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WHY I STRIKE

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WHY I STRIKE


My sister and I circa the late eighties

My sister and I circa the late eighties

This day is important to me. Today women are striking across the world in a display of solidarity. I recognize that not all women identify as feminists, although I don’t understand it. I also recognize that the majority of men do not identify as feminists, although I don’t understand that either.

I think back to my childhood and realize the privilege that I have always had. Part of it I was born into, my parents were both white and educated and came from families where they were loved. Growing up I was bossy (and still am) and no one ever made me feel bad about it. I was encouraged to be a leader, I was raised to be confident, and because of that support I achieved in school and in sports. I get my work ethic from my parents, they didn’t preach it, they just lived it every single day.

When it was time for college I had a couple years that I didn’t know what I wanted to be, or how to recognize my talents. I took that time to take a lot of women’s studies courses (sounds pretty Boulder-like right? ;) and then with my dad’s suggestion I found my passion in the world of marketing.

I went to art school and graduated early, I was ready to jump into the real world. I landed the job I wanted, again privilege followed me. I feel very grateful for the life I have had and I recognize that while I have worked very hard, there were so many factors that have been working in my favor ever since I was born.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the world of advertising was flawed. About a year into my career a coworker of mine got drunk and revealed his salary to me. We went to the same school, graduated at the same time, were hired at the same time, and had the same job- he made $10,000 more than me. I remember taking the information in calmly and then headed home to figure out how I was going to make this right.

So the next Monday I told my boss that I needed to talk to his boss. I gave them the facts, they came back with comments like “well, schooling and how long you have worked here all play into salary”. When I told them we were literally identical in all of those factors, they gave me the $10,000 raise. Keep in mind I was making $25,000 a year at the time so this was huge for me. But besides the bump in salary, it made me grateful that I was raised in way that made me comfortable enough to fight for what I was worth.

I moved up quickly in my career. I had a male friend tell me one time he wished he could bottle up the “cajones” I have. As I moved up I was often the only female creative in the room. It definitely has shaped the personality I have today. The environment was competitive, frat-ish at times, and has been full of uncomfortable moments with clients, coworkers and bosses.

 
Can you see the confidence? ;)

Can you see the confidence? ;)

Now, getting close to 40 I have been in this world for almost 18 years which seems impossible, but it is true. I am a long way from that young woman fighting for her extra 10k in a lot of ways, but in many ways much has stayed the same. I became a mom to a daughter just after my 26th birthday which opened my eyes to figuring out how I wanted to raise a strong female.

I teach by doing and fighting. It has just been the 2 of us for the better part of her life. She is my teammate, at my side all the time, so she sees the fight. She sees me when I am struggling, but most importantly she always sees me get back up. She sees that I am flawed like everyone else, but that I am fiercely devoted to doing anything and everything I can to make sure she succeeds. I have become the woman, the feminist, the boss, and the mother I am to show her what she is made of.

My hope for her and the people in her life is that they realize this is what it means to be a feminist. It means that she means as much to the world as the boy who sits next to her. It means that her brown skin is as valuable as my white skin. It means that all of the men in her life- her father, her grandfathers, and everyone else who loves her- want her to succeed and believe in her success as much as they would believe in a boy’s.

I recognize my life has been full of blessings and full of privilege. I am very grateful for everything that I have been given, the love that I was raised in, and the chances I was given to prove myself. That does not mean I don’t have something to fight for. I have heard this a lot lately, women in a position of privilege who don’t understand that one woman’s fight is all of our fight.

My dream is a world where we are all feminists, because we all recognize that your son is not better than your daughter. He doesn’t deserve additional opportunities or respect simply because of his gender. When women do better, we all do better.  Please find your own way of standing in solidarity today, I am striking with the knowledge that all women do not have that luxury, so I will strike for them too. Even more important is how each of us continue to carry out the spirit of today into each day moving forward.

Why I Strike by Jen Fisch via Swirl Nation Blog

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EMPATHY


I’ve been thinking quite a bit about empathy these days. It seems as though people are at each other’s throats more than ever and it’s clear that a lot of that anger is coming from what’s going on in our political world. As one Time article states, “Empathy - the ability to step imaginatively into the shoes of another person and understand their feelings and perspectives - seems to be in freefall.”

