The Problem With Little White Girls Volunteering for Things They Don’t Know How to Do

Dear Pippa Biddle,

I recently saw your blog post about “voluntourism” and it irritated me enough to want to respond. I promise to talk about myself and my experiences as much as you did, and maybe together we can make some kind of conclusion – a part of writing that you kind of skipped out on.

I remember when I went to Moore, OK and no one hated me.

I remember when I went to Moore, OK and I don’t have any guilt over going.

In high school, I travelled to Tanzania as part of a school trip. There were 14 white girls, 1 black girl who, to her frustration, was called white by almost everyone we met in Tanzania, and a few teachers/chaperones.

Ah, okay. This is the obligatory sentence about the evils of whitey that justifies the headline. Well, in high school I worked almost full time at Alexandria Buick Pontiac GMC. I was one of the only white people in the dealership, FWIW.

$3000 bought us a week at an orphanage, a half built library, and a few pickup soccer games, followed by a week long safari.

$3000 would probably have bought my friends and me a shit ton of Grey Goose and maybe a weeklong beach trip. However, my public high school definitely taught me I shouldn’t start sentences with dollar signs. This isn’t a Ke$ha song.

Our mission while at the orphanage was to build a library.

My mission at Buick was to build a better car buying experience.

Turns out that we, a group of highly educated private boarding school students were so bad at the most basic construction work that each night the men had to take down the structurally unsound bricks we had laid and rebuild the structure so that, when we woke up in the morning, we would be unaware of our failure. It is likely that this was a daily ritual. Us mixing cement and laying bricks for 6+ hours, them undoing our work after the sun set, re-laying the bricks, and then acting as if nothing had happened so that the cycle could continue.

Turns out that I, as a high school student who skipped math and psych class regularly, was not qualified to save GM from going bankrupt.
Look, Pippa, I don’t even know where to start here – likely because your sentence was so fucking long I got confused.
Turns out that you, as a group of presumably rich high school students with no background in manual labor, weren’t qualified TO FUCKING BUILD HOUSES???? No. Freaking. Way.
What “men” were doing this?? The men that organized your trip? Local men that worked alongside you? I don’t know, because you never tell us.
And how do you know that this was happening? Your only evidence is that you were unaware and “it [was] likely.” That isn’t exactly the strongest argument I’ve ever heard.

Basically, we failed at the sole purpose of our being there. It would have been more cost effective, stimulative of the local economy, and efficient for the orphanage to take our money and hire locals to do the work, but there we were trying to build straight walls without a level.

Basically, if your sole purpose of volunteer work is to build a structure and not to have a lasting impact on people’s lives, you’re doing it wrong.
Basically, if your sole purpose was to do something you had no experience doing, you’re ridiculously naïve.
Basically, if your budget was such shit that no one bought a level, you should really take this up with the organization that sent you.

That same summer, I started working in the Dominican Republic at a summer camp I helped organize for HIV+ children. Within days, it was obvious that my rudimentary Spanish set me so far apart from the local Dominican staff that I might as well have been an alien.

So you went to Tanzania to build a library, and then you went to the Dominican Republic to help HIV+ children? You don’t speak Spanish, and I assume you don’t speak Swahili (what the hell did your fancy education even get you?). Where is the consistency or you passion? You’ve made it clear that helping people wasn’t your priority in Tanzania…just building a library. You don’t bring skilled work to the table, you don’t have a medical background, you don’t speak another language…why aren’t you picking a region you care about or a task you care about and focusing on that?
My background is in Arabic. I majored in it in college (along with Middle East Studies), and I minored in French. I continue my education now with conferences and independent research on the region. I have many friends from the region, and I’ve traveled extensively. I have an understanding of certain countries and their cultures (Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan) from my studies, my travels, and my friends. If I had the ability, I would go to Lebanon and help out with Syrian refugees, even if just for a week…but I likely wouldn’t do any volunteer work in Tanzania or the Dominican Republic.

However, I have stopped attending having finally accepting that my presence is not the godsend I was coached by non-profits, documentaries, and service programs to believe it would be.

