I am excited to be an intern for Adios Barbie and to present my first article as an intern!
Sorry I haven’t been posting to here lately. I’ve got a post in the works but I have been preoccupied with the AB internship and raising the kids. I’ll get it up soon!
Can you imagine imprisoning an entire group of people based solely on their race? I mean, really, it’s not that far of a stretch considering America’s bleak history regarding slavery, but I digress. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that’s exactly what happened. Perpetuated by fear and the explosion of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the internment of thousands of Japanese- Americans. This wasn’t just a few citizens timidly questioning Japanese- Americans’ loyalty. This was mass hysteria. Newspapers called for their immediate removal, with abrasive headlines like “Get ‘em Out!” and “A Jap’s a Jap”. White farmers, who once worked side by side with Japanese- Americans, had seemingly changed their tune overnight. Japs dominate the strawberry fields, they said. We can do twice as much work as them once those fields are handed back over to the rightful owners. Japanese- Americans were forced to sell their property and possessions for pennies on the dollar because they only had mere hours to relocate to internment camps. Children were also evacuated. As one former prisoner recalls, “…I remember my mother wrapping a blanket around me and pretending to fall asleep so she would be happy, though I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I hear there were people herded into the Hastings Park like cattle. Families were made to move in two hours. Abandoned everything, leaving pets and possessions at gun point…”
Life in the internment camps was grim. The barracks were constructed with a simple frame and a tarpaper roof with no plumbing or heat source. Prisoners had to brave extreme temperatures, ranging from -35 degrees to as high as 115 degrees. Guards of the camp pushed for self- sufficiency by having prisoners grow most of their own food, but this was next to impossible for the camps situated in desert areas. They shared communal shower areas and non-partitioned toilet facilities. Families were torn apart as guards arranged activities within the camp for the children that required them to be separated from their parents for long periods of time and they were “promoted” while the elders were ignored. Medical care was poor; many Japanese died while in camp due to illness or stress.
Twice during the period of internment camps, Japanese Americans took their civil rights case to the Supreme Court. Both times, the Court ruled in favor of the government, citing the imprisonment as a necessity.
In 1945, after 3 years of imprisonment, Japanese- Americans were released. The freed prisoners were given a train ticket home, whatever that means. Many of them had sold all of their possessions before internment so they found themselves homeless and without a single item of value. In 1948, the US granted compensation for Japanese- Americans who had lost property but since many records showing former ownership were destroyed from the time before internment camps, Japanese- Americans found themselves only partially reimbursed. Though freed physically, many still faced an emotional prison, suffering from depression and PTSD. Some even committed suicide, unable to cope with the immense feelings of loss and hopelessness. With lingering feelings of shame and fear, many Japanese- Americans have a hard time recounting what happened to them during imprisonment. Moving forward, they encouraged their offspring to turn away from their Japanese heritage in an effort to “Americanize” their children and to forget the painful past.
In 1978, President Carter issued a formal apology and began implementing reparations for Japanese- Americans and their ancestors who faced internment. An official apology was issued along with monetary reparations in the amount of $20,000 per person.
Despite the efforts to reparate and make amends, the internment camps remain another strike against civil rights in America’s already stained history.
Access for the disabled consistently reveals a very ableist society. A lack of ramps in front of stores, inconvenient buttons to open doors that require a firm push (and don’t always work, for that matter. Have you ever pushed one of those buttons and the door remains sealed? It takes an act of god to pry that door open, even for an able-bodied person. But I digress…) which can prove to be difficult for someone who needs the stability of a cane or walker, handicapped bathroom stalls that, for one, are ridiculously small for a disabled person who needs ample room to maneuver equipment and for two, aren’t always immediately available to the person who needs it most. I am guilty of this myself, regrettably. If there is a handicapped stall open, I am sure to take it. Imagine my embarrassment when I leave the stall and a disabled person is waiting on me to be able to use the bathroom while the rest of the stalls are completely empty.
Having a disability, be it physically or mentally, places you in the largest marginalized group in the United States. There is a direct link between disability and poverty; while the EEOC has an anti-discrimination clause, anonymous employers surveyed cited they will not hire someone due to disabilities because they believe they cannot efficiently complete tasks and they fear it will be costly due to special facilities. This leads to an astronomical rate of unemployed disabled people and the cycle continues. There are laws in place to protect people living with disabilities from education discrimination but it doesn’t mean that opportunities are equal. They are often abused or neglected under the care of a school and face horrors that many of us cannot even imagine. As s.e. smith stated in ou’s blog post about the discriminations disabled students face, “[I]f you don’t think an entire class of people is part of humanity, obviously you’re not going to understand why they deserve basic human rights like an education and the right to live without fear. The only way we’re going to address the problem of abuse of disabled students is to get people to admit that disabled people are human beings.”
It is our job, as compassionate human beings, to listen to marginalized voices and take their qualms seriously. By looking at a marginalized group square in the face and telling them that their problems aren’t real or not everyone is like that is derailment. You may think you are being optimistic or helpful by squashing their very real issues by telling them that the world is not out to get them but you are actually silencing them. You are silencing a group of people who are already silenced every day. If you don’t contribute to ableist behavior, then good for you! You get a cookie. When people with disabilities say they face discrimination, you can rest assured that you are not the one they speak of and with that, you can listen with both ears and take their complaints as a learning opportunity. It was certainly a learning opportunity for myself when a friend told me about some of the issues she faces every single day. As an able-bodied person, it is my job to simply listen and learn. That is the very least we can do and is essential if we wish to end discrimination.