 

People are angry with one another because they can’t possibly understand why the other person voted for or against so and so, is ok with the travel ban or not, is comfortable with the President's relationship with Russia or not. And I think that’s completely normal. However, I have been thinking that all of this anger and resentment can’t be healthy. I’m not saying that having empathy for those who oppose your views will for sure make you any less angry, but it might. And it might help you to, at the very least, begin to understand why that person feels the way they do. I think from there, we can begin to move forward.

There will always be people with perspectives that we don’t understand. No matter how long or hard we try to understand, we may never fully grasp that person’s individual feelings or opinions. I would like to argue though, that in just attempting to do so, you will open up your ability to empathize. This can be true with general groups of people (think Republicans v Democrats), strangers in the store, and people you are really close with. Simply stating that you understand where the person is coming from or by showing that you are at least trying by actively listening (rather than trying to problem solve) can change the way you perceive the other person’s actions. It also shows that person that you care and that they are not alone and in turn they will likely be more open to being empathetic toward you.

 

Dr. Mohammadreza Hojat states,

“Empathy is a cognitive attribute, not a personality trait.”

That means the part of our brain that handles empathy can be exercised. The more you practice, the more empathetic you become. We are living in a very polarizing time and I’m personally finding it difficult to empathize with people who don’t share my views. It makes me angry that anyone would want to stop people from coming to our country based on their religion. However, I’m finding that the more I think about why a person might feel differently than I do and step into their shoes, I become a little less angry. In a time when there is a lot to be angry about, I’m interested in anything that will help!

 

EMPATHY via Swirl Nation Blog

Here’s a great TED Ed video that really helped me understand the difference between sympathy and empathy and check out the helpful and interesting articles below if you’re interested in exercising your empathy!

How Being More Empathetic Can Make You a Better Leader

Exercise Empathy


 

 

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A LOOK AT 'LOVING'


In the last few weeks I've found myself paralyzed and heavy into my feelings. Everyone across America is dealing with a flood of emotions, but being multiracial adds and extra layer to the confusion.

I find myself gravitating toward my African American and Native American heritage even more as events unfold, but lingering in the back of my head is the fact that I'm a combination from several different worlds. What if somewhere deep in my Caucasian lineage, there are some hateful roots. Did one half of my family contribute to the history of hurt my other half endured? Even though I know my background doesn't affect my character, not all white people are on the regressive side of the issue, it still makes the matter of equality awkward at best. I have to remind myself, though, that things are not as divided and hateful as they seem on the news. Love is the majority and things are changing. 

Biracial relationships have never been a trend that people are wild about, and the children from those relationships have not always been welcome. We're here, though, and becoming more commonplace and less taboo. I think people have an easier time accepting another race than they do accepting another race commingling with their own. It's an angle of racism that doesn't make it to the forefront very often, but it's all I seem to be thinking about lately. While there are people who may hate me simply for being black, there are also people who possibly hate me even more because I'm a mixture of both black and white. Somewhere In my mental tailspin though, I realized that I need to be grateful. Right now, there is still ignorance and some people don't approve, but there was a time when it was actually against the law and a life threatening risk to love outside your race. I felt like I was missing appreciation for where we are now, because I was focused on where we need to be. I thought watching "Loving" might give me a little perspective. That and I really just needed to watch something other than the overload of current event updates on my social media feed.

A LOOK AT 'LOVING' via Swirl Nation Blog

I always want to watch historical movies, but I shy away because they upset, and stick with me. I'm an emotional lightweight, and I can only handle an occasional action movie outside of my romantic comedies. I figured this couldn't be as traumatic as some of the movies about slavery though, so I thought I'd probably be okay. I did get upset, but it wasn't anything that would give me nightmares. It was actually really inspiring to watch the story of the couple who changed the face of civil liberties with regard to interracial marriage. Despite the danger of defying the ruling by the State of Virginia,  they fought their case all the way to the Supreme Court where it was declared unconstitutional for any state to deny a couple the inherent right of marriage based on race. They were jailed, and banished from Virginia because they would not concede to the order requiring them to dissolve their union. They faced great opposition, but persisted and eventually succeeded, creating a monumental change during the Civil Rights Movement.