This is the only sentence in your entire post that you place blame in the correct place.

It turns out that I, a little white girl, am good at a lot of things. I am good at raising money, training volunteers, collecting items, coordinating programs, and telling stories. I am flexible, creative, and able to think on my feet. On paper I am, by most people’s standards, highly qualified to do international aid. But I shouldn’t be.

It turns out that you, as a little white girl, aren’t actually listing any qualities that would make you good at volunteering in developing nations. The Peace Corps has its fair share of problems, but I would wager it’s considered the standard for international volunteer work…and what you just named has nothing to do with what they’re looking for. Instead, they list things like “those with specialized skills” and “Spanish or French” speaking abilities. Last I checked honkies can speak French and have specialized skills. Even the little folk. Even the ones with vaginas.

Before you sign up for a volunteer trip anywhere in the world this summer, consider whether you possess the skill set necessary for that trip to be successful. If yes, awesome. If not, it might be a good idea to reconsider your trip. Sadly, taking part in international aid where you aren’t particularly helpful is not benign. It’s detrimental. It slows down positive growth and perpetuates the “white savior” complex that, for hundreds of years, has haunted both the countries we are trying to ‘save’ and our (more recently) own psyches.

Pippa, why is your only blame on the people who just want to help? Why is your knee jerk reaction to talk about white savior complexes, instead of focusing on the crappy organizations that accept these kids into their programs? The organizations that don’t make an effort to match people up with something that they could actually connect to? At NO POINT here have you backed up your claims of white people being the problem. I suppose on your little high school trip the black girl rocked it and was totally effective? If not, how can you call this white savior complex? How do you explain her? What the fuck issues do you have?

I’m sorry you didn’t find whatever you were looking for on your trips, and I’m sorry that your private boarding school didn’t produce a better writer.

 

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OKCupid Shocks World With Corporate Version of a Face Only Photo

For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m slowly but surely working on a book about my online dating experiences. That being said…I obviously have an opinion on the announcement that OKCupid was messing with its users by lying about compatibility. That opinion is..no fucking shit.

I didn’t go on one or two online dates. I mean, I used OKCupid so much they let me become a moderator or something. I used OKCupid like it was my job. And I never, ever put much stock into their stupid little percentages.

My first ever online date was through POF (Plenty of Fish), so it became the default tag...but most of these were OKC.

My first ever online date was through POF (Plenty of Fish), so it became the default tag…but most of these were OKC.

Here’s examples of conversations that I had with guys I had a high match percentage with.

The scene is a Starbucks, the time is 8 pm. This is DC; it makes sense. Our connections on OKC include we’re both into politics and we’re sarcastic. High rating. Conversation has been going mediocre.
Him: Well, let’s just get this out of the way. Are you a Jew?
Me: No…
Him: GOOD.

This is still in the initial text/OKC messaging phase. We’re making plans to meet so we’ve exchanged numbers. Again a high match percentage — likely due to a mutual interest in politics and love of the first few seasons of Arrested Development.
Him: Do you want to see my dick?
Me: No.
Him: [sends dick pic]
Me: [vows to only give out Google Voice number so pictures can be screened]
A month passes.
Him: I didn’t realize you were such a prude.

So much love!

I guess it should be tiny penises coming out of the beaker.

I mean, how are people surprised by this? I don’t expect that everyone is a career online dater, but surely you must have noticed you were matched with some crazy fucking people at one point. My best friend and I used to talk about how a very high match percentage (over 87%) was basically a guarantee the guy would be off his rocker. Also, it’s dating. I already exercised caution and assumed everyone lied. I did, even if it wasn’t always intentional…sometimes your values and opinions change. What was mandatory to me in January might have been some somewhat important in June.

The moral of the story here: don’t invest too much faith in an online quiz that takes into consideration whether a user considers it “mandatory” their potential date likes anal.

Though deleting text from users’ profiles might explain why my disclaimer didn’t work. I ended up putting at the top of my page, “I’m not interested in having sex with you for money (or anytime soon), and I’m certainly not interested in dick pics.” Maybe OKC deleted the “not.” That would definitely explain a lot.

