Upworthy, shouldn’t racial microaggressions involve…race?

I haven’t visited Upworthy in awhile. I think I had it blocked on the old laptop. Or it just fell out of favor. Either way, I came across this article since someone shared it on FB. For those who don’t feel like reading it: It explains what microaggressions are, and then says the following three things fall into the category of microaggressions:

  1. Rules against hats and hoods
  2. Policing language
  3. Punishing students for sleeping in class

The thing that most immediately sticks out to me is in claiming these are racial microaggressions, race isn’t really mentioned. It mentions the culture of the white middle class, but it doesn’t say anything about what features of race are in play. For 1, I suppose it’s obvious enough. In the US at least, certain cultures affiliated with certain races have a greater affinity for hats and hoods.

The other two are not nearly so obvious. White kids swear a lot. Upworthy says “If the student was raised in an environment where swearing wasn’t viewed as a transgression, it can be difficult for them to find a way to communicate emotionally and intellectually in the classroom.” What racial environment is this? Perhaps I am mistaken here, but to my knowledge, there isn’t a race with a significantly greater tendency to swear and be unaware that swearing is frowned upon by some people.

The third made me pause and wonder if perhaps this article was written by a racist trying to discredit anti-racism. The proposed solution (let tired kids nap) is sane, though, so perhaps not. Again the question is left open: What’s the role of race here? There’s certainly a role class plays. Teachers who have spent their lives in the middle class might not understand not being able to get a night’s sleep. Is there an additional racial component I’m not aware of? (And why didn’t Upworthy bother to mention it?)

The solutions to all three of these are at least alright. People getting upset over hats and “fuck” are just being uselessly rigid in their thinking. There’s no argument for rules against either that don’t come down to the aesthetic preference of a certain group. (Perhaps there is some room for race. Is the intersection of middle/upper class and any non-white race more okay with hats and swearing?) And if a student indeed needs sleep, taking a nap is more useful than fading in and out through class.

This of course isn’t to say there aren’t real racial problems. Some of them do fit in the category of microaggressions. But these aren’t them. On the weighty end, police shootings disproportionately killing black people isn’t reducible to some other, non-racial thing. And the racial thing involved is a problem with the structure of society. (And some bad people.) On the less weighty end, skin products often coming overwhelmingly in shades of white with limited options for darker skin tones is again, not reducible to anything else. It’s just structurally embedded racially preferential behavior. These things, however, appear to reduce to other things. Mostly class and access to resources (which, again, class). One could make a case for 1. For 2 and 3, once you take away the class differences, you end up with saying the racially embodied culture is responsible. For 2, fine, I guess. White people on the whole might be behind there. (I’d be curious to see data.) For 3, if you abstract material resource access and find a problem within the racial domain, then you’re saying it’s a problem with the culture that the kids don’t get enough sleep. That’s exactly the nonsense the racist right peddles.

Cars and guns

People have posted a lot about guns and the control of guns over the past several days. I’d say that this happens every time there’s a shooting that makes the news, but that’s almost continuous. There’s a constant competition for attention between the stupidity and evil of Trump and friends on the one side and people killing each other on the other.

As usual, the charge against guns is they are rather effective means of killing people. The defense is cars are also an effective means of killing people. The response to that is that, yes, cars are possible deadly weapons, and they are heavily regulated. Foolish gun-lover, you have fallen right into a trap!

See the source image

The exchange is so common now people just skip to the third step and share this image on social media. However, the chart is misleading. The entire “let’s treat guns like cars” proposal doesn’t give the person against gun rights what they want because:

  1. Gun regulations would look pretty different from car regulations. The purpose of gun regulations is to keep them out of the hands of people who would do bad things with them. Skill is usually secondary. Car regulations are far more skill-oriented. We let felons drive.
  2. The training, tests, etc. are requirements to operate a motor vehicle. Presumably the target of restrictions with regard to guns is on ownership.

If car regulations looked like gun regulations, anyone would be allowed to go out and buy a gun. Actually using the gun would require a license. This entirely thwarts the goal of making guns less available to people who want to do bad things with them. They could still buy them. Their mode of use is already illegal, so nothing there has changed.

Perhaps there is something salvageable. You do need a license to take a car out. Likewise, a license system could be implemented for taking guns out. This would hardly stop anyone who wants to grab a gun and kill a bunch of people, but it might stop someone with anger management problems from ill-advisedly taking a gun out and killing someone in a fit of rage. Or stop someone who can’t aim from trying to be a hero and instead killing more people.

My morning routine

Mornings used to be a struggle for me. For long stretches of time in the past, I’d wake up, hit snooze, steal a few more minutes of sleep, and then repeat many times in a miserable cycle of wanting to lay in bed under my covers more than I wanted to get up. This shouldn’t be too shocking. Bed was comfy, and I had to get up to do unpleasant things. Even when I did get up, I would waste time on my phone or laptop instead of getting out of bed.

