Published (VII)

Okay, so, really exciting news…

I am a contributor for The Tempest, a platform ran by millennial women on a global scale sharing diverse stories. Their former target audience was Muslim women, and then they expanded it, and it’s pretty awesome that they did!

They truly are an open platform. The first article I read of one of their contributors was about how she studied Islam and recognized her Christian privilege. Since then, I have read stories on their platform from contributors outside of this country, trans women, Middle Eastern women, black women, a couple of mixed race women, and more.

I’ll be writing for their Politics and Race Section, mostly on mixed race identity. We’ll see where this goes and see what else I’ll write about!

I am so honored to be a contributor. My first piece will be live tomorrow!

You can either stay updated on their website http://thetempest.co/ or their Twitter handle @WeAreTheTempest.

Yay!!!

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“Which Parent is White?”

You, as an individual, have every right to be curious about the people around you. Questions are always welcome. However, how you ask them, can have consequences of negatively affecting the person you’re asking.

I have lost count of the amount of times someone has asked me “Which parent is white?” when asking me about my racial background. Normally I calmly respond how both of my parents are mixed race, and I still do, but I’ve come to realize the issues with that particular question.

  1. The assumption that every mixed race person, particularly a light-skinned mixed race person, has a white parent.
  2. The assumption that every mixed race person has white descent in general, whether they are light-skinned or dark-skinned.

Both of my parents have white descent, therefore, I happen to have white descent, but placing mixed race identity in a simple binary isn’t good because every mixed race person is has a variety of mixes and backgrounds.

Moreover, when people ask which parent is white, it comes across as if multiracial identity is beautiful only if whiteness is somewhere in the mix. That’s not cool.

I love conversations where people ask “How do you identify?” instead of immediately asking “Which parent is white?” I love conversations where people ask me what growing up was like in the backgrounds I identify with, instead of probing at how “exotic” I am because of blackness mixed with whiteness.

Just food for thought. Let me know what you think.

Awesome Update II

Over a month ago, I submitted a video to the YouTube channel The 100% Mixed Show, a channel that provides content about mixed race identity and mixed race issues. In my video, I followed the format of their #Mixstory guidelines, where I talked about growing up multiracial, the good things about being mixed, the hard things.

Fortunately, that encouraged my sister to want to submit her own #Mixstory to the channel. I was so glad to help her record her and submit the video for her. Check out her story below! I’m so proud of her!

Moments in 2015

2015:

I have been wearing glasses for the first time in five years. I still wear contacts, but it’s cool to switch things up every now and then.

I flew on a plane for the first time in seven years to Atlanta, Georgia in January. I took a second plane to Chicago, Illinois in August; it was my first time in Chicago.

I have competed in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia for the first time along with two other slam teammates out of the five of us. We made it to the semifinals and placed 17th out of 68 teams! We met fabulous poets such as Neil Hilborn, Rudy Francisco, and Aja Monet at CUPSI.

I went to the Interfaith Youth Core Conference in Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois to receive interfaith training to being East Carolina University’s first interfaith campus group. So much has been done this year in interfaith work! I’m so proud!

I started working at the cultural center on my campus, and then started working as a tutor for student athletes on campus.

I participated in a Faculty Forward protest for the first time, and I went to an LGBTQIA Pride Parade in Durham, North Carolina for the first time.

I saw the first season of Daredevil on Netflix and enjoyed it along with the third season of Orange is the New Black!

I chopped my hair into a pixie cut, and I am loving it when it’s natural and when it’s straightened. It’s been growing out, so I’m now going to let it grow out.

My sister graduated high school.

I constantly questioned what I was going to do for graduate school.

I have been published in ECU campus media and online media.

I became an intern for The Black Sheep Articles @ ECU, first as a staff writer, then as a paid intern as chief campus editor.

I met Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit that invests in recovery and hope for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, addiction, and self-injury. I purchased a TWLOHA t-shirt and a poster that has a quote from Tworkowski’s If You Feel Too Much.

