2013-06-20

It's Buttery Racism Y'all!!!!!! Paula Deen Messing Up


Oh Paula.  We wanted to believe in your buttery goodness, but alas, the butter made everything too salty.   Now we have the deposition, and it isn't looking good.   Paula and her brother were sued by a former manager who worked in their restaurant.  She accused them of being racist, and Paula's brother sexually harassing her.   She claimed that Paula wanted black servers at a wedding party, so they could be like slaves, told racist jokes, and used the n-word.   Her brother apparently wanted the employees at the restaurant to watch porn with him.

This is just a hot mess y'all!!! But are we surprised an old white southern woman is racist?   Nah.    I'm not surprised.  I'm not angry, but I am disappointed, because as this story surfaced, it was dismissed as fake.  It's like the accusation and barometer of racism has a burden of proof, and often times the person who is experiencing the racism has to be responsible for proving the acts of racism happened.

Now mind you this story first broke out on the National Enquirer.  We know this isn't a news organization well known for it's high standards, but once we started seeing this same story on multiple news sites, we should have thought that maybe the story was legitimate, but no, it was quickly dismissed as botched journalism or something done a satire site.   As one person online put it, "I get tired of folks always crying racism!".  I get tired of it too, but you know why I get tired of people crying about racism?  Because I'm tired of racism.   People in most cases wouldn't cry about racism, if racism didn't exist.

Why is it in our country, the burden of proof lies on the oppressed,be it women, minorities, etc?  Why are we good at trying to shame people into shutting up when injustices happen?   

2013-06-17

Finding Utopia



My husband and I have discussed over the last few years that we needed to move.  We've been in the same house for ten years. It's a great starter home, and it's ok, but we want to move to a different area.  We also feel living in republican land is probably not the best for a liberal, atheist, interracial couple with a biracial child.   We also have other issues. Like we need probably a little more space because my husband does work from home, and I'd like an actual game room for my daughter to put her toys instead of our house looking like a toys r us during Christmas every day. I'd also like a rear entry garage, as I think it just makes a house look better.   Now we have a budget, so we can't build our multi million dollar home where ever we'd like, but we have a decent budget and hope to get the house we really would want, and not something to settle for.  

Schools I find is one of the most important factors, but I find, my definition of a good school is different from most. I want and I NEED diversity for my daughter. I know all too well the experiences of being one of the only or few black kids in a school, and for the most part it was ok, but there were other factors, such as crazy teachers, students who ask dumb questions and say dumb things, and the feeling of isolation you get when you, yourself are already awkward and lonely to feel further isolated because there is one thing that people are always bringing up and aware of, your "otherness". I also find the wealth of the student body tends to be important to others.  It's not to me, as I've attended schools full of wealthy kids, and they are just as fucked up, as the poor kids.  They suffer from abuse, they have drug issues, they are psycho, just like the poor kids, they just have parents with more resources, time, and knowledge to correct the behavior.   I'm not saying putting my kid in a "poor school" is my ideal, but the average income of an area, is not going to make me think it's better just because the kid's parents make good money.  That to me doesn't make a better school, or one that has "poor kids" bad.  My husband went to Dallas schools and he's just fine.  Not saying put your kid in DISD, but your kid's success is not solely dependent on what the kid's parents have.  I also find, I live in Texas, we rank last in high school diplomas.  We spend less on our students than most other states.  We're also in the middle when it comes to the quality of education we get compared to other states.   What the essentially means is this, even if I put my kids in the best schools in Texas, more than likely their education isn't going to be all that great anyway.  Yeah that stings, but it's the truth.   It's one of the reasons why we're contemplating leaving the state.   There are a myriad of others, Rick Perry, religious nut jobs, gun toting crazies, rampant poverty and wage gaps, and tea party psychos. I'm just saying, we got some issues, and I'm sure most other states do too, but I want a state with different issues.  Maybe they are still debating medical marijuana, I'm ok with that.  

Religion. I'm not religious, and where I'm from it's not uncommon for someone to ask you what church you go to.  Our governor just signed some stupid ass "Merry Christmas" bill, which was a waste of time and money and to appease to the religious nutjobs. I'm not really all that cool with knowing we still have laws barring atheists from running for public office.   I need a place that is accepting of ALL religions, not just Christianity, and accepting of those who aren't religious at all, like my family.  

