How do you approach unconscious bias?
Hey peeps, we’ve reached 2017. Is racism still a problem? Hell yeah. If you cannot understand why, keep reading.
We are living in a world where the same image people imitate, people die over. White? Wear a hoodie and listen to trap music = you’re cool.
Black? Wear a hoodie and listen to trap music = how about you die because:
-You can’t breathe
-You didn’t say you had a gun license
-You made a mistake and deserve death
-You didn’t announce you were in a specific area unannounced and were allegedly trying to scare people with the color of your skin
Yes, it’s a problem. Does this hit home? Good, it should. People are dying and my brothers, my husband, and other relatives could become the next hashtag. A huge population is included in the injustices people of color face. White privilege is a thing. Though, it shouldn’t be a thing to hate white people for. Don’t respond with hate. We should stand with those who stand with us and say they reject this privilege. We all deserve the rights to live free of these biases.
Do you have a relative of color who is at risk of discrimination because of the color of their skin? No? Could you sympathize with this fear? After all, this fear is universal. Power is abused.
Reject both “in your face” and subtle racism. Know your rights. Seek support. Know you’re not alone and people are fighting with you.
Interested in the impact we can have in solidarity? I’ll be sharing local events and examples in future posts in a series titled “Don’t be a part of the problem”
Are you a part of the problem? Tune into our upcoming weekly series highlighting subtle conscious/unconscious bias.
Next post: The next post will highlight conversations I’ve had with my eight year old. What she doesn’t know but I’ve had to tell her….
If you don’t know who Roxane Gay is, please take a moment to check out this badass TED Talk. Also, read this article explaining why she chose to pull her book from Simon & Schuster. She is proving to be an active advocate for women and cultural diversity. As I continue reading her work, I am impressed with how real she is. She believes it, she is trying to live it, and she is honest about ways it doesn’t always happen. She admits, she is a Bad Feminist.
The love of money often makes people afraid to use their platforms to stick up for what they believe in. I’m sure she knew it would be a risk to pull her book. She did it anyways. In fact, she has urged writers to stand up against publishing houses that lack diversity by withdrawing or not submitting to them at all. If this is not admirable, I don’t know what is. Sigh, fangirling.
I went to Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago and met my spirit book animal. We have a similar reading interests and a thirty year age difference. I told her I was submitting to a literary magazine and thirty stories would be presented to Roxane Gay to judge. I said I was interested in buying one of her books to keep me distracted. At this point, I was convinced I would lose my coconuts if I waited two months to hear back. The woman stopped leading me towards Bad Feminist and shared a story about one of her paintings that was initially rejected but later won an award. She spoke about the amount of submissions received each year and how at times, you can land in a pass pile before you are thoroughly considered. This was beyond comforting. I was eventually rejected but this time it was ok. I survived. I am still writing. I am still fangirling. I haven’t dared to look at the piece since. I have moved on to another writing project, learning as I go.
I did not read Bad Feminist. I picked up “An Untamed State” that day. The woman at the store suggested I read this book first. It was published prior to Bad Feminist and she said it was too good to be ignored. I learned a lot while reading this book.
Break the rules if it feels right. Have you ever been sucked into writing things the right way? The “I shouldn’t do this or that” way of thinking. This book liberated me from that thought process. She uses the same words frequently, jumps into the plot within the first few pages, and brilliantly keeps the intensity going throughout.Write the damn book and include what you see fit. Edit later and stay true to yourself.
It has been a great ride so far. I look forward to Bad Feminist, Hunger, and hopefully attending one of her book signings.
I also look forward to the day where I’ll have my very own book signing and courage to speak up using my platform if something doesn’t feel right.
Three blog drafts have disappeared from my folder. There is nothing like having to redo work. Sweet mother of troy!
On another note, I submitted pieces to three magazines. I’m hoping 3 negatives in draft losses+ 3 positives in the form of new submissions will result in being published! There are a few deadlines I plan to hit by the end of the month. Here’s to a month of productivity!
I was able to draft an interesting essay on my commute to and from work. Hoping to submit April 14th. If it is not published within the next couple of months, I’ll share it here!
Dear Maya, I woke up this morning with your beautiful face in mind. I cannot imagine what you would have looked like today. I can only remember your two year old face. The thought of not having that opportunity tears me up inside but the thought of YOU not having the opportunity to live hurts even more.
*Flips bird to cancer
I only wish to sit beside you and study your face, fold your ten year old clothes, and stop you and Alexandria from fighting over the remote. I wish for all of the headaches we complain about our children. They woke up too early! They didn’t eat their food! They got their clothes dirty!
