Rene Preval, President Of Haiti For Two Terms, Has Died At 74

Former Haitian President Rene Preval, shown here in 2010 in Washington D.C., has died.

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Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press

Haiti’s two-term President Rene Preval, who presided over the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, has died at the age of 74.

Preval was the country’s president from 1996 to 2001 and then for a second term from 2006 to 2011. “He is the only president in Haitian history to have served two full presidential terms and not be jailed, exiled or killed,” the Miami Herald reports.

J’ai appris avec émoi le décès de l’ancien Président René Préval. Je me prosterne devant la dépouille de ce digne fils d’Haïti.

— Jovenel Moïse (@moisejovenel) March 3, 2017

Haiti’s current President Jovenal Moise said in a tweet that Preval had died, Moise didn’t specify the cause of death. He called Preval a “worthy son of Haiti.” His wife Elisabeth Delatour Preval told the Herald that he died at home in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Preval leaves behind a mixed legacy, as NPR’s Carrie Kahn reports. He managed to win democratic elections twice, and hand over power twice — which is rare in Haiti. “He was recognized as a hard worker, but widely criticized in his second term for what was seen as a weak and absent response to Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake,” she says.

In 1996, he started his first term in office after the departure of priest-turned-politician Jean-Bertrand Aristide and largely relied on his political base for support. And as The Associated Press reported, Preval “turned power back over to Aristide when he left office five years later after a term marked by political infighting.”

He broke ranks with Aristide eventually but ultimately cleared the way for him to return, according to the Herald:

“[A]s a strict adherent to the Haitian Constitution, he believed that a Haitian could not be exiled from his own country. As a result, he agreed to allow Aristide’s passport to be renewed. The move cleared the way for Aristide’s 2011 return to Haiti after seven years in exile in South Africa.”

But he is perhaps best remembered for what many Haitians see as his failure to lead following the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left millions homeless.

“The big consequence is the government has been paralyzed because the national palace collapsed,” Preval told Haitians days after the earthquake, as NPR’s Tamara Keith reported. “The palace of justice collapsed. The parliament building collapsed. All the communication was down.”

In the years leading up to the quake, crime was on the rise in Haiti but it was also a time of “rare political stability,” the AP reports. “The economy started improving, with growth reaching almost 3 percent in 2009, the second-fastest rate in the hemisphere, according to the International Monetary Fund.”

Preval, an agronomist, said in an NPR interview that he’s proud of increasing agricultural production, electricity and paving roads.

“I must say, I have extraordinary power,” he told Carrie, speaking a year after the quake. But ultimately he sounded eager to leave office: “I want to go home, that’s it.”

And he did in 2011: as Carrie reports, “Preval once again peacefully handed over power, this time to an opponent – another political milestone.”

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Interviewing A Combative White House Spokesperson

Deputy assistant to President Trump Sebastian Gorka participates in a discussion during the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 24 in National Harbor, Maryland.

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The critical emails came in after Sebastian Gorka’s first interview on NPR, and then after his second interview and after his third. And this week, after his fourth interview, as well.

Gorka is the deputy assistant to President Donald Trump on national security matters. As those who have contacted NPR have pointed out, his interviews have been combative, condescending and seemingly deliberately rude (this listener would agree). In his most recent interview, Wednesday, on Morning Edition, he several times chastised the interviewer, Steve Inskeep. The interviews have been unpleasant or at least uncomfortable to listen to, at times, regardless of one’s political views.

More importantly, Gorka has made a number of factual misstatements, in particular when he spoke to Rachel Martin on Feb. 13’s Morning Edition. After it became clear Gorka’s facts were not accurate during that live interview, the show added in some fact-checking for the rebroadcasts later that morning.

Some listeners who have written simply do not agree with Gorka’s point of view. But others have questioned the wisdom of having a repeat guest who does not always add much to the conversation, or spreads misinformation.

After Inskeep interviewed Gorka on Feb. 3, Mollee Westfall of Fort Worth, Texas, wrote: “Please don’t offer airtime to Sebastian Gorka again. He is not really coming on to answer questions but to use airtime to attack the media and spin propaganda. This is not enlightening or informative to me.”

