Our embarssment is destorying people’s lives

I just posted a blog about undressed which I tagged , as I recognise certain people will find the whole premise a little difficult to stomach? So because of this, I thought I’d post a blog I have had as draft for a long while.

Sex works rights… Why?

It’s the injustice which winds me up. Like the debate around Ecstasy, I haven’t got any skin in the game (if there was a better word I’d use it) but I can see the logical conclusion without social/societal bias.

The idea of sex workers is something which makes people go red. run away or ignore the whole thing. It’s frankly shocking and so crazy that we haven’t grown up enough to talk about this in a practical way. I mean there are many peoples lives at risk simply because we go all red when thinking about sex.

There are sorry parallels with the sorry state of sex education in schools.

Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) … but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. “If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you,” she says. “Make space for us in your movements.”

Valerie Scott always wanted to be a sex worker and has extensive experience in her chosen profession. She is a founding member and legal co-ordinator of Sex Professionals of Canada, a sex worker rights organization. She has been a passionate advocate for her colleague’s human, civil, and legal rights for the past 30 years. She has testified at Canada’s Senate and at several Parliamentary committees. She has spoken at numerous community meetings, colleges, universities, and conferences about the humanity of sex workers and the need for full decriminalization of adult sex work.

Both are powerful talks, and well worth watching. Deep down it’s about the rights of people to live a life without violence, fear and shame.They both talk about New Zealand which  decriminalised sex work and rejected the legalisation model used in Sweden. The reasoning is very sound and very enlighten.

Hopefully more countries will follow suit or at least try (similar to the legalisation of drugs maybe?) because right now the whole sex work industry sounds like a total mess. (just like the UK right now, to be honest) Too many people (mainly women) are caught in the middle one way or another. Frankly we all are letting down these people by simply not listening.

Dope: Its hard out here being a geek

Dope

I watched Dope on Sunday afternoon only a few hours before I gave a talk about the lack of black people in the technology sector at Afrofutures.

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.

There is much I can say I loved about the film which currently has a rating of 7.5 on IMDB (stick that in your IMDB party game)

Warning mild spoilers ahead

Malcolm and his friends are teenagers growing up in LA, they are geeks, play in a rock band, get picked on at school, etc. You would be forgiven for thinking – “this is the start of a typical hollywood coming of age film..
The big difference is they are black americans and living in a culture which doesn’t encourage geekness.

The film starts with the excellent point of, looking at the definition of Dope.

  • Slang for an illegal drug (you got any dope?)
  • A stupid person (you are such a dope!)
  • Affirmation of something’s greatness (that is so dope!)

These themes run through the whole film and connect everything. Malcolm attempts to try and avoid being pulled into the society which surrounds him. There is no doubt this is a coming of age film but the class discrimination and racism really lifts it way above the rest. Even when Malcolm is forced into the world of drug dealing, he uses his brain to get out ahead of the crooked society.

I won’t lie, dope reminds me of some of the dilemmas I faced while growing up (of course to a far lesser degree). I use to think everybody faces these things but it seems not.  The conflict of being geeky and not wanting to make the mistakes others fall into featured in my mind a lot. I came out on top but like Malcolm, there are things which I won’t forget and certainly shaped my personality.

The presentation I did for Afrofutures is here., the link with Dope comes in about slide 18. I certainly feel its not good enough to blame the tech sector alone. No, we got to look at the the way things shake out in the culture too. Yes there is a big lack of black people in tech, especially in higher positions but also the culture doesn’t exactly encourage people to embrace our geeky side. Its almost discouraged I feel.

This has lines or connections I believe with the fact their are amazingly senior black people in many other professions including law,  financial services, pharmaceuticals, etc. But very few in the tech sector, especially at CEO level.

I know this is all a massive generalisation but from what I have seen growing up, it was a fight to be openly curious, interested and switched on or as I prefer, geeky. I imagine lots of black people bury it and ignore it. Or it gets beaten out of you at some point verbally or even physically. You literally have to fight. Some give up fighting and forever regret doing so for the rest of their lives…

When looking at the diversity figures, in every case I found. White people were followed by Asians people.  You only have to look at the CEO of Microsoft and Google to see this in full effect. From a outsider view, their culture encourages geeky people. However in black popular culture (generalising again) I am almost embarrassed by the negativity to being geeky and different.

Its was depressing to research but it was worth it because its out there now and its a start of a important conversation for me.

I can only hope the next generation will see right through all this all and make positive strides ending up with a diverse workforce. Originally I was going to submit this to Singleblackmale but I didn’t feel it was the right place to host this at this stage. Maybe I’ll do a more critical blog for them in the near future.

As the tagline to Dope says: Its hard out here being a geek…

Lucy is CPH4 real?

Lucy

The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%..

After watching Lucy and (to be fair) Limitless, you can’t help but wonder… what if? So I looked into it, where better than skeptics exchange and quora.

Generally it looks like, the term CPH4 is made up but there are tiny tiny amounts of something which are produced when women are pregnant. What ever it is, its certainly not going to/can not be mass produced. Although you could argue the limitless drug may be possible at some point.

 

Is it our drugs are all digital now or digital is the new ecstasy?

My Generation by 0100101110101101.ORG

Sometimes I bite at these headlines written for maximum bite value. This one reads… Now All Drugs are Digital

Obviously this is a lie, there are many synthetic drugs hitting the market which are being sold through the web.  But its a  interesting concept nonetheless from Children of the Machine.

The PC is the LSD of the ‘90s,” stated Timothy Leary in his last book, Chaos and Cyber Culture. Your first-ever desktop was acid. Think about your iPhone. Think about Oculus Rift. These are the 21st century’s digital super-strains. Let’s get wired.

Interestingly when thinking about the headline I instantly linked it to my post from a while ago, computers are the new ecstasy.

Which one is it… our drugs are all digital or the digital is the new ecstasy? They sound similar but I would argue, the later is more true, if you watch people on their phones and online. But then again the software is crafted in a way which encourages lab rat like behavior… maybe thats the new ecstasy?

The cocaine of dating – The 3 day trial?

Match's tube free 3 day adverts

Lots of times you see free membership weekends too. Now to be fair its a trial but if you think about it, what can you do in a few days?

Say you see someone you like and write them a message. And your lucky they happen to be online the next day and reply. If your very lucky, then your online and reply the next day. Thats pretty much 3 days gone. You will fork out money for a month membership and they got you! And thats if your not replying to another non-member who decides to actually purchase a membership. So the person you were talking to chooses not to buy one!

Yes it sounds over dramatic but I’d point to the 3 day trial or free talk weekenders as the crack cocaine of the online dating world.

Get people in, get them talking and then lock them out, lock the door and charge them to keep speaking to each other… I only pick on Match because I noticed the advert on the tube but all of the major online dating sites do this!

What a lovely business model!

Reminds me of drug dealers who let you have the first one for free to hook you in the future.