Topic Tuesdays: Raw & Personal

Why “Find Our Girls” is So Important.

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There are teenage girls, specifically black and latina teenage girls, who are going missing in Washington D.C. These missing reports are linked to the ongoing issue of human and sex trafficking. These girls who go missing are most likely being sold. Human beings are being sold as sex slaves. These young girls who still have so much life to live are being SOLD AS SEX SLAVES.

Why is there little to no media coverage on it?

Why do women get the short end of the stick when they’re in danger? Why does a social media platform such as Twitter help find a girl named Kennedi who has once been kidnapped a few weeks ago in Baltimore, but not when the missing person report is initially made? Why is social media the only place out there right now concerned about these missing girls?

Don’t you guys realized these are daughters of mothers, sisters of sisters, nieces of aunts, friends of friends. These girls are not just objects that aren’t real just because you can’t feel them yourself. What would you want to do if this was someone you knew?

In any given circumstance, a disappearance of a girl never seemed to be important to media unless she was a white girl. Think back at all the famous kidnapping cases you can think of: Elizabeth Smart, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Jaycee Dugard. They are notably all white teenage girls. Why don’t Black & Latina women get the coverage that they deserve?

The reality of it is that “things like this happen all the time to young women”. You know, because we love getting manipulated, raped, kidnapped, killed, and all the other possible things society thinks we love!

You don’t know how real it is until it hits you.

Last night while coming home from school, I got off at my usual bus stop to wait for another bus that takes me straight home. Usually, there are other people waiting for the same bus as me and we all carry on with our lives once the bus arrives. Note: the buses run every 30 minutes, so I’m usually left waiting for 30 minutes for a bus, or I end up getting in on time. Yesterday, the bus was 10 minutes away from the bus stop I was at.

When I got off the bus, I notice this man standing alone by himself at the bus stop. I usually never stand too close to people on bus stop because I respect personal space. Anyway, I stand a good 10 feet away from this man, until I see him turn in my direction, facing me. Usually, when people do that they are trying to ask for directions – so I took my headphones to hear what he had to say. Initially, I couldn’t tell if he knew any English until I heard him actually speak English, but he was slurring his words like crazy. Oh man, he’s drunk, isn’t he? I told myself as I was trying to comprehend what the hell he was trying to say. Once I actually understood what he was trying to say, I gave him the directions and proceeded on my night. Every time he tried talking to me, he got closer to me, asking me the same question over and over in a very particular way; every bus that came by he didn’t go on. He started to talk to me even louder but in a more aggressive tone as I try to mind my own business and pay no mind to him. By the time he was close enough to me so that I was able to smell the alcohol on him, I started to feel my gut telling me to do something.

I was in this constant thought of what I should do next: If I leave to go to another bus stop 5 blocks away I might miss the bus but if I stay here any longer he might get on the bus with me and I don’t want that happening– I honestly didn’t know what to do. I sent Obie an S.O.S text to call me immediately so that at least I have someone on the other end of the conversation. So I’m just trying to have a conversation with him, and this man gets even closer; he’s about a foot away from me now and he’s now looking at me with this certain look. He just kept staring at me with his aggressive, glossy look and talking under his breath, nodding his head at me and now I’m at a loss for words; I’m tensing up and this man can see it. Obie is trying to guide me out of it, and sooner or later, I say to Obie, “Hey, where are you?” Clearly, Obie is confused as fuck, not knowing what’s going on, and I just kept saying “Where are you? I’m about to meet up with you.”  Eventually, he caught on and when I was turning the corner to walk away from the bus stop, I finally told Obie that I got out of there and I was walking to a different bus stop. After what felt like forever, I got home and immediately just started crying.

The fact of the matter is, anything could’ve happened. He could’ve been aggressive to the point he pulled out a knife. He could’ve threatened me. He could’ve followed me when I walked away. Life just happens in unfortunate ways, and things could have gotten worse.

God forbid if I became just another statistic that no one spoke about.

I relate this to what’s happening in D.C. because situations like that aren’t so blatantly out there now, but they still happen all the time to young girls and women. They are in fake job offerings, drive-bys, they are in people who simply need help with directions. And nobody is taking it as seriously as it should be because “things like that happen every single day”.

Yeah, young girls getting kidnapped happen every single day. Young girls getting sexually assaulted happen every single day. Young girls running away or disappear happens every single day. BUT NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. 

Instead, hashtags are being made in order for top notch news platforms notice it and put it in their 10 o’clock news slot. Twitter and Facebook (as bad as social media can be for a person at times), remind everyone each and every day that these girls are still missing and are not backing down to help find them and bring them home. Instead, many women and young girls who’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed still remain silent because they know nobody cares to do them any justice. (Nah, instead people think we cry out “rape!” for the attention and want to humiliate ourselves.) Instead, many young girls and women end up dead within 72 hours because there’s simply no more we can do. Instead, we are put in the back-burner behind Kardashian/Jenner gossip, Donald Trump nonsense, and what new iPhone is coming out next.

There’s just simply no time for the safety of our girls, huh?

If only we mattered more. If only we “knew better.”

-Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (3/18/17)

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I grew up in a neighborhood where people of different races were happily together, and lived on with their lives like normal people because they were normal people. 

