MLK Jr. Day, revisited

Today’s not Martin Luther King Jr Day. But I often find myself thinking about him, and what he stood for, and the inequality that I still see today. Well, not inequality per se. Let’s call a spade a spade. Flat out racism. Ugly, dysfunctional, horrid racism. With the most vulgar of words and phrases directed at a very specific group of people, for no other reason than that the perpetrator is of one race and the words are directed at those of another.

I cannot believe the things I see and hear today.

Thanks to Facebook.

Well, I say that sarcastically, but the truth is, I should be thanking fb for opening my eyes to how prevalent it is in modern society. In the city of Cleveland, where I used to live, and I thought was so tolerant and mixed of a city.

I had posted this on my fb on the real MLK Jr Day this year:

I was looking through my old tweets, and found this one. Seems pertinent to the holiday today. With the day off work & school, spend it with your children to talk about race relations. What once was. What *you* believe it to be today. What your hope for relations in their life. Research the topic. It’s the least you can do for a man who “fought” tirelessly to bring it to light; and you get a day off for it. I’d love to hear your thoughts too, if you care to share….

I just want people to understand. But the only way to understand is if we talk about it, and are willing to listen to others.

Related wonderful link:
Letter from Birmingham Jail – there are many re-prints of this letter, but this one is my favorite.

 

n word
Real sign made by a real Cleveland area teen.

 
Dozens of Cleveland area high school students attended the City Club of Cleveland’s Youth Forum on Jan. 15th to talk about issues of racism, violence, and police brutality in the wake of the shooting death of 12-year old Tamir Rice. The photo above is one of them. If you’d like to see more reactions (pictures and video), go here: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/cleveland_students_racism_viol.html#0

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My “friend”, W Kamau Bell

w kamau bell1So, he’s not really my friend in real life, in that he doesn’t know he’s my friend. But I’m his friend.

Have you ever liked someone so much that you felt you know them, and feel their pain? I have so much love & respect for W. Kamau Bell, and feel the need to share what happened to him on his birthday.w kamau bell2

I’m such a big fan of his, that when he said he was canceling his tour due to the impending birth of his 2nd daughter, I had nothing but mad respect for him. I mean, how could you not admire a father putting his family first?

 

w kamau bell3

Here’s his post about his birthday:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! HAVE SOME RACISM FROM ELMWOOD CAFE!

President Obama’s SOTU 2015

You know how much I respect my POTUS. I did live tweet the State of the Union address tonight, which can be seen to the right for the time being. As I’ve done in the past, I like to have my own personal transcript of his speech so I can come back to it in the future.

Speech after the jump…. Continue reading

“It’s not racist!” – Except for, it totally IS racist!

Happy Opening Day, Cleveland!

Thank you for reminding the country of how racist we can be, but it’s so instilled, that we don’t even see it as racism! Case in point, this happened today:

Fullscreen capture 8232014 44927 PM.bmp

Since I just am so tired of trying to explain how this is racist, I’m linking to the Cleveland Scene article they wrote on it.

“It’s Not Racist!” And Other Responses to Wahoo Protesters at Home Opener

And here’s a shirt I saw at Kohl’s while shopping (below, from my own instagram). I found this shirt so disgustingly offensive, I had to share it. This made me stop, and walk around the ENTIRE kids’ section, just looking for a shirt without the Chief Wahoo on it. NOT A ONE. I was in the kids’ section. So, this is to instill this same brand of racism into the next generation. I don’t think I feel comfortable shopping at Kohl’s anymore.

kid gets away with murder, literally

I was in TX last month visiting my new favorite person in the world! My sister just had a baby, y’all!!

