave law. Anti-slavery Whigs and some Free-Soil Democrats joined together to fight the Kansas-Nebraska Act (the act that opened Kansas and Nebraska territories to slavery, repealing the Missouri Compromise) [21] [Note 3]. Eventually, the South attempted to secede from the Union, the Civil War was fought with a Union Victory, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed [20]. This was the period of the Republicans being the progressive party [Note 4].

This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice. Unless its author has been dead for several years, it is copyrighted in jurisdictions that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada (50 p.m.a.), Mainland China (50 p.m.a., not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany (70 p.m.a.), Mexico (100 p.m.a.), Switzerland (70 p.m.a.), and other countries with individual treaties.

Like the Whigs before them, the Republican Party had factions: Radical Republicans [14][16][17], who wanted Blacks to have the same freedoms as Whites and to have harsh punishments for rebels; Moderate Republicans[14] (with Lincoln as their leader), who wanted to reintegrate the Confederate States back into the Union as quickly as possible, and the Conservative Republicans who opposed the Radical Republicans.

Enter the Fourth Party System. After Reconstruction happened in the south, Republican power waned as Democrats reasserted themselves in the Solid South. Great wealth has come to the North because the Republican leaders had become plutocrats - high tariffs and high spending, which did not help the southern plantations but was a boon for northern industries. Also, the Panic of 1893 [11][Note 5] led to a major Republican victory in the elections, which restored the confidence of businesses. The Republicans were seen as the friend of business, while still holding the mantle of being the progressive party. But this also caused friction within the party, as progressive members became concerned that party leaders and businesses were getting too comfortable with each other.

TO BE CONTINUED.


Note 1: To quote Wikipedia, “a party system is a concept in comparative political science concerning the system of government by political parties in a democratic country. The idea is that political parties have basic similarities: they control the government, have a stable base of mass popular support, and create internal mechanisms for controlling funding, information and nominations” [12] - that is to say, how many relevant parties there are, how fragmented they are, and how effective each party is defines a party system.

Note 2: The contention between whether we are in the Fifth or Sixth Party System comes from whether or not one sees the Civil Rights Era and the Reagan Era as a continuation of the New Deal or as separate events. Those who agree that we are in the Sixth Party System generally cannot agree when it began, however - either the Civil Rights Era or the Reagan Era was the beginning of the Sixth party System. 

Note 3: At this point, the American Civil War comes into play, after the election of President Lincoln. The short version is that the Southern States wanted to keep slaves, and the Northern States wanted to abolish slavery. I am not going to get into this, because the Civil War is a whole post of its own, with ties into current events (Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Criminal Justice System, and the events happening right now in Charlottesville, Virginia).

Probably a good idea.

This is not true. At all.

Note 4: During the 2016 election, there had been a meme going around indicating that the Republican Party was a third party, and that Abraham Lincoln was a third party candidate [3][18] - this is a fabrication supported by supporters of Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party [18][19][22]. The third parties of the era were the Greenback Party [5], the Populist Party [13], and the Prohibition Party [15], while the main parties were the Democrats and Republicans.

Note 5: I am not going to get into the Panic of 1893 here, as that is another story unto itself. Here’s the short version: a wheat crop failure and a coup in Buenos Aires caused European investors to be concerned that problems might spread, causing them to make a run at US gold reserves in the US Treasury. This caused Grover Cleveland (D) to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which caused people to run to the banks to withdraw their money, which caused bank runs. At the same time, there was a financial panic in London, a drop in European trade, and foreign investors selling American stocks to get gold. After banks closed, businesses failed, and farms shut down, a bunch of finger pointing happened and the Republicans swept the 1894 elections. [11]


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


1. “1912 Presidential Election.” The American Presidency Project, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showelection.php?year=1912. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

2. “1972 Presidential Election.” The American Presidency Project, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/showelection.php?year=1972. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

3. Anne, Libby. “Abraham Lincoln Was Not a Third Party Candidate.” Love, Joy, Feminism, Patheos, 26 Sept. 2016, www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2016/09/abraham-lincoln-was-not-a-third-party-candidate.html. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

4. Freidel, Frank, and Hugh Sidey. “Abraham Lincoln.” The White House, The United States Government, 8 Mar. 2017, www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/abrahamlincoln. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017. The Presidential biographies on WhiteHouse.gov are from “The Presidents of the United States of America,” by Frank Freidel and Hugh Sidey. Copyright 2006 by the White House Historical Association.

5. “Greenback Party.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenback_Party. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

6. Leip, David. “1912 Presidential General Election Results - Minnesota.” Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=1912&fips=27&off=0&elect=0&f=0. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

7. Leip, David. “1972 Presidential General Election Results - Minnesota.” Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=1972&f=1&off=0&elect=0&fips=27&submit=Retrieve. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

8. Leip, David. “2012 Presidential General Election Results - Minnesota.” Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections, uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=2012&fips=27&off=0&elect=0&f=0. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

9. “Minnesota Elections: Dates and Vote Totals.” Election Results - Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl/mngov/electionresults. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

10. “MN Election Results.” Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/ENR/home/1. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

11. “Panic of 1893.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893. Accessed 16 Aug. 2017.

12. “Party system.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_system. Accessed 12 Aug. 2017.

13. “People's Party (United States).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Party_(United_States). Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

14. “Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction Plans - AP U.S. History Topic Outlines - Study Notes.” Study Notes, www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/presidential-and-congressional-reconstruction-plans/. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

15. “Prohibition Party.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_Party. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

16. “Radical Reconstruction.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/us/35b.asp. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

17. “Radical Republicans.” Ohio History Central, Ohio History Connection, www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Radical_Republicans. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

18. Rouner, Jef. “Dear Libertarians: Stop Saying Abraham Lincoln Was a Third Party Candidate.” Houston Press, 20 Oct. 2016, www.houstonpress.com/arts/dear-libertarians-stop-saying-abraham-lincoln-was-a-third-party-candidate-8713006. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

19. Stanley, T L. “Abe Lincoln Trashes Clinton and Trump in This Insane Ad for Libertarian Gary Johnson.” Adweek, Adweek, 29 Aug. 2016, www.adweek.com/creativity/abe-lincoln-trashes-clinton-and-trump-insane-ad-libertarian-gary-johnson-173174/. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017. Harmon Brothers strike again

20. “The Civil Rights Bill of 1866.” US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-Civil-Rights-Bill-of-1866/. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

21. “The Origins of the Republican Party.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/gop/origins.htm. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.

22. Wilson, J. “Johnson Super PAC's 'Dead Abe Lincoln' Video Is 2016's Most Viewed Ad.” A Libertarian Future, 15 Sept. 2016, alibertarianfuture.com/big-government/propaganda/johnson-super-pacs-dead-abe-lincoln-video-is-2016s-most-viewed-political-ad/. Accessed 13 Aug. 2017.


To Survive, Persons of Color are Taught Differently.

