It is sorrowful to me that high school literature curriculum for most of America, specifically California has not changed. To be frank, it is still very much White. I have been a youth leader and tutor for humanities, history and literature for the past two years and I am appalled at the homework I have been assisting teenagers with. I have students inquiring about #kylahspring or the origins of the #AfricanAmerican people of the diaspora, including the inception of the indegenious people yet teachers are still assigning #CatcherInTheRye or #TheGreatGatsby, which are essentially prejudiced pieces of literature. Indicatively, I have not ascertained one piece of diverse or neoteric work being popularized into their curriculum written by a BIPOC. #America loves to say that it’s changing for the better, yet in many aspects, when it comes to education, we are eons behind the rest of the world. Ultimately, I believe that will be our downfall.
I see my brothers and sisters dying for no reason, and it guts me.
Driving while black,
Sleeping while black,
Eating while black,
Talking while black,
Laughing while black,
Dancing while black,
Learning while black,
and the lists goes on.
There is no justice for me,
No peace for me.
Even though they tell me there will be.
I’m so used to physical pain,
I don’t know how to exist in a realm of sane.
This plague on my brain….
Yet I can’t complain.
Not supposed to anyway.
I’m just supposed to sway in the distance,
not be resistant,
be tolerant and coexistent.
Tell that to the people that oppress me.
That try to steal the light from under me.
I want to yell like a banshee,
but I have to be still, sit and grin with quiet glee.
It’s the American way they say.
American being white.
The white way.
Because that’s the right way.
To point out all the faults within this system would be unpatriotic.
But how can that be? At least for me?
My people worked these streets,
and built these buildings hoping one day they’d get a chance to truly see!
The need to return home is prevalent,
It is making me more than malevolent.
Oh to waddle in the dark night.
I straddle the fence of what is wrong, and right.
Ohhhhh, to be wrong for just one night.
I have used this blog to vent my frustrations, promote my books/podcast, and connect with so many different people from everywhere. It is a place where I have grown as a writer, and it makes me smile to see how far I have come when I click on old archives. It is also a place where I have felt comfortable being able to talk about issues currently facing well, me.
This is that time.
December 2016 I graduated with my Master’s degree. I was a happy, if naive twenty-six year old black woman who was determined to have a career in the workplace. Something I’d always dreamed of ever since I became entertainment editor of my high school newspaper. That January, I was ready. I prepped for interviews, applied to wherever a company would take a shiny-new master of science in human resource management degree holder. It took a few weeks, but I was able to get a once in a lifetime interview with the San Francisco International Airport. It was an eye-opening experience to be sure. I was selected for the prestigious position of San Francisco Airport Fellow and I thought it was the best thing in the world.
Finally, I would be joining hundred’s of others in the mad dash to and from work. I dressed smartly, even lost substantial weight which gave me the confidence I felt I would need to succeed. I had no clue what I was doing, but I figured, “Hey. school taught me that I can learn anything with studying, hard work, and dedication. So anything is possible, right?”
That mindset was true in some aspects.
In others it wasn’t.
It was a year program, that not only exposed you to the aviation industry, but helped train you for a position at the airport. Everyday for one year I told myself if I could just get to the end of the program I would be okay. I could make it. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about money as much, and I would be happy. In all my favorite films, it’s what happened anyway. The lead protagonist would work hard, handle the fire-breathing dragon lady (The Devil Wears Prada) and at the end get the job he/she truly wanted.
Only that wasn’t the case.
I had a helpful advisor which was good, but the bad definitely outweighed the benefits in my situation.
The subtle micro-aggressions were terrible. Finding out that people were talking behind my back was like getting a slap to the face, but what hurt more than anything, was being made to feel as if I were stupid. These people spoke as if I was too illiterate to properly comprehend what they were training me to do.
Because of it my mental health suffered.
The program started for me in March, and I made it to the one year mark, quitting a couple of months afterward. I never thought one could feel PTSD from a job, but this was my first real taste of, “The real world.” My father, being a former supervisor for a very well-known company drove me almost daily to work. He saw my moods change the closer we got to my job and he would always offer a smile and say, “If you can’t do it anymore, then don’t,” before focusing back on the road. I always felt that he could look into my soul and see how much I didn’t want to be there.
But I still went.
Being the ever optimistic person I was I consoled myself with the knowledge that one day, I would finally get what I worked so hard for.
That day never came.