If You Knock it Up, You Gotta Put a Ring On It – But Discreetly and Without Gifts (And Other Life Lessons from Sheila Kihne)

Sheila Kihne is a crazy person running for office in Minnesota. She’s got good old fashioned family values, and she wants you to know about important things — like how you’re a whore if you get pregnant without being married.

Crazy Sheila

Crazy Sheila

So let’s go through her blog a little bit. I only see entries from 2008-2009, but it’s a goldmine. First, she teaches us how to handle baby shower invitations. Isn’t it the worst thing in the world when some slut has evil premarital sex, and then gets knocked up and has a baby shower???? #FirstWorldProblems

Don’t you think that if you’re having a baby- and you’re not married- that you should forego the shower?

Of course!! Those selfish bitches, making the decision to not abort their babies and instead raise them….they shouldn’t be given any gifts!!!!! Other than maybe a pamphlet about Jesus.

I also think that if you get married- and are knocked up- you should get married quietly. At a courthouse, at a private home. There should be no 1. Dance 2. Dinner.

Yes, do the right thing. Don’t shame everyone with your big belly and public exchange of vows. What the fuck is this?? Should we instead all dress in black and follow our slutty friends to the courthouse, in mourning for the wretched world as otherwise good people succumb to the evil of sex outside of marriage?

There are more kinds of birth control available today then lipstick shades. If you don’t want to get pregnant- you don’t. This is crossing all socio-economic lines and education levels it seems to me.

Seems to me like this bitch needs to learn how to Google. I hope she doesn’t make any policy decisions based on what she feels, since births to single mothers go from 68.9% of all births to those making under $10,000, to 9% of births for those making over $200,000 a year. A similar decline in percentage happens between those who have less than a high school education down to those that have a bachelors or more. Seems to me, maybe it’s the crappy abstinence only education children are receiving. But what do I know?

She then goes on to say that it’s partly because the Boomers don’t encourage their children to put their nasty wedlock babies up for adoption. Instead, they chip in and emotionally and financially support their grandkids. Bizarrely, Kihne wraps up her thought process on the Boomers with this:

My rule is- if I don’t have to pay for your daycare, then do what you want.

What? The fuck? You obviously don’t think people should do what they want, since you are writing a blog dictating how husbandless girls should handle their baby showers. You fucking nut.

marriage is no longer seen as an institution- but an excuse to have a wedding

I’ll give you that. I don’t want to sign a paper saying, “I legally love you,” but I do want to throw one hell of a party and ceremony.

When somebody gets knocked up- without being married- you’re just supposed to hop on board. You’re not allowed to say a thing- it’s none of your business of course- but when it comes time for baby showers and weddings, rest-assured you’re going to be on the invite list.

I’d like your address, Ms. Kihne. I don’t plan on ever having a baby or ever being legally married. But if I ever get knocked up, I want to invite you to my abortion party. You might find it in better taste.

Next we learn how to save the poor. She determined that she could take the $12,000 extra she’ll have to pay in taxes, and give $3,000 to 4 families. The catch? Well, a contract with her. Because she is God.

you will submit a 1, 5, 10 and 20 year career plan- I will tell you if it’s workable- if it’s not, I’ll come up with one for you

Based on how knowledgeable she is on statistics of unmarried pregnant women, I’d assume she knows everything about it all. I also assume she knows a lot about what it’s like to be super poor and what your actual viable options are.

you will not own any of the following items (if you do, you’ll immediately sell them) an iPod, a flat screen television, video games, a computer or any designer clothing

Ah, yes. Let’s dictate what the poor are entitled to. And I hear that electronics really retain their value…you bought a $1,200 iMac 5 years ago? I bet it’s worth even more now! Good thing college kids don’t need computers, and good thing handwritten resumes are 100% acceptable! Now wear your Walmart shoes, talk on your flip phone (which you can only have if it’s cheaper than a landline), and bow down to me!

