TFM: it needs to stop

Well, two posts in one day. You can tell I’m sure fired up today.

Total Frat Move, something that requires little to no introduction in this day and age. TFM is full of bigotry, ignorance, and a slew of other things I can’t even begin to write about them all. But what I am going to write about is simple: we need to stop it. Who is we? First it is those of us decent in the fraternity world that know better than to let this shit continue. It is also our job to educate our fellow brothers that aren’t so knowledgeable about the awfulness that is this organization and movement. Second it is…well everyone should.

TFM perpetuates systems of rape culture. TFM perpetuates system of patriarchy. TFM perpetuates images of partying hard, disrespecting women (and everyone quite frankly), and being total shit heads. Now I’m not saying EVERYONE is a shit head who follows this organization, but everyone is a shit head. 

TFM is doing way more damage that it is good. It is an organization that knows not what it is doing and is setting up awful images for future leaders to model themselves after. I would be a liar if I said I’ve never thought TFM was cool. But then I grew up and slowly becoming more aware of my privileges as a fraternity man.

I assure you this rant COULD GO ON FOR HOURS. But for the sake my time I will keep it short and challenge all who read this, regardless if you are in a fraternity or sorority, and think about what TFM does. THINK about what all this organization (and I’m sure TSM as well) does to our culture. If we truly want to make a systematic change, we need to start with ourselves with with what the future leaders look up to. I’m sure as hell tired of having my reputation as a fraternity man tarnished because of TFM, aren’t you?

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White is White: You can’t cover up what the world sees

“In addition to specifying one’s European ancestry, and reclaiming lost family traditions, this shift (of distancing self from whiteness) can also be understood as a way to distance oneself from claims made by people of color about some imagined “standard white American,” and from political assertions that whites have “unearned” privilege or are responsible for disadvantaged position of minorities.
-Jennifer L. Eichstedt, Problematic White Identities and a Search for Racial Justice.
When the light is flashed on us white folk about our white privilege, we come up with various excuses: “oh I’m working class, I don’t get the privilege because I had to work for everything I’ve gotten” or “that’s only for straight people” or “no I’m actually Italian on my mom’s side, not white”. While it may seem impossible to put all whiteness on the same level, it is the same in this system of power and privilege where white folk win and folk of color loose. We can’t pick and choose what identity trumps our whiteness – white is visible, white wins. And this is something we need to own up to.
Us white folk also try and see persecution that happens to us as well within these excuses. “Oh I grew up as the only white kid in my neighborhood” or “Oh I was the only Jewish kid in my high school”. Simply because you were the minority in one example doesn’t mean you are THE minority that looses in a system of power and privilege. This is like saying reverse racism is a think. IT IS NOT A THING. How can white people who control it all observe pervasive and damaging racism? That would imply that people of color have power over us white folk WHEN THEY DON’T.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t be shot because you’re white or be picked last to play a pick up game because you’re white. That can happen to anyone at anytime. What the point we white folk need to understand is that we DON’T LIVE IN CONSTANT FEAR that it will happen simply because of the color of our skin. We can push people of color out of our neighborhoods or simply move. We can send our children to expensive private schools. We can simply work for another company. White people can do whatever, whenever if we really wanted to.
Why are there so many success stories of white folk “making it rich” and so many stories of people of color being “gang bangers and criminals”? Us white folk need to wake up because this is not just, this is not freedom, this is not the world I want to live in and neither should you. It will be hard because we white folk benefit from this system. Why give up something that is helping us win? I don’t have the answer to that, yet. I will grow and learn more about my whiteness and hopefully one day understand what it is to be a true ally for equality. But I do know I want to do what I can to help end this system that kills and destroys so many people.
If I had to summarize it all it would be this: It’s not “The American Dream”, it’s “The White American Dream”.

Kim Davis at fault: Looking through the eyes of Human Resource Managment

Before I even begin, I would like to quiet all the uber conservatives out there that are super loud and proud about their religion. Not that that is a bad thing, but some tend to condemn a lot of people with one hand and be a hypocrite with the other:

“ye without sin cast the first stone.”

“love your neighbor.”

Ok cool now I can continue with my diagnoses of the Kim Davis situation. So let me tell you about my views.

  1. I am a Southern Baptist born and raised however, after being in the “real world” some of the spoon feed doctrines have lost some of the power over me. In my opinion, God put you on this earth to make your own decisions and whatever you choose to do, i’m cool with. I can and will respect your choices and I will NEVER talk down to anyone as long as they respect me. I mean I think this is fair.
  2. I want to one day enjoy an environment where religion is respected and so too are the personal life choices of others. Why not stop there? I hope one day EVERYTHING that makes us different is respected and cherished. I may never see this utopia, but it is still great to think about and work towards.
  3. I believe that men, women, trans, non-conforming, and everyone else are created equal and deserve the same rights under our laws, unfortunately this isn’t the case (#blacklivesmatter).
  4. Your freedoms end where my nose begins.
  5. I am making my opinion on Kim Davis using what I have been taught during my undergraduate studies in Human Resource Management.

Ok so let’s start.

In the business world, when I go to hire someone for a particular position, there is a certain criteria they must meet called job descriptions and bona fide occupational qualifications (or BFOQs). The job description is a literal list of duties and tasks that MUST be done in order to be successful in one’s job. In order to be a cashier at Wal-Mart, one must know how to operate a cash register, basic math, money handling skills, and just good manners. The job description would list what kind of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to fill this job and do the necessary job functions.

