On the bright side, I got a new job!

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Last Thursday, I went on an interview for a company named Sitel to ensure my luck on the employment sector of my life. Fortunately, I got the job, signed some documents, and was told to go to a local clinic to perform background check and drug testing, which I did. The job requires me to work in a call center on an Alight campaign. I will be calling customers to help them attain medical insurance. The pay rate is $10 per hour and there is a 401k plan, dental and health insurance along with paid leave and holidays. Fortunately, I feel that I have made the right decision to work and do what I think is best to make it financially and progress up the socio-economic ladder.

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Supporting other Black female Metal heads

Recently, I came across a YouTube channel, that I was subscribed to prior to deleting my old YouTube channel. This channel’s name is called the Curvy Metal Head show. Before I deleted my old YouTube channel, I watched a few of her videos about the genre and her interests. What really struck me as interesting was how she discussed the fact that people expect her to like and do certain things because she is Black and female. And how the Metal Community can be quite exclusive to women, minorities and those that don’t fit the mold of what a Metal head should be. Her discussions also ranged about cultural topics such as the natural hair movement, controversy surrounding Black women dating and marrying interracially and how BET Awards doesn’t have a Rock and Metal category in their categories of music. Hearing her perspective about all of these issues makes me very interested in meeting more women like myself, who happen to like this kind of music.

 

 

How ending DACA impacts immigrants and their families?

Currently, Donald Trump and his administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. The program was intended for children of illegal immigrants to be granted citizenship and curve deportation. Now, that the program has ended, there is a debate on both sides of the aisle over whether or not it is beneficial to the American people to end such legislation. Thus the implication that such legislation is better off not being in place could hold consequences to Americans for the foreseeable future.

The images of protestors with differing signs and viewpoints signify the growing divide in American society over immigration. One side is for keeping the DACA intact as a legislation(the first image of protestors) while the other side would prefer the DACA to end(second image). The people that are for defending the DACA are immigrants or children of immigrants that benefitted from the program being in place. Many of these people argue that deporting children of illegal immigrants will break up the families of such people. On the other hand, there are components of Donald Trump’s ending DACA due to their stance on illegal immigration. Many Americans feel that illegal immigration has led to increased incidents of crime, loss of jobs and resources and lack of in classrooms for children. Often times, such individuals tend to be blue collar workers who were affected by trade deals that shipped jobs overseas and some of these same jobs use undocumented labor for profit. Or unskilled workers that lose their jobs to illegal immigrants. It isn’t saying to say that such resentment and frustration is entirely the fault of illegal immigrants crossing borders and entering the country but it does play a role in people’ championing Trump ending the DACA program.

 

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Personally, I believe that the ending of the DACA program signifies the destruction of former president Obama’s legacy and keeping out several groups of people from immigrating to the country. I understand how letting illegal immigrants in the country has been detrimental to Americans but ending DACA isn’t about protecting our borders from illegal immigrants. Donald Trump’s ending the program is merely him keeping his promise to his base about keeping illegal immigrants out of the country. He also promised that he will make sure that all of Obama era level legislation and program is dismantled to make sure that his legacy is erased from the country’s history. But I also believe that there is more than meets the eye about the debacle than just not allowing illegal immigrants in the country.

First of all, I am quite sympathetic to the plight of immigrants. My mother came here from Jamaica at six years old in the early 1970s and built a life for herself here. So did some of her relatives that came here. My father came here from Jamaica at twenty years old in the early 1980s. And other family members followed. So I have seen firsthand the struggles immigrants that come to America have with assimilating into American life. However, my major problem with the growing xenophobia against immigrants is due to the fact that not every immigrant is an illegal that crosses the border and takes welfare benefits. I also believe that such stereotypes about illegal immigrants are targeted towards certain groups such as Mexicans. When Donald Trump first started his campaign, he stated a controversial remark about Mexicans being ”rapists” who ”bring crime” and that ”some maybe good people”. Though the majority of illegal immigrants tend to be Mexicans, Donald Trump appealed to the xenophobic segment of White Americans in order to end programs like DACA and pass anti immigration legislation.

