This blog has been up for a few months now. While this blog has been eye-opening for me as a writer and hopefully for all of you as readers, I want to discuss a few pieces of important news for the immediate and longer-term future.
First, I will start to include posts from others’ blogs on this blog.
I have seen a variety of posts over the last several months (ever since I started blogging) which exposes me and/or others to injustices that I/we may be blind to or blindly commit. I want to make room for such posts on this blog.
By including posts from others’ blogs, we can have a variety of voices contributing to the dialogue of injustices that we are blind to and/or are blindly committing.
Second, I will start having “Throwback Thursday” posts on Facebook and Twitter.
On some Thursdays, I will post links to past blog posts I’ve written. I won’t do this every Thursday, but I will do it on Thursdays when: a) I think a blog post relates to something that’s on the news these days, and/or b) I think that we need some reminders that are presented by a past blog post.
Finally, I won’t publish a post next Tuesday.
I will not post a post on Tuesday in observance of Labor Day the day before.
I want this blog to be a resource which helps all of us to become more just. By including the voices of others, I really believe that this will help Blind Injustice become the resource it’s capable of being.
I was going to post on a different topic this week, but given the events in Texas and Louisiana, I decided to go in a different direction.
I want to start this post by saying that my thoughts and prayers are with the people in Texas and Louisiana that are being hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. While I enjoy tracking storms (as I say in my own bio), I do not enjoy seeing people suffer like this. I hope that these areas recover and recover quickly.
Of course, some of us will try to help these areas recover quickly by giving to charities that are supposed to help hurricane victims. I deeply appreciate this desire, and people down in Texas and Louisiana will appreciate that desire as well.
However, I warn all of us to please be careful with where we give our money. I give this warning because not all charities do the positive work that they claim to do.
So how can people determine where they should or shouldn’t give their money? I have a few dos and don’ts, in no particular order:
Saying this will be controversial, but don’t donate to the American Red Cross. I have to admit that this is somewhat personal, because my family in New York noticed after Superstorm Sandy that the Red Cross was more interested in photo-ops than helping people (an observation confirmed by a National Public Radio story two years later). These problems are well-documented, not just by an editorial I wrote while I was in college, but also by the sources I cited in my editorial (and, quite frankly, many sources not cited by my editorial). You want to give to a charity which has a good track record with natural disasters, and unfortunately the American Red Cross isn’t one of them.
Don’t donate to a charity which lacks an established reputation. This seems obvious, yet there are so many scam charities which prey off of the big hearts of people.
Do look at charity rating systems, such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau Wise Charity Alliance. Charity Navigator in particular is helpful because the organization’s pages for charities give you an idea of how transparent an organization is, what percentage of your donations go to the services a charity delivers, and more. These measurables are very important when you’re trying to determine whether to donate to a charity.
Do research into what organizations have a presence in the area hit by the disaster. Speaking from my family’s experiences after Superstorm Sandy, some of the best work is usually performed by organizations that already had a presence in the area. Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the best work in Louisiana and Texas after Hurricane Harvey is performed by organizations which already have a presence in that area.
If there are any charities which did particularly good work after a natural disaster you experienced, do consider donating to said charities if they are going to be in the area hit by Harvey. You want to donate to a charity which has a positive track record with handling disasters, so there’s no better way to do that than donate to charities that helped you when you had a disaster. The only condition, of course, is that the same charity will be working in the areas hit by Harvey.
Even if you follow these dos and don’ts, there’s no guarantee that you will donate to the perfect organization. But hopefully this post has increased your chances of donating to a charity which helps people recover from Hurricane Harvey. After all, being blindly unjust in a situation like this is to give money that doesn’t go directly to victims, without even realizing that your money doesn’t go to the victims.
As my readers know, Blind Injustice is a blog where I talk about injustices that some of us may be blind to or blindly commit. I have that focus because I feel that there are many forms of injustice that we are complacent to or downright commit without realizing.
However, given the events of the past few days, I think it’s important to somewhat divert from the focus of the blog and talk about a very visible and hateful incident (or set of incidents) of injustice. Namely, the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The events in Charlottesville demonstrate that there are still injustices which are very painful, overt, and visible to everyone except those committing the injustices and their supporters. Among those injustices on display were bigotry, white supremacy, and calls for ethnic cleansing.
While this blog hopefully exposes some of us to a number of blind injustices, I hope that we also don’t ignore very visible forms of injustice such as what was shown by white nationalists in Charlottesville. To the contrary, all of us must call out the white supremacist terrorism of last weekend for what it was, and denounce it for what it was.
