Racism is the New Racism

Below is an insightful piece by my best friend and college roommate, Maddie. She offers a fresh perspective on racism in America today. She is currently earning her master’s degree in school counseling. Make sure to check HEAD BITCHES IN CHARGE for more guest posts from Maddie in the future!

“Though there are many, many people who would disagree with me, I firmly believe that racism is alive and well in the United States, and around the world. In many cases, this is not the outright racism of generations past, characterized by segregation, genocide, and the outspoken public opinion that White people are superior to all others (though it should be noted that violent racial crimes still occur daily), but a quieter, more conniving racism that lurks in our everyday lives, and goes mostly unnoticed by Whites like myself. However, if we take a moment to stop and open our eyes and our minds, it is obvious that racism has permeated almost every aspect of life in the United States.
The simple and irrefutable truth is that we are a nation of contradictions. We pride ourselves on our “melting pot” philosophy, while simultaneously committing daily acts of racism and microagressions towards all those members of our nation who aren’t White. Numerous social experiments show that Whites are often served before African-Americans and Latino/as at restaurants and stores, even if the latter was there first. Whites continue to have much higher average incomes, education levels, and general social statuses, even though time and time again it has been proven that there is no difference in intellectual or genetic capabilities that make whites superior in any way. (The fact that I just had to write that sentence actually makes me physically ill). We boast about the “American Dream,” touting that if you work hard enough you will be successful in this country, but then systematically force racial minorities into menial and dead-end jobs. It’s no secret that there is a glass ceiling for all non-Whites in this country, but Whites pretend not to see this. Instead, we reiterate our tired notion that anyone can get ahead in life if they just work hard enough. In plain terms, we chalk up the huge poverty rates and under-employment among minorities to laziness.
Newsflash, people: IT’S FUCKING NOT. Crack open a book, do a google search, or even just talk to ANYONE from any minority group. Many people from minority groups work two to three jobs to support their families. Women from minority groups are much more likely than White women to hold down a full time job while also caring for children. And perhaps most shocking of all to those who don’t know better is that the majority of people in this nation who receive welfare benefits are in fact (rural) Whites. Many times, the true cause of the staggering poverty rates is that minorities are continuously beaten down from climbing the social ladder by racial profiling that prevents them from ever getting ahead. Though not all White Americans take part in systematic racial profiling, most of us choose to either ignore it, deny it, or have no idea that it’s even happening.
Basically it boils down to this: Why are we still having this conversation? How is it even possible that it is 2014 and our society is still operating from racist notions about minorities? Based on an informal poll I conducted, I discovered that the majority of White people do not view racism as an issue in the United States. However, almost every person from a minority group (Black, Latino/a, and Asian-American) stated that they “strongly agree” that racism is an issue in the U.S. They’re not wrong. Every day, minority groups in the United States must live with the unspoken and crippling truth that White Americans have always held almost one hundred percent of the political, financial, educational, and social power and privilege in the United States. Pardon my French, but this is bullshit. If these problems are not fixed, if White Americans don’t start to realize their White privilege and work with minorities to fix our broken social system, then we might as well change our slogan from “The Great American Melting Pot” to the “Great American Taco Dip” where White-Americans get to be the easily accessible delicious cheese at the top, and minorities are all the way down at the bottom of the dish where no one dares to go for fear of breaking their tortilla chip.
Hopefully, our generation or our children’s generation can put an end to this quiet racism once and for all. Think about it like this: Judging a person based on the color of their skin is the exact same thing as judging a person based on the color of their eyes. Imagine how ridiculous it would be to go around telling people that those who had green eyes were superior to those with brown and blue eyes. It’s equally ridiculous to do this with skin color. It’s a body part, people. Body parts come in different colors. Get the fuck over it. Once we open our eyes and minds and realize how juvenile it is to judge another person, and then to systematically stop them from the highest levels of success they are able to achieve, solely because of their skin color, we will feel sick to our stomachs, ashamed of our ignorance and will demand change.”

-Maddie

Tis the Season!

As holiday season approaches, I wanted to take a moment to preemptively discuss the inevitable annual debate: Do you wish someone ‘happy holidays’ or something else? Forewarning: I am straightforward here, and if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and say why.


1. Say, for example, you celebrate Christmas but you know your friend celebrates Hanukkah. 

Wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If they’re cool, they’ll wish you a Merry Christmas. If they say ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ then just say thank you!! It’s really not a big deal.

I personally exchange gifts with some of my other faith-based friends and we aren’t coy about what we say or how we say it.


2. Say you are atheist and your friend is religious. 

Just wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ or a ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ (etc.).

