Second, I am also going to somewhat expand from the original focus of my blog. As my readers probably know by now, the main purpose of my blog has been to discuss injustices that we may be blind to and/or blindly commit. However, after much thought, I’ve decided that I will also occasionally make posts about just actions (or forms of just actions) that people may not realize and/or blindly commit. I will explain further in next Friday’s post, and share some of my plans with this idea!
Finally, remember that I will not post on Tuesday, September 4th (the day after Labor Day.
When I saw a good friend in Philadelphia the other day, I had an environmental brain cramp. Namely, I didn’t think to hold my plastic water bottle until I got to my friend’s house, and I therefore put the bottle in a public trash bin.
Now, I am at fault for not waiting until I got to my friend’s house, where I could’ve actually recycled the bottle. However, the City of Philadelphia was also at fault for not having a recycling bin for plastic in a public space.
The thing, though, is that the problem I describe is not unique to Philadelphia. It is a widespread problem throughout the United States in places ranging from Carlisle, Pennsylvania (the town where I went to college) to my hometown of New York City.
I don’t understand why recycling bins are still uncommon in so many places. It’s not like there’s a lack of knowledge about the benefits of increasing the amount that our society recycles. Or that there’s a lack of desire to increase how much we recycle because many of these places without adequate public recycling have been led by environmentalists for many years. I just don’t know why there hasn’t been more of a conscious effort to have more recycling bins in public spaces. My only explanation is that this issue has been overlooked, though if anyone else knows why, please leave a comment below.
What I do know is that we’re wasting an opportunity to increase recycling by not having more recycling bins in public spaces, because while I don’t think that recycling in public spaces will, by itself, save this planet, what will help is measures that help our society be better stewards of the environment, including the providing of recycling bins in public spaces.
 Michael Bloomberg won three terms as New York City Mayor as a Republican, but the original pilot program for recycling in parks and transit hubs in New York City started in 2007, during his second term as mayor.
Yet again, I came across a piece so good that I must share it!
The post I’m sharing this week is a from Sarah, who actually goes to the same college I graduated from! In her post, she discusses how a friendly and flirtatious approach to sexual harassment results in the author (and probably many other waitresses) earning much more money than a stern approach.
The implications of Sarah’s findings (at least from my perspective) are that:
Sexual harassment plays a disturbingly major role in the jobs (and paychecks) of many waitresses.
In recent weeks, there has been debate about efforts by some companies (Starbucks, McDonald’s) and cities (San Francisco, Seattle) to ban the usage of plastic straws within their entities. Many environmentalists think it’s important to make sure that we reduce plastic waste and therefore reduce our usage of plastic straws, while many disability activists argue that there are currently no feasible alternatives to a single-use plastic straw.
Personally, I think a ban must wait until there are feasible alternatives for people of all levels of ability. But I think this discussion on straws needs to be about more than straws.
Namely, we need to discuss our society’s lack of willingness to listen to the physically disabled, and the proposed straw ban is just the latest example of this.
Consider this—in spite of the fact that many disability activists (including many who have the lived experience of being disabled) have been raising concerns about such bans, the entities that planned to ban plastic straws are still going ahead. If we, as a society, listened to the disabled, wouldn’t we at least hear their arguments? Wouldn’t we at least consider for a second why they are saying what they’re saying? These, of course, are rhetorical questions, because in spite of many activists saying that other alternatives to plastic straws do not work, entities are still going ahead with their plans to ban usage of the single-use plastic straw.
Sadly, this pattern of not listening to the disabled goes well beyond straws. Here are a few of the many examples of parts of our society not listening to the disabled:
We continue to view people with disabilities as inspirations. There have been oh so many times when people with disabilities have told others—in writing, in-person, through YouTube and through many other means—to stop viewing them as inspirations for just doing tasks in daily life that the rest of us perform. If our society listened to them, then we would stop viewing these individuals as inspirations. But alas, many of us don’t listen.
Not listening to people with disabilities is very much a pattern of our society. This pattern did not start with the straw issue, and I fear that it will not end with the straw issue. However, it is about time that we change and actually start listening to people with disabilities.
While I was working on a post to conclude this series on institutional racism, I did a Google search of “institutional racism polls” (mostly to get a sense of seeing how many Americans believe in the existence of institutional racism). The first two results for this search showed commentator Ben Stein saying that there is no more institutional racism in America.
It’s ironic that the first two results for this search show Ben Stein denying the existence of institutional racism because, actually, I think that my series of posts on the subject shows the opposite. The series demonstrates that institutional racism exists, even in 2018.
This institutional racism exists in housing systems, school systems, policing institutions, and colleges. It exists in many other institutions that I did not mention in my blog series. It exists in so many places that someone could quite possibly run a whole blog on the subject of institutional racism.
So if you ever question the existence of institutional racism, or run into someone who questions or doubts the existence of institutional racism, I hope that people can look at the posts in my series and say: “Wait…institutional racism exists, in America, in the 21st century.” After all, it’s difficult to fix racism as a whole without realizing the existence of institutional racism.
Note: While this is my last post in my series on institutional racism, it’s possible (maybe likely) that I will still make some individual posts related to institutional racism.