All posts tagged: racism

All on a Mardi Gras Day…while sober

I was sober this Mardi gras as part of my year-long commitment to sobriety. Everyone was very concerned for me about how it would be without alcohol; how difficult it would be to just drink water (I don’t drink soda) while everyone else was in their own giggling, tipsy world. But it really wasn’t a big deal. I was armed with some cans of Lacroix for Nyx and Muses, had some fancy french soda during Orpheuscapade, and drank coffee and kombucha while I watched Zulu and wandered the quarter in the afternoon (I know, the kombucha sounds pretty crunchy-granola, but I think it’s a good beer substitute). While some of the magic, experienced through rose colored glasses (i.e., drunk goggles), was lost, most of it was still there. And it was the most alert and energetic Mardi Gras (MG) day I’ve had to date. If you’ve never been in New Orleans during Mardi gras (MG) season (yes, it’s a season, starting on Epiphany/January 6th until whenever Mardi gras lands on the day before Ash Wednesday), …

Letting Go of “I’ll Show You!”

Being an overachiever often means an inescapable feeling of inadequacy. Couple that with being a Black woman in the US, and you’ve got a recipe for pathologically setting unrealistically high expectations followed by harsh self-criticism when you inevitably don’t meet those expectations. As a kid, being an overachiever usually meant reaching a predetermined goal that everyone insists is the most important thing to focus on: get a high GPA, get a grade level ahead in certain subjects, get high scores on the state test, get involved in extracurricular activities and become the leader of at least one of them…I could go on. And the way to achieve those goals were straightforward: you read this book, memorize those facts, learn that equation, conjugate that verb, study for that test, etc. etc. There was no mystery, one step followed the next. There was pretty much only one path forward. Is this a gross oversimplification? Sure, but for me, this was as uncomplicated as it got. Do ABC and get XYZ. But, the feelings of inadequacy always came, because …

Days 64 & 65: AOS Paperwork and Crazy Doctors

December 16-17, 2014 Besides the obvious requirement of getting married within 90 days, part of the K1 visa also requires you file for the Adjustment of Status (AOS) within that same period of time. After that, you’re good until the bureaucracy decides to get around to your application and grant you, first, an employment authorization, and then eventually the green card. Part of the stack of AOS paperwork to be sent is the medical exam and medical records. When most foreign fiancé(e)s enter the country, they’ve already completed their full medical exam and it’s just a matter of filling out the remaining paperwork and mailing it in with the (very high) fee. But sometimes, that person may be missing one or two vaccinations depending on whether they were in stock in the country where they did their exam, and whether or not it’s flu season at the time. When Efrem did his medical exam they were in their flu season (SA has seasons opposite ours), but they were out of the flu vaccination. So we thought that …

Struggle for Freedom

Thursday and Friday of my week in Joburg/Pretoria were spent at museums. The first place we visited was Freedom Park in Pretoria. It was highly rated online but I wonder how many people actually visit, because it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and you have to drive through some pretty dodgy areas to get there. Once we arrived we found a pretty incredible facility, which is saying something, as I’ve visited many museums and monuments. We did both the museum and the guided tour of the Garden of Remembrance, and since there really weren’t any visitors at the park that day so we got to take our time. The layout of the park and the symbolism behind its designs and monument was really beautiful. But the one aspect of the park that probably stood out the most was the Wall of Names. In the US we all know the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This wall was similar, listing the names of all those who fell over the course of South Africa’s participation in different wars as …

Another Stunningly Ahistorical Comment on Race

This mess right here. I knew it would be bad when it started off with the oft heard excuse of wearing the confederate flag as just being a symbol of pride in heritage. I went to high school in the south, and I expected the confederate flag waving, and while it didn’t really get under my skin, it will never make sense to me. What are you proud of? Being part of a section of the country so hell bent on continuing the practice of human subjugation, human trafficking, and legalized rape, that you actually preferred to secede and make your own country rather than grant human rights to millions of people based solely on their skin color? Okay. I guess I can see where you take pride in that. *side eye* We’re one of the only countries that enacted a massive international human rights violation–the holocaust of African peoples–that still glorifies the “good-ole days” by turning past plantations into country clubs, legalizing terrorist organizations under free speech (the KKK), and waving around a symbol …