One thing I’ve increasingly heard from many friends in marginalized communities is the great demand for performing something called emotional labor, which is “the process by which people manage and often suppress their feelings, their facial and verbal expressions, and their body language in order to fulfill the emotional demands of some task.” One common refrain I’ve heard from these friends is that they are exhausted from having to perform this extensive emotional labor, especially when the labor asked of my friends involves something that people can find out themselves through minimal research.
Arielle Rebekah Gordon at Trans and Caffeinated wrote about her own experiences with having to perform extensive emotional labor. As an activist for transgender rights, she, like many of my friends in marginalized communities, has expressed just how exhausting it is to consistently perform emotional labor for other people.
While the emotional labor asked of Arielle may be in some ways different from the emotional labor asked of people in other marginalized communities, many of the same issues expressed in her post about emotional labor have been expressed by friends also having to perform extensive emotional labor. They are issues that others of us should be aware of.
So, I hope that my readers also read her post on emotional labor, and also give her blog a look!
You can find Arielle’s post on emotional labor here.
 This definition of emotional labor comes from the post I shared. The only difference between the definition I have and the definition from the author of the shared post (Arielle) is that my definition is in the third person while her definition is in the first person.
 For example, the common question of, “Have you had ‘the surgery’?” is a question that is specific to people who identify as transgender.
This calendar year, we already know what one of the biggest stories will be: the elections for President of the United States. The first part of the year will focus on the Democratic Party primaries and caucuses, while much of the second half of the year will have campaigning for the election in November between the Democratic nominee and President Donald Trump.
For all my readers who live in the United States (which is most of my readers), I ask that you keep in mind issues such as economic justice, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, environmentalism, immigration, and more, as you consider which candidate to support. In other words, I hope my readers keep in mind the sorts of issues that I try to talk about here on a weekly basis.
Too often, these issues, and other issues relevant to those on the margins in American society, are not taken into consideration as much as they should be. The good news, however, is that every voting American has the power to change that in 2020.
What if I were to tell people that there was a
state-supported, even state-funded, addiction in the United States?
Well, such is the case with gambling, at least in many
states in the United States.
One of the popular suggestions these days, as a means of
raising revenue, is to propose the building of casinos or other state-supported
gambling. “They will help pay for making our schools better,” some of our
politicians say. “They will pay for themselves and support the local economy.”
So, how does state-supported gambling turn out? If you
guessed “not well at all,” then you’d be correct. I can provide many examples,
but I will highlight three in particular for the sake of brevity:
years, New York State has had off-track betting corporations (OTBs). They were
created with the promise of reducing illegal betting while bringing in revenue.
I don’t know if they reduced illegal betting, but OTBs failed so miserably at
the revenue part that their financial conditions have worsened significantly,
according to…the New York State Comptroller. So
much for revenue.
casinos were also created with the promise of bringing in revenue. Well, that’s
also not happening. Actually, Colorado casinos are reportedly “investing in themselves”
in order to try and bring revenue.
numerous occasions, California has endured budgetary woes. On many of those
occasions, it was promised that some new revenue stream from gambling would
help pay for the budget woes. However, on numerous occasions, expansions in
gambling did not do what they promised to do—increase revenue.
As a result of this state-supported gambling, we end up with
a bunch of broken promises. But it’s more than broken promises. We end up with
people, and entire families, broken because of the proliferation of gambling
addiction as a result of these casinos and other gaming mechanisms. We end up
with governments scrambling to find other means to raise revenue, since casinos
don’t do that job. And we end up with an oversaturation of the gaming industry,
which does nobody any favors and results in shuttered casinos.
Instead of state-supported gambling, I make two policy
propositions. First, states should curtail further support of gambling, because
the fiscal and social costs of gambling seem to outweigh any money it is
supposed to bring in.
Second, states should support Gamblers Anonymous programs. Gambling is an
addiction that must be taken seriously, and all of us, including governments,
should act as such.
After comedian Bill Maher made a call to bring back “fat-shaming”, or humiliating someone judged for being fat, I wanted to re-publish this post.
Anyone who looks at me for the first time will notice that my stomach…well…sticks out. I am overweight, and there is no doubt about that fact.
I will even admit that I’ve had my insecurities, at times, about the fact that I am overweight. Part of it is because of how I look, because honestly I often haven’t liked the look of my stomach sticking out. Part of it is the very legitimate concern that, because I’m overweight, I am at an increased risk for just about every health problem ranging from heart attacks to arthritis at an earlier age. And then part of it is that I feel like I’d be perceived of poorly because I look a little fat.
