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You all should “Like” my page. It has a few of my blog posts here and there, but mostly funny liberally/slanted, or just plain funny, posts!!/SocialLiteracy?fref=ts


I have always been a city person. The sounds of the traffic at night; the bright lights that decorate the sky; the familiar buildings that shape the downtown skyline. Each city has it’s own character, it’s own flavor. I love the smell of the sea in Portland, the architecture in Boston, the festive lights of the Superdome in the New Orleans skyline.

The downside to living in a city, besides the traffic of course, are the faces you see along the streets every day begging for money.  They hold signs. Sometimes they have cups. Here, they also frequently have dogs. But they’re all asking for the same thing. Many of us pass them by without any acknowledgment; some will give an occasional dollar or some spare change.  I often find my social-worker self avoiding eye contact as I pass by familiar faces on my morning rush to Starbucks.  I feel bad that they have to ask for money, while I rush by to purchase an over-priced latte. Most of all, I feel bad that I get annoyed by the begging. I turned away one man the other morning who was asking for money for coffee, saying that I had no spare change. He asked several people standing near me, and promptly stood in line behind me to purchase a coffee. I immediately felt the pangs of guilt: this man really did just want a coffee. At that moment, I wanted to buy him 10 coffees. I felt horrible for my judgment, and it stayed with me for a long time.

Recently, I came across the following collection of photography, entitled Faces of Addiction. It is a collection of photographs taken by a banker in New York who explores the lives of people living on the streets coping with addition. As I click through the photos, reading each person’s story, I am reminded of my judgment and assumption of the people I see standing at traffic corners. These people are fighting their own hell every day, just struggling to survive.

They cannot get back with their family. They cannot talk it out. “Really?” says Bernice, “What? Am I supposed to suddenly have a relationship with my family? Sit down, and pretend one of my mother’s boyfriends didn’t force himself on me when I was young?”

So we throw them in jail. Drugs are wrong, selling your body for sex is wrong.

Being fucked by your dad is even more wrong.

Throw them in jail. Remove the problem.

Throw them in jail rather than realize how damn unfair our society is. How badly some are chewed up, abused, spit out, never given a chance.

Throw them in jail to preserve the fantasy that our culture is filled with domestic bliss, that being poor doesn’t suck, that life is fair.
Throw them in jail rather than ask why so many men rape children?

Spend a night in Hunts Point. Listen to the stories. Know that dads, uncles, neighbors, often rape little children. Know that it fucks them up for life.

 I found myself becoming lost in the photographs, immersed in their stories. Most of all, I was reminded that every person has a story. Every beggar, every addict, every prostitute – is more than that.


Look through the pictures:

Chris Brown returned to court this week for a review of his sentence and charges; apparently he didn’t finish his community service. Guess who accompanied him? No, besides his mom.

Rihanna. The girl he beat up… the event that got him this charge in the first place. I have really lost respect for her through this. She is supposed to be a role model, but she is sending the message that it is okay to take a guy back who beats you up.


thank you for not being like Tebow!

It’s long been said (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase) that the Super Bowl is one of the largest sex trafficking events in the United States.

According to our local Fox 8 (not to be confused with Fox News), five women were rescued this past weekend during the event here in New Orleans. This same weekend, eight arrests were made in connection to human-trafficking related events.

What’s ironic to me is that we, as a society, know that forced prostitution is wrong. We know that many girls are forced into it. Yet, there are so many men (it’s usually men. Don’t pull the “man hating” card just yet) who will justify this behavior by denying these very facts.  

A lot is being done to help these girls, including cooperation with local businesses to train employees what to watch out for, and to make secret hotline numbers available for girls in hotel rooms or bathooms.  While these things are undoubtedly beneficial in helping these poor girls, it does not put enough of a public eye on the other piece of the puzzle.  (The names of the “Pimps” should be public, as well as the “johns”.  Why are people spending 10 years in prison for weed, while these slave drivers are living freely?) How can these men justify their actions by calling the act “consentual”, and refuse to see that their contribution is what makes it possible?

