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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

“Racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world…. I look to all people to join the United Nations in our drive to eliminate racism. We must, individually and collectively, stamp out racism, stigma and prejudice.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day for the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2012

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Tolerance and acceptance of diversity starts with ourselves.

More information is here on the UN website.

World Poetry Day

“In a constantly evolving world, a world of rapid change and social transformation, poets have a presence alongside civil movements and know how to alert consciences to the world’s injustices as well as encourage appreciation of its beauty. We can also see potential in new technologies and short messages that circulate on social networks, breathing fresh life into poetry, fostering creativity and the sharing of poems and verses that can help us to engage more fully with the world.”

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Today is the World Poerty Day! You can read more about this day on the United Nations Website.

Live Webcast: Ethics – Educating the Mind and Heart | The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama

There will be a live webcast of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public talk at Delhi University entitled “Ethics – Educating the Heart and Mind” on March 22, 2012 in New Delhi, India, from 2:00pm – 3:30pm Indian Standard Time (GMT+5.30). Live webcast can be viewed at

Live Webcast: Ethics – Educating the Mind and Heart | The Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

A Father’s take on Gender Stereotypes

(This is a comment on my post on Gender Stereoptypes. It is written by a father and he makes such great arguments, I thought it is worth being a post of its own. Here is the link to the author’s blog: Covered by the Dust. Thank you for sharing your views with us.)

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My wife and I worry over gender stereotyping with our daughter… especially before she was born. Everything we bought was gender neutral, but I look over to my 8 month old now and she’s dressed in pink. Ok its leggings and a t-shirt rather than a dress, but still typically ‘girly’. The clothes were a gift

So why did we relax about it and put these clothes on her? Well we came to realise that to impose gender neutrality is still imposition. As Tabitha grows she’ll know she’s a girl as will the world, by hiding her gender the world will not suddenly treat her in a non-gendered fashion… in fact it’ll become more amplified. We don’t buy Tabitha dolls and we never bought our older son an action man. But our boy does have a lot of ‘boyish’ things… he was into Ben 10 so he has some Ben 10 stuff. We try hard not to re-enforce gender stereotypes but nor will we legislate completely what they have… so we dont deny our son a toy on the basis of it being too girly or too boyish. As it turns out our son isn’t at all sporty, he likes to write stories and draw and do a number of things that other boys around him think him strange for, but importantly he doesn’t feel uncomfortable in his skin because as parents we’ve never made it a ‘thing’. So what if a boy wears a bow in a hair and prefers a hand bag to a rucksack… it’d be a mistake to judge against that because of stereotypes… but I do think that it is possible to take it too far the other way and make everything loaded and have meaning as a gendered thing or activity… when to kids it doesn’t even enter their heads, but they can pick up on it from us. I think its just as bad to bring a kid up as being hyper aware of gender through denial as it is to force them into traditional gender roles. Kids should be allowed to be kids, and what kid doesn’t want to clop around in their mums high heels… its funny!

People always mistake tabitha for a boy… even on days when she’s in pink. Thats because physically babies look the same whatever their sex. The social signifiers of hair length isn’t in play yet I suppose but more to the point it says to me that gender isn’t even something at play till much later, any gender worry is totally the imposition of adults.

What I hope to do with both my children as they grow is model and explain how to be the best they can. I hope to demonstrate how to be a good person but also to my son I hope to show how to be a good man, by which I mean that I want him to understand that societal gender disparity is a construct and I want him not to contribute to it. Same with Tabitha.

I certainly think that the story of Sasha and many others like him has noble aims but I’m not sure that it doesn’t contribute to the problem of a child’s gender, treatment and later sexuality being something constructed by outside forces… its just a different set of forces.