6. you will work at least 60 hours a week
7. any children 12 or over will have a job to contribute to the household income

Yes, for the low low bargain charitable donation of $3,000 you can have a child slave!!! Hell, you can have the parent work 60 hours a week cleaning your house and the child working 40!! I hear that 12 year olds are often hired for more than legal minimum wage. Oh wait, they aren’t. Maybe we could amend 7 to “sell any child under 12 to the black market.” I mean, working 60 hours a week…you’ll never see them anyway.

 you will not go out to eat for the duration of the year- nor will you see a movie or get your nails or hair done (you can do it at home)

GOOD! THERE IS NO RELAXING WHEN YOU’RE POOR. NEVER. “Daddy, I want to go see Frozen! All my friends are going!” “SHUT UP, SALLY. GET BACK TO WORK OR I’LL SELL YOU LIKE YOUR SISTER.”

12. if you live anywhere near a bus line- you will sell your car immediately

So you won’t be waiting tables, because you won’t be able to get home after work!

13. you will ensure that your children are performing well at school and work with their teachers in any possible way to make them successful- if they need tutoring- we will find the resources to do it

Unless they have to type a report. Then they’re fucked.

Seriously. What the hell.

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped make this so successful! Follow me on Facebook or Instagram, and make sure you subscribe to my blog!

 

 

 

 

I Wish We’d All STFU About Paying Tolls

You ever read something that makes you want to bash your face into your keyboard (“this blog” is not an acceptable or creative answer)? Okay, me too. Today it came from an article about the cost of tolls, published in the Dallas Morning News. I managed to evade it when it was first published, but Facebook (my nemesis) kept pushing it to the top of my newsfeed. Dammit.

I love Texas, I really do. But this is A Blog About Things That Irritate  Me. Maybe one day I’ll submit “53.5 Reasons Why Dallas is the Best” to Buzzfeed. But here, all is fair — and hearing Texans talk about tolls (whether as consumers or as NTTA representatives) makes me want to cry.

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Expensive tollways!

First thing in this article….

The emergence of North Texas as Toll Road Capital, USA, represents failure of government of the worst kind. We have to pay for what we could do for free.

Oh, really? I forgot that the rest of America has free roads. They  just appear over night, constructed by the street elves that make each piece of material out of magic, hopes, and dreams. I think the author is a Dallas native, so I’m not pointing the finger at him for this…for some reason this idea runs rampant in Texas. It’s like “the man” has come to destroy our fun and make us pay for our roads. Meanwhile, we don’t have a state income tax — and has anyone else ever made the drive from DC to Boston? Because it is $$$ and each of those states charges income tax to their residents.

I once reported the story of a 34-year-old single mother who spent 27 hours in the Allen jail and then the Collin County Detention Center. Police wouldn’t even tell her, at first, why they were arresting her. It was all about a toll bill for $11 from years before. She said she never got it.

I ended up having to Google it, but this is the case he’s talking about. If we had a debtor’s prison in America, Sallie Mae would be the number one reason people are in prison, not drugs. What genius created the TX provision that says not paying tolls is theft akin to stealing money from a business instead of equating it to credit card debt? Did it seem more likely that people would pay their debts if they were criminally prosecuted, and hopefully subjected to prison? I hear the going rates for jobs in prison are excellent. What does NTTA say about this?

At present, individuals do not go to jail for failure to pay a toll. If a warrant is issued and someone goes to jail, it’s because they failed to appear in JP court to address a citation for failure to pay a toll issued under Section 366.178 of the Texas Transportation Code.

At present? Who the fuck do you think you are, NTTA? Capital One can’t throw you in jail for owing $500,000, but god forbid you owe $10 to NTTA…at present you can’t go to jail…but maybe later. Enough of this bullshit thing where NTTA is publicly run and privately run and no one really knows what’s going on. You can go to jail for not paying fines to the state, but you can’t go to jail for not paying fines to a private corporation. Get your shit together. And why is Texas allowing this to happen? Why not just garnish your wages like  REGULAR DEBT?

