Episode 5: Won't you be my Neighbor

In this episode I will be discussing the Fair housing act in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, as well as the 2017 Pinterest home trends, and the new best friend of parents with young children, the Octopus Watch.

Picture From: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/06/22/gutting-voting-rights-act-supreme-court-looking-fair-housing-act/

Picture From: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/06/22/gutting-voting-rights-act-supreme-court-looking-fair-housing-act/

Show Notes:

Link to Pinterest 100 for 2017

This Week's Fun Find:  The Octopus Watch

Show Transcript:

Note:  I may not be able to include show transcripts for every episode due to time constraints, but I will try to do so whenever I am able to accommodate the hearing impaired, and those who prefer reading over listening.

Welcome to hang your hat.  Ideas that are close to home.  This is episode 5:  Wont you be my neighbor. 

In this fortnight’s episode I will be giving my opinion on the 2017 Pinterest Trend Report, and in Honor of Martin Luther King Juniorday, I will discuss the passing of the fair housing act, the last big piece of legislation from the civil rights era.  Last, I have a new fun find that everyone with young kids or difficulty managing time should consider buying.

The 2017 Pinterest trend report is out.  Some of the trends I expected, some surprised but delighted me, and some I truly hope they are wrong about.  Lets take a look at the 2017 trends.

Pinterest posted trends from many areas of interest in their100 for 2017 group of pins - I will link to them all in the show notes, but I am only going to cover their 10 home decor released trends.  

First - Indoor Vines.  I think this may be as opposed to other indoor plants, like the Fiddle Leaf Fig, that have been popular in recent years.  I love indoor plants of any kind, including vines, so I was pretty happy to see this trend.  If you are looking to get on the band wagon, a great indoor vine that even works in low light areas is pothos.  My personal favorite is the Neon variety (that is it’s actual name).  It has solid, bright green leaves that start out a bright, almost yellow green, then darken slightly to a still vibrant medium green.  I think it looks far more playful than the dark green or variated varieties that are more common.

Next trend, Navy is the New Black for Home Decor .  I Honestly thought this was a 2016 trend because I have been seeing so much navy used in home decor lately, but I am glad that the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping.   I especially like navy cabinetry.  I have seen it used a lot lately on lower kitchen cabinets with white uppers, which looks great.   The darker lower cabinetry really ground the kitchen, and it doesn’t seem quite as airy as a totally white kitchen, and the navy is a little softer than black, so it doesn’t feel like a starkcontrast with white.

Wood Tile was the next trend.  Wood tile is tile that has been colored and textured to look like wood, and if you haven’t seen it lately, it is actually pretty convincing.  Some of the high end wood tile seems just like wood until you touch it - and then it is far too cold.  I love wood tile for flooring.  In humid areas, like Florida, where I live, it is a really ideal flooring option, because, unlike wood or laminate, it is not damaged when is gets wet.  I was really surprised when I saw the pinterest example of this trend however.  It showed reclaimed wood look tile on a fire place surround, where brick would normally be.  Using reclaimed wood on vertical surfaces felt old a year ago, and using wood look tile rather than reclaimed wood does not freshen up the trend - it makes it worse.  At least reclaimed wood doesn’t have the environmental impact of a newly produced good, but wood tile doesn’t have that going for it.   In my opinion - wood look tile should stay on the floor.

Thank you Fixer Upper for trend #4 - Farmhouse is the new shabby chic.  I love the show fixer upper, they have done some seriously beautiful transformations, and I love the light airy colors mixed with reclaimed cozy decor.  While farmhouse isn’t my favorite decorating style, I can defiantly appreciate it, and I will be glad to see more of it in the coming year.

The next trend was actually the 2016 Oxford English dictionary’s word of the year HOO-gah - spelled Hygee.  HOO-gah is a danish concept that roughly translates to cozy contentment.  You usually see it used to describe scenes with wooly blankets, warm fires, and big cups of coffee.  I like all of the examples of HOO-gah I have seen, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it, but according to the BBC, pinterest may be behind the times.  The new it word is le-gam spelled lagom.  It is a swedish word that translates to just enough or just right.  So look forward to moderation in 2017.

The next trend was Marble Wallpaper.  I don’t like anything about this trend.  First I am not a fan of faux finishes.  Unless they are really well done they usually look cheap.  Second, wall paper is the bane of my existence.  It is expensive, it doesn’t age well, and it is a giant pain in the butt when it needs to be removed.  If you participate in this trend, please, please, please use removable wallpaper.  You will be glad you did in 2018 when marble wallpaper is no longer in fashion.

With small houses becoming more and more popular, I think the next trend, Acrylic Decor, it just going to get more popular throughout 2017.  Since Acrylic is see through, it doesn’t have the same visual weight as opaque furniture, so it appears to take up less space in a room.  This is ideal in small homes that can easily appear overcrowded even with minimal furniture.  My favorite piece of acrylic furniture is a sleek and modern dining room chair.  I think they look especially nice when juxtaposed with a rustic or reclaimed table.

In 2016 gold hardware was all the rage, now Copper is the new gold.  I love both of these hardware finishes, and I am really there are more options for hardware finishes than ever before.  The hardware finish that I am watching for in 2017 is something that is being called silver.  It is mixture of gold and silver, and it looks really unusual and beautiful.  I started seeing it near the end of 2016, and I think we are going to see a lot more of it in 2017.

Heated Floors were the next trend.  As a resident of Florida these were not on my radar at all, but I did a little research on them, and I am now a believer.  Most heated floors use radiant heat.  Radiant heat is more efficient than baseboard heaters, and is usually more efficient than forced air heating (because there is no heat loss through duct work), and unlike forced air systems they don’t kick up allergens.  I am not sure about the costs of radiant heat vs other heating systems, but if the costs are comparable, radiant heat seems like the way to go. 

