Outrageous Opinions of Old: Of Race and Privilege

I am not a writer for social justice. I do not fight the denigration of basic moral codes and I do not work to eliminate complacency. I do not incite political action.

Most of all, I do not blame any person for the actions of their race, and I do not at all hate white people or even the WASP elite.

But I feel compelled to discuss the ridiculous reality that there are people who actually believe that racism is rare or nonexistent.

I realize that extreme sensitivity toward each other must die if we ever hope to achieve peace, but do not be so condescending as to claim that privilege does not exist–that people are not significantly treated differently based on the color of their skin and the nature of their beliefs. The content of their character is often overlooked.

I am the first to point out that I have privileges that many others do not. I come from an extremely rich family. I am very, very fair. If I am not wearing a headscarf, I pass easily as just another white girl. Unlike my brother, I have the option of stepping out of my other-worldly celestial stereotype almost flawlessly.

But I do not. I wear my scarf like he wears his skin. Blacks, Arabs, Muslims, Hispanics, South Asians, and many others, we are marginalized groups, and we are judged so harshly when we point out someone’s actions as “racist.” We are too sensitive. We are looking for a fight. We just hate white people.

Nothing grinds my gears more than the constant claim that we are compulsively assuming that all acts of unkindness are acts of racism. Not everyone who does bad things is racist.

To this, I will concede. That is true. Not everyone who does bad things is racist, but please do not spout your bullshit bigoted holier-than-thou god-complex-induced spiel depicting this situation as a mass of angry people victimizing themselves.

If you have never been pulled over without cause, if you have never been searched multiple times at an airport because of your skin color or clothes, if you have never been afraid of a police officer, if you have never been watched in a convenience store, if you have never lost out on a job you deserved because of your name, you cannot begin to understand what it means to constantly try to discern a friend from a foe. Almost all the racists have two faces. Just ask Hamlet. They’ve been given a face and they make themselves another. I plot twist the meanings. It’s still there.

And for all the people in the back nodding indignantly as I write this, I have a criticism for you, too.

There is nothing more counterproductive, insulting and bigoted than trying to compare the severity of your consequential pain created by a racist society to others. It does not make you better, to be more marginalized. It does not make you more rightfully indignant, to believe that other people’s socially ignited upset is collateral damage in a system specifically geared to destroy your group above all else.

It does not make you cooler to be hurt the most.

And for all others, if you truly believe that there is no white privilege, no systematic adulation toward white men regardless of their icky mistakes, then consider this:

This U S of A was built on the death and enslavement of those who already populated it, and the very people who caused and perpetuated this genocide have had their faces carved into a stolen land. They are celebrated for the success of outrageous agendas. We have a real-life example of how we justify the means so long as we enjoy the ends; We still until this very day celebrate the voyage of a man who did nothing but murder droves of people whose only crime was to show kindness to a bloodthirsty warmonger.

Let me sell you on Columbus Day, where the weekend never ends, there are no Miserable Mondays, and friendly all-inclusive neighborhood cook outs are hosted to mask the unpleasant underlying white guilt.

Batteries not included.

The Coworker Conundrum: The Foul Fight to the Finish

Having to work with others is perhaps the most aggravating part of being in the work force. The attitudes, lies, passive aggression, and ridiculous expectations can work, work, work, work, work your nerve to no end.

Here are some tips on how to defeat those snarky, pseudo-professional, jerk-off coworkers that are high off their own hubris.

Passive aggressive clap-back emails that won’t get you in trouble:

“As per my last email…”
“If you’d more closely examine your records…”
“Duly noted, however…”
“I’ve copied others on this email in order to clarify further…”
“In the future, I would be more comfortable if you…”

When snitches get stitches, but haven’t fallen in double ditches:

“I feel that the reports to higher up faculty was an unnecessary detriment to a healthy work environment.”
“Our working relationship is being affected by your tendency to unnecessarily involve others.”
“Your actions are leading me to believe that you are unhappy with my work.”