We live in a world where it is understood that sex-trafficking is wrong, but do we truly understand why? Women are still judged and valued for their bodies every day. Walking through the downtown area on Super Bowl weekend, I saw the “Budweiser Girls” lining the sidewalk dressed (for lack of a better word) in thong-shorts and bra-tops.  How can we ever overcome the slavery of women if we still view them as objects; as something that needs to be decorated and looked at?  I don’t care if you think it “looks nice”. This isn’t about your needs. A nearly-naked woman should have no relevance to the sales of beer, but “sex sells”, and here lies the connection.  We’re taught that this is ok to expect this from women, and we justify it by telling ourselves they have “consented” to it.  No, these Budweiser women aren’t victims of sex-trafficking. They are victims of a world where there is so little that separates the two.

Beyonce’s job during the haltime performance was to sing and entertain. Why did this have to be done wearing a body suit? If Jay Z, or even Beiber, came on stage wearing a speedo, we’d laugh. We wouldn’t take this seriously. “He must be pulling an act; he can’t be serious”. Because we all know that men don’t need to dress like this to gain an audience. Beyonce is known for her strong influences to women empowerment, yet she peformed in a stadium full of people wearing such little fabric. But again, we justify this. “She was hot doing all that dancing. It’s easier to move. She can wear what she wants”.  Whatever justifies it.  It’s this contribution that makes it possible.

Driving home from work the other morning I was listening to a talk-show where they were comparing the the Mardi Gras here with Carnival in Brazil.  Of course, the topic of women bearing their breasts came up, as it is much more popular in Brazil’s version of Carnival than it is here in the Big Easy – despite popular belief. One of the men began making fun of the women here: “I wouldn’t want to see the ones on the women there anyway, they sag so much they’d have to unzip their pants just for us to see them”.  While I realize he was “making a joke”, the point remains that our bodies are always up for others’ discussion; always subjected to others’ opinions and ridicule.  These two hosts would probably call me an angry feminist, but only they have no way of understanding what it feels like to be on the other side.

To bring an end to my rant, how can we end forced prostitution of women if we’re unable to look at the other ways we enslave them?


et pour nous! 😉


The French Parliament has approved gay marriage.

I started reading the article, The French Debate Gay Marriage, in Their Fashion, from Sunday’s New York Times thinking I wouldn’t learn much.  Wrong.  Turns out some of the ambivalence about gay marriage has to do with ambivalence about marriage generally.

“After May ’68, if you were modern, you didn’t get married,” said Frédéric Martel, organizer of the Rond-Point event and author of the new book, “Global Gay: How the Gay Revolution is Changing the World.” “Now we’re at a moment when we are all a bit hysterical about marriage — gay marriage. But this is really a conservative movement, about stability in society and being good parents and protecting children and becoming rather ordinary.”

Seventy percent of the French do not think it is important for couples living together to get married, according to an Insee poll in 2012. Fewer than…

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What is this world coming to? Where is free speech going? We can’t inuslt anyone we please anymore in the professional world! boo hoo!


Tonight I found myself going through old pictures of college; reminising in the nostalgia that flows from pictures of dorm rooms and dining halls. I remember counting down the days until we received our degrees, sick of being treated like the undergraduate teenagers we were. Sneaking jello shots and small caged animals into our dorm rooms, it was us against the world. 

I miss traveling. Not going-from-here-to-Alabama traveling. I miss TRAVELing. Walking across the bridge over the Charles River in Prague. Seeing the concentration camps in Poland. Living in France. I miss getting lost, trying foreign food, staying in hostels. I miss it all.

I have an inability to enjoy the moment. I always look back and long for the memories of last night, last weekend, last year.  I miss sipping iced lattes under the palm trees before class this past summer. I miss my life in the early days of coming to New Orleans: when everything was new and exciting. Heck, I miss the Mardi Gras parade I attended two days ago.

Today, I have that long-awaited degree. And another one, too.  I continue to sip iced lattes under palm trees, and there will be more Mardi Gras parades all week.  But instead of enjoying the moment, I spent the night on Facebook looking at pictures of college days.

Damn you, Facebook. Damn you, Nostalgia. You’re making me appear Emo.


um. Yikes?