I was called a racist today


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I liked a video tutorial  (see photo above and click link here for the tut ) https://www.instagram.com/p/BC0lfAPvcZC/
which resulted in a dialogue with another Instagram user. It ended by her calling me a racist if I adopted this look.  You can see it all in the comments if you go to the post (if they are not deleted by now).

I have always loved and admired super curly hair ever since I laid eyes on Diana Ross as a kid. (I actually have been collecting some pics of Diana Ross and there’s a post coming soon about her.)

I am white and my hair is naturally straight. I mean SUPER straight. I don’t have to flat iron it to achieve that look. It doesn’t even have the slightest hint of a wave. No body to it, flat-against-my-head straight.  Not even a cowlick. I don’t hate it. It has its advantages too. I love that is is super soft and silky.  I love that it rarely frizzes. I love that,  when I have the right cut,  I barely have to do anything to it at all besides wash and towel dry. But what is the fun of having hair that we can’t experiment or play with? :)

So I love curly hair. The bigger the better! I have never in my life made fun of someone with curly hair. I have never in my life thought that people of color should straighten their hair to look white. I am not prejudiced. However,  it was posed to me that,  even if I don’t know what I am contributing to,  I would be oppressing people of color if I gave myself tight curls. Also, that I simply can’t understand the issue because I have white privilege and it doesn’t affect me. Honestly,  I felt like I was the one being judged and stereotyped. It was also just sad to me. It deeply saddens me that someone is so one sided that she would assume all white people are out to disrespect her black heritage. I understand that there was a time when people of color were ridiculed for their looks. I also understand how people of color may think it is hypocritical then for white people to adopt those same looks. However, keep in mind these are NOT the same people. Times have changed and I am not the one mocking the looks of anyone. No one likes to be lumped into a category. It is still called stereotyping, “whether you realize you’re doing it or not. ”

It has been my understanding that cultural appropriation means to take something (dress, religious symbol,  etc)  from a person belonging to a minority culture that is of value or has significance to that culture and exploit it or claim it as one’s own or mock it.

When it comes to something such as black face,  I get it. Clearly there is something to be offended about there. But when it comes to curled hair?  Come on.  Every culture gets inspired from other cultures when it comes to art, food and fashion.  What would life be without it?

I wouldn’t wear a bindi because I understand it has a specific meaning in Hindu cultures. I wouldn’t wear an Indian headdress because I understand there is significance in Native American culture. For them it is not a fashion statement. But curly hair?  I still don’t get it. Curly hair spans across too many cultures.

Does this mean I cannot wear my hair curly anymore without being referred to as a racist?  THAT,  to me,  is offensive. That person doesn’t even know me but would judge me by my hairstyle?  How would she even know those aren’t natural curls if she saw me on the street?  I have seen white people with naturally tight curly hair. How would she know who I am as a person or what my thoughts are regarding other cultures or races? I do understand that part of the oppression was being made fun of for having hair that was different than the traditional “white” hair. But maybe this means times are changing. Why is there a negative connotation to it still? I feel confident in saying that I seriously doubt anyone going through this much trouble to give themselves hair like this will be making fun of people of color who have that same type of hair.

I curled my hair yesterday. Well,  I also drank French Roast coffee,  and ate a Jewish bagel.   So what?

What if I really like an armful of bangles and heavy black liner? Does that mean I am disrespecting Indian culture? I am not referring to the whole dress and look (though it is drop dead gorgeous in my opinion and I have a whole post just on beautiful Indian brides). I do happen to have quite a few dangling Indian inspired earrings that I adore, wear layered bangles and rock heavy black liner at times. I am not ashamed of it either. I’ve received some nice compliments from some of the female Indian physicians and nurses with whom I’ve worked. They didn’t seem offended at all.

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I think the term cultural assimilation has been taken way out of context. 

This person said to me that even though I may not be blatantly racist,  I am STILL a racist. She also said “when will white people f-ing stop? ”

Aren’t comments like those contributing to the division of races? 

I know it is a touchy subject. I realize that there are many years of deep hurt for the oppression that people of color had to endure. I know there is still racism today. I am in no way condoning or making light of racism in any form.   However,  sometimes fashion is just fashion. 

I love fashion from many different cultures. 

Would it be racist if I wore this? (Holy crap,  if my butt looked this good in it I would never take it off!)

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(Aztec printed maxi)

Or what about this?

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(Mexican style dress)

Seriously, where is the line drawn? 

A suggestion was posed on a different blog that one should ask oneself,   “Would anyone be offended if I wear this?” before putting something on.  Well,  I suppose every day the answer would have to be yes,  if people are offended this easily. 

Are people who collect items from other cultures on their travels racist?

I have a bunch of Native American jewelry from when I lived in Arizona.  The Native American Indians were selling it themselves.  (I, personally, love Hopi jewlery in particular) There are also roadside stands that sell mocassins and a lot of other traditional Native American apparel. I loved the road side stands where I could speak to the artists themselves and get a bit of history and learn about their culture. To me,  that is where the barriers are broken. It was truly beautiful to see some of the Indians working at their art and upholding part of their tradition and culture right there while selling it. They were proud of their workmanship and culture and readily wanted to share it. No one called me any names for enjoying it either. I do not condone anyone taking away the rights and privileges of another. I do not agree with what happened to Native Americans but I didn’t do it. I respect and admire the Native American culture and want to support it.

In writing this I am also remembering a time when there was an African American man, in traditional African attire, selling these necklaces made out of leather that had a large leather pendant which was a painted cut out of the Africa continent. Our son was young at the time and had no idea it was Africa but he wanted one (probably because it was brightly colored) so we got it for him and took the opportunity to educate him on Africa. He wore that necklace all over the place for the longest time.

I also love the bold and beautiful colors of African dress. The patterns are beautiful.
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Loving the color, pattern and cut of these dresses.

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Traditional dashiki print kaftkan
http://www.jesselynch.com/7fe6da-african-women-traditional-dresses-dress-discount

I think we should not assume someone is a racist by the fashions they wear unless it clearly mocks a part of one’s heritage that has a specific and deep meaning (such as the bindi or headdress example).

Perhaps the question posed should be “Why am I offended so easily by another person’s choice of hairstyle? ”

I personally don’t care what you wear,  what your hair looks like or if you straighten or curl it. It matters more to me how you treat people and what your intentions are. And, for the record, I haven’t done the chopstick curling method because, quite frankly, I am afraid my arm would fall off after holding it up to curl my hair for like 12 hours! When I was 14 I did get a short haircut and a perm that resulted in a very unfortunate Shirley Temple look though. I blame that on my mom who wanted to save money so took me to the one and only beauty school in our small town. Ah memories.

Feel free to comment for the purposes of educaction and enlightenment. Hate will not be tolerated here. However,  I am very open to learning something new about cultural assimilation that I may be overlooking. I am open to learning more about black hair and it’s cultural significance as well. The person I engaged with clearly did not have the capacity to get past name calling so I did not continue the conversation.

As always,  thanks for reading my blog!

Love and Light,
FeeFee

PS I am revamping my blog so please forgive the blank pages. I will be blogging more and updating lots of things so stay tuned! :)

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Peacock Feathers for Margaret


This is Margaret.  Margaret is one of my hospice patients.

Margaret loves to chat about her past life as an “desert rat.”  She talks about how her dad would collect snakes to sell.  A rattle snake was worth 20 dollars.  She talked about a dress she made that she was very proud of and said her mother was the best in the world.  Margaret has multiple middle names.  One of her names means “sewer.”  She has dementia so carrying on a conversation can be interesting but she does love visitors and socializing.  She also loves to listen to the radio.  One day I started singing a nursery rhyme and she happily joined right in.  It was a wonderful discovery that I could say/sing something she could relate to or remember.  Margaret said she couldn’t go to school but her friend brought her books back from school and lent them to her.  She loved books and dreamed of being a librarian.  She’s blind now so I read her “Daily Bread” to her that is delivered from her church.  She really enjoys it.  She likes to hold things so I bought her a teddy bear from Goodwill.  It’s very soft so it won’t hurt her extremely fragile skin.  She can’t get out of bed anymore but she’s near a window.  There’s peacocks out that window and they make a noise when they hear her singing.  We think they think she’s a peacock.  If you heard her singing you’d understand!  :)  She has a vase full of peacock feathers next to her bed.  I have some now too from the owner of the group home where she lives.  They are on my mantel and they remind me of Margaret.