And after Martin’s Feb. 13 interview, Alexa Gluckler of Reisterstown, Md., wrote: “I feel strongly that the segment this morning with Sebastian Gorka should not have aired. Primarily, he declined to answer inquiries at nearly every turn, outright declining to answer her first two questions and giving evasive responses to the rest. He responded to Rachel Martin with propaganda, not with fact or even illuminating commentary (through no fault of Ms. Martin’s, I believe).”

She added, “But what news or information did this segment convey to your listeners? That Gorka is a devoted mouthpiece for the Trump administration? Great — do a story on that; a story about an assistant to the president agreeing to an interview and then essentially refusing to answer questions.”

Bottom line, many listeners want to know, why continue to have him as a guest?

The answer from the newsroom is pretty straightforward. When NPR has put in a request for an administration official, “Sebastian Gorka is the spokesperson the White House has offered to Morning Edition to explain the president’s positions,” said Sarah Gilbert, the program’s executive producer.

Gilbert added, “We put our questions accurately and respectfully to Mr. Gorka – our audience can assess his responses and make up their own minds as to their merit. We continue to request interviews with more senior members of the administration on a regular basis.” That includes requests for both the president himself, who has never spoken to NPR, and Vice President Mike Pence.

NPR has no obligation to take whatever administration official is offered to it, of course. But there is also value in hearing directly from a White House official, who can explain what is behind the president’s policies and actions, and the interviews, in between some of the ruder exchanges, did do that, in my opinion. I agree with Gilbert that listeners can make up their own minds when listening to how someone responds to civil queries (and unlike some listeners, I thought Inskeep and Martin both asked good questions). NPR has also not shied away from reporting on tough questions being raised about Gorka’s credentials.

I’m more concerned about the spread of misinformation, and I believe NPR handled that issue relatively well with the additional fact-checking for the rebroadcasts of the Feb. 13 interview (although that did not help those who heard the original live interview). The online transcript should also have included a note about the added material, in my opinion.

Finally, I’d note that complaints about interviewing Gorka aren’t unique to NPR. You can read PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler’s views here.

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Gustav Metzger, Whose Creations Were Works Of Destruction, Dies At 90

Students from Central Saint Martins art school in London work behind Gustav Metzger, after his worldwide call for a Day of Action to Remember Nature in 2015.

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Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Serpentine Gall

At the heart of Gustav Metzger’s best-known work rests a seeming contradiction: The truest work of creation contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Working with acids and liquid crystals, Metzger often made his art to fall apart, break down or disappear entirely — and in doing so, better reflect the crumbling world around it.

Metzger, the inventor of “auto-destructive art,” died Wednesday in London at the age of 90. But long before his final days, he regularly confronted the implications of death in both his art and ecological activism.

“Gustav always maintained that an artist is not so much a creator as a destroyer; that the artist’s role is not to add something to the world of objects but to make fewer things,” Hans Ulrich Obrist, Metzger’s friend and curator of the Serpentine Gallery, writes for The Guardian.

Metzger wears a gas mask while painting three nylon curtains with hydrochloric acid, causing them to disintegrate, in 1961.

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The roots of Metzger’s artistic inclinations lay partly in the tragedy of his youth. Born to Jewish parents in Germany shortly before the rise of Adolf Hitler, Metzger and his brother emigrated to the U.K. in 1939 as refugees in the kindertransport program. His parents — and much of the rest of his family — disappeared in the Holocaust by 1943.

In the years that followed Metzger would often refer to himself as “stateless” or as “escaped Jew,” according to The Washington Post.

Though he began his career as a painter, he turned to more destructive forms in 1959 partly as a means of registering stark dissent. “When I saw the Nazis march, I saw machine-like people and the power of the Nazi state,” he told The Guardian in 2012. “Auto-destructive art is to do with rejecting power” — and in the process, creating new perspectives.

Take one of his most famous works, for instance: After stretching a sheet of nylon in a frame, he sprayed acid onto this blank surface, allowing the corrosive chemicals to eat away at a material other artists might have adorned with paint.

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“The important thing about burning a hole in that sheet,” he said in 2012, “was that it opened up a new view across the Thames of St Paul’s cathedral [in London]. Auto-destructive art was never merely destructive. Destroy a canvas and you create shapes.”

So it went with much of Metzger’s work. From decomposing liquid crystals, he created grand psychedelic tableaux of shifting colors; from discarded newspapers, he arranged a series of images as complex as they were vulnerable to fading.