I attended the Urbana ’15 Missions Conference in St. Louis Missouri with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We talked about faith, social justice, cross-cultural efforts, and we worshipped in variety of cultural music in different languages all the way into the New Year!

I have been blogging for over a year.

Resolutions from 2015:

More writing on this blog, but include short stories, not just prose, poetry, and rants. [Achieved!]

Express genuine joy, not force joy or happiness out of me. [Getting better.Achieved!]

Attend a missions trip for the first time. [CHAT Program for Spring Break. Achieved!]

Participate in more interfaith events. [Dude, yes!! Interfaith Pirates Better Together at ECU is doing such great work. Gonna keep it going! Achieved!]

More praying. [Yes and no. Fluctuates. Mostly yes, I believe. Achieved!]

Try painting over the summer. [No. Didn’t get the materials as intended. Unachieved.]

Complete the Star Wars series and the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series before the year is out. [Completed Star Wars; including The Force Awakens. Not Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. Achieved?]

Do more research as I read the Bible. [Achieved!]

Resolutions for 2016 (trying to stay as realistic as possible):

Score well on the GRE when I take it in February.

Intern over the summer with World Horizons in Richmond, Virginia.

Be accepted to at least one out-of-state graduate school.

Find new ways to to take time for myself while also finding new ways to use this blogging space.

Meditate more along with writing prayers and being more active in prayer.

Read my great grandpa’s work on the missions he did in Africa.

Continue learning how to be more honest.

Audition and perform in a play.

A day late, I know, but here’s to a Happy New Year! Whoo hoo!!

Poem: Alternative Music

Thumping through my earbuds

Are the musical notes that paraphrase

My state of mind.

They clutch to my eardrums

To hang and play upon,

Hoping to reach low enough

To play my heartstrings…

And they do.

Awakening me in awkward, nerdy, slightly emo

Middle school,

I learned all of the lyrics to a new Paramore song

Each day.

While questioning the concept of prayer,

Their Hallelujah was my meditation.

When questioning afterlives,

Coldplay was my Paradise.

They got me.

So why did friends and family say they weren’t

For me?

Was it because bands were bringing me out of

Certain depths

And not the people in front of me?

No.

The fall was deeper when someone explained how

Strange it was,

Me liking white music.

For music that was a mosaic

Of my emotions,

They did have a point.

Those musicians weren’t exactly the

Same shade as me.

But when I attempt to defend my tastes

Through history of blacks giving birth to

Rock & Roll,

No one wants to hear it.

It’s still seen as white.

Hozier couldn’t Take Me to Church

But he could take everyone else

In this particular context.

I don’t appreciate the oreo complex

In explaining why I should like more

Hip hop or

R&B ,

And I do like a few of those genres

In my playlist,

But it did make me ask:

Where were the sisters?

Where were my mocha to chocolate covered Muses

To soothe me

Through my adolescent sorrows?

If rap could welcome Eminem

And Macklemore,

Why couldn’t alternative

Invite anyone to the brand?

Where was the proof of people of color

Being able to sing about

Depression and exclusivity?

Because it does exist for us.

A lot more than people

Make it out to be.

Where was my proof that not every

Black singer sounded like

Jennifer Hudson?

To my white people, I’m sorry,

I’m not very skilled in gospel singing.

Lyrical storytelling and strong production

Still gets me weak in the knees,

And I still have yet to purchase

A Paramore t-shirt,

But I would love to see more of

My face somewhere.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Poem: Enough

Dear conservative media,

I understand you guys get a bad rap at times,

But this time,

You went too far.

Tired of hearing from angry minorities?

Then you shouldn’t be hurting our own.

You’re the reason why kids like me felt

The obligation of choosing one facet of myself

Over another.

A game of Connect Four on the concept of

Race if you will.

“Which color goes through which slot?”