I think that these insecurities—insecurities which seem to be shared by many other people who’ve struggled with body image issues—need to be broken down for everyone’s sake:
The Idea that a Stomach Sticking Out (or Jiggly Arms or a Fat Neck) Looks Ugly
I could be wrong, but I think this message has been sent because the idealized bodies in our society are viewed as athletic men with six-pack bodies and women in fashion who wear size 0 clothing. As such, many of us strive for that size 0 or that six-pack body. And I can’t lie—at times before, I have been envious of guys with six-back bodies from a looks standpoint.
For people who feel this pressure, you ARE beautiful. And I mean that. Just by virtue of the ways you can help people by using the body you have, you are beautiful. Whether you are of a healthy weight, overweight, or underweight, you are beautiful because you have a body that you can use to give smiles, help others in various ways, and make the world a better place.
Concerns about Being Overweight and Having Health Problems
We hear all the time about how overweight people are at risk for everything from arthritis to heart disease. People of a healthy weight don’t need to tell those of us who aren’t about all of the potential health problems as if we’re ignorant; I, and many other overweight people, know and are aware of these issues.
At the same time, it’s also not healthy to be underweight. Being too underweight comes with health problems as well. Furthermore, taking measures too drastic to lose weight could result in anything from eating disorders to exercise addictions, which also are not healthy.
The bottom line is that, while it’s ideal for people like me to lose some weight, none of us should go to the other extreme and try so hard to lose weight that we create a new set of health issues.
Worries about Being Perceived of Poorly Because of Looking Overweight
Many of us, myself included, worry that, because we’re viewed as fat, we’ll be viewed as: a) lazy, b) not conscious of our health, c) couch potatoes, d) sloppy, e) not having the “right” kind of body to attract a significant other, or f) some or all of the above.
I do not belittle any of these insecurities because, quite frankly, I’ve experienced all of them! People who have no idea how many miles I like to walk when I relax in my free time have told me to “go to the gym,” and people who don’t know how hard I’ve worked to tweak my diet have questioned whether I care about my health, for example. And, as silly as this sounds, parts of me wondered at times in the past if my not having a girlfriend had to do with my not having the right physique.
If you experience any or all of these insecurities, too, my big encouragement is that we should not let ourselves be defined by how others view us, or how we think others view us. We should define ourselves in other ways, and hopefully ways that give us more fulfillment and happiness than stress and dismay.
While the individual insecurities are different, there’s one central theme with each insecurity. Namely, they all revolve around concerns that our bodies are not sufficient, that they are not “enough.” And that is a lie. Our bodies are enough. Believing anything short of that would be unjust to ourselves.
With the school year either coming up or starting in many
states, kids are preparing to learn a multitude of subjects: history, English, Math,
and Science, to name a few.
One subject will be noticeably absent for some kids: Civics.
Civics, which is defined as “a social science dealing with
the rights and duties of citizens,”
can teach students about, among other things:
importance of voting;
to know who their representatives are;
they can be involved in the legislative process, by writing to their
representatives about important issues (or calling their legislators);
people can use their representatives to solve a wide range of issues (provided
the representative is responsive, of course);
to follow the affairs of the government in your city, state, and country.
Teaching kids about these things, and more, through a
vibrant Civics curriculum, should be an absolute no-brainer. It promotes civic
involvement and awareness of local affairs.
And yet, it seems like Civics education is often on the
chopping block in school districts, states, and even federally.
When these cuts come to fruition, what this means is that
many kids will grow into adults who are in grave danger of lacking awareness of
the full extent of their rights and duties as citizens, ranging from voting
rights to the right they have to push their representatives on major issues.
In short, hyperbolic as this may sound to some, cutting Civics
is a form of voter suppression and a form of weakening our democracy. After
all, if kids aren’t taught about who their representatives are, how will they
know to vote for (or against) their representatives when they are adults? If
kids don’t know that they can write to their representatives, what will keep a
representative from going against the will of their residents, whether that
will is spoken or unspoken? If kids aren’t taught how to follow government
affairs, how can they cast an informed ballot when they’re adults?
For those of us who think that voter suppression and disenfranchisement starts at the age of 18, when a citizen can vote, think again. It starts when kids are taught minimal or no Civics. However, my readers (or at least readers who live in the United States) can play a role in stopping this—if you ever hear your government, whether it be your school district, your city, your state, or your country, considering cuts to Civics programs, contact your representatives and make it known just how important Civics truly is.
Please note that I will not publish a post next Tuesday, as it will be the Tuesday after Labor Day.