That headline you see for this post? I've said it numerous times this week (it was generally prefaced by a facepalm). Let's dive in and start with those.
(L) - Listened
(R) - Read
(W) - Watched
(L) Today, Explained | Episode: The Prince of Blackwater
Y'all know who Betsy DeVos is, right? Listen to this podcast about how her brother finessed his company obtaining a contract with the federal government, caused major problems in Iraq, and has used his white privilege (including $$$) to run away and re-brand.
(L) Today, Explained | Episode: "Send her back"
You've likely heard about this situation regarding the current Commander in Chief, and "The Squad" of amazing, melanated women who make many people (liberal and conservative) uncomfortable with their rawness. I had the chance to personally meet Ilhan Omar months ago, and it was such a pleasant experience. It wasn't just the occupant of the Oval Office that had me giving the evil eye. The current Speaker of the House could and should be doing better (and mentoring someone to have her good qualities so that she can have several seats in the near future, but I digress). Needless to say, I am not pleased.
*Fun fact: Today, Explained is narrated by a POC*
(R) Young white people really will say that they earned a "win" even when they know they didn't
No, that isn't the headline, but that's basically what this article says. If you're looking to roll your eyes so hard that they get stuck in your throat, this is a read for you.
(L) Today, Explained | Episode: What raids?
Let me just say...if some modern-day variation of The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is pushed as this current president tries to surpass Obama (yes, that Obama) as the "Deporter in Chief," I won't be shocked. I will however, be seething mad, afraid for members of my community, and trying to figure out the best way(s) to can help. Am I exaggerating, or am I not?
(R) Too “American,” but also not [insert ethnicity/ethnicities here] enough
In this reflective article, the author really hits home. She shares sentiments that I‘ve heard some of my friends of other ethnicities share, and some that I relate to as well. When you’re a POC in the United States, it can be easy to feel like you don’t belong in what is mainstream [white] American culture, as well as the culture(s) of your heritage. For me as a young black woman, sometimes I feel like I am an oxymoron: I have no culture, but black America also helps shape American culture. I have no genuine connection to my Jewish heritage (being washed out by enslaved people abiding by Christianity), and it continues to be a struggle to pinpoint where in my eight countries of origin, the parts of my ancestry come from. People love to talk about the continent of Africa as a monolith, but within each of those 54 countries are dozens of cultures, ethnicities, clans, etc. On the other hand, mainstream America loves to pick and choose what it likes (or dare I say, appreciates?) about black culture; from hairstyles to what’s at the top of the music charts, we’re always setting new trends. This isn’t on purpose of course, we’re just always used to “making a way out of no way,” and having to create things for ourselves to create some semblance of normalcy, of survival, in the society we’ve had to assimilate into over generation. That means to our non-black friends we’re often seen as “too ghetto” or “not really” black. Some of us even confuse our peers with our code-switching (my favorite skill).
Time to De-tangle
I know, I know, you think I'm going full speed ahead all day, every day. Not that it isn't true, but I do make time for the chiropractor, therapy, reading and Netflix.
(W) Netflix | Explained | Episode: Astrology
I know I'm a Virgo. You know I'm a Virgo. Everyone who knows me, knows I'm a Virgo. So why did this deep dive try to come for me? *Fun fact: it's narrated by Yara Shahidi!
(W) Netflix | Explained | Episode: Tattoo
It's been almost 8 years since I got my first tattoo. Since then I've added five more. Since I'm clearly a fan, I felt the need to watch. I loved that they incorporated information about sailors, incarcerated people, and the differences in traditional tattooing by the Japanese, indigenous, and pacific islander communities.
(W) Netflix | Explained | Episode: K-Pop
Y'all. I. am. fascinated. Some of my friends have been into K-Pop for years, and others are new fans. I saw this episode to myself and said "Self?" (Self said "huh?"), "We should watch this and see what all the hype is about." I obliged.
(R) The Cheyennes Indians of the Great Plains (E. Adamson Hoebel)
I'm trying to be a better ally to/for multiple communities. This year I've found myself gravitating towards learning about different indigenous nations and issues, and LGBTQIA+. A friend of mine from undergrad is Cheyenne, so when I saw this book at The Book Thing in Baltimore, I knew I just had to snag it. I'm about halfway through, and already wish it were a longer book.
(R) Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, An Indian History of the American West (Dee Brown)
I'm taking my sweet time with this one. When I read it, there is what feels like a dense ball of fire in my gut. If I don't take breaks as the feeling strengthens, I would probably somehow give myself an ulcer (if that's even possible). I've been learning so much, so much that should be included in every curricula across the U.S.
(L) Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)
If you follow me on Goodreads, you may have seen that I gave this three stars. The movie comes out next month, and I may go see it just to see how they translate it into film, and if I like it more than the book (which I can't say for The Hate U Give). It was just "fine" to me. It had the potential to be more. In case you were wondering: the format of the book doesn't lend itself to be a great experience as an audiobook (the narrators did a great job though!).
(W) Netflix | Yummy Mummies
I know, the title makes you cringe a little. I've gotten away from reality TV (trash TV, as some may call it) over the years, but there really is something to be said for being engrossed in a show that doesn't require any mental energy. Why not watch a show about the wives of wealthy Australian men who are basically in a pregnancy pact, spend more money than I make in a month, and ask their husbands to spend more money than I'll make in two years on "push presents?" If I'm being totally honest, it was probably their accents that made me want to keep clicking the "next episode" button.
(R) Red, White & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston)
I knew this book had to do with politics from the moment I saw the title, but it also gave off an air of lightheartedness (the cover is pink and the characters are cartoon). Fifteen chapters later, I finished it in the course of a day. It was cute, included just the right amount of political strategy and bureaucracy, and explored relationships and sexuality (some parts are NSFW). If you were rooting for Clinton to win the presidency or watch Madam Secretary, it may tug a little at your feelings and memories. Spoiler?: The ending is of course, a happy one that allows for everyone to have the resolution they desire for their plot line.
I’m already on a roll with podcasts this week, so charge up your headphones!