A pair of emails crossed my desk yesterday that plunged me down a rabbit hole and into an exploration of white-male privilege—it was an amazing trip. My understanding of the phrase “white-male privilege” tracks along the lines laid down by feminist writer and academic activist Peggy McIntosh, a senior research scientist and associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, whose 1988 essay coined the phrase “invisible knapsack” as a metaphor for the benefits “of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks” that white Americans disproportionately carry compared with black and other Americans of color. As McIntosh writes, the weightless and invisible backpack carried by white males is the largest and most expansive of all, granting them access to the most spaces with the least doubts about their sense of place or authority.
May 1 was the first annual Woman-Owned Business Day. Fashionable office supply retailer UrbanGirl.com, a woman-owned small business, founded the holiday. UrbanGirl coordinated the event along with more than 500 other woman-owned businesses across the country and around the world. This event was a true grassroots effort with no businesses paying to participate. The businesses promoted each other in the spirit of collaboration.
EDENTON, N.C. -- A handful of documents changed the character of the United States. The 13th Amendment that formally ended legal slavery in this country is one of them. It will be exhibited by Historic Edenton State Historic Site at the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse June 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. As part of the observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, and in recognition of Juneteenth, June 19, the date many African-Americans observe as when the last of the enslaved in 1865 learned they were free, there will be a tour of North Carolina's copy of the 13th Amendment in June. "The 13th Amendment wasn't just a symbol of freedom; it was indissoluble proof that equality means nothing if it is not meant for all," said Governor Pat McCrory. "I encourage everyone to take advantage of this rare exhibition to view one of the most important documents in our history."
Educate, Organize and Mobilize: On June 6, 2014, at its annual Education Scholarship Event, the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation will provide a briefing on the new rules for voting in North Carolina. These new rules are the product of the Voter Suppression Act of 2013 (A.K.A.) the Voter Information and Verification Act of 2013 passed by the 2013 NC Legislature and signed into law by Governor McCrory. I presume that the briefing will actually show that voter suppression is so much more than voter ID and that the briefing will help ordinary voters to better recognize multiple voter suppression tactics when they see them. Education is a critical element in our fight for voting rights and to defeat voter suppression. For details of their entire event and for registration information, visit www.NCLBCF.org.
On Monday, May 5, Vice President Biden is delivering remarks to the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting in order to highlight the actions the Administration has taken to break down the barriers preventing people from getting help for mental illnesses. Nearly one in five American adults experience a mental illness in any given year. Less than half received mental health services. And only about half of children with mental problems receive treatment. The top three reasons given for not receiving help are cost, belief they could handle the problem without treatment, and that they did not know where to go for services.