That's what SHE said: attention-policing and the dress, black men and word associations, Amy Poehler on looking silly, and more . . .

Have you ever owned anything? This is why you cannot forgive any of your former lovers. Things like “having chairs” is preventing you from living your best life, and also you should throw away any item of clothing you’re not currently wearing. If it’s not on your skin, you don’t really love it, do you?

Cops See It Differently, Part One | This American Life
There are so many cops who look at the killing of Eric Garner or Mike Brown and say race didn’t play a factor. And there are tons of black people who say that’s insane. There’s a division between people who distrust the police — even fear them — and people who see cops as a force for good. Stories of people living on both sides of that divide, and people trying to bridge it.

Cops See It Differently, Part Two | This American Life
Our second hour of stories about policing and race. We hear about one city where relations between police and black residents went terribly, and another city where they seem to be improving remarkably. And one of our producers asks: Why aren’t police chiefs talking about race after incidents where unarmed black men are wrongly killed by officers?

Watch Black Men From Age 5 To 50 Respond To The Word "Police"

By the time the video started showing men in their twenties, there were few responses that weren’t along the lines of brutality. Cut Video / Via
As the men got older and older, it became clear that they had little trust for the police…

#TheDress And The Rise Of Attention-Policing - The Atlantic

And what are memes if not games? They are small; they are low-stakes; they are often silly. (Sorry, #llamadrama.) But they are also communal. They invite us to participate, to adapt, to joke, to create something together, under the auspices of the same basic rules. That is not a small thing. That is, in fact, a huge thing—particularly when it comes to the very concerns the attention police like to remind us of. If we have any hope of solving the world’s most systemic and sweeping problems, we will have to come together. Inequality, climate change, injustices both enormous and less so … these will require cooperative action. They will require us to collaborate and compromise and value diversity. The dress makes a pretty good metaphor for all that. Also, it is totally white and gold.

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What I want you to know about living with a hoarder

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by an anonymous reader

I didn't understand it when I was little. I knew our house was messy. I knew that every flat surface.... floor, table, bed, TV.... was covered. Covered in stuff. But, as a kid, I couldn't see the problem. I thought we just needed to clean. Maybe if we cleaned, then I could have friends over. Maybe if we cleaned, we could have family over. Maybe if we cleaned, my mom would be in a better mood.

After I grew up, I started to realize that the conditions we lived in weren't normal. I learned a word for it: hoarding. Nothing was ever thrown away in our house. Broken toys, baby clothes, paperwork.... all kept. Stacked in every corner.

I thought maybe it was an easy fix. Just talk to my mom. Offer to help sort. Get it cleaned up. My sister offered too. But... that's not how it works. She was insistent that everything there was valuable. That nobody understood the value except her. That she was the only one who could sort through it all.

Ten years ago, she moved. Moved to get away from the mess. To escape the clutter and dirt. Yet... the house still hasn't been sold. It can't be. It's full.... wall to wall... full of stuff. And still... she insists... it's not a problem. She is cleaning it out all the time. It's almost done she says.

I want you to know that hoarding is a mental illness. It's not something you can just haul in a dumpster and fix. It will build up over and over again.

As as adult, I have gone the other way. I can't stand knick knacks. I hate clutter. It makes me feel like a bad person when my house is messy. I don't want to go back. I never want to live like that again. But instead, I've gone the other way. I've become OCD about getting rid of things. Donating to Goodwill is a moment of pure joy for me.

But, where does this leave my children? Will they follow my organized ways? Or will they react opposite? Or will they rebel against their childhood and become hoarders? Saving all the stuff that I never let them keep?

I want you to know that hoarding is a mental illness. It affects the children... and their children.... and who knows how far it goes.

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Friday Finds: Krochet Kids International

Last week I was in Peru visiting the headquarters of Krochet Kids there. I've talked at length about how their program is empowering vulnerable women there, (In fact, we still have a few women waiting for sponsorship to receive job skills and employment now and mentoring for their own business in the future.) But I also wanted to share the products! Not only is this organization doing amazing things . . . their stuff is just really, really cute. 

1. The Devin Canvas Tote
2. The Ryan Tee 
3. The Pike  Weekender Bag
4. The Reed Jr.  Beanie
5. The Newborn Beanie
6. Pocket Zip Hoodie
7. The 5207.5 Beanie
8. Jackson Pocket Tee
9. The Hudson Henley Style Hoodie

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The white/gold blue/black Internet #dressgate: Stages of certainty,confusion, horror, and acceptance

Stage 1: See multiple photos of some mystery dress posted by friends to Facebook. Note that the dress is decidedly white and gold. Ponder at the idiocy of all of the people seeing blue and black. Wonder if there is some kind of coordinated hoax going on, or if there really are that many people in this world with vision inferior to your own.

Stage 2: Contemplate the chapter in your Abnormal Psych textbook on "shared delusions." Consider the idea that the #teamblackblue people are merely sheep, coaxed into conforming by some deep-seeded need for acceptance and the very fleeting nature of objective reality because dammit, that dress is white and gold. For sure.

Stage 3: Step away from the Internet. Do normal life things like eating dinner and checking to make sure the DVR is recording Scandal. Forget about the troubling existential questions raised by the obviously white and gold dress for a brief moment.

