Nearly two years ago, I wrote a post that served as a reminder that self-care is not selfish. Given the extent to which many of us are struggling with self-care during the coronavirus, I think the message of that old post is as relevant as ever.
Usually, when I feel that the message of an old post is relevant again, I republish the post. However, the original post was made under a set of circumstances that don’t exist now, so republishing the post would likely result in my significantly editing the post in a way that I think the post would become less powerful.
As such, instead of republishing the old post, I’m posting a link here to my original post on self-care. You can read the original post below.
Under normal circumstances, I would be telling all of you, my readers, to vote when Election Day comes in the United States (sorry to readers who don’t live in the States).
But these are not normal circumstances. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, so given the crowds that accumulate at many polling places on Election Day, some may hesitate to go to the polls. That is understandable.
However, that is not an excuse to avoid voting. Many places have early voting—a period of voting before Election Day where you can go to a polling place at a time that works for you, during a time when crowds are hopefully light. Many places allow you to cast a mail-in or absentee ballot, which would allow you to get a ballot delivered to you and then you can send the ballot back via the mail. There are even a few states that only have vote-by-mail, but contrary to what President Trump may like you to believe, there is actually very little fraud that goes on with this method of voting—just ask Washington’s Republican Secretary of State.
If you’re not sure of what your options are for sending your ballot, contact your local Board of Elections office. It is the job of your local Board of Elections to give you the proper information on when and how to vote. Don’t be shy about using your Board of Elections in that manner. And, if you’re not sure how to reach out to your local Board of Elections, please let me know—I can try to find that information on your behalf.
But regardless of how you vote, make sure that you vote and vote safely. If you go to a polling place, either for early voting or on Election Day, please wear a mask and practice social distancing. If you are voting by mail, don’t waste your time with your mail-in ballot, as Election Day is two weeks from tomorrow. But please vote.
P.S. As I was getting ready to schedule this post for publication, I realized that this is my 200th post. So yay for this milestone post being about voting!
In recent years, one debate that has cropped up on and off in American sports is what to do about sports team nicknames that have Native American roots. It’s a topic that fans of sports teams with Native American-related names and/or mascots feel passionately about; those teams include, but are not limited to, the Washington Redskins Football Team (football), Kansas City Chiefs (football), Cleveland Indians (baseball), Atlanta Braves (baseball), University of Utah Utes, Florida State University Seminoles, and Chicago Blackhawks (hockey). It’s a topic so divided that people ranging from journalists to Native American activists have chimed in with their opinions on this. It’s a particularly relevant topic as the team that used to be called the Washington Redskins in football is no longer to be called the Redskins but to simply be called “the Washington Football Team” until they find a new nickname).
I feel strongly about this—I have a problem with anything that promotes caricatures of Native Americans or has hurtful depictions of Native Americans, such as the image of the Chief Wahoo logo with the Cleveland Indians baseball team or the tomahawk chop that is used at Florida State football, Atlanta Braves baseball, and Kansas City Chiefs football games.
But, my feelings aside, or the feelings of others aside, it seems like the decisions on how to handle potential or actual Native American stereotypes are not in the right hands. It should be in the hands of the Native Americans affected by these stereotypes and caricatures. But they aren’t. It’s instead in the hands of wealthy (and often white) sports team owners and executives, as well as some of the teams’ fans—people who, in many cases, are not affected by the stereotypes at all, and to the contrary may sometimes lean toward promoting them if doing so is “tradition.”
Even in the cases where those favoring greater sensitivity and fewer stereotypes get their way, those decisions often happen because of pressure from other wealthy individuals or corporations. For example, in the case where the name of the NFL team in Washington finally got a name change, it was not because of Native American activists, but because of companies with so much money that they could financially cripple that NFL franchise if the companies did not get their way.
And that’s the injustice that I want to focus on today, this Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We need to realize that, when it comes to the issue of Native American sports team nicknames, we aren’t always giving the Native Americans affected by the stereotypes the decision-making voice that they deserve.
As of late, the whole idea of “cancel culture” has received a lot of flack, particularly from some conservatives in the United States political discourse.
But why all the flack, and is it deserved?
As far as I can tell, cancel culture is a term used to describe how, in the eyes of some, too many things get “cancelled” (in other words, boycotted by some people). In a way, the term seems to come from a place of frustration.
And I can understand the frustration. If something I like is cancelled by a group of people, I might feel frustrated as well. I would feel especially frustrated if something I like is cancelled by a group of people, and the reason for cancelling it seems petty or pointless or something I disagree with.