Circumstances arose in which I quit. I came home early, and I remember feeling so defeated. I sat outside of my parent’s driveway a lot, and sometimes found myself staring at the ground, the mountains, and in some cases nothing. I would think of something terrible at work and have sudden bursts of anger which was directed at my parents. They didn’t deserve my outrage, yet they took it in stride, always consoling me when I came down from one of my many episodes. Even my little sister who came down from college saw the hopeless despair I was wrapped up in and took pity on me.
I quit in 2018 and for several months afterward I stayed out of the workforce. I began to write feverishly, and it was the one thing that brought me immense joy.( Well that along with foreign soap-operas.) Through that pain I was able to create something beautiful. My very first historical romance book that I published myself on Amazon. I figured out how to create my website, and I was even able to pay for a PR company to promote it. I felt so proud of that I was able to do that, and it felt like a big screw you to anyone who thought I was incapable of accomplishing something huge. It was my passion, it had always been, but it took me facing what I thought I wanted to realize what I actually needed.
A couple of months later I figured it would be a good time to earn some money so I began a tentative job search. Much more aware I went in with the single-focus of working for money. I wasn’t looking for job-security or comfort. I wasn’t looking for friends, or a place to advance my career. I wasn’t affiliated with any organizations or sororities so I knew that I wouldn’t be making any advancements based on connections. I was just a normal twenty-eight woman looking for income to make her car payment.
Still, I found nothing.
I applied to so many places yet they all turned me down. Gave me no specific reasons, other than they moved forward with other people. I was baffled at the response and even told some managers to please check my credentials and reconsider, but the answer stayed the same.
A big resounding NO.
I do remember that I applied to a job near my neighborhood during that transition period. It was a management position, entry level at a clothing store. The interview went surprisingly well, and I thought it was a great way to get my foot in the door of management. But, I showed up the next day not for management work, but for a regular sales associate position.
Now I want to be clear; there is nothing wrong with a cashier position, but my job history and resume alone would make me over-qualified for that particular position. I worked at that store for one day and never came back. I thought I would cry my eyes out, but I found myself feeling the opposite. Instead of tears I became upset, and slightly bitter. I worked so hard only to be given a position of putting clothes on a rack. Six years of school just down the drain in my opinion.
Since 2018 I have steadily looked for work in between writing, but no one ever thought to hire me.
Then the pandemic happened.
Citizens were worried about money and work, but I found that year to be a relaxing one. I had been through so much, and now the world was on pause, forcing people (including myself) to re-examine their lives.
I found myself writing more.
I published three more books, and I spent more time with my family. I finally realized what was important, and that was worth millions to me. I still held out hope that someone would hire me. After all, everything had switched to remote so I was in the same boat as everyone else, right?
There was a brief bout of hope on the horizon, though.
In July 2021 a company reached out to me. It was a start-up and the goal was to help students with college preparatory. I was excited because after I was hired I was given the position of online English Instructor. I was thrilled. To have the chance to finally be in the education field had been my dream. The former supervisor explained to me that they were waiting for students and for the school year to start, so she urged me to be patient. I had been waiting for years, so I didn’t mind waiting several more weeks.
But the waiting turned into months.
Which turned into the former supervisor quitting and me finding out about it two weeks ago (Yep seven months!) after inquiring myself.
I found that job on LinkedIn and figured while waiting for the education company to start I would look for something else. I completed the entire profile, the app called me an all-star profile and I was starting to get views. The website even matched me to other jobs that I qualified for.
Except I got no call-back.
After several months I started to see that no one was calling me back. The news on the television wasn’t matching my own efforts of looking for work, because I did want employment yet no one would give me a second glance.
I am no one special. I am just a thirty-one year-old educated Black woman. However, I started to do research and was finding out that a lot of other black men and women (millennials) were facing similar situations such as myself. I didn’t want to be one of the people who kept allowing this to happen only to break me. I even saw stories where other women went insane with the constant back and forth from companies only to be let down and unable to properly function.
So, I decided to become self-employed.
I created a more professional website for books. I have always loved poetry and I am so proud of my podcast Expressions and Definitions finally getting the attention it deserves. And I am proud to be making certain financial moves with my family which makes me thank God for giving me the family that I have. It’s not at all what I thought I’d be doing, but I find myself loving writing and create fun and new podcast.
I came up here today to say that I quit.
I finally quit believing in the hype of corporate America. I quit believing that my, “dream job,” is at some company from nine to five. One should not dream of work, but of a passion that they can turn into profit, or a way to live comfortably.
I deleted any app that would be linked with a job.
I deleted my LinkedIn post.
I deleted my online portfolio and gave away my professional clothes.
