Know Justice, Know Peace

Several months ago I wrote a quick, passionate piece on the Black Lives Matter movement. I meant well, but I got a lot of it wrong. I made claims that leadership wasn’t clear, and that was a flaw. This semester I had the highest privilege (lol) to take an African American Rhetoric class. As we moved through the coursework, I realized that even though I’ve always thought of myself as someone who not only loved and respected Black and Brown identifying individuals, but saw the injustices from an early age. As it turns out, I still have a long way to go. I re-read that piece, and cringed as I often do while reading my writing. I got some things wrong, and maybe this is a redemption piece. Maybe what i’m trying to say is that it’s okay to learn and grow and admit that you’re not as smart, or as all knowing about something as you’d like to believe. It’s okay to look back at yourself and think “wow I was so wrong but now I know better!”

The Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t necessarily have clear “leadership” because the three women who started the hashtag wanted Black/Brown people all over the country to feel like this movement is theirs, and in whatever capacity, they could be the ones leading. I say all of this to get to the K(no)w Justice, K(no)w Peace exhibit I recently attended at the Levine Museum of the New South. As I walked around with my son, I couldn’t help but wonder how I could use my white privilege to stand behind the BLM movement, and how more importantly, I can raise my white son to grow up to be a man who is obviously not racist, empathetic to others struggles, and knows that he doesn’t have to sit at the head of the table. What kind of leader am I in the fight for justice, peace, and equality?

The “lack of leadership” is now one of my favorite aspects of this movement. I love the idea that millions of Black and Brown people feel like they have the power to stand up wherever they are, to create space for themselves and their community to protect themselves against police brutality. I love to think about a movement that the system is so fundamentally against, succeeding because of millions of Black and Brown leaders taking back their lives.

 

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J: take a picture of me mom! Me: …eh I hope no one is looking

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Waking Up

 

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When I was twelve I transferred from a predominantly black/asian/latino middle school to a dominantly white school. I gravitated towards the black students and was routinely told that “I wanted to be black.” From an early age I was aware of the ignorance that came with living in a small town. I remember feeling so much bigger than the people around me because I considered myself above the racial prejudice. I remember my own mother telling me that white boys wouldn’t want to date me if I continued dating black boys. What she should have told me is “you don’t want to date anyone that harbors that kind of racism.” She meant well.

On Election day I spent hours in my bedroom floor, sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t understand why I felt so defeated when I was so sure I was about to witness the first woman to become President of the United States. When I woke up the following day, I felt so many things: devastation, shock, grief, and disgust. The more I thought about it, the more I realized those emotions were not just about the reality we are facing as a country, but more to do with waking up to my own ignorance.

I was so blinded by own ignorance that I truly believed we were better than this. I scrolled through my social media feeds that proudly declared we were all fighting for equality, social justice, and change for the oppressed. I didn’t take into consideration that I don’t associate with outwardly racist, bigoted, and misogynistic human beings. I didn’t take into consideration that there are millions of people just like the ones I encountered in that small town all over the country; people that see progressive liberal actions as threatening to their white supremacy.

I think at this point we can all recognize that there are millions of people advocating for white supremacy. Surely you can’t deny that the media paints the Black Lives Matter movement as a hate group for fighting for justice, but doesn’t bat an eye when the KKK hold victory rallies for Trump. It has been widely pointed out that equality for all feels like oppression for those who have always benefited from a systematically racist system. If you don’t believe that, I ask you to consider who founded this system: rich, white, slave owning men. For those of you that might not understand: women and people of color were left out of the foundation of this country, weird that we still abide by those men’s beliefs, right?

Maybe not as weird as the amount of white educated woman who chose their whiteness over their womanhood during this election. It makes me question how many women have normalized sexual predators. It makes me wonder how many women allow men like Donald Trump to “grab them by the pussy” because they don’t know their own worth or because they don’t know they have the power to stop it.

I mostly question people who justify their vote for Donald Trump because of their Christianity. Separation of Church and State is a real thing but lets pretend for a second it’s okay to govern a country based on a religion that everyone doesn’t subscribe to, lets pretend for a second we don’t live in a country where freedom of religion, including the right to reject religion is law. I challenge anyone to tell me how Donald Trump represents your Christian values? Or does Donald Trump make you feel better about your shortcomings? Did your vote for Donald Trump have more to do with justifying your own hatred and fear for people who don’t look like you or subscribe to the same lifestyle as you? Was your vote for Donald Trump just a vote for keeping women’s rights controlled? Was your vote a vote against a woman’s right to choose? Did voting for someone with no political experience make you feel better about not being awake to what’s actually happening in this country? Were you more comfortable voting for a sexual predator with no political experience because you felt uncomfortable voting for a woman overly qualified for the position? Do you believe that her questionable actions in politics were more dangerous than a man who routinely sinks businesses at the expense of the working class people? A man who has never fought for anyone but himself. A man who routinely rates a woman’s worth based on their appearance.