BFOQs are a little more tricky as they typically are traits of a job that are unique and required. To provide a easy example: in order to be a Kosher butcher, one must handle foods in a way required to maintain the Jewish dietary requirements. Typically, the actual butcher is Jewish and knows the faith. If I owned a meat company, I can make being Jewish and knowing the restrictions a BFOQ for the job of Kosher butcher. Legally, I am protected because it is REQUIRED to have the qualifications to successfully complete the job and can advertise as so. If someone wanted to try and and sue me based discrimination of religion, two things would happen: 1) religion is not a protected group such as sex and age; 2) once it is proven that you do not met the BFOQ required for the job, case is closed. If at any point you have a change in status, say you change religions, you are no longer qualified. If you notify your employer, that are impressed upon by law and good manners to find you an equivalent job of equal pay with them or support you as you find a new job.

Simple so far, right?

So let’s look at Kim Davis

So Kim was qualified for her job. She had served in the position and was find until the recent ruling that made gay marriage legal. At that point in time, Kim should have notified her employer that a new part of her job would go against her religion. Then her employer should have found her a suitable job or provided some kind of assistance. Everyone is happy. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

Kim Davis did not notify her employer through the official channels. Not only this, but her employer did not do the due diligence to inquire if new practices would be “ok” with their employees. However, Kim is responsible for notifying her employer and since she did not, she should be terminated. And the employer is 100% covered by the law with the catch that they did take the time to inform and inquire about the new policies.

So, using the HRM approach, Kim Davis is responsible. The employer is covered, and we need to hire a new employee.

To summarize, religion is not a covered class. It take communication on all sides to make a fluid and productive work environment. Kim Davis is wrong, but her employer should have made some efforts. Case closed.

“Hey y’all” and not “hey you guys”

So as I am (attempting to) becoming more professional in my attire, lingo, and mannerisms, I’ve noticed something people of the Midwest (and others) love to say: “hey you guys”

Although I love the classics like “The Goonies”, there has to be some subtle changes to our everyday life if we ever hope to become more inclusive. The South may have it’s own grocery list of problems, but we do one thing right: we do not show gender preference in our common phrase of grabbing attention.

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have traveled to other states outside the South and used the word “y’all” and got that “oh you’re not from around here look”. But at the same time I cannot begin to count the number of times already during my short stint in the Midwest the amount of times I have heard someone reference a group a people as being all male and they weren’t all male.

Now I know it is a nit picky thing but is it really? We live in a society where inequality is so deeply rooted and systems of oppression are so heavily ingrained into our habits. Although I personally don’t have a 5 step action plan to make the world a better place, I do know that I can use more inclusive words when interacting with society.

If you are a guy, imagine how weird it would be if you’re in a group and someone says “hey you girls”. Imagine how women feel when we mask their gender identity and enforce this crooked society we live in today.

So when you’re out and about, working with students, children, or coworkers, say y’all. It may sound like turpentine on your lips but I promise not only will you be more inclusive, but you will also get some really odd looks and can then explain yourself and spread the message about being intentional in breaking away the system of oppression we live in today.

Y’all come back now, ya hear.

I will not stand by idly

For too long I have sat still. For too long I have listened to the times of old. For far too long I have let the words of outsiders predetermine my life. Not any more.

For too long I have been told the greatness of the South has come and gone and no longer will she rise again. For too long I have been told that because I am a Mississippian, I am born to live in the dirt. For too long I have listened to statistics, studies, and history that tells me I will live a below-average life. Not any more.

For far too long, I have been an outcast, called a “racist”, taunted for my upbringing, and laughed at because of my state. Not any more.

No longer will I stand by idly as my state is condemned by others who have never graced her boarders. No longer will I stand by idly as the history of my great home is used to judge my present. No longer will I stand by idly as an “uneducated and closed minded” back-woods boy. Not any more.

No longer will I let you judge me on the actions of a few. No longer will I let the murmurings of few reverberate louder than my Rebel yell. No longer will I let our history control our future. Not any more.

Now I will look to a bright future. Now I will look to myself and those few Rebels around me willing to make the leap of faith. Now I will shatter all expectations, break all the myths, and destroy the stereotypes. Now is the time.

Now we should look at our actions. Now we should open our eyes, close our mouths, and listen to the voices that were once gagged and trampled. Now we should put away childish things and become the new (wo)man. Now is the time.

No longer will I be quite. No longer will I avert my eyes. No longer will I turn to the other cheek. No longer will I stand idly

No longer will I watch as Dixie is condemned to live a backwards life. No longer will I let my school be defamed. No longer will I let my first love be trampled on. It is time.

It is time for the new South to rise. It is time for all to be equal. It is time be leaders of industry. It is time to be teachers, doctors, and engineers of our own futures. It is time for the individual voices to rise and the masses to stop huddling. It is time for us to stop bickering, complaining, and crying. It is time.

It is way past time equality was brought to the banks of the Mississippi. It is way past time for the voice of reason to be heard in the bayou. It is way past time the presence of unity to be seen in the field of cotton. It is way past time for the leaders to rise tall among the pines and magnolias. It is way past time, Mississippi.

Let us rise together, on equal grounds, with words of wisdom, open minds, and voices raised. Let us respect ALL, and not just the few. Let us raise up our new South, show the world the love of Dixie, and make this great land one welcome for all. Let us look to the future, embrace our past, and learn from the present. Let us not stand by idly.