Friday, June 19, 2015

Christians, Charleston, White People, & Racism: Let's Be Real

Two posts in one week?! I know, it's unbelievable, but I think that it is very necessary for me to speak my mind on this particular issue. 
So as many of you have heard, there was a shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina a couple nights ago. A white man walked into this historically black church and killed 9 people. 

I am speaking about this not just because it brings up a very important thing about race issues in America, but since it happened in a church, I will comment on this from a Christian standpoint as well. 

First of all, this attack should be a clear indicator that we are not in a post-racial society. 
I have heard many people, both white & non-white, say this, but if we were in a "post-racial" society, this definitely would not have happened. 

Second of all, this man was not mentally ill. 

There tends to be a pattern that when a white man kills people in terrorist acts like this, he is automatically considered "mentally ill," yet when any other person commits the same act they are considered terrorists & thugs. Saying someone is mentally ill suggests that they didn't have the capacity to do something so horrible on their own, so there has to be something else making them do what they did. 

That is a false way of thinking because then it allows specifically white men in this case to get away with actions they fully intended on doing by just calling them "sick." They'll get a little back rub & they'll be off on their way, while other people will get the death penalty, no question about it. 
Third, I want to know where you stand on this. And if anything, will you stand? 

I go to a Christian university, and I have heard white people make microaggressive comments to people of color and get so offended when people tell their stories of how white people were racist to them and say that they're good people and aren't like those people. They don't even take the time to think about how that person may be more hurt and how they may need to help them. That's like a child crying cause they were kicked and telling them to shut up, that you're not the person who kicked them and just walked away. 

And it's not just white people. There have definitely been people of color who may not relate to the same racist experiences & tell people like this to "get over it." 

But the thing is, when you tell someone to just "get over it," you're not helping anyone. You are invalidating their experiences and telling that person that what they have been through doesn't matter enough to be listened to or understood. 

So what if you're not like those other white people? Good. But getting angry and not listening to that person's story isn't going to make you any better either. Just let that person know that you are there for them and that you want to help change that experience, or basically do anything to comfort them in the best way you can. 

And so what if you are a minority who has never experienced (or noticed) racism of any kind? Telling that person of color to "get over it" isn't going to make anything better either. If someone got stabbed, you wouldn't tell that person to just get over it. As a person of color, it is important to then acknowledge that while you may not share those experiences that person, what they went through is unfortunate but important that they share so that others can either recognize offensive comments/actions or make sure not to commit the same ones themselves. 

So what about the Christians? 

As you know, I go to a Christian university. However, I grew up going to secular, public schools. 
I will be honest with you & say that some of the most racist things I have ever heard have come from Christians, or people who say they are Christians. 

Now I talk about this because the crime happened in a church, but also because I'm waiting for white Christians to talk about it. 

Any white people on my Facebook timeline that have said anything about this issue either are not Christian or they left the race aspect out of it. 

It's funny because Christians are supposed to be the most compassionate and loving people out there, yet I have seen & heard Christians make some pretty rude & insensitive remarks in regards to race. I've heard white Christians say things about how proud they were that justice was served at Ferguson last summer in front of everyone, including their black friends on Facebook. I've heard white Christians say that black people were taking over my school because they were loud. I've heard white Christians say that black people go to bad schools & live "bad" lives because that's their fault, right after the professor said that many people born into those poorer lifestyles can't get out of them. 

I am neither black nor white, but I have been on the receiving end of some microaggressive comments & have witnessed things in regards to race not just between whites & non-whites, but between different races of color as well. 

I know that I have probably babbled a lot, but I'm looking for people of all races to stand by our black brothers & sisters in this time of mourning as they once again experience loss just because of their skin color. 

I'm also looking for the Christians to stand up and love the people who have been affected and hurt by this massacre. I would even say to just sympathize with those who have experienced racist comments/actions against them. God created us all differently for a reason. Jesus also loved the oppressed and rejected by society the most, and we should all be doing the same. 

But even more so than all of this, I'm looking for the white Christians to speak up. You have privilege just because your skin is lighter than mine. You also represent Jesus Christ. If anything, I think you have the greatest responsibility in this whole conversation to show love and stand in solidarity with your brothers & sisters of color. Even if you have never tried to offend anyone in regards to race, it doesn't mean that you have no part in it. You saying nothing is like being witness to a crime but hiding so you don't have to testify. 

Our country is so hurt and we need some more love. As people of color, we need to stand in solidarity with the black community as they mourn the losses of their own. As Christians we need to be the first to show love, and not be the first to shut it out. And as white people, there has to be more compassion and empathy. We were not made to stay in our comfort zones, so get out of it and speak out.

 What are you going to do about it? 
Chau for now

My Life // Transitions // Sorry Not Sorry

Wow, hello there! 
To all of you reading this, I salute you! My life has been pretty crazy & while I am sorry for not posting about all the great things I have to share with you, at the same time I'm not sorry because I'm also just trying to live my life. 
Much of the reason that I haven't been on here too often is because of work. For those of you living on your own, then you know that the hustle is real because bills and rent. I've been working two jobs about 30 hours a week total on top of doing other gigs to help compensate for missing pieces in my expenses. 

