Why is DACA under fire? Simple answer: White Supremacy

I’m fed up with President Trump and the leeches he has working for him in his cabinet and at the White House. Not only has the narcissist continually made a mockery out of our country, but today, his administration solidified their White Supremacist ideals by calling an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Is it fair to call them White Supremacists? Yes, it is. Could you imagine if the Native Americans had stood up to the white folks and told them that they needed to leave the country that was becoming home? And why aren’t we talking about this on a day like today? This call to “rescind” DACA is clothed in white sheets of bigotry and hate.

Honestly, I’m fed up with our inability to create diverse communities here in the U.S. It’s getting out of control. We continue to fight, hate, ignore, and live in fake worlds without real investment in diversity and integration.

The other day, I was talking to my dad. He asked me if things were still segregated in South Africa. He trusts me and values the fact that I know some things about the country I visited a few years ago. I told him that yes, things were still segregated, “similar to here in the U.S.,” I said. His eyes shot up. He shook his head slightly, confused. And I told him how segregated we are in the U.S., how Portland, Oregon continues to be less and less diverse as people of color move out of the central part of the city. I spoke of the areas in Corvallis and even here where I live in Eugene. My dad was appalled. How could this be the reality in the year 2017? White Supremacy! We White folk continue to luxuriate in our power and dominance. It’s pretty gross, quite frankly, and it needs to stop.

When I think of what we can do to change this, I think of today. We can do so many things this very day to stand up to hate and challenge whiteness and White Supremacy. Today wasn’t a fair day. The Dreamers given hope with DACA should not be threatened today. Without even looking at the economical actions we’ve taken as a nation to force migration to the U.S., just think of the children. Should children be punished and forced to leave their homes for the actions of their parents? (Notice that I didn’t say crime, but rather action? That’s because I have very liberal views on immigration.) I don’t think they should be. In fact, I believe that American should be/must be a haven to anyone who wants to live and abide by the freedoms afforded us in this great country.

With DACA under fire, I fear more young Americans (and yes, they are as American as you and I could we set aside the bureaucracy of paperwork) will have to jump through hurdles like Kevin did when he first left the U.S. as a teenager. While I admire Kevin’s story and journey to the U.S. and to LBCC where he studied as my advisee, I believe people deserve more opportunities and respect than this. I believe every person deserves to reach their full potential and we’ve got to do something to work towards that.

And to be honest, readers, the way to achieve this is to challenge White Supremacy, call out our horrendous president, and work towards building a better land of freedom and democracy for all.

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American Fairy Tales

“Everything will out alright in the end. And if it isn’t alright, clearly it isn’t the end.” (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, John Lennon, or perhaps Paolo Coelho)

Since early childhood, I have been anxious about the ending of stories. Would there be a foot-popping kiss? Would the princess still be able to travel after the wedding? This led me to be one of those inappropriate readers; I would often go to the back of the book to ensure that the characters were left on solid footing before I would truly dive into the literature. This, of course, did not happen with the Great Gatsby – I wonder if I would have finished the book had I done this back then.

Needless to say, I managed my anxiety by ensuring that stories had appropriate endings before I would invest in them.

As I’ve gotten older, this has changed a bit. Life has taught me that things don’t always end up the way you had expected or planned. If they had, I’d probably be married with children. Or perhaps, I would still be living abroad, taking pictures for National Geographic. Instead, I am here sitting at home in workout clothes, sweating while writing this (I don’t just sweat incessantly, it’s actually hot outside these days).

Along with my own life not turning out the way I had imagined, I’ve started to realize how unpredictable good movies and books can be. It has been a while since I invested in a truly predictable book, but I used to do it a lot. I always knew that the couple would end up together and that I could read about the wedding dress and flower arrangements. Fast forward to today when I went to a movie that I had only heard about once. I watched the preview earlier this afternoon and decided to actually get up off my couch to go watch it.