That was a consistently terrible way to start the day. I’d waste hours neither really enjoying myself nor getting anything done. So I changed it. Basically everything about my morning has changed, so I will lay out the complete morning routine here.

Every day the first thing I do is wake up. On some days an alarm gets me up at a certain time. Most days I let the sun coming through my window wake me up somewhere between six and nine. Some days I want to go back to bed, so I hit snooze or just close my eyes again. If I have to use the bathroom, I’ll do that and then return to a sleeping position. Unlike before, though, I almost never actually want to stay there for more than three minutes. So I cancel the snooze or get up.

I imagine a substantial part of this is due to my deciding to not get a bed. When I moved in September, I spent a couple weeks trying to decide what kind of bed best fit my needs. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized with my goal of not wasting hours of the morning relaxing in bed, I was best served by the floor. (In December my friend gave me a sleeping bag. If you choose to abandon a bed, I do advise a sleeping bag. You do gain a little comfort, but in exchange you get a texture that’s easier on your skin and the small amount of padding is much, much easier on your body.) As an extra bonus, in the evening time, there’s no comfy bed tempting me to turn in early. I stay up doing things until I’m so exhausted I’m ready to hit the floor.

Often when I wake up I give my phone three to five minutes of attention. I check if I have any important messages and maybe indulge in a blog post. Then I’m eager to get off the floor and get moving.

I proceed into the bathroom (with an outfit) and turn on the shower. Then I remember I need water and go into the kitchen for a glass or three. Then I start my morning music on my phone. I try to keep the music moving. In general, I keep the music in the morning high tempo or upbeat. I reserve the slower or grander music for the evenings.

As the water warms up, I do a series of mobility exercises to get going. (Borrowed from here.) About five to ten of each of the following:

  • neck turns
  • neck tilts (up/down/left/right)
  • shoulder rolls
  • arm circles
  • elbow circles
  • torso twists
  • wrist circles
  • ankle circles
  • leg circles
  • high knees
  • kick own ass
  • toe curls
  • pelvic thrust
  • bring it around town

Then I get in the shower and dance to the music while cleaning myself. My personal favorite song to include in this is Combichrist’s “Get Your Body Beat”.

After I finish in the shower and get dressed, the rest of the routine depends on the day. If it’s not a Sunday, I move onto some stretching:

  • scapular shrugs
  • cat camels
  • finger pulses
  • wrist pulses
  • putting my hands on the floor, fingers to my knees, and rocking back and forth

I need to get some bands to do a few more. (The stretches, strength work, and skill work are from here.) Then bodyline work:

  • plank
  • side plank
  • reverse plank
  • hollow hold
  • arch hold

I really should time these, but counting throws me off and I last longer focusing on the music. Perhaps I should get a stopwatch to keep track of my progress.

If it’s a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I move onto strength training, which right now consists of:

  • L-sit (Right now I have my heels on the floor–the goal is 3×8 without any help from the floor. Right now I’m at 3×4. My wrist is in the healing process, so hopefully when my wrist doesn’t scream in pain when bearing weight I’ll have a better go of it.)
  • Step ups (Right now I use a chair. I’m having an easy go of 3×8 of these, and my balance is improving, too. I might need to find a higher surface to work with. Part of the trick is right now this is all before I head out the door. If I were to do this elsewhere I might find more options…) (Anyhow, I do L-sits, rest, Step ups, rest, and repeat until I have done three sets of each.)
  • Push ups (Again, 3×8, and paired with the next item. Using an incline for now while I focus on the form and let my wrist heal. Usually after warming up it’s not too bad, but on the floor is still too much for it.)
  • Rows (Inclined for now. I used to use a table, but the table we have now is too weak. I’ll be getting a bar soon (or finding a good place with one) and then I’ll be able to properly do horizontal rows. Those are too fun. It’s probably for the best I save them for the end.)

If it’s Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, I move on to skill work instead. I spend a few minutes working on my handstand (which right now is a very inclined plank. I’m probably at a 4pi/9 angle with the floor. Once my head stops feeling like it will explode I imagine it gets easier. Yay for content to post updates on). Then I move on to parallel bar support. Or, due to lack of parallel bars, holding myself up on the L counter. I fully intend to add a dead hang, but that will require a bar. If anyone knows of any good bars…

Any weekday, after this stuff, if I’m hungry, I grab a waffle or something small. Usually I abandon breakfast and toss a small snack in my bag just in case. I fill my water bottle, have another glass or two of water, and head out the door. The department is about a mile away, and I run that distance. My goal right now is seven minutes with weight. Then I drink some more water.

If it’s a weekend, my schedule is more volatile. I do make sure I get in a minimum of two miles of running in every day, though that’s in part because otherwise I have too much energy and get irritated being sedentary.

At that point the morning is over and the day begins.