I need a place with political diversity.  The republican echo chamber is why I blame politics for being as insane as they are now.   I do not know how many times I've met republicans who put their kids in public schools, who take out government loans to pay for their college, proclaim "I just want to be taken care of by the government", even though I'm not being taken care of by the government.  It seems over the years the republican party has gone far right, and the moderates republicans are no longer moderate.  I need to be around republicans with some damn common sense.  I also need to be around some nice liberals and Democrats, and not all the think they are moderate Ayn Rand reading libertarians who live in some weird utopia of equality that doesn't exist.

It needs to be somewhat affordable, so California is out.   Well not all of California, just like any major metropolitan area.   We want to be able to live in our house, not be prisoners in it.  We want to go on vacations, do activities during the weekend, and you know, live life in the house we have.  

I'd like to have a house close to the park, just so my kid would have a nice place to play.

I'd like to avoid an HOA, because working for a company that managed HOA's I saw a lot of horror stories I'd rather avoid, not all HOA's are bad, but I don't think an HOA should be able to take your house and sell it because you don't pay your yearly dues.  That's just scary to me.  

A decent job market for when I go back to work would be nice, as well as ready access to higher education.  I think towns with colleges and universities tend to appeal to me because they do tend to have some diversity, as well as some culture, not guaranteed, but a nice idea, none the less.  

All in all, I have no idea with this utopia is, but if anyone knows, please let me know, and we'll consider it, as long is it is in the continental United States or Canada. 

2013-06-15

Why Cheerios Make People Mad


By now, a lot of people have seen this commercial.  Apparently, a lot of people are upset by this commercial. Why would they be upset about a commercial about cereal?   Because the family is multi-racial.   In 2013, people are upset about multiracial families?   But why? BECAUSE AMERICA ISN'T POST RACIAL.  

Multicultural families are nothing new.  It's been legal in all states to be inter-racially married since 1967.  Biracial kids were not created in 1967, and America has always had the evil miscegenation.  We've had laws dating back as far as the 17th century preventing miscegenation, when America was just a cluster of colonies.  So why are people still mad about it?    I'm guessing it's a few things.  

Black people are portrayed in television in a variety of ways, one of those ways is biracial.   Watch the Cosby Show, Family Matters, My Wife and Kids.  You'll see a trend, there are characters on this show who are portrayed as black, but really aren't, or if they are  black, they're light skinned.   This is done to "mainstream" "black shows".    It's done to make people more comfortable, similar to when house Negroes were typically mixed race or light skinned and were chosen because they were more "visually appealing" to their white masters than their darker counterparts who worked in the field, while getting darker working in the hot sun.  I don't think they used sun screen a lot. Of course, it could be because they were related to their white masters.  Regardless of why, lighter skinned people were particularly used to represent black people to appeal to white people.   It would also explain why I would run into white people who think I'm the darkest thing in the world.  Like Yaphet Khotto black.  So now we're actually explaining where all these light skinned black people came from, it makes people uncomfortable.

There is mass white hysteria about losing their "country" and becoming a "minority", and this commercial confirms it.   The media is at fault with this one.   I've seen more than a few news stories about whites becoming the minority.  It feeds into the complex of white, and then everything else being less and "other". Us blacks, asians, hispanics, etc. are being lumped into one big group in an Us (meaning blacks, hispanics, asians, etc.) vs. White (which just means white people).  White people are worthy of being singled out, while minorities aren't, we're just some faceless enemy to be concerned about, and we know those "others" aren't individual and are all working together in some plot to win a race war against white people.  White people still are the majority of Americans.  This has not changed for a long time.  However, they are shrinking from being a huge majority, and this makes people uncomfortable, too.  We also live in a world where there are people who seem truly upset at the concept of multiculturalism.

So it's 2013, and post racial America is still racist.  Surprised?  I'm not. 

Raising a Little Angry Black Woman

It's already starting.  My "black girl raised among white people" PTSD is surfacing with my daughter.   Now let me start with this, my daughter is three.  She is a normal three year old.  She loves to play, will give hugs and kisses freely, and sometimes can be the sweetest thing in all the world. She knows to say "please" and "thank you", she knows to say "sorry" when she sees she has upset someone, and she recognizes when people are upset, and will offer up a hug when she sees others in pain.  Other times she can NOT be the sweetest thing in the world. She's not good at sharing, sometimes she plays too rough, and she has some epic temper tantrums over the smallest of things.  She's human, and even though I think she's perfect, I know she's not, and she is going to have some growing pains, and it's going to my job as a parent to make sure she learns the golden rule, "Do unto others as they would do unto you."  I want my child to know empathy, I want her to share her toys, and I want her to be nice to everyone.  However, I do not want her to slink into being a scapegoat, and I don't want her normal three year old behavior to be interpreted as being overly aggressive or seen as a negative because of the color of her skin.   I also want to defend and protect her from such nonsense, as a black girl who grew up around white people can attest,  black girls who show confidence, tend to be viewed negatively, and are discouraged from doing what white kids have been allowed to do, and are praised for.

