A Quick Monologue About Privilege

For the past month or so I’ve been getting PMs from a guy who thinks I’m a girl he grew up with. He asked if my mom’s name was Tammy, because if so we definitely know each other and should get back in touch. My mom’s name is not Tammy, so I didn’t even plan on responding. Not long after that message I get another, asking why I’m ignoring him, why can’t I just talk to him. It quickly turned into what a bitch I am, so I blocked him and carried on with my existence. I have no interest in arguing with some guy and his bruised ego just because I won’t talk to him. Then, he moves to my business page to tell me I’m rude as fuck, and that my business is failing because I don’t talk to nice people.
To some of you this sounds like some crazy story– to a lot of others, it’s a consistentcy. Another guy demanding his existence is acknowledged by you, another guy flying off the handle because you chose not to react, another guy thinking it’s perfectly acceptable to seek out a stranger and start calling her a bitch.
But we don’t talk about it. Because it’s normal. It’s typical. Why is this kind of behavior normalized? Why is it okay to start lashing out when you dont get what you want?
In this setting, I’m perfectly safe to ignore and block this guy as I choose. In person, this guy would be yelling in my face and following me to my car. Yeah, hopefully he’s just an asshole with the powers of a keyboard, but they aren’t always.
So, why the really long rant. Because this is not okay. It’s one scenario that happens over and over, online and in person, that we don’t really talk about. Yes, I could have immediately replied and said nope wrong person, but I shouldn’t have to just to cross my fingers that I’m not going to get insulted today. And if I told this guy that this behavior is not acceptable in any format then it would be white noise, but I’m saying it here for next time. Because there will be a next time. And myself or one of you reading this will remember that your passive reaction does not warrant a violent one.

International Women are Autonomous Too Day

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I found this lovely image on my Pinterest homepage a few moments ago. How ironic. At this point in time, this ad is 111 years old– and yet I still hear negative comments about women in college.  When I tell people I am a Sociology and Philosophy major, they automatically assume I will become an elementary school teacher. Notice how my areas of concentration do not mention teacher training or end in receiving a teacher’s license. Even more baffling, I also am often told “Well, you could always get a Nursing degree”.

Now let’s put all of these factors together: teaching children and caring for the sick are given the label of being nurturing practices, nurturing is described as a stereotypically feminine quality, and I am a female.  It is clear to me that when someone is speaking to me about my college career, they do not hear me, they only see me.

And I know I am not the only person this happens to, and these are not the only occurrences.  A few years back I was taking a crossover philosophy and political science class, meaning it counts as a credit for both majors. The professor asked everyone to raise their hands if they were a Political Science major–several hands went up.  He then asked the same question for Philosophy majors– several more hands, mine included, were raised.  Here’s the kicker: I was the only female in the class who was a Philosophy major.  The professor walked to my desk and extended his hand for a handshake, telling me that it was a miracle I made it this far as a Philosophy major, because I am a woman; most women, he tells me, prefer Political Science, and I should look into it. I did not shake his hand. That was the last class of his I sat through. I did not drop the class, but only attended when there was a test. I passed with an A.  I do not recommend skipping classes.  If a professor makes you uncomfortable and makes a statement that crosses the line, speak to the Dean immediately.  While these are the steps I should have taken, I instead decided to be stubborn and do the reading and interpretation on my own.  Yes, it worked in my favor that time, but it will not always be the case.

Here is why I took such an offense to all of the aforementioned statements:  Yes, I am a woman.  Yes, I made it to college all by myself.  Yes, I am a Sociology major. Yes, I am a Philosophy major. Yes, I took the full credit hour load for each major rather than the shortened hours as a benefit of being a double major.  Yes, I do all of my work myself.  Yes, I know the Philosophy department is mostly male.  Yes, I know the Sociology department is mostly female.  Yes, we all get along just fine.  No, I do not require a chaperon or special permission to move through campus.  No, I do not want to be a nurse.  No, I do not want to be a teacher.  I chose my areas of study because I enjoy them.  I read books by Marx, Descartes, Durkheim, Weber, Aristotle, Foucault, Sartre, and de Beauvoir that make people cringe.  I think unconventionally.  I speak up about race, sex and gender issues. I do not fear Socialism or Communism. I understand that there are many religions all over the world. I spend so much of my time in the library that no one ever tries to sit in my seat.