I loved Ruth Negga as Mildred; in part because she herself is Swirl Nation (Irish and Ethiopian). I wasn't crazy about the husband's portrayal, but then again I don't know the real figure behind the character. Also, there were parts of the movie that were a little slow. Any criticism I have, though, is completely muted by the fact that this was a true story. Their courage was pivotal to our country's history. I was born just 15 years after the ruling, and relatively speaking that's not even a full generation before me. Without the Lovings my very existence would be criminal. That realization alone gave me chills, and left me in awe of the entire movie.

"Loving" the movie, left me thirsty for more stories of people who paved the way for all the liberties I am able to enjoy present day. Recently our country may have taken a few steps back, and uncovered prejudices that hid but did not die, but we have still come such a long way. While it's possible to come across intentional obstacles, distractions, and delays, progress cannot be stopped. Rather than be consumed by what the media strategically shares, I choose to be encouraged knowing that love will prevail and change is inevitable. 

One day interracial and multiracial will be redundant terms used only in history books, because we will all realize that we are a nation full of immigrants and their descendants, and no one's heritage is linear. We all have relatives that mixed things up somewhere along the way, and that's what makes our country the beautiful melting pot that it is.

Multi cultural family.jpg

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The End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Relationships


Little Rock, Arkansas protest to keep anti-miscegenation laws on the books. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

Little Rock, Arkansas protest to keep anti-miscegenation laws on the books. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

On November 3rd, the new movie Loving hit theaters. The film features the story of interracial couple Richard Loving, a White man, and Mildred Jeter, a Black woman, from Virginia who defied anti-miscegenation laws by getting married. The film highlights their historic Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) case in 1967, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws nationwide. (It had previously been legal in all but 16 states.)

Seven months shy of the 50th anniversary of the SCOTUS decision, thinking of the film and the story of the Loving family, many may not understand the true importance of Loving v. Virginia and the extent to which the United States viewed interracial relationships at that time. Some may even take for granted how interracial relationships have become a societal norm and view the film as slightly shocking. Therefore, to better understand the historical context of the film, let us reveal the State of the Union at that time when it came to multiracial love.

Pre-Anti-Miscegenation Laws[1]

When digging deeper into the struggles of the lived mixed-race experience in the United States, it is apparent Western culture has worked hard to maintain a division of the races (Wilson, 1987). For over 300 years, more than half of the United States held strict anti-miscegenation laws to prevent different races from marrying, cohabitating, and engaging in sexual relations. Yet, prior to the creation of anti-miscegenation laws, racial divisions had already begun to take shape. Around the time of anti-miscegenation laws, elite white Americans created what is known as a “white racial frame,” where the “superior” racial group were white Americans while the “inferior” racial group were black Americans (Feagin, 2009). Since the creation of aforementioned “white racial frame,” this highly prejudiced point of view was strengthened during American social crises with immigration, slavery, and civil rights. Ultimately, the elitist “white racial frame” no longer applied solely to black Americans, but came to concern all persons of color as being inferior. Native, Asian, and Latin-Americans were all seen as being inferior to the superior white American race (p. 56).

The United States, unlike any other nation in the world, has used a black identity to create and maintain a divide between whites and non-white minorities. The one-drop rule, which delegates any person in the United States with any known African black ancestry, no matter how little or distant, is deeply rooted in American culture (Davis, 2006). The one-drop rule is truly unique because similar to anti-miscegenation laws, the one-drop rule resulted from United States experiences with slavery and racial segregation. According to anthropologists, for those who are multiracial and/or multiethnic, the one-drop rule is also known as the hypodescent rule, as mixed-race children are assigned to the status position of the lower status parent group (p. 17). Therefore, according to such racial hierarchy rules, any individual who is a person of color, yet mixed with white, will automatically be assigned the status of their parent who is of color. 

The Era of Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States first appeared in the mid 1600s, around the Chesapeake area of Maryland and Virginia, where many mixed-race relationships were occurring between white slave owners and black slaves (Davis, 2006). Anti-miscegenation laws proclaimed fornication between whites and Negroes was equivalent to bestiality, with 38 states adopting such laws (Brown, 2001). By the 1700s, anti-miscegenation laws, along with the one-drop/hypodescent rule, were not only meant to prevent marital unions based on race, but became the social definition of a black person in the South (p. 17). Alibhai-Brown explains how the word miscegenation [was] used to describe the products of relationships across racial barriers and [was] infused with the implication of something not quite the norm, something deviant (Alibhai-Brown, 2001).

