"We’re afraid the others will think we’re agringadas because we don’t speak Chicano Spanish. We oppress each other trying to out-Chicano each other, vying to be “real” Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos. There is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience."
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (via cielito-lindo)
How to use your white privilege
If the “passing privilege” person is looking at this blog, this is one thing you can do, if you’re up to it.
Reblogging for excellence.
More passing people, and people who recognize white privilege should do this
for the white folk who ask “but what am i supposed to do about all of this”
soooooooosososososo so good.
the thing that gets me the most is the fact that her 10 year old daughter understands exactly what’s going on. it’s fucking heartbreaking that so many children of color don’t get to be naive about the world, they don’t get to be fragile, we have to just get through shit even when we’re not entirely sure why. That’s why I hate the term ‘strong black/latina woman’ (coming from white people) like fuck, some of us never got the choice, and our mere survival is a testament to our courage.
Growing up in poverty can have long-lasting, negative consequences for a child. But for poor children raised by parents who lack nurturing skills, the effects may be particularly worrisome, according to a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Among children living in poverty, the researchers identified changes in the brain that can lead to lifelong problems like depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress. The study showed that the extent of those changes was influenced strongly by whether parents were nurturing.
The good news, according to the researchers, is that a nurturing home life may offset some of the negative changes in brain anatomy among poor children. And the findings suggest that teaching nurturing skills to parents — particularly those living in poverty — may provide a lifetime benefit for their children.
The study is published online Oct. 28 and will appear in the November issue of JAMA Pediatrics.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers found that poor children with parents who were not very nurturing were likely to have less gray and white matter in the brain. Gray matter is closely linked to intelligence, while white matter often is linked to the brain’s ability to transmit signals between various cells and structures.
The MRI scans also revealed that two key brain structures were smaller in children who were living in poverty: the amygdala, a key structure in emotional health, and the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is critical to learning and memory.
“We’ve known for many years from behavioral studies that exposure to poverty is one of the most powerful predictors of poor developmental outcomes for children,” said principal investigator Joan L. Luby, MD, a Washington University child psychiatrist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “A growing number of neuroscience and brain-imaging studies recently have shown that poverty also has a negative effect on brain development.
“What’s new is that our research shows the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses that the children experience.”
Luby, a professor of psychiatry and director of the university’s Early Emotional Development Program, is in the midst of a long-term study of childhood depression. As part of the Preschool Depression Study, she has been following 305 healthy and depressed kids since they were in preschool. As the children have grown, they also have received MRI scans that track brain development.
“We actually stumbled upon this finding,” she said. “Initially, we thought we would have to control for the effects of poverty, but as we attempted to control for it, we realized that poverty was really driving some of the outcomes of interest, and that caused us to change our focus to poverty, which was not the initial aim of this study.”
In the new study, Luby’s team looked at scans from 145 children enrolled in the depression study. Some were depressed, others healthy, and others had been diagnosed with different psychiatric disorders such as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). As she studied these children, Luby said it became clear that poverty and stressful life events, which often go hand in hand, were affecting brain development.
The researchers measured poverty using what’s called an income-to-needs ratio, which takes a family’s size and annual income into account. The current federal poverty level is $23,550 for a family of four.
Although the investigators found that poverty had a powerful impact on gray matter, white matter, hippocampal and amygdala volumes, they found that the main driver of changes among poor children in the volume of the hippocampus was not lack of money but the extent to which poor parents nurture their children. The hippocampus is a key brain region of interest in studying the risk for impairments.
Luby’s team rated nurturing using observations made by the researchers — who were unaware of characteristics such as income level or whether a child had a psychiatric diagnosis — when the children came to the clinic for an appointment. And on one of the clinic visits, the researchers rated parental nurturing using a test of the child’s impatience and of a parent’s patience with that child.
While waiting to see a health professional, a child was given a gift-wrapped package, and that child’s parent or caregiver was given paperwork to fill out. The child, meanwhile, was told that s/he could not open the package until the caregiver completed the paperwork, a task that researchers estimated would take about 10 minutes.
Luby’s team found that parents living in poverty appeared more stressed and less able to nurture their children during that exercise. In cases where poor parents were rated as good nurturers, the children were less likely to exhibit the same anatomical changes in the brain as poor children with less nurturing parents.
“Parents can be less emotionally responsive for a whole host of reasons,” Luby said. “They may work two jobs or regularly find themselves trying to scrounge together money for food. Perhaps they live in an unsafe environment. They may be facing many stresses, and some don’t have the capacity to invest in supportive parenting as much as parents who don’t have to live in the midst of those adverse circumstances.”
The researchers also found that poorer children were more likely to experience stressful life events, which can influence brain development. Anything from moving to a new house to changing schools to having parents who fight regularly to the death of a loved one is considered a stressful life event.
Luby believes this study could provide policymakers with at least a partial answer to the question of what it is about poverty that can be so detrimental to a child’s long-term developmental outcome. Because it appears that a nurturing parent or caregiver may prevent some of the changes in brain anatomy that this study identified, Luby said it is vital that society invest in public health prevention programs that target parental nurturing skills. She suggested that a key next step would be to determine if there are sensitive developmental periods when interventions with parents might have the most powerful impact.
“Children who experience positive caregiver support don’t necessarily experience the developmental, cognitive and emotional problems that can affect children who don’t receive as much nurturing, and that is tremendously important,” Luby said. “This study gives us a feasible, tangible target with the suggestion that early interventions that focus on parenting may provide a tremendous payoff.”
parental nurturing as public health prevention
To pinpoint why depression messes with memory, researchers took a page from Sesame Street’s book.