For everything I have just mentioned, I get looks of bewilderment, a few “Why?”s, and some “Well good for you, sweetie!”s.  There are also men who have the same major(s) as me, read the same books, exhibit similar ideas, and see far less backlash.  I understand why, men have been scholars for centuries.  Women in education have increased greatly over the last century, but the overall time has been much shorter.  Just like in my last post with race, ideas and inclinations do not change overnight.  Or even over 111 years.  Because people do not like to change their ways.  For so long, the vast majority of women have been wives, caregivers, homemakers, child-birthers, cooks, maids, you name it.  If there is a position of servitude, you will find a woman there.  There have been women who have broken out of these positions and made a name for themselves or elevated themselves to a position of power, but they fill a very small dot in history.Or at least the ones we know about do.  Judy Chicago’s piece called Dinner Party does a wonderful job of celebrating women in history, and women in general.  You’ll understand why when you see it.  You’ll also need to know that this art piece sat in boxes for decades because no one was comfortable displaying it.  It is now a permanent piece of the Brooklyn Art Museum. I will make a post specifically about this work if anyone is interested.

But to try to tie this whole thing together, let’s look back at the picture.  All of the things these doctors and psychologists made society worry about are exactly what colleagues and myself all get shamed for at an uncomfortable rate:

You shouldn’t be up late “studying”, you should be sleeping. -I’m sorry,have you taken any college courses?  I happen to care about my grades and would like to think that when I walk across that stage in a few months I will feel proud of all that I have accomplished.

You sure hang out with a lot of guys, that’s not a good image a woman should have/You sure hang out with a lot of girls, are you a lesbian? -I hear both of these questions a ridiculous amount, depending on what class I’m studying for, which classmate I’m talking to, or which department I’m closest to.  My departments are right down the hall from one another. I talk to my professors and my classmates in order to fully comprehend and be able to relay information on the subject at hand.  Sometimes, collaboration is the key to knowledge.

Should you be reading that? -Why yes, yes I should.  My professor assigned it, I like to be able to talk in class, and I like to read. I would recommend The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir to you.

And finally, unladylike habits.  I’m not sure who got to gender human characteristics, but I am not friends with that person.  Rather that trying to fit a unique human being into one of two stereotypical boxes that they did not consent to, let’s just agree that everyone has a personality that is based off of their experiences and dispositions, and they would probably just like being treated as a human rather than a science project.

To sum everything up, college, as I have experienced it, is a place of higher learning that in this country is a privilege to get to experience and attend.  Many people had to fight and argue their way up those steps so that they could have a more level-ish playing field that before.  Education teaches us that there are all sorts of people from all walks of life and all sorts of cultures, and none of them are better or superior to the other.  They are all just different.  Women make up around 50% of all of these groups, and to try to knock them onto a lower pedestal than you only succeeds in your diminishment as well.  Women, just like anyone else, have the right to their autonomy , and if they choose to pursue a higher education, so be it.  If you can make that choice without anyone trying to hand you a proper etiquette book or argue that you don’t belong, then so should we.

The Colorblind Effect: Sociology of Law & Race

Here is a little(big) paper I wrote in my Fall 2015 semester on the effects of law on race, ranging from slavery to current colorblind trends.

Law and Stratification: The Colorblind Effect

Socioeconomic status has long separated people from one another.  This status is easily recognized to have racial tendencies that separate one race from another, one doing better than another, and so forth.  In recent times an effort to de-segregate our society via housing, schools, and work places has been met with a new kind of issue: color blind racism.  By outwardly stating that race doesn’t have anything to do with our social problems and refusing to recognize the stratification of people by race, issues such as poor families not having good schooling options for their children or safe and stable housing become glossed over.  This form of discrimination has been called the New Jim Crow, as many of the practices are upheld by active laws.

