No Whining Wednesday – Edit Your Life

Welcome back you Non-Whiners! Ya’ll know how we do this, if you’re new to this segment or this blog, please read the first post HERE. Our goal is not to whine, complain, or criticize on Wednesdays.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge
The No Whining Wednesday Badge

So far, we’ve pretty much covered complaining and whining but No Whining Wednesday also means no criticizing.

Criticize – indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way.

One thing about this is that it’s easy to see the faults in others. Even in writing it is difficult to see your own errors (i.e. the need of editors). Sometimes we need to apply this to life in general, that is, edit your life. “Your” being the key word here.

Criticism is sneaky and can roll off the tongue so easily. It can be done in many ways and even more so today than before since technology conceals much and through emojis and semicolons people roll their eyes and smack their lips. Speaking negatively under their breath while they throw up a smiley face.

If we really thought about it, we’d probably discover that we spend most of our day criticizing others.  We criticize the woman taking too long in the grocery line in front of us. We criticize the woman whose pants are too tight or shirt that exposes her breasts. We turn our lips up at the homeless man or the drunkard stumbling down the street. In our own thoughts, we do more criticizing than we’d admit outwardly and let’s not talk about writing! There’s a load of judgment here. The truth is that we can often see the splinter in the eyes of others but not the plank in our own. While we are pointing fingers, we tend to be far worse than the people we’re judging.

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

– Dale Carnegie

When I was in High School, there was the perception that the person who was the loudest and the most critical was the toughest and they often became the most popular. This perception could not have been any further from the truth. The person who talks a lot knows nothing. Likewise, the person who is so quick to judge others is a fool. Be not mistaken, it takes a strong person to be kind, gentle and forgiving in a hateful world. Seeking vengeance and refusing to forgive is just as cocky and critical as condemning someone for what they wear.

Today, focus on editing your own life before you point out so much as a missing hair from someone else’s.

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It’s About You

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The way you treat people is only partly for them, but mostly it’s for you. To bestowe mercy on others, to show love and compassion even to those who aren’t showing it toward you, this is for you. To not judge others harshly helps them sure, but ultimately you are made better and your growth increases. To be tolerant, and sympathetically aware of others feelings is to be understanding. We need more understanding and not fall victim to judging people without compassion because then we easily prove ourselves to be fools, and the same judgment we give, is what we will be given back. This is why it’s not just for others, but also for ourselves.

Sometimes you must step back and look at your actions as if stepping outside yourself. Stepping back and looking at the whole picture. Anyone can respect those who respect them but it takes a uniquely special individual to be kind even when other’s are not. It is not then just about how we treat those who are good to us, but also those who are not. This is what makes us special and sets us apart. What I’ve learned in life in general is to always be teachable. Not always teaching, but always teachable. You can’t think you just have it all together and be so quick to criticize and bash others. Just show love. Be merciful even when people may not deserve it, not necessarily for their sake but mostly for yourself.

Guest Feature – A Modern Day Slave Plantation Exists, and It’s Thriving in the Heart of America – Part 1

This post is part of a 3 day Special Feature Post on ThePBSblog, located under our Articles  and Guest Feature section. The author’s name is Laura Dimon. Laura graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2013. She has been published in the Economist, the Atlantic, and the Daily Beast. I ran across her article on the Prison system and its striking similarity to the Slavery Plantation and thought I’d share it here. However, it is  a lengthy article so I will be breaking it down into 3 separate post to give you room to process the information. I will also wait until after this series (Friday 10/17/14) before adding my own commentary, though you may comment after each segment as you wish.

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It was 1972. Thousands of American troops were battling communist forces in Vietnam. Nixon had won re-election by a landslide, but Watergate would soon usher in his demise. Space travel and technology were advancing rapidly.
Change was brewing across America, but one place stood still, frozen in time: Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola. When Robert King arrived that year, he felt as though he’d stepped into the past.

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Angola sits 50 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. It’s the largest maximum-security facility in the United States and one of the country’s most notorious prisons. In the book The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, the authors wrote, “Tough criminals allegedly broke down when they received a sentence to Angola. … None of them wanted to be sent to a prison where 1 of every 10 inmates annually received stab wounds and which routinely seethed with black-white confrontations.”

 
Angola’s expanse covers a vast 28 square miles — larger than the size of Manhattan. Tucked away in a bend of the Mississippi River, it’s surrounded by water and swamp on three sides. It’s an isolated penal village — the nearest town 30 miles away — and it’s the only penitentiary in the country where staff members live on site. Generation after generation grow up, live and die on Angola’s land.

 

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When King, now 71, arrived at Angola, his first impression of it was that it resembled a slave plantation, he said. And it used to be just that. Its name is derived from the home country of the slaves who used to work the land. Today, the comparison remains sadly accurate: Inmates are disproportionately black. They’re forced into hard labor and monitored closely by armed white staff on horseback. There is a sex slave trade behind the bars and many black inmates are deprived of basic constitutional rights. King landed a tough lot in life: He was born black in Louisiana in 1942. In his 2008 book From the Bottom of the Heap, he wrote, “I was born in the U.S.A. Born black, born poor. Is it any wonder that I have spent most of my life in prison?” He went to Angola when he was 18 for a murder he did not commit and remained there for 31 years, 29 of which he spent in solitary confinement, before he was finally freed in 2001.

*Note: Image Credits: AP, Peter Puna, Robert King