#ThisIsNotUs Is Unquestionably The Wrong Response To Charlottesville

#ThisIsNotUs Is Unquestionably The Wrong Response To Charlottesville

The only appropriate response is outrage.
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After the disgusting and egregious display of racism, hatred and bigotry in Charlottesville this past week, a large portion of the response was a possibly well-meaning hashtag saying #ThisIsNotUS.

This is not who we are. This is not who the US is. This is simply a blip on the radar.

And, despite the objective falsity of that statement, we have to ask ourselves a question: In the face of such a horrifying demonstration fueled solely by hate, how is our first reaction to attempt to absolve this country of blame? How is our first reaction justification? How is our first reaction not outrage, anger and every other negatively-connotated synonym? How can we see Nazi and Confederate flags waving through the air in the hands of a bunch of white supremacists and not immediately condemn, not immediately voice our anger? Because first and foremost, it doesn't matter if this wasn't us in the past. Now it is.

Here's the thing: This level of hatred may be on a larger and louder scale than others in this nation, so maybe it isn't entirely ignorant to believe that, largely, this isn't us. But the overarching truth is that it absolutely, unquestionably, does not matter. Regardless of if our country, before this week, had been a wholly non-racist, peaceful nation filled with absolutely nothing but kindness, love and equality, once the white supremacists started parading our streets wielding tiki torches and chanting Nazi slogans, we lost all of that.

To say #ThisIsNotUs might be a well-meaning hashtag, but in the end, it is just people trying to

a) absolve the US as a whole of blame

b) convince themselves that this isn't the US now, or both.

Because this IS the United States. It is happening here. It doesn't matter how you contrast America pre-Nazi rally with America post-Nazi rally: This now has to be taken into consideration when defining who America is.

SEE ALSO: If Your Reaction To Charlottesville Is '#NotAllWhitePeople,' You're Part Of The Problem

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that America was not the aforementioned "wholly non-racist, peaceful nation filled with absolutely nothing but kindness, love and equality" before this happened.

This did not come out of nowhere, though it could seem so.

Regardless, regardless, of Trump's true feelings (although we could take a pretty accurate stab at what those are), his rhetoric throughout the campaign trail and in office have awoken the closeted racists and allowed them to be racist in broad daylight. It turned the anonymous, racist Twitter troll into a swastika-sporting, screaming white supremacist protestor. It turned the person who kept his opinions to himself to a person vocally supporting the rally. Trump's rhetoric has given those who felt their racist, bigoted beliefs were shameful, (or at the very least worth disaffiliating from publicly) a platform to share their views with the support of the most powerful man in the world.

Now, we won't pretend that all of our problems in this country stemmed from electing a racist, misogynist, every-negative-ist-word-you-can-think-of president into office.

The police brutality against unarmed black men and women outdates Trump's inauguration.

The wage gap between men and women, between white women and black women, between men and Hispanic men outdates Trump's inauguration.

Misogyny, racism, etc. weren't born from a Trump presidency: It just gave more merit to those who believed the systems of inequality and oppression should remain in place.

But let's go back even further. Back before what many of us haven't experienced in our lifetimes. Let's go back to slavery. Let's go back to Japanese Internment Camps. Hell, let's go back to the civil rights movement. And largely, these "blips on the radar" are the biggest problem with the widespread use of the hashtag #ThisIsNotUs: Our next generation will be taught that it was not. It will be taught the same way these other subjects were taught:

A weeklong unit on slavery, somehow majority focusing on the kindness of white people in the Underground Railroad and ending with a "things are better now" spiel.

A fleeting class period discussing Japanese Internment camps, somehow absolving the US of all blame.

A movie about Martin Luther King, Jr., focusing on the strides we have now made as a nation against racism and oppression.

All of these are more than blips on the radar. These are sonic booms on the radar. But we are taught to hear, "Ah, slavery happened but it's over now!" and "Yeah, but we all drink out of the same drinking fountain now!" And more than likely, that is what this will be, too. It'll be a 2-page spread in the middle of a history textbook, and the lesson plan will revolve around how this wasn't the United States at this time. We were a nearly entirely peaceful, non-racist nation that focused on equality and kindness, and this came out of nowhere. Never mind the other overt acts of racism happening at the time. Never mind the overtly racist comments coming from the mouth of our president. Never mind, never mind, never mind. Just a blip, right?