The End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Relationships via Swirl Nation Blog

Anti-miscegenation laws were a clear way to curb a national fear of individuals and behaviors that seemed to be abnormal and deviant. In addition, anti-miscegenation laws were vital in maintaining Jim Crow segregation, allowing for racial “purity” to persevere (Davis, 2006). Despite the law and a general fear of blending races among elite white Americans in the United States during this time, sexual, romantic, and marital relationships occurred at significantly high rates between whites and blacks. The number of mixed-race children being born during this time steadily increased; however, children from mixed-unions were automatically placed outside of the existing social order (Brown, 2001).

Post-Anti-Miscegenation Laws

It was not until the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, which facilitated an end to Jim Crow laws. The well-recognized Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, handed down in 1967, was a momentous event in United States legal and cultural history. Loving v. Virginia, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws, making them unconstitutional, created a spark that lit a charged fire of demographic change throughout the U.S. (Bratter and Zuberi, 2001; Brunsma, 2005). Elam (2011) reinforces the notion that although Loving v. Virginia and other cultural transformations shaped by immigration trends have contributed to the United States increasingly multi-hued population, people of mixed descent are not a recent phenomenon: they have existed in often distinct, self-identified communities since the colonial era in the Americas, from Black Seminoles to Melungeons (p. 6). Up until the Loving decision, it is clear race mixing occurred, but it was a strictly managed affair, driven by force and power. Yet, such a power shift in American culture following the Loving v. Virginia case helped bring mixed-race identities and struggles out of the private sphere into the public sphere (Olumide, 2002). In addition, such a socio-cultural and legal endorsement of mixed-race identities and relationships eventually produced what has come to be known as the “biracial baby boom.” In the 1970s, approximately 1% of children were products of a mixed-race union and by 2000, that number grew to more than 5% (Herman, 2004; Brunsma, 2005).

Mixedness in the New Millennium

We then come back to present day where the growing mixed-race population is observed not just in the United States, but across the world. This has created greater interest in multiracial individuals and their lived experiences. A recent example of such interest is presented through The Pew Research Center June 2015 report, Multiracial in America: Proud, Diverse, and Growing in Numbers (Pew, 2015). The 156-page report is based off findings from 1,555 multiracial Americans across the nation, aged 18 and older, who were surveyed in regards to personal attitudes, experiences, and demographic characteristics (Pew, 2015). The report describes how the multiracial population is growing at a rate three times as fast as the total population, citing 2013 U.S. Census Bureau data which shows approximately 9 million Americans chose two or more racial categories when asked about their race (Pew, 2015).

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.Commons

As we approach the 50-year anniversary of Loving v. Virginia next year and hopefully continue to see more media stories of not just the Loving family, but other multiracial couples and families, there is trust in the multiracial community continuing to add to the history of interracial relationships in America. Yes, it has been a bumpy road. Nevertheless, it has been a road worth traveling for the sake of not being afraid to cross boundaries for love, for happiness, and for freedom.

Post was originally published on Multiracial Media


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6º of Hapa: Finding Resilience Post-Election


6º of Hapa: Finding Resilience Post-Election via Swirl Nation Blog

After the results of the election came in, I couldn't help but feel like giving up. It was difficult to go to work at my day job and I felt a strong impulse to close the doors on my little business.

As some of you may already know, I’m the owner and creator of an apparel line called 6 Degrees of Hapa, and my tagline is “celebrating mixed cultures, diversity, and spreading a little Hapa pride.” What has always been a fun and exciting part of my business suddenly seemed incredibly hard to do. I just couldn’t imagine going to an event, setting up my pop up shop, and selling anything to anyone. The possibility of even harder economic times and the ghost of a pinch on people’s wallets made me feel guilty about tempting shoppers to spend money.

But when I told my mom I felt like closing up shop for at least the next four years, she replied, "Closing your business is what he wants."

And she’s right.

So this Saturday I went out and with the help of my parents did my second to last pop-up of the year in San Jose Japantown. Let me tell you--it's such a compliment to have people come up, look around my pop-up and feel a connection to me, my family, and my business. I was so heartened to see people wearing safety pins and getting a chance to talk with the other vendors and shoppers. Though very few said anything outright about the election (I should have remembered my safety pin), it was obvious that there was a sense of unity and resilience. No one had to come out to support local artisans this weekend. But they did.