Another reason I've been MIA, which I've been talking about for a while now, is Darell leaving for Australia in less than 3 weeks. I've been trying to enjoy every moment I can with him before he leaves, but he's also bugging me to get back to blogging so he's going to be helping me get back on track with that haha. 

Now I write all of this to apologize for not being consistent over the past few months because I have/had so many great posts planned but life has been getting in the way. 

However, having said all that, I'm not sorry at the same time for not posting because life has been getting in the way. 

I mean, not that I haven't been living my life before, but I've been enjoying the things I've been getting the chance to do, even work. I still post bloggy-related things on Instagram, Twitter, and occasionally Facebook when I get the chance, so I'm not completely off the grid in the blog/social media world. 

If anything, I'm more connected to it because of the current job I have. I won't talk too much about it for right now because the last time I did I got screwed over & I'll leave things at that. But once things settle a bit in this job/internship I'll talk a little bit more about it because I'm using the skills I've learned as a blogger & applying it to this job. Once I'm a little more settled in this job I'll talk about what I've learned from being on both ends--as a blogger & as the brand reaching out to bloggers. 

But enough of that for now. I'll be back, eventually. I'll be back to my usual 3 post a week schedule, but until then, I'm gonna live my life, whether that's enjoying the good things or having the private time to deal with the bad. If you are a blogger & in the same boat as me or feeling the same pressures as me to write, you are not alone. & if you do it, like a good blogger friend told me, screw what everyone else thinks. Your true fans will stay committed to you & support you every step of the way. 

Chau for now

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

An Open Letter to My Soon-to-Be Long Distance Boyfriend on Our 5 Year Anniversary

June 5, 2015

Dear Darell, 

As I am sitting here at Starbucks trying to figure out what to write for today's post, I am wondering what I haven't talked about already. I have written about you being a gamer, I have written about growing up with you, and I have written our love story & how we came to be. 

I was about to just write a post on more things I've learned in our relationship but with you leaving for Australia in a month, I wanted to do what I do best, and that was to be raw and honest with you. 

I could have just written this out as a personal letter and given it to you on our date you have planned for us later today but I think posting it on a public forum solidifies and enhances all the emotions I'm pouring into this post. I think there is something beautiful and amazing to write all of your deepest and sincerest emotions to privately tell your significant other, but I also think there is something very genuine and brave about announcing it for anyone to see. 

Honestly, I still can't believe we have been dating for 5 years. That is half of a decade, and like you said, "a quarter of [my] life." Haha. 

The past few days of helping you clean out your room and going through mementos from earlier parts of our relationship have been really sweet but also pretty hard for me. You already saw me shed a few tears, and honey, I don't think they're going to go away any time soon. 

Being with you has taught me the most about what it truly means to love someone and what it really means to sacrifice. Our relationship was never typical with the situations we have been in through our old church, our families, and the people around us, but we somehow got here today. 

I will be honest, there have definitely been times that I have prayed and asked God to close the door to our relationship if it was not pleasing to Him anymore. However, I will never for a second doubt God's hand of protection and grace upon us after everything we've been through with Him dealing with the aftermath of everything. 

Lately, especially in the past year, you & I have been going through some growing pains. It has been so tough for me but I see the growth and improvement in our relationship. We interact in a much healthier way and communicate in a much clearer way as well, which I love so much. 

And now you are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and fly to live on the other side of the world for a year. I've seen long distance couples fail, but I have also seen long distance couples thrive (in both of our families too), so it's a scary place to be, especially for me. 

I'm very screwed up in many ways and as a result am terrified out of my mind for what is to come in the next year. I won't be seeing you for months, potentially a whole year, and I don't know what to do or think about that. One thing that I love about you, however, is your optimism to balance out my worries. We compliment each other so well in that way. 

As June comes and goes, I already know that this month is going to be very emotional but so full of love as you do your final prep before Australia. I will be spending this month emotionally preparing myself as much as I can but I will be crying a lot too. 

This next year will be the ultimate test of everything we have been through in the past 5 years. Being 17 hours apart and growing up in so many ways without the other being physically there to be there for it all is gonna be a challenge but it is definitely doable. I will be turning 21, graduating from college, (hopefully) getting my first big girl job among other things. You will be living on your own for the first time in your life in a country you are not familiar with, and you will be in school as well doing what you love. 

In the grand scheme of things, a year isn't so bad. We have 5 years under our belt and the best part is that with a year it is pretty easy to see an end to the distance. Skype, Facebook, and iMessage are going to be our best friends. It's just the day to day that will be difficult. But I don't know, there are little things that you have been doing lately that give me hope for us. 

So as I finally finish this letter a few days after our anniversary and getting to spend tons of quality time with you over the past few days, all I have left to say is that I love you. As we start on our sixth year, I have no idea what is going to come, but I wouldn't do this with anyone else but you. I pray that whatever happens, that you & I will be taken care of in the end. 

I love you. 
Chau for now