I’m not like most girls. I’d rather catch a game with the guys and down a few beers in the process. I feel most comfortable in my tattered sweats with the little hole in the rear. Don’t even think about putting me in a dress. Hell no. I’m not like most girls, the kind who have to be all dolled up just to go to the mailbox. Those girls are so high-maintenance. I can’t even stand the feeling of makeup on my face. Puhlease. It’s just so unnatural! All I need is some Chapstick and I am out the door. Not like those other girls, who need hours to get ready every day. And the drama that comes with girls? Count me out! I refuse to surround myself with that cattiness. My best friends are all guys and we laugh at those girls who live for constant attention. It’s just so much more relaxed and carefree– hanging with the guys. Sure, they call girls “bitches” and “cunts”, but they mean those girls, not me. They say party girls have nothing going on in their brain but they aren’t talking about me. I’d rather stay in and watch Netflix on a Saturday night.
I could go on forever but I think you get my point. I want to make it clear I am separate from other girls. I’m different. Why are you looking at me like that?
I spend hours each week applying makeup, primping, redundantly straightening my already straight hair, making sure I look “pretty”. I am not conventionally attractive but I try to do everything I can to make myself presentable to the world. I like to feel “pretty” but I think for a long time, I placed a lot of importance on the way that I look. It’s mostly an insecurity thing rather than a vanity thing but the point is, “You’re pretty” was one of the nicest things you could say to me. Me? I’m pretty? Tears would gather in my eyes at the kindness of the person who thought that me, plain and simple Tasha, was pretty. I tell other girls and women they’re pretty as well, including my 3 year old daughter. Pretty, gorgeous, cute… Those are the words I throw around regularly with her in hopes of making her feel beautiful in her skin. And I think it’s important that she feels that way, don’t get me wrong. But such a high value is placed on being attractive that being intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful and other much more important traits are thrown by the wayside. Here is what really sunk in this weekend as I was fretting over my tired eyes and dark circles: I don’t have to be pretty. I exert so much effort into making myself “pretty” but the fact is, being pretty isn’t the golden ticket to my everlasting happiness. There’s actually a lot going on in this brain, if I do say so myself, and that’s what makes me who I am, not how I look. It’s nice to feel pretty and I enjoy the messages that countless commercials (Dove, anyone?) try to send our way (“Everyone is beautiful in their own way!”) because self-love also means loving how you look or at least accepting it but IT IS NOT THAT SERIOUS, YOU GUYS. We often base our entire self-worth on how we look and it just doesn’t make any sense. I look fat in this dress. I look too bony in this dress. My face is ruddy today. I am so ugly. I can’t do anything right. I hate myself. I’m not going to be all, BEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN, but seriously. It does. I’m not here to please the eye or stun people with my looks. I’m not here to fit into society’s beauty standards because, let’s face it, as a woman, you honestly can’t win. I’m here to spread a message and write and learn and help people and raise my children with values and love. And that is more than enough for me.
TW: domestic violence
The recent video footage (Warning: extremely graphic. I could barely watch it in its entirety) of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Janay Rice, has caused public outcry and rightly so. But why has it taken months for this to happen? Why did the NFL support him all these months up until the new video surfaced? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even said in a statement, “…Seeing that video changed everything. We should have seen it earlier. We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.” He went on to say that Rice had earned the benefit of the doubt due to his contributions to the NFL. Let that just sink in for a moment. He earned the benefit of the doubt. The initial video obtained back in February, when the assault occured, showed the aftermath of Rice’s assault– him dragging his unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator and dropping her limp body on the floor like she was a sack of potatoes. Why that video wasn’t enough to cast doubt, I have no idea (actually, I do and I’ll discuss it later). When are people going to realize just because you “know” someone and they seem to be successful, contributing members of society doesn’t mean that behind closed they are that same person? In fact, they can be quite monstrous. I am reminded of the Woody Allen ordeal and how certain celebrity friends chose to remain silent about Dylan speaking out while remaining supportive of Woody Allen. Even the media questioned her and her motive because hello! Woody Allen is an Oscar winning director and doesn’t he look so meek in his little sweater vests and his little glasses? He’s so unassuming; he couldn’t possibly have done the horrible things she is accusing him of.
The NFL has failed yet again at handling domestic violence in their league. Over and over again, they have shown that they do not consider this behavior worthy of more than just a slap on the wrist. Rice, who was initially suspended FOR ONLY 2 GAMES, was suspended indefinitely, but the league made sure it was clear he would be welcome back if he took steps to address his problem. They say “We won’t tolerate domestic violence” but they are sending a very different message loud and clear. It says that maybe it was her fault. It says it isn’t that big of a deal unless surveillance of the assault is released to the (outraged) public. It says game is more important than a battered woman.
There is no other side of the story. It doesn’t matter what she said or did. Beating her to a state of unconsciousness will always be his fault.
It is not her fault.
It is not her fault.
It is not her fault.