Honestly.. When PoC get to an age where they are able to deeply realize and internalize how intensely and directly racism affects them, as well as able to recognize the little racial microaggressions against them, it truly IS a traumatic experience. Its draining and depressing and painful and scarring. It can very easily make you lose the will to do anything or dream anything. And that is something that whites will never experience, thus never understand how deep this goes.
Here are 13 figures that illustrate how bad health care access for women of color in our country really is.
136%. How much America’s maternal mortality rate has increased between 1990 and 2013.
Colorlinesreports that the United States jumped from a rate of 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to 28 per 100,000 — all in the span of 23 years. That’s twice the rate of Saudi Arabia, and three times that of the United Kingdom. The primary reason cited is a lack of access to quality insurance and adequate medical resources.
3-4. The number of times higher the national maternal mortality rate is for black women than white women. This figure has held relatively steady for the past 40 years, according to the CRR report.
94. The number of black maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Fulton County, Ga., which includes the city of Atlanta.
That’s more than three times the national average. The rate for white women in the same county is “essentially zero,” according to Colorlines, i.e., “too insignificant to report.”
77%. How much higher the maternal mortality rate is in states with higher populations of people living below the poverty line, when compared to states with smaller impoverished populations, according to Colorlines (citing a 2010 Amnesty International report).
Low-income populations in the U.S. are disproportionately made up of black, Latina and Native American women. The report claims these disparities are especially apparent in Southern states with high black and Latino populations, namely parts of Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.
1. The number of clinics in the state of Mississippi that provide abortions. Mississippi’s population is 37.4% black and nearly 25% poor — significantly higher than the national average for both categories.
19. The number of states (including almost all in the South) that have opted out of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Needless to say, this is disturbing: Expanding Medicaid would allow for unprecedented access to affordable contraception for low-income women, and women of color in particular.
This is important for one key reason: Contraception is not only a vital component of effective family planning, but according to some, a proven means of combating poverty.
72%. The percent decrease in women receiving health care services in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley over the past few years, Colorlines reports. The region has recently become “ground zero” for America’s ongoing debate around treatment of immigrants without documents for the U.S., originating primarily in Mexico and Central America.
70%. How much greater the likelihood thatan immigrant woman of reproductive age will lack health insurance, as compared to her U.S.-born peers. This figure has a clear racial bent: Most immigrants to the U.S. come from either Mexico or Asia.
5. The number of years immigrants must wait before they’re eligible for Medicaid under federal law. Texas, home to the nation’s second largest Latino population, makes them wait even longer, according to Colorlines.
1 in 3. How many Native American women will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime, according to the Center for American Progress. That’s 3.5 times higher than any other racial group. An added problem hereis that federally funded health care facilities on reservations — where about 30% of Native Americans live — lack the capacity to treat and care for victims: CAP reports that women often must travel hundreds of miles just to receive a rape kit and STI screening.
35.1. The number of new black female AIDS cases per 100,000 women age 13 and over in 2009, according to a 2011 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. Compare that to 7.9 casesfor Hispanic women and 1.5 for white women.
66%. The percentage of new female HIV cases nationwide which black women comprise. Forbesreports that HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death among black women age 25-34.
4.3. The cervical cancer death rate per 100,000 among black women nationwide — twice the rate for white women. The difference is so stark it has attracted the attention ofresearchers, who examined the disparity by focusing on the state of Maryland and published their findings in PLOS ONE health journal.
Among their troubling discoveries: Between 1999 and 2008, black women were far more likely to receive radiation or chemotherapy as their only form of treatment, regardless of their stage of cancer. White women, on the other hand, were significantly more likely to receive “multi-modality treatment,” incorporating surgery, chemo and radiation, andresulting in higher survival rates.
Researchers concluded the disparity is rooted in a few key factors. Oneis the lack of health care access for black women; the other is a deliberately discriminatory approach to treatment from medical practitioners.
The takeaway: The next time someone tells you we have a functioning and equitable health care system in America, show them these numbers. Any nation that claims medical equality but allows factors like race and gender, compounded by corresponding issues like poverty, politics and legal access, to prevent specific groups of people from healing is nothing short of hypocritical.
i love that description of what Regina felt as she was shifting, it was really visceral and gave me goosebumps.