 

 

Second of all, much of the ending of the DACA program is about dismantling former president Obama’s policies and legacy. Donald Trump promised his political base that he will undo all of Obama’s legislations. He has done a great job of keeping his promises so far. Trump has tried his hardest to repeal Obamacare, pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, ended former first lady, Michelle Obama’s girls’ education program and reversed Dodd-Frank’s legislation. The whole goal of the GOP and Donald Trump is to dismantle Obama’s legacy due to the fact that it bothers them that an African American man had became president and presided over the nation. Much of their assertions over their opposition to Barack Obama doesn’t really have much to do with their perceived disapproval of his policies. It is his race. Much of the GOP base consists of racist, xenophobes and misogynists who wish to reverse back much of the progress in Civil Rights, women’s rights and the LGBT rights to sooth the fears and resentment of heterosexual, able bodied White men. Overturning Obama’s policies and erasing his legacy is like a vendetta that Donald Trump and the GOP has always wanted to fulfill is now playing out in action.

Last but not least, Donald Trump’s apparent jealousy and obsession with his predecessor, Barack Obama has driven him to do whatever he can to destroy his legacy, even at the expense of the country. His blatant xenophobia, racism and classism rigs it’s ugly head whenever his policies are being implemented. Especially legislations such as DACA. At the end of the day, it is the American people that suffers whenever Trump’s administration passes legislations to undo and dismantle Obama’s legacy.

 

A Surprising turn: Reevaluating my life’s goals

For months, I looked forward to going off to university that I was accepted into. I went around telling everybody that I was attending and packed my bags and everything. It was like I had hit the jackpot. Little did I realize the events that will lead up to me going off to university wasn’t beneficial to my well being.

My younger brother has graduated last Spring and planned on going away to college an hour away in another city. And I had planned to attend university in another city two hours away with my mother and city. I had been tired of the community college that I had been attending, and wanted to go to a school that had more programs and opportunities for me to receive a degree in Nursing. I also wanted to move out of the small, boring, and Conservative town I grew up in. So we dedicated the whole summer to packing our bags and getting ready to move to our destined areas. My mother and the rest of us drove to Gainesville to visit the campus of his college and purchasing an apartment for my younger brother to live in. And we were also looking for a place to stay in Tampa for me to attend the university that I wanted to attend. We felt that everything was going to go along pretty well. However, something happened that caused a huge changing of our plans as we panicked and wondered what to do.

A few weeks ago. my mother and younger brother packed materials for the last time. They were preparing on the drive from where we lived to Gainesville, where the college and his apartment was located in. I agreed to stay behind and babysit my younger sister as they put their bags in the car and drove away. Hours on end, I made sure that my sister was fed, clothed and looked after. Towards the latter hours, we stayed in my room and watched some videos on YouTube. It wasn’t until late at night when I heard the door open and heard my brother’s voice from my room. What is going on? I said to myself. I knew something was suspicious when he had come back home with my mother. Then my mother and brother told me that the apartments that they had selected for him to live in was dirty and filled with roommates that smoked weed. My mother was horrified while I felt deeply upset. So he decided that he take the classes online but him having to stay at home put a huge damper on our plans to move to Tampa.

We found it quite difficult to find a house in Tampa to rent due to my mother’s poor credit and my lack of credit. So we decided to stay in Ocala and try driving back and forth from Ocala to Tampa everyday for school. But it proved to be too much on my mother and I. It wore on my spirits and brought me down mentally and emotionally. And I couldn’t find a place near the school to live in because all of the Worst of all, much of the staff seemed impersonal and not willing to help out when it came to academics and finances. Unfortunately, we decided that it wasn’t best to attend university right now due to circumstances.

