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Seek justice and correct oppression

January 24, 2017 1 comment

I have a lot of anger and frustration right now. My country, its citizens, people I work with…injustice all around. 

I’m not sure where to begin. I don’t process any of these thoughts and feelings on Facebook as I don’t feel that is the appropriate venue for them. 

I am not your typical black, female, liberal Democrat. I didn’t like President Obama and Michelle Obama wasn’t the greatest First Lady to have ever existed in my lifetime. (Hillary Clinton still takes the cake, in my opinion.) 

I am not pro-choice/pro-abortion. “Family planning” is a misleading term as abortion or “the woman’s right to choose” usually involves the LACK of having a family. “Reproductive rights” is a misnomer. More like rights to NOT reproduce. Everything about being “pro-choice” is “anti-reproduction.” 

The women’s march pissed me off considering that the official organizers had to put out a statement uninviting a pro-life organization and taking an official Pro-choice stance. This march no longer represented me or my voice. They claimed to but they did not. I had no say against Donald Trump and his administration and it was clear that because I believed in the sanctity of life on this ONE ISSUE, I would be shunned from this community of women. 

And I don’t care to be part of this kind of political fellowship. If they don’t care to look past my political differences and embrace me, then fine, I’ll continue to move forward and work without them by my side. 

Let’s keep lowering the abortion rate. With or without having Roe v. Wade overturned. Let’s make sure that we make sure women know about ALL available options to prevent pregnancies: birth control AND self-control. If pregnant, expecting moms should know that infertile couples are willing to sponsor women who want to give their babies up for adoption. Abortion doesn’t have to be the last resort or ONLY option for many women. In a majority of cases, we CAN choose life. Let’s continue to make life a first option and do all we can to ENCOURAGE it and not discourage it. 

I can’t express my opinion about this administration because I’m not supposed to like it, right? And on the whole, so far, it isn’t great. But an executive order has been reinstated that ceases to give NGOs that perform abortions federal funding. And I’m happy about that. +1, President Trump. #conservativeliberal

I could list all the stuff Obama did that I’m unhappy about, especially as a lame duck (*cough*Palestinian money*Israel betrayal*drones*ending Cuban wet-foot/dry-foot policy*cough*). Lord knows there’s plenty of fodder for me to complain about Obama’s actions as president. I won’t even begin to question his motives. 

I don’t expect Trump to be a good president. In fact, I’m afraid he will suck majorly. Even worse, I’m afraid he’ll do well enough for Middle America to win another 4 years but that the popular vote will not outweigh his electoral vote…again.

Trump’s opponents annoy me more than Trump himself. They were my biggest fear when I thought of the potential of a Hillary loss (which seemed so unlikely) and now it’s a nightmare realized. 

Someone get me out of here. 

I wish everyone got what they rightly deserved, especially when they worked hard for it. I hate to see people promised something and then get delayed, brushed aside, jerked around, and then left in the dust wondering what they did wrong and what they could’ve done better. Why do we play favorites? Why do we treat some people better than others? We know who works hard and who doesn’t. Why do the lazy get rewarded and the hardest toilers get stranded in the dust?

Being blackballed is a thing, it seems. And it makes me sad. I hope that redemption is still possible. One day…?

I know I’m speaking in vague generalities but I suppose I have to right now so specifics aren’t brought out. Also, I’m sort of “typing aloud,” letting my thoughts flow freely onto digital paper, so to speak. 

Just really tired of injustice and oppression everywhere I turn. Sure, it’s not affecting ME personally but it’s affecting others I love and care about. This bothers me. And if I don’t stand up and say something for them, who will? Aren’t I in a position where I can do good for others and help those who need it? 

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” —Isaiah 1:17 (ESV)

Thoughts on #Ferguson

November 25, 2014 2 comments

I have a lot to say and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll find these thoughts quite redundant. But I need to put them down somewhere and get them out of my brain and off my chest.

Let me preface this by saying: I don’t hate white people. I think white people and black people need to work together to effect change. That being said…

I live in a white neighborhood. It’s a peaceful neighborhood with very little crime. One day, I sat in my car, idling in the parking lot next to my apartment, listening to the remainder of a favorite song. I had just come from the gym and it was at night. A cop car pulled alongside me with a white officer at the helm. He very politely asked if everything was okay and I replied that it was. He gave me a dubious “okay” and pulled away.

I’m not sure what probable cause he had for pulling up. Because businesses were closed? Because it was a lone car idling in the parking lot? Did he see that I was a woman all alone? Did he see a black person in a car and wondered what the hell I was doing in the neighborhood?

I’ll never know. But the latter option has run through my mind.

That’s not the only instance in which my family has had a run in with white cops. I often tell the story of my dad who was driving home (we lived in a predominantly white neighborhood) and was less than a half-mile from home when he got stopped by a cop. The officer asked what he was doing and my father said he was heading home. The officer asked where that was and my father said it was down the street, a couple of houses away. The officer let my father go and my dad made it home safely, but he was always convinced he got stopped for DWB — driving while black.