Using the hashtag #ThisIsNotUs is dangerous. It is the first step to this being forgotten, for this being seen as just a small piece of history that doesn't define our nation. I'm sorry, but if Nazi demonstrators with tiki torches in the street who murdered somebody... Actually, let me rephrase: If a fatal domestic terror attack (with minimal and forced condemnation from our commander in chief) doesn't define our nation, what will? We can't just ride on the coattails of giving black people and women voting rights and argue that makes us a fair, just and equal society forever. We aren't as far from separate drinking fountains as we were brought up to believe.

Unfortunately, THIS IS US.

This is the United States right now, and convincing yourself otherwise is counterproductive. Until all are willing to admit that this is less of a hashtaggable fluke and more of a demonstration of what our country is turning into, progress will not be made. Writing this off as just one fault in an otherwise perfect nation is at best not beneficial and at worst, incredibly dangerous.

This is America right now. And if you don't like that, instead of pretending that it isn't with #ThisIsNotUS, speak up. Loudly condemn the hatred you see. Admit to yourself that there is a problem, and vocally attempt to do all you can to chip away at fixing it rather than attempting to convince yourself nothing is wrong. If you truly love your country, and if you don't want this to define it, absolving it of any and all blame will do nothing, but speaking up might.

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Lenard Twitter

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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10 Men That Will Change Your Mind About Hair Loss

It happens to the best of them, but these men look better with a bald head!

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Hair loss is such a common thing for men to face as they get older. As a society, I feel as though we typically frown upon it. This is probably the case due to the amount of hair transplants and hair products to stop hair loss and start hair growth. However, there are some men who can make the hair loss turn into a great thing because of how good they look bald. So, I have found the best looking bald men (in my opinion, of course!) and put them all into one list for your viewing pleasure!

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1. Will Smith

First of all, I am extremely bias because I believe that Will Smith is the best looking man on this planet (even my boyfriend knows this!). Second, Will Smith is not always bald, but when he is, he tops the list of all bald men. In his role of Deadshot in Suicide Squad, Will was rocking the bald cut and looked absolutely amazing while doing so. 10/10, would recommend.

Will Smith: Deadshothttps://batman-news.com/2016/12/13/deadshot-movie-...


2. Idris Elba

Once again, another man that is not usually bald but when he is, he sure does kill. Idris Elba is such a great looking man and has an even better sounding voice. What is better than a man with an accent that looks good bald?


Idris Elbaidris-elba-hairstyle


3. Dwayne Johnson

We all know that the Rock is a favorite among women. He is tall, handsome and has the big strong muscles. Not to mention he plays the sweet father role well and has a great sense of humor. But the most impressive part of him is that he can be bald and pull it off VERY well!

Dwayne Johnsonhttps://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/f...


4. Morris Chestnut

Such a beautiful man with an amazing smile. I am not sure how someone could not love the appearance of Morris Chestnut. Did I mention his smile?

Morris Chestnutmorris-chestnut


5. Shemar Moore

Another man with no hair that steals the show with a great smile is Shemar Moore. His bald head stands out in a great way and I think it would be impossible to have this type of list without Shemar on it.

Shemar Moorehttps://mymajicdc.com/3632803/see-the-photo-that-h...

6. Kobe Bryant

Not only is the MVP of basketball but he might be the MVM (most valued man) of the bald men out there! Once again, another beautiful smile. Not to mention, he's extremely talented.

Kobe Bryanthttps://www.kcra.com/article/nba-legend-kobe-bryan...


7. LL Cool J

A singer and an actor, representing the best of the bald men out there. Such a beautiful smile (are we seeing a trend here?) and an even better looking man. Could not leave LL Cool J off of this list either.

LL Cool Jhttp://comicbook.com/2014/10/29/ll-cool-j-says-hes...


8. Tyrese Gibson

Another man who can definitely give a positive view on being bald and losing your hair, Tyrese has been doing the look justice for a long time now.

Tyrese Gibsonhttps://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tyrese-gibs...


9. Vin Diesel

We all know him from the Fast and the Furious, but let's recognize that he is a great looking man, rocking the bald head look. We love the movies and we love him. Go you Vin Diesel, keep rocking out and winning over all of our hearts (and eyes!).

Vin Dieselhttps://pagesix.com/2017/12/29/vin-diesel-named-fo...


10. Common

What common lacks in hair on his head he gains in facial hair. I swear he has one of the best beards ever. Also, those freckles? Hello? So cute!

Commonhttps://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/common-becomes...


Hopefully, after seeing as these wonderful men absolutely slaying the bald look, you'll think twice about hair loss (whether you're a man or a woman!).

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