These days, I have considered getting a new job and moving to a city where there are more opportunities for me to thrive and live. All I know is that I can’t stay in Ocala for too long. I think I would die of boredom if I stayed here for too long. Especially with the lack of opportunities for black and brown people there. As I try my best to plan and scheme my next move, I will do my best to keep myself afloat and survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My apprehension about the ”swirl” movement

As of recently, there has been a propaganda in the media to promote interracial unions between those of African descent and those of Caucasian and other non Black races. Such promotion of miscegenation has many people apprehensive about it’s effect on the livelihood of Black women’s psyche and livelihood. While I am seeing more interracial couplings becoming more represented in the media and in real life, I don’t see dating and marrying a White man as the end to be all. Though I am not against interracial dating and marriage, I believe that much of the rhetoric behind the so called ”swirl movement” is detrimental to the livelihood and psyche of Black women living in the West.

The media depicts women of African descent to be loud, unattractive, overweight, aggressive, perpetually single and having bad attitudes. Many articles written online and subliminal and overt messages from television ads, movies and television shows how undesirable Black women supposedly are. So undesirable that their own men don’t want them. Unfortunately, many Black men are colorist, misogynist and despise Black women to the point that they have also played a role in promoting negative anti Black woman stereotypes. Many Black girls and women have stories to tell about how many Black men express their preference for mixed race women and non Black women while disparaging their own female counterparts. It has gotten so widespread that a segment of Black men have outlets on YouTube and other social media outlets to express their disdain for Black women’s obesity, fake hair, bad attitudes and behavior.  Men like Tommy Sotomayor are the leading progenitors of anti Black woman media propaganda. Even Black orientated shows and movies contain colorist messages and actions in it; example: the 1990s TV show, Martin. Many Black women especially Black American women have taken note and expressed their disgust of the ongoing slander against them from Black men. As a result, many Black American have decided to open up their dating options to include non Black men due to frustration of denigration from their own male counterparts.

Anti Black woman hater, Tommy Sotomayor, who has various YouTube channels bashing Black women.

 

An image of an interracial coupling of a Black man and White woman

 

Black woman White man coupling.

Black American women are one of the least likely groups of people to date and marry interracially. The majority of Black American women prefer to date and marry Black American men and have children of African descent that reflects their image. Black American men are twice as likely to marry outside of their race than Black American women. But things are starting to change. Slowly, more Black American women are opening their options to include non Black men. I am seeing more American Black women being seen in public with White men and non Black men of other races. On the other hand, many Black women, who reside in Canada and the United Kingdom(Great Britain), are much more willing and open to dating and marrying non Black men than their American counterparts. In fact, majority of the Black women in Canada and the UK tend to be recent immigrants from the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. The countries and societies in these countries lack the same racial and social divide and convention that America has so there is less apprehension on these women’s parts. In fact, 35% of Afro British women of Caribbean heritage are with White men in Britain as opposed to 12% of American Black women that are married to non Black men. The cultural and regional differences between American Black women and other Black women residing in other Western countries play a role in how they approach interracial dating and marriage. And this plays a huge role in why interracial dating and marriage is much higher for non African American Black women than it is for African American women.

What does your apprehension about this so called swirl movement comes from?

My apprehension about the ”swirl movement” comes from my own experiences and hang ups regarding my interactions with men. I didn’t have much luck attracting Black men due to the fact that my phenotype was too ”Negroid” for their tastes and my interests in Rock music was also a turn off. I grew up hearing Black boys my age express their disdain for Black women and ”preference” for non Black women. Everywhere, I turned I saw media depictions of Black women’s undesirability and unattractive. It made me so sad to see that even my own male counterparts didn’t find me attractive so I decided to seek validation from non Black men for my beauty.  Though I had always been attracted to White and non Black men, I knew that it was time to really consider them as a dating option regardless of what anyone thought. I tried to date a White American seriously, but it usually ended up with them fetishizing me and not progressing into a relationship. Or they expressed desire not to date a Black women. Such experiences also influence my concerns about other Black women’s idealizing interracial relationships as a panacea for her low self esteem. I know all too well how it is like to be rejected on the basis of my skin color and not being seen as worthy. I used to fetishize interracial relationships and believe that it will make me be seen as worthy and desirable in society. Then, I realized that it is best that I find love and happiness within before I ever start to find a mate. How can you expect someone to love one when you don’t love yourself? To this day, I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy, but I am working on these issues to better myself.