Slavery of one race by another without a doubt occurred in this country, there is no denying that.  Going back to the country’s inception, people of color, namely black people, were considered property (Heitzeg 59).  This, of course, means they were under ownership of another being that would have been white.  Their slave status was confirmed by the Three Fifths clause, stating that for every five slaves, they could be counted as three free people for tax and census purposes (Heitzeg 58).  To go from not even being considered a whole person to being granted “free” status does not change a population’s opinions and actions overnight.  As Heitzeg puts it, this makes “future inclusion a daunting challenge” (Heizeg, 59).  One race, namely the African race, was scooped up and shipped over to serve in a world where their language and culture was not understood and would see little to no effort to try; if you can breathe, you can work (Alexander 24).  By this mindset, intelligence was considered lacking.  Already the people of color have been left in the dust by mere assumption.  Also, if they had any mind to them, they could fight against what was happening to them and plan a revolt.  Luckily the slave owners were far more ignorant than they believed themselves to be, as blacks did in fact understand what was happening to them and that it was wrong, and they stood up.  They ran to freedom and educated themselves, and enabled the freedom of their fellows.  As we know, Abraham Lincoln would officially free the slaves from servitude and make them full citizens, but one law cannot turn around an entire nation.

The 1866 Civil Rights Act stated that any citizen whether previously enslaved or not was given “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property” (Burnham 690).  The only catch is that people who have been convicted of a crime do not fall under these rights, and are typically punished by forcible stay and labor for a determined amount of time.  And what crime did every person of color commit?  Not being white.  African Americans as a whole had only just been released from an unwilling state that split the country in half.  Half of the country, most likely more, still operated under racially stratifying terms.  Lawyers, judges, governors, mayors, police, teachers, and a smorgasbord of potential employers did not all wake up on the day of the 1866 Civil Rights Act or Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and decide to no longer racially discriminate.  In fact, many of them worked to remain racially stratified.

Fredrick Douglas stated “there is no escaping ‘the general disposition in this country to impute crime to color’” (Heitzeg 61).  It surely was easy enough to switch from catching slaves to catching convicts.  Plantations became prisons and slave patrols became police (Heitzeg 61).  The easiest way to catch convicts was to look for a commonality, and then determine it illegal and again scoop up those who fit the bill.  These are the black codes and vagrancy laws, stating “ ‘all free negroes and mulattoes over the age of eighteen’ must have written proof of a job at the beginning of every year” to avoid being arrested and convicted of vagrancy (Alexander 28).  After being freed from slavery and working on the plantations, the newly freed had nowhere to go, nowhere to live, and nowhere to work.  Many just roamed in hopes of finding work and shelter.  And as we all know, having people wandering around your town just doesn’t look good, and the fact that you previously enslaved them doesn’t help much either.  The plantation economy took a large hit when slaves became free, because they certainly weren’t going to carry on as they were before.  Whites saw blacks as not having the “proper motivation to work”, because apparently their previous motivation was fear of being beaten or killed and that would be the only thing to get them motivated again (Alexander 28).  The black codes made easy work out of picking up wrongdoers and shipped them right back to the plantations to once again serve the plantation owners for little to no cost.  During this time “prison and jail populations shifted dramatically from majority White to majority Black” and “[s]heriffs, jailors, and wardens leased out entire prisons to private contractors who literally worked thousands of prisoners to death in labor camps, on chain gangs, and in prison farms” (Heitzeg 62).  All was right for the majority once again: don’t give African Americans a job, call the law on them for not having a job, and force them to work for you for free as punishment.  The 1866 Civil Rights Act, along with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments came into being shortly after the Black Codes were established in the time known as the Reconstruction Era (Alexander 29).  This time also came to pass as well, leading to a slew of new problems and crooked interpretations of the laws.

While Blacks were now technically allowed to vote and go to school, schools often would not take Blacks in and teach them skills such as reading and writing.  Felony disenfranchisement laws had already existed, but now were expanded to exclude people who were arrested and charged with any offense.  Felony disenfranchisement laws kept prior convicts from the right to vote, and voting requirements such as “literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clauses and ultimately, the threat of white terror” pushed them further away from the voting polls (Heitzeg 63).  Some African Americans had made their way out of this disenfranchisement and even made their way to being a name on the ballot, but with their biggest supporters, their fellow Black men, unable to support them, they remained outnumbered in political seats.  However, the Populist movement began to gain speed when it targeted the Conservative party and stood up for the low income class, who was made up of both Blacks and Whites (Alexander 33).

