After a month long hiatus, this weekend was suppose to be dedicated to writing till my heart’s content. My plan was to spend hours crafting different blogs that stretched from race relations, politics, Filipino American History Month, leadership development, and public speaking. After hearing the predictions about the massive storm that was supposedly approaching the west coast, instinctively, I knew I would be sequestering myself in doors which would make the conditions even that much more conducive to writing. But then Saturday came. Then Saturday left. In between getting out of bed to start my day and returning to my bed at its conclusion, my hours were spent doing everything but writing. Call it what you will but for the life of me, I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and assemble this English language into unique combinations that reveal the inner workings of my mind. I had so much to say but yet I didn’t know where to start. There were too many routes to explore. This is usually how I feel on the rare occasions where I decide to peruse Netflix. There are so many options to choose from, I end up paralyzed in indecision which results in me not watching anything at all.
Next it was Sunday’s turn. I worked out. I studied for school. I spent time doing absolutely nothing. I even took a much needed nap. In the back of my mind, I knew I should get around to writing something but again I wasn’t compelled to do so. I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to just write something down for the sake of writing. I need some stimulus to spark my creativity. But my inspiration apparently shared the same flight as this “massive storm” and needless to say neither were my house guests this weekend.
And now we are here. So…
Speaking of Netflix, I did watch 13th today. I recommend it to any and everyone. It’s a solid documentary about mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and the criminalization of Black and Brown people (specifically Black men) and how this all ties into the latest manifestation of social control on behalf of the system of white supremacy. It made me think about how this system of social control started with chattel slavery, to the Black codes and convict leasing, to Jim Crow segregation, and now mass incarceration, this system set on controlling Black and Brown bodies has shaped and morphed over the years but essentially has remained true to its essence. Towards the end of the film, it got pretty heavy on the current political situation with the presidential elections coming up. Trump’s rhetoric and his supporters attacking Black people at his rallies were juxtaposed with footage from the 60’s with angry white mobs doing the same to Black people back then. Hilary Clinton wasn’t exempted either. A whole segment was dedicated to how Bill Clinton starting in 1992’s presidential elections, had to demonstrate to the larger public that he too was tough on crime which subsequently led to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Hilary supported the bill. Overall, there’s some gems for people to better understand the historical context of the current Black Lives Matter movement and race relations in the U.S. in general. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander supplements this film perfectly.
I’m two weeks into my second year of graduate school. My classes are interesting. I’m thankful that my job is so closely aligned with what I’m studying that there’s this cool educational reenforcement going on where the concepts that we’re visiting in class are quite applicable for work. I’m taking, “Conceptions of Race, Equity, and Social Justice in Math Education” and “Current Issues in Social Studies: Teaching Controversial Issues.” I’ve discovered rather quickly, how helpful it is to constantly be studying something. Even when I’m out of school, I’m absolutely dedicated to self-education. This has helped tremendously with possessing at least some minimal prior knowledge on a variety of subjects to help me better contextualize what’s going on in my classes. Also, it gives me the intellectual armor to feel comfortable speaking to graduate students or professors that I disagree with. In regards to social justice, history, and politics–I might not know it all but I know enough to formulate an effective argument. This has been critical for my survival. What I’ve noticed is that there are definitely graduate students that do everything they can to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable on a whole slew of subjects. They’ll use complicated jargon, obscure references, and name drop prominent researchers just to showcase to the class that they are in fact smart. It’s enjoyable to listen to them speak but occasionally it gets a bit pretentious. Had I not studied as much as I could on my own, I know that most likely I would have been overwhelmed by them. As a student of color, these predominately white spaces can be not only injurious mentally but also intimidating intellectually. When I step into the classroom, I feel like I’m having to rep for all of my people that will never have the privilege nor the opportunity to take graduate level courses. There’s a lot of people from Lakewood and Tacoma that I’m representing. I have to come correct. I say all of that to say, it’s a reassuring feeling knowing that you’ve gone the extra mile even before the race has started.
I think I’m going to end this right here. Until next time.