In the days following the election I found myself wanting desperately to apologize for white people; to apologize over and over and over again to the people who are already struggling, who are looking at four years of war raged against them, but I am smart enough to know they don’t need my apology, they need me to educate myself on their oppression. They need me to hold onto this feeling of being awake to my own ignorance, they need me to talk to other white people about racism, prejudice, hatred, and what white people can do to change the system that fundamentally oppresses people who are not white because it is not up to the oppressed. It is not up to people of color to carry our torch. It is not up to them to comfort white people. It is up to you, white America, to wake the fuck up. Wake the fuck up and do something. It’s okay to be angry. Anger is an appropriate response. It’s okay to be angry with your countrymen and women. However, it is not okay to do nothing with that anger. Educate yourself, make conscious decisions about the companies you support, donate your time and money to organizations fighting for freedom and for worthy causes. Don’t ignore the facts.

 

If you have time please donate any amount of money to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pences name. More info here!

Weekend Edition: 10716

 

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I’m pretty sure the only thing that gets me to bed at a decent hour is the promise of coffee when I wake up. This weekend i’m going to be braving the storm at Trader Joe’s. It’s going to be madness thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Anyone have any ideas about keeping both me and my three year old entertained? I feel myself struggling lately to find something we’re both interested in. Stay safe this weekend!

The New York Times book review of “HITLER: Ascent 1889-1939.” It’s horrific and well written. You’ll get it.

How To Talk To Kids About Race! I’ve been thinking a lot this year about how to talk to J about race. I want my son to grow up to be a white man who understands there is room at the table for people of all colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

I love the Obamas. I recently saw Michelle. It was the most incredible thing. She is strong, intelligent, and sassy as hell.

Just what I needed to hear about being in the middle. My writing and I are in the middle of our relationship. It’s hard. It takes a lot of work to keep this promise i’ve made with my writing.

Can’t wait to make this!  Is there anything better on an October day than a huge bowl of butternut squash and goat cheese?!

It’s Fine, I’m Fine

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I’ve been feeling exceptionally overwhelmed lately but I’m not exactly sure why.

I took this semester off from school to give myself a “break,” but honestly I feel even more exhausted without school. I’ve been questioning myself a lot lately, and evaluating how I feel in certain situations, how other people make me feel, and more particularly how I feel about myself in those situations or around those people.

I decided to make of list of what I think I need. I decided if I can’t name the thing that is wrong, then I can make changes until it becomes clear. Or maybe it won’t become clear? but I might have a few more dollars in my bank account?

  1. Eat well. I know this probably made you roll your eyes but it is so important. Full disclosure: I’ve been eating pizza almost every single day. Pizza is awesome, even if it’s covered in veggies, but my body needs better.
  2. A day to really clean my room. Mostly I mean give everything away.
  3. More water, less caffeine. lol. No really! I’m going to try!
  4. Try to go at least an hour a day without talking to anyone. I don’t know why this feels important? maybe because it’s my job to talk to people, or because I have to talk to a three year old about the same three topics?
  5. Read Swing Time. Zadie Smith is a queen. The book hasn’t been released but i’m on the list at our local library. Carrie Brownstein approved.
  6. Stop buying shit I don’t need. Which brings me back to number three. I can’t afford my addiction. Water is free basically everywhere.
  7. Pack my lunch everyday. No Exceptions. This compliments numbers 1 and 6.
  8. Go see a movie. Here’s looking at you, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! 
  9. Buy a new pair of jeans. None of mine fit and I’m positive it will change my life. (JEANS ARE TOTALLY SHIT I NEED)
  10. Listen more. I’m a talker, who cares? I’ve been trying to be more conscious in what I talk about. I genuinely feel good when I feel heard or understood. I want to give more people that same satisfaction.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m not necessarily sharing this for accountability, though it’s always good to have. I’m sharing this so maybe you can take some time to ask yourself questions. Self care matters: How you feel about yourself and the world around you, matters.

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The picture above are cards given to me by a best friend of mine during a wild game of “Girl Talk.” You remember that game right?! These cards are basically how she would describe me. It’s important to surround yourself with people who see you.

It’s also really important to make lists.

The Fox Reads: Summer Reading List

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I make it a goal to read at least two books a month. This summer I haven’t been so successful. I decided to take steps to read more; I turned off my data for most apps so while in public i’m forced to pull out a book (no one can afford data overages anyway.) I stocked my bedside table with a couple favorites and a few books i’ve been meaning to read. I joined a book club, and even co-founded a book club! (more details about that later!) I brushed off my library card because Amazon was getting wayyyy too much of my money. I even downloaded a few books to my phone.