However, Jim Crow was in full swing and segregated Blacks from Whites “in virtually every sphere of life, lending sanction to a racial ostracism that extended to schools, churches, housing, jobs, restrooms, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, orphanages, prisons, funeral homes, morgues, and cemeteries” (Alexander 35).  State and city legislature, being comprised mostly or completely of whites, were happy to pass laws such as these to keep their lives as separated from the Blacks as possible.  But the tables would begin to turn as more Blacks moved up North to a more accepted way of life and the NAACP would come into being; this becomes the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.

Brown vs. Board of Education is the most noted ruling of its kind to declare segregation unconstitutional.  Even before that, steps were being made to desegregate after the Morrill Act of 1890 called for a separate but equal standing of the races.  Separate absolutely did not constitute equal, as federal and state money could be allocated to whomever the White legislators chose.  The Supreme Court ended white-only primaries, declared segregated public transport unconstitutional, and ended real estate contracts that were made to discriminate against buyers before the time of Brown vs. Board of Education, but Brown vs. Board of Education had a wider reach that required schools across the country to desegregate thousands of school children (Alexander 36).  Now that White and Black children were allowed to sit together, go to school together, and become friends, they would grow up and fight together against the racism that brainwashed the nation.

In 1957 Congress realized the 1866 Civil Rights Act was no longer effective, and for the past several years had already been fighting to end the poll taxation, which was continuously turned down in the Senate (Burnham 697). Other things shot down in the Senate were fair employment and “federal support for school lunches on non-discriminatory allocation of the finds in segregated systems” (Burnham 697).  While the members of Congress were voted on, the Senate had direct representatives for each state depending on their population and most supported ideals.  This is an obvious issue in this era, as widespread racism in the South meant widespread racism in the Senate.  The Civil Rights Act of 1957 included the infamous Part III, which would have allowed the Federal Department of Justice to hear cases of discrimination, whether direct proof of discrimination was or was not present (Burnham 702).  Senators worried that allowing this act to pass would be “un-American” by allowing the army to intrude and enforce federal laws (Burnham 702).  Instead, they watered down the act to another requirement of proof of discrimination (Burnham 703).  As bombing and lynching continued in the South, bill after bill to provide protection and prosecution never saw the light of day, until 1960 when “three new criminal offenses aimed at the bombing problem” were created (Burnham 704).  During this time, desegregation in Southern schools had been making slow progress, as only seventeen schools across the South had been desegregated by 1960 (Alexander 37).  The slow progress was due to the power of the Ku Klux Klan, who was responsible for a majority of the violence towards Blacks, and had very little opposition by way of police and lawmakers.  Sit-ins, peaceful protest, homes, and worship centers were met with violent backlash, but continued to press on in the fight for equal rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. is among one of the most famous men to stand up in the Civil Rights Movement against the injustice displayed towards his race, but many others also joined in to peacefully protest and boycott restaurants and public transport that continued to refuse to treat Blacks as equals.  While many people conceded in the integration movement, many also harshly opposed.  Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, as well as many other protestors and simply Black people were shot, beaten, blown up or otherwise in a desperate effort to retain a White comfort control of the nation.  With the wide use of television, people looked on these instances with shock and horror at what their fellow man was capable of, and instead of joining the ranks to re-segregate, the acts were criminalized and seen for what they really were: senseless murder.  President Kennedy took to the TV as well to announce his plans for a civil rights bill, but was assassinated before it made it through Congress.  President Johnson came in and picked up where Kennedy left off, though it took a little over a year to produce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Alexander 36).  The act “formally dismantled the Jim Crow system” and the subsequent Voting Rights Act of 1965 allowed for more Black participation and representation in the Federal circuit (Alexander 38).

Again racists had been foiled and their plans of permanent segregation trashed, but that did not stop them.  As crime rates soared, probably from all of that KKK terrorizing, law officials began calling the Civil Rights Movement an act of “civil disobedience”  that required “law and order” (Alexander 41).  However, crime was correlated with a surge in male population aged 15 to 24, better known as the “baby-boomers” and a rise in unemployment for African American males as well (Alexander 41).  This lead to a movement of “cracking down on crime” that led to increased police surveillance and incarceration of “high crime neighborhoods, ‘crack epidemics,’ gang proliferation, juvenile super-predators, urban unrest, school violence and more” (Alexander 43; Heitzeg 66-67).  Here’s how it works: you don’t go to a neighborhood because you’re scared of the people living there, you see them as low class citizens spending their time involved in selling drugs and forming gangs, so you call the police.  The police spend their time in impoverished neighborhoods, heavily canvassing them in search of nefarious activities, anything that looks mischievous gets someone landed in jail, and you no longer have to deal with the scary people in the bad neighborhood.

