When my mother and I moved to America, there was suddenly a space between us, and it grew exponentially. Her life was trying to regain the little she had in Odessa, fast fast fast, and it turned out she had quite a lot – a language, friends, a city, movies, a job as a programmer that she loved. Now her life was night school and odd jobs and welfare and where to buy the cheapest vegetables and how to fill out forms and how not to cry in front of her kid at night.
My life was trying to understand everything all at once. School was so different, and the kids were so grown up, and I was so lonely and bewildered. There were suddenly outfits, and coolness, and making out, and knowing what was on TV. I came from a world of uniforms and being a straight-A student and being so good at words that I didn’t have to take my Russian final exam, which was something to be proud of there, but not here. I was growing up but didn’t know how to be a girl and I didn’t ask my mother because she was trying not to drown and I didn’t want to cling to her neck and drag her down faster. I knew where babies came from, but not where smelly armpits came from. It turned out they came from me. It seems like such a simple thing, knowing when to use deodorant, but I didn’t really understand I was changing. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want everything to be different all at once. The other girls were wearing what I found out were called training bras under their shirts. I was alternating between two white tanktop undershirts, with a little red cherry or strawberry emblazoned on the left. Everyone’s boobs were in training, but mine were just slightly bigger than a boy’s, and I hated them. I would lie on my back at night and stretch my arms as far back as they would go until my hints of boobs became flat like a boy’s again. I wanted just one thing to stay the same.
Everyone at school talked too fast and I didn’t understand what kids laughed at, even though a lot of the time it was me. I’d only ever been around white people, but at my new school they were the minority, and they were cruel and stuck-up and nothing like me at all. The kids who were nice to me were Catholic Mexican girls, who were taught to be nice to everyone and whose mothers cleaned houses like my mother, and me sometimes. There were also black girls who would laugh and tell me I was weird but would teach me the tootsie roll and the butterfly, and brush out all my curls into an afro they would cornrow during health class. We all wore shoes from Payless and didn’t see enough of our mothers.
There was also Kareem, my first American crush, who winked at me and joked with me when I was starving for anyone to see me as a person, much less a girl. I didn’t joke at all because I didn’t understand anyone that well, but he gave me the gift of being funny again, in English this time. He was confident, handsome, with a huge toothy smile and dimples, and everyone loved him. He didn’t have to be nice to me at all. When we had school pictures taken and he gave me his, I kept it in my wallet, behind my bus pass, for the next seven years, and sometimes pretended he was my boyfriend.
It was my first lesson in real kindness, in the equality of the outsider, in socioeconomic status being a bond, and my first understanding of how race didn’t mean unity or likeness or affinity. This was before I had ever heard of Martin Luther King Jr. or the impact of slavery on this country, or really understood about why there were so many Mexicans in Los Angeles.
I told none of this to my mother, who was suffering through this new country and wasn’t home a lot. That was the beginning of the distance, us trying not to cry in front of each other at night and just muddle through everything with Russian work ethic and Jewish guilt, my mother guilty for bringing me here to this cold and confusing place, and me guilty for not appreciating her bringing me here in the first place. We would come back to our tiny carpeted room in Hollywood, each to our separate homework of English and Appreciating This New Place, and we would hope that the other didn’t notice we were dying of loneliness. It worked. We grew stronger and separate and we didn’t understand the language of each other’s misery.
All we had was each other, and it was not enough.
Boy in school runs our branch of Kony 2012. Doesn’t research it. Surprised to learn of its less beneficial side. Continues campaign anyway.
Alright, thanks for the replies everyone. Didn’t mean to make you all mad, I just wanted to understand the liberal side. I’m cool with welfare for families that need it and are actively seeking work. I know the requirements, but it is an easy system to corrupt. Forget about statistics here because you can’t gather this kind. Use common sense- Don’t you think it’s the least bit odd that you have to get drug tests to have a job in this country, but not to collect money from those who have jobs and contribute to society? Seriously, I’d be fine with helping people who are not doing drugs. I admire the trust in this “honor system,” but wouldn’t it make all the sense in the world to require drug tests on the unemployed who go on welfare.
As far as OWS goes, I’m all for exercising democratic rights. However, this has gone too far. You might want to check this out- http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-01-29/occupy-oakland-protests/52871646/1. I’m sure that not all protesters use drugs, burn our flag, and assault people. But it’s disturbing how many are, and getting away with it.
Also, corporations create jobs and run this country. Attacking them and being paranoid about “lobbying” is just silly and un- American. Capitalism runs on competition and these corporations create global competitiveness and American superiority across the world. Why do people have a problem with our politicians helping them out? So what, they get paid. Good for them! It’s not undermining democracy at all. Corporations are made up of people, and those people are the ones helping our economy. We must get work ethic back in America because this system has always worked until this current epidemic of laziness and entitlement sense.
