How I’m learning to break my silence and fight racism

Very powerful post! #blacklivesmatter

Cute Girl With A Banjo

King-Martin-Luther-slience

“If they aren’t doing anything unlawful, then they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.” 

It’s a common refrain used by defensive white people who would like to pretend that minorities, specifically black people, are not targeted by law enforcement. I’m sorry to say there was an ignorant time in my life when I believed this too.

For much of my teens and twenties, even as I consumed black culture, co-opted and appropriated it because it was “oh-so-cool-and-different,” I bought in to boot-strapping black respectability politics. I thought if black people would just “act right” then they wouldn’t get into trouble. I thought that being “colorblind” meant not being racist; that if we willed the differences away, they’d slink to the furthest reaches of the earth, never to be seen again.

I am embarrassed about my past ignorance (and am still learning), but it also makes sense. I was privileged, grew up…

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Deebadeebdeebdeeb That’s all folks

IMG_20150823_141948 Welp its over! Living in the one bedroom apartment that my mom and I shared was sometimes a blast. During my last year of high school, my two cousins had moved in with us. We mostly did nothing because my mom never let us go anywhere. Drea went home on the weekends and if I was invited out I forgot to include my cousin. That must not have been fun for her.

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She winded up being kicked out after a few disagreements with my mother. Good times for me was when my mother worked overnight. What did I do, you asked? Well not your typical Lampoon parties and boys sleeping over of course. (The latter happened a few times, but much later on.) I stayed up late and watched TV; sometimes I baked. Yup, I was a party animal. Mostly, I just enjoyed having the apartment to myself; pretending it was mine while there was no authoritative ruler present .

But after my mother had a minor stroke she was never cleared to go back to work. Paying bills was an uphill battle. I helped when I could but tomorrow is still move out day. What I am hoping is to finally be on my own even if it’s on the street. Make my own way for a while. Does it sound like I don’t know what I am talking about? Well that’s because I don’t. This is not the first time we have had to leave an apartment. I’ve stayed with family members before. This is the first time where it seems like that is less than option.

I have never stayed in a shelter. Never spent all night looking for a place to sleep. I have never even slept on an outside staircase without my own consent and when I did it I wasn’t alone. Homeless – without ever really experiencing it – seems trying. Homeless – without ever living it – looks like a desperation for survival.

I have decided to try my hand at the government. That old government assistance that denied my mother Foodstamps, mistakenly withheld cash from her Foodstamps account, denied her TRA (Transforming Rental Assistance), kept her running back and forth with a heart condition to fill out paper work she had already given in. Maybe they’ll help me keep a place to stay; a two bedroom so my mother can stay too.

What this has brought out of me is courage. I found myself doing things I have always wanted to do because now that I have no place to stay why not! But honestly, all the fear I’ve had about living my dreams are dwindling. It doesn’t matter about what other people think or if I can do it. I’m just going to do it. No one else is going to give me a place to stay I’ll find one on my own. No one is hiring me for broadcasting right now; I’ll make my own work. I have always wanted to perform at open mics but too scared of probable suckage to actually get up on stage.

Lions-Regine-Lacroix-1 I’m the buffalo.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic but that’s how I see it. So I’m going to perform at an open mic no matter how ravenous the crowd may look. I’ve always wanted to make my own videos on YouTube but I was too lazy. Now I say to myself,

“Just do it, already!”

I recently discovered I almost literally need a fire under my behind in order for me to move. Who knew it would come in the form of me not having my own bed to sleep in?

What gets you movin’?

Change of Career

Tues, no wait, Thursday I had an interview for a Paraprofessional position. This is a fancy title for teacher’s aide. I would be working with children who have special needs i.e. behavioral issues, down syndrome, physical limitations etc. Now I know what you’re thinking.

“Isn’t your major TV or something like that?”

Well I graduated from college so I no longer have a major. Yes I was working in production; specifically audio production. But that position is on a hiatus and as many young people of my day; I possess many hats. I mentioned before that I considered going back to school for teaching younger children. I liked it. Kids can be tiring but I felt that I was needed and I was living out a great portion of my potential. I liked that I had an important purpose and that I made an impact.

This is how I want my life to be.

But should my life be solely that of a teacher?

I was thinking working as teacher during the day would give me time to go to open mics at night. Also, I would still be available to take gigs; granted that they are in the evening and I can get home early enough to plop my head in the bed for school the next morning.

Not likely.

I will most likely be too tired to do a gig after school.

The day before – Wednesday – we received an eviction notice. Three days not including the weekend to get out with all of our stuff. My mother had me chauffer her to the pro – bono lawyers to receive an extension. After being directed the court house we received just that. Now this will buy us some time to get other matters in order.

I’ve already asked my cousin to take my mom in. My mom who said she would stay in her car …with her heart condition smh. I will find somewhere to stay. I’m not really worried. Maybe it’s time to gain some street smarts. I also tried to convince my cousin, a newly trained medical assistant, to work as an aide to make some money to pay for her certification. But she already has found a position. Even though its only twice a week, the experience she receives is invaluable and hard to come by. She’s not willing to give it up.