Nixon was a heavy supporter of the war on crime, and would eventually begin a war on drugs.  But first came the TV campaigns, in which dark faces and violence flashed across the screen, linking people of color to the reason why social and political unrest was rampant throughout the country and must be brought back to order.  This ad could be looked at one of two ways: either Nixon was going to save you from being battered in the streets, or Nixon thought you were the problem.  Nixon, of course, pegged people of color as the problem-children of the country that must be kept in control to avoid more violence and backlash.  It would all be just fine if people learned their place.  However, that particular place left many people in poverty, leaning towards finding money by other means that were now becoming criminalized.  And with police at every impoverished neighborhood, they were bound to see whatever they wanted to see in order to, once again, segregate the races in the newest form: mass incarceration.

After Nixon’s impeachment, President Reagan came down hard on the poverty stricken, giving a harsh picture of people doing less than you getting more than they deserve, though he failed to mention how sub-par schools in neighborhoods where living conditions were even worse lead many people to a lack in funds for healthcare and a possible escape.  A surge in focusing on street crime and away from white collar crime led to the United States holding almost 30% of the world’s prisoners (Alexander 49; Heitzeg 67).  An obvious perpetuation of poverty occurs when at least 1 in every 100 people are imprisoned, where children must be taken care of by a single parent or other family member, and once freed with the stamp of ex-convict, jobs become much more scarce for the people who need them (Heitzeg 68).  However, the people who need them are no longer outwardly labeled as Blacks or other people of color, but just poor, bad people.  Reagan posed this idea of color-blindness when his war on drugs was actually a continued war on race, as only 2% of the American population saw drugs as a highly important issue (Alexander 49).  He simply kept police out on the streets looking for the people who were buying and selling drugs, and lo and behold, it was the people who needed money the most, who just so happened to be Black.  While we do know that white collar crimes always end up costing the country more, they are harder to catch outright, whereas a man standing on the sidewalk is far easier to spot and scoop up.  And while we know exactly what color his skin is, or is not, we don’t have to label him as anything besides a criminal.  “Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal” (Heitzeg 70).  It may not be legal to stratify people based on their race anymore, but race no longer matters; all that matters is that right and wrong are established and enforced.  If living in an urban area because you cannot afford to move to the suburbs and selling something the country does not have a tax for because finding decent paying work is next to impossible is all considered wrong, and you just so happen to be Black, it’s just a silly coincidence.  In 1994 Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 in an attempt to tamp out the racially charged arrests by police departments, and the by-any-means-necessary correctional practices/abuse that they dealt out (Burnham 710).  While this made it unconstitutional for police to beat people senseless, it did not stop them from constant surveillance of poor neighborhoods.  This color-blind idea also made it more difficult to prove when discrimination was happening, as even making distinctions of race became reprehensible.  For instance, when employees found themselves discriminated against by their employers, Judge Scalia insisted that if the employers state to have paid no attention to race, then they did nothing wrong, as the “direct consideration of race” would be “genuine discrimination” (Rich 237-238).

The War on Drugs became the easiest way to stratify people, as mentioned above.  Presidents saw the increase in crime rates and jumped on the anti-drug bandwagon, fully determined to clean up the streets.  While Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, he focused heavily on poor areas, insisting that being “tough” on crime and welfare was the answer (Alexander 56-57).  Prison sentences were lengthened, welfare became stricter and was only given for up to five years, and ex-convicts were no longer allowed to apply for public housing.  Public housing allows for rent prices to be paid depending on your income.  However, if you have a criminal record, you are no longer allowed to live in public housing whatsoever.  But don’t worry, it’s not because you’re a person of color—race doesn’t matter.