Back on 10March2017, I was pulled over by the Saint Louis Park Police Department. The light over the rear license plate was burnt out - the person whom I had borrowed the vehicle from knew that the light was burnt out and told me that she was going to replace it. I was under the understanding that she was going to replace it before I borrowed the vehicle, but she did not get around to it. She's a white ruralite who does not understand the importance of having every part of a vehicle being up to specs at all times. Fortunately, I only received a verbal warning.

Shoulder patch for the Saint Louis Park Police Department

I was driving a friend of mine home. She's a white suburbanite who has never had to deal with the police before. As we were driving, I noticed a car quickly turn a corner and get up and personal to the rear of us. From the driving style and the way that the headlights were partially blocked, I knew that it was a police car, and I could tell immediately that we were going to get pulled over by how the police officer was following us (speed, distance, starting out with headlights off when turning the corner and then intensity of headlights when they came on). My passenger and I were talking about something, and I said, "we'll continue this after we get pulled over."
"Okay?"
*police lights come on*
"Oh."

When the officer was asking us where we were going, my passenger started providing too much information about where we came from. My tension level went up. One thing that we have always been taught is to never give the police too much information - it will always be used against you. There are seven words that we all have to know: "yes, sir," "no, sir," and "thank you, sir." Keep it to a minimum.

Shoulder patch for the Edina Police Department

The officer went back to the squad car to run my license. My friend dug through pockets to look for her phone. I said, "don't make any sudden movements." My tension level went up again - one false move could get us killed. All it takes is one police officer who fears a person of color to see a sudden move from anybody, even an imagined move, for another one of us to die. She was surprised. "I thought that he was far enough away," she said. Sadly, if you are in visual range, you are not far enough away.

Fortunately, the police officer just returned my license and sent us on our way. My passenger thought that the police officer was being demeaning when he sent us on our way (he had said to me, "do me a favor - get her home safe," and I promised that I would). I, on the other hand, was glad that he did not ask me to step out of the vehicle, or worse. Normally, I'm not afraid of the Saint Louis Park Police Department because I've been working with the Multicultural Advisory Committee, because I'm on a first name basis with the Chief, Deputy Chief, and some of the Officers, and because I know that our Police Department is working hard at equity and cultural competence. It's not like we were pulled over by the Edina Police Department or the Minneapolis Police Department. But I had a passenger who was doing the things that should never be done around police officers, and so instead of merely being nervous, I was actually afraid.

Badge of the Minneapolis Police Department

The next morning, I went to a local mechanic to get the light on the car replaced. The person whom I had borrowed the car from did not understand the sense of urgency of having that minor light replaced. For her, it was nothing. For me, it might be an inconvenience, or it might be my life. 

I, as a person of color, have been taught how to deal with the police in such a way to maximize survival - to live another day. My friends have not had to worry about police encounters. Such a concept is alien to them. We, as persons of color, are taught different because we live in a different reality.


An emotional scene from ABC TV's "black-ish" (A sitcom about the everyday lives of an African-American family) - Season 2, Episode 16 - Wednesday, February 24th, 2016. A remarkable episode about the realities and fear of police brutality. A very serious topic for a sitcom.

The ABC-TV show blackish has an important scene that talks about the world in which we live - how persons of color are treated differently by law enforcement, how the deck is stacked against us. They reference the death of Freddie Gray, the death of Sandra Bland, and that even if we do what we are told, that is not any guarantee that we will come out alive. And they have another importance scene that talks about how the deck is stacked against us.

Junior schools Dre on the judicial system. black-ish - Subscribe: http://goo.gl/mo7HqT

We get told again and again, do not talk to the police. Do not talk to the police. Do not talk to the police. Black people make up 13% of the US population, and yet 40% of the incarcerated population. Hispanic/Latinx people make up 16% of the US population, and yet 19% of the incarcerated population. And numerous studies show that Hispanics/Latinx and Blacks tend to receive harsher sentences than whites, even with comparable backgrounds and crimes.

So we are taught differently. We have to be taught differently if we want to have a chance at living. From racial profiling to stop-and-frisk, from having to deal with mandatory minimums to hoping to get a jury of our peers, we get taught differently from an early age just so that we can survive another day.



If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.

CONvergence 2017 - Two Weeks Later

Since I have returned home, I have not had a change to down the notes that I took on the the other panels that I attended at CONvergence - "Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book Medium" and "Latinx Empowerment Through Latinx Heroes" (I also attended "Don't Go There: Taboo Topics and Triggers In Art," but I did not take any notes) - but now I have a moment to get some thoughts down. These two panels do tie into the other panels that I was on (read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4), and I plan on writing out detailed thoughts about these as time permits.

Women of Color in Comics: Race, Gender and the Comic Book Medium

The concepts of race being gendered and gender being raced:
Artemis in Wonder Woman being described as "brutish"
Other persons of color who have been described as brutes: Venus and Serena Williams
See "Cult of True Womanhood" and CONvergence 2017 - Day 3

When writing characters, be certain to avoid tokenism. See CONvergence 2017 - Day 1 and On Tokenism.

We as a people need to remember that not all women have vaginas, and not all men have penises.

One of the difficulties of being a person of color, and especially a woman of color, is ending up representing one's entire race when among a group of people. See White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and On Tokenism.

Rosario Dawson -> is she in everything?

Code-switching -> AAVE, why we do code-switching, and the social significance.

Race-bending versus whitewashing - also, listen to 50 Shades of Blackface

Panelists: Bri Donovan (mod), Morgan Strickland, AlysshaRose Jordan

 

Latinx Empowerment Through Latinx Heroes

Latinx characters to learn more about:
El Diablo -> DC Character, created by Jai Nitz (one of the panelists)
America Chavez
Blue Beetle (Young Justice)
Zorro - especially the novelization written by Isabel Allende
Elena of Avalor
El Dorado (Super Friends) - didn't show up in comics until Jai Nitz put him in
Cisco Kid
Desi Arnaz

Tejano - a Mexican-American inhabitant of Southern Texas.
People in general need to learn about cowboys (Spanish roots, Vaqueros, and the lie of the "American Heroes of the West")
Passing Privilege -> the advantages of looking White
Colorism -> a subset of racism, where having lighter skin is viewed as "better"

Fixers in the community - to whites, criminals; to members of the community, Robin Hoods.
"Criminal doesn't just mean bad."
Lack of representation adds to ideas of monstrosity
"If the only person of color is a villain, I'm; gonna gravitate towards her." - Bri

Stories to check out:
Bitch Planet - Vita Ayala
Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller - Vita Ayala
High Aztech
Cortez on Jupiter

Panelists: Bri Donovan (mod), SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, Jai Nitz, Andrea Peraza, Clarissa Goldsmith


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


CONvergence 2017 - Day 4

To catch up on the weekend, here are Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

"Steven Universe as Queer Space Opera" was the final panel that I was on - we had great conversations about queer shaped relationships, gender and gender roles, polyamory, and how having a child-orientated cartoon that features these subjects is important.