This year in 2022, I will do what makes me happy and not what society tells me. I will not be forced to work in subpar conditions that affect my mental state and I will not be spoken to in a way that deems me less than human. Because I am human, and I deserve respect.
I don’t know if this helps anyone, but if you have gotten this far and are reading this, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are special, kind and you are loved. You are smart, and you can do anything you put your mind too. You are not being too difficult for demanding what you deserve because baby, you are so worth it.
I love you all so much and we will talk soon.
I hurt from the pain I see.
I can’t stop these tears that awash my face.
There is a terrorist attack happening,
And It’s on my people.
My people are being
Treated like animals,
Treated as If we don’t exist,
As If we don’t matter.
I am lost,
I am somewhere.
My body longs for freedom.
To soar above the clouds,
Away from oppression,
Away from man.
I long to call for help,
To call a SOS.
But the people I would normally call,
In a time of need,
Are intent on persecuting me.
I see no win.
I see no escape.
I feel my people’s pain.
I hear their cry.
Will the Pharoahs of the world ever let us out of our bonds?
How long before God hears our prayer?
I am even being hunted in God’s sanctuary!
When will my people find release?
When will my people ever be avenged?
“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.” -Muhammad Ali
So I have some things to say.
Today in sunny northern california (Vacaville to be precise) my sister was driving towards the local grocery store. My mother sent her to pick up a couple of items. After dropping me off at the gym, she went on her journey to the store.
My sister later narrates that she saw a parking space near the front. So she turns on the signal, and drives to pull in the parking space. My sister stops the car, and calls out to the driver when he steps out of the car. She says, “Sir, did you not see that I was pulling in?” The older white man walks toward my sister and starts to yell at the top of his lungs. These are his words precisely;
“You nigger bitch! I can take what I want! What are you going to do about it Nigger Nigger Nigger!” My sister tells me that she is so shocked that she is staying in the car trying to calm down. Others are staring, and she is becoming more agitated and embarrassed. She comes home and tells my mother, father, and me what had happened.
Afterward she comes and sits by my side, and just keep shaking her head. She looks at me, and I know what she wants to say. I can see it in her eyes. They are saying why? Why would someone approach me like that?
People like to choke things up to road rage, people losing their temper, and saying things out of context.
But I’m not.
When I’m angry at a white person I don’t start yelling derogatory names like, “cracker,” or question your family lineage. So why should you do the same.
I’m sick. I’m sick and tired of hearing this still going on. I’m sick and tired of it being 2015, and people still think they have a right to talk to my younger sister that way. It gets old.
“Racism is a man’s greatest threat to man-the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
Good morning world!
I hope all is well. The reason I haven’t posted for a couple of days is because I’ve been really busy.
But I’m here so now all is right with the world. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m starting to feel super important! lol)
So as I was walking to school this morning I noticed a play that is being put on by my theater/drama department. The title is Arabian Nights. You may be wondering why I am even talking about a play that you probably don’t care about, but here is the reason.
That’s right, I said it; color. Here is my problem with movies and theaters. First, I must say that I love musicals, and broadway. Ever since I was thirteen, and first saw Moulin Rouge, I’ve been hooked. Broadway is also my favorite to watch. I like the drama, the plot, the fake stage fighting that looks so real at the time, and the can’t live without each other romantic situations. My only problem is casting people who actually look like the topic being discussed.
One thing my father hates is western movies. Not because of the plots, the cowboys, and mexican standoffs, but because of the casting. You see, when I watch old westerns with my grandma, I notice that the men playing Native Americans are not of color. Not only are Natives not playing their own people but Mexicans, Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians are played by White American people. Even Aborigines are played by white Americans with paint on their faces.
In early America with the country in turmoil in regards to racism and open hostility to other races it is understandable that Whites, or people in power at that time were also dominating the film industry. My question is, what is the excuse now? It’s 2013 so shouldn’t there be more people of color (and I don’t mean just African-Americans) having lead roles in films?
My sister and I recently saw a preview for the Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. I love Sci-fi, and Tom Cruise so to me this was a win-win situation. My problem with this movie is where are all the fresh faces? Tom Cruise is a great actor, but for a movie focused on the future and a new world why not be symbolic and use a fresh-faced actor?
As a new generation who knows better I feel like it’s up to us. We have to show that going on in the tradition of old-school Hollywood is unacceptable. So what’s the solution?
Actually casting other races. Having a diverse cast. Making sure that if we have a character of an African-American we actually let a African-American play that role. The same with other races as well.