While adults are in a constant struggle for pointing out racial issues, to hiding racial issues, to choosing to live in homogenous neighborhoods, to not being able to escape from them, children are waiting in the wings to be exposed to these instances and consequences.  In New York City, schools are more segregated than anywhere else in the country (Gomez-Velez 320).  For decades there has been a push to make preschool available to all children for free, rather than just for parents who can afford it or who live in neighborhoods where it is available.  Areas are considered for preschool programs based on the effectiveness of their schools, based on strict testing standards.  These testing standards stand in place of answering why kids can’t come to school often, such as being too sick, not having clean clothes, or having to begin working as soon as possible, and instead say that there are bad teachers, lazy students, and failing schools.  This method “pretends that inequality does not exist” among races, and simply shuts down schools that are deemed inefficient instead of trying to help them (Gomez-Velez 325).  One way that is believed to be able to avoid poor education for a child’s lifetime is universal pre-k (Gomez-Velez 327).  Funding for these programs comes from federal and state grants that must be awarded in order for proper and equal conditions and standards across the schools.  However, budgets get shifted and often “poor communities tend to the shortchanged” and forgotten when the funds are passed out (Gomez-Velez 336).  Again we are back to square one, where the successful (mostly white) neighborhoods and schools are funded for success, and the failing (people of color) neighborhoods and schools are left in the dust.  A large difference is that one group knows they are being mistreated, and the other has no idea just how good they have it.

When asked, many white children who live in homogenous neighborhoods do not understand what race is, or that discriminating people by race is wrong—they just assume that different people are different and point it out as such.  They are not specifically told that calling people names is a racist act.  They learn that racism ended in the Civil Rights Movement, and everyone is exactly the same now (Lewis 24).  Parents in these areas use the coded term “safe” to describe their living environment and suggest that people who claim they are discriminated against are “pulling the race card” (Lewis 19).  However, when faced with an issue of race, such as a large number of minority students attending their neighborhood school, parents will without question send their children off to private schools if they can afford it (Lewis 88-89).

The term colorblindness sounds safe enough, not seeing anyone as different and treating everyone the same.  However, we know better than that, and that history refuses to let us think that.  African Americans were shipped over to be slaves, sold, killed, used as property, and then freed into a country that did not want them to walk alongside them.  For 200 years there has been a struggle to maintain a segregated society via criminalizing and killing a race, to stating we are not criminalizing a race, but only the actions that they seem to be the only ones doing.  It is incorrect to believe people of color are the only ones committing crimes, but they are more heavily incarcerated for them.  And finally, when we begin to raise a new generation, they too are stuck in a racialized society that tells them they are great, or tells them they are worthless.  Colorblindness teaches that none of this is actually going on, and the world is just a messed up place.  While this may be true, colorblindness also perpetuates the issues at hand, while refusing to concede that maybe, just maybe, they are still deeply invested in racial stratification.

 

 

Works Cited

Alexander, Michelle. The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. The New Press, 2012.

Burnham, Margaret. “The Long Civil Rights Act And Criminal Justice.” Boston University Law Review 95.3 (2015): 687-712.Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Gomez-Velez, Natalie. “Can Universal Pre-K Overcome Extreme Race And Income Segregation To Reach New York’s Neediest Children? The Importance Of Legal Infrastructure And The Limits Of The Law.” Cleveland State Law Review 63.2 (2015): 319-354. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Heitzeg, Nancy A. “On The Occasion Of The 50Th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964: Persistent White Supremacy, Relentless Anti-Blackness, And The Limits Of The Law.” Hamline Journal Of Public Law & Policy 36.1 (2015): 54-79.Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Lewis, Amanda. Race in the schoolyard: Negotiating the color line in classrooms and communities. Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Rich, Stephen M. “One Law Of Race?.” Iowa Law Review 100.1 (2014): 201-266. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

 

This Goes Without Saying…

Everyone should feel comfortable in their clothes. Yet you walk into a store geared toward people of my age group and you just want to throw up.  Crop tops, shorts that might as well be underwear, and shirts so sheer that you have to buy another shirt to wear underneath!

I am not tall, and I am not as thin as the models of these clothes.  That crop top will not hang off of me and sway ever so effortlessly– I will be struggling to keep it from riding up all day.  I also do not want to worry about getting arrested for wearing those shorts out in public.  And I find it insane that the saleslady will tell me to “wear a cute bra” under the sheer shirt instead of buying a tank top to layer with it.  $25 is not an acceptable price for something you can see straight through.

I can spend $8 and get a cool t-shirt from the men’s section that has not been taken in at the sides to accentuate my curves.  Maybe I don’t want to accentuate my curves, because they consist primarily of cheese dip.