Some of the things to think about that I plan on expanding on in future posts that came out of this panel include:

  • What is Space Opera?
  • What is Gender?
  • Toxic Masculinity
  • Caste Systems

Also, the importance of Fusion and what it represents - Intimacy, Sex, Friendship - and how it can be perverted by coercion and toxic relationships. 

Lastly, I had promised that I would put up what I imagine the caste hierarchy to look like. I created this after I watched "The Zoo," so I will have to make some adjustments as we get to see more of the new gems whom have been introduced. If you have any thoughts on how the heirarchy should be, please comment - I would love to hear from you.

Panelists: Justin Grays (mod), Ryan Alexander, Bri Donovan, Jesse Haller, Lara Richardson


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


CONvergence 2017 - Day 3

If you haven't read CONvergence 2017 - Day 1 or CONvergence 2017 - Day 2 already, I would suggest that you read those two entries first - the four panels that I was on, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism," "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters," "Diversity, Class Systems, and Equality in Science Fiction" and "50 Shades of Blackface," all relate to tonight's panel: "Androids, AI, And Gender Theory."

This post will be in three parts: First, a couple of definitions and points - these definitions will be without citation, as I jotted them down in a notebook for reference for the panel, though I do plan on revisiting them in a future post. Second, a listing of media that has to do with stories about Androids, AI, and/or Gender. Third, free-form notes that were taken during the panel that I plan on elaborating on at a later date.

Definitions and Points

  • Race is gendered, and gender is raced
    • Asians are seen as more feminine
    • Africans are seen as more masculine
  • The concept of gendered racism
  • Non-gendered pronouns:
    • Xe (Rickter, c. 1973)
    • Ze, hir (Bornstein, n.d.)
    • Ze, zir (Unknown, c. 2013)
    • Singular they (14th century - didn't start becoming frowned upon until 19th century)
  • Cis - from the Latin, "on this side of"
  • Trans - from the Latin, "across from" or "on the other side of"
  • Android comes from the Greek root word ἀνδρ-, "man" (male, as opposed to anthrop-, human being) and the suffix -oid, "having the form or likeness of." 

Media to Read/Watch

Dark Matter - Science Fiction Series based on a comic book
Saturn's Children - novel by Charles Stross
Humans Need Not Apply - documentary by CGP Grey
A.I. Artificial Intelligence - Science Fiction movie
Forging Hephaestus - novel by Drew Hayes
Westworld - Science Fiction Series based on a movie
Bicentennial Man - Science Fiction movie based on a book
Lock In - novel by John Scalzi
Mass Effect - video game trilogy
Ancillary Justice - novel by Ann Leckie
Person of Interest - Science Fiction Series
Adventure Time - Animated Television Series
Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - Anime Television Series (must be watched in Japanese to get the gender identity contexts)
The Lunar Chronicles - tetralogy by Marissa Meyer
Questionable Content - webcomic by Jeph Jacques

Notes

Gender Identity and Gender Presentation are two parts of one's gender. One is implicitly stated, and the other is how one expresses themselves.

English, Spanish, and Portuguese are invasionary languages.

Virtual Intelligence is not quite at the level of what we perceive Artificial Intelligence to be. Yet.

Humans Need Not Apply discusses how AI is progressing in such a way that we will have to change what it means to be a productive member of society.

HitchBOT, a Hitchhiking Robot that successfully traveled across Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany, was murdered in Philadelphia in 2015.

What purpose is there for an Android and/or AI to have gender? Could an Android/AI be trans, gender-fluid, and/or non-bindary? Is agency involved, and to what degree? 

Panelists: Jamie Riedesel (mod), Susan Willson, Nat Morse-Noland, Justin Grays


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


CONvergence 2017 - Day 2

If you didn't read the previous post, CONvergence 2017 - Day 1, I would suggest checking that out first. The panels that I was on, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism" and "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters," were both directly related to today's panels, "Diversity, Class Systems, and Equality in Science Fiction" and "50 Shades of Blackface."


Diversity, Class Systems, and Equality in Science Fiction

The comic Ten Thousand by XKCD was brought up - it is a reminder to not make fun of people for not knowing something. Let us remember that not everybody knows what people think that everybody must know.

List of media to check out:

"Take My Wife" - TV Series on Seeso by Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher
Kindred - by Octavia E. Butler
Lilith's Brood (previously collected in the now out of print volume Xenogenesis) - by Octavia E. Butler
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - by Robert A. Heinlein
"Steven Universe" - Cartoon Series on Cartoon Network by Rebecca Sugar
The Neanderthal Parallax - by Robert J. Sawyer
"Firebringer" - Musical on YouTube
Lifelode - by Jo Walton
The Tale of the Five - by Diane Duane
Heralds of Valdemar - Mercedes Lackey
Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements - Compilation of works
The Dancers of Arun - by Elizabeth A. Lynn

Quote in Octavia's Brood: "For those of us from communities with historic collective trauma, we must understand that each of us is already science fiction walking around on two legs. Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us." - Walidah Imerisha

Panelists: Lana Rosario (mod), Emilie Peck, Justin Grays, Peregrine Johnson, Gregory Parks

More Reading: "Why Include Disability Diversity In Sci-Fi?" by Emilie Peck


50 Shades of Blackface

Audio recording provided by Jason Thibeault. This is the rough cut - not normalized or trimmed. Enjoy it in the raw.
And this is the cleaned up cut - Jason cut off the ends pre- and post-panel, normalized, noise reduced, and a little leveling so you can hear the audience questions better. Enjoy it here.

Panelists: Justin Grays, Stephanie Stensland (mod), Sarah Molasky, Morgan Strickland, Charlene Holm


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


CONvergence 2017 - Day 1

CONvergence is an annual convention about Science Fiction and Fantasy, held at the Doubletree Hilton and the Sheraton in Bloomington, Minnesota. This year's theme is To Infinity and Beyond: Epic Tales of Space Opera. Today I was on two panels, "Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism" and "Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters" - in both of the panels, I said that I would gather the books and/or sources that were discussed and put them up on here.


Speculative Fiction Against Colonialism

Avoiding Tokenism in Comics & Sci Fi Characters

List of books and comics:

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture
 by Ytasha L. Womack
Sioux Falls by Z.M.Thomas

Panelists: Gabriela Santiago, Rob Callahan (mod), Justin Grays

Sources for helping write without Tokenism:

Writing with Color
Writing the Other (Website) (Twitter)
Talk to program officers at foundations or philanthropies that have a track record of establishing equity.

Panelists: Justin Grays, Nat Morse-Noland (mod), Kerry Peterson, Jim Soos, Ian Truitner


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


On Tokenism

Token. Noun. "An item, idea, person, etc., representing a group; a part as representing the whole; sample; indication" [4].

Tokenism. Noun. "The policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort (as to desegregate)" [5]; "the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly" [5].