“If I leave this job i might as well not have gone for my certification in the first place.”

I see her point and I wondered how much of it held true to my predicament. My cousin however has a steady position in her field. I do not. So am I to go forward as a Paraprofessional or continue to grind until the gears come off?

Saving Lives In Sneakers

I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!! I LOVE YOU FOR MAKING THIS BLOG. IT IS INDEED COOL.

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What’s the most exciting thing you have done in these shoes?

Save a life.

What’s your job?

I’m a doctor.

What type of medicine do you practice?

Internal Medicine.

Are you headed to work now?

No, I’m headed home from work.

Time: 8:45am

Location: Philadelphia

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Parents just don’t understand

I come home.

And I ask my mother if she’s ok. Most nights when I come home my mother is sitting on her phone, playing some version of Tetris. When I’m home and it’s late my mother is on her phone playing some version of Tetris. I ask if she would like to play a game of scrabble instead.

“No, I’m already playing my game.”

Ok. I asked if she made any more phone calls to the people she discusses money issues with. She say’s, “why?” I’m only asking. I’m only asking because I want to know if she’s ok.

“Who did you work for today?”

“Is he a man?”

“A white man?”

“Who is there with y’all?”
“He gave you money to come home?”

“You don’t think that’s strange that he only gives you money to come back?”

In between her explaining why she thinks (or knows) I don’t understand the dangers of working with/for people I don’t know, I become combative/ defensive; I don’t want to let her finish speaking. She tells me to shutup and leave.

“You’re not gonna yell at me!”

She tells me I think I’m grown, and she’s stupid and she doesn’t know anything. I say she knows nothing about freelancing.

Even writing this bubbles up enough frustration that I want to start yelling all over again.

Why am I frustrated? Let me explain; I am 24 (say’s the title). I know, just stick with me here. I have been going to the city at least three times a week on my own, navigating my way through the city. I have been handling my business on my own, dealing with different personalities – fuck – paying bills on my own! And my mom still doesn’t think I have enough sense to know when someone is trying to use me.

It’s just when have I done enough for her to recognize that I am a big girl. I can look out for myself when no else one is. I will never be capable enough for her. Now before you get all hoity toity on me and agree with her and say I don’t know enough about the world and I’m still young and such. I am wise enough to know there are still some tricks I haven’t learned and some tricky people I have not met. That does not mean I am not learning. That also does not mean I have not learned a lesson of which she could have not spared me anyway. What I want her to do is fall back and let me do me.

It’s hard to talk to parents when they are like this. All I ask is that she listen. I am quite frankly tired of it – listening – at least to her. Now before you go on again, what she was saying to me about the aforementioned gig she has said before. Why I cut her off – I heard it before. Why did she repeat it? She thinks…

“She just don’t get it.”

But in actuality (if I may be so bold) she doesn’t get it. She has never done a production gig. She does not know how my field works but only understands that it exist. For those of you who don’t know what a gig is like for those on-the-come-up; it’s basically an internship. That means if you’re not a lucrative professional you may not make any money. You will also be hard pressed to find internships in the broadcasting field that will pay – at least not in monetary form. What you gain is experience.

I get the job from this site called Media Match. The job states in its description that they are willing to pay or not willing to pay or if its low pay. I take the job to get comfortable in the position that I will be working in the future.

I take the job so that I will be worth the big bucks in the future.

What my employers have provided me with is transportation money. So I am able to come back; keep working, learning, making connects, gaining etc. My mom thought that was the weird part – that I would keep going to work for people that I already made a commitment to. That I would show up to work only to be rewarded with being able to come back in order to learn some more.

I may be late on this experience; learning with no monetary gain. But that’s my fault and I don’t regret it as I said in my previous post, “Let me just start by saying…

And in case you were wondering, my mom’s feelings about heading to the city to freelance and all that jazz when I was in college would have been the same.

Can you relate?

I’m a Lieber Nominee

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Thank you ggatto for nominating me!

1. I would be five because that was a fun age for me. I just lived in imagination, anything was possible and there was no such thing as no. I would love to live like that again.

2. Base jumping, I would definitely feel invincible if I could do that.

3. Three words I can’t stand are: Angelica, No, Automated.

4. One weird thing I believed was that I could make a traffic light change by staring at it.

5. Pop.

6. My super power would be to fly.

7. I can not leave the house without my glasses – it’s that serious.

8. Cinnamon – is cinnamon a seasoning?

9. Yeah I would move to another planet, see how things are on the wild side.

10. I started blogging as a school assignment. Then I discovered that I had many things to say about other interest of mine. I wanted to use my blog as a discussion platform for people who had the same interest whether they disagreed with my views or not – we could have a conversation together. It would be like having a discussion with the best friend you never had.

My newest blog serves to encourage people who are in the same situation or have the same experiences. I want them to know we are all in this together! #highschoolmusical

Thanks !!!! ggatto