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But perhaps more important than both those facts, is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up. Many people feel small, ‘cause they’re small and the universe is big; but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” - Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

(edit: Max Schlickenmeyer)

Thoughts on Community & Tumblr:

As much as tumblr can be a great site for the exchanging of ideas, thoughts, feelings, information and burgeoning new friendships there is also a lot of misunderstanding, judgement, and hate that circulates this site. I mentioned on a post before but I want you to think about all of this:

 ”Community isn’t one group or another. It’s all of us. We all know the pain of being slighted, shamed, harassed, abused, et cetera based on our sexuality in all aspects of our life. Do not demand to be educated by others about their sexuality or gender identity, SEEK education. Be proactive, ask for resources, ask questions without being invasive or abrasive. Unity is not found in ignorance and shouting over each other. Unity is found in understanding, sharing, and standing together.”

Beyond sexuality & gender identity keep in mind this can be related to ethnicity, culture, location, finances, education, mental health, physical health/ability, and appearance. Being “open-minded” isn’t acceptance, it’s understanding and appreciation. If you only accept something, you take it for what it is but don’t allow it to effect/influence how you think and your regard for others. It just sits there in your mind as something else that exists. Saying you “accept” someone else is the same as saying you “tolerate” them. When you take the time to teach yourself that difference is not a negative but an expansion of life and is what makes us who we are as individuals, you’ll find a perspective and opportunities of all sorts that you’ve never had before. You open your world to relationships of all types that you would have missed out on.

And when you think about it, in this world, in this life, in the end all we have is each other.

     ~ Va-J-J

Self-confidence is great, but not at the expense of considering others. A survey of high-school students that has been repeated for the past 60 years presents a startling picture. In 1950, 12 percent of students agreed with the statement, “I am a very important person.” By 1990 that had risen to 80 percent. Other scholars have found that student scores on an index of empathy have been going down over the same period. Moreover, recent research in cognitive science suggests that media overload (often implicated in iCreativity) may reduce compassion, empathy, moral reasoning, and tolerance. For many young people, if they cannot insert themselves into an experience—capture it in what some observers call “life-catching”—and share it online with friends, then it is not worth the effort.

The Best of Rise Africa

From September 15th – September 21st we will be celebrating the most popular and appreciated posts that Rise Africa produced.

We are still working tirelessly on our new platform, Ezibota.com, and developing the many resources and benefits that will be made available to our community through our new membership system in preparation of our October 2nd launch, but we wanted to dedicate this week to appreciating the great content and conversations that were produced through Rise Africa and our collective community.

Keep your eye open for re-visits of our most popular posts including creative short stories, intelligent think pieces, and inspiring interviews with your favorite up and coming young Africans!

DAY EIGHT
↳ Abed Nadir love day

I just spent like ten minutes thinking of a paragraph to explain why I love him so much, but I can’t phrase the right words together. I could probably spend hours talking about his character tbh. He’s made me cry so much from both sympathy and happiness. Abed may be the best tv character in the history of ever and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.

I just recently got done watching the show Community.. How come this show isn’t more popular on tumblr? I enjoyed the show more then I thought I would. It’s actually pretty funny. But I gotta say, Troy and Abed are my favorites..

Look

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at

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these

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cute

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little

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shits.

I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is they have got it. There is just something so adorable about Abed. He’s just cool. Cool, cool, cool. And Troy is cute as a button. Weird thing is after I got done watching the show I decided I wanted to know who played who.. I knew the actors names from the intro of course but I didn’t know what name belonged to which actor. Except Joel McHale, Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong. I knew who they were. Anyways, I was particularly interested in who played Troy and Abed. Finding out Donald Glover played Troy I decided to look him up on youtube. Found out he was a stand up comedian.. Didn’t know that, but he’s pretty funny. In one of the clips he mentioned something about his music, that intrigued me so I went ahead and googled it..

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Donald Glover is Childish Gambino!

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Back when Bonfire first came out I heard it, and I was liking what I heard so I asked my brother who it was and he informed me that it was Childish Gambino. I listened to a bunch of his shit and like I said.. I liked what I heard so I kept listening to his shit but never watched any of his videos. I never tried to find out what his real name was, didn’t care what he looked like.. I liked his music and that was that. Didn’t need to know anymore. Although I do remember him calling himself Donald in one of his songs or something. I just didn’t know that Donald was the Donald that played Troy. But still, I just..

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Ally, a Word About as Useful as Feminist

The word ally is rather like the word feminist. Anyone can use it, and not everyone who uses it fully understands it. There are plenty of problematic feminists out there, as well as problematic allies. You can’t necessarily trust a feminist to subscribe to every feminist view you do, and you can’t necessarily trust an ally to be an ally for your specific identity. Unfortunately, this renders the word ally (especially when used as an identity) more or less meaningless.

This has been made even more obvious to me as an asexual spectrum person. During my last year of college, I participated in the school’s “Safe Zone” training. At the end of the workshop, you get a pin and a laminated card you can put on your door. The program is, of course, well intentioned. The purpose is to show your support of LGBT folk. One of my professors wore his pin on the first day of class, which I thought was a kind gesture. The workshops are even led by actual LGBT people.

Unfortunately, my beef with the workshop (which I did tell them in my feedback) was not only that it was extremely simplistic (it reminded me of a HR presentation put on for a company), but also that it focused on the L, G, B, and T identities and not much else. There was a brief mention of genderqueer, but nothing to contextualize it, so it seemed out of place. Someone else in the class mentioned that they were biromantic, and I perked up, because only aces use that word. As expected, this person did mention asexual identities, but they had to do all the explaining.

Combined with the phenomenon of the LGBT community being reluctant to accept asexual identities (especially demisexuality and gray asexuality), this left me somewhat disheartened. I mean, I wasn’t really expecting much of the workshop, but I was hoping that they’d emphasize the message that there are more identities than what they discussed. They touched on the idea, but overall, they really made it seem as if the L, G, B, and T are all that exist. I do understand that there is still a wide swath of people struggling to accept homosexuality, but it was disappointing nevertheless.

So can I trust someone who comes out of the Safe Zone training? Knowing my school, probably yes. But on the whole, the hate that aces get from the some of the LGBT community makes me not consider someone an ally unless they say something which makes me think they’d accept aces, aros, nonbinary genders, and other lesser-known identities. You can say you’re a feminist, but are you going to judge me for being intoxicated when I was assaulted?

The word ally doesn’t really mean much to me, as a result. If you’re an ally, good for you. But I’m still going to be wary of you, just like I’m wary of men until I decide they’re most likely not rapists, and white people until I decide that they’re most likely not racists. Anyone can call themselves whatever they want, but it’s not going to mean much unless they embody in their word and actions what being an ally is really about, and that’s acceptance of all MOGII identities.

This post was written for the September Carnival of Aces.

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