This post talks about my experiences with tokenism as it pertains to race. It does not reflect gender identity, sexuality, or orientation. I may write about those aspects of being a token in a later post.


As far back as I can remember, I have often been the token member of a group. Not always, but often. When I was five, the parents of the rich kid at school wanted him to have a Black friend, and I was elected - he was a jerk to me, and I hated him for being a jerk. I never really thought about it again until high school - that's when I noticed that I was one of the very few persons of color at my school [Note 1] and started noticing the racial disparities in my life. Things that didn't occur to me when I was younger started becoming easier to recognize.

Some time later, while I was working for Minneapolis Parks [Note 2], it became even more apparent - the director at my park retired, and a new director came in. The new director brought her staff with her [Note 3], and alienated the kids, families, and the old staff - it got to be the point where I was the only member left from the previous staff, and the only person of color. In the community paper, the new director would wax about "our diverse staff" - I was the diversity up until I finally left.

I mention these things from my educational and professional life because of the symbolic effort that was given to show that there was social inclusiveness in those circles, but I often was not fully accepted. Sometimes I was the tool to try to generate a certain view, and sometimes I was the expert on how all African Americans view certain things, and usually either (or both) of these overshadowed me as a person.

Nichelle Nichols as Uhura on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series
By NASA (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And then there were the stories and adventures that I enjoyed - Dick Tracy, Batman, Star Trek [Note 4], Sherlock Holmes... all stories with either predominately white or entirely white casts and characters. I had grown up watching these stories, but seeing very few people who looked like me, except maybe background characters. There were characters such as Lieutenants Uhura and Sulu, of course, and one-off characters such as Commodore Stone, but there were very few leading stories with persons of color that captured the attention of a young geek. And so I played along, and wished that there were characters out there who resembled me.

George Takei as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, from Star Trek (1966)
By NBC Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As I got older, I felt more and more isolated: at jobs, I started to feel that I could not get any further because I had a certain role to play; in social situations, I became hyper-vigilant of my actions, for I was the representative of my entire race; in public, I was on the defense, because I was often contrasted against others of my race. Though I cannot say for certain that I was held back at any jobs because I am African American, I have been passed over for promotion a number of times in favor of white colleagues who were less than qualified [Note 5], and then offered a lower pay raise after finally achieving the promotions that it took longer for me to earn. It is pretty clear to me that I was held back because I am African American, but I did not have any solid proof of it.

Percy Rodriguez as Commodore Stone, from TOS: "Court Martial" (1966)
By Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios [Fair Use], via Memory Alpha

In public, I am seen as the representative of my entire race. The first time I noticed this was in high school - one of my religion teachers asked for me to be the one to give the Black perspective of things in my class. There was only me and a Latinx as the persons of color in that particular class. Outside of school, at social gatherings, I always have to be extra respectful and extra polite.  When one is a token, one "may feel they are constantly being examined or evaluated" [6], which I often am, while perceiving "that others pay a disproportionate amount of attention to people who feel like tokens and are hypervigilant concerning their actions and behaviors" [6]. At many social gatherings, I am held to a higher standard than the guests around me - my actions are under the watchful eye of those around me.

Stories are becoming more diverse now, but it is a slow process. And people are starting to see that we are not a monolithic group, but it is still a slow process. I still get the offensive "you are so well-spoken" or "you are so articulate" - someone is amazed, even bewildered that an African American can speak in the Standard American English dialect [7] instead of AAVE or Ebonics [Note 6]. Just never say that (along with these 11 Things White People Should Stop Saying to Black People Immediately). But, as I said, it is a slow process, and it sometimes reinforces the idea that "a person is forced to play a role based on stereotypes of their group" [6] - it is painfully slow.

I'd like to be beyond it already. We're not there yet. Perhaps we'll be there in time for the next generation, or the one after.

 


Notes:

1. I went to Saint Thomas Academy for high school (9 - 12). Saint Thomas Academy is 88.9% - 91.5% white [1] [2] [3]. As I recall, I was 1 of 3 African-Americans, and 1 of 5 persons of color, in my graduating class.

2. I only worked at Painter Park specifically, and not at MPRB in general. 

3. The new director and her staff came from Lynnhurst Park, which has a very different demographic than Painter Park.

4. I had initially known only Star Trek and Star Trek: The Animated Series, as Star Trek: The Next Generation did not premiere until after I was a toddler and into the beginning of my primary education years.

5. When I say "less than qualified," I mean either their training was incomplete or they were fired for either being grossly incompetent or stealing from the company.

6. AAVE, or African American Vernacular English, and Ebonics were once considered the same dialect of American English, and then for a period considered two different dialects, and now is considered the same dialect again. However, there are many negative connotations with the term Ebonics [8], and should be avoided.


If you like what you read here, and would like to show your support, please consider donating.

I am on Patreon to help fund the work that goes into maintaining a website and creating researched content. Also, it will give me some financial relief as I am also endeavoring to complete a number of science fiction and fantasy stories, and hopefully compile them into zines or collected works. As a sponsor, you'll get quality blog posts, early access to completed stories, and the knowledge that you are helping me fund the creative process. I will get the benefit of some stress reduction as I won't have to worry about finances as much anymore, and that will help me be free to create more work.

It's not always possible to sponsor on a monthly basis. If you would like to do a one time donation, please feel free to use PayPal or SquareCash. Producing content takes time and effort, and any support would be most appreciated. Your donations help me cover expenses and eventually will let me be able to create quality content full-time.


References:

1. Rate Limited. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2017. <http://private-schools.startclass.com/l/120188/St-Thomas-Academy>.

2. "St Thomas Academy." N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2017. <https://www.greatschools.org/minnesota/mendota-heights/2399-St-Thomas-Academy/>.

3. USASchoolInfo.com. "St Thomas Academy Mendota Heights, MN Enrollment & Demographics." USASchoolInfo. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2017. <http://www.usaschoolinfo.com/school/st-thomas-academy-mendota-heights-minnesota.108527/enrollment>.

4. "Token." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 04 July 2017.

5. "Tokenism." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 04 July 2017.

6. "Tokenism." Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 July 2017. <https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/counseling-psychology/multicultural-counseling/tokenism/>.

7. Clemetson, Lynette. "The Racial Politics of Speaking Well." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Feb. 2007. Web. 05 July 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/weekinreview/04clemetson.html>.

8. Green, Lisa J. African American English: a linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge U Press, 2009. PDF.


A follow-up on The Invisible Generation

Almost two weeks ago, I posted a blog called "The Invisible Generation" that spoke on how those born between 1977 and 1987 are neither GenX nor Millennial, but rather a generation of their own. What I didn't do at the time, though, was propose what I believe to be generational lines:

The Lost Generation (Born 1880-1900)
The Interbellum Generation (Born 1901-1913)
Greatest Generation (Born 1901-1924)
Silent Generation (Born 1925-1942)
Baby Boomers (Born 1943-1964)
Generation X (Born 1961-1984)
Invisible Generation (Born 1977-1987)
Generation Y (Born 1985-1995)
Millennial (Born 1994-2004)
Generation Z (Born 2001-2011)
Generation α (Born 2010-Today)

If you only want the list of years that make up these generations, now is a good time to stop. If you would like to see what splits up the generations, keep on reading.


