Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What John Stewart Got Wrong

I spend a lot of time thinking about race, power, privilege and racism. I teach Chicanos and the Law at a university and my full time gig has a lot to do with voting rights. And I'm just a critical race theory geek. Between my personal interest, academia, and what I'm paid to do, this stuff occupies a lot of my world. When about 20 of my (mostly white) facebook friends post a link to the Daily Show intro about the shooting in Charleston I finally decided to click on it.

First, let me acknowledge the good stuff. I do really like Jon Stewart and the daily show. I love that a mainstream television talked about race and our fucked up relationship with it! On top of that the piece was appropriately emotional and captured the hopeless feeling that many of us sometimes have. And it made a reference to racism being an inherent part of our culture. All that was great.

What the segment got wrong was that it continued to talk about racism as if racism is just an individual with prejudices. Stewart talks about how disrespectful the news programs that talk about killings like these as nuanced are. "This one is black and white," he says. The problem is that that kind of thinking endorses the idea that a "racist" (a term I actually don't like at all) is someone who has a conscious and active dislike of a person simply because of their race or ethnicity. Sure, that person is definitely racist but an explicit hatred because of race is not what's actually required here. Stewart goes on to talk about how roads in the south are named after confederate generals. Sure that's bad but, as this blogger pointed out, even if every road was re-named and every KKK member changed their ways we would still have racism. We'd still have wealth and educational disparities. We'd still have people who have a general fear of other (darker) people. We'd still have African American women with worse health and birth outcomes that are worse than their white peers. We'd still have microaggressions and stereotype threat and people of color, in particular black people, who just have a harder time walking in the world.

In my class we definite racism of power plus privilege and distinguish it from prejudice or bigotry. Racism a system that has been set up to advantage white people. And saying you don't see color or that you love everyone or that you have (one) black friend is never going to be enough to dismantle that system. You actually have to examine and challenge your own privilege...which is significantly harder than just taking down an racist flag, renaming a street, or arresting a shooter.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why you haven't heard from me in a while

The alternate title for this post is #FirstWorldProblems

June has been a crazy busy month. I can't believe we're only 18 days in. All of our friends decided that 2015 was the year to get married so we are going to a total of six weddings this summer. I love weddings and I love our friends but spending the last 3 of 4 weekends celebrating nuptials (two of which were out of state) has been a bit exhausting.

Oh top of that we decided to look for a bigger house. Seven offers later (the Denver housing market is insane!) we had an offer accepted...the day before I had to fly out for my brother's wedding. Which was, coincidentally a huge day of jumping through administrative hoops for Truman's business. I wont go into detail because I don't love talking about work on my blog but this was a project that he and I had been working on for months and one that had a big impact on the future of his company. Bridesmaid duties, flying out, having to get earnest money in, and dealing with heavy business stuff. All in 24 hours, no biggie.

I didn't mention that Truman had pulled up our carpet about two days before the offer was accepted on the new house. This meant that we had to refinish our wood floors (and have some new stuff installed). So we packed about 50% of what we own into pods, packed up the dogs and stayed at a friends house for a week while our hardwoods were being refinished. Then we jetted off to Minneapolis for Jane's wedding. We got back Monday morning at 2a, thanks to a delayed flight, and then I started teaching my summer class on Tuesday.

The home buying process is almost always stressful and unpleasant but this one has been especially stressful and unpleasant. We started with the loan broker from hell and things have just gotten more complicated from there. We're suppose to close on this new house at the beginning of July...I'm optimistic that that will actually happen but there are definitely still some big hurdles to clear. Please send us good house buying vibes.

So we've been busy every weekend, half my stuff (of course the half I feel like I need) is in boxes, we hope we're actually going to moved, and I'm discovering that adding a teaching gig to all of this is a little tough during the summer.

The final layer: I feel totally guilty about being stressed about any of it. On one hand we have a lovely and fortunate life. We have great friends who are falling in love, we have good jobs, and we might move into a house we love. My problems are not real problems in that lots of people would love to have these problems. Intellectually I know all of that but emotionally, I'm stressed and the home buying process is making other things feel not fun. So then I feel guilty about feeling stressed over problems people would actually choose to have. And then I feel worse about the whole thing.

And then I crawl into a hole and don't return my friends text messages (sorry Jeremiah!). But I'm working on it...and we had a lovely time at Aubrey and Michael's beautiful Boulder wedding where we made friends with an entire people and I played an extrovert for the night...and I do really hope this house thing works out because we kind of love the new place...and if it doesn't we have very pretty new wood floors.

The rain held off until after the first kiss! Yay for good weather. 

Aww, don't they look happy?

I managed to do my makeup in the car and not coming out looking like a clown. This is a skill that has taken no less than 15 years to begin to become proficient at. 

Happy friends in love. We've very thankful that they included us in their special day. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Minneapolis for Jane's Wedding

Holy wedding season batman! It seems that all of our friend have decided to get married this year. We've been to two weddings so far this summer and have four more to go! Last week we were having out floors done at our house which means that we had to pack everything up, put it in pods, and then find somewhere else to sleep for about a week (thanks to Brooks and Natalie for taking us and our dogs in!). Well amidst the packing and commuting and the stress (more on that later) was a previously planned trip to Minneapolis for my friend Jane's wedding. So off we went. 

On Saturday we wandered around downtown, checked out a farmers market, rented some bikes and checked out the sculpture garden. The bike share rentals are for half and hour...and I learned that I'm not nearly as fast on a 3-speed bike as I thought I was...hence the lack of pictures of me from that day. No one wants to put sweaty pictures of themselves on blast. 

Jane and Brad's wedding was on Saturday night. I can't believe how time flies. I met Amiel, Kelsey, and Jane during my first year of law school and they were some of the only things I liked about that year. It's hard to believe that we were all sitting at orientation together nearly seven years ago. I'm the only one who stayed in Denver (and, ironically, the one who seemed least likely to do so) so we don't see each other very often at all. It was so nice to pick up where we left off. I'd nearly forgotten how much I enjoy the company of these wicked smart and incredibly caring people. 

On our last day in Minneapolis we ended up at another art museum. I didn't take nearly enough pictures but this one was my favorite. I call it Disco Ball Jesus. I'm pretty sure that's not actually suppose to be a statue of Jesus....but close enough. No explanation provided for the disco ball.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Brandon's Wedding and Visiting California

I really do enjoy blogging...and I really don't intend to go months without posting...and yet...life.

And life has been a little bit overwhelmingly busy lately. The total privileged kind of busy that I feel selfish for even feeling overwhelmed by. And then I feel overwhelmed by not feeling like I should feel stress. And the cycle repeats. A lot of exciting things are happening around here. More blog posts coming soon!

My little brother got married at the end of May. It was a beautiful wedding full of smiles and wine. This was only the start of wedding season for us. Five more of our friends have decided to get married before the end of 2015. Doesn't Chrissy look pretty?

This was only the start of wedding season for us. Five more of our friends have decided to get married before the end of 2015. 

While we were in California we took the opportunity to do two of my favorite things: go to an amusement park and go dancing with friends. 

Knott's! I hadn't been since college. 

Truman takes his 3-D shooter games very seriously. 

I survived the log ride (and my left over fake lashes did too!)

 On Saturday we met up with David, Shannon and Shannon's lady. It was just like old times...even the bars. Mickey's and Fiesta don't change (well, the drink prices do).