My father is a Hispanic man. My mother is a white woman. They came together and had me and my sister; Latina & White. But that seems to be a normality in society. Hispanic people and White people being together aren’t quickly looked at as weird because skin-color wise, they aren’t that far apart. 

My partner is a black man. I am a White Hispanic woman. We get our fair shares of stares whenever we are interacting together in public, especially around “Gentrification Brooklyn”. We’ve both notice the distaste glances that people give us, as if we are living in a world where black and white people can’t be in relationships.

There’s always this stigma that society has on interracial couples that it’s not necessarily “right-looking”. I had a conversation with my partner the other day about this one time we were on the G train together and he started to notice a lot of people staring at us sitting together. Now, I don’t normally notice these things because, you know, I’m too busy being blind, but I can understand why people would stare in the first place.

Interracial Couples

I would like to say that I don’t look and stare at interracial couples, but the truth is that I do. I would look at black men with white women and think “huh, you don’t see this much in public.” I would also look at black woman with white men and think the same thing. It should be a completely normal thing to see in today’s society. It baffles me; we don’t look twice at couples who are close in skin complexion, but why do we do that with interracial couples? The truth of the matter is, we’re somehow programmed to look at the “peculiar” or the unusual. In society, we assume that Asians are suppose to date other Asians, black people are suppose to date other black people, Mexicans are suppose to date other Mexicans and so on. When you see two people who physically look nothing like, people tend to stare (It happens also when a skinny person is dating a fat person; somehow people find that weird as well).

I’ve had people look at me twice and what they’re thinking is written all over their faces: why is she with a black man, *insert stereotype of black men in here*. I see people look at my partner with what they’re thinking all over their faces as well: what is he doing with a white woman, *insert stereotype of white women in here*. It gets annoying to always see at least one person staring at you weirdly and making you feel uncomfortable. I know that after awhile, it once made me think shit, maybe we are weird looking together or maybe I’m not right for him because of the way I look and I can say it happens to the opposite sex as well.

So, how do you prevent it?

Sadly, you can’t stop people from looking at you and you can’t stop people from thinking what they think; there’s no gray in a world where people always assume everything is black and white. While there will be people telling you that you and your partner look “weird together” or they widen their eyes when you introduce your partner to friends and family, there’s really no way to prevent it unless you guys have each other’s back when shit like that happens.

Lemme give you guys an example.

Although I am a Latina, I don’t usually see that side of my family where it’s remotely diverse in races and such. I’m closer to my mother’s side of the family, who in a way are not so diverse. In other words, my mother’s side of the family married within the same ethnicity; Italian (my mother was an exception). Like I said earlier, people don’t necessarily question a couple when their close in skin complexion, and my parents are pretty close in skin color. What my mother’s side of the family doesn’t really have are family members in interracial relationships. Technically, I’d be the first. So my partner and I haven’t met extended family yet because we just aren’t at that stage of things yet (we take things extremely slow). I know when the time comes where my partner is going to have to meet extended family as such, things are going to personally feel really awkward for me, because Italian personalities are just… extra. Without even acknowledging it, there’s a slight chance someone might say something that has racist undertones, and I personally don’t know how I will handle it because we, as a couple, never had to deal with something like that. What I do know, though, is that I’m going to stick up for my partner if something like that were to happen, because people love to fuck things up and watch it fall. 

The reality and truth of it all is that if people see gaps and spaces in something, they will try to poke in it and see how far they can intrude before it ultimately breaks. People will say white men and white women “could do better than dating a black man/woman” due to whatever nonsense they believe about black people. People will also say that black men and black women “should avoid dating outside their race because white people are ruining black men/women”. Whatever the nonsense may be, as an interracial couple you have to have your shit put together and stick together so well, that the people you interact with wouldn’t dare try to ruin things.

And it’s extremely important to be put together in today’s America.

In a world where racism rises more and more each day like it’s the fucking 1950’s all over again, you and your partner need to be there for each other. I am extremely protective of my partner in a sense where if someone tries to say some racist shit or spit out a stereotypical statement, I’m coming for you. Black people, specifically black men, have such a stigma forever stamped on their backs for being “thugs” or “troublemakers” that people will try to throw in your face to “look out for you” when really they’re just undeniably racist.

I once had a white friend tell me once that my partner wasn’t right for me for “reasons” after expressing my partner numerous time to this person. This friend didn’t need to say anything more when they automatically assumed something about my partner because of his skin color. Some people are just close-minded as fuck. 

Interracial couples are just always going to be that thing in the list of “peculiar things” because of the stigma that people believe about it. The only thing people will praise about it is the “biracial babies that look exotic and beautiful”. Girl, if you don’t go somewhere with that mess…

But I digress.

Interracial dating is a beautiful thing, and I can speak through experience. You begin to try new things and explore new places. I can definitely say that my partner has showed me a lot of music and genres of it that I didn’t know prior to him, and I think I can say the same thing for him. For other couples, it could be new exploration in culture, tradition, food, manners, religion – pretty much anything. Combining people of different backgrounds is always a great thing to experience, so why not do it with the person you love?

I know I am. ♥

-Liz (: