Writing for the Public

Category: Unit 2 RD (Page 1 of 6)

Unit 2 Rough Draft

Police brutality occurs all over the world, but most of them happen in the United States. We’ve all seen or read stories about police brutality and what we have noticed is that African Americans are the most prominent race targets of police brutality but what isn’t getting noticed is the word “disabled” and What do I mean by this? The majority of the victims have some kind of disability or mental illness.
Police brutality has been one of the biggest issues in the U.S and other countries and the majority of the victims of police brutality are disabled and it is not a new issue. According to Alem Maqbool, author of a BBC article that contains REAL stories from 2013 of disabled victims that were either assaulted or killed by law enforcement in the country and discussions about the word “disabled” or “mental illness” not highly mentioned in the news. He quotes “Hundreds of people are killed by police In the u.s. each year and much attention has been paid recently to the high proportion that is black. But there’s another disturbing trend that is rarely discussed”. What he means by this is that every year a US citizen is killed by police and the black race has been getting more attention in the news A disturbing trend he is referring to is when the media doesn’t report that a police brutality victim suffers from a mental illness. An author, Mary O’Hara who wrote an article about the issue The Guardian stated that “In addition, according to the foundation, almost all well-known and widely reported cases of police violence involve a disabled person”. O’Hara gives evidence from a foundation that is established by a disability rights non-profit organization in Massachusetts to inform that police violence cases that involved a disabled person are all well known and widely reported, however, the word “disabled” when talking about a victim is never mentioned and most cases do not get any big coverage.

When police respond to a mental crisis, things go very wrong. According to Maqbool’s article, On January 12th, 2013, 26-year old Evan Saylor who suffered from down syndrome was faced down and couldn’t breathe as he was restrained at a movie theater in Maryland. On the evening of the incident, he and his carer were watching Zero Dark Thirty and when the movie was over he refused to leave the building and wanted to see the movie again. When he went left the auditorium and went back in without his carer, three off dut officers that were working as security guards heard that Saylor entered without a ticket for the next showing. The officers told him to leave or he will be arrested and eventually, they forcefully removed him and suddenly Saylor ended up face down not breathing and was dead. On May 25, 2017, 22-year-old Adam Trammell was having a mental break down and police responded and tried to help him and provide medical care but ended up firing tasers at him 15 times and ended up pronounced dead at a hospital. Police said they did this in a way to restrain him but it went too far. Trammell did not act violent or had a weapon. There was no national attention or protests in the aftermath of the incident and this demonstrates that disabled victims are being unnoticed.

While disabled adults are victims of police brutality, children and teenagers that suffer from a disability were killed or assaulted by police as well. According to a New York Times article, a 13-year-old boy from Salt Lake City who suffered from a special needs disorder was shot by a police officer. The boy was autistic. Police responded to a call about a “violent psych issue” referring to the boy having a mental episode. The boy was shot as he was fleeing and caused him to be put in a serious condition at the hospital. According to a Yahoo article published by Bryan Ke, in February of 2021 this year, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania teenager, Christian Hall was shot and killed by state police on the bridge. Hall was suffering from a mental health crisis and his mother said and quote “He needed help, He was looking for help, but instead of getting help, he was killed by those who were supposed to help him.” this was the only incident that was getting more big coverage and it was this year and other pasts incidents should’ve gotten coverage like these. I have a strong feeling that police brutality incidents against disability incidents are getting more coverage but this isn’t just yet.

Unfortunately, we expect police officers to help handle a situation like this but instead, they hurt someone with a mental disorder who is having an episode by either seriously injured or end up killing them. Who are we supposed to turn to if police and other people are hurting the disabled community? It is also upsetting that this is not getting much national attention to spread awareness and to prevent this from happening again. This might be new to most of you because you’ve seen the news coverage about police killing citizens but you never hear a disabled person that is killed by police get news coverage. We need to fix these problems in our society.