Don’t be like this:

or this


3. Say you are religious and your friend is atheist.

Wish them a Merry Happy whatever you are. It doesn’t matter!! Then just move on.


4. Say you and your friend are both atheist and don’t celebrate anything.

Then, so what? Don’t say anything!!


5. Say you are not sure what someone else is.

If you celebrate Christmas, say ‘Merry Christmas and happy holidays!” If they don’t like it, they’ll probably correct you. You did nothing wrong. And, for example, if they respond back with “Happy Kwanzaa” then just say ‘Thank you!’ … because, after all, they cared enough to wish you well.

xx Nicki

‘Tis the season

As holiday season approaches, I wanted to take a moment to preemptively discuss the inevitable annual debate: Do you wish someone ‘happy holidays’ or something else? Forewarning: I am straightforward here, and if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and say why.


1. Say, for example, you celebrate Christmas but you know your friend celebrates Hanukkah. 

Wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If they’re cool, they’ll wish you a Merry Christmas. If they say ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ then just say thank you!! It’s really not a big deal.

I personally exchange gifts with some of my other faith-based friends and we aren’t coy about what we say or how we say it.


2. Say you are atheist and your friend is religious. 

Just wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ or a ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ (etc.).

Don’t be like this:

or this


3. Say you are religious and your friend is atheist.

Wish them a Merry Happy whatever you are. It doesn’t matter!! Then just move on.


4. Say you and your friend are both atheist and don’t celebrate anything.

Then, so what? Don’t say anything!!


5. Say you are not sure what someone else is.

If you celebrate Christmas, say ‘Merry Christmas and happy holidays!” If they don’t like it, they’ll probably correct you. You did nothing wrong. And, for example, if they respond back with “Happy Kwanzaa” then just say ‘Thank you!’ … because, after all, they cared enough to wish you well.

xx Nicki

5 times the workplace can be an absolute nightmare for women

These are some of my examples, all of which have happened to me in my years during/since college. It is absolutely disgusting how women are treated by this systemic sexism.



1. It was (basically) unspoken, but expected that I would take out the trash.

At one of my much older jobs, the trash was the job of everyone in the office. Or at least, so I was told. I was the only female and when I would start to take out my own trash, the others would say, “Oh, can you grab mine too?” Otherwise, it would just sit there piling up endlessly.

Eventually, I started taking my trash out when no one else was there so I wouldn’t be tricked into taking everyone’s out. While this might have not had to do with gender, the males should have been aware of what was happening. They were slobs, too.



2. I was paid 50% of what my male counterparts were making. 

I was paid a sickeningly low amount at one of my old jobs. I started the job needing it to graduate from college because it was part of the program. I was a full time, day employee with the same skills as the males. I was performing the same work. I had always assumed we all made low amounts, but one day I was informed what one of the males was making. It was double what I was making, and I was told we didn’t have enough money to pay anyone that much.



3. I was forced into being the receptionist.

Two different jobs. I was forced into being a receptionist in two different jobs. NO males were ever asked nor forced into it. I had even asked this question in both jobs, several times, and the answers were either evasive or that ‘the owner likes a woman to sit up front’ and that he is a ‘traditional man’. I was hired to do other work in both jobs, and both times it was also my duty to sit at the receptionist desk. I was performing very well at what I was hired to do, and don’t get me wrong – I still had those duties too, but I was also assigned the job as a receptionist (against my will). I fought it, requested formally by letters and e-mail, and was still made to do this job.



4. Males hush other males who swear and say ‘there’s a lady in the room’

This is something that doesn’t offend me. I have no problem when men swear because I swear too. I feel immediately uncomfortable when people feel the need to call attention to my gender and then stop talking. YET – moving onto #5, this type of conversation is never okay:



5. Males start having open conversations saying things like “Women should have to take a test to have a baby” and use the excuse that I was a ‘cool’ female who was able to hang with the guys as to why they would say such things in front of me.

I overhead many conversations like this at an old job. Most of the comments were by people in positions higher/much higher than mine. I ended up leaving this company, combined with reason #2, and demanding to be paid what I was actually worth. We settled in mediation and I was financially reimbursed.

xx Nicki

“What Football and Scandal Have in Common”

Like any other aspiring hipster, I read obscure blogs on the internet. Recently, I fell in love with Notes from the Broken Hearted.

The anonymous writer pours heart out for her followers to read. Most recently, she posted an article that I knew I had to share on Head Bitches in Charge. So I contacted the writer. For this blog’s sake we will call her “Jane.”