Step 4: Open facebook. See multiple photos of a dress that is clearly blue and black. QUESTION EVERYTHING YOU KNOW. Is God real? Is this really a chair? Is Charlie Hunnam really hot or have I just been fooled into believing a lie? Consider shaving your head and bashing an umbrella into the back of a stranger's car.

Stage 5: In your moment of crisis, seek validation from your spouse, who informs you the dress is white and gold and scoffs at your assertion that it is blue and black. Feel a heady sense of both disdain and superiority to your spouse who just has no freaking clue of the existential mess this dress will soon wreak on his life.

Stage 5: Scour the Internet for explanations. Search the hashtag. Read science-y things. Consult a shaman. Ask your child's Magic 8 Ball. Light a fragrant offering to the gods. Tear your clothes and wear sackcloth and ashes. Weep. Gnash your teeth. Pray for wisdom.

Stage 6: Make a collage. Surely a collage will solve all mystery here.

Stage 7: Realize the collage solves nothing. Curse the makers of this dress, the owners of this dress, the photographer of this dress, and the manufacturer of the crappy cares that took this picture.

Stage 9: Assuage your anger with Girl Scout cookies. Realize the kids ate all of them and only left those nasty shortbread ones. Experience renewed rage.

Stage 10: Search Pinterest for some artfully scripted inspirational quote that will give you the strength to continue in this life so full of confusion and anxiety. 

We can, you guys. We can pull through this.

Stage 11: Google search pictures of Charlie Hunnam and revel in the one sure thing you know. Homeboy is hot for real.

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Why I don’t need Black or LGBT people to fight for my rights

Like a whole lot of other people this past Sunday night, I watched the Oscars. And like many women, I felt a swell of inspiration when Patricia Arquette used her moment in the spotlight to bring attention to gender pay equality. “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights! It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!” It was an impassioned plea, and as the camera panned the crowd, you could see women of all races rising to their feet and cheering her on.

(This was also this moment, which looks like Jesus is watching her from afar, that I am still giggling about. But I digress.)

Jesus is always watching you

I appreciated Arquette’s call to action. I’m never annoyed when someone wants to use their platform for social justice issues, and I agree that it is completely ridiculous in this day and age that there is still such a disparity in working wages for men vs. women. I admire Arquette’s desire to advocate for this issue, but unfortunately some of her message was undermined a few minutes later, when backstage she said the following:

It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don’t have equal rights for women in America, and we don’t because when they wrote Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for — to fight for us now!

Now, I think Arquette probably had the best of intentions in this impassioned plea. I believe that she’s probably living a life in which she is attempting to be an ally to all marginalized groups. But we all have blind spots, and we all know that intention and effect are not always the same thing. And unfortunately , the effect of her “callout” to LGBT people and people of color was to alienate and dismiss. Particularly as she stood on a platform of privilege at the Oscars that has so often alienated people of color. Especially this year. (Parading out every actor of color they could find to present awards did not negate the fact that Selma was so categorically snubbed.)

I consider myself a feminist, but I don’t believe it’s appropriate or timely to tell other groups that experience discrimination that it’s OUR time, or that this fight is one they must take up. Here’s why:

The struggle for equality for people of color and the LGBT community is still ongoing. These are not issues of inequality that have been solved by any means. While it may be time to fight for equal wages, it is also still very much the time to fight for racial equality and LGBT rights. Asking marginalized people groups to help, as if their time has passed, is dismissive.

Black women and LGBT women are already heavily involved in feminism. As my friend Heather said, in a post called “Patricia Arquette wants people of color to fight for women. What have I been doing?”:

To be told that, as a woman of color and a bisexual woman, I have not been doing enough for “women” – by which I can only assume she means “white women” – in the quest for gender equality is not only incredibly hurtful to those of us who check many boxes when it comes to identity, but also a harmful point of view. In saying that people of color and LGBT people need to now support white women in their fight for equal pay continues the deep rift between women of color feminists and their – our – white counterparts.

While I certainly don’t have the statistics to back this up, I can anecdotally say that my black and LGBT friends seem even more engaged in gender equality issues that my white friends.

There are far more women who can join the fight without singling out women of color.  Women make up about half of the population in the US. It’s estimated that about 3.5% of the adult population in the US are LGBT, and about 12.6% of the population is black.  If anyone needs a call-out for standing up for women, it’s other white women sitting in the privilege seat. But to challenge minority and marginalized groups as the people who need to carry the mantle does not make sense, when there are so many others who can pick up the cause.

There is already a well-documented tension between feminists and black women.  As Nyasha Junior says:

“When white women say “we,” the side-eye from African American women swiftly follows. African American women have had a stormy relationship with the notion of women’s rights. Arquette’s remarks are another reminder of the many reasons why some African American women do not identify themselves as feminists. The link between the term “feminist” and white women’s activism on behalf of other white women is such that some African American women shun the label, though they may be deeply committed to women’s equality.”

The struggle for people of color and the LGBT community is exhausting. People who are already constant advocates for their own marginalization are likely worn thin, and may or may not have the energy to champion other causes, which is their call and their right to opt out.

I am grateful for the many women of color and LGBT women who are working hard to champion their gender, but I will never place expectation on them to put that cause over the other intersecting issues. Instead, I will do my best to advocate for women but also to be an ally to other marginalized groups, without getting into some kind of oppression olympics that asks one group to set aside their struggle for my own.

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