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Are We Still Segregated Fifty Years Later?

National Mall 1On August 28, 2013, I was stopped in traffic a few blocks from Folger Shakespeare Library for about fifteen minutes as police allowed marchers for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington celebration through. No big deal, I wasn’t in a hurry. Someone a few cars ahead of me had other ideas and they kept honking their horn. I looked behind to where an officer was gesturing when I thought the marchers were through and there was a group of white people trailing behind in twos and threes. It struck me as odd because they weren’t mixed in with the rest of the marchers. They were their own little group nowhere near the main group of marchers I saw. The thought that maybe they were there just to get out of school/work did cross my mind. Judgemental? Maybe. But I couldn’t understand why they weren’t with everyone else. It’s 2013. Are we still such a segregated society that we can celebrate a historic moment in the civil rights movement yet remain separated from each other based on the color of our skin?

The stragglers finally passed, the impatient driver stopped honking, and we were moving again. My mind went back to focusing on getting to my destination without hitting anyone or anything.National Mall 2

I sat in my car after finishing at the library debating whether or not to go to the National Mall. I really wanted to walk around and see the war memorials. I knew my other options was to return the next day before heading to Manassas.

But I was right there.

It just seemed silly to return when I was just blocks away.National Mall 3

I found parking right in the middle of the Mall. I figured it was meant to be that I was there. I peeked up at the sky before I got out and it looked like it would open up and pour down on us any minute.

If it does, I can duck into one of the museums.

I got out and fed the meter most of the change I had which was only an hour’s worth. A lot of change for a little time.

I was approaching the Smithsonian Castle heading for the Washington Monument when the rain started. A drizzle. I kept walking. And walking. And walking.National Mall 3

I passed by dozens of people selling t-shirts, artwork, and other commemorative memorabilia. I was between the Washington Memorial and the Reflecting Pool when I realized how foolish I was.

Everything around the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial was blocked off. There was no way I could see the war memorials.National Mall 5

Silly Debi.

But I was there. In the middle of the 50th Anniversary madness. Okay, maybe not madness. But there were people everywhere and I felt a bit mad in the head for not thinking it completely through.

But I was there.

I took a few pictures  while trying to listen to the music and speeches (the sound on the speakers was poor) then walked across to the park behind the White House for more pictures. I thought about going to the National Gallery (my favorite museum), but realized I wouldn’t have enough time so I went back to my car.National Mall 6

I had THREE minutes to spare on the meter.

This week, thoughts of the straggling marchers and the President’s speech ring in my head after I read the firestorm of vitriol when the new Miss America was crowned.

How are we still at a place of deep ignorance for truth and reality? How is it twelve years after 9/11 that everyone with brown skin is called an “Arab?” How is it people have no understanding of what an American really is and that it is not based on the color of their skin?

Schools include all races. We don’t have separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, and entrances for whites and non-whites. Inter-racial marriage is legal, yet it still raises ire in people when they witness it on TV in a Cheerios commercial. This country grew because immigrants made the United States their home and people still tell those of color to “go back where you came from” even if we were born here.

Should I count myself as thankful that since 9/11 I’ve never been called an Arab despite my brown skin? No. I’ve had enough people use my race against me in their anger, bitterness, and ignorance to know how it feels. It strips away your humanity and nails you to the wall as if you were nothing but a WANTED poster.

Yes, we still are so segregated mentally that we cannot celebrate civil rights and equality in a truly integrated way.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Judge Not

Stick shared this article on Facebook yesterday.  If you don’t feel like clicking on the link I’ll try to sum it up quickly.  Should women wear their engagement rings to job interviews?  Apparently some interviewers take engagement ring size into account during a job interview.  And fellow females, it’s not to our benefit when it happens.

Women are constantly judged.  Mostly by other women.  Sometimes I feel like it’s a crabs in a bucket syndrome, pulling each other down because we can’t let anyone out if we can’t get out ourselves.

We are judged for working instead of marrying and having kids.  Marrying and not having kids. Having kids and staying home to rear them instead of working.  Following our spouses/partners/significant others instead of being independent. Not reading the latest parenting book and following all the guidelines to the T. Not looking our best while wrangling a gaggle of children all day long.

Now this.  The size of our engagement rings.  Honestly, I think it’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week.  Except for the things my friend, JP, says.  But that’s another category of stupid.

While employers may not admit that they do this or that they may think the woman doesn’t need a job with a large engagement ring, large being relative, no one knows their circumstances.  If a woman is interviewing she wants and/or needs to work and shouldn’t be denied that opportunity based on the size of a diamond ring she wears when so many people refuse to work. Some women are not involved in the choosing of their ring so they don’t have a say in the carats.  This is something their significant other has chosen for them as a symbol of their love in exchange for a promise to marry.  Yes, there are people who have ginormous rings that can be seen as just a status symbol.  Those people are the minority.

If you happen to be someone who interviews and doesn’t like large rings think about this.  What if this woman is re-entering the workforce because her husband lost his job and can’t find work?  What if this woman is in an abusive marriage and is trying to gain some independence in order to gain a foothold to leave her partner?  What if her significant other passed away and she had to sell everything but the ring in order to pay funeral expenses and debt?  What if the ring is the only family heirloom passed down through the generations?

I agree that we need to look presentable when interviewing for a job. It was something I looked at when interviewing others, but as a whole picture and not picking out things like size of engagement rings.  When you work for a company, your overall presentation of self is a reflection of the company. However, the size of your diamond is between you and your spouse.  No one else.

We have been judged and judge each other for far too long.  As women, we have never had more freedoms and rights as we do now.  Some women in the world still struggle for equality and while we might complain about glass ceilings in America, we still have it good. As women, we need to rise up together and stand together and not keep pulling each other down with petty little differences just because you might think another woman is a little too this or too much that or the size of their ring is bigger than your own.  How can we expect to gain true equality and have others respect that equality when we work hard to keep others down by judging them?

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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