Growing up I was a good student, I made really good grades, I was a pretty outgoing student in kindergarten, but I was also sent to the principal's office more than a few times because I talked in class.  I also went to a 99% white Christian private school in Beaumont, TX, and there could be quite a few explanations as to why I was one of the best kids in math, and could read at a much higher grade level than kindergarten.  Thanks Hooked On Phonics!!!!!!! By high school though, I was still a good student, but in school I was very quiet, I didn't answer questions unless called upon, and I overall was just very anti student participation.   I didn't trust teachers, even though I had a mother for one, and nothing major happened it was just the little things.  It was the going to the principal's office for talking to much, it was getting the teacher in third grade who lost my in class quizzes which I made ALL one hundreds on, and giving me a zero.  It was the year I was put in remedial math because I had a seventy nine mid six week average.  The next year I was put back in the "normal classes", and by high school I had taken college level math, and tested out of most of the basic maths in college; because I HATE math with a red hot passion. I have no need for it outside of the basic stuff, except when I worked statistical data, which I like.  I like statistics, that makes me weird, and I embrace it.  I so digress, as per usual ::sigh::   Needless to say by high school my mantra was just not to talk period, as it never did any good, and the school and teachers were going to do what they wanted to do, no matter what I accomplished, and what I did.   It doesn't mean I didn't have some great teachers, I did, I had wonderful teachers who didn't see me as loud and disruptive for answering questions, but the handful that did I remember fondly, and I am a bit angrier I let them become the reason I didn't enjoy school more.

In the present I'm starting to see it rear it's ugly head.  It's going to get uglier as time progresses, even for my little biracial daughter.   I know it's post racial America, and everyone is all good, but it's 2013, and we still have people angry about a Cheerios commercial where there is an interracial couple, and a biracial child, actually being portrayed as a biracial child (that in and of itself is another post).   My child has been accused of biting, when I know she doesn't bite.  She never learned, because she was once bitten by a kid, and the few times she tried to do it, all she knew to do was put her lips against your skin.  She tried to bite me this way once, I had no idea what she was doing until the third or fourth time, and then even that sad, pathetic attempt at a bite was punished and corrected.   She was about a year and a half year old.   Sometimes she doesn't want to share with her friends, and that is expected, she's three, but sometimes it's her friends who don't want to share with her, and as my PTSD rises, my reaction is to just let the other kid have it, upsetting my own kid, which is my mistake, I should stand up for my kid, I shouldn't allow her to think I would never ever protect her, and that is something I need to work on, and it seems whenever another kid is excluded, it's due to my kid, who is always said to say other's can't play, but I've never seen it, and my PTSD then kicks in, and I wonder exactly what has really happened, as my kid has been excluded as well, but I just never bring it up, again my PTSD shining through, and that is me failing my kid.

I totally understand she is three years old, I understand she is going to have conflicts with other kids, and I know that more than likely they can and will work it out on their own, but I always worry, I don't want my kid being targeted, and I mostly don't want her to feel that she has the right to do what all the other kids do, without being labeled as a nuisance or troublemaker.     

2013-06-06

Michelle Obama The Angry Black Woman vs. Ellen Sturtz



So Tuesday night, Michelle Obama was giving a speech during a fundraiser and was interrupted by a heckler.   The heckler was Ellen Sturtz.  The issue Sturtz was concerned about was getting the President to sign an Executive Order on gay rights. Michelle Obama, responded by simply giving Sturtz an offer.  She could keep talking and discussing gay rights and Executive Orders, and Michelle would not speak anymore; or Sturtz could be quiet, and The First Lady would finish what she was saying.   She didn't curse Sturtz out.  Mrs. Obama did not call her names, she simply gave her a choice, as even she says, she wasn't good at that kind of thing.

