TAKING SIDES


I read a piece, some weeks ago, on the half a million women that joined the newly established female-only branch of the KKK in the 1920s.

I initially read this through the lens of intersectional feminism; reaffirming the truth that it is not enough to simply be a feminist if you are not intersectional. These women that joined that branch were acting in a radical fashion and a majority would have considered themselves feminists. True feminism is intersectional in fashion- embracing and fighting for equality for women of all races.

Reflecting back, my focus is on the question the piece proposed: Who inherited their robes?

With half a million women rallying for hate and doing their part to uphold white supremacy, there's bound to be more than a few sets of robes passed down. Many of those women already had children, or went on to later have children. Whether or not they inherited actual white robes, these children likely heard their mother's beliefs that led them to join and fight for what they believed to be right. It's not unrealistic to assume that a good percentage of these children took on those beliefs as their own, potentially passing them down to their children years later, continuing a pernicious cycle.

Today we see white nationalists- mostly men- wielding torches as they march at the University of Virginia.

Unlike the members of the KKK a century ago, the men that gathered in Charlottseville did not don white robes, nor did they wear pointed hats to obscure their faces. They marched, uncloaked and uncovered, their faces as visible as their enmity.

But, very much like the women who marched before them, many of these men went home to families. Perhaps a wife waiting up. Children tucked into bed. Did they know where their father was?

BY THE NUMBERS: HOW THE CHURCH IS MISSING THE MARK AND WHY REFOCUSING IS CRUCIAL



I like numbers.

Okay, not in the mathematical sense. I was lucky to pass college algebra (after taking it three times).

But give me stats and data that I can analyze, and I'm happy. Throw that shit in an infographic and you're an angel on earth.

Numbers in this sense speak to me, especially when they serve to illustrate current issues of humanity, but they also have a way of making the information they represent seem impersonal.

795 million people in the world don't have enough food to eat. That's staggering, but so overwhelming a number that it's easy to not completely absorb what it means. Consider tucking your child into bed at night, singing them their favorite song, and watching their face (that you've memorized) as they fall asleep, knowing their stomach isn't close to being full and you don't know the last time it was or the next time it will be. When looked at from an individual perspective, it's not as incomprehensible as it is devastating.

Ten to fifteen percent of teenagers suffer from depression, and depression increases a teen's risk of attempting suicide by twelve times. Again, it's scary, but it might not mean much until you think of each and every one of those teenagers individually. Each of them has a favorite meal, favorite color, and can probably tell you their earliest childhood memory if you happen to ask. Each of them has already made an impact on the word, has people that love them, and has dreams and opportunities they've yet to realize.

My point is, there are people behind the stats we read. Individuals with likes and dislikes, aspirations, to-do lists, and stories they love to tell over and over again.

Numbers and data are important factors in that they present facts and information in a clear and concise way, but they are just a piece of the bigger picture. To dismiss what and who they represent because it seems overwhelming or impersonal, thus failing to grasp the reality of the stories behind the figures, is problematic.

On the flip side, it is equally problematic and, dare I say, detrimental, to reduce an individual to a number, simply because you refuse to see them as more than data.

Holding tight to a limited capacity that leaves little room to see the humanity in, well, humans is tragic, and it happens all the time.

It happens in stories of world hunger, of teen depression, of suicide rates in LGBT youth.

It happens in church.

We know there are numbers there: leaving the 99 to seek after the one, feeding the 5,000, forgiving seventy times seven. But these are examples of Christ, and there's no questioning his ability to see the individual.

Let's look to the numbers we see and use today.

Like, the number of baptisms a missionary has.

Home teaching and visiting teaching numbers.

Percentage of adult members who hold a current temple recommend.

The number of meetings attended monthly so as to not be labeled "inactive."

FOUR TIPS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT

I wouldn't say I'm exactly qualified to give much advice, but this is the internet, and, well, a lack of qualification has yet to stop anyone from advising.

(Hell, it's 2017 and a lack of qualification doesn't keep one out of office.)

Besides, it's not like I'm offering up medical advice (as much as I'd like to use my honorary med degree from Google U). Though, it's sort of your own fault if you follow that.

I'm not even going to call it advice. How about tips? Tips that, every time I implement one, I think, "I've really got to share this."

So here you go.



At no charge to you, I'm offering a few of my best tips. I hope that they're as life changing for you as they have been for me.

I will probably post a tutorial on how to take proper mirror selfies soon.

(This isn't necessarily a tip, but a good sarcasm detector will get you far.)