The movie was called Tulip Fever. It’s a film set in 16th Century Amsterdam when the tulip trade was pretty intense. But the film really wasn’t about tulips. Rather, it was about love, lust, passion, and longing. As I sat in the theater, watching the tale unfold, I really didn’t know how it was going to end. Would there be happiness or death? The funny thing is that I believed either option would be good for the characters. I’m not going to spoil it, but telling you how the film ended, but rather let you know that it’s worth the watch. It’s worth the agony, the frustration, and the worry. Movies, like life, don’t need American fairy tale endings. In fact, aren’t they more interesting when they keep you on your toes a bit?

That’s it for now. May your day have an above par ending as you close out this long weekend.

Cheers,

Rece

Why I marched.

Yesterday, we marched. Millions of people across the world gathered together to take a stand and protest the hate, discrimination, fear, and terror that our new president has spread throughout his campaign and his first day in office. When I asked myself why I marched, I hardly know how to respond. How could I not have marched? What else would honestly have been more important or valuable to do on that historic day?

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On Inauguration Day, my friends were sending texts about the ridiculous hateful actions the White House was already taking. For example, within hours of being sworn into office, Trump’s White House staff had taken down web pages on Civil Rights, LGBT Rights, and Climate Change. Really? WTF?! These actions alone contributed to the reason I marched.

I marched because people who think that America is post racism are just wrong. If we want to eliminate racism in our nation, we have to acknowledge white privilege, challenge white supremacy, and support programs and initiatives that support people of color and provide equitable opportunities for the folks who have been marginalized by our racist systems for centuries.

I marched because as a woman, I believe I have the right to choose what to do with my body. I believe all women have that right and that the government does not have the right to dictate those choices. Along with that, I believe that victim shaming and blaming has got to stop. No man or woman has a right to touch my body or force me to do anything with my body to satisfy their needs or desires. I am in control of my body and no one has a right to take away that control.

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The Future is Female. I was so proud to march with young feminists who are dedicated to this cause. 

I marched because I believe that religion should stay out of politics. Though our money states, “In God We Trust,” our founding fathers were people who made mistakes and had errors in judgment that showed their humanity and prejudices. The thing I appreciate the most about our founding fathers is that they fought for the separation of church and state. In my world, there is no right religion or faith. One’s faith is merely the way they make sense of the world. And to say that one person’s interpretation of the meaning of life is the only way is just ridiculous.

I marched because I want to see my brother marry the love of his life. Throughout my life, I have been ignorant about LGBT rights, but in the past few years, I have learned much about gender identity and sexual orientation. People have a right to express their gender in their own personal way! And people have a right to love who they want to love! Why would any person try to prohibit another person from loving someone who makes happy and whole? That’s just mean to do so! Let’s love win! Marriage Equality Rocks!

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my favorite sign: In Our America…

I marched because I can’t stay silent anymore. I refuse to be silent. I refuse to complain about what’s going wrong without taking any action. I will not be that person. I encourage my friends and family to take action too. So readers, if you are bothered by the racism, hatred, and intolerance present in our country right now, do something about it. Talk to a neighbor. Go to a council meeting. Talk to someone on the other side. Read. And take a stand. Because if you’re not doing anything to bring unity, inclusivity, or equity to the situation at hand, you are actually perpetuating the problem.

Tata for now.

Rece

Today, I march.

I am a feminist. I believe in my rights as a woman and my rights as a human being. Women’s rights are human rights.

Today, I march for my rights and for the rights of my all humans. When President Trump was sworn into office yesterday, I was weighed down by the legacy of the hateful and divisive rhetoric he has spewed over the past few years. Today’s Women’s March is a chance to stand up and protest and unite with others who care about the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I believe in the America where folks of all faiths, genders, sexual orientations, ability status, and race are treated as valuable individuals who bring knowledge, culture, and dignity to this society and world we all share.

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I have been fearful of what this new administration will bring to our country. But this morning, I watched a recording of Obama’s final press conference and I took heart. America is a great country and together, we can fight the oppressive policies some folks are hoping to create. We’re stronger together, y’all. Let’s get to work.

Tata for now.

Rece

The Laws of Immigration

About a month ago, my dad and I got in the only yelling fight I ever remember. I knew there was no reason for us to argue – we fundamentally disagreed on a very important issue – that of immigration law. And I told him that we shouldn’t talk about it. He started to raise his voice and said, “It’s the law, Sharece! How do you decide which laws to follow and which not to follow?”