I had a conversation with my husband that left me in tears last night. Because I love my son and I well and truly believe that he’s somewhat at a disadvantage because of his skin color. Despite the fact that Trayvon Martin was not killed by a cop, I really fear my son getting into an altercation with a cop simply because he’s walking around with a hoodie at 6 pm during the winter when it’s dark. My son may be half-white but he’ll only be seen as a black man in the eyes of the law.

I’m tired of making excuses for black people and why they deserved what they got. Mike Brown didn’t deserve to get shot at 12 times. I don’t care if police are trained to empty their clip or if they’re supposed to shoot until a person goes down. I think that’s barbarous. That 12-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio, didn’t deserve to die. I don’t care if he chipped the paint off the toy gun to make it look real. He was TWELVE.

Minorities have a history of getting the short end of the stick:

  • “Oh, that black person was being an idiot to the cop so of course he got shot.”
  • “Oh, that woman was all over the man so of course she was asking to get raped.”
  • “Oh, that Latin American immigrant came into the country illegally so of course his American kids should get deported.”

When does it stop? Who polices the police? I wasn’t much on white privilege before Ferguson, but I guess I am now. White people are more likely to be in positions of power. Black people, to succeed, have to (quite frankly) kiss ass in ways that their white peers don’t.

My mom always told me that black people have to dress nicely and act properly in front of white people if they want to get anywhere. My mother was promoted to the head forewoman position at her job from being a CLEANING LADY. She doesn’t attribute it to her great work ethic (which she had) and great English (she’s got a strong French accent). She attributes it to the fact that she dressed properly and always acted politely in front of white people in positions of power.

You see, I play the game, too. Where a white person can walk into an interview with jeans and be a likely candidate, I have to dress up in a business suit, be articulate, and put on my A-game to get the job.

Oh wait, that’s not a fair comparison because anyone who walks in with jeans won’t get a job in a white-collar industry.

You’d be surprised.

I’ve had to work TWICE as hard as my white peers to succeed in academics and in my career.

I really don’t believe white people are the enemy. It may sound like it, but I don’t feel that way. (Drop in reference to white husband that validates my lack of racism) My sole point is that white people hold the upper hand on a lot of things. In ways they don’t even realize. I may not always identify with my black peers, but that doesn’t negative the fact that my skin color is still dark.

So I guess I believe that white privilege exists. And I don’t know how to change it. It’s been an institution in America since the 1700s. Maybe the first step in breaking down white privilege is accepting the fact that, if you are white in America — and I don’t care if you’re a redneck or live in Appalachia — you have advantages over black people.

I guess that’s it.

A different Black opinion on #Ferguson

August 18, 2014 2 comments

I do not subscribe the popular collective mind-set in Black culture. I do not believe everything revolves around race. Sure, dismiss my opinions as invalid because I am a first-generation American, but the fact of the matter, is: I was born in the US. I have a right to my opinion just like any other Black American.

There are a lot of conflicting reports regarding the shooting of Michael Brown. I have heard and read that Brown was a suspect in a robbery of a convenience store. It’s possible that he was not the actual suspect but a Black man (because all Black people look alike) who kinda fit the description of the suspect. There are witnesses who say that at the time Brown was shot, he was unarmed and had his hands up in the air in surrender. I have also heard reports that he was resisting arrest and charging police at the time he was shot. Another account says that Brown was shot in the back.

People, of all races and colors, just want the truth about what actually occurred. I do not think it is fair to conclude that the Brown shooting revolves solely around race simply because the police officer, Darren Wilson, is white and the victim was Black. Sometimes, unfortunate shootings like this happen regardless of race or color. We don’t live in a perfect world. This wouldn’t be an issue if Wilson were Black and Brown was also Black.

The second autopsy of Brown’s body revealed that he was shot six times, twice in the head. If it is true that he was charging at  police, then the police had a right to defend themselves using force. But if Brown did have his hands up in the air in surrender and was shot six times anyway, then Officer Wilson has a lot of ‘splaining to do.

Officer Wilson is currently on paid administrative leave. The media have no clues on his whereabouts. Rumors are that Wilson has skipped town and is laying low somewhere out of state (probably a smart idea for him). His professional history does not include any complaints, but in fact, notes that he was commended for outstanding service. How does an officer with no history of violence or trouble suddenly find himself at the center of a racially charged shooting?

Read more…

A Somber Christmas

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s Christmas time again, and I managed to get through the season without shedding a single tear for my father. It’s the first time in 11 years since he died that I haven’t cried during the time he passed away. His death always hung like a cloud over the holiday season for me, and for some strange reason, that cloud has finally lifted. But today, I think of the families of Newtown, Connecticut who are missing their little ones whom they used to celebrate with. It’s a somber Christmas for them, filled with tears, sadness, and emptiness for the loved one that has now departed.