When did you choose Shaun King

As your new target?

Apparently your outlets are knowledgeable enough

To talk about people of color well.

Apparently you’re validated in comparing

Shaun King to Rachel Dolezal.

Weren’t you just defending her last week?

You’re part of the reason why mixed people

Don’t feel welcome to the table to stand up

For black lives.

You’re the whole reason why the One Drop Rule

Is still a thing.

A rule ingrained in unwritten social textbooks that

People forget need to be closed.

Shaun King’s voice is needed in this movement

You try so hard to be rid of.

He can speak on why majority and minority

Must collaborate in order to live in the free world

You attempt to call “post racial.”

Conservative media,

What the heck is “post racial”?

In terms of Team Color Blind,

Just because you see no evil,

It doesn’t mean there is no evil.

It regurgitates the need to compartmentalize

Our identity by saying we’re not enough.

Black enough, White enough,

Mixed enough, This enough,

Enough is enough, dear outlets.

Enough!

Dear Shaun King,

Your blog on growing mixed

Moved me to tears.

And you’re amazing for fighting against

Police brutality after false accusations

Tell you not to.

Thank you for pushing people like me to join

The conversation.

Thank you for not excluding anyone from this

Great roundtable of knights people only hear about

In fairytales.

Social justice can soon no longer be a fairytale.

So, dear conservative media…

Nice try.

Season 1 Review: Sense8

My mother told me to watch Sense8 on Netflix, because it reminded her of the show Heroes and how that was our family show when it was still on. I heard it will be returning to television soon.  Yes! However, in the mean time, I decided to give Sense8 a shot.

Sense8 is about eight people (Will, Kala, Capheus, Sun, Nomi, Riley, Wolfgang, and Lito) around the world referred to as sensates, who belong in a cluster, and their cluster can feel the emotions and surroundings their fellow sensates feel. However, there is an organization out there to destroy and lobotomize them and other sensates.

It definitely exceeded my expectations, which is a great thing. I like how there will always be a philosophical element in The Wachowskis’ work. I also appreciate how diverse and well rounded the characters are.

One critique, or what my mother preferred to call a “suggestion,” was the angle used in the first episode during Will Gorski’s segment as a cop. They talked about “us” verses “them” regarding the police verses gangs, which eventually turned into a scene where Will became a white savior for a black teen in a gang. And for a show trying to be diverse and be controversial in talking about society and politics, it was a missed opportunity to realistically talk about racial tension and police brutality. If a second season is confirmed, it would be great to flesh that out some more in Will Gorski’s story as a police officer. They tried to make up for it in a later episode for how Will always feels the need to save everyone, but that area of the first episode still could have been executed better.

Moreover, I wouldn’t call their cast a form of cosmetic diversity, since they do delve into certain global issues and how the characters connect through their senses in order to help one another out. Especially for Nomi, a white trans-woman hacktivist in San Francisco helped by Will in Chicago, and for Capheus, a black driver in Nairobi helped by Sun in Seoul. However, the need to choose a form of beauty standard for each area of the world for casting is a bit noticeable. That doesn’t make the casting horrible, the cast is all wonderful and they got the job done in their respective roles.

I never got bored when watching the sensates interact in their romantic and platonic relationships; their dialogue and actions were always engaging. I understand that Nomi’s relationship with Amanita, who is not in any cluster, and Lito’s relationship with Hernando, also not in any cluster, are fan favorites, and rightfully so. Strong LGBTQIA relationships are always nice to see on television, especially when delving into issues such as abuse and coming out. If there is a second season, I look forward to seeing how Sun’s relationships with people unfold in terms of violence and how Kala’s relationships, particularly with Wolfgang, unfold in her perspective of nonviolence.

Finally, it was shot beautifully, and they shot on location, which is a difficult but amazing plus.

If we’re doing a rating scale, I would give it a four out of five. Hopefully I get watch another season!