Thanks. I find that most fiction treats shapchanging like it’s simple, easy, and painless, but if we’re talking about rearranging a body’s physical structure, nuh-unh. That shit’s gonna hurt like hell.
“Angelina Jolie and I, we’re not friends, but when I called her about my human trafficking endeavors, she went all in. And I really appreciated that because there are not a lot of times that you can call upon people in our business and get serious help. She put me in contact with the people I needed to be in contact with, she sent me books, sent me all the information she had. I’m not saying that Angelina and I are, like, girlfriends and kicking it every day, but when you call another woman who’s in a position to lend support to you and she just jumps right in there, that’s sisterhood.”—Jada Pinkett-Smith on Angelina Jolie to Health Magazine. (via dontyouknowiminthisforlife)
I have been attempting to replicate some of my abilities from the Enchanted Forest. Poofing and shapeshifting have occupied most of my time and energy of late, and success has usually eluded me.
It has been….challenging to keep in mind that magic is harder and messier here, more unpredictable. In a world without fairy dust in the atmosphere, shifting your body’s structure on the molecular level is not as simple as snapping your fingers.
In other words, shapeshifting is extremely painful and should not be used except when the pain is worth it.
The moon was fat as a cow about to give birth. I often think of wolves when I see the full moon. I think that’s what made me want to try it. I researched this world’s legends and myths, hunting for clues about shapeshifters and were-creatures and similar beings. Most of them were more Hollywood than anything else, but legends about skinchangers had a ring of truth. If there was indeed such magic in this world, this most likely how it would work.
The next night, I took the bike for a ride upstate, mind still reeling from seeing Kiki again after—gods, was it that long? My thoughts turned to Graham the Huntsman and Miss Lucas Red and the Wolves from the Enchanted Forest. I decided that if I were going to try this, I should choose an animal roughly my size. A wolf would be just perfect. Although a 120-pound wolf is large, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Such a shape would not around suspicion. Even so, I’d have to be careful if I didn’t want some hunter to shoot me and wear my pelt as a trophy.
I began the ritual in a dense wilderness far from anyone’s property. I still arranged the foliage in a protective ward, and I etched symbols of protection and privacy in the dense soil. I snapped my fingers, and a tiny flame flickered to life with no small amount of pride at how it was getting easier and easier to do so. I stared into the flame for a while, allowing it to hypnotize me and slowly pull me into that state where anything is possible.
When my mind and body approached the threshold between my waking consciousness and the deeper consciousness that gave rise to it, I brought forth a vial of blood, its contents courtesy of a young man in the Bronx who kept a wolf hybrid as a pet. It reminded me of Graham’s the Huntsman’s companion.
I glanced at Kiki’s friendship bracelet, tied snugly around my wrist. Quickly, before the magic could fade, I tipped the vial to my mouth and swallowed.
The pain was excruciating.
Although I have never had the misfortune to squeeze a nine-pound baby out of my loins, I believe that anyone who has experienced the miracle of childbirth would understand the nature of this pain. Maybe George from Being Human too.
Imagine, if you will, your whole body feeling as though it’s on fire, skin peeling away from your flesh and bones, every nerve ending raw and exposed while your bones break as they contort themselves into their new positions, your muscles ripping and tearing into place, your internal organs seizing and squeezing and shifting within your body, your gums raw and agonizing as your old teeth fall out and the new ones come in, your new skin itching like mad as it grows and cover you and every hair follicle stinging like a million wasps as fur sprouts from your skin quick as weeds.
But when the pain was over, it was delightful! The wind carried the smells of the forest to my keen nose, brushed through the fur of my gray and brown pelt. So much to smell and hear that I could never hope to perceive with my dull human senses.
My inhibitions melted away. All the rules of humankind were left behind with the skin that fell off my flesh. I could run. I could hunt. I could dig in the dirt. I could bay at the moon. I could hump someone’s leg if I wanted to. I’d never felt so free until I met Kiki.
Yet, such a respite from the pressures of civilized life is only temporary. I eventually had to change back, which was just as painful as the first transformation. It felt like my whole being was being pressed flat and squeezed into a tiny hole. In some ways, it hurt more.
I know I have to do this again if I am to master this kind of magic, but I do not look forward to it.
Understanding that narratives have a purpose and that writers make decisions for a reason is so important. Narratives include conflicts and resolutions. Conflicts do not always happen between heroes and villains, there are interpersonal conflicts between all kinds of people in all kinds of relationships. Characters have flaws, and having flaws means making mistakes and sometimes hurting others or getting hurt.