In the Japanese American community (sometimes called Nikkei), I feel that one of the reasons this election’s stakes were so high is because many of us have all either by two degrees or less known what it is like to be strangers in this country that we call our home. Many of us have faced discrimination, racism, and displacement in some form or another. The U.S. internment of Japanese Americans is one of the darkest examples of this and its impact is still felt and discussed today within the Nikkei community. It’s hard for me to imagine where this country is going if we do not do our part and after talking to those who came to the show this weekend, I think they feel the same.

When I look at this election, I can’t help but think of my family who immigrated to the U.S. Like many Japanese Americans, my family has a history of illegal immigration. I would not be here today if my great grandfather had not made the decision to come to the U.S. regardless of the consequences he might face for doing so illegally. My great grandfather’s name was Yoichi. He worked as a farmer all over California, and during World War II, he along with many relatives of mine were forced into internment.

Despite all that the Nikkei community has faced, we have shown resilience. Going to San Jose Japantown and participating as a vendor in a fundraising boutique for the Japanese American Museum of San Jose yesterday reminded me of that. It was also so striking to me to see just how ethnically mixed the Nikkei community has become and how inclusive it is. Just go check out JAMsj’s Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History to really understand how far we’ve come.

Opening up my pop up shop this weekend despite everything that has happened this week made me realize that my little business gives me the opportunity to put more good into this world when we really need it. One of the best parts of any pop up for me is when someone comes up and says, “Hapa? That’s me!” (Or) “That’s my daughter/son/friend/whole family!”

One of my goals in starting 6 Degrees of Hapa was to create a business that gives those who identify as mixed a way to embrace their heritages without feeling a need to pick just one. And hearing people express that my business is in fact doing that makes me both hopeful and proud. So yes, I’ll keep my little shop going strong because I know that what it stands for, diversity, family, friends, and how we are all connected is so very important right now.


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When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts


When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts via Swirl Nation Blog

It’s Wednesday afternoon, the day after the election. I, like many others, have yet to fully recover from the shock of the results. I went to bed last night at 10:30, hoping beyond hope, that I would hear what I wanted to hear in the morning. My dreams were dashed when my husband came in at 12:30am and woke me up. He delivered the news that I had been dreading for a year and a half; the same news that many Americans had been dreading. We spent 30 minutes crying in each other’s arms. We cried for our mothers, sisters, nieces. We cried for people of color, the LGBT community, the disability community. We cried for America. We cried for the America that we thought we knew.

 

I woke up after a fitful few hours tossing and turning, replaying the last year and a half over and over in my head. How did this happen? How did we get here? I read several articles by people who predicted this and by people who were as angry and sad as I am. I needed to know that there were others who were in as much shock, pain and bewilderment as I was. I sulked around all morning and held back tears in front of everyone who asked how I was doing. The nurse at the doctor’s office and the cashier at the gas station. It felt like a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

 

I came home and went straight into an hour of peaceful, inward focused yoga. As tried to breathe into my side body, lengthen and lift, and “find what feels good” (shout out to all my Yoga With Adriene homies!) I realized that I, and everyone in this beautiful country, am going to be OK. The yoga video I followed was focused on being grateful. And the universe spoke to me, as it often does during my time on the mat. “Be grateful,” it said. “To be alive. To have family. For the opportunity to be a part of the democratic process. For the privilege to travel. For the opportunity to meet and know people of different races, religions, and beliefs. Be grateful for the earth beneath you, the sun above you and the people you share this amazing planet with.”

 

Many of us are angry and just downright hurt. And as Hillary said in her concession speech today, “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.” It is hard to swallow the idea that we live in a place that would want someone who is openly racist, misogynist and mean spirited to lead the country. As a mixed race woman, this has shaken me to my core. I struggle to stay hopeful for our future. But I beg of you, everyone, do not lose heart. Do not give up. Do not move away. We are Americans. We are strong. We will continue to fight the good fight. We will continue to fight for equal rights for ALL Americans and ALL people of the world.

 

I know that if we keep our minds and hearts open we can make damn sure that all of the progress we have made in the last 8 years is not destroyed. Let’s also move forward. We can’t let fear and hate drive us into complacency. I appreciate that President Obama said, “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.” It’s true and we all know it. The bottom line is, this is reality and we have to live with the hand we’ve been dealt. So let’s do our best to make sure we play our cards right.