A woman looks at Metzger’s Liquid Crystal Environment, part of a 2009 retrospective of his work at London’s Serpentine Gallery.

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And, as the Post notes, from a bag of garbage he created a museum installation — which, in turn, was taken again for just another bag of garbage. “One evening,” the paper says, “a janitor tossed it out with the trash.”

For Metzger, the aesthetic was never far from the political, and the one was just about as likely to get him in trouble as the other. The Guardian reports that during his 1966 Destruction in Art Symposium, which also featured a young Yoko Ono, Metzger was fined 100 pounds for obscenity in one of the exhibits.

“Hermann Nitsch’s 21st Action, the crucifixion of an eviscerated lamb with film of a man’s penis being manipulated by strings was stopped by the police,” the British paper recalls.

The police were just as receptive to some of his activism, as he was also jailed for his protests against nuclear weapons five years earlier.

But one notable rock star saw things differently.

“He had a profound effect on me,” Pete Townshend of The Who told the Guardian in 1998, according to the Post. Townshend explained:

“I took it as an excuse to smash my new Rickenbacker [guitar] that I had just [hocked] myself to the eyebrows to buy. I really believed it was my responsibility to start a rock band that would only last three months, an auto-destructive rock group. The Who would have been the first punk band except that we had a hit.”

Still it seems Metzger, a Marxist, saw this art as more than an excuse. He saw it as a challenge leveled at a culture of consumerism that was always prepared to turn his artwork into a marketable object.

As he told London’s Tate museum in 2008, his work was meant less as an object than an undiluted glimpse of society — both its beauties and its horrors.

“This is the world,” he said. “Look at it, and deal with it.”

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How A Contract Clause Led To A Fight Between Musicians And Austin's Biggest Event

A crowd in line at the 2015 SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas.

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Adam Kissick for NPR

One week and a day before thousands will descend on downtown Austin for South By Southwest 2017, what seemed like a standard bit of legalese in contracts given to artists performing at this year’s SXSW music festival has, amidst a markedly shifted political climate, erupted into controversy. Musicians have accused the festival of threatening foreign performers with deportation if they appear outside official festival venues.

The controversy began online Thursday afternoon, when a drummer named Felix Walworth (who is gender non-conforming, and uses “they” and “their” as pronouns) canceled a South by Southwest showcase via Twitter. Walworth, who leads the band Told Slant and is also a member of other groups including Eskimeaux and Bellows, wrote in two separate tweets about their cancellation: “I’m not interested in aligning myself with an institution that interacts with immigration authorities as a means of … controlling where art is shared and performed, and who makes money off of it.” Walworth did not respond to NPR’s requests for an interview.

Later yesterday, following coverage from several media outlets, an open letter calling for SXSW to apologize for “their attempt to collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement” and to “cease any collusion with immigration officials that puts performers in danger” was published. The letter was signed by 35 artists and labels, including PWR BTTM, who is scheduled to play NPR’s official showcase during the festival.

Central here is understanding the types of visas that international musicians use to travel to the Austin festival. SXSW’s guidelines for artists invited to the festival note that any artists who arrive in the country on a non-work (“tourist”) visa, or who are here as a citizen of one of the nearly 40 countries that participate in the United States’ Visa Waiver Program, may be reported to authorities if they are found to be in violation of the government’s travel guidelines.

Non-work visas for international travelers allow for the solicitation of future business. (A band invited by SXSW to play a non-paid showcase that may result in future bookings for an artist would qualify — but the rules prohibit any work that results in payment, including playing a show for any amount of money, or playing additional shows not covered by the original invitation.)

As Leena Khandwala, an immigration attorney based in New York, explains: “Tourist visas are for foreign nationals visiting the U.S. temporarily.” Bands coming to the U.S. to tour — or those playing an unofficial showcase during SXSW for which they may be paid — “would have to have an employment type of non-immigrant visa: an O visa or a P visa.”

Speaking on background, those who work with international artists in the touring industry say clauses such as the one in SXSW’s contract are not uncommon anymore.

Roland Swenson, co-founder and CEO of SXSW, says that the contract language is actually intended to help the thousands of musicians who travel to Austin. “[In the contract] we gave the artists a list of: ‘If you violate your visa, this is what could happen,'” he says. “It’s being interpreted as “This is what we’re going to do to you.'”