I got upset and started to cry, thus ending the debate. Mainly, I didn’t want to continue arguing because I knew that no matter how long the two of us would talk about it, we weren’t going to agree on the issue in the end.

My father and I disagree on immigration law much like I disagree with many Americans on immigration laws and policies. As a descendant of European immigrants, I appreciate how America has generally stood for a land of freedom and idealism for people to seek new lives in this gigantic land mass. In reality, America has been more of a haven for the white folk as we’ve continued to create a country and society that benefits from white supremacy and racist practices and laws.

Our immigration laws in the US are rooted in racism and white supremacy. If you look even to the most basic level of our northern and southern borders, white folks up north have less-restricted access to the U.S. than do the people of color living in the south. It’s shameful, in my opinion. My friend Caitlin and I have done a bit of research on the topic of social justice and immigration, and both of us have become stronger advocates for change through that process. I, for one, applaud steps forward which allow for more generous immigration policies. I am a fan of the Dream Act and I believe that we should create more policies that recognize the value immigrants bring to our nation. In the White House’s Brief on the Dream Act, there is a quote from Colin Powell, former Secretary of State,

“[The Republican Party] needs to take a hard look at some of the positions they’ve been taking. We can’t be anti-immigration, for example. Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants America would be like Europe or Japan with an aging population and no young people to come in and take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this.”

I’m not a huge Colin Powell fan or anything, but I definitely appreciate what he’s talking about. The rhetoric from the 2016 election regarding immigration was appalling. Our president elect has shown himself to be xenophobic and racist on more than one occasion and to be honest, we can’t have that.

If the president elect and the right-wing conservatives in Congress decide to create unjust policies that discriminate against people of color trying to immigrate to the United States, I think it will be time to challenge those laws by breaking them.

A great man once wrote in his work “Letter from Birmingham Jail,”

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” (MLK)

In 2017, I, for one, plan to fight for a better world – a world with more kindness demonstrated through diversity and inclusion rather than a world with stricter borders between nations.

Tata for now.

Rece

The Good Daughter

Right before the New Year, my sister Shelli asked me what it was like being the good daughter. The good daughter? I thought to myself. I didn’t quite know how to answer. How does one really know what it is like to be anything other than what one is? And how does one describe one’s ultimate reality of being?

I tried to answer her, but as you can see from this post, I’m still working out what it has meant to be “the good daughter.”

The truth is, in childhood, I didn’t know how to be anything but good. I followed the rules. I did what I was told. The one time I recall refusing to follow the rules, I was about three years old and I was at our family friends’ church rehearsing for a Christmas program. The evil program director tried to get me to do something I didn’t want to do and I said no, crossed my arms in front of my chest, and refused to follow her directions. They called my mom and she came to pick me up. My parents were pretty strict so I’m guessing that after we got home, I got into some sort of trouble from my mom and dad. Perhaps that’s why at age three, I chose to always follow the rules. But honestly, until about age 18, I did whatever I was told.

As an adult (which in the US, we consider 18 years old and older), I started to challenge life a bit. I started having more adventures. I traveled. I spent my money rather than keeping it all in the bank. And I started to get snarky. In reality, I don’t know that I’m actually snarky or just candid to a fault, but I started to make things a bit uncomfortable for others by being the most brutally honest wench in the room.

Not everyone appreciates my candor. In fact, I’ve lost friends, offended my siblings, and even angered my parents. I figure this is good though. It’s as if I’m making up for lost time from when I was the perfect, blond-haired blue-eyed angel making everyone else look bad.