My major concern is the fact that Black American women will romanticize White American men as these knights in shining armor. In reality,  the same media that promotes negative imagery of Black women was created and is sustained by White men. The casting couches in Hollywood TV, movie and commercial sets are usually White men and White women. These same people promote White women and other non Black women ahead of Black women on the social and beauty hierarchy. The same White men that enslaved and raped my female foremothers and presented her as the most undesirable woman on the planet. The same White man that created the system of racism, sexism and colorism to sustain White supremacy and keep all of the wealth and resources in their hands. In fact, the effects of colonization and European imperialism can still be felt through the social inequalities in Black communities across the nation.  He elevates White women to the image of beauty because he cherishes his image as the most beautiful and powerful on the planet. And even if a White American man does date and marry a Black woman, his loyalty is still to his race first and foremost. The marriage numbers between White American men and Black American are despondently low. According to the 2010 census, only one hundred and sixty eight thousand White men are married to Black women. Such marriages make up only 0.3% of the population of White male population married couples. These numbers very low and shows that White American men and Black American women aren’t marrying each other in substantial numbers to express the so called swirl movement’s belief that the White man is what the Black woman really wants. Until marriage rates increase between this demographic of people and the imagery of Black women in the media changes for the better, I don’t believe that the Black American can rely on White American men or any man as a marriage partner.

In actuality, I believe it is a good idea that more Black American women are considering interracial dating and marriage. But I don’t necessarily see it as the solution to the so called marriage crisis in the Black collective. As interracial unions increase between Black women and White men, will such unions really break down the social and racial conventions in society? Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links to the page:

https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/files/iser_working_papers/2000-34.pdf

https://www.economist.com/news/britain/21595908-rapid-rise-mixed-race-britain-changing-neighbourhoodsand-perplexing

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/12/key-facts-about-race-and-marriage-50-years-after-loving-v-virginia/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interracial_marriage_in_the_United_States

 

Documentary on Heavy Metal: My assessment of the depiction of the genre

On one of the days when I am off from work, I usually watch music videos of my favorite artists or reruns of Dateline Mystery on Youtube. On my news feed, I saw a video related to Metal. The video was a few minutes long. To the side, where there were recommendations for videos. One of these recommendations was a over two hour documentary on the origins and endurance of Heavy Metal. I decided to click on the video and watched it to see how the genre came to be.

Personally, I enjoyed watching the documentary despite the video quality frizzing up during watching it. The reason for such frizzing was due to the rain outside. But I was very excited to watch and learn about how the genre came into fruition. According to the documentary, Black Sabbath were the ones that founded the sound of Metal despite speculation that Iron Butterfly‘s song, In A Gadda Da Vida, Jimmy HendrixPurple Haze, or Stephen Wolf‘s Born to be Wild spurred the sound of Heavy Metal. The guitar sound and dark sound and lyrics of Black Sabbath were discussed for it’s lasting influence on the genre. Metal came to prominence in 1970 with Black Sabbath’s self entitled debut album, Black Sabbath.  At the time, many musical critics weren’t quite receptive to the lyrics and sound of Black Sabbath due to not really understanding the message of the music. The term, Heavy Metal was coined by music critics Mike Saunders and Lester Bangs to describe the heavier music. Regardless of how musical critics viewed the music, heavier music began to catch on as more bands started to come out with heavier sound and more raunchy topics. Also discussed alongside Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin’s influence on Metal’s sound was also dissected especially when discussing Jimmy Page’s guitar solos. To a lesser extent(according tot he documentary), Zeppelin was the main progenitor and influence on the hard sound of the genre after Sabbath.