A statement released yesterday by SXSW said that the 30-year-old festival had never reported an international act to immigration authorities. Swenson also notes that acquiring a work visa is an expensive process that takes months of preparation, and requires visa applicants prove that they are already accomplished musicians. “If the artists had to qualify for other types of visas,” he says, “they might not have the career credentials to gain those.”

While SXSW’s contractual intent may be benevolent, Swenson didn’t help his festival’s public relations in an interview yesterday with The Austin Chronicle, in which he insinuated that artists were using disagreements over the contract to promote themselves. “I think that everybody has figured out that a quick way to get your name out there is to accuse us of conspiring with immigration authorities,” he told the paper. At best, it was a tone-deaf response to concerns voiced by the kind of artists — emerging, often independent — upon which SXSW’s reputation has been built.

Artists, though, also seem to have put the bellows to a fire they didn’t fully understand. Despite Walworth’s mistatement, SXSW has not interacted with immigration authorities to control where art is shared, but rather drafted a fairly standard contract warning of the limits placed on visiting artists.

Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys performs at SXSW 2016.

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Adam Kissick for NPR

Victoria Ruiz is the singer of the band Downtown Boys and a co-writer of the open letter. Her band has played SXSW in previous years and is scheduled to perform at the festival this month. She told NPR: “I don’t know visa requirements on both sides, so I can’t speak to that. I think there is a really big issue … if SXSW has sole discretion, our hope would be that they would explicitly say, ‘We would never use our discretion to get an artist involved with immigration.'”

This is an impossible ask. An easy metaphor would be the terms of service language signed by users of a web browser to absolve the browser’s creators from culpability in the event that it is used to violate laws. SXSW, in order to facilitate thousands of concerts within a very short period of time, asks visiting artists to sign a similar agreement.

For a musician and activist like Ruiz, who says she has spent time in the last year advocating on behalf of immigrants’ rights, the line, especially in such an unpredictable political environment, is clear.

“Right now,” says Ruiz, “especially under the Trump administration, everyone needs to pick a side.”

But Swenson argues that SXSW’s offerings have become more diverse specifically because the festival has helped international artists find their way to Austin as simply — and cheaply — as possible.

“You know,” he says, “we’ve managed to build this event that allows hundreds and hundreds of acts — who are for the most part unknown — to come and play at a festival in the U.S. I think we’re the only ones who have done that on the scale that we have.”

Musicians who have signed the open letter are considering whether or not they will withdraw from this year’s edition of SXSW.

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A Dip In Global Prices Creates Cocoa Crisis For Ivory Coast's Farmers

Farmer Georges Kouamé Koffi holding two cocoa pods. Chocolate is made from the almond-sized cocoa beans contained in the pods.

Alex Duval Smith for NPR

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Alex Duval Smith for NPR

In all his 50 years, Georges Kouamé Koffi has eaten chocolate once. “Someone gave me a piece to try,” says the cocoa farmer. “It was lovely.” Chocolate bars are on sale at a store in his city of San Pedro, in southwestern Ivory Coast. “But they are too expensive for us,” he says.

His family – he has a wife and three children – will eat only grated cassava tonight, as it has on most days since last October when Kouamé Koffi handed a buying agent the first of the 2.8 tons of cocoa he produced this season. All he has to show for his back-breaking work on 12 steamy acres are two receipts – effectively IOUs from a buying agent, who is trying to sell the beans to a wholesaler. Kouamé Koffi isowed just over 3 million CFA francs (about $4,850) for his 2.8 tons, but he is still waiting for his payment.

Seventy per cent of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa. And in Ivory Coast, the biggest cocoa producer in the world, six million people – a quarter of the population – are estimated to depend on the crop for a living.

And Kouamé Koffi is among hundreds of thousands of Ivorians currently suffering from the knock-on effects of a devastating cocoa crisis brought on by a range of factors that are beyond their control. These include the lowest cocoa price on the New York Stock Exchange in eight years, high rainfall creating a bumper harvest, a dip in the world’s appetite for chocolate, price fixing, speculation, politics and the mood swings of hedge funds.