Ok, last trend for 2017.  This one threw me for a loop, because I don’t understand how this is a trend - so directly from the pinterest 100 for 2017 list:  New Night stands and Tapestries give bedrooms a mini facelift.  I guess the trend is using nightstands and tapestries to update a room, but I don’t know when that has ever not been the case.  Maybe we will see more interesting and inventive nightstands in 2017, which would be welcome. 

Let me know what you think about the 2017 pinterest trends.  You can email me at hangyourhatpodcast.com.

(Recording from LBJ's 1968 Speech on the passing of the Fair Housing Act)

That was Lendon B Johnson, and it was April, 1968.  The Fair Housing Act, the last big Civil Rights Era piece of legislation had just been passed into law,  only a week after the assassination of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.   

The fair housing act made illegal:

  • The Refusal to sell or rent a home to any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin. 
  • Create different terms or conditions for the sale or rental of a home that discriminated based on race, color, religion, or national origin.
  • Advertising the sale or rental of a home in a way that discriminated based on race, color, religion,  or national origin.
  • And keeping someone from enjoying their home by threatening, or intimidating them based on discriminatory reasons or retaliating against a person or organization that promotes fair housing.  

In short, it tried to let people live where they wanted, and enjoy where they lived no matter the color of their skin, their religion, or where they came from.

The fair housing act had been intended to be a follow up to the civil rights act, which had been passed in 1964, but it had been delayed due to contentious debate in the Senate.  It passed the Senate in early April 1968, thanks to the hard work of Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen (who defeated a southern filibuster), and Senator Edward Brooke, who was the first African American elected to the senate by popular vote.  During the senate hearings, Brooke, had shared the story of his own struggle to buy a home he wanted after returning from WW2.

The senate voted to approve the Fair Housing act on April 4, the same day that Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.

The Act then passed to Congress.  President Lyndon Johnson used the civil unrest following Martin Luther King Jr’s death, to pressure congress into passing the Fair Housing Act.  King had been associated with he act from the beginning, and Johnson argued that the passing of the act would be a fitting tribute to the great man.  

Congress passed the act on April 10th, just 6 days after King’s death.  President Johnson signed the act into law the next day, on the 11th.

Since then the fair housing act has been expanded to protect people from discrimination based on sex, disability, and familial status (or the presence of children in the household).  It’s enforcement has also been strengthened.

However, Despite the fact that housing discrimination is now illegal, many neighborhoods in america are still segregated.   And the reasons for the segregation are not always clear.  

One possibility is the wage gap between minorities and whites.  Due to reduced buying power minorities are often concentrated in low income areas.  Minorities that are able to buy in higher income, mostly white, areas often do.  

Self segregation is also a possibility however.  Some minorities chose to live in racially segregated areas.  This is especially true of new immigrants, in places like china towns, who may want to live among people that share their culture or language.  There is also some evidence that African Americans self segregate, but the reasons are less clear.  It could be that primarily white neighborhoods seem less friendly to African Americansthan primarily minority neighborhoods.  It certainly does seem like that might be the case - since whites also self segregate by moving out of neighborhoods when they start to become more racially diverse.  That doesn’t sound like a welcoming attitude to me.

Still, with all of that being said, racial diversity in housing has improved.  We have come a long way from the days of bus boycotts, and forced integration in schools.  As the world becomes more insular, when countries close their doors to refugees, and the disabled are publicly mocked by politations, when random airport screenings are not random, and when the freedom of movement for certain religious groups is threatened, take a moment tothink about all of the progress we have made, and don’t let that progress be lost.  Love your neighbors, whether at home, at work, or even on the bus, appreciate diversity, and remember the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

To end on a lighter note, I have a new fun find, the Octopus watch.  The octopus watch is a smart watch designed for kids, but I think it would be good for anyone that has difficulty with time management and likes fun icons.  It, of course tells time, with icons or a digital or analogue readout, and it is also a scheduler.  When it is time for kids to do things, like feed the dog or brush their teeth, it pops up a little reminder icon.  I think this is great for kids that are still learning tell time, but also like to know what and when things are going in.  I think it helps them feel a bit more in control of the situation, which is really important for some kids.  It also keeps parents from having to constantly remind kids to do things they already know they should be doing, but may not realize it is the correct time to do it.

All of the reactions to this product that I have read so far seem either very positive or very negative.  Some parents, particularly the parents of developmentally disabled kids, really seem to love the Octopus watch, and think it would benefit their kids.  Other’s really seem to hate it.  Many people thought that the watch would take over the parenting of a child.  I’ll admit, this didn’t make sense to me, it is not as if the watch could teach the kids how to do the tasks it is reminding them to do.

I have two kids, if you read the blog, you will know them as the boy and the girl.  The girl has never been bothered by plans or schedules changing on her - she is, as they say, down for whatever.  The boy, on the other hand thrives on routine.  He really likes to know what the plan is and hates deviation from it.

I don’t think this watch would have benefited the girl very much, but the boy would have LOVED this when he was younger.  I think that Knowing that his day was mapped out, and that he would be reminded to do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it wouldwould have relieved a lot of anxiety for him.

The Octopus Watch is currently available for pre order on indiegogo, and costs $69.  They expect it to ship out May 2017.

Thank You for listening, I hope you enjoyed the Show.  If you did, please rate the show or leave a review on I tunes.  I will be back in two weeks with the next episode.  If you would like to get in touch in the meantime please send me an email at hangyourhatpodcast@gmail.com.  You can also visit the website hangyourhatpodcast.com.

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