When you’re being given ridiculous and condescending feedback:

Act stupid until they’re dizzy: “Can you explain that more?” “I’m hearing you, but I don’t understand.” “What does that mean?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “I’m still not following.” “This isn’t clear.” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

When all else fails:


The Perfect Perception of Pride

Pride is an interesting social construct. It is an idea based on perception, not fact. Entire personalities can be fundamentally hated because of misconstrued words and idiosyncrasies. We write people off as proud or egotistical only by interpreting what we see.

A little known truth is that, people’s actions do not always point to their true selves. Humans often display a smoke screen that creates an illusion that we are what we are not. Sometimes, it is easier to put on a facade of complete detachment and apathy simply because allowing reality to shine through can only expose our vulnerability.

“This is me.”
“You don’t like it, I don’t care.”
“I am who I am.”
“I will change for no one.”
“Get over it.”

These statements are thought to be nothing more than a verbal manifestation of a person’s high sense of their own grandiosity. However, they are not expressions of extreme hubris. More often than not, they are the words we hide behind to distract people from our floor-level self-esteem. When people are kept safely at arm’s length, the pain that intensifies when we’re alone in the dark is invisible.

Pride isn’t palpable. It isn’t easily discerned. It is often a cover for depression, anxiety, and low self-worth.

It is better to be awful than weak. It is better to be pompous than broken.

Be careful what you say, because your words are worse than sticks and stones. Broken bones heal. Broken hearts don’t. A simple sentence said can run races in someone’s mind until they fall apart completely.

And there’s no coming back from that.

Points of pride be damned.

Top Five Reasons Black Panther was Problematic

Let me just kick this off by saying that I really wanted to like Black Panther. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I went in excited and hopeful. I was not preparing to hate watch. I was excited about a Marvel movie that truly represents minority struggles and social justice issues revolving around masked oppression.

But it fell short, and this is why:

Issue one: Despite its advanced technology and incredible level of intelligence, the process of choosing someone to govern Wakanda was based on primitive practices. It’s ridiculous to imply that even though their scientific amelioration is superior to that of the United States, they can’t develop a more democratic or at least less violent system of government. The idea that the biggest kid on the playground gets to be king is dated and uncivilized. It perpetuates the idea that minorities are nothing but “savages.” This is one of the central stereotypes that I was hoping the movie would help debunk, but it just supported it.

Issue two: Terrorist attack scene. An African man yelling in Arabic and promising to murder a woman he has kidnapped and “forced” into a scarf. Last time I checked, they do not speak Arabic in that area. This was absolutely unnecessary. It contributed nothing to the plot, and it had nothing to do with the overall theme. This was a movie about the African American struggle in America. That’s wonderful. More of that, please. However, it is impossible to make a successful social justice film while perpetuating a stereotype that affects a large chunk of the African American population. The bulk of the Muslim community in America are African American. Instead of representing them, this film solidified the perception that they are nothing but violent religious fanatics.

Issue three: The idea that the African American community needs a country across oceans to save them. I would have loved to see the Black Panther be an American-born person who rose to the top to save his own people. We have so many bright and talented kids in this country. Validate them, please.

Issue four: It doesn’t make sense that a country on a different continent would get involved with African Americans, when life in their neighboring countries is beyond awful. The most impoverished country in the world is the Central African Republic, closely followed by Congo and Burundi—all African nations. It is neither logical nor fair for help to be extended to the United States when there are issues far more pressing going on right at home base. Aside from this, there is a serious displacement that African people who move to the United States face upon arrival. Fact is, they are often shunned by the people with whom they are “supposed to” belong, and they suffer the same injustices African Americans face without being accepted in their own community.

Issue five: It also felt like a lot of the funny moments (which were admittedly hysterical) were a distraction from the moments where the problematic issues were most pronounced.

In regards to casting and special effects, the movie was absolutely spectacular. Every actor was perfect for the role and played it excellently.

However, it felt as though this movie was more about finally having a black superhero than promoting social justice.

I haven’t experienced that big a cinematic let-down since HP6.

But that’s another story.

Valentine’s Day: When the Feminists Fuck Up

I was sick on the 14th, and therefore the lateness of this post is justified. Anyway, let’s talk about it.