Here’s the thing. I’m not mad at the article (other than the ridiculous claim that non-toll roads are “free”). I’m pissed off that NTTA abuses its power — and I’m even more pissed off about people bitching about NTTA. I never hear people complain they’re going to jail. That is clearly a small, tiny portion of North Texas drivers. I’m pissed that people bitch and moan that roads should be free, that tollways shouldn’t have traffic, that the LBJ sliding scale HOV tolls are evil, etc. Just pay the goddamn toll. I’m one of a very few people I know of that actually pay the tolls. WHY?!

There’s this myth in Texas that everything is just different there. We get a tiny quarter inch of snow — it’s different than the snow anywhere else. We get a tollroad — it’s different than tollroads anywhere else. Not in the fact that you can, in a backwards sort of way, end up in jail. But because we have to pay the tolls. Let’s just take federal funding, charge an income tax, and call it a day…then we’ll see what you like better. If you’re going to complain about NTTA, complain about the weird public/private power it has, not that you can’t go places for free.

ntta

A day in the life of an Addison resident


Detroit Continues Bending Over Backwards for Sports

I imagine you all have been eagerly anticipating the new Red Wings arena, so I’m pleased to inform you that the design for the new $450 million arena has now been released. $450 million sounds like a lot, but only around $280 million will be publicly financed. Chump change! I’m pretty sure we spend that on corn farmers in a single week.

DET01

If you’ve never been, parts of Detroit look so bad that you forget you’re in America. So how is the city paying for this arena? Well, it kind of comes from the Detroit Public School system — the Downtown Development Authority, who is footing much of the bill, is allowed to take the school-tax funds for anything related to economic development. Because sports and stuff = thriving economy.

Of course, sports get another perk in Detroit — free water! Who owes the most money to the DWSD?
Palmer Park (city run golf course): $422,295
Joe Louis Arena (city owned arena, current home of the Red Wings): $80,255.25
Ford Field (city owned stadium, home of the Tigers): $55,803.94

Oh, okay. So who is getting their water shut off in Detroit? Just the regular consumers who owe over $150. Look, sports are important. They bring in so much money for Detroit. DWSD can’t just be shutting off the water at arenas and stadiums. Probably all those people not paying their water bills are busy spending their money at the stadiums!! Look at all that cash flowing in from sports! Miguel Cabrera alone is raking in $292 million; I can’t even imagine what that translates into for the Detroit economy. Trickle down!

Of course, the arena will create jobs — 1,100 of them, to be exact. Good! With only 165,488 unemployed people in Detroit, taxpayers will only need to shell out $38,700,000,000 for everyone in Detroit to get a job!

I think Mike Ilitch, the man behind this, has done a lot of Detroit. I don’t hate him. But I know that I do not trust this arena or its promises at all — I expect this to be more gentrification of the immediate area, and a lot less revitalizing. I do not trust that anything will be done correctly in the construction of this arena, given the water bill issue. Detroit has problems that run so deep it’s impossible to create 1,100 jobs and act like something is actually being done. There’s ways to backhandedly get $280 million to rebuild a stadium, but no one can make the argument that buying school and city buses that can actually run in the cold is economic revitalization? Jesus Christ — if you depend on the buses in Detroit in the winter, you’re screwed because half the time it’s too damn cold for them to come get you.

Cities don’t even make money off of stadiums, so this whole thing is a joke. I don’t believe that in an area without real public transit (sorry, PeopleMover), an expensive stadium will change life for most Detroiters. Detroit is a hockey town, but maybe it’s time people sit back and remember that Detroit is also a shipping town. Priorities.

 

 

In honor of next week’s TSA fee increase, here’s a fun game! Guess which ONE of these items I’ve had confiscated from my carry on…and which 2 I’ve flown with, no problems. Out of DCA. You know…the District of Columbia’s airport.

photo (15) copy

I’ll be back next week with an entry about the misery that is the TSA — I’ve spent my week traveling back to Maryland, and delayed flights and bag searches take a lot out of me. In the meantime, follow me on Facebook or Instagram!

