I’m tired and I wanna go home

I’m out at a bar with a bunch of medical students celebrating one of their birthdays. Celebrating is a stretch. There are 9 of us sitting around a table outside at a patio bar and I’m blogging. No one has even noticed yet because they are all so busy talking about school and medicine and people they know. I’m trying to be a good wife here but I’m tired. We have no money. I need to be at work tomorrow.

See, it is more than just wanting to sleep. I’m sitting here worrying about how much money we’re spending on drinks and cheese fries. We don’t have enough to make rent. It’s due in less than a week. How am I supposed to sit here and act like I’m having a good time when I know I need to be at work at 8am tomorrow.

I’m supporting my family right now. I’m supporting my husband through medical school, but I only get paid by the hour. If I’m not working we aren’t making money. I’m barely making our bills now. I can’t sit here and enjoy myself. These aren’t my friends, they’re his. These aren’t my stories, they’re theirs. I just want to go home so I can wake up early enough to work an 8 hour day tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.

Am I wrong?

On being a brown American

I just got back from lunch with a dear friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year because I live in the city and she lives in a rural town about 6 hours away. I was excited to catch up and see where she was on her medical school applications when she told me she basically has to wait another year to apply because of one man human male.

Typically when you ask for a reccomendation letter for a professional or graduate program you have to write it yourself. You write it, they review and change it, then they sign it and send it. This was not the case with this recommender, he offered to write the letter himself which he did, unfortunately. It wasn’t until she was sitting across from a member of an admissions committee at a school she was interviewing at when they opened her folder and she saw the letter. He had written two paragraphs explicitly stating that he did not recommend her and why.

Initially she was shocked to find out that someone she had worked so closely with her and been such a positive mentor would do something like that. I know everyone doesn’t have to ask for recommendation letters but typically you get one of two answers: of course I would be delighted to, or I don’t think I am the right person to write that letter. The first is a yes, the second is a very nice way of saying no. I have never heard of someone agreeing to write a letter and then explicitly not recommending the applicant. Why go through the trouble? Why not just tell her; are you deliberately trying to keep her out of medical school?

Of course she was puzzled too so she started asking around. She discovered he has done this to several other “brown” (Indian) students in the past. He even refuses to recommend certain students until they complete multiple masters degrees, coincidentally none of those students are white. Luckily she found out and can make sure that letter doesn’t go to other schools but more importantly, is this institutionalized racism?

“Is this what institutional racism looks like?”

He is a member of an institution (a university) and it seems he does make a practice of this. For this one man it seems he is deliberately treating students differently because of their skin color, but is he just a bad egg or is this part of a larger trend in the academic system? I told her to talk to a lawyer because it isn’t fair to the next kid that he does it to. She has connected with multiple other victims of this man’s deliberate hatred and has seen the pattern. I hope they are able to come forward and expose him for who he is?

Has anyone else in Academia experienced a similar trend recently?

Gun Control Please; if you Think You can Handle it

Today a room of six year olds was shot up as they were getting ready to start their school day. At least one child is dead and 11 more (at time of publication) have been hospitalized.

Your thoughts and prayers are neither required nor desired.

However, if you would like to take action so that Im not writing this same piece next week, how many more shootings until we talk about control.

Few things you might want to know as an American:

  • There is a federal loophole that allows the sale of guns online or at gun shows without the necessity of a federal background check.
  • Mental health care is not uniformly covered in America, meaning the most vulnerable are the least likely to have access to services.
  • Walmart is the highest retailer of ammunition for private citizens in America.

Few things I have noticed:

  • Guns kill people at a higher rate than any other weapon (including bombs).
  • Guns kill people quicker than other tactical weapons.
  • That stupid saying “Guns don’t kill people, people do” is as asinine as saying pens don’t misspell words.

Now that we’ve a firm grasp of the obvious I would like to pose a question?

What do you, a private citizen, really need an automatic assault rifle for?

Any gun that can fire more than 50 rounds without reloading was engineered to mow down human beings. Let us set aside our differences in war time strategies, domestically, there is no need for you to have an assault rifle. “Because I want one,” is not a reason. You need to eat. I need to stay alive. You want a ridiculous gun. I need to stay alive.

So someone please tell me why we sell these to everyone in the country? I’ll wait.