As far as poor people helping themselves, that’s not what I said at all. I think we the people must take responsibility and help them, apart from the government. My family is active in helping the poor. My parents donate to many charities and we help the poor through my volunteer activities, such as homeless shelters. This is actually caring for the poor. Unlike big government help, with its many opportunities for corruption, it’s actually showing them love as opposed to forced giving.
I’m just going to focus real quick on the part I bolded. This, folks, is spoon-fed conservative nonsense. OP, you asked liberals to explain corruption. But corporations paying politicians to look out for their special interests is just “creating competition”? And questioning that is UN-AMERICAN? Gee, I wonder why people say Republicans don’t care about poor people!
For real though. Having social programs (which every first-world nation has, including the ones with better economies than ours) is creating an “epidemic of laziness and entitlement” but openly supporting candidates who will let you pay less in taxes is just how capitalism works? Seriously? Seriously? Are you even listening to yourself?
Take your own advice and use a little common sense. Do you think we should drug test every person who gets tax breaks? Every person who uses public schools and parks and sidewalks? No? Then why should we only drug test poor people who use “taxpayer money”? HMMMM.
I love your “well you can’t gather statistics on this stuff” line. Actually you can! In Florida, when they started drug-testing welfare recipients, less than 2% of them failed. That’s lower than than the average level of drug use in our country, period. That’s not common sense — that’s reality. The truth has a liberal bias.
To respond to the #OWS accusation: Almost every single time you find a violent situation in #OWS, it starts with the police actually making efforts to avoid letting the peaceful protests reach their destination.
The Oakland protests, though, have far more history than just OWS with police brutality. I personally wouldn’t know it, since I don’t keep up on that area, but within days of their first rounds of arrests, media outlets had articles linking OWS arrests to past situations in the justice system. There’s barely a handful of citizens that are surprised that there’s this much violence on both sides of the playing field.
Unfortunately, Oakland is going to be used as a huge target for OWS critics that don’t really “get” this particular city. Certainly, though, it’s going to polarize the media further.
So I live in the area that was most affected by it. The public academy I attend is in the town with the most 9/11-related deaths, and my church just gave up on individual memorials after a year because there were too many. My mom and dad both have their stories, as do many of my aunts and uncles, friends, and others that my family knows.
But for the most part, we’ve moved on.
Most of us have. Most of us want to, and have been craving normality.
It’s been over a decade. Think about that - ten years. That’s a long time. It’s been more than 3652 days.
And what bothers most of us is that people outside of the area still talk about 9/11 like it’s yesterday. Like everything is “too soon” or “too offensive” or whatever you’d like. As a lot of people around here say, it’s like something they saw on TV. It’s like how Holocaust jokes offend Catholics more than some Jews.
For the most part, most of us don’t want to think that much about it.
I mean, yes, there are some people that are still a bit upset about it, but look at commentary that you might see everywhere, especially when the decade anniversary rolled around. People can talk about it calmly. Even firefighters who climbed up and down. They might tear up a bit, but that’s it. The people who still take offense because it directly affected them are often suffering from extreme PTSD, beyond the point of no return, but that number is very small in this area.
When people take offense to something as simple as an advertisement, we think you’re trying too hard to look for something to be upset about. These people just making it worse. I mean, yes, the blogger that pointed this out is from NYC, but he probably wasn’t as close up as members of my family were (for instance, my aunt literally walked out of a building onto a trauma scene that was later engulfed by the fallen towers, and later she was treated for PTSD), and they don’t freak out about it.
Look, please don’t take offense for others. We appreciate the effort, but when it’s hindering good progress (especially in another country that has little to no link to the incident) or nice, cute ads, you’re stepping too far. Very few people are actually offended by things such as these. But as all of us on tumblr should know by now, anything can offend people.
I’LL BE GOD DAMNED IF TOLLHOUSE IS GOING TO TAKE AWAY MY RED BLOODED AMERICAN RIGHT TO EAT COOKIE DOUGH.
-Dennis Edney, was Canadian Omar Khadar’s Lawyer, the youngest victim detainee of Guantanamo Bay at the age of 15. He talks about the “War on Terror”, his visits to Guantanamo to see Omar where witnessed the continued building of that illegal prison, and his frustration with the Canadian public’s…
I’ve seen a disconcerting surge of Ron Paul support amongst the Left on tumblr of late, and, though I do understand how, at times, Ron Paul takes some great stances no one else is willing to take, and, by the very fact of being such an idiosyncrasy, he appeals to the general distaste for…
pretty much these
(a.k.a. Why Riningear Opposes Libertarianism Without Saying The Word “Libertarian” Anywhere Besides This Line)
What’s sad about our country is that the less we allow government intervention, the more chaos will probably break out.
Disgust with the police state and anger against the “rich” for controlling the government that should be supposedly “helping” the 99% “common” folk.
I have a simple solution. Less government, less spending, less taxes, less influence, and less corruption.
We can take away the strongest weapon…
less regulation, less protection
more corporations drinking champagne while we lose jobs
libertarianism is counter-productive