Before I launch into the anti-climactic debaucherus tirade on the celebration of the semi-lucid depiction of “true love” created by Hollywood mass marketing, I must take uno momento to make it clear that I do not intend to use this post to wage war on Valentine’s Day in and of itself.

Regardless of how I feel about a holiday dedicated to profit off the concept that true love is proved by making grandeur gestures and shaming people–particularly women–who aren’t in relationships for being frigid, weird, and/or ugly.

My rant today is a dedication to those who criticize women who do like ostentatious gestures in the form of dozens upon dozens of red roses raining down on them like bloody snow falling from a my-little-pony-esque sky delivered to them on horseback on Valentine’s Day. Just because you might not like it, does not mean you have the right to look down on them with your Trumpet-like air of condescension. You might think it’s stupid, or pathetic, or a perpetuation of stereotypes, but some women don’t, and you don’t get to judge them for that. That doesn’t make you a feminist.

That’s actually the very definition of anti-feminism. Feminism means that you get to have your own opinion and do what you want, be it rejecting the things that are considered “girly” by society or embracing them.

And just so I don’t leave the penis-weilding gender out, you get to have your own take on those same things, too. You can be just as much a manly man while taking a bubble bath and wearing Tiny Winky satin feety pajamas.

Don’t let them stop you. Be the squealing 5-year-old girl your dad wouldn’t let you be when you were little.

Cinderella’s godmother approves.

It’s a Love Story. Baby Just Say Yes. 

Today I was sitting in Barnes and Noble and the song Love Story by Taylor Swift came on and I was singing along and I accidentally said “throwing peasants” instead of throwing pebbles and the kid behind me looked up from his laptop and with the straightest face was like, “Okay, but maybe don’t throw them in my direction, okay?” And then went back to his computer like it was a totally normal exchange of words. 

Sometimes I love people. 

Have the Hero Hack It

There are moments in life in which we are forced to make decisions based on what we want versus what is good for us. I am not talking about the age-old, banal cliche that challenges mediocrity and bad choices in a considerably weak statement of the obvious.

“Sometimes you have to choose between what is right and what is easy.”

No shit, Sherlock.

No, what I am talking about is the extremely thin line between fear of consequence and actual pain.It may seem that I have just created an innovative way to say the exact same thing, but bear with me.

Neither fear of consequence nor acceptance of pain is easy. There is no simplicity in two choices that can force you into an astronomically vile pit of bitter nothing that you will have to drag your unwieldily self out of with an excessive amount of effort.

We both know you aren’t quite that muscular.

The reality of the situation is that death is not a choice. Ultimatums come in many different, sometimes inconceivable, forms. What will hurt the most? What will be the hardest to recover from? And what in a theoretical god’s name do you do if the resulting pain of both is equal?

And what happens when you have to choose between relief of your own pain and the incineration of someone else’s? Who do you love more? There is no right answer; just guilt and shame. It isn’t at all fair to claim that saving yourself over someone else is an act of evil. There is no law in the universe that says that, in order to be good, heroic, upstanding, you must sacrifice yourself for the sake of others–no matter the intensity of your love or how great they are in number.

Hero (noun): A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
-The Oxford English Dictionary

But our society has skewed this definition and created the notion that the opposite of this is egocentric, perhaps even narcissistic; But to stand down from nobility is not a selfish act. It is a decision to simply be.

But to come full circle to my original point, I have this to say: when you come to pick your poison, sometimes the best thing to do is close your eyes, pull your decision out of a hat and take a leap of faith.

Swallow my Doubt & Turn it Inside Out

I discovered that a teacher at the school I work in played “I wish they knew” with the kids. The point of the game is to anonymously put in “I wish they knew” comments in a hat about a particular person. I didn’t know my name came up, until today.

Apparently, one of the kids wrote, “I wish she [me] would smile more. She has such a pretty smile.”

We also played name charades, and when a student pulled my name out of the hat, she said, “This person is really sarcastic and reminds all of us of disgust from Inside Out.”

Everyone immediately yelled out my name.

I’ll take it.