No one reads this anyway

It’s true. I have no voice, no platform, nothing to say. Nothing that hasn’t already been said in some other, more sophisticated way. I do have some feelings though, and since no one is reading this anyway why not write them down. 

I went to my cousin’s wedding tonight. It was gorgeous but something was missing, rather someone. In January my cousin’s sister, who was closer to my age, and was always my partner in crime, passed away. 

It was an accidental overdose. Heroin. I didn’t even know she was using. The batch was laced with Ketamine. She didn’t know. 

She was a pageant queen who loved the stage. She sang, danced, and performed in every show she could. We used to sing together. I had the better voice but she had a better family. We were mutually jealous of each other and also best of friends. Of course, that was when we were kids. I guess we all changed growing up. 

We had to leave the wedding early. There was a picture of her by the front door and suddenly I could feel the loss all over again. I felt like I was looking over my shoulder waiting for her to arrive, like I shouldn’t be there without her. 

Her dad can’t stand to see me. Especially not with my dad there beside me. I remind him of her, of what he lost. I tried to congratulate him and he had to leave the room. It’s hard not to take it personally because I miss her too. I know he doesn’t hate me. He just can’t stand what I represent: what he’ll never have again, his daughter. 

What the Hell is going on in North Dakota?!

Let me catch you up to speed:

DAPL = Dakota Access Pipeline: Dapl is currently under construction in North Dakota. The current proposed pipeline would transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois and would run under the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Water protectors = peaceful protestors of the pipeline. Most are members of the Sioux tribe that will be most affected by the construction of the pipeline and the inevitable oil leaks and spills the pipeline will cause.

The week of Thanksgiving, ironic enough, a group of 300 water protectors (all unarmed) were gathered in prayer on a bridge (considered the front line). A group of militarized local police and hired militia open fired tear gas, concussion grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons at these protectors trapped on a bridge.  (*The UN has condemned the use of tear gas except for use in crowd control.) This assault took place in 26F temperatures under the cover of nightfall, after all of the media had gone home for the day.  One protector was hit in the arm with a concussion grenade and will most likely lose her arm; another, a medic, was shot in the face with a tear gas canister that shredded her retina.  She will most likely lose sight in her right eye.

It does not escape me that the two seriously injured protectors are women.  It also does not escape me that these women were fired upon and wounded by THEIR government, the very force that is tasked with protecting them but has failed time and time again.  The men who wounded them are denying any wrongdoing on their part.

When will this country begin to value women and children over oil and profit? When will this government stop persecuting Native Americans? When will the president stop pardoning Turkeys and do somethin to protect American citizens? If history is any indication, probably never.

Are you mad yet? You should be. Go to http://www.dapllies.com to learn more about this project, read NPR for accurate coverage and follow the live streams of Kevin Gilbert on Facebook and donate whatever you can to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (wish list link below.)

Native lives matter. Please Stand with Standing Rock this holiday season.

(Check out the Standing Rock tribe’s amazon wish list at https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/18FR1AGDPWZLC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_9qRnybRQHT9F1)

*Image courtesy of Huffington Post*


The Hillary Pivot

This blog was originally intended to critique second-wave feminist literature, but that was when Hillary Clinton was still running for president.  That was back when we, as women, assumed we were finally moving forward toward equality.  That was back when we had time to study what we found interesting. No more.

But then on November 9th at 3:00 am my time, Donald Trump was declared the winner of this contentious campaign and became the next President of the United States.  (The significance of this news breaking at the Witching Hour is not lost on me.) Immediately we saw a surge in hate crimes targeted against African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Women, and LGBTQ individuals and families. This is unacceptable.  These monsters have their platform, and I have mine.

So this blog will have to make a Hillary Pivot.  Unfortunately, this country is not yet ready for postmodern feminism so we will return back to the basics.  I see no need to review and critique books on feminism when women’s physical safety is now viably threatened.  Please follow and stay tuned for my analysis and critiques of this new country we have been plunged into.

Upcoming articles:

Who is the alt-right and what do they want?

Safety Pins are not enough.

The absurd pageantry that is a Donald Trump Presidency.

Upcoming Reviews

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963)

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (2014)

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie (2014)

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (2015)

Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)

I’m also accepting your suggestions, of course. Please leave them in the comments below.