Besides my candor, I don’t know how devilish I have ever become. When Shelli was talking about our vast differences, she mentioned how she was the kid who would touch the hot burner right after being told not to. But, as I was always at least 6 inches shorter while also blonder and smarter, I didn’t follow her lead. In fact, I feel as if for most of my life, I researched life by observing my siblings grow, change, fail, and develop into people. And I didn’t really take any steps to be myself until I was finally all by myself without my research subjects. As the youngest child left at home alone with my parents, I had the chance to do whatever I wanted. There was one time I recall talking to my brother Shane on the phone. I told him that I hated the FFA and I didn’t really want to be in it anymore because I wasn’t really a farm girl. And he told me that I never had to do the things my siblings did just because they had done it before me. At that exact moment, my world changed. I started taking art classes. I got into theater and wrote hall passes to get my friends out of class to hang out with me. I rode in my friend’s car downtown in direct violation of school policy only to run into the principal. I pretty much did what I wanted. And it was beautiful. I also got away with everything because I still had 17 ½ years of being perfect on my permanent record. Slight, harmless rebellion didn’t hurt anybody.

But, when your rebellion is harmless, are you really changing your M.O.?

I suppose my fate as “the good daughter” continues to this day. Yes, I get sassy, political, and snooty about mud in my parent’s driveway. But I’m the kid that shows up. I help my parents with their dishes. I listen to their entirely misguided political views (mostly without shouting or tears). And I drive the speed limit. I don’t know why, I just would never want to be rebellious like Shelli. Shelli’s a blue girl living in a red state. My heart shutters when I try to imagine living that life. And Shelli drives too fast. She was actually with me the one time I ever got a speeding ticket and she tried to hold in her laughter before I blew up at her over the irony and injustice of it all.

You know – I’m okay with being the good daughter. It means that usually I can convince my parents to partake in spending time with me – watching intellectual shows, movies, and visiting interesting places where we can embrace art, literature, and fine food! And, let’s be honest, I would have cried my eyes out if I had burned my palm on a burner as a kid. It would have ruined my perfectly sweet skin.

Tata for now.

Rece

 

I am the old lady who threw my basketball to shut you up.

I live in an apartment complex. In case you’ve never been blessed enough to have this experience, let me tell you – it is AWE-SOME! The beauty of apartment complexes is that even if you never intentionally get to know your neighbors, you know a lot about them.

The first way you get to know your neighbors has to do with their mail. You know when they get UPS and FedEx packages. If you’re nosy enough, you might even read the label to see who sent them the packages. Occasionally, depending on the mailbox situation, you’ll even know who sends them letters and cards. Reading someone else’s mail is apparently a huge crime, but if it’s done on accident, what’s the harm? 😉

The second way you get to know your neighbors is when you hear their alarms go off five times every morning. You know the type – the “morning person” who really hates mornings. I’m that person. I set five alarms in order to get up one hour after that first alarm went off. A few years ago, my downstairs neighbors used to make a deal of it, but by now, I think they just deal.

The third way you get to know your neighbors is when you hear every bed squeak, every step, and every wall bang throughout the morning, eve, and night. On weekends, you get to know the most about folks. You hear their music, dancing, shouts and “heys” during a party, and pretty much anything that goes on in their apartment.

Today, as I was walking to my second floor apartment, one of my upstairs neighbors stopped me for a second to see if they had been bothering me when playing their music. “Yeah, I can hear everything,” I told them. “That’s what apartment living is all about. That’s why most bands play in a garage or something.”

Then the guy (who I’m pretty sure is about 19 years old) started to ask me specifically which sounds I heard the most. I squinted my eyes at him. “I hear everything,” I responded. “You guys are loud. I haven’t said anything at all this year because you guys are pretty good, but the other night, I was fed up so I threw my basketball at the ceiling.”

The guy didn’t really know how to respond. And honestly, if I were in his situation, I don’t know if I would either.

The thing is, when you live in an apartment, you really shouldn’t be rocking out with your band every night of the week, especially with amps. That’s kind of common sense, I believe. That’s why millennials move back home with their parents – they can move into the basement and then take over the garage with their friends. The guys upstairs need to try that. I’m sure they’d go platinum in no time with no old lady and her basketball downstairs.

Let’s face it, if I were a true old lady, I’d probably be nicer. I’d likely bake them cookies and deliver them for the holidays. But I’m not an old lady. I’m just a working woman who happens to live in an apartment. And I am so ready for the music upstairs to stop!

#TheOldLadyDownstairs

Tata for now.

Rece