Got Me Thinking – Links

10 01 2012

Reading and Listening and Watching and Filling My Brain (and sometimes wishing I could empty it.)

Here are a few thinks that got me thinking in the last week.

A blog post

from Momastary

By now you have probably seen the post titled Don’t Carpe Diem.  I want to go on record as saying this post literally changed my life.  Permission not to love every minute of parenting was just what I needed.  Who knew?  Seems silly, but I have been a much happier mother since I read this post.  If you are a parent, or there is anything in your life that you THINK is supposed to make you happy, but instead just makes you feel guilty because it doesn’t always make you happy, you should read this.


Another blog post

from Straight Magic

This post about famine-pornography, intense racism found on the internet and why saying Happy Holidays is actually inclusive and loving could have been three posts.  And all three posts would be well worth the read.


This Essay – which I found in a book but you can find on-line.

Was He Black or White? by Ceclie S. Berry published in Because I Said So by Camille Peri and Kate Moses.   

The Essay can be found online here.

Written by an African-American Mother, this post explores the myth of color-blindness and how we guide our kids in understanding race.  Berry acknowledges that times are changing and her children see the world and race differently than she does.  She talks about her personal journey with race.  Basically I want Berry to live next to me so she can be my mentor and my friend.  In the meantime here are a few lines to entice you to read more…

“Race doesn’t determine the way my children see people – I am proud that they continue to give everyone a chance – but it is too potent to pretend it doesn’t influence situations or alter lives.  To grapple with it makes us better.  My children and I don’t always agree on what is racist, and they are free to say when the mere mention of the issue feels knee-jerk or inauthentic.  When it is irresponsible not to discuss it, we face it together.”

“My theory is this:  To realize how some people are likely to see you is an essential step to discovering and defending who you really are.”


A book

The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks

Henriette Lacks was a poor, African-American woman who died of very aggressive cervical cancer in 1951.  Her cells were the first human cells that scientist succeeded in growing in a lab.  They are still the cells most commonly used in science/medical labs around the world.  They, therefore, play a roll in most medical advancements made in the last 60 years.

This book is about race and science and privilege and opportunity and culture.  It is also about medical and science ethics, patients’ rights, profits, the law.  But it is all told by one amazing young science writer as she explores the story with the children of Henriette Lacks.  So it reads like a novel.

What I loved most:

The look into science in the 1950’s.  My husband has a PhD in Molecular Biology.  I have spent enough time in science labs to see how amazingly high-tech they are today.  This was SO not the case in the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s.  I was astounded by how well-rounded the scientist were – carpenters, engineers, and biologist.

What I hated most:

For some reason I just never really have my head around Jim Crow.  I just don’t think about how different things were in my own lifetime, not to mention my parents’ lives.  This book brings it home as it tells the story of the Lacks family.   I think we all know that mental hospitals have a horrible history of patient care.  And we all know that institutional racism and the way it has played out in the medical field in the last century is appalling.  One of Henriette Lacks’ daughters was in a state run facility for black people.  Yup, stuff you probably don’t want to think about coming together.

And when I said I loved it, and when I said I hated it, I was really saying the same thing; this amazing author makes this story super interesting even in its strange and often horrifying details.

This book is the “One Read” for our community this year.  Its a great choice as it really is an important book.  Not only does it force us to look back, but it also asks us to look forward.

It is likely that each of us has cells or blood being stored somewhere in this world.  Most of us are not aware of this fact and can’t wrap our heads around its potential implications.  But it isn’t anything we should really have to think about. After all, we can just assume government and big business such as pharmaceutical companies and health insurance corporations have our best interests at heart – so no worries


Radio Broadcast Available as a Podcast

This American Life broadcast from January 6, 2012

Sometimes my entire life isn’t about being a mother or trying to understand race.

On Saturday as I took down the Solstice Tree, I listened to This American Life on NPR.  This story about factories in China blew my mind.  To some extent I already knew the facts behind this reporting.  However, Mike Daisey is a master story-teller.  And I kept sitting down near the radio both mesmerized and horrified.  This story left me feeling helpless on many levels.  I don’t think I can give up affordable electronics at this point in my life.  But there is no question I can be a more conscientious shopper.




5 responses

10 01 2012

Love all these links. As a mom for nearly 20 years, I learned long ago to stop feeling guilty for not being perfect. A teenage girl can justifiably make anyone not love every moment of parenting very quickly. Thanks for introducing me to Straight Magic, too. Love, love, love this lady’s perspective.

10 01 2012
The Lost Planetista

The This American Life story was completely amazing this week. So glad you heard it too. It tied right in with the book I’m ranting and raving about called The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen. (love when that happens)

I’m putting your books on my ‘to read’ list…and I’ll report back my findings.

Thanks for the links. How do you stay this organized?
p.s. couldn’t help but notice no haiku this post…..

10 01 2012

1) I LOVED Henrietta Lacks. WHat an amazing, heartbreaking, awesome book.

2) I’m a super geek when it comes to This American Life. Changes me all of the time.

11 01 2012

L-O-V-E This American Life. Ira Glass is brilliant. Have you ever seen him?

12 01 2012

Our solstice tree is still up, and decorated, albeit, it’s tiny this year and potted.

Can’t wait to go back through these one by one.

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