Scan the posts of Bell Tolling and you will quickly find a smattering of topics surrounding social good: global health, human rights, social justice, international development, evidential science, humanitarianism, art, journalism, etc et etc. It seems unfocused at times, because it is. Bell Tolling is media manifestation of the tendency within each of us to care about more things than we can possibly devote ourselves to. Recognizing this tendency in myself, I started a blog so that I could do something (namely, learn and write) about all my cares.
Furthermore, Bell Tolling is meant as an étincelle de la pensée (a spark of thought); it’s meant, if nothing else, to introduce novelty by providing a new topic or an old topic bereft of it’s common assumptions and selfcentric perspectives. Ideally, such posts will now and again fuel the flame of someone else’s curiosity, activism, or action.
A few years ago I realized, cognitively and emotionally, that in relation to women throughout history and even the world today, I am a minority. The rights that I enjoy as an upper middle-class white woman in the United States have been enjoyed by a statistically minuscule proportion of my sex…and I have done nothing more to earn them than my 15th century or Somalian counterparts.
I, for instance, have the right to education, to life, to citizenry, to freedom of speech, to travel alone and to fly the plane, to run for office, to a fair and speedy trial, to own land, to talk back to my husband (though I ought not do this as much I am prone), to equal pay, to worship how and what I feel, to honor my body and to prosecute those who don’t, to stay up late, to go out with my friends (be they male or female), to start a business, to compete in the Olympics, to testify in court…and many other rights coinciding. This is to say nothing of my access to healthcare, food, water, heat, paved roads, technology and a home.
Yet the awareness of my minority status diminishes the enjoyment of it. Now, more than ever, when I hear stories of unequal opportunity, I feel a pang of personal effrontery.
So I try to no longer ask for whom the bell tolls.