“What Football and Scandal Have in Common” is a personal perspective by Jane on feminine activities versus masculine activities and how we can compromise those in relationships. We don’t have to give up what we enjoy or be defensive towards things that are not “appropriate” for our gender.

Give it a read, I seriously recommend it. While you’re at it, check out the rest of Jane’s posts. Grab a glass of red wine and prepare for an emotional roller coaster.

7 Things You Should Be Doing to Get Through Midterms (or any week for that matter)

1. Make a plan.
Make a to-do list, organize your planner, make a sticky note and stick it to your
wall and rip it off when it’s completed, whatever it takes. I tend to go
overboard and give myself time slots for everything, including showering and 30 minute relaxation breaks. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
2. Allow yourself little breaks.
Set a timer on your phone and work thirty minutes without interruptions. Then
have a two minute break where you can look at Twitter, Instagram, etc. Repeat cycle. Increase time increments if you can.
3. Plan something fun for when it’s all done.
Someone just asked me how I’ve been so calm with everything I have to do this
week. Well, when I want to break down and sleep for the next five days, I remind myself of the wicked fun thing I planned for the weekend. You may or may not have to repeat this mantra to yourself like eighty times while studying.
4. Multi-task.
Eat while you study, study while you eat. Quiz yourself mentally on facts when you’re driving. Just keep it moving.
5. Don’t skip out on something because you’re “too busy.”
For me, I take a yoga class at my gym on Mondays. You may be extra busy this
week, but make time for the things you do on a regular basis. It will make you
feel more normal.
6. GET. ENOUGH. SLEEP.
You won’t retain as much if you’re tired. Weren’t you listening in 5th grade
health class?
7. Drink extra water.
That coffee you just had dehydrated you. The more dehydrated you are, the harder your crash will be after that caffeine high. Drink some water, save yourself a headache. Hell, maybe even put some lemons or other citrus fruit in it.

l8r sk8rs,

Justine

Transcending Gender

My husband kind of clued me in a couple years ago that I am what some might consider a feminist in ideals.

We talked about it, and yes, in some ways, I am. I would consider myself more an advocate for equality and for cultivating powerful women. It might be because I hate pity, and I never want to see someone pitied. Pity is worse than hate or any other feeling towards another person.

I watch too many women perpetuate what is so pitiful about being weak and submissive. I hate when a woman is scared to talk to a man, or anyone for that matter. I hate when someone is scared to do for his or her self.

There is a difference between a woman who is trying to act tough and a woman who is tough. You notice a woman who tries to act tough, and you see that she is over compensating. You can’t help but to feel that she is out of place and is trying to ‘fake it until she makes it’ in the world – but does she ever really?

You don’t notice a woman who is rightly powerful – you don’t think about her gender so much, and when you do, you think about it in an accepting, almost loving way. You don’t think she is out of her playing field and you will respect and listen to her. She just belongs because she transcends gender.

She transcends gender. 

I consider myself feminine, but I also love to do things that are not. I just like to do… things… that interest me. I enjoy putting on makeup and doing my nails. I enjoy all of that. But I like masculine things, too.

I have done my share of studying and working hard. I earn my paycheck. I have pursued additional education. I am capable.

My husband cooks and cleans and does laundry better than I do. I’m motherly to our pets. We both drive standard cars. He loves hunting and fishing. I love doing sports. There’s a lot of gender role reversals in our marriage, as well as normalities. BECAUSE NO ONE FITS A MOLD. Society has molds designed for us that are largely unattainable. And to perpetuate them is sad, especially in this day and age.

As a little girl, I was called bossy all the time by boys. I was probably bossy to a certain level, as any kid can be, as any boy can be. Sometimes bossy is just that – bossy. But there were times I was treated like I was being bitchy and bossy because I was taking charge and standing up for my views. An argumentative woman is a bitch.

I’ve never been one who handles being controlled well. I do not stand for being walked all over. If I am being used, I rebel. I’ve tried in the past, admittedly, to change. But my inner conscience gets the better of me, and I have no desire to change anymore.

I once had a group of friends who were not treating me well. I ended up standing my ground, which labeled me a bitch. I did not cave. I attempted to work a solution several times, without folding on my stance, but because I didn’t agree to their view, I was in the wrong. (Believe me, sometimes I am wrong… but on this, I do not think I was.)

I was labeled many hurtful things.

I will never be sorry for standing up for myself. I will never be sorry for not being submissive. I will always fight back when I am being wronged.

If you don’t like me as I am, it’s okay. There’s over 6 billion people in this world, and one view is irrelevant. Plenty of other people will take me as I am.

xx Nicki