Then there are the clothes I actually do enjoy: the long, flowy cardigans and skirts that are perfect for twirling around like you’re magic, shorts that hit right above the knee instead of in the middle of my butt.  It’s like they could have used more fabric all along!

And then the kicker: you’re too short to wear these.

I’m too what to what?

Why does my stature dictate what is acceptable for me to wear?

I understand that some things will look bad on me.  Crop tops usually look like I cannot wash my own clothes properly, and some skirts and pants have to be hemmed/rolled/hiked up a bit.  Long sweaters and cardigans make me look diminutive, but guess what? I am diminutive.  I stopped growing and started shrinking (in height) in the eighth grade.  My legs are, in fact, short.  My torso is short. I am short. Deal with it.

But what I feel no one should have to deal with is going with the trend if they don’t want to.   Everywhere I turn there are nice, bright, springy-summery tops, and most of them are cropped, or the back doesn’t even exist. I want to wear a bra without showing everyone.  I do not want to be that girl in the episode of Seinfeld that never wears a bra so Elaine buys her one.

I understand how shops must go with the current trend to make a profit, and these current trends are suited to the ideal body type, which is not mine or most of society’s anyway.  My argument is, you can’t keep pushing what you don’t have, unless you want a bunch of people who hate themselves for not looking a certain way.  You can find acceptable clothing, but it’s not what is being advertised and glorified.  It gets old.

New Tradition…?

Last year around New Year’s I slowly but surely got sick and sat in my room coughing up my insides. Mmmmm.  This year I thought I’d be alright, I’ve had a cough for almost four months but nothing has come of that.  This morning I wake up and BAM! sore throat.  I hate having a sore throat.  “Everyone hates being sick Brooke, deal with it”. yeahyeahyeah.  But I’m not looking forward to constantly speaking at work and coughing and sniffling at the general public because sick pay isn’t real for part-timers that work like full-timers, and every human being that comes to my counter is going to say “Are you SICK? You shouldn’t be here! Can I use that germ-x you’ve been cuddling for the last four hours?”   At that point I assume you don’t realize I’ve been touching everything with my hands, including that germ-x pump, and you’d just love to hop the counter and finish my shift for me.  No? Then shush.  Why are you still here. Wanna watch me blow my nose?

That’s just how it is.  You go to work in your cubicle sick, I go to work and stand here sick.  My coworker came in a few weeks ago barely able to stand and taking breaks to throw up in the bathroom.  Because as I said in my last post, they can’t afford enough people.  It would be easier just to call up two weeks in advance and say “Yeah, preeeetty sure I’m going to be sick from December 30- January 3, you’ll have to find a replacement for those days,”.  And sadly, if you can’t do that, it’s a scramble to try to convince someone to work a shift they don’t usually take.

Anywhoodles, when I figure out how to put pictures on here I will post the cups I made for Christmas and how I made them.  Yay!

Santa is always watching.

Christmas was lovely.  Everyone enjoyed their presents, mostly, and food was inhaled.  Some presents arrived late, so those will probably be left for next year.  Unless we finally just pick one person to buy for, because there are a looooot of people to buy for between my family and my boyfriend’s family.  I realized this year that no matter what you do, how much you spend, or how much thought you put into a present, there will always be someone that is terribly ungrateful.  Personally, I absolutely love watching people open up their presents and seeing their reactions.  I spend months looking for presents, though I end up doing a lot of buying closer to Christmas, hence why some presents were late (though I still don’t agree that it should have taken a month for them to get here..).  But when you watch someone rip off enough paper to see what’s inside and ask “So, what else?” it’s a bit of a let down.  Or a lot.  I mean, yes, I gave in to the capitalist side of Christmas and bought lots of things for people, but I also just want to sit around and watch Christmas movies and snack with everyone.  Before I even got out of bed on Christmas morning, I was deleting emails with subjects like “Didn’t get what you wanted?” or “Mark the last things off your list!”.  It’s like we’re all a bunch of petty children who will lay on the floor and scream because someone didn’t buy that ONE thing you will DIE without.  And that just how it is.  At work I can no longer tell anyone “no”, and if I do and they don’t just go with it, I am required to pretend that nothing ever happened.  Yup.  Don’t wanna pay for a service?  That’s fine, sorry to assume that you would have in the first place.  Here, have a discount on something else too so that you like me! It’s very frustrating when you know someone is pulling a scam and you’re not allowed to do anything, and they just smile and milk it.  No wonder we can’t afford enough workers, because we’re not making any money, we’re throwing it at people.  And it’s all because no one can be satisfied, and we live in fear of upsetting other people.

