Tuesday, March 27, 2012


NOTE: The original post was lost so this is a new, revised version. Although the loss of the post upset me, I realized that perhaps the emotions that prompted the initial post were too raw and the powers-that-be were helping me to step back and write it again at another time in a better space.

I was prompted to write this after reading a spiritual/religious blog that claimed Southern people to be kind and hospitable and Northern people to not be.

I too, often find myself lumping everyone in a group into a certain category with a certain set of traits associated with them. It is also why I don't like labels and prefer more specific questions when someone is curious about me.

Even then, each word has a definition associated with it which is unique to each person. That's why speech is still a crude form of communication. Most people assume when speaking to someone that the definition of each word used is the same for both the speaker and the listener and this just isn't so.

My parents were both from New York where I was conceived. I was born and raised (mostly) in New Orleans, Louisiana. My mom told me that when I was born the doctor said "He might have Yankee blood but he has a Rebel yell!".

So I have a unique view on this issue, and like many other issues, my parents allowed me to form my own opinions. That included changing them as I saw fit. I still find myself forming what I later consider to be incorrect beliefs. There's nothing wrong with changing your mind though I wish I were not so quick to form such opinions.

As part of the LGBT community living in the South, I have been subjected to verbal and physical abuse. It seems that sometimes what some consider to be friendly socializing is a thin vale for being nosey. The next step after gathering such information is the private trial and sentence such folks render upon me.

I haven't lived in the North but I suspect the same thing goes on up there too, just by another name. In both cases though, I still try to give people a chance before forming my own opinions of them. Granted, some are quite sneaky about what they think and what they present to the world so it's not that easy to figure out.

I've learned that lesson the hard way many times over. I may be a bit more cautious and I constantly have to fight my natural cynicism but I still try to take people as they present themselves until the evidence proves otherwise.

My parents also had their good and bad points. The things they said in private were not always the things they said in public. I noticed it often and called them on it occasionally. I suppose it is why I am so argumentative (people consider me confrontational). I find you have to badger folks to get enough snippets of truth and falsehood to weave your own tapestry of reality.

My parents taught me manners and expected me to treat everyone the same no matter what things they might say about a particular group in private. From "thank you" to "you're welcome" to holding open a door for anyone, my parents taught AND practiced kindness. It wasn't something they learned when they reach the South, they brought it with them from the North.

Since I was born in the South, I consider myself Southern but I was raised by parents from the North so I take offense to the pridefullness and ignorance of someone lumping everyone together and saying Northerners are not friendly. It's a two-way street and when a slippery smile appears, it doesn't fool everyone no matter where you are from.

That is just one stereotype. There are many others and you may be guilty of using them. Some are so ingrained, it is a hard and long battle to change what one is taught. Don't let a stereotype keep you from being nice to everyone. It's not always easy but wouldn't you rather lift the world up than bring it down?

Bit by bit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Right Thing

I once worked with a person that took any opportunity to let people know what their religious beliefs were. I eventually caught this person in MANY things that didn't seem to support the beliefs they kept trying to preach to everyone.

I know of others that seem to go through the motions of what is required of their religion and then turn around, harm others, and take the stance, "This is who I am, if you don't like it, suck it.".

In this country, making a buck seems to be an acceptable loop-hole for not following one's religion. If you have to harm another to get ahead in business, that makes it okay to ignore such things as truth and kindness.

I have struggled with these issues myself and have not always done what I believe in my heart to be right. That doesn't make it okay and it does not mean I have forgotten what I have done and moved on.

I constantly evaluate how I behave and re-assess my decisions. I don't do it because I believe according to my religious beliefs, all is seen and accounted for. I do it because I try my best to live my life by those beliefs and value truth and kindness. I like the world I feel such works will create, bit by bit.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blurring the lines of privacy

I often see folks on facebook talk about "their" facebook page. I have to admit, I often think of mine the same way. But in reality, Facebook owns it all. We don't pay for the service. Have you ever noticed that the ads that pop up often are related to topics you discuss in chat and messages? You may think they are private but they are not.

The same holds true for all those fun apps we use. They don't need all our private information to plow a field or shoot a bird. It is used for marketing and is often the way dishonest creators get access to and share such information. That's why I use only a few trusted apps.

Almost any site has so many levels of backup that its hard to say how many copies of a bit of information are made and for how long and where they may be kept. With the new Homeland Security laws, I would not be surprised if many sites provide copies or free access to government agencies.

It's not just kids that need to be aware of what they post and where on the internet. Even when the account is "supposedly" private, the management of that data allows those managers to view and share the information any way they want.

I regularly archived data for five years as part of my job for financial reasons. With media as cheap as it is now, that could be a lifetime. Don't think just because you instructed a site to delete your account that it is gone from every backup. All you really did is just remove YOUR access to the data.

Think before post and remember that anyone can be watching. Just because some friend of a friend you don't like is not directly linked to your information does not mean they can't get to it through some other account.

Parents, that goes for your children also. Parent first, friend second. Many kids have alias accounts to keep their parents from seeing what they are really doing. If they log off or hide the screen when you come around, they have something to hide and you have the right to know. You are in charge! Be aware!