Which item do you think is the most dangerous?

Incredibly Irritating Things People Are Doing to Protest Hobby Lobby

Today is an entire day brought to us by The Onion, because the things I’m reading certainly can’t be real life. I lasted a whopping 3 weeks in retail, mostly because I have very little patience for stupid bullshit. Well, thank God I don’t work at Hobby Lobby! “Why, Manda?” you ask. “Do you use one of the 4 forms of birth control their health insurance doesn’t cover?” Pfft, please. I’ve spent the past 8 years working freelance as my own LLC — I don’t even have health insurance.

So what’s the issue? Oh, just people acting like a bunch of assholes by terrorizing people who are paid between $9.50-14 an hour, which is like 1/5 of what they should be getting to deal with stupid shit like rearranging craft letters to spell out pro-choice.

hobbylobbyWhen I had to sort shirts by size, I wanted to blow my fucking brains out. I bet the employees find this really endearing.

Oh, but don’t worry – in case you think that’s just stupid, they also brought condoms to hand out. In the store. Which DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE. I might be out of the health care loop, but is there some magical PPO that gives you free condoms? Are Hobby Lobby employees banned from 7-11?? WHAT POINT ARE THESE PEOPLE EVEN TRYING TO PROVE? Do y’all know why I have this stupid stick in my arm? Partially because I don’t want kids, partially because I get blackout causing migraines if I’m not on birth control. GREAT. Once a month, I’ll just take your stupid condom and use it to help keep myself from chewing off my own tongue while I writhe around on the floor, crying over my cramps and vomiting until my migraine causes me to see nothing but black dots.

“Here, I’ve decided that because you work for Hobby Lobby and make double what the average retail employee makes, you must be really, really stupid. So I bought you these condoms. Because you’re poor. And stupid. Also since I’m not a customer and I’m just here to hand out my free stuff, I’m sure your boss doesn’t want me here. Glad I could make your job more difficult and awkward, and possibly get you in trouble. #GoWomen!”

What a bunch of condescending tools. It’s just belitting the people who work there — and making their jobs and lives more difficult. How presumptuous to walk in, just knowing everyone is so miserable to work there and can’t wait for you to show them the light. How highly you must think of yourself.

Plus, let’s be real. You’re handing out something that goes on a penis. To women. Yes, you’re really helping this whole birth control thing. I’d be WAY more impressed if people went and bought like 10 morning after pills and handed them out. Stick it to the man!

planbMaybe “protestors” could spell out “Plan B” with craft letters, and directly below it fill a clear decorative vase with marbles and one-step pills.

The comments on each article I read (mistake number one: reading news article comments) suggested more crazy, creative, awesome things to do to protest. Like buy things and return them, over and over. That way real customers will have to wait and get angry! Or ask employees where things are and take up a lot of their time; it’ll waste the owners money (paying employees to help people who aren’t making purchases) and certainly won’t annoy the piss out of low paid staff who have to be nice to you.

Hey guys, I’m really getting into the spirit of all these awesome antics. I even have a suggestion! Maybe next we can take spray paint and just draw beautiful graffiti of a uterus over the front door of every Hobby Lobby!

 

Virginia Congressional Candidate so Wealthy, He’ll Drop $100,000 to see Kendall Jones’s Boobies

I thought ridiculous displays of wealth were a serious faux pas for politicians? Well, guess not if it’s for titties! Mike Dickinson, asshat of the CENTURY, is requesting fetish stories and nudes of hunter Kendall Jones to the tune of $100,000.

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Oh my freaking God. First the Prince William police try to take pictures of a teenage boy’s penis. Now this. I am embarrassed and ashamed to have been born in Alexandria. No wonder I claim Texas and Maryland as home.

Of course he’s super defensive and a total asshole…and then in a really bizarre twist, decides to quote Eminem in his own defense?

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Well, much like Eminem…sounds like Dickinson’s brain is dead weight. Maybe he’ll be satisfied with Prince William County’s teenage dick pics instead of boobs.