Here’s to finishing the Summer reading list strong.

Infinite Jest is probably also going to be on the Fall reading list too. It’s fine.

What are you reading?

 

Summer Reading List

Sweet bitter by Stephanie Danler

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Infinite Jest  by David Foster Wallace (it’s AMAZING BUT SO DENSE)

Shrill by Lindy West (!!)

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman (half way there!)

The Girls by Emma Cline

Cursed Child by J.k Rowling

Seven Things I Can’t Stop Obsessing Over

Almost THREE years ago I wrote a post called 7 Things I can’t Stop Obsessing Over. It’s still one of my favorite posts because it’s all mostly relevant to me today. Here’s an updated version of that list.

Honorable Mentions: Chrissy Tegan and John legend, female friendship and this song.

  1. Sooo Many White Guys: In April I decided I want to start a podcast. I took a class and decided to take advantage of the previously annoying, un-deletable, “Podcast” App on my phone. I was instantly hooked on 2 Dope Queens, which lead me to the new series Sooo Many White GuyWhich stars comedian and co-host of 2DQ, Phoebe Robinson. The show features authors, artists, musicians, and other comedians: best part? none of them are white! Why do I love that? It paints an accurate picture of our culture; not the white washed media that seems to mean “mainstream.” It’s hilarious, smart, and in my humble opinion, groundbreaking.
  2. Lenny Letter: It’s no secret that I love politics, feminism, or writing in general. Lenny Letter is an online newsletter created by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. Lenny Letter was part of the reason I started this blog: to write about issues and other things that mattered to me. Twice a week two letters are dropped into your inbox. The interviews are smart and entertaining. The illustrations are always beautiful and interesting.IMG_7383
  3. Charlotte Agenda: Okay, seriously if you live in Charlotte go directly to CharlotteAgenda.com and subscribe to their e-mail! It’s the best part of waking up! I obsess over the quick updates on what’s going on around Charlotte. CA gives insights on what’s going on by neighborhood, new restaurants, and local issues that matter. Katie Levans is basically my internet best friend. IMG_7387
  4. Stranger Things: Last week I watched eight hours of this show in one day. If you follow me on Snapchat you are more than aware of the emotions I felt during the show. Winona Ryder is a picture perfect single mother because she is unapologetically imperfect and maybe crazy. While working a long night shift, her son Will, goes missing. You meet Wills perfect latchkey best friends who stop at nothing to find their friend. It’s the perfect combination of 80’s nostalgia and si-fi. Of course there are SO MANY QUESTIONS but I don’t want to spoil anything.
  5. Wooden Robot: I recently went to Wooden Robot for a friends birthday and I was immediately obsessed. It was a Saturday night so the place was packed and honestly i’m not confident enough to walk around casually taking pictures for the blog. Charlotte is home to many amazing breweries but this one really caught my eye with it’s gorgeous artwork displayed through out, cool open space, and stellar view of the Queen City. If you’re around South End, LETS GO!IMG_7380IMG_7379
  6. Sweet bitter: I cannot say enough about this book. Stephanie Danler nailed what 22 feels like. The novel focuses on 22 year old, Tess, who moved to NYC to find her place. She gets a job working at a well-known restaurant, moves to Brooklyn, and does a lot of coke. She makes an argument for unapologetically doing exactly what you have to do to find yourself: make mistakes and meet people who push you into exactly who you are. Stephanie Danler featured my Instagram pic on her Instagram and I lost my shit. (A great read for anyone who loves food and wine)IMG_6311IMG_7384IMG_7385I DIED AND SENT A SCREENSHOT TO MY BEST FRIEND.

7.Three Amigos: Tacos. All the tacos. All the time. Three Amigos on Central Ave is hands down the best Mexican food in Charlotte.

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We Bake a Cake Mom

In the words of Jonah “bakeacakemom!”

When I cook I can usually count on Jonah to run in and out of the kitchen a handful of times yelling things like “I HELP MOM!” or “I HAVE TO WASH MY HANDS!” He quickly loses interest in the helping when I’m preparing meals but baking for Jonah is something else entirely.I don’t fully understand the connection he has made with it but watching him find something in the kitchen that genuinely hold his attention call for an extra teaspoon of patience from me. We made a vanilla celebration cake. Jonah asked a lot of questions about flour, and I gave him my thoughts on the DNC. We both think Michelle Obama would be a fantastic president!

Cake recipe here!

 

*Note this isn’t a sponsored Trader Joe’s add but technically speaking Trader Joe’s did fund the post.*

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Fastest way to bring butter to room temp.

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Warning: Your kid might be so afraid to miss something that they’ll actually pee in the floor while watching you use the mixer.