 

When the Dust Settles: Post-Election Thoughts via Swirl Nation Blog

My hope is that we all learn from this time and that we come together as a country. I hope that the forces that seek to divide us fail and that we can all treat each other with respect, dignity and love. I do not believe in any of the same things that our next President believes in, but I do believe in love and it’s power to triumph over evil. I also believe in the power of the human spirit. And I believe that being an American is an honor and privilege. I am proud to be an American. I don’t wear clothes emblazoned with an American flag, I hate baseball and I’m not that into apple pie. Hell, I don’t even put my hand over my heart during the national anthem. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love my country. And no matter who is President, I hope that will never change.

 

For the people who are hurting, for the people who are scared, for the people who don’t understand - keep your chin up. “Don't get cynical, don't ever think you can't make a difference”, our current President said today. Ultimately, we're all on the same team.”


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THE INTERNET SENDS A 'CALL TO ACTION' TO LAW ENFORCEMENT


I woke up to a flood of Facebook and Instagram posts captioned with #AltonSterling. I was soon barraged with an incoming of group text notifications. It had happened again. A Black man was killed by police and it had been caught on video. Again.

As I scrolled through the posts, strategically avoiding watching the video of the murder, another hashtag kept catching my eye. #GoodCops.

Usually in times like this people are quick to say, #backtheblue, #alllivesmatter, #coplivesmatter, and “not all cops are bad”. However, today’s #GoodCops hashtag had a different message attached to it.

#GoodCops is a call to action. Many people are calling out the “good cops”, to show everyone they are good, and take a stand against cops who do a bad job.

THE INTERNET SENDS A 'CALL TO ACTION' TO LAW ENFORCEMENT via Swirl Nation Blog
THE INTERNET SENDS A 'CALL TO ACTION' TO LAW ENFORCEMENT via Swirl Nation Blog
THE INTERNET SENDS A 'CALL TO ACTION' TO LAW ENFORCEMENT via Swirl Nation Blog
THE INTERNET SENDS A 'CALL TO ACTION' TO LAW ENFORCEMENT via Swirl Nation Blog
Radio personality Rosenberg from NYC’s Hot97 joined the debate with his passionate response to a caller who, self identifying as a member of law enforcement, refused to admit that the known footage and public evidence in the police-involved Alton Sterling shooting, looked bad.  Rosenberg, visibly emotional, posed the following suggestion to the caller and all police across the country.
 “Can you say the words ‘it looks bad’?
... This is the problem I have with cops…Y’all don’t ever want to point at someone else and say ‘you can't do your job well’….Until you guys start taking responsibility for your own, people in the street are going to be upset instead. So how about y’all lead the movement instead. How about instead of people rioting, police officers get out in front of it themselves.”

Less than 24 hours later another man, Philando Castile was shot and killed by a cop near Minneapolis while his girlfriend caught it all in a Facebook livestream video. According to Fusion, cops have killed more than 550 people in 2016.  With Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being added to the list, we need to start looking for a way to change the trend.

Is police reform the best move towards putting an end to police-involved civilian fatalities?

What are your thoughts?


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OUR RESPONSE TO AZIZ ANSARI'S 'WHY TRUMP MAKES ME SCARED FOR MY FAMILY'


OUR RESPONSE TO AZIZ ANSARI'S 'WHY TRUMP MAKES ME SCARED FOR MY FAMILY' via Swirl Nation Blog

I was just reading the New York Times online and came across Aziz Ansari’s essay, Aziz Ansari: Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family.

 

I’ve been trying to stay away from writing about current politics on Swirl Nation, but after so much xenophobic rhetoric being used in the presidential campaign, I feel it is appropriate to finally address it.  We live in an increasingly multicultural world, and an even more increasing multicultural country.  America was founded on immigration.  People came to this country to escape religious persecution, economic and social troubles, and the pursuit of happiness.  So when a presidential candidate feeds off of fear, condones violence, and comes from a place of negativity to advance his agenda, especially when he is utilizing negative racial, ethnic, and even female stereotypes to do so, it truly worries me.