What needs to be done is police reform instead of defunding the police. Why? Because defunding police make it worse and it won’t help. To do police reform, there needs to be extra training and workshops on how to handle mental crisis incidents so that in the future we won’t have to deal with this and so that it can be corrected because these incidents are tearing families apart and are affecting communities. Also, this can teach other officers and future officers how to handle them when they enter the law enforcement work industry. Second, we need to spread awareness by posting and airing public service announcement commercials on social media and TV. We can even share this in public such as billboards, posters on buildings, and transportation so that people can notice and acknowledge what happens when they see a video of police violence so that they’ll figure out that the victim is disabled. Finally, we need to get the attention of activists and news organizations like CNN, Fox News, and others and local news so that they can share it by sending emails, petitions, tagging them on social media, and direct messaging them. Also, we need to bring attention to legislators and politicians by sending a message and emails to them to persuade them to propose and pass a bill/law that provokes police brutality and misconduct against citizens and protects disabled people and non-disabled people by passing a disability rights act.

 

 

 

FINAL

“How can educating yourself on the Trans community help to create positive change?”

 

        Growing up, do you remember your parents or other family members talking about transgender individuals? If so, this is the paper for you! Now ask yourself, were these conversations ever positive ones? Most likely not, as the stigma surrounding transgender/ gender non conforming individuals is usually negatively received. Which is why this paper is even more imperative for the parents and family in question; it’s essentially a guide on how to be a decent human being and respect others who might just so happens to be different from you. As of 2021 the Trans community is one of the most endangered groups of people in America, more specifically Trans woman of color. So much so that the average life expectancy for a Trans Woman in the US is at an all time low from in between 2020-2021, while hate crimes are at an all time high. Hearing of such cruelties, has led Cis gendered individuals to wonder how they can make good allies and what they need to do in order to insight positive change.

I’m one of those many people who did not grow up in a tolerant household when it came to the topic of being transgender. My family (more specifically my older family) would often say stuff like “i’m okay with gay people, but changing your gender is going too far”. Luckily these conversations and view points never settled on my brain, so often times i would find myself questioning why it was such a big deal or any of their business. Now that i’m older and more aware of the world, i realized that these hateful conversations held in my house and amongst family members were the least of any Transgendered individuals issues and that their very lives were on the line.

 

        Hate crimes against Transgender individuals isn’t anything new, however unlike most hate crimes that decrease with time, these hate crimes seem to only have increased over the years. It has even more so affected Trans women of color, and these crimes do not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. According to the article Fatal violence against the transgender and gender non conforming community in 2020 by The human Rights Campaign “ Sadly, 2020 has already seen at least 44 transgender or gender non conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means, the majority of which were Black and Latino transgender women”. By October 2020, 44 Trans women were murdered by violent means with the majority of which being women of color, they then go on to state “Since HRC began tracking this data in 2013, advocates have never seen such a high number at this point in the year”. This tells us that within the past 7-8 years more Trans women have been killed in 2020 than each year individually. However harassment and bigotry has been affecting the the Transgender community for a very long time.

 

         In August of 2020, a video circulated of three Trans women that were attacked and harassed in Hollywood(with two of them being Trans women of color). ABC news covered the topic and included a clip of these women sharing their experience, and how traumatizing the whole ordeal was; One of the women goes on to state “Because we are Trans, nobody cares”. ABC news states that in 2017 there were 119 reported crimes against Trans women, and 168 reported hate crimes in 2018. This means that hate crimes increased 42% in only one year, and these numbers have only climbed from them until 2021. What makes this situation all the more troubling is that bystanders either just watched or edged on the assailants and seemingly were in support of these three women being attacked. The transphobia was even seen through social media as many bigots voiced their opinions in the comment section under the video. Furthermore no one provided any aid when one of the women was laid out in the street after being hit in the head with a glass bottle by the alleged assailant. In moments like these it would have benefited those women to have strong allies, not only to stand up for them but to help educate individuals and denote bigotry against transgender/ gender nonconrming individuals. However a lot of people don’t know how to be a good ally, nor do they know how to educate themselves on the Transgender community.

