Darkside - Paper Trails
I sorta imagine death like falling and dissipating into a cloud of dust coughed up by the body’s impact on the dirt.
Who was that masked man #kanyewest #kanye #yeezus #yeezustour (at The Yeezus Tour)
Something I saw today: “In 1492, Native Americans found Columbus lost at sea.” Wowowow. Small change but so meaningful!
And the countless unnamed
Uhhg! The used book I purchased online has shitty highlighting from the previous owner!
When I walked into my preschool on the first day of class, my name wasn’t Samantha. It was Hoang-Anh. The only English words I did know were, “stop,” “hello,” “please,” and “thank you.” My teacher made it very clear to my mother that afternoon what a hindrance my lack of English would be.
“Here in America, we speak English. She doesn’t even recognize her own name.”
My mother apologized, promising that she’d try to teach me English as quickly as she could. That night, she wove my American name into my nightly bedtime story, my birth certificate clutched in her hand and her fingers grazing over my place of birth: California. She had to remind herself that she did not come to America for this. For the next month, she and my father spoke only in English, read only English books to me, and listened to only English music.
I don’t remember how long it took for me to stop speaking Vietnamese. But it was the day I stopped singing Vietnamese folk songs to my bedridden grandfather.
It was the day he stopped recognizing me as his granddaughter, and knew me only as the strange little Vietnamese girl living in his house.
It was the day I stopped being Hoang-Anh and became Samantha.
Samantha is good at English; you could say she even excels in it.
She can write essays while in half sleep and when she was twelve, she read Virginia Woolf. But Samantha, I, had clorox poured down my throat. When I speak, I sound too smooth, too glib, too lost, in comparison to my mother who sounds like home and warmth and a country I can no longer remember how to find. When my mother speaks to me in Vietnamese, I can understand her perfectly. But when I try to respond to her in anything but English, it’s like trying to look into my blind spot without turning my head.
I try to make up for what I lack by embracing as much of my heritage, my culture, and my history as possible. But there is only so much I can do when during family reunions and family weddings, I am tightlipped the entire night, sipping soda xi muoi and straining to remember how to say, “I’ve been good, and you?” If there are a handful of Vietnamese words I do remember how to say, it is sorry. Xin lỗi. I am so sorry.
If I could ask my grandmother something, I would ask her how it feels to have four grandchildren who can’t speak to her, how it feels to have her family tree hemorrhaging at its roots when her two baby grandchildren turn their noses up at Vietnamese food. I would ask her if she feels proud of my mother for successfully bleaching my accent right out of my throat.
I would also apologize to my grandfather.
I’m sorry that I stopped singing.
"Any self-description as ‘normal’ should be treated with a certain skepticism, not to say wariness, about the political relations condensed and concealed in that gesture."
— Julian B. Carter, The Heart of Whiteness
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll be really far away from me with your motivational nonsense."
— Jaspreet Kaur, one of my SJSU ASPIRE buds. Hilarious!
i’m a strong believer that not everything you do needs an explanation. if you want a tattoo, get one. if you rather stay home that night, it’s okay to miss that party. don’t forget that you’re living for yourself. you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices or preferences.
I’ve known people where their families didn’t have a lot of money, or even a little. Their school lunches where their only meals in the day. Think about that. They voted to take away their only meal.
I have gone to a grocery store with my roommate and bought tons of pasta, peanut butter, bread, and ‘box meals’ the night before major school breaks, divided them into bags and boxes and then ‘casually’ asked kids throughout the day if they would mind taking them off my hands because I was going home for break and wanted to clean out my pantry.
Because I know that my babies LITERALLY depend on school for steady meals. One of the richest countries in the goddamn world and I’m sending peanut butter home with my students so they won’t go to bed hungry over Christmas break.
Fuck you, GOP.
For a while, I volunteered with my mom at the elementary school where my grandad used to work. We were packing countless bags of food for kids to take home on the weekends.
I volunteered at Second Harvest yesterday for the first time and they said that they were providing food to a quarter of a million people a month, some absurdly high amount of which was children under fourteen. Sad, sad, sad.
FAR over 50% of the school I teach at is on the Free and Reduced Lunch program.
Fruitvale Station made my mom cry. I probably would have cried too if we hadn’t been in a public theater. derp
This is the story of Oscar Grant and the last day before his senseless death. It’s important to capture the human being behind the media portrayals; this film accomplishes just that and fashions Oscar into a symbol for young men similarly held back by a dark past. In spite of his troubles, Oscar tries to make his life work. Director Ryan Coogler paints a very beautiful image of life for Oscar - not an idyll, mind you, but a beautiful image nonetheless. There is only one scene that appears fabricated and heavy handed (Supermarket Scene) but the film is otherwise very raw and emotionally poignant.
The film is bizarrely uplifting despite its tragic protagonist. I credit this to its unique ability to usurp the “hard urban black man” trope to show the humanity of the central character. Highly recommended.