You think you know but you have no idea

Guys. This is me in high school.

hs junior

plus a jazzy background.

It was 1998. I was a junior. Britney Spears was skinny. I had a perfectly perfect chin length bob that doubled as a face helmet. I had a steady boyfriend. I had 3 best friends who would sing Spice Girl’s lyrics with me at lunch. I was in choir, the History Club (for the free trip), and the school newspaper. I wasn’t a nerd but I wasn’t the coolest of the cool. I was insecure and just trying to blend in. Just like the rest of high school dopes. All just trying to get by in one piece.

Now it is 2013 and my high school is still standing and educating girls in bra tops and boys in whatever boys wear, while everyone learns via robot teachers and laser beams that shoot knowledge into student’s heads. I’m pretty sure that’s what happens in high schools now. But something else is different too…

You may have heard my high school’s name in the past week or so. It’s been in the NY Times, Huffington Post and even on ESPN. They are talking about a hot button that has been discussed for years and years and years. And finally, a group of brave kids wanted to do something about it.

Here is the cover of that yearbook from 1998.

hs yearbook

What’s wrong with this picture? I bet a lot of you will say nothing. We’ve sort of been taught after 100 million Thanksgivings and Halloweens that nothing IS wrong with this. But what if it was a different picture and it said Blackskin? Or Yellowskin? Would you see something wrong then?

The word “Neshaminy” refers to a Native American tribe that resided where I grew up. There is a mall named after them too. And as long as the school has been there, they have been the Neshaminy Redskins. Just a brief history lesson (I learned it in History Club….please) the term “Redskin” is what us whities called Native Americans because of the paint that they would use on their faces. It’s derogatory. Plain and simple. No matter how you use it. For example, “that Redskin is sooo awesome!” Still derogatory. It’s objectifying a group of people.

Well, the editors at the Neshaminy school newspaper, The Playwickian, decided that they weren’t going to publish the word “Redskin” anymore in the print of the actual paper. Instead, they would just refer to the football team and other school teams as “Neshaminy.” They wrote this piece stating why. And it was brave. Because they knew there would be backlash. But they just didn’t know how much.

After they made this decision, the principal of the school declared that they MUST print the word “Redskin”. That they actually are not “allowed” to NOT print the word. Um, what? The principal doesn’t feel that Redskin is a racist term in any way and is shoving their first amendment rights up his racist principal butt. And hence we have a huge hot debate going on within the school and now the state and the country and also the universe.

Does this totally sound like a weird episode of Glee or is it just me? Granted, that’s my only exposure to any high school anymore, but come on. A racisty squirly principal telling a bunch of kids, who are standing up for what they  believe in, that the school will take away their bus for their trip to nationals followed by a rendition of Don’t Stop Believing??? I  mean…. You get it.

But it hasn’t ended here. The kids at school who made this decision are being bullied. Football players are ripping copies of the paper in their faces. Grown ass adults are attacking them on Twitter. And to top it off, a full page ad in the school newspaper was taken out by the class of 1972 saying some bullshit about school, tradition and “GO SKINS”. Just to pretty much tell the kids to shove it. And no one is helping these kids.

Really?

REALLY?

These kids aren’t trying to take away a school mascot (although they SHOULD. Or someone should.). They just don’t want to print the word in the paper. National papers have done the same with the Washington Redskins. But we’re not talking about a team with billion dollar merchandising deals. We’re talking about a high school mascot. Do you really give a shit if the mascot changes to the Neshaminy Tigers, or the Neshaminy Squirrels or the Neshaminy Racists? Wait that last one would be offensive. And we wouldn’t want to project to the world that the high school is racist, WOULD WE?

So after a big open forum and meeting at the school with the administration and the students, an agreement was not reached and now it’s going to the school board. These kids are standing up for what they believe in and they aren’t getting any real support.

Well I want them to know that a little insecure junior girl from 1998 supports them. In 1998 I wrote some weird weird shit for the paper. Most of it was never published because they would look at me like, “what is wrong with her? We can’t publish a hate piece on Winnie the Pooh. That’s weird” But sometimes my weird stuff was published. And that was exciting….seeing your words written for everyone to read.

And here we are in 2013 and I make my living writing weird shit for everyone to read. Thank you Neshaminy and thank you Playwickian.

I hope that you will support these editors like I do. It takes guts to work for the school newspaper and do things that others don’t like. Just like AHndreAH Zuckerman and Brandon Walsh did

You may be reading this and still disagree with me. You may think that the term Redskin isn’t offensive. You may think that tradition is more important. You may have some argument about football and recognition and team spirit.

None of that is as important as respect. And the Native Americans deserve it. And so do the editors of this school paper.

I want this to get as much attention as possible. What this principal and these administrators are doing is wrong. For those of you who do agree with me, I need you in full force attention getting mode.

I want you to tweet/facebook/instagram/whateverthehellyoudo with the hashtags #theRword and tag @theplaywickian. You can follow them on twitter and give them encouragement here.  