John 11:35 applies to this day: “Jesus wept.” It’s probably the shortest sentence in the Bible, but also the most profound. On Christmas, as many Christians think of Jesus being the reason for the season, we are also called to follow the Bible’s teaching to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). The Bible says in Psalm 34:18 that the “LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” During this difficult, difficult season (and it always will be for these families), as a community mourns, let us lift up Newtown, CT in prayer and remembrance.

 

 

Newtown, Connecticut and Body Image Issues

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week, there was a horrible shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. This should be the requisite post about how we need more gun control. Here are twelve facts on guns and mass shootings in the United States provided by the Washington Post. But I don’t have any ideas on how to get stricter gun control laws. According to the eleven facts from the WaPo, the killers obtained their guns legally. How do you restrict that? According the second amendment, people have the right to bear arms in the United States. How does one tighten the laws on guns? Do we have potential gun buyers jump through mental evaluation hoops to ensure the safety of other citizens? As a person who has struggled with mental illness, I should not be allowed to own a gun. Knowing my father who had struggled with mental illness, I would not have wanted him to own a gun.

There is no easy answer to gun control concerns. I would not want to take away the rights of citizens to own guns, but something needs to be done to ensure the rights of others are protected.

I’ve been thinking about my own body and my struggle with weight and lack of exercise. It’s clear that I need to exercise to stay healthy. I am a size 14. I’m not quite plus size but I don’t want to get much bigger.

Then I thought about the body image issues sprung upon me by my family and society. I grew up being one of the skinny kids, only having dealt with body image issues within the past 10 years. And I wonder if I let too many other people define me. I’m a little overweight with some pudge around the middle, but why should that define my self-worth or the way I see myself? Attempting to get skinny is a fleeting goal, one that I do not have the discipline to attain.

Natural Disasters Aren’t Complete Disasters

March 14, 2011 1 comment

 

A soldier holds a four-month-old baby who survived the tsunami with her family at Ishinomaki city in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011. (Yomiuri Shimbun/AFP/Getty Images)

The earthquake in Japan has touched my heart and mind. I do have a friend in Japan who is all right (she updated her Facebook profile), and while I am sad about the loss of life and devastation, I am also glad that Japan is a first-world country with proper infrastructure that can help minimize damage in the face of shifting plates and waves rolling across the land. Haiti lacked all of these things including access to basic health care, which made the death toll in last year’s earthquake all the more worse for the impoverished country.

Natural disasters (or “acts of God”) are devastating. They result in loss of life, extensive property damage, and put people in harm’s way for the future (ie, Haiti: cholera; Japan: radiation exposure). But these same disasters that bring so calamity upon a people also bring a sense of community. People of an entire country band together like never before in recent memory to assist one another. Sure, there are looters—but these vagabonds are not the norm; they are the exception. People are digging their neighbors and coworkers out of rubble. They are grieving with people’s names they do not know upon discovering that their loved ones bodies have washed upon the shore. They are sharing food, transportation, and words with a form of compassion that may not have existed two weeks ago.

People around the world are touched by the frailty of human life when these tragedies strike, and the outpouring of love, money, and support is evidence of that.

Perhaps I’m exercising dispensational eschatology in believing that the United States is poised for its own great earthquake in the next 10 years. And I don’t fear California so much as I fear the “inactive” plate that’s sitting miles beneath the ground I live on. None of us are prepped or poised for that.

And I can only hope and pray that the world will be as good to us then as we have tried to be to them.

 

Peut-Wyclef parler en français sans avoir à rechercher les mots? (Comme j’ai eu à faire)

August 6, 2010 1 comment

Wyclef Jean ond yo sipòtè nan òf li pou prezidans lan ayisyen.

On Thursday, August 5, singer and entertainer Wyclef Jean filed the necessary paperwork and officially announced his foray into seeking the Haitian presidency on CNN’s Larry King Live hosted by Wolf Blitzer. The Haitian Constitution enumerates the following for a presidential candidate:

  1. Must be Haitian-born, never have renounced Haitian nationality (including the inability to hold dual citizenship)
  2. 35 years of age or older by election day
  3. Be a law-abiding citizen
  4. Own property in Haiti
  5. Hold residence in the country for 5 years before the date of the elections

While Mr. Jean may meet the first four requirements quite handily, that last one poses a problem. Mr. Jean, born in Haiti, moved to Brooklyn, NY at age 9 and has been a regular resident of the United States ever since. As I understand it, Mr. Jean may have maintained more frequent residency in Haiti during the past 3 years but he’s got 2 more years go if he wants to abide by the Haitian constitution. (And how reckless would it be to skirt around this set of laws then swear to uphold it afterward?)

But the big question on everyone’s minds, however, especially Haitians is: Is Wyclef Jean qualified, apart from what’s outlined in the Haitian constitution, to lead the Haitian nation?

The resounding answer is no. But then again, neither was Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president and former Roman Catholic priest. Read more…

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