As his wife, Janine Allini, 35, grates the white flesh out of a cassava root for dinner, Kouamé Koffi explains: “We grow a little cassava but that is for eating at home. We use the money from the cocoa for everything: the fields, the family, the children’s school fees.”

Until this year Kouamé Koffi had no trouble meeting those expenses. He says until now, “cocoa has been good to us.” His crop yield doubled between 2011 and 2016. Last year he was even able to buy a family vehicle – a motorbike.

But “we are now in debt, even to the local school,” says Kouamé Koffi. “Sometimes the teacher sends them home. He says, ‘Go, tell your parents to send the money’. I’m scared. I’m scared for the future of my children.”

All his neighbors are cocoa farmers too, and are struggling under similarly uncertain circumstances.

Last October, when the Ivorian government set the national price for this year’s harvest, it promised farmers 1,100 CFA Francs ($1.80) per kilo. It was a record high price supposedly based on projected international demand and a national count of budding cocoa pods. But farmers say wholesalers aren’t offering anything close to that price.

Economists say the cocoa crisis affects the entire country’s economy. “Around 30 percent of the debts of the country are in dollars,” says Youssouf Carius, managing director of Ivorian analysis firm Pulsar Partners. “If the crisis remains like this, it will impact the financial capacity … of Ivory Coast to honor that service of debt. That could be really really difficult.”

Ivory Coast ships its cocoa in processed form to the world’s cocoa wholesalers and chocolate producers. Once farmers harvest the cocoa beans from the pods, they wrap the beans in banana leaves and ferment them for about a week. Then, the beans are dried in the sun before being poured into jute bags and taken to processing plants in San Pedro,theworld’s busiest cocoa exporting port.

In a large warehouse in the south-western city of San Pedro, men empty sacks of cocoa in the stifling heat. Most processing plants in the city have closed, but some are buying cocoa on the sly.

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Alex Duval Smith for NPR

But right now, the port’s cranes are standing idle and the ships are nowhere to be seen. A musty smell hangs in the air around dozens of trucks still carrying fermented cocoa parked outside the Cargill processing plant near the harbor.

Driver Daouda Traoré, 46, has been waiting to unload for three weeks. He is worried that rain will damage his load. “Cargill is the only plant buying beans at the moment so we are all backed up here,” he says. “The other factories in San Pedro are closed and not taking any beans.”

He says factories are unwilling to pay the high price set by the government because it doesn’t offer them a big enough profit margin. “They are waiting to reopen when the international price goes up,” says Traoré, who claims he has never seen trucks backed up in San Pedro in such large numbers since he became a driver’s apprentice in 1988.

But cocoa is being sold in this city, on the sly. Cocoa farmers’ union representatives takes The Salt to see a truck unlosding inside a huge warehouse. Thirty men – most of them bare-chested and covered in sweat – empty sacks in a dusty haze that hovers in the stifling heat. The union officials say the men are sifting the content to check for mold and sub-standard beans.

The warehouse owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, chooses his words carefully. He refuses to reveal what he paid for the beans and who he has bought them from. Asked how his business is adapting to the current cocoa crisis, he says, “We adapt.”

In Ivory Coast, it is illegal to undercut the price set by the government. And yet some farmers “are selling cocoa for as little as 600 francs (96 cents) per kilo,” says Blaise Koffi, 45, a union representative and a farmer. “They just have to, otherwise they cannot feed their families. But it is risky.” A farmer risks losing his licence if he is caught selling cocoa for less than the government price, he says.

Koffi says that in recent years, the Ivorian government has created a stabilization fund as a buffer to protect farmers against market fluctuations. But farmers say they have yet to see that money.”It is there for times like these when we need help to make up for a low international price,” says Koffi. “We want the government to trigger payments from it now.”

Sacks of cocoa beans at a warehouse in San Pedro. Coffee and Cocoa Council is the government regulator of the Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry.

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Alex Duval Smith for NPR

On 15 February, several hundred cocoa farmers demonstrated in the commercial capital, Abidjan. They tried to march on the “Caisse Stab,” a building that houses the offices for those stabilization funds. But the protesters were scattered by riot police using tear gas.

After the incident, the government regulator – the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) – agreed to discussions with farmers. The CCC said it was confident it could put pressure on plants in San Pedro to reopen and resume buying cocoa.