It’s amazing how you touched so many lives in just 2 years. Over 300 people attended your funeral. The love you have given the world is the only thing that humbles me today. I am crying because I looked at a picture where you touched my face and I could still feel it. Yes, I felt the warmth of your hand. The pain is fresh even after all of these years. People ask if I only have one daughter and sometimes I say yes to avoid talking about it. I then feel a swarm of guilt for lying. It feels as though I am denying your existence. Yet, I know it’s part of the lifelong grief.
I have great memories of us together, good and bad. I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten and that I miss you everyday. I wish you were here with me. The pain of losing a child is nothing like you could ever imagine. The pain of watching them suffer for months and months before it makes it even more unbearable.
I know how sad it would make you to see me cry. You’d probably give me a hug or a kiss, inclined by your nurturing spirit. I will try to find comfort in that thought of you.
I will always love you. Forever and always.
Two hours and one sentence later…….
I noticed it recently. Her reflexes were delayed. She didn’t connect with the world as fast as she used to. I tried watching her for a while, cleaning her up to see if she had too much baggage built up over time. Nothing has helped. Can the dell update I’ve avoided this week bring her back to life? It is scheduled for this afternoon.
I have been doing tons of research over the last few months because I know the day will come. Though my laptop (Sheila) hasn’t died, I know she’ll be in a better place soon. I’ll need a replacement.
Top must haves:
- Messenger bag friendly
- Lots of memory
Let’s hope for the best and wish her a speedy recovery. I’ll need her for a few more weeks until I reach a decision. There are a couple of submission deadlines I need to meet by the end of the month!
If you are reading this, I love you. We are all different. If we try to find some common ground, we can start to heal. Please be kind.
Mend the division
Love and let love
Drive your decisions
Look at the person beside you
Look into their eyes
Try to think about a day in their lives
Smile at someone
Show them peace
Prove that togetherness overcomes defeat
Lead by example
Show your colors
Ban these ways from being learned
So that our children may have a turn
To truly exemplify what it is to be one
We all reside under the same sun
Have you ever tried to do something and failed? Good, me too. What is failure? Don’t worry, I will spare you from a lengthy
speech of utter wisdom & brilliance opinion on the matter. Leap. It is the only way you will find out what you’re really made of.
There is much to be done in the world. Try something new. Don’t be afraid of failure.
I have been trying to figure out -how in the goodness world of mint juleps- to edit a video using some snazzy editing software. Let’s just say I have failed a couple of times.
I am still trying because giving up is the only fail I don’t want on my list. I will post a video as soon as I figure it out. Though, I wouldn’t hold your breath or anything because seriously it will be far from #CaseyNeistat status!
The point is – TRY.
You will find a way.
If not, try something else.
Never. Stop. Trying. Only then will you have failed.
I have been quite busy the last few weeks! I am in the midst of a few transitions (exciting ones) and look forward to regaining some normalcy. What is normalcy again? On Saturday, I woke up and watched one of my favorite movies (if not THE favorite). “Your move, chief.”
Good Will Hunting is one of those movies that I can rewatch over and over. Aside from Ben Affleck’s….Okay, I’ll leave that rant for another day. It’s a great movie. Matt Damon plays an arrogant character with lots of issues who is gifted with a brilliant mind. He is mentored by a widely recognized math professor who previously won an award comparable to the Nobel Peace Prize. He is forced to attend therapy sessions due to legal woes and begins to open up (slowly) to a character played by the late Robin Williams (Sean). While I have many favorite parts, both funny and sad, one sticks out right now.
Matt Damon (Will) and Robin Williams (Sean) are sitting on a bench after a tense moment a week or so before. Will critiques a painting near and dear to Sean’s heart. Sean is deeply affected by his words and appears pensive having a drink alone in his apartment. However, he realizes that Will is just a kid who knows of things but not from firsthand experience.
You’re just a kid. You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. (Why, thank you.) It’s all right. You’ve never been out of Boston. (Nope.) So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the Pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling. Seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right: ‘Once more into the breach, dear friends.’ But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, and watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet.
My stories are set in different places, many that I have yet to visit. I am recognizing the power behind experience and how it affects your thinking. In the next couple of months, I’ll be traveling to Iceland, London, and Dublin. I am confident this will open up the depths of my writing. New characters may come to mind, new perspectives may be incorporated, and new scenes will be captivated by the senses of my memory. I look forward to sharing some of my experiences as well as including them in future works. Someone once told me ‘visiting a different country amounts to the knowledge of reading 88 books’. This trip will be the first of many. Have you traveled recently? Have an upcoming trip? A traveler’s bucket list perhaps? I’d love to hear about it below!