Incessant Noise

Mrs. Chung-Wipff what are you?

Mrs. Chung-Wipff I’m sorry this is

Mrs. Chung-Wipff how do you pronounce

Mrs. Chung-Wipff your order has been

Mrs. Chung-Wipff your father has

Mrs. Chung-Wipff you need to

Mrs. Chung-Wipff you must

Mrs. Chung-Wipff you have a beautiful

Mrs. Chung-Wipff what did you make for

Mrs. Chung-Wipff do you speak another

Mrs. Chung-Wipff according to our records

Mrs. Chung-Wipff the district is asking

Caroline that’s not

Caroline would you please

Caroline I didn’t mean to

Caroline I’m sorry you feel

Caroline where is the

Caroline do we have

Caroline have you seen

Caroline stop saying

Caroline you’re so lucky you

Caroline where do you keep

Caroline why is your name

Caroline did you receive

Caroline where are you from

Caroline why did you

Caroline when will you

answer

*Inspired by Destiny O. Birdsong’s poem “Bandwidth” which was inspired by a poem dedicated to Wanda Coleman (Wanda Why Aren’t you Dead”)

The Problem with Identity

I am reading “Freedom From the Known” by J. Krishnamurti:

“To identify ourselves with something is fairly easy. Most of us identify ourselves with something – with our family, our husband or wife, our nation – and that leads to great misery and great wars.”

He goes on to explain the chasm or “space” between our knowing selves and that which we are observing. This “space” is what keeps us from really seeing each other. Our perception of each other is really a collection of memories.

I’m not sure I’m explaining it well, but I’m finding much truth to this book.

Growing Pains

My daughter came home from the gym and said, “I saw a truck with a large Confederate flag and Trump signs all over it. Why do we have to live here? Why did you move us from San Francisco?”

I chuckled. “Actually, Mesa, AZ is more like most of the country than not. In San Francisco, we lived in a bubble. And even that place has changed a ton in the past 15 years.”

“I want to live in a bubble!” She whined.

I get it.

It reminded me of the time I came home crying after a particularly grueling day of racial taunts in elementary school. As a 100% ethnically Korean-American girl growing up in Davenport, Iowa in the 70s, life could be challenging. Each day, someone called me chink or told me to go back where I came from.

My father reacted sternly to my tears: “Caroline, life is going to show you much harder times. Don’t be weak and cry.” His jaw grew hard and his face turned red.

“Go. Wash your face.”

And we never spoke of racism again.

And I’ve yet to find the answer to the question I had: “How do you convert racists into kind human beings?”

Money Talks

Rakevion White, 21, spoke to reporters after a meeting between his civil rights representatives and the Breakfast Club's leadership team on Nov. 13, 2019.

Locals  (Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona): Please boycott the Breakfast Club in Phoenix. A young man had the “n word” written on his ticket by a coworker. The owner says it was just a joke and no one has been held accountable. In fact, this young man, Rakevion White, has had his hours cut with no explanation.

Money talks. Take your business elsewhere.

Out on a Lim*

CNBC.com

The sequel to the “Crazy Rich Asians” film has been delayed because of a pay dispute. Adele Lim, a female Asian writer, was offered 1/8 the pay as her male (white) co-writer. This is an enormous disparity and even more egregious when you consider what she brings to the table (which he cannot): an Asian perspective to an Asian film.

Here are some of her words on the matter:

“Being evaluated that way can’t help but make you feel that is how they view my contributions,” Lim said. She also feels women and people of color are used as “soy sauce.” In other words, they’re only there to add a cultural flavor to the project.

 

No Two Are Alike

IMG-1918
“The middle one is pregnant,” says the husband.

Every zebra has unique stripe patterns – much like humans’ fingerprints. 

If we could just appreciate our singularity – and the originality of others, this world would be a more peaceful place.

I like Ram Dass’ observation: When we go out and see trees, we don’t judge them. We don’t say this one is better than that one. We appreciate every tree. We should do that with people. Appreciate every person. 

Judgmental people tend to judge themselves fiercely. They believe it makes them work harder and be better. In fact, judgmental people possess an insecurity and sometimes a level of self-hate that disables them to love others.

There is strife in America right now. There is a great divide. But ignorance is being met with consciousness and ultimately, awareness will win.