Anyway, in TX, I saw something on the news about a 16-yr old boy who was driving drunk & killed 4 people. So, when I came back home, I looked it up to see what came of it. Apparently, it was a little while ago, and this is what I found:

pic links to article
pic links to article

FYI if you’re a self-righteous (but creepy) mom

To the mom who is overly obsessed with the dress of teenage girls.  Maybe change your priorities so that your righteous, perfect little boys don’t see girls as you do.

offensive post (links to actual post - feel free to go & leave a comment)
offensive post (links to actual post – feel free to go her post & leave a comment)

Also, in this post, why am I seeing a random picture of your chaste boys shirtless & flexing?  Is this post about muscle tone, or your recent vacation day to the beach?  No, it’s a judgmental post on what teenage girls wear in pictures posted on the internet.  So… um… why did you chose THIS post to put up such pictures of your boys?

Being a woman in this world is tough.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a global trend to disrespect, degrade, declassify, and rape women.  There’s a rape culture in the US, where comedians do stand-up routines where they make jokes about rape.  Women are *literally* paid less than their male counterparts for the same work put forth.

Raising a young lady in this world, a world that objectifies women, is tough.  [I am including you in this statement, because it is clear that you are objectifying these young girls]

I have a lot of little girls in my life.  From newborn girls that my friends have, to teenage nieces.  Guess what?  I make a concerted effort to NOT tell them them how cute they are.  They are FREAKIN ADORABLE.  And yet, it takes so much willpower for me to not say that everytime I see them.  Instead, I tell them how SMART they are.  How FUNNY.  How CHARMING.  And CREATIVE.  That they are STUBBORN & SASSY, but I wouldn’t trade that for the world, because so am I, and we are all FORCES.  Forces for change.  Forces to be reckoned with.  Forces that will bestow compassion and love unto the world.

When raising a young girl, you tell her to hold her head up high and stand up straight, with your shoulders back.  Well, I guess you see this pose as “a seductress with an arched back”.  Why don’t you see her as I do?  And because of the way you see her, you push that viewpoint onto those impressionable young boys that you’re raising.  By your sexualizing these young gals, you’re making them sexualize the girls as well.  Even if they weren’t in the first place.  Why are you putting this spin on the girls?

People dress differently in different parts of our own country, let alone the world.  When you looked at pictures in old National Geographic magazines, of tribal/aborigine people, did you sexualize them?  I know I didn’t.  Why is this objectification of women/girls the first thing that comes into your head when you look at pictures?  Also, what makes you not think that these pictures of your boys & husband (??) in this post would NOT be seen in the same light?  What an odd combination – this judgmental post on pictures with the particular pictures you chose.

Maybe teach your boys to not judge people by how they dress.  Maybe they dress horrid.  Maybe they are completely covered up – does that make them prudes?  If they show skin, does that make them loose?

It seems to me that you are looking through your son’s fb news feed, actively searching for pictures that you think might be provacative, then bringing more attention to them by hiding those friends of theirs.  What do you think this accomplishes?  You realize that they can still go to that friend’s page, & they will likely inspect that picture, scrutinizing it to comprehend why it is so offensive to you?  Do you want them to not be friends at all with this girl?  So then, you’re teaching young men of tomorrow to shun women who may dress immorally (as defined by you).  To judge, jury, & sentence women based on dress?  But you don’t want us judging your boys, right?

Girls are raised from such a young age with these societal ideals of beauty that they must live up to.  In every country.  The view of beauty changes depending on culture, but all young girls face it.  OUR GIRLS JUDGE THEMSELVES ENOUGH.  THEY DON’T NEED YOU.  Or your teaching your boys how to judge them.

Why are you not focused on raising your boys to respect women.  Not to look at them as physical beings, but as complex personalities.

public_shaming_051013-400x470

It’s not the responsibility of all the teenage girls to look and dress how you deem appropriate.  However, it IS your responsibility as the mother of boys to make sure they grow up to treat others with respect.  Not to differentiate between how they view other boys or girls.

What if your son is gay?  Would it be inappropriate for them to be friends then with a young man who, say… posts a picture of himself and his brothers & father, shirtless & flexing on a beach?  Wouldn’t your gay son find that a sexually-charged photo; one that would result in the blocking of that friend?