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This is a little bit of what it’s like to be a hospice nurse.  I don’t know why I’ve been so blessed to be a part of my patient’s lives.  I appreciate it though.  I hope  that if you ever have a chance to sit with someone who is in their final stages that you do.  The moments that you share are truly priceless.  Life gets stripped down to the important things at this stage.  Material things don’t matter anymore.  You see beauty in the every day things.  You appreciate what you’ve been given and every day you wake up is a blessing to cherish.  You connect with loved ones.  You give love and receive love in a way that is truly magical.  When my patients grab my hand and tell me they love me I believe it.  I know they do- I can feel it.

Hugs, FeeFee

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

~Mary Jean Iron

Week 3 - Favorite Things (7)

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kids (puddles,cute boots,love,life,laugh,fun,summer,kids,girls)

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Watching TV with bestie - Imgur

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Don’t Give Up


Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

Oh my goodness I love this song.  I could listen to it over and over.  Kate Bush’s voice is soothing and comforting.  Her words of hope are so sweet.

Interestingly, this song was written as the British coal miners strike entered its second year. It describes the utter destruction of the mining industry by Thatcher, the desolate impact on once macho workers and the increasing importance of the women who managed by hook or by crook to keep families and whole communities ticking over.

 

It can certainly have all sorts of meanings since it is a general message of hope in a time of despair.

 

“in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail”

 

Today is not like the Great Depression of the 1930s, but it is a depression. It is a depression in employment, in our economy and in our lives.  It is definitely depressing for the person who can’t find a job, a means to support their family.

 

 

 

 

“no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose”

statues of unemployed men standing in a unemployment line during the Great Depression at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Too many people closed their doors for the last time.  They closed their door to their dream, their livelihood.

“though I saw it all around
never thought I could be affected
thought that we’d be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn”

“moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs”

‘got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river’s flowing
that river’s flowing”

If you are unemployed right now, or just feeling like things aren’t going your way, have hope.  Things can’t be bad forever.  You’re luck is gonna change.  I’ve been there myself at times in my life.  We all have.  I’ve been laid off at one time.  I was laid off during a nursing hiring freeze here in Arizona.  It was awful.  I felt hopeless.  I didn’t want to let anyone know how rough it really got.  Even being laid off for 4 months almost devastated us.  We could have lost our home if it had gone on much longer.  And I felt like that would have been my fault.  Even with a supportive husband, friends and family it was tough. It’s hard to put on a smiling face and get motivated to do a job search when you’re feeling so low.  I understand.  It’s not going to last forever though. I have more work than I want now and those days are just a memory.  Things are gonna change for you too.

“For a day, just for one day,
Talk about that which disturbs no one
And bring some peace into your
Beautiful eyes.”
― حافظThe Subject Tonight Is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

Take comfort in Kate Bush’s words from this song:

don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet
don’t give up I know you can make it good

don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up
we don’t need much of anything
don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place where we belong

rest your head

you worry too much
it’s going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don’t give up
please don’t give up

don’t give up
’cause you have friends
don’t give up
you’re not the only one
don’t give up
no reason to be ashamed
don’t give up
you still have us
don’t give up now
we’re proud of who you are
don’t give up
you know it’s never been easy
don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
there’s a place where we belong

comforting hug in grief

“Every day, a new opportunity to decide where your next step will go is given to you. Your future will be determined by the accumulation of these daily decisions. You control your steps and therefore your destiny, so choose wisely.”

~Kevin Ngo~

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The library


 

I love libraries.  I can spend hours and hours there and feel like no time has passed at all.  I love the smell of the books; the older the better, the cozy chairs in quiet corners, people whispering.  I love knowing that I have the world at my fingertips in books.  I can go anywhere in the world, learn anything I want, feel anything I want to feel by picking up the right books.  I love that I can do all of this for free- anytime I want.  One of the simple pleasures of the world I truly enjoy.  I especially enjoy going with my hubby.  We can both pick out our own books and just sit there together experiencing something together but separately without having to say a word.  There’s no place like it.

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