 

In Ansari’s essay, he expresses his fear for his family in this country.  Aziz Ansari’s family are practicing Muslims.  He cautions his mother to stay away from mosques and partake in prayer at home.  He knows that many Americans, when thinking about Muslims, do not see Nobel prize-winning teenager Malala Yousafzai, but a bomb-wielding Jihadist.  And this is what is so troubling when you have a presidential candidate, or anyone, lump a group of people in to one category and perpetuate these negative stereotypes.  Ansari writes, “According to reporting my Mother Jones, since 9/11, there have been 49 mass shootings in this country, and more than half of those were perpetrated by white males.  I doubt we’ll hear Mr. Trump make a speech asking his fellow white males to tell authorities ‘who the bad ones are’, or call for restricting white males’ freedoms.”  Think about that for a moment.

 

Ansari isn’t the first celebrity to express concerns regarding Donald Trump’s speeches.  Louis C.K. wrote a letter voicing fear of having a bully for a president. He compared him to Hitler, writing “Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.”  Jenn sent me a particularly moving clip of Brandon Stanton, curator of the popular website Humans of New York , reading a letter he wrote decrying Trump:

I’ve previously written about language and the words we choose; and how words can be dangerous.  Please listen to the words Donald Trump is using.  He chooses the words he uses, so when he says:

"Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!" –Donald Trump, tweeting a humble brag about the Orlando shooting massacre, June 12, 2016
 
The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" –Donald Trump on Twitter, Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 2016
 
"I think the only card she has is the women's card. She has got nothing else going. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she would get 5% of the vote. And the beautiful thing is women don't like her, ok?" –Donald Trump, victory press conference, New York, April 26, 2016
 
"Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don't know. I don't know -- did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists." –Donald Trump, refusing to condemn former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and noted white supremacist David Duke, who endorsed Trump for president, February 28, 2016

 

"It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” –Donald Trump in a tweet quoting fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, February 28, 2016

"We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated." –Donald Trump on his performance with poorly educated voters who helped him win the Nevada Caucus, Feb. 23, 2016

 

"There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees." –Donald Trump, encouraging violence at his rallies, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016
"For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian. … If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS' ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened." –Donald Trump, in response to remarks by Pope Francis saying that "a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian." (February 18, 2016)
"That was so great. Who was the person who did that? Put up your hand, put up your hand. Bring that person up here. I love that." –Donald Trump, praising two audience members who tackled a protester at his rally in South Carolina, Feb. 16, 2016
"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible." –Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa as the audience laughed, January 23, 2016

"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." –Donald Trump campaign statement

"You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever." –Donald Trump, insulting Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly over questions she asked during the first Republican primary debate
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists." –Donald Trump
"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?" –Donald Trump on Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina

 

I could have posted many more insane quotes he’s made, from dating his own daughter to confusing 7/11 with 9/11 and denouncing John McCain as a war hero because he was caught; but his appeal boils down to fear-mongering, racism, and sexism.

 

I’ve tried to write this whole post being as civilized and level-headed as possible, but this is where I need to stop, or the remainder would be expletives…  However, on a funny note, this is what I imagine a state of the union would be like if Trump was president:

“South Carolina, wassup?”


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TEARS FOR DETROIT

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TEARS FOR DETROIT

I cried today. Sobbed actually. I saw a video on Detroit schools. Mushrooms growing up the wall, mold, rodents, playgrounds and gyms deteriorated beyond use, no arts, no supplies. A shot of the bathroom is what sent me over the edge. It's criminal. Between the water in Flint and the schools in Detroit, that whole region needs to be under federal control. And people need to go to jail. Money should come from the weapons industry ($400 billion annual; six of top nine companies located in the US). Sorry, I rant...it won't be the last time.

I try to be optimistic about how things are going in this world and stick to solutions, but Detroit/Flint is ridiculously complex. These schools need immediate repair. Flint is being poisoned. I mean...I'm kinda speechless. What happen to the humanity of the people who knew? How did they look themselves in the mirror every night? They had to have known this day would come. Greed? Racism? Stupidity? What kind of mind allows someone to know a city is being poisoned and just do nothing? How did someone like that get elected Governor? 

His fate will be decided. Focus must now be on solutions. The human race will always strive for better and we are working hard to manage this unfathomable experience called Life. Flint and Detroit need a little extra attention right now. Praying our leaders do what is right, fair, kind and just.