At the same time, however, it must be acknowledged that there have been times when cancelling something brought about some form of change. Here are three notable examples:
In the mid-1950s, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, there was a bus boycott in Montgomery. A young minister by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott. This boycott led to an ordinance being passed that allowed people to sit virtually anywhere on the bus in Montgomery. It also put Dr. King on the path to becoming a prominent and successful voice for African American civil rights.
The National Farmworkers Association, led by Cesar Chavez, led a strike against grape growers in Delano, California, in protest of the exploitation of migrant workers. Not only did the boycott eventually lead to a settlement, but it also put into the national limelight the issue of the treatment of migrant farm workers.
In protest of South Africa’s system of apartheid, there was a movement toward divestment from South Africa until it ended said system. This movement started in the 1960s but gained momentum in the 1980s. Some credit this divestment movement as a crucial component of ending apartheid in South Africa.
There are other, smaller, examples, but I highlight these two because of how much of an impact these particular boycotts went on to have.
However, I also acknowledge that there are many boycotts that are not successful. For example, movements to divest from fossil fuels have yet to curb global warming, boycotts against Chick-Fil-A for certain anti-LGBTQ+ stances company leadership has taken in the past have not been successful in any way, and Jeff Bezos continues to get richer in spite of all the people (including yours truly) who try to boycott Amazon as much as possible. In fact, it is with great frequency that a boycott, a cancelling of something, gets publicity for maybe a day and then fades into the background.
When considering the fact that some boycotts work, but many don’t, perhaps one should find a medium between mocking any boycott as “cancel culture” and thinking that boycotts are always a recipe for success. Instead, I suggest that perhaps the detractors of cancel culture remind themselves of the times in history that cancelling something actually worked, and that its most ardent supporters get smarter about when and how they cancel something (so as to maybe make a lasting impact). Cancelling something does not guarantee change, but it can help create change, if done effectively.
As some of my readers may’ve seen, I accepted another blogging award in the past couple of weeks. I’ve tended to enjoy accepting these awards and “paying it forward” to other bloggers by nominating deserving bloggers for those awards.
However, I also realize that not all bloggers have the same attitudes I do about awards. I’ve heard of bloggers who have an indifferent attitude about awards, and bloggers who even dislike accepting them. Given the differing attitudes about awards, I think that a good follow-up to my recent blog award acceptance is to express my own thoughts about blog awards, and give room for open conversation about them in the comments section below.
So…blogging awards: To accept or not to accept?
Really, it’s all up to you. You, the recipient of the award, can choose to accept or not accept the award, and I think there are valid reasons to accept and valid reasons not to accept. And, if you accept the award, you can choose what that acceptance of the award looks like.
Therefore, instead of giving a definitive “you must accept” or “you must not accept,” I think it would be helpful to outline some benefits I’ve seen to accepting blog awards through award acceptance posts, as well as some pitfalls.
Among the benefits I’ve seen for accepting blog awards include the following:
These award acceptance posts give an opportunity to share things about myself that I would otherwise not share.
The award acceptance posts tend to give me an opportunity to highlight the work of deserving bloggers, through nominating said bloggers for the award.
I really enjoy sharing good news about myself and my blog.
Not that I have ever intended this to be a benefit, but it seems like my blog following grows by a decent amount after I accept an award nomination.
But, I have also noticed some pitfalls to the blog award posts. Here are a few pitfalls I’ve seen:
Blog award posts, and particularly award posts where you need to nominate other bloggers for the award, take a lot of work and time. Honestly, identifying other deserving bloggers is the most time-consuming part of a blog award post for me, and formulating my own questions for other bloggers’ blog award acceptances is also a time-consuming process.
While I enjoy sharing more things about myself, some questions from some blog award posts may require people to answer questions about themselves they might not feel comfortable answering in a public realm.
I haven’t gotten to this point as a blogger yet, but I’ve seen some bloggers get nominated for awards often enough that accepting every award post would mean more award posts a month than they might like.
The decision on whether to publish an award acceptance post or not should come down to one thing and one thing only: whether you feel that the award posts are a net benefit for you and your blog, or a net drawback. If it is a net benefit, then go ahead and publish those award posts. If it’s a net drawback, then you may want to consider something other than a traditional award post—what you should consider depends on what the biggest drawbacks and benefits are for you. Personally, if I get to the point that I get so many blog award posts that it would be too time-consuming and get me too much away from the focus of my blog (outweighing any benefits), then I might consider doing something similar to what Ashley at Mental Health @ Home does—in some form of wrap-up post (for me, possibly a wrap-up post for the year, as opposed to a wrap-up post for the week in Ashley’s case), thanking bloggers who nominated the blog for certain awards.
Am I missing any benefits or drawbacks to accepting blog award posts? Do you accept blog award posts, and why have you reached your decision? Feel free to talk about these things and anything else relevant to blogging awards in the comments section below!