Write to the school board. Tell them they are shitheads. Don’t use those words. You know how to act.

And I’ll leave you with this.

This openly gay Neshaminy student posted this and was voted class president.  And I’ll be voting him president of the world.

 

Go Neshaminy.

 

POSTED IN: MODG,Not Pleased,You think you know but you have no idea

Guys, last week I almost shut the blog down. For good.

The controversy and mom wars was just too much. I sat alone and thought about it for a while. My blog hits were higher than ever. Advertisers wanted in. But I was miserable. I was personally hosting the mommy wars in my comments section with *almost* ever post I wrote. And I hated it.

I realized that I would rather have 10 positive happy comments and low readership than a bunch of angry fighting bitches. It just felt bad.

I started this blog years ago talking about the importance of not wearing pants and B’s farts. Not much to take personally. Now? Now I have children. Decisions are bigger, they mean more. Being called an annoying bitch is not the same as being called a terrible mother. No matter who it comes from, it hurts.

And it would hurt you too because we all care so much about being a good mom. And that’s the draw of the mommy wars. We feel threatened.

The other day I read a Huffington Post article about how not to raise a whiny bratty kid. It was mostly like, don’t give them whatever they want. Duh. But at the end of the article the author in a tongue and cheek sort of way said:

 Your food won’t be all organic. Yes, I used formula. Walk to school. There is no second breakfast or special dinner for you. I don’t do grocery cart covers or antiseptic wipes. I don’t care if that kid took your toy, get it back yourself, that’s street justice. I don’t care if the neighbor sneezed on you, the flu happens. Time out occurs at anytime or anywhere, so be on alert.”

And I froze. I felt myself tense up. I felt the comment forming in my head…

“eating organic and breastfeeding is about health and not spoiling a child….” the comment goes on and on in my head. But I literally felt shakey. Like I HAD to defend my opinion and let it be known right here. Everything I believed in felt threatened at that very moment. Everything I worked my ass off to do for my kids health was being made into a joke.

And then I realized. Yes. I felt threatened. THREATENED. That’s what you guys feel too. You feel that when I talk about something I believe in that may threaten you as a mother. And we all handle that feeling differently. Some of you immediately go to a ‘fuck you’ kind of place. Some of you type novels about why I’m wrong and another perspective to consider. And I get it. Now I get it. Because I felt it.

But here’s the thing. Despite me “getting it”. I also can tell you that I’m not the Huffington Post. I’m Amanda, age 32, mom of 2….trying the BEST that I can. And whether it’s justified or not, the hurt I feel from the overload of negativity (not just directed at me, but directed at each other) is overwhelming.

After posting, I would dread hearing the *ding* from my email telling me a new comment was in. Was it going to say how awful I was? That B should find a new wife? That I needed therapy? That I’m not fit to raise dogs, let alone children? (all actual comments). And maybe maaaaaaaybe I could handle the comments. But what I hate the thought of is my parents reading these comments, B’s parents, our aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and maybe one day my own children. I would hate to see a barrage of angry people attacking MY mother too.

So what do I do from here? Stop blogging all together? The blog is such a big part of who I am and so many people email me daily saying how their kid sleeps better now because of something I wrote, or their pregnancy sucks and they know they aren’t alone, or they have post partum depression and know that it’s ok. That to me makes me do my best to suck it up and forge ahead.

Do I stop blogging about my children? Not all together. But I will maybe be a little more selective about what I say to the world. I still think 38 people read this blog and it’s just not the case anymore.

I can’t change the world. I can’t change every person that reads this blog. But in this very moment, I can put a little positivity into all of us.

How?

I’m giving away the most coveted, hard to get baby item out there. THE LITTLE HIPSQUEAKS HEADBAND.

Not just one, but two.

DSC_0030

With matching shorts.

I know, you’re all….how does that make any impact on anything at all ever?

Well, to enter the giveaway, you must leave a very special sort of comment.

I want you to think about a mother you know either personally, on tv, or even me. Think about something that the mother does that you would NEVER do. And I want you to accept her as a mother and say something positive about her.

I’ll start:

A friend of mine feeds her kid cookies, candy, cereal with bright colors and marshmallows, shit I would never DREAM of buying for my children. But her kid is happy and healthy and she is a happy mother. In reality, it probably bothers me the most because I wish I could take shortcuts and give my kids whatever they wanted to eat. I also would love to see them have that kid moment of happiness to have “treats”. She’s a good mother and we just do things differently.

Now it’s your turn. Maybe go back to the comments of a particularly hateful mommy war and find someone who really made your blood boil. Say something positive about her as a mother.

I will choose the winner from the comments.

Let’s all spew some love for just 10 minutes of our lives. Who knows the impact it may have.

I hope it has some. I know I could use some positivity right now.

Love and Lust and mommy peace,

MODG

Update…comments now closed to get our winner. Thanks all for your amazing comments and thoughtful words.

POSTED IN: Awesome things,MODG,Mom Stuff,Not Pleased,Stuff I like,You think you know but you have no idea

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