Stay Safe on Facebook

I get Facebook friend requests a lot from people I’m already friends with. The victims of these so-called “hackers” are usually older people. We call them “hackers,” but a lot of them aren’t actually hackers. They don’t take over your profile, they just try to copy what they can see. These jerks often target older people for the same reason as those guys who show up at your door and tell you (to your complete surprise) that you badly need a new roof. They assure you they’ll give you a great deal, but then they disappear with your money. These jerks assume that older people know less about social media than younger people, so they make easier targets. It’s really frustrating.

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By Karen Petree
I don’t really take part in protests, probably for the same reasons I refuse to do the wave at ball games. I love them though. I love being there as an observer, the way it feels when a huge mass of people come together with a common energy. It’s kind of like a rock concert for those of us fascinated by politics.

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Dear Hillary

Dear Secretary Clinton,

This feels terrible.  It feels like America has woken up from her dream to an unthinkable reality.  Wednesday morning every beat of my heartfelt as if it were pumping a fresh flood of grief into my soul.  I cannot even begin to imagine the complexity of emotion you must have felt as the results came in on election night, to have been so close.  To have won the vote, but lost the presidency.  More of us voted for you than voted for that man,and it doesn’t seem fair.  We are grieving, wounded, and angry.  We need you now.  Take your time, process this heartbreak, but I ask you to please one day soon, put pantsuit up and keep fighting for us.  We will, too. Continue reading “Dear Hillary”

The Rape Culture Pyramid

By Karen Petree

I usually avoid the term “rape culture”.  At times, the dialogue around the concept vilifies all men instead of including them, and often ignores male victims.  But there is validity to the term if the context in which it is used is explained.  Rape is no more common now than it ever was.  It’s a social plague that has existed for millennia.  The plot doesn’t change: some men (usually the perpetrators) have a deep-seated sense of powerlessness.  To alleviate this and experience themselves as strong and powerful, they literally invade another human being, usually a woman or younger person.  Most of the time, it’s someone close at hand – a wife, daughter, sister, son, cousin, step-child.  Most of the time, it’s someone who feels socially bound to the rapist in a way that prevents her from speaking out.  To speak out against the attacker is to pull at the thread of the family unit or social structure that sustains her.  In many ways, the more embedded the attacker is in his victim’s social circle, the more power he wields.   

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In the Shadow of the Confederate Flag

By Karen Petree

The Confederate Flag is an undeniable part of my heritage. It’s one of the six flags that have flown over my home state of Texas, where I sit to write this. It waves over theme parks I visited as a child, and the more well-known battle flag peppers old cemeteries where fallen soldiers rest. Under the shadow of this flag is a part of my heritage I once ignored or overlooked. Under the shadow of this flag I’ve locked my doors at red lights or moved to the other side of the street. Under the shadow of this flag, I’ve averted my eyes and feigned an uncomfortable obliviousness to racial euphemisms. Under the shadow of this flag, I’ve avoided close relationships with African-Americans, discomforted by the glare of privilege their observable experience mirrored back at my whiteness.

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