I am going to start this post by doing something unusual—comparing the career and season statistics of two National Football League (NFL) quarterbacks. No worries, though, because this comparison serves a greater purpose…
Quarterback #1’s career statistics: Completion percentage of 58.4, 1.74 touchdowns for every interception he’s thrown, 86.1 quarterback rating.
Quarterback #2’s career statistics: Completion percentage of 59.8, 2.4 touchdowns for every interception he’s thrown, 88.9 quarterback rating.
Quarterback #1’s 2016 statistics: Completion percentage of 52.9, 1.36 touchdowns for every interception he threw, 75.8 quarterback rating.
Quarterback #2’s 2016 statistics: Completion percentage of 59.2, 4 touchdowns for every interception he threw, 90.7 quarterback rating.
Quarterback #1 is Cam Newton, who had a down year last year but was the 2015 Offensive MVP and is still viewed as one of the bright young stars of the NFL. Quarterback #2 is Colin Kaepernick, who is currently not on an NFL roster.
While I am sure other football fans can find statistics where Newton compares favorably to Kaepernick, the point of this comparison is not to say whether Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick is a better quarterback. But the mere fact that the unemployed Kaepernick has statistics even comparable to a former NFL Offensive MVP should tell people one thing about the current state of Kaepernick’s career: his unemployment has nothing to do with football, and everything to do with the fact that many of us (myself included, at times) resent athletes who challenge our society’s status quo.
The most recent example of this is with Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers player refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” last year, and is not on an NFL roster this year thus far.
However, this is far from the first time that an athlete faced severe consequences for challenging the societal status quo. Muhammad Ali, who was almost universally praised after his death last year, was reviled by many for his refusal to serve in Vietnam and his outspokenness on racial issues. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were forced to return the medals they won in the 1968 Olympics because of their Black Power salutes in a medal ceremony while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played. And a big stir was made when Magic Johnson came out as being HIV-positive at a time when HIV/AIDS was still stigmatized, only to play in the 1992 National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game and the 1992 Olympics.
If one were to consider Kaepernick, not as an isolated incident, but within the greater history of activist athletes, the conclusion is that there is a resentment toward athletes who challenge the status quo. Such resentment has stayed strong, even though decades have changed.
To those who feel that resentment, I urge all of you to at least hear out Kaepernick, even if you don’t agree with him (myself included, as I didn’t agree with his not voting in 2016). I urge everyone to hear him out because, when athletes double up as activists, it is often for good reason and often produces positive results for our society. For example, Muhammad Ali’s outspokenness on racial issues positively contributed to the Civil Rights Movement, and Magic Johnson’s openness on testing HIV-positive started to remove the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. It remains to be seen whether Kaepernick will make contributions as positive as those of people like Johnson and Ali, but given the fact that positive things can and often do happen when athletes double up as activists challenging the status quo, we should at least give him a chance.
This week, I am yet again writing in the aftermath of a very public and visible injustice.
Last week, I wrote on how many of us considered the suicide from Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, and suicide in general, selfish. This week, I am writing in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s banning of transgender people from the military.
But I don’t want to spend this entire post bashing Trump for this action, because quite honestly, there are probably hundreds of blog posts which do that job already. Instead, I want to use Trump’s action as an opportunity for self-reflection among all of us.
Namely, for those of us who claim to be pro-LGBTQ+ (like Trump did in his convention speech last summer), we should reflect on whether our actions back up any pro-LGBTQ+ words.
There are a few questions I want to ask, in order to help others reflect:
Do you actually do anything to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals?
Do you speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ injustices in public, on social media, at home, the homes of other family or friends, or anywhere else?
Do you go beyond the level of having a “gay friend” or “trans friend” (akin to the “black friend” idea), and actually do something to stand up for the best interests of that LGBTQ+ friend?
Are you just welcoming of LGBTQ+ friends, or are you actually affirming of their identities?
Do you really believe that LGBTQ+ people deserve the same opportunities as straight people, or do you believe that there are limitations on what they can do?
What do you say to others when you talk about your LGBTQ+ friends?
I urge every one of you, as my readers, to honestly reflect on these questions, and do some reflection outside of the scope of these questions. Reflecting on questions like these helped me realize that there is more I could do, and maybe will help some of you realize that there is more you can do. If you reflect on these questions and realize that some of your actions might not support your words on LGBTQ+ issues, then at least you can make positive changes. But if you don’t reflect on questions like these, you run the risk of being like President Trump—claiming to be pro-LGBTQ+, but performing actions which show the opposite.
Author’s Note: This was written at the last minute as a response to President Trump banning transgender people from the military. As such, there may be mistakes in this post. I apologize in advance for those mistakes.