Then the program went on. It was very exciting and interesting for me to know, because it gave me insight to the time era that these bands came from and how it affected the music they created and put out. Also bands like Led Zeppelin, KISS, AC/DCJudas Priest, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Gun n Roses, Metallica, Dio etc were discussed for their influence on Metal. Often times, the time era and youth culture was the culprit in the bands and music that they supported and listened to.

Time periods of music

1970s-Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper and AC/DC appealed to the youth. The youth were disgruntled with the effects of the Vietnam War and the corruption in the government so they felt like such bands’ music spoke to them in an emotional level. However, music started to change in the latter half of the decade with Disco becoming prominent on the American music scene and Punk music becoming prominent on the British music scene.  Metal was losing popularity and pushed back.

1980s- Bands like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Metallica, Dio, Scorpion, Poison, Guns n Roses gained prominence. Youth were drawn to watching music videos on MTV and enjoying the fruits of the labor post Vietnam War era. Unfortunately, the advent of MTV led to the watering down of Metal and the genre becoming more about heavy eye liner and long hair than about the music. There was a backlash against these hair Metal bands as bands like Metallica and Guns n Roses started to rise up and become popular.

1990s-Unfortunately, not many bands were scrutinized pass the 1980s except Marilyn Manson and Linkin Park. Pantera was a band that came to prominence in this era. Especially when the influence of Marilyn Manson‘s music was blamed for the two young men that caused a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in 1999.

2000s-2010s- Bands like Megadeth, Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold are still producing and making music today. Unfortunately, the pioneers of the genre such as Sabbath have stopped touring or retired.

However, my problems with the documentary was the fact that Deep Purple wasn’t mentioned. Deep Purple was one of the bands in the 1970s and 1980s that was pivotal in influencing the sound of Heavy Metal. In fact, the Holy Trinity of ‘Hard Rock’ was Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. It is a shame that almost every documentary on Heavy Metal leaves this band out, because their music and influence on many bands that come after them speaks volumes about their influence on the sound of Metal. In fact, it wasn’t until a year or so ago that they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is a pity how Rock historians never give Deep Purple the credit and recognition that is due.

Another problem  I had with the documentary was the lack of distinction between Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. Often times, people group the terms together and don’t see the difference between the two. Heavy Metal is a musical style where the beat is harder and more fast pace than Hard Rock. Metal tends to be heavy riffs played on low tune guitars and the sound is more gloomy. Hard Rock is simply the harder and more aggressive playing of American blues. Many times the terms overlap, but many Metal fans can distinguish between the two. The reason why the distinction between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was a concern of mine is due to the fact that many bands on the documentary aren’t necessarily Heavy Metal. Bands like Led ZeppelinAC/DC, and KISS were/are not Heavy Metal bands. Led Zeppelin was more of a Classic Hard blues Rock band while AC/DC was a Hard Rock band. KISS was more glam Rock than actually Hard Rock or Metal. Also Guns n Roses, Def Leppard, Van Halen, aren’t Heavy Metal bands either. Those bands are more Hard Rock. Metal bands such as Iron Maiden,  Metallica(before the Black album), Judas Priest, Motorhead, Slayer, AnthraxSlipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Motorhead are what should be defined as such. To lump Hard Rock bands with Metal bands only confuses the viewer on the validity of such bands.

Overall, I believe that it was a good documentary. I loved how Guns n Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle was played at the end of the documentary. Watching it shed some light on how Metal came to be and the future of the genre. I am aware that there are many controversies behind the genre and not everyone likes it. But I happen to enjoy listening to the music. Though it may not be as popular as it was in the 1980s, I still appreciate listening to the likes of Metallica when I am on my break or relaxing. Needless to say, I believe Metal will always be apart of my life in good and bad times.

