Culture


Implicit Bias

Implicit Bias is a term we hear a lot of these days. What is it? Why does it matter? What can we do about it?Andrea Huggenvik, executive director of YWCA, Wausau, spoke at a recent AAUW (American Association of University Women) meeting.She told us that a bias is an unconscious attribution of qualities belonging to a group. Without thinking, we react a certain way that has been pre-set in our brain. It would come under the category “we’ve always done it this way.”Implicit bias happens when our learned associations don’t match our values or knowledge. We ...

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THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

I'm not a Republican, but I have a pretty good memory, am no fan of mice, and I'm fat. In fact, not just fat; obese. I am almost always the only fat person sitting at a conference table in a room full of people talking about health, and more specifically, the topic of obesity, exercise and nutrition, or as the people around me like to say, “chronic disease prevention.”What is even more awkward is that I suffer from many chronic diseases. Most of them have little to do with my size, but it is not as though I can just start telling everyone, “it’s not what you ...

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HATE IS STUPID

As I write this, Pride Month 2018 is drawing to a close. Two trans women in my social circle had very different experiences this past month. One found acceptance and a sense of well-being, the other one suffered from despair so deep that she took her own life.This has prompted a lot of reflection on my part. Will (my significant other) and I have always been big advocates for the LGBT community. Through the years we have seen great strides being made toward acceptance and understanding. But I realize that I was lulled into feeling that the community in which I live is ...

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REMEMBER DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Fifty years ago on April 4, Dr. King lost his life by an assassin’s bullet. Dr. King was an American Baptist minister and social activist. He led the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968. He used the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience in his work for the poor and the forgotten people.In 1964 he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968 a federal holiday was created to honor Dr. King. The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was placed in the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 2011. He was honored in many good ways.However, his work is not done. His words ...

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A DAY WITHOUT MUSIC

One day. That’s all I ask. One day for us to recognize how much we’ve come to depend on and simultaneously disregard music. And to think about life without it.One day without music in the doctor’s waiting room, the supermarket, the car repair shop. One day in silence while driving, while eating lunch at our favorite café, while having our hair cut. One day to live without a buffer against other people’s conversations, without music’s unique ability to suspend us in our own cocoon while noises of our increasingly crowded world batter us on all sides.Think ...

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A DAY WITHOUT MUSIC

One day. That’s all I ask. One day for us to recognize how much we’ve come to depend on and simultaneously disregard music. And to think about life without it.One day without music in the doctor’s waiting room, the supermarket, the car repair shop. One day in silence while driving, while eating lunch at our favorite café, while having our hair cut. One day to live without a buffer against other people’s conversations, without music’s unique ability to suspend us in our own cocoon while noises of our increasingly crowded world batter us on all sides.Think ...

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Most Influential Person in 2017? Women

One year ago, Donald Trump became our president. The day after that momentous event, women by the hundreds of thousands assembled to march in mass protest.They sang, laughed, talked, and shared their elation and sorrows right there in the nation’s capital. Marchers in 161 other U.S. cities and towns and in 81 other countries joined their protest. With one voice, they announced their opposition to the new president’s implied and stated goals. They also denounced his obvious delight in bullying, and exploiting others. Whether it was financial, emotional, or sexual ...

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AMERICA’S NEW GREATNESS

 It’s been a crushing year. One after another, hard-won social advancements have been blocked or dismantled in the rush to “Make American Great Again.” But what does that even mean?Exactly when was America greater? When everyone used outdoor toilets? When women couldn’t work outside the home? When skin color decided who could marry whom, or vote, or eat at a lunch counter?Is ‘great again’ a worthy goal, the best we should expect? Is the conservative mantra right, that free enterprise and individual liberty “under limited government” was and ...

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Somewhere to Begin

There is nothing like some good music to bring in the new year. Sitting by the fire, with a good hot toddy, I am reminded of a number of songs that provide encouragement in these dark and troubled times. These songs remind me that if changes are to come, there are things that must be done to make things better. This is a process – not an event - and has been going on for many years. We don't always win the battles but we have to keep trying. And we CAN do it if everyone would lend a hand. I'd like to share with you a few songs for the new year.Let’s begin with ...

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Guns in Our Communities 2017

Once again a mass shorting is in the news. In California an angry white man shot up a small rural community apparently over employment and domestic problems. Last week in Texas, an angry white man killed 26 in a small rural church apparently because of a dispute with his mother-in-law. Before that in Las Vegas an angry, rich white man killed 59 and wounded 527 for no apparent reason at all. And the list goes on and on and on....The common denominator in all these tragedies is the easy availability of guns, specifically military style weapons with high capacity magazi...

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