 

        There are many ways to become a better ally to the Transgender community, however it is important to note that there is no such thing as being the perfect ally. Each transgender or gender non conforming individual has had different experiences, which means they will all have different needs and accommodations. Thus meaning that each individual situation could and most likely will have to be handled differently. According to the text Supporting the transgender people in your life: a guide to being a good ally By The national center for transgender equality, one good way to be an ally would be to interact with transgender people. It is important that you learn how to interact with a transgender individual. This could mean learning about and how to ask for their pronouns, being aware of the questions you ask, respecting their privacy, and trying to avoid stereotypes.

        I luckily have the blessing of having multiple transgender friends, and hearing their experiences and stories were always really eye opening. Though i was always in support of them stepping into their true identity (as i am in the LGBT community as well), i believe it’s also really important to learn new things and take notice to things you wouldn’t have before. Not only did this make me a better ally, but it made me a better person and a better friend.

        Furthermore you can also be a good ally by being outspoken, according to the text you help when you “speak out in support of transgender people and transgender rights”. In doing so you can kindly correct other is they use the wrong pronouns for a Transgender individual, or deadname them (essentially meaning calling them by their pre transition name). You can also speak up against injustice in person and on social media, especially if the issue is as physical as the example given in the first paragraph. 

 

        One more way to be a good ally would be to remember the basics, as these can help to not only make you comfortable but them also. According to the aforementioned text it is important to remember “You don’t have to understand someone’s identity to respect it….you can’t always tell if someone is transgender by looking at them….there is no one right way to be transgender…” and to “continue to educate yourself”. That last point is very important because not only can you educate yourself by speaking to Transgender individuals but you can also go out and do your own individual research. The most important thing to remember when educating yourself is that you’ll be better educated when you listen to an actual transgender person opposed to a cis individual speaking on their behalf.

         One of the best ways to ensure that there is a definite positive future for Trans youth would be to educate our kids from an early age. In How to teach your kid what Transgender means by Emily Gerson, she states that educating the youth all begins with you. You must be aware of your attitude and biases, along with educating yourself too. “If you (the parent) express that being trans is wrong or something to be ashamed of, even through verbal cues, they’ll notice”. This means that educating the future leaders and adults of the world, begins with educating ourselves and relearning what it truly means to be an ally.

 

        Though we are still a ways away from being the perfect ally, it is important that we take notice of the issues that the Trans community goes through as it affects us all. The more we educate ourselves and help by defending them against bigotry and hate, the more lives we not only protect but save. Maybe then we can start seeing a decrease in hate crimes against Trans woman and the Trans community as a whole, it all begins with us.

 

Sources:

https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-trans-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2020

 

https://transequality.org/issues/resources/supporting-the-transgender-people-in-your-life-a-guide-to-being-a-good-ally

 

(i attempted putting my three sources into MLA format, however enough information was not provided for me to do so).

 

Marianismo, what defines a woman?

My mother recently told me that her mother would not refer to any of her six daughters as “Hija” but rather just their names, during my grandmother’s last days she was taken care of by every single woman in our household, but not the men, as she would say they shouldn’t be bothered, with those sort of tasks. She even called my mother a whore, for leaving my brother and me for a month while she was visiting her. She didn’t believe in education when I was in elementary school she would tell me to pretend to be sick because there was nothing for me to learn at school. I wouldn’t call her a bad mother or grandmother, she was completely devoted to her family, I see her more as a victim of her time. She was married at 14 to my grandfather who was 19, she had twelve children in total six women and six men, I couldn’t tell you how many grandchildren she has I’d say thirty plus. As I keep emerging into my own womanhood I think about how different it is compared to hers and even my own mother. I’m not married and I don’t have any children, as I sit here writing this I think about how I would have wanted her to have my freedom, I would have wanted her to have a choice. But the reality is that she grew up in a different world than me. She believed in family and self-sacrifice, I just wish that she didn’t have to suffer at the hands of a controlling man for her children. 

