Quest for the Lighthearted (after some BIG questions)

It’s still a pandemic, and I know it’s hard.

My neighbor and I were having a discussion about what it means to be light-hearted and if it can be learned. It fits into our previous discussions about achieving our best selves.

So to spread some lighthearted good will into the world I am going to share some lighthearted statements.

But first let me remind you— that in the midst of this frivolity— we are still in the midst of an important dialogue. It’s a lot of different dialogues all rolled into one:

  1. How do we change the racial injustices and judgments that occur in our society?
  2. How do we apply those lessons to other marginalized “other” groups?
  3. How do we revive impartial journalism or do we work toward being clearer about the bias and special interests? (And when did it become okay for journalists to be physically attacked in the line of duty?)
  4. How do we improve and equalize healthcare for all members of society? I just finished paying off a $600 diagnostic breast ultrasound only to find out I owe $1,200 on a dental crown.
  5. How much responsibility should the government have for the economy? For the basic needs of the people? For equal education?
  6. When will we stop obsessing about test scores and teach our children critical thinking?

Because, you see my friends, if we truly want to fix the system we need to educate the children, our neighbors, our friends, our parents… everyone… in a way that encourages free thought instead of indoctrination.

Because we have been molded in the eyes of patriarchy’s very white, elite traditions.

And how many of us are old white men with money?

Now:

  • I love kittens. The teenager and I have decided that the kittens in our home are the offspring of Stray Momma, a white American shorthair cat with gray spots (whom we ‘met’), and someone’s purebred Russian Blue.
Fog
  • I made sun tea. But a funky batch with green tea, raw honey, fresh ginger and mint from my garden.
  • The teenager has been very into arts and crafts. She made stickers!!!
  • Siggi’s is my new favorite yogurt.

Rainbow Mac and Cheese and my thoughts on privilege and racism

I am saddened that in the 21st century this nation has not made more progress into equality and basic needs for all people.

Having visited different countries in the industrialized and in the developing world, having studied the history of colonialism and prejudice in Francophone Africa, the basic reality that as humans we continue to judge each other and care for ourselves and our own whole ignoring the pain of our neighbors pains me.

I have studied France’s relationship with its colonial history and its institutionalized prejudice against Muslims as a critical theory model for what I see with American imperialism and what I see with our own world legacy of hatred.

Race always enters into these studies because the African American experience shares a lot of commonalities with the French of Muslim Descent community; neither population asked to be enslaved by an empire. Yet, both populations are now belittled and mistrusted by their historical populations.

And both populations are judged and denied opportunities based on their appearance, on something genetic.

It’s so sad.

It’s 2020, America. We have outdated social classes, corrupted government systems, unsustainable consumption, unattainable educational opportunities, a capitalistic drive that values the work over the person, and a healthcare system that threatens our financial wellbeing more than it helps.

So it’s hard.

And I am fortunate to be white. But I am a woman, and I am a woman with a disability, so I understand the lens of judgment. I live every day wondering if I will be judged inferior or incapable because I walk a little funny.

But at least I don’t have to live every day in fear that I may be perceived as dangerous, or manipulated into a situation where I am suddenly an enemy merely because of the color of my skin. I won’t be killed for being dark skinned and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Or near the wrong people.

It’s so sad that some of the best, most helpful people I know have to live in this reality.

That Black men have to swallow their fear.

That Black parents have to hope their sons come home.

That people with power

  • whether the power of law (the criminal justice system which favors the white),
  • the power of occupation and authority (police officers, prison guards),
  • the power of messaging (advertising, media, even entertainment)
  • or the power of mass control (our government and the systems perpetuated by it)

can continue this nonsense of us against them is a classic battle of the “haves” and the “have nots.” It’s really time you listened to your mama and started to share.

Anyway, on a much lighter note, I made macaroni and cheese for the teenager.

I used rigatoni and made a sauce of mostly cheddar and 1% milk, with a chunk of Monterey Jack and a chunk of dill havarti.

I put the rest of my fresh spinach in there, put some smoked paprika, purple peppercorns, and smoked provolone on top and it was amazing.

I called it rainbow macaroni and cheese which got me thinking of the larger racial and prejudice issues.

And that made me sad.

But I did have a very heartening conversation with the teenager today. She’s cleaning her room because, as she told me, she needs to get her act together to be able to help me more.

Our social justice tour

I wanted to come to Washington, D.C., to visit my friend, M. I intended to come last weekend but didn’t because of the forecasted snow storm.

My teen wanted to come, but I rescheduled the trip for this weekend and she had school… so I thought… what if we made it a social justice tour in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

So, I signed her out of school to “explore social justice in our nation’s capital.”

We ended up on the campus of Georgetown University’s Law Center. And had a sandwich nearby where I tried my first pastrami.

I don’t know why I never had pastrami before.

We then attended a rally for Marzieh Hashemi, the African-American journalist and American citizen who lives in Iran and works for the English language Iranian Press. She is also a Muslim convert.

Marzieh recently came home to the United States to visit family when she found herself “kidnapped” by the FBI and transferred to two different detention facilities, where she was not offered halal food nor allowed to wear her hijab.

I had heard Marzieh’s story on NPR’s Morning Edition and saw M posting some updates on her situation on Facebook. When he mentioned a rally and protest today, I wanted to go.

She called her 11-day imprisonment an act of “intimidation” and encouraged all of us to make sure we make a difference with our lives because we will all eventually die.

Meanwhile, my daughter ended up on Iranian TV. See the little blue globe in the photo and the brown haired girl in the jean jacket? That’s my baby.

Check out my YouTube videos of this event:

The beginning of the event:

https://youtu.be/1Bl4A5NoE7g

Marzieh’s son talks about growing up in a home that the FBI raided without reason:

https://youtu.be/BAOPut6jVH4

Marzieh arrives:

Marzieh speaks:

https://youtu.be/ZcgL2Iog0s8