The show’s popular game “One of these things is not like the others” helps young viewers learn to differentiate things that are similar – a process known as “pattern separation.”
A new Brigham Young University study concludes that this same skill fades in adults in proportion to the severity of their symptoms of depression. The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they’ve had.
If you’ve ever forgotten where you parked the car, you know the feeling (though it doesn’t mean you have depression).
“That’s really the novel aspect of this study – that we are looking at a very specific aspect of memory,” said Brock Kirwan, a psychology and neuroscience professor at BYU.
Depression has been generally linked to poor memory for a long time. To find out why, Kirwan and his former grad student D.J. Shelton put people through a computer-aided memory test. The participants viewed a series of objects on the screen. For each one, they responded whether they had seen the object before on the test (old), seen something like it (similar), or not seen anything like it (new).
With old and new items, participants with depression did just fine. They often got it wrong, however, when looking at objects that were similar to something they had seen previously. The most common incorrect answer was that they had seen the object before.
“They don’t have amnesia,” Kirwan said. “They are just missing the details.”
This can be a challenge in a number of everyday situations, such as trying to remember which friends and family members you’ve told about something personal – and which ones are still in the dark.
The findings also give an important clue about what is happening in the brain that might explain this.
“There are two areas in your brain where you grow new brain cells,” Kirwan said. “One is the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. It turns out that this growth is decreased in cases of depression.”
Because of this study, we know a little more about what these new brain cells are for: helping us see and remember new experiences. The study appears in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.
dang it this is not fair no wonder i can’t remember 90% of my childhood i got trauma AND depression working against me
Explains why it can feel like you’re on an endless treadmill where nothing varies.
I can’t remember any of eighth grade. That makes sense now.
Experiments performed in the 1960s showed that rearing young animals with one eye closed dramatically altered brain development such that the parts of the visual cortex that would normally process information from the closed eye instead process information from the open eye. These effects can be induced only within a specific period of time—a ‘critical’ period during which the developing nervous system is particularly sensitive to its environment.
Subsequent work has shown that the onset of the critical period in the primary visual cortex requires the maturation of circuits containing neurons that synthesize and release an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Now, Taro Toyoizumi and colleagues from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have presented a theory that explains how this inhibition triggers the critical period.
The theory is based on a computer model of the primary visual cortex containing neurons that receive and process information from the eyes. The model incorporates spontaneous and visually evoked neuronal activity as reported in earlier studies. The simulation also incorporates an activity-dependent form of synaptic plasticity—the process by which connections between neurons are strengthened or weakened in response to neuronal activity.
During early development, spontaneous activity accounts for the majority of activity in the primary visual cortex. With time, however, spontaneous neuronal activity decreases whereas activity evoked by visual experiences increases. The new theory states that the critical period is triggered by the maturation of inhibitory neuronal circuitry, which suppresses the spontaneous activity in the primary visual cortex relative to the activity driven by incoming visual information.
The researchers turned to mice to find evidence to support the theory. Using electrodes to record primary visual cortex activity in freely moving mice, they showed as predicted by theory that the anti-anxiety drug diazepam, which enhances inhibitory activity, lowered the ratio of spontaneous to visual activity in mutant mice with weak inhibition—those lacking the gene encoding glutamic acid decarboxylase-65, an enzyme for synthesizing GABA. Such mice are known not to enter the critical period even in adulthood, but can be induced to do so by administration of diazepam.
Importantly, the theory explains distinct experience-dependent plasticity that takes place before the onset of the critical period, which has been observed in experiments but not explained by other theories. “In the future,” says Toyoizumi, “it would be useful to be able to control developmental plasticity stages by manipulating spontaneous activity in specific brain areas, which could have therapeutic applications.”
"Perhaps feminist disability theory’s most incisive critique is revealing the intersections between the politics of appearance and the medicalization of subjugated bodies. Appearance norms have a long history in western culture, as is witnessed by the anthropometric composite figures of ideal male and female bodies made by Dudley Sargent in 1893. The classical ideal was to be worshiped rather than imitated, but increasingly in modernity the ideal has migrated to become the paradigm which is to be attained. As many feminist critics have pointed out, the standardization of the female body that the beauty system mandates has become a goal to be achieved through self-regulation and consumerism. Feminist disability theory suggests that appearance and health norms often have similar disciplinary goals. For example, the body braces developed in the 1930s to “correct” scoliosis, discipline the body to conform to the dictates of both the gender and the ability systems by enforcing standardized female form similarly to the nineteenth-century corset, which, ironically, often disabled female bodies. Although both devices normalize bodies, the brace is part of medical discourse while the corset is cast as a fashion practice."
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory)
23-year old Nataly Palacios Córdoba was murdered by her boyfriend in August. Her death caused such a shock that her classmates decided to launch the ‘Love doesn’t kill’ campaign.
- Receptionist: Don't you feel like your generation is just lazy?
- Me: Lazy? I'd say apathetic.
- Receptionist: Isn't it the same?
- Me: No. My generation is criticized and toiled with, and I don't see why not - just turn on the TV and watch what they're feeding us. But my generation is not lazy. My generation fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. My generation fought for womens rights in a fury that hadn't been seen since the 19th Amendment. My generation got our first black President elected. My generation fought for Gay rights for the first time in American history. And with all that, we are apathetic, and that's because things aren't going to be better for us down the road. We are the first generation expected to make less than our parents. We are the first generation to see America lose its status as a super power. We've lived through the worst economic times since the Great Depression, and are forced to take out thousands of dollars in student loans at the same time, all while our college degrees slowly turn into a highschool diploma. We've done plenty, and expect nothing. So no, I wouldn't say we're lazy, just apathetic.