All photos from @TeachDetroit  Twitter account

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DR. KING'S LEGACY 50 YEARS LATER

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DR. KING'S LEGACY 50 YEARS LATER


The celebration of Dr. King on the brink of Black History Month gives us a chance to authentically reflect how we are progressing as a country on the issue of equality. We are drowning in media coverage about the injustices perpetrated on the current minority communities. The Black Lives Matters movement captures headlines nearly every week. The aftermath of U.S. slavery continues to debilitate our efforts to merge the gifts and talents of all cultures and improve our quality of life. In the United States, we already have enough for everyone to live a decent existence. But far too many prefer to be petty, angry, fearful, mean, scared, paranoid or evil. They are willing to lie, steal and kill to defend the disturbed concept of superiority. It boggles my mind that with all of the information available, people still choose to hate. A Canadian friend once told me they consider racism a form of mental illness. From everything I've seen, heard and lived, I must say I agree. But what I know is, there are more good people than bad. If it weren't so, our world would be in chaos. And Flint would be on fire.

 

Problem is, our expectations for black/white race relations are far too high. On both sides. Black people were given the right to vote in this country a mere 50 years ago. 50 years.That ain't shit. How can anyone possibly believe things should already be equal? It's illogical. We've got 400 years of slavery's bad karma on us. It's going to take at least half that amount of time to straighten things out. That gives us until 2165. Now I'm not at all advocating the efforts should slow down. But thinking in these terms allows us to put into perspective the spectacular amount of growth that has happened  in a ridiculously short amount of time. As a country, we are doing great. Nowhere near perfect, but certainly poised to get it right if we work hard enough. Amidst all of the ignorant rhetoric, I've heard truths spoken that can expand our ability to tackle our racial issues effectively and permanently.

I stumbled upon this interview with Brian Lehrer on Huff Post Live speaking on white privilege. Whether or not you agree with Brian Lehrer's views, his intention to find solutions cannot be denied. The beneficiaries of privilege are acknowledging the inequity in greater numbers. As Americans continue to come together on this issue, we will expedite the rate at which our country heals its wounds. I think Dr. King would be proud of where we are and the work that is being done . And perhaps he would agree that while it is fine to be optimistic, we must remain realistic on how much further we have to go. Now is the time to work harder and smarter. Everything is at stake.

Click on photo for full interview

Click on photo for full interview


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REMEMBERING THE WORDS OF DR. KING

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REMEMBERING THE WORDS OF DR. KING


Martin Luther King's words resonate as strongly today as they did 50 years ago. Here are some of my favorite quotes to honor the man who made such an impact on society. My wish is that his day is seen as more than just "a day off of school". I encourage every parent to set aside some time today or tomorrow to teach their children the story of Dr. King's crusade against racial injustice. 

All quotes can be found HERE


I love this kid-friendly video by Kid President that explains the story of Martin Luther King Jr. Please share this video with kids in your life and teach them about the important work Dr. King did. 



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COLOR BLIND OR COLOR BRAVE?

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COLOR BLIND OR COLOR BRAVE?

Throughout my short time as a mom, I’ve heard many moms claim they are raising their children to be colorblind.  They are raising their children to not see race.  For a long time, I did the same thing.  I never had to bring it up with my first child, so I didn’t, but is avoiding the subject really the way to go?  Then I started thinking about why I avoided it.  Is it because my daughter looks white and probably won’t encounter racism the way most minorities do?  Is it because we lived in Miami and she has a Latin last name, so she was part of the majority?  Did I do it to shield her from what was happening outside her little bubble?  

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NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVES

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NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVES

I wanted my first blog post to be helpful, meaningful, impactful--filled with information to improve the quality of our readers' lives. Over the weeks, different subjects floated through my head but nothing really stuck. So here I am, a day after deadline, subjectless. When I think about the dynamics of multi-racial families I'm struck with the spectrum of issues. How do we parents navigate through a world that seems to constantly point out the differences between the races? How do we choose our words when our loved ones are confused about where they fit in? How do we manage our anger when our family members are targeted by ignorance? How do we truly feel about the different bloodlines coursing through our veins, which society uses to define us? Is there a particular heritage that brings a little more pride? Another that brings shame? Answers to these questions can help explain why we make the choices we make and expand our view of our purpose in the world.

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