Now I'm pro gay rights. I'm very pro freedom of speech and I defend and I applaud Ms. Sturtz for her stance and choice to protest.  However, I am a bit disturbed by Ms. Sturtz response to Ms. Obama's reaction to her protest:

"She came right down in my face," Sturtz told the Washington Post. "I was taken aback."

Ms. Sturtz seems to be surprised the FLOTUS responded to her. Wasn't that the intent of heckling?  She approached you, and explained how she felt about the situation, and that is "getting in your face" and you were the one "taken aback", and not the FLOTUS as she was giving a speech on children while you interrupted her to discuss another issue all together?

I'm "taken aback" in how the media has portrayed this situation.  That Ms. Obama was aggressive in her response.  You know, essentially being the "angry black woman".  We all know she shouldn't have said or done anything, after all, she's just the First Lady of the United States. What is the appropriate way to handle a heckler?  What could have Michelle Obama done differently?  I'm also curious as to why Ms. Sturtz wanted the FLOTUS to demand the POTUS sign an Executive Order.  Was it simply for the awareness?   Most likely, but let's be honest, Michelle isn't in Barack's office telling him what to do on a daily basis.   Not to mention Barack Obama is the first president who has openly supported gay rights and marriage equality, so why demand that he is to sign the Executive Order, in a long uphill battle that is likely to come? Ms. Sturtz seems to think her and Michelle were on equal footing.  They weren't.  Ms. Sturtz disrespected Mrs. Obama, and now she wants to cry foul because Ms. Obama didn't just sit there and take it.  Now Ms. Obama is the scary woman who "got in her face", instead of the First Lady of the United States who took a stand in how to respond to a heckler.  Michelle Obama was the one interrupted, she was the one disrespected, but it seems Ms. Sturtz has now become "the victim".

I shouldn't be surprised at the response of the media or Ellen Sturtz.  As a black woman, it's the quintessential stereotype.  You're angry and full of attitude, because that is just how us black women are.   I know I've talk to several other black woman who have been in similar situations.   No matter how the approach was in a situation where there is a difference of opinion, or if you are given a position of power, you will be the rude, aggressive black woman who's intent it is to make everyone's lives hell.

The problem is, that isn't always the case, and I think in many instances when the "angry black woman" stereotype surfaces, it is really code for "you need to sit down, shut up, and just take it like you used to".  Well the problem is no one has to sit and take it anymore.  We're still needed to be passive for some people, and they fail to realize being passive has never really benefited anyone trying to gain equality or gain respect.  I'm not saying black women are ball busters, we're just now on equal footing, and that makes some people uncomfortable, so even when we do the same things, they are perceived differently when someone else does it; and there is really nothing we can do to change the perception because it's a stereotype based upon outdated assumptions of woman and blacks in this country.  It's 2013, not 1913 we're equals, and just because we are equals, doesn't mean we need to apologize for people's outdated expectations.  So Michelle Obama can continue to handle business like she's always done, and it's the media and people like Ms. Sturtz who need to quit being "taken aback" anytime a black woman exercises her freedom to not want to be disrespected.


2013-06-04

Things Not To Say Or Do To Someone Who Has Experienced A Loss Of A Child/Stillbirth/Miscarriage

As many folks who used to read this blog know, I had a stillbirth back in 2009.  It was one of the most painful experiences of my life.   I have a condition called incompetent cervix, it basically means if I have a kid, my cervix cannot support the weight of a fetus when it gets to be, in my experience about a pound, I go into labor and ultimately lose the fetus.   Over the years I've had a kid, and I've joined a couple of groups dealing with loss via incompetent cervix, and I've made many nice virtual friends.

A lot of times, it seems like you are in a weird, crappy club, the subject sucks, but the people are really nice, and they understand you.  They understand your thought process, they understand we all react differently to the same experiences.  That being said, there are a few things "outsiders" say and do that irk me, and maybe if I list out these issues, I might educate a few people.

1.  People mourn differently for different circumstances.  I've had a miscarriage at eight weeks, and a still birth at twenty weeks.  The process is different.  I mourned my miscarriage, but I mourned more for my stillbirth. I had an attachment to the fetus I had at twenty weeks. I knew the sex of the baby, and the chances of survival had increased, so I was more comfortable with the idea of a baby.   I delivered a child.  I have pictures of that child.  I have a birth and death certificate for that child.   I have her footprints. It was for all intents and purposes a child to me.  It was way different for me than a miscarriage, so please don't treat it as such.  If I were to give birth to a child that had a chance at life, I'm sure my mourning would be more intense, and unbearable, and I'm not going to compare my miscarriage or stillbirth to your loss of your child that you got to nurture, love, and see for however long they lived.   It's not the same.

2. God does not need another angel. If God did, he could have selected a whole bunch of old people ready to die, my kid was not an angel, and you know my views on religion.   This idea is just insane to me, he'd rather take away a potential life than to take something that is tried and proven, like an old person? I don't know, again my atheism my be rubbed the wrong way when I see this stuff.

3.  Just because I have another kid that survived, does not mean I'll get over my other kid.   I love my daughter, she is wonderful, she is great, and I'm thankful for the fact she's here, but it doesn't mean I can't miss and love the child I didn't have.   She is not an alternate to my first child, and she isn't a make up kid or consolation prize.  I would love to have both my kids, not just the one that is here now.

4.  The child I lost was not a genetic mistake. No really, there was nothing genetically wrong with my child. Even if there was something wrong with her genetically, it wouldn't hurt any less to not have her.   Yes I know many times miscarriages and stillbirths and the like do result in genetic abnormalities, but in the case of incompetent cervix, this isn't the case, and it's my cervix, not my child who was flawed.

5.  If you want to know the details of my loss, be kind enough to really want to know and not cringe as I explain to you, yes I gave actual birth to "it".   You want to know, great, I'm happy to share, not everyone is, but I'll share, but don't cringe in pain as if it was a horrible thing to deliver a child. It wasn't.  What's horrible is the lost potential of that child.  The lost experiences I'll never have for that child.

6. My child was not an "it".   She was a baby, and I'll continue to treat her as such, because she was mine.

7.  My loss is not a political discussion on abortion. My experience is not a parable or proof that a fetus is a baby.   It is my experience of loss, and for some other people, it might not be the same thing to them.  There might be circumstances in their life in which this type of experience is not a great loss, and I'm not going to judge someone for that.  My experience is mine alone, that others have their experiences and can mourn or not mourn anyway they like.

8.  Sometimes there is nothing you can say that will make things better.  It's not possible, there are no words that can perfectly convey what a person is going through, even if you are truly and really sorry.  It's not your fault, and it's not your job to fix a person's mourning.   Even though there are no words to make things better, know that if you are there trying to comfort someone in their time of need, they know that and appreciate it, they just might not be able to express those sentiments at that time, and it isn't a slight against you if you're met with silence or a glaring look.   It's the pain they are dealing with,and that pain runs very deep in my experience.

9. If the person who is mourning is acting weird, or you don't understand their motives or emotions, don't be offended or criticize them. As long as their behavior isn't harming them or others, it should be ok.   When I became pregnant three months after my loss, I probably wasn't the most logical person.  People didn't understand why I didn't share my pregnancy until six months in.  They didn't understand why I didn't want a baby shower or gifts.  The reason was, and again I wasn't logical, was I didn't want to get attached to the child I was carrying.  I knew there would be some attachment, but my fears and experiences with pregnancy kept me from wanting to celebrate my child until the child arrived safely in my arms.  I didn't want to be disappointed again, and no I didn't share that with everyone at the time, but it's because I didn't think people would understand, and they probably still don't, and that's ok.

10. You never ever get over loss.  I still to this day cry and mourn my child.  I'm ok with that.   I'm still living life, taking care of my family that is still here, and I still love the child I lost.  I'm not going to get over it.  Yeah  I handle my mourning a bit better now than I did when the pain was still raw and new, but it's still there, and I don't think it will ever go away, yes, even with having a living child.  It isn't an all consuming mourning, and if you're someone who has recently dealt with loss, I'm not going to lie to you and say "It gets better".  It doesn't get better, it just gets more bearable to deal with.   You don't cry everyday.  It won't be on your mind ALL of the time, but it will always be there. It will hit you at the weirdest of times, and you'll feel sad, and you might even cry, but then those moments go away, and you go on with life.

I'm sure there are other things I could add to the list, but these are the big ones in my experience.  I posted this as a result of a friend who is going through a very difficult time dealing with her loss.  She is angry, she is mad, and unfortunately in the internet age, people are seeing her grief, and many people aren't reacting in the most productive way to her pain and suffering.   It does take understanding and it does take patience, just let the person manage the best way they know how.