Machismo is a well-known term, there’s another face to this social-cultural identity it’s marianismo. What is marianismo? My exact question Evelyn P Stevens was the first to use the term in her 1973 piece “Marianismo: The Other Face of Machismo”. In this essay, she defines marianismo as “the cult of female spiritual superiority which teaches that women are semi-divine, morally superior to and spiritually stronger than men.” Latin women are expected to be saint-like, such as mother Mary and selfless woman who accepted her fate, a pure woman. 

My mother and I had never heard of the term marianismo, we were aware of machismo culture because we live in it but not marianismo. I watched my mother’s eyes expand as she read the articles I was using as research. I could see that she wanted to continue reading, and who wouldn’t. Girlhood has always left me feeling inferior, small, and now I have to deal with womanhood, what does it take to be a woman in a Latino household, what type of woman am I supposed to be, are we just molded to be pure like Mary. 

Marianismo is still alive in Latin America today, when I first traveled to Ecuador I saw marianismo values in my household, I just never knew there was a word for it. I just thought about how it was. I knew that I wasn’t going to be “normal” there, I can only speak for what I saw, women are molded to be mature even at a young age their whether that was with drinking or having sex/marrying young I was 17 at the time and knew that I was different than my 14-year-old cousins who were already thrown into their womanhood. Latina mothers raise their daughters and sons differently, they baby their grown sons, while daughters are expected to already know how to take care of a house, cook, and take care of men/babies. My mother grew up taking care of her brother’s kids while he was out with other women, my grandma took her out of school in order to do this when she was 8. At 8 I was still holding my mom’s hand to cross the street, marianismo continues to fade in every generation but I still see a glimmer of it when it comes to me and my older brother. 

Women living in a marianismo culture or household, are trained and taught to be silent. These young girls are controlled not only by their fathers/brothers but by their mothers. Witnessing your own mother being constantly betrayed by the man you call your father, is absolutely devastating. However your mother has to stay in an abusive relationship, if she doesn’t she’ll be labeled a whore who isn’t a real woman, a woman who’s quick to give up on her marriage. I remember sitting down with my father’s mother as she called my mother names, I felt enraged that she couldn’t understand that her son was at fault. Loyalty is an amazing value to uphold in the marianismo culture, but at what point does loyalty become obvious manipulation. 

An article written by Mia Kosmicki entitled “Marianismo Identity, Self-Silencing, Depression, and Anxiety in Women from Santa María de Dota, Costa Rica” describes the mental impact this culture can have on young women. Kosmicki writes “Self-silencing refers to withholding parts of the self from expressions, such as opinions and emotions, to maintain a relationship (Jack, 1999). Self-silencing is theorized to be motivated by cultural imperatives which outline what it means to be a “good woman”. Women have to hide parts of themselves to please others, being a woman in this culture lets you know that there is no single moment where you can be selfish. Humans are selfish, there are moments that call for us to be selfish in our lives, in the end, you are the one permanent person in your life, it’s just you. What defines a good woman when you can’t live for yourself, that’s when you begin to live through your children.

My mother didn’t want to have a child at 21 she wanted to continue her education, she wanted her own career, she wanted to be her own person. Marriage was the next step, it was a way to get out to move forward it’s just what you did next as a young Latina in South America. My mother was always controlled, if it wasn’t my grandmother it was my father, she always reminds me to be independent, something that she couldn’t be until her 40s. She didn’t know how to travel alone, my dad would drop her off at work and pick her up. She only knew what my dad allowed her to know. 

Sandy Sufian, Ph.D. explores cultural identity in her portrait project, “Identity at the Intersection of Gender and Religion among Mexican-American Women in Chicago. She writes about the concept of “identity as performance” and the expectations that come with social roles that revolve around religion and gender. Sufian references “The Maria Paradox: How Latinas Can Merge Old World Traditions into New World Self-Esteem” writing “She should provide care and pleasure to others. Her reward for fulfilling this role is being protected, respected, and free from want and loneliness”. I wasn’t aware of this reward, I wonder if these women do receive their rewards and if they don’t what does that make them? Not a real woman. 

Marianismo puts women into a box where they only have two options: be a saint or be a whore, there is no in-between. Where does that leave us, what kind of woman should I be? I think I’ve already chosen.

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