When you are, say, constructing a feminist analysis of a story, it’s important to take into account what the message of something seems to be. Is this scene a conflict or problem that has been introduced into this narrative intentionally in order to be addressed and resolved later? OR, is this problem I have noticed not a part of the narrative, but is instead a problem in the writer’s thinking? If this situation is in fact an intended conflict in the story, does the writer successfully approach this problem with respect and understanding of the topic they chose to address?
A problem introduced intentionally into a narrative that is given a resolution and is handled successfully is not a problem. It is a message.
A problem introduced intentionally into a narrative that is handled improperly is a problem that needs attention.
A problem introduced into a narrative unintentionally and is not addressed at all is a problem that needs attention.
A TV Show or other episodic medium resolves some problems at the end of arcs. Some problems require a full understanding of how it was handled, and that means waiting for the finale sometimes.
I saw the post on how to throw a punch going around… and I figured it’s time to talk about Self Defense, again.
Disclaimers: Self defense doesn’t guarantee your safety, any more than CPR & First Aid training guarantees you’ll save someone’s life. You can’t learn self defense from just reading, or watching a video, actual training has to happen.
Self defense is a stop-gap measure in the face of a violent society and often used as a bludgeon to blame victims even as we see when the usual people who get attacked, fight back - they’re the ones who go to prison - the problem is society needs to change.
Getting Away + Shoving
The assumption of self defense is harm reduction. The easiest way to avoid getting hurt is getting away. This means if you shove, trip, or knock someone off balance that allows you to run away, run into a building, room and shut a door, or at least run around a car or mailbox so there’s something between the two of you they have to chase you around, that’s something.
Shoving people away and knocking them over buys you time and is an option that requires the least amount of training.
The problems for it, are obviously size differences between you and the assailant, and any mobility issues you may personally have.
You can practice shoving by using a heavy bag, by shoulder checking with friends, or pushing against walls, trees, or poles. Be careful on hard surfaces not to hit the check with your collarbone/clavicle.
Striking serves to stun, which then lets you knock them over, and then get away.
If you are not trained to punch, the two things that work well are palm strikes and hammer fists.
You can do it with your fingers clenched in the typical martial arts fashion, but even an open palm with enough force does some good. If you’ve ever played tetherball or wall ball, that’s the kind of hit you want - a full force from the shoulder smack. If you don’t have the space for that, close in palm shoves to the chin (up, or to either side) or to the side of the head work well too.
Again, you can practice with hand held padding target, like many boxers use, a thick enough pillow, or as I mentioned, a large sturdy ball (like the kinds used for dodgeball or 4 square).
While there’s certainly techniques that work better, these are techniques that work pretty well for untrained people.
Ball your hand into a fist. Hammer downwards or angled on things. The primary striking surface can be the ridge of your hand, though the bone knob on the outside of your wrist works best, and your forearm can do good as well. Great for the head or neck areas.
Hammerfist is especially good if you’ve got something like a mini maglite or any other sturdy makeshift weapon object.
Beyond Stun and Run, Shove and Run, everything else is something you can do if you pull it out in the moment, but honestly assuming you have absolutely no clue as to what to do in a fight, you’re not going to get more by reading about it - you’ll need to do some training.
You can train with your friends, you can train with a teacher. The key things to be aware of are:
1. Is the training aimed at your needs, which also includes the fact you may not be able to do a regular training regimen?
2. Is the training safe for you? Both in general and specific to your body needs?
3. Does the training cover likely weapons you’d encounter? Does it cover makeshift weapons you can use?
4. A concern about all training - is the space and people you’re training with good, or toxic? Be careful a lot of schools and training programs are run by people who are exploitative, deceptive and abusive. People who are not worried about your safety in training will not be worried about your safety in the streets.
Obviously, if you are looking for something other than just self defense, your training needs and questions change.
as a child, i enjoyed reading fantasy novels. i thought i was transporting myself into a world where the trapping of this one fell away. i thought that i could be anyone if i had a sword and a dragon to kill, and i thought the dragons and the princesses were fairly well defined, each with a role, each with a destiny, each with a specific designation as good or evil. i was the princess, and someone else, something evil was the dragon.
it took me many years to realize that actually, i was the dwarf.