How Rani Neutill went from being a supporter of trigger warnings to an opponent

For the rest of the semester, I gave trigger warnings before every scene I screened. Every. Single. One. This wasn’t enough. A student came to me and asked that I start sending emails before class outlining exactly which disturbing scenes I would be showing so that I wouldn’t “out” survivors if they had to walk out of class when hearing what I was about to show. This took all the free form and off the cuff ability to teach. It stifled the teaching process. There would never be a moment for me to educate them by confronting them with the unknown, by helping them become aware of their own biases by making them feel uncomfortable. [link]

Ryan Lizza reminds us that most GOP voters are still undecided

The overwhelming majority of Republican voters have repeatedly told pollsters this year that, whatever their choice in any given poll, they haven’t made up their minds yet. Most won’t think hard about their decision for at least another three months. At this point in 2008, Rudy Giuliani was the polling leader. In 2012, it was Cain. Rather than tell us anything deep about voter sentiments, polls at this point generally reflect name recognition and which candidates are receiving the most media attention at any given time.

Child marriage in America

3,499 children were married in New Jersey between 1995 and 2012. Most were age 16 or 17 and married with parental consent, but 178 were between ages 10 and 15, meaning a judge approved their marriages.

Shockingly, 91 percent of the children were married to adults, often at ages or with age differences that could have triggered statutory-rape charges, not a marriage license. A judge in 2006 approved the marriage of a 10-year-old boy to an 18-year-old woman. A judge in 1996 allowed a 12-year-old girl to marry a 25-year-old man.

Data after 2010 excludes New York City, where statistics are kept separately. Still, the state data show that in 2011 alone, a 14-year-old married a 26-year-old, a 15-year-old was wed to a 28-year-old, another 15-year-old was wed to a 25-year-old and a 15-year-old married someone age “35 to 39.” All of those marriages were approved by New York judges. [link]

[In Virginia],  records showed brides as young as 12 and grooms as young as 13. In 2013, there were 199 brides and 28 grooms age 17 and under. More specifically, nine brides (and no grooms) were under 15; 58 brides and 8 grooms were age 16; and 132 brides and 20 grooms were 17.

One of the striking aspects of Tahirih’s research is that there is no single profile of the girls and women in these marriages. They came from families of Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other faiths, from immigrant families from many countries and from non-immigrant communities, too. [link]

Mama (poem) by Emi Mahmood, Individual World Poetry Slam Championship winner


I was walking down the street when a man stopped me and said,
Hey yo sistah, you from the motherland?
Because my skin is a shade too deep not to have come from foreign soil
Because this garment on my head screams Africa
Because my body is a beacon calling everybody to come flock to the motherland
I said, I’m Sudanese, why?
He says, ‘cause you got a little bit of flavor in you,
I’m just admiring what your mama gave you

Let me tell you something about my mama
She can reduce a man to tattered flesh without so much as blinking
Her words fester beneath your skin and the whole time,
You won’t be able to stop cradling her eyes.
My mama is a woman, flawless and formidable in the same step.
Woman walks into a warzone and has warriors cowering at her feet
My mama carries all of us in her body,
on her face, in her blood and
Blood is no good once you let it loose
So she always holds us close.

When I was 7, she cradled bullets in the billows of her robes.
That same night, she taught me how to get gunpowder out of cotton with a bar of soap.
Years later when the soldiers held her at gunpoint and asked her who she was
She said, I am a daughter of Adam, I am a woman, who the hell are you?
The last time we went home, we watched our village burn,
Soldiers pouring blood from civilian skulls
As if they too could turn water into wine.
They stole the ground beneath our feet.

The woman who raised me
turned and said, don’t be scared
I’m your mother, I’m here, I won’t let them through.
My mama gave me conviction.
Women like her
Inherit tired eyes,
Bruised wrists and titanium plated spines.
The daughters of widows wearing the wings of amputees
Carry countries between their shoulder blades.

I’m not saying dating is a first world problem, but these trifling moterfuckers seem to be.
The kind who’ll quote Rumi, but not know what he sacrificed for war.
Who’ll fawn over Lupita, but turn their racial filters on.
Who’ll take their politics with a latte when I take mine with tear gas.
Every guy I meet wants to be my introduction to the dark side,
Wants me to open up this obsidian skin and let them read every tearful page,
Because what survivor hasn’t had her struggle made spectacle?
Don’t talk about the motherland unless you know that being from Africa
means waking up an afterthought in this country.
Don’t talk about my flavor unless you know that
My flavor is insurrection, it is rebellion, resistance
my flavor is mutiny
It is burden, it is grit and it is compromise
And you don’t know compromise until you’ve rebuilt your home for the third time
Without bricks, without mortar, without any other option

I turned to the man and said,
My mother and I can’t walk the streets alone back home any more.
Back home, there are no streets to walk any more. [link]

Booker winner Marlon James talks about his teenage musical tastes

As a persecuted nerd I had delusions that I was at least brilliant. It was a coping mechanism. Just like music. Many middle-class nerds in Jamaica like me didn’t really listen to reggae in the ’80s. We listened to alt bands like the Cure, the Smiths, New Order, Skinny Puppy and pretty much anything on MTV. [link]

 Nineteen eighty-three. Thirteen years old. I was at an all-boys high school, one year into my reputation as one of the class ‘faggots’. There’s an edge to being a freak, even at thirteen, but also a desperation to belong, made worse than there being nowhere to belong to. This sounds like a Jamaican high school play about American high school life, but our favourite pastime in 1983 was watching America. Pop culture, music, America itself wasn’t quite real until Michael Jackson. [link]

Always stay focused on your goals. ALWAYS.

I have a little ritual around sex. If I have an orgasm, I use it as time to focus on what I want to achieve, professionally or personally, because it’s an empowering position to be in. You’re relaxed and positive, so putting out that vibe is a way of doing something with that energy. [link]