But in San Pedro, the trucks are still backed up. On his farm, Georges Kouamé Koffi and his family have yet to receive their payment. He takes me to see some cocoa trees near his homestead. We wade through brown leaves lying ankle-deep on the ground.

Kouamé Koffi is not just worried about his children’s future. “If you look around you at the trees, you will see that the insects are in charge,” he says, referring to pests now attacking his trees. “We need money to spray chemicals. We need income to be able to take care of our fields. If we do not spray, soon the entire plantation will become a skeleton, and that would be very serious.”

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How Do You Raise A Feminist Daughter? Chimamanda Adichie Has 15 Suggestions

Chimamanda Adichie’s novels include Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. The author is pictured here at NPR February 2017.

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Ariel Zambelich/NPR

A few years ago, Chimamanda Adichie received a message from a childhood friend asking for advice: She wanted to know how to raise her newborn daughter to be a feminist.

For Adichie — a best-selling author who has also made a name for herself as a leading feminist voice — the question was a bit daunting, but she wrote a long letter back to her friend. Now, that letter has been published as a book. It’s called Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, and it talks about everything from how to choose toys to teaching self-reliance to challenging traditional gender roles.

Adichie says writing the letter was useful for her, too. “Yes, I wrote it for my friend, but I think to a large extent it was also my way of mapping out my own thinking. Because I have talked a lot about these things and I care very much about them and I get very passionate … but I realized I didn’t actually have a concrete map of the particular, specific things that I think will help if we do them differently.”

I also think that that kind of feminism-lite, you know, often uses the language of power. And an example from the book is a British newspaper writing about the British prime minister and saying that her husband had “allowed” her to shine. And I think it’s the kind of language that’s used so often that we just think it’s normal, but it’s so problematic. … The premise, of course, is it’s kind of like the headmaster has allowed the little girl to ascend.

And I just think it’s important, very early on, to let children be aware of this. Right, so if a child — and when she’s 3, of course, she’s not going to be reading the newspapers, but when she’s a bit older — to say to her, “Do you see? This is not OK and here’s why: ‘Allow’ is the language of power, and you can’t use that when you’re talking about two people who are equal.”

On the importance of teaching girls to reject likability

I think the way that a lot of girls are raised in so many parts of the world is that idea that you have to be likeable. And likeable means you have to kind of mold and shape what you do and say based on what you imagine the other person wants to hear. …

Actually, I was just thinking about a friend of mine who lives and works in Lagos, [Nigeria]. And she’s talking about her superior at work, who she said was making her very uncomfortable because he made very demeaning remarks about her appearance, about her breasts, that kind of thing. And she said, you know, “I just can’t take it anymore. I need to tell him to stop.” And one of the men, a friend of ours who was there, said to her, “Well yes, you should, but make sure you’re not rude about it.” And my friend said, “Of course I won’t be rude.”

And I remember being struck by that because I thought, He’s demeaning you, this person. You’re uncomfortable and unhappy, but you’re still consumed by how not to be rude when you tell him to stop. And I thought, You know what? You should be bloody rude! And I remember also thinking, Only a woman raised in the way that we’ve been sort of conditioned would think about not being rude in telling somebody who’s really hurting her to stop.

And for me it’s the consequence of likeability; it’s what that idea of likeability does. And I think instead we should teach girls to just be themselves, and that idea that you don’t have to be liked by everyone. And it kind of makes me wonder what kind of world would we have lived in if women had been allowed to be their full selves?

On the importance of teaching difference

My general approach is teach the child that we don’t understand everything. … “I don’t know, and it’s OK that I don’t know.” I think it’s important to just say to kids, “Look, there’s difference in the world. The norm of our existence as human beings is difference. We’re not all the same, and it’s OK.” … Then it makes them just kind of shrug when things that don’t fit their own narrow existence sort of appear to them.

On why it’s important to start having these conversations early on

By the time we are older, it’s much more difficult to unlearn things that we’ve learned, which is why there are so many women who — even though ideas of gender are bad for them, stifle them — they kind of still go along with it because that’s what they know. If we start early to start to challenge it, push back, then, you know, a woman is more likely, when she is an adult, to have those tools to say, “You know, in the end I’m going to live the life I want to live.”

Editor Bridget Kelley, producer Jordan-Marie Smith and digital producer Nicole Cohen contributed to this story.

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