The incredible importance of critical thinking

She’s much nicer and more patient about this kind of thing than I. It’s good to have people like this engaging in civil discourse.

Brittany M. Plothow

I was in my freshman year of university, sitting in an entry level sociology course. My professor was a tiny Hobbit of a man, with a mop of white hair which stuck out in every possible direction. He would stumble into class and challenge us from his first breath and it was thrilling. I went to university to be challenged and this professor successfully accomplished that.

The clearest memory and example of this, one that has stuck with me to this day is as follows.

Professor Baggins (not his real name) was addressing the class about how there tends to be a correlation between education level and political liberalism. Up until this point in my life I had considered myself a conservative and a republican. The thing is, however, I had no idea what that meant. All I knew was that my mom was conservative as were the majority of…

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Macklemore’s joyous, upbeat anthem marred by sexism, racial stereotypes of women of colour

Macklemore, amazingly outspoken proponent of marriage equality has dropped the ball. Minutes ago, his latest video, for “Downtown”, was posted on Facebook. I clicked, expecting something fun with a good beat. On that count, I was not disappointed. The music is fun, with a full and joyous sound, reminiscent of the era in which scooters and big, theatrical dance numbers were common. The colour palette of the cinematography supports the retro feel.

Something that should not be brought back from the past, however, is the idea that women are only good for eye and arm candy, and that black women are acceptable because “…I like a big girl, I like ’em sassy.”

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Allied Progress

Had a bit of a back and forth with a former classmate and work colleague on Facebook about cultural appropriation. It’s one of the biggest issues I am struggling with on this journey of awareness, intersectionality, privilege, and equality. I’ve learned a lot over the last year, but there will always be room to grow.

A newly sprouted plant emerging from the soil.

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Do you even Ireland, bro?

Originally published on

Have you heard the story of the Irish guy in Abu Dhabi who took his cab driver with him into a theme park? It’s been getting a lot of press. (You can find various versions of the story here, here, and here.) Yet, for all that it seems a “wonderful” and “generous” gesture, the language Mr. Generous Irishman uses to describe his companion is …off.

Look, I know – really KNOW – that there are all kinds of different expressions that carry subtle undertones and meanings when we talk. I’ve had this particular conversation with many an expat, lots of locals, and countless CouchSurfers. It’s why some of us don’t want to date people from our own cultures – too much unspoken baggage, loads of weird expectations – and why, conversely, some of us only feel comfortable dating within our culture – convenient shorthand, no need to constantly explain, yadda yadda. I get that, despite having lived in Ireland for 5 years now, there is still so much that I utterly fail to grasp about local expressions and turns of phrase. (Just had to have a Father Ted reference explained to me the other day, matter of fact.)

And yet, there are still some things that seem to be universal. One of those is the language of privilege. [Cont’d…]

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