The Left’s twilight: My dissatisfaction with the Left

The Democratic Party and the Left wing segment of the political realm has always been the prominent viewpoint of media coverage. Much of the mainstream news outlets falsely predicted that Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 election. Many polls were released to the public expressed Clinton’s lead over Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Everyone thought she will win until Trump defeated her in the election. Since then, the downward spiral of the Democratic party has been imminent and apparent to the public while my political consciousness has slightly shifted to the center.

I am a Liberal, college student. I am for government regulation of Wall Street and small businesses, expansion of Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other programs for the needy and sick, women’s rights and gay marriage. Technically, I am the primary target of the Democratic Party, but I was never really a registered Democrat. I was too young to vote in the 2008 and 2012 elections, where former President Obama won both elections. I turned eighteen in 2013 and registered as an Independent to express my freedom from the two party system. But there was a time where I believed in the party and it’s ideals. I believed that the Democratic Party stood up for my ideals regarding social justice for people of all races and ensuring that the economy remain stable. My mother was a Democrat; my whole family was. I believed the mainstream media’s lies that Hillary Clinton will win and continue President Obama’s legacy in bettering the country. But something happened. Something that shook my beliefs to the core.

Donald Trump’s surprising victory shook me and the rest of the world to the core. I just couldn’t believe that he had won the 2016 election. I couldn’t get up out of bed on the ninth of November and had to force myself to get out of bed to go to school. I was upset for weeks. Why did America elect such an incompetent buffoon to the highest position in the land? I said to myself. It was all so surreal. Little did I know that, I had begun my journey of shifting political consciousness closer to the center.

Up until February 2017, I began searching and wondering why Donald Trump won the election and why the Democrats lost seats in both the House and Senate. At the time, it just didn’t occur to me why all of this was happening. I still clung to intersectional feminism and all things Black empowerment. Somehow, I believed that America had rejected equality to turn back the time where Black people sat at the back of the bus. It never occurred to me that many American were actually rejecting the ideals and ways of the Democratic Party. But an argument over Youtube on the comment section of a Breukelen Bleu video I watched changed everything. I expressed my political views in the comment section and a bunch of trolls were attacking me for my political views. Mind you, Breukelen Bleu is a Youtube and social media personality that specifically caters to the issues affecting Black women in America. I expected that my opinions would be safely protected and positively received as always. Instead, all I received was bickering and going back in forth to the point that it interfered with my studying for a Math test. I decided to delete the comment and unsubscribe from her channel. I decided to focus on doing well in College Algebra and balancing my job and school simultaneously.

It was right at the moment that I realized this lesson: identity politics doesn’t work. All this time I have been trained to believe that identity politics was the way to go, but all it does is exacerbate the problems of inequality in society. It also promotes up the charade of oppression olympics while failing to actually finding a solution to the problem. I realized that there is more to life than constantly focusing on inequalities regarding race, gender and social class. As I lifted the weight of such burdens off of my chest, I feel like I can freely assess my life and goals without the pressures of assessing everything to my background or identity.

Political correctness and a lack of cohesion of thought and unity are other reasons why I find myself growing more dissatisfied with the left. Their use of political correctness has actually alienated many Americans particularly Conservatives. I will admit that I am quite savvy in my usage of political correctness to get my point across. But I realize that political correctness only stifles creative thinking and influences those to keep their real beliefs under wraps. It is more preferable that one openly expresses their beliefs and views than hiding their views to avoid stepping on eggshells. The lack of cohesion of thought and unity among the left turns me off as well. Not many of them could find ways to resist the evils that the Trump administration will affect the working class and average American. Nor could they try to find ways to improve their party’s message or find a message that speaks to the concerns of Americans.

Ultimately, I believe the true reason why Democrats and the left are on the wane is due to the fact that their message doesn’t convene with the American people. Americans aren’t really concerned about whether or not a transgender woman should be able to use the bathroom. The average American is more concerned about the economy, healthcare, sending their children to good schools and being able to retire on a good pension. I don’t approve of Donald Trump or his administration, but if the left wants to win elections, why start connecting with what Americans truly want for themselves and the country?