Before getting into descriptions, first a generation needs to be defined. A generation can be described as "a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor" or "a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously" [1] - essentially, parents and their children, family groups, people born around the same period of time. It is how we view kinship as we go from one group of humans to the next. While the concept of familial generations does not have much impact outside of the lives of our families, the concept of social generations provide a sense of belonging and identity - the social generation is where each group finds the sense of community. 

Social generations experience events at about the same stage in their life - trends that happen as people reach similar age-related milestones "that members of a particular generation will develop and share similar values, beliefs, and expectations" [2] that unite us. These, of course, are not universal, because different cultures and different regions have different events. The above list of dates was given from the point of view of someone from the United States of America - other cultures and nations will have other events that create major milestones. But there are three key things that help shape generations: parenting, technology, and economics [2]. I won't get into detail for all three of these things for each generation, but I will mention at least one key factor that they experienced in their early lives.


The Lost Generation (Born 1880-1900):

The generation born before the start of the 20th century. The youngest of this generation was old enough to fight in World War I by the end of the war. This generation was shaped by the US population surpassing 75 million for the first time, the assassination of President William McKinley, automobiles becoming more available to the public, Big-Stick Diplomacy, and the formation of the NAACP. The Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown, the Republic of Hawai'i was annexed by the United States, and the Territory of Hawaii was created. The term "The Lost Generation" was coined by Gertrude Stein and popularized by Ernest Hemingway, who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises.

States that joined the union:

  • North Dakota (39)
  • South Dakota (40)
  • Montana (41)
  • Washington (42)
  • Idaho (43)
  • Wyoming (44)
  • Utah (45)

Inhabited Territories acquired by the United States:

  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • Territory of Hawai'i
  • American Samoa
  • Oklahoma Territory

Uninhabited Territories acquired by the United States:

  • Serranilla Bank (Disputed)
  • Palmyra Atoll
  • Wake Island

The Interbellum Generation (Born 1901-1913):

This generation marks the beginning of the 20th century. Born too early to be enlisted in WWII (though can be officers and senior NCOs) and too late to even take part in WWI, this generation got to see both the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, experiencing the two major ends of economic trends. Girl Scouts of the USA was established, Teddy Roosevelt was shot and continued giving his speech, Birth of a Nation premiered, and Henry Ford developed the modern assembly line as this generation grew up.

States that joined the union:

  • Oklahoma (46)
  • New Mexico (47)
  • Arizona (48)

Inhabited Territories acquired by the United States:

  • Territory of Alaska

Greatest Generation (Born 1901-1927):

This generation overlaps with the Interbellum Generation - though the Interbellum Generation was too young to be enlisted in WWII, they were not too young to be Officers and senior NCOs. The youngest member of this generation was just barely old enough to enlist in the Armed Forces to participate in WWII.  Birth of a Nation opens, RMS Lusitania sunk, and WWI begins and ends. Prohibition begins, women are granted the right to vote, immigration laws become tougher, and Wyoming elects the first elected female Governor in the United States.

Inhabited Territories acquired by the United States:

  • US Virgin Islands

Silent Generation (Born 1925-1945):

This group was born and grew up during the Great Depression and WWII. They got to experience difficult lives - high unemployment, high poverty, wartime production, fathers and siblings gone overseas for extended periods. The New Deal happens, and the major political parties begin their realignment. This generation got to see peace come out of the wars, and, along with the younger members of the Greatest Generation, gave birth to the Baby Boomers. Also, dark points of American history occurs here - Japanese Internment Camps, Detroit Race Riots, Federal Employee Loyalty Program, Hawai'i being placed under Martial Law, and such. 


Baby Boomers (Born 1943-1964):

The generation that destroyed the economy. Boomers were "the first generation to be raised permissively, the first reared on television and subject to its developmental harms, and the only living group raised in an era of seemingly effortless prosperity" [3] , and blames Millennials for the ills of today. The political realignment continues, and civil rights movements take off. McCarthyism runs rampant, the Korean War happens, the Space Race begins, the Cold War and Vietnam War begins, and President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

States that joined the union:

  • Alaska (49)
  • Hawaii (50)

Generation X (Born 1961-1984):

GenX was also known as the Baby Busters because of "a period of sharp decrease in the birthrate, as that in the U.S. after 1965" [4] with the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill being approved for contraceptive use in the United States [5] and more homes having both parents working. Voting age was reduced to 18. Star Trek and MTV came into existence. This generation saw the end of Vietnam, Kent State Shootings, the last mission to the moon, the first space station put in orbit by the United States, and Watergate. 


Invisible Generation (Born 1977-1987):

The combination of GenX and GenY, the Invisible Generation got the worst of both worlds. Read more.

Inhabited Territories acquired by the United States:

  •  Northern Mariana Islands

Generation Y (Born 1985-1995):

This generation got safer neighborhoods and increased school safety problems. Police presence at schools increase. Digital literacy is becoming even more important as computers become accessible to homes and the internet becomes available to the public. The Simpsons air and the Berlin Wall falls. Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager premier. The Cold War ends.


Millennial (Born 1994-2004):

This generation has not known life without computers, much to the dismay of Boomers. The turn of the century is upon them, but they do not have the same ties that MTV, Nickelodeon, and the new waves of 90s music brought to the Gen X, Invisible Generation, and GenY kids - new ways of sending information and connecting are being developed at new rates. Y2K is a concern, 9/11 happens, and the United States starts fearing foreign terrorism instead of domestic terrorism.


Generation Z (Born 2001-2011):

This generation is the post 9/11 generation. Born entirely in the 21st century, they have never known a United States without a Department of Homeland Security. Mobile phones and portable electronics are the norm. This generation is still school-age, ranging from 1st grade to 10th grade. Jobs are going away, but they don't yet comprehend it - they still have a chance, if we change what being a productive member of society means.


Generation α (Born 2010-Today):

The eldest of this generation is only 7 years old. The youngest is still being born. Much like Generation Z, their future is uncertain. Millennials, GenY, and the Invisible Generation has been screwed - let's make things better for Z and α.


References:

1. “Generation.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/generation. Accessed 25 June 2017.

2. “Generational Breakdown: Info About All of the Generations – GEN HQ.” GEN HQ, genhq.com/faq-info-about-generations/. Accessed 25 June 2017.

3. Gibney, Bruce Cannon. “How the baby boomers destroyed everything - The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com, 26 Feb. 2017, www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/02/26/how-baby-boomers-destroyed-everything/lVB9eG5mATw3wxo6XmDZFL/story.html. Accessed 25 June 2017.

4. “Baby bust.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/baby-buster. Accessed 25 June 2017.

5. Nikolchev, Alexandra. “A brief history of the birth control pill.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 7 May 2010, www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/a-brief-history-of-the-birth-control-pill/480/. Accessed 25 June 2017.

The Invisible Generation

Depending on whom one asks, a person born between 1977 and 1987 is either a member of Generation X or of the Millennial Generation - different lists of generations will give different dates. NPR gives the following list as the American Generations Timeline:

  • GI Generation (Born 1901-1924) [Note 2]
  • Silent Generation (Born 1925-1942)
  • Baby Boomers (Born 1943-1964)
  • Generation X (Born 1965-1979) [Note 3]
  • Millennials (Born 1980-2000) [Note 1]
  • Generation Z (Born 2001-2013)

NPR also points out that "though there is a consensus on the general time period for generations, there is not an agreement on the exact year that each generation begins and ends" [1], which can be seen if one searches for generational lists. Though Baby Boomers and earlier (including The Lost Generation (Born 1880-1915) and The Interbellum Generation (Born 1901-1913 [3] [4]) have fairly static dates across the different lists, Generation X and beyond does not. So, you may end up with dates that are somewhere in the following ranges:

  • Generation X (Born 1965-1984)
  • Generation Y/Millennial (Born 1977-2004)
  • Generation Z/iGeneration (Born 1996-Today)
  • Generation Alpha/Generation α (Born 2010-Today)

I argue that those born between 1977 and 1987 are neither a part of GenX or GenY, but rather the Invisible Generation. The people born in the age range with all of the disadvantages of both GenX and GenY, but none of the advantages. GenXers were raised to believe that getting a college education would guarantee a career because that was true for the Boomers. GenYs are seen as narcissistic and and entitled, snowflakes who were given participation trophies as children and are not willing to work. However, GenXers had to learn to adapt to technology, while GenYs are unable to find employment because Boomers and GenXers have the majority of the jobs.

Those in the Invisible Generation are those who are old enough to have received the college education that was expected to make life better, but are young enough to end up having it become a requirement to find the basic of all jobs. The Invisible Generation was born into the early stages of modern technology and has been at the forefront of each new innovation, but has at the same time seen jobs taken away due to new technologies and Boomers ruining the economy [Note 4]. The Invisible Generation, along with GenY, are stuck catching the blame from Boomers for the shrinking middle class and being left with a job market that is ultra-saturated with higher education degrees [9], but is old enough to be in the management positions that GenX holds if the Boomers would (or could) retire.

And so the Invisible Generation is there, in between GenX and GenY. But that generation will likely be unrecognized and continue to be invisible.


Notes:

1. Personally, I hate the term Millennial - I much prefer the term Generation Y. Part of it is because I grew up with the term Generation Y, whereas Millennial was first coined in 1991 [1] [2] and became widespread more recently. The term Millennial has all sorts of negative associations: entitled, narcissistic, overly dependent on technology. However, Generation Y does not have that connotation.

2. Most people know this generation as "The Greatest Generation," named after Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation [5] [6].

3. Generation X was initially known as the "Baby Busters" because of the dropping fertility rates after the Baby Boomers [1].

4. I say that Boomers ruined the economy as a blanket term - not all individuals share the same traits, but rather it is a common trait as a society. Boomers were born into a period where they were the first to have a television in the house, became more susceptible to consumerism, grew up into being the ones to make poor policy decisions [7], creating a society with higher education costs, crumbling infrastructure, and economic mediocrity [8].


References:

1. Raphelson, Samantha. “From GIs To Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames.” NPR, NPR, 6 Oct. 2014, www.npr.org/2014/10/06/349316543/don-t-label-me-origins-of-generational-names-and-why-we-use-them. Accessed 14 June 2017.

2. “Generation Naming: What Came Before Millennials and Founders.” Time, Time, 1 Dec. 2015, time.com/4131982/generations-names-millennials-founders/. Accessed 14 June 2017.

3. Robinson, Michael T. “The Generations.” The Generations - Which Generation are You?, www.careerplanner.com/Career-Articles/Generations.cfm. Accessed 14 June 2017.

4. “Generation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation. Accessed 14 June 2017.

5. “Greatest Generation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 June 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation. Accessed 14 June 2017.

6. “G.I. Generation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 June 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Generation. Accessed 14 June 2017.

7. Berman, Jillian. “Baby boomers ruined America, according to this Generation X author.” MarketWatch, 4 June 2017, www.marketwatch.com/story/baby-boomers-ruined-america-according-to-this-generation-x-author-2017-03-10. Accessed 14 June 2017.

8. Gibney, Bruce Cannon. “How the baby boomers destroyed everything - The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com, 26 Feb. 2017, www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/02/26/how-baby-boomers-destroyed-everything/lVB9eG5mATw3wxo6XmDZFL/story.html. Accessed 14 June 2017.

9. Balkin, Alexander S. “Baby boomers ruined America: Why blaming millennials is misguided — and annoying.” Salon, 20 Oct. 2014, www.salon.com/2014/10/20/baby_boomers_ruined_america_why_blaming_millennials_is_misguided_and_annoying/. Accessed 14 June 2017.

Two more friends have died recently, and I've not been handling it as well.

Hello, all. It's been a while since I have posted here. Two more friends of mine have died recently: Jessica Jo Goodmanson/Seon Ja Kim (Born February 2, 1985, Adopted June 13, 1985 - Died April 11, 2017) and Jason Alexander Ritenour (April 30, 1985 - April 30, 2017). These two people were great people, and with all of the things that have been going on, I ended up reverting to some habits and hiding in a computer game and not being able to sleep much. Though I kept up with other aspects of my life (committee meetings, work, friends), I ended up not being able to keep up with this or some new projects that I had started.

Seon was one of the few people who knew the most about me. She was one of the people whom I would have late-night conversations with about what was really going on in our lives, the deep subjects that would delve deeper with full introspection. She was non-judgmental, understood what I was talking about, and was truly unique.

Jason was one of the kindest, gentlest people whom I ever had known. He was kind to me when I was undergoing life changes. But that was Jason - many, many people have been touched by his insurmountable charm and his wonderful puns. So many gathered to share the love that he put into the world. I'm finally past the point waking up and hoping that it was just a horrible nightmare, but it's still difficult.

Jessica Jo Goodmanson
Jason Alexander Ritenour

I find that I am still not able to properly write about either of these fine folks. They are sorely missed.

I've reached my goal for Walk MS, but the efforts go on.

Hello, all!

Step by step and dollar by dollar, Walk MS is changing lives. That's why I registered for Walk MS and why I'm asking for your support. Though I have now reached my goal for Walk MS, there is still a long way to go to bring an end to multiple sclerosis. We all either know someone with MS, or know someone who has someone close to them with MS. So, if you can, please consider doing one of the following:

  • Donate to my fundraising efforts
  • Forward this email to others who might be interested in helping us raise money and create awareness
  • Share this on social media to spread the word

Our fundraising drives groundbreaking research, provides life-changing services and guarantees a supportive community for those who need it most. Together, we will help create a world free of MS. Please, help if you can. I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted about my progress. Thank you.

V/r,
Justin Grays

I am a Virtual Walker for Walk MS on 30Apr2017. Can you help me reach my goal?

My Dear Friends and Family,

I know that I've said it a number of times, but that is because it is true: ending multiple sclerosis for good will take all of us. It’s why Walk MS matters so much. And it’s why I’ve registered to be a virtual walker for Walk MS 2017. I hope you will support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation. After all, we all know someone with MS, or we all know someone who has someone close to them with MS - and even if we didn't, this demyelinating disease must be brought to an end.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS, but they can't do it without our help. It’s faster and easier than ever to support this cause. Simply click the link below to visit my page and make a donation. Or share this email and let other people know about it. Every little bit helps - use social media, use word of mouth. Any kind of help is wonderful.

Your donation will drive groundbreaking research, provide life-changing services and guarantee a supportive community for those who need it most. Together, we will end MS.

Please support me by making a donation today. I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted about my progress. Thank you.

V/r,

Justin Grays

ICE scammers around the country

By collection of User:SGT141, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23568743

Please share.
Comparta, por favor.
 
John P Reed
Latino Community Crime Prevention Specialist
Minneapolis Police Department
3101 Nicollet Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
612-673-5579
John.reed@minneapolismn.gov
 
 
 
Being Approached by Fake ICE Agents. Official Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will never ask you for money or threaten detainment or deportation if you do not pay them. ICE agents also do not have the authority to enter your household without a warrant signed by a judge.
 
Unsolicited Calls From Fake Officials: One of the most common immigration services scams are unsolicited calls or text messages from someone claiming to be a government official or law enforcement officer that make threats such as deportation. Often times the number on caller ID may look like a legitimate government number. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will never request payment over the phone, so immigrants should be wary of scammers that ask for any sensitive or personal information, demand payment and threaten deportation if you do not comply.
 
Notario Fraud: In many Latin American countries a “notario” refers to someone who has the authority to render legal services. Unscrupulous “notaries” who are not attorneys often rely on this misunderstanding to exploit immigrants. They charge immigrants excessive application fees without ever submitting applications to the immigration authorities or may induce deportation by submitting applications for relief for which the immigrant is not eligible for or did not request.
 
Misrepresenting Legal Credentials: Individuals may falsely claim to be attorneys or wrongly suggest that they are able to appear before the immigration agencies or court. They take advantage of immigrants who will unknowingly pay exorbitant fees for their services. By misrepresenting their qualifications, these individuals can have a detrimental impact on the immigrants with whom they work. For example, immigrants who take advice from and work with these individuals may waive their right to obtain legal residency, be unnecessarily deported, or become subject to civil and/or criminal liability for the filing of false claims.
 
Fraudulent Promises to Expedite Process: This type of fraud concerns individuals who contend that they know employees at immigration offices who can expedite the processing of their clients applications. Accordingly, they request high fees for this special service, but fail to provide it.
 
Misinformation Fraud: Under this type of fraud, a provider will typically provide inaccurate or false information to the immigrant concerning his or her eligibility for an adjustment of status under a particular law. In these cases, the immigrant is usually not aware that they have been a victim of fraud until they receive a letter of ineligibility from immigration authorities. The provider knows the immigrant is not entitled to relief, or ineligible, but will file the application with immigration authorities regardless.
 
Immigration Affinity Fraud: Some providers target immigrants belonging to their same ethnic or racial group. Accordingly, they seek to gain advantage over other providers by claiming to identify with the ethnic, racial, national origin or community-based affiliations of the immigrant group.
 
Unauthorized Practice of the Law: Individuals may not be licensed to practice law but present themselves as attorneys or immigration law experts capable of providing legal advice and services.
 
Attorney General Schneiderman provided these key tips to avoid getting scammed:
 
Only work with a licensed lawyer or an authorized provider.
Never sign blank applications or documents you do not understand.
Do not make payments over the phone or via email.
 
Ser abordado por agentes falsos ICE. Los agentes oficiales de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés) nunca le pedirán dinero ni amenazarán con la detención o deportación si no los paga. Agentes de ICE también no tienen la autoridad para entrar en su hogar sin una orden firmada por un juez.
 
Llamadas no solicitadas de funcionarios falsos: Una de las estafas de servicios de inmigración más comunes son llamadas no solicitadas o mensajes de texto de alguien que dice ser un funcionario del gobierno o un oficial de la ley que amenaza como la deportación. Muchas veces el número en el identificador de llamadas puede parecer un número de gobierno legítimo. Los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de los Estados Unidos (USCIS) y el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE) nunca solicitarán pagos por teléfono, por lo que los inmigrantes deben tener cuidado con los estafadores que piden información sensible o personal, exigen pago y amenazan con la deportación. No cumplan.
 
Fraude de Notario: En muchos países latinoamericanos un "notario" se refiere a alguien que tiene la autoridad para prestar servicios legales. Los "notarios" sin escrúpulos que no son abogados suelen confiar en este malentendido para explotar a los inmigrantes. Cargan a los inmigrantes cargos excesivos de solicitudes sin nunca presentar solicitudes a las autoridades de inmigración o pueden inducir la deportación mediante la presentación de solicitudes de alivio para las cuales el inmigrante no es elegible o no solicitó.
 
Representación falsa de credenciales legales: Las personas pueden declarar falsamente ser abogados o sugerir equivocadamente que son capaces de comparecer ante las agencias de inmigración o tribunal. Se aprovechan de los inmigrantes que, sin saberlo, pagarán honorarios exorbitantes por sus servicios. Al falsear sus calificaciones, estos individuos pueden tener un impacto perjudicial en los inmigrantes con los que trabajan. Por ejemplo, los inmigrantes que toman consejo y trabajan con estos individuos pueden renunciar a su derecho a obtener residencia legal, ser deportados innecesariamente o ser sujetos a responsabilidad civil y / o penal por la presentación de reclamaciones falsas.
 
Promesas fraudulentas para acelerar el proceso: Este tipo de fraude se refiere a las personas que afirman que conocen a los empleados en las oficinas de inmigración que pueden acelerar el procesamiento de las solicitudes de sus clientes. En consecuencia, solicitan altas tarifas por este servicio especial, pero no lo proporcionan.
 
Fraude de desinformación: Bajo este tipo de fraude, un proveedor típicamente proveerá información inexacta o falsa al inmigrante sobre su elegibilidad para un ajuste de estatus bajo una ley particular. En estos casos, el inmigrante generalmente no es consciente de que ha sido víctima de fraude hasta que reciba una carta de inelegibilidad de las autoridades de inmigración. El proveedor sabe que el inmigrante no tiene derecho al alivio o no es elegible, pero presentará la solicitud a las autoridades de inmigración de todos modos.
 