If you had faith in that you raised your sons to respect others for who they are on the inside, by the ‘content of their character’ instead of the physical package or dressing, you should trust them enough to view others in the proper light.

I’m not saying you’re a creep, I’m just saying your creepy.

Geography is HARD.

You know how hard relationships can be, right? Relationships are hard. Well, take a massive relationship, ie a whole country. And work on that one. Countries are constantly changing.

I’ve seen a lot of ppl on fb & twitter, really mad about folks mixing up Chechnya and the Czech Republic. Which I can get. Let’s be honest, those Eastern European countries keep changing around. It was Czechoslovakia, then split to the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1 January 1993). There used to be Yugoslavia – now it’s Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. And when I say that, it seems like I’m saying Yugoslavia split in 3. But no, that’s TWO different countries; Montenegro is one, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is the other. BUT, and correct me if I’m wrong, Montenegro used to be called something else. I don’t remember what, but it had an “and” and was attached to another country circa 2003-2005, and then they also split. It was “something and Montenegro”….. I think maybe “Serbia and Montenegro” was the name of the country? I very specifically remember them constantly changing was a pain for me at work, b/c I kept having to update how countries names were listed, and have them exactly as they appeared for the Federal INS.

Eastern Europe 1956
Eastern Europe 1956

Eastern Europe 2013
Eastern Europe 2013

Anyway, I’m just saying, I can understand the confusion.

Also, I can relate to being of an ethnicity, and having everyone confuse that ethnicity with another. If you recall, I’m Indian. When asked my race, and I say “I’m Indian”, I have heard before “red dot or feather?” as a legitimate question.

In fact, here is a REAL CONVERSATION I once had at work. I was working late, and there used to be this maintenance man there that gave me the creeps. I was the only one in the office. He came in (did I mention that he was also smelly?), and here is out conversation:

Guy: Working late, huh?
Me: Yeah.
Guy: You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you, what are you?
Me: ..uh… huh? .. ??? [I really don’t know how to respond to the question, “what are you”]
Guy: You know, what are you? Like are you Hispanic?
Me: Oh. I’m Indian.
Guy: OH! Yeah, I think I have some Indian in my family. Like Cherokee?
Me: No, I’m Indian-Indian.
Guy: … what?
Me: You know, like from the country, India.
Guy: Buuuutttt…. you don’t have a red dot on your head.
Me: [now I’m just staring at him in disbelief] What?
Guy: I thought those kinds of Indians had a red dot on their head.
Me: You know that’s just decoration, right? Like a sticker, or w/ a makeup pencil/marker drawn on….
Guy: Reeeaally!?!? OH!
[Turns out, he thought all Indian ppl were BORN with a dot on their forehead!]

Anyway, so I can empathize with someone for whom their ethnicity is a strong part of their identity, and it feels insulting when others don’t really recognize it, or lump a bunch of others into your culture; when, to you, they are SO DIFFERENT.

So, yes, this is the perfect time to educate others on the fact that Chechnya and the Czech Republic are 2 separate countries. It relates to current events, and if ppl can understand it now, they will remember it, as it’s something important that relates to their world today.

However, some ppl are getting very irritated. Re-emphasizing over & over again that they are Czech, and not Chechen. I get it, I really do. This was my ENTIRE childhood. I lived this for decades, here in the US. But you have to be careful how you do this. If you keep saying you’re Czech, not Chechen, after every statement you make on fb or twitter, it comes across as your separating yourself from Chechens because they are…. I don’t know the proper way to put it. Not ‘inferior’, per se. But you’re obviously separating b/c you are offended someone would think you are Chechen. I get that it’s a statement of national/cultural pride. But b/c it’s never been brought up before, and is now mentioned daily in posts, it comes across as derogatory to Chechens.

But 2 bad seeds don’t make all Chechens bad ppl. I know we all know that. And we all have heard enough to know that there’s a lot of violence in Chechnya. But that doesn’t make all Chechens bad or violent people.