Why can’t we all just do our own thing without cowering under the impression that someone might potentially fly off the handle?  Why do people find it acceptable to fly off the handle in a public place to people they don’t know, and why do they feel such a sense of pride once they have done so?

This is why I desperately wish adults still believed in Santa Claus.  They act as if no one is really watching or caring and there will be no consequences.  And that’s okay, if you’re in a movie.  It would also be okay if they were doing good deeds without wanting recognition, because doing good for others is just deemed what should happen anyways.  And yes, some people do actually act like respectable human beings.  But then there are the ones who yell and point, and curse at you until they are red in the face.  And for what?  To get something for free.  When something leaves without charge, they are left feeling victorious, while there is always someone asking what YOU did wrong to cause them to throw a temper tantrum.  The answer is usually “My job”.  Because rather than scream back at them, that is really all you can do.  Though usually doing your job involves a lot of back stepping  and going from saying one thing you are told to do, to throwing all rules that have been drilled into your head straight down the drain because one person doesn’t like it.  If we’re going to start doing that, then let’s get rid of clowns too, because they freak me out.

In short, there is always someone watching, whether it is Santa, a deity, your conscience, or the general public.  So instead of putting on a show to make people bend, just calm the fuck down.

A good video to watch alongside this would be Jenna Marbles’ “People Who Need to Pipe the Fuck Down”.  Because seriously, put on your adult suit and pipe the fuck down.

The Nightmare Before All Holiday Seasons.

So my day started off with email surfing and leaving voice mails to places that said they “couldn’t take my call because they have shit to do but if you want to talk about your problems on this answering machine be my guest”.  Not that exactly, but close enough.

The company I had been trying to contact for days finally replied to my emails, after the email sent by a robot that told me my stuff shipped, to tell me that hey, we already told you your stuff shipped; also, putting your credit card info in this email is totally safe because that’s how we update things.  I’ll pass.  And then when my stuff arrives, leave a 2 or 3 star survey on your Facebook page about your insanity so that I have gifts to give to people sans spit!

My dog and I have been laying around watching TV before work and staring at the basket of laundry hoping it becomes intelligent enough to hang itself up. It didn’t, but all of the hangers disappeared before I was finished, though.  Note to self: stop stepping on hangers.

I bought a decorate-it-your-own-damn-self reindeer a couple of months ago thinking I would have tons of time and it would be super fun and turn out super cute and glittery and great.  He’s still in a bag, and looks super pissed and undecorated.  My bad.  At least the decorate-it-your-own-damn-self ornament can’t stare at me, too.

I did, however, start decorating some mugs for my boyfriend’s sisters to give as Christmas presents. I might put some pictures here when they’re done, because I’m semi-proud of them.  Mostly because I didn’t lose my shit and throw one.  I still have to wait for Amazon to deliver the rest of the things I need for them before they go in the oven… so we’ll see how that goes.  I suppose I could have just gone out and gotten what I needed before work yesterday, (when I started writing this…whoops) but there are people.  So no.  I get my fill when I nearly get run over walking into work and being yelled at because shipping isn’t cheap enough and I’m “ruining Christmas”.  No, sir, YOU waited too long to ship your cheap gift and are still too cheap to make sure it gets to its destination on time.  And no, I am not personally responsible for the FedEx truck flipping over, and no, I cannot guarantee that it will not happen to your package too, because I’m not psychic. Yayyyyyy Christmas!  I’m so glad this is the only current ever issue ever that ever happened ever.  Ever.

Even though people are absolute nut-jobs right now, I am still verrry excited for Christmas 😀  Now I will go watch The Nightmare Before Christmas for the 420237065756th time and be HAPPY about it.

UPDATE: I feel I should talk about at least one more thing I actually enjoy right now, and that’s the Bloggess.  Every year she does a post to send money to a charity and people leave Amazon wishlists in the comments if they are unable to buy gifts for their kids to have under the tree.  It’s awesome, and she’s awesome, and it’s all fucking awesome.