Fraude de Afinidad de Inmigración: Algunos proveedores se dirigen a inmigrantes pertenecientes a su mismo grupo étnico o racial. En consecuencia, buscan obtener ventaja sobre otros proveedores al afirmar que se identifican con el origen étnico, racial, nacional o las afiliaciones basadas en la comunidad del grupo de inmigrantes.
 
Práctica no autorizada de la ley: Los individuos no pueden ser licenciados para practicar la ley, pero se presentan como abogados o expertos en derecho de inmigración capaces de proporcionar asesoramiento y servicios jurídicos.
 
El Procurador General Schneiderman proporcionó estos consejos clave para evitar ser estafado:
 
Sólo trabaje con un abogado con licencia o con un proveedor autorizado.
Nunca firme solicitudes o documentos en blanco que no entienda.
No haga pagos por teléfono o por correo electrónico.

ILCM launches Minnesota Immigrant & Refugee Rights Helpline

The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota announced today that they are launching the Minnesota Immigrant & Refugee Rights Helpline, which provides a free legal consultation for people living under 250% of the federal poverty guidelines for the following topics:

 

·         Know Your Rights Legal Guidance

·         Questions about President Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders

·         Travel Ban Questions

·         Immigration Court and Detention Information

·         Advice for Emergency Family Planning

 

See more information at the link below or fliers attached in English and Spanish. Please share throughout your networks and with clients as you see fit. We have also shared the information on our Facebook page and are working on getting it posted throughout the offices and on a new resource page we’re building for the website.

 

https://www.ilcm.org/immigration-help/the-minnesota-immigrant-refugee-rights-helpline/

"Friend Zone" and "Unrequited Love" are not the same thing.

Yesterday on social media, I saw this image, and reposted it with the comment "an important difference:"

After having posting this, a friend commented with a different perspective - that the term "Friend Zone" has multiple contexts. While the term can have other contexts, in a sociological sense, it has one meaning: the situation where a person, usually male, who desires a romantic relationship from someone, usually female, and is supposedly rejected. A Chicago Tribune Contributor wrote: "I've heard too many men complain, 'What is it with you women and this 'let's be friends' thing? If I have romantic interest in you, why would I want to be friends? I don't need any new friends.' (...) To clarify, I asked: 'So you're telling me that you'd rather not have me in your life at all than to have a platonic friendship with me?' 'Yep,' he said matter-of-factly. 'That's what I'm saying'" [1]. Another way to describe it is to say: "The friend zone is a forced platonic relationship. When one friend wants romance and another doesn’t, the former is in the friend zone. Women who put ‘nice guys’ in the friend zone were accused of abuse, manipulation, and neglect" [2].

If one does a Google Image Search for "Friend Zone," the initial results will show references and memes of men being friend zoned by women. Google also has a function where, when doing an image search, it gives you suggestions for additional search modifiers - the first one is "meme." When selecting this modifier, it gives more memes of men being friend zoned by women. These memes reinforce toxic behavior; that's to say, they they reinforce the idea that women put men into the "Friend Zone," and that this is undesirable. I will not post these images here, because I find them to be repugnant.

Sometimes people make their intensions for a romantic relationship known and are told that the interest is not shared. Other times, people use friendship as a way to get close to someone without being clear about what their intentions are, and then either get rejected or never make the other person aware that they are interested [4]. Either way, instead of accepting that the other person is not interested in a romantic relationship, the person who is supposedly put in the "Friend Zone" feels that they are put in "the penalty box of dating, when your only crime is not being buff and unobtainable" [3], where the idea that men's dominance over women is to be respected and ignores the harm that these ideas bring [2]. They feel that they are owed something for their love. Sadly, this is normalized in our society, starting from the history of women being treated as second-class citizens [6] [7], to the objectification of women in the media to sell products [8], to the continued pressure to maintain gender roles.

Now, I will agree that "Friend Zone," while toxic, is technically (and I stress technically) a form of "Unrequited Love," in that "Unrequited Love" is also a one-sided love that is not reciprocated. The word "Unrequited" is a 16th century adjective meaning 'not requited,' or 'reciprocated or returned in kind' [5]. Doctor Lindsey Doe has a wonderful video (watch it here) that talks about this, and also talks about ways to deal with "Unrequited Love," especially when it is harmful (both as the lover and as the loved). But the difference still remains: "my unilateral crush is your problem" versus "my unilateral crush is my problem."

 

References:

1. B., Gina. "What's so bad about the friend zone?" Chicago Tribune. Bruce Dold, 12 Jan. 2007. Web. 08 Mar. 2017. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-01-12/news/0701120408_1_new-friends-attraction-friendship>.

2. Milner, Ryan M. "FCJ-156 Hacking the Social: Internet Memes, Identity Antagonism, and the Logic of Lulz." The Fibreculture Journal 22 (2013): n. pag. The Fibreculture Journal. The Fibreculture Journal Incorporated. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <http://twentytwo.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-156-hacking-the-social-internet-memes-identity-antagonism-and-the-logic-of-lulz/>.

3. Fine, Marshall. "HuffPost Review: Just Wright." Web log post. The Huffington Post. N.p., 10 May 2010. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-fine/huffpost-review-ijust-wri_b_569896.html>.

4. Nicholson, Jeremy, M.S.W., Ph.D. "Avoiding the Friend Zone: Becoming a Girlfriend or Boyfriend." Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 01 Mar. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-attraction-doctor/201302/avoiding-the-friend-zone-becoming-girlfriend-or-boyfriend>.

5. "Unrequited." Merriam-Webster. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unrequited>.

6. Muraskin, Roslyn. Women and justice: development of international policy. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach, 1999. Google Books. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <https://books.google.com/books?id=JGOOAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>.

7. Garcia, Venessa, and Patrick M. McManimon. Gendered justice: intimate partner violence and the criminal justice system. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011. Google Books. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <https://books.google.com/books?id=nzsBGdv5E6YC&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false>.

8. Frith, Katherine, Ping Shaw, and Hong Cheng. "The Construction of Beauty: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Women's Magazine Advertising." Journal of Communication 55.1 (2005): 56-70. Web. 8 Mar. 2017. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2005.tb02658.x/pdf>.

Two friends have both died recently.

I wanted to post this much earlier, but things have been tough. Two friends have died recently: Robert L. Gartner (September 10, 1944 - January 3, 2017) and Michael A. Cucchiarella (January 19, 1958 - February 13, 2017). 

Both of these men are people who are held in the highest esteem, and their passing has left a giant hole the hearts of those who knew them. I met both of them through the Royal Manticoran Navy, and I am glad to have been able to have spent what time with them that we were given. I will miss their friendship, their willingness to help, their dedication to being involved in our activities. Not just the conventions and the charities that we support, but in the social aspects - getting together for celebrations and to hang out. Trading stories and hearing jokes, sharing in their knowledge and experiences.

Robert L. Gartner
Michael A. Cucchiarella

So long, friends.