Living in a bubble

Miami is one of the few cities in the United States where I am not considered a minority. Nearly everyone here is Latino-American or Hispanic-American. There’s a big community of Haitian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and Arab-Americans on this little corner of the Florida peninsula. People from all over the world live in this city and I can honestly say that I have never once experienced overt racism or racial profiling here. I didn’t even know about ethnic slurs and insults toward latinos until I was in my late teens.

Now, I can’t tell if the incidents of racism that have been increasingly reported on the news speaks of a malignant majority or a vocal minority in the United States (I hope it is the latter), but it is concerning either way. In 2011, I traveled to Paris, Virginia on an animal rights trip. We stayed in a small town that had a confederate cemetery and mostly old people. On our third day there, me and some animal rights activists (sorry for breaking a grammar rule but that’s how I wanted to write it😂 ) were racially profiled– the first time ever for me. We were greeted at 9 in morning by two cops asking us why we were there, if we had any identification on us, and what our social security numbers were. It was a bizarre and uncomfortable experience to be made felt an outsider inside a country I was born in and my parents immigrated legally into, especially since we had done nothing but help animals since we got there.

Surprisingly, I’d never thought about my skin color until that year (and I wasn’t aware that many people view hispanics as a race, not an ethnicity). Sure, I’d thought about racism and xenophobia, but I’d never thought about how I fit into that narrative, and I was naïve in the sense that, until I experienced it myself, I thought about it as a thing of the past. It is an incredible privilege to exist as the majority in any place (unless you lived in the South Africa Apartheid), and that is the bubble I’d lived in my entire life in Miami, as a part of the majority. Here, I can speak Spanish without worrying about comments like “learn English (English and Spanish are my first languages)” or “go back to Mexico (I’m not Mexican).” Here, I’m not subject to racial profiling or racial slurs because I am part of the dominant “race.” Traveling to a place where (for the first time) I was a minority was an eyeopening experience and if it’s something you’ve never done, I think it’s an important experience that you should give yourself.

Have you ever experienced being a minority (maybe you’ve been a part of the minority your entire life)? What was it like? Was your experience negative or positive? I’d like to hear your stories!

Taking you online shopping with me

I love the print and oversized fit of this blouse.

Koi Fish Shirt from Zara for $49.90

I found this in the men’s section but I might just buy it for myself. It reminds me of the Miami Marlins and even though I’m not a baseball fan, I like how it reminds me of home.

Hooded Swordfish Print Jacket from Forever21 for $26.99

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I’ve thrifted for mom jeans and high-waisted shorts before, but they never quite fit the way I want them to. It might be time to buy brand new jeans.

Mom Jeans from Urban Outfitters for $79

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This shirt has a nice bowling-silk pajama-greaser inspired look that I quite enjoy.

Bad Luck Greaser Shirt for Lazy Oaf for $68

I probably won’t buy any of these items. I have a window shopping problem. I’ll fill up my shopping cart with all sorts of things, then close the window and act like none of it ever happened. 😂  I can’t be alone in this. Please comment if you’re a shopping cart deserter like me, or if you like any of the items in this post! Thanks for reading 🙂

 

In Trump’s America, Jan 20-Feb 20

If you follow the news you know it’s been a hectic month in the United States. Trump’s presidency has been riddled with protests, controversies, and a cascade of executive orders. I’ll be writing one of these posts every month with links to the “news highlights” of that month that relate to the President, his cabinet, and his orders.

Executive Orders

Total of 11 executive orders (if you don’t count the Muslim ban since federal courts ruled against it).

Big Stories

Silencing the EPA

Sean Spicer scolds the media during his first press conference

Kellyanne Conway coins the term “alternative facts”

Federal appeals court rules against the Muslim Ban 

Kellyanne Conway cites Bowling Green Massacre that never happened

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns over conversations with Russian ambassador 

Trump advisor Stephen Miller turns hype-man

Trump tells Netanyahu to “hold off on settlements for a bit”  Trump says he can live with a one-state or two-state solution in Israeli-Palestinian deal

Trump scolds reporter for asking about claims that his campaign spurred anti-Semitism

Trump makes Sweden terror comment

Learning More About People Through Conversation

Here are some things to pay attention to in your conversations with other people. You may learn more about them than you otherwise would!

Statements and Generalizations. Pay attention to the things people say. If someone says a generalization about a group of people, that could say more about the person saying it than the group they are claiming to generalize. For example, one of my friends recently said, “people never behave how they feel, they only say how they feel and behave how they think,” which told me more about him than it did about humanity. Sometimes when people aren’t trying to talk about themselves, they end up telling you a lot about who they are.

Overreactions. If you’re discussing something with somebody and they start yelling or become angry, seemingly out of nowhere, their frustration probably has nothing to do with what you said about the topic you were discussing. As soon as there is a reaction unmerited by the situation, the conversation/argument is no longer about the subject you engaged in but in the person’s need to blow off steam regarding a separate situation they’re unhappy about. Sometimes people lash out in situations unrelated to whatever it is they’re unhappy about to unburden any anguish/stress they feel about that outside problem they’re dealing (or failing to deal) with.

Insults. Whenever a conversation, argument, or discussion resorts to insults, not only is it time to walk away, but it says a lot about the person doing the insulting. If you notice that somebody is becoming disrespectful in a conversation, it could mean that they feel belittled or beaten by the dialogue and are aiming to “win” through insult by trying to verbally hurt the other person as much as possible. It’s pointless to continue engaging with someone who’s enraged and in their anger, are unable to concede that they are either wrong or that they can’t/don’t want to continue defending their position.  Insults are often just used as a defense mechanism, even if the situation makes them seem unnecessary to you; if you pay attention to what and how a person is choosing to insult you, it could tell you a lot about how the person is feeling about themselves and what they’re insecure about.

Vegan Side Effects: Healthy Brain & Healthy Heart

Vegans are typically health-conscious individuals who, after cutting meat and dairy products from their diet, also choose to eliminate highly processed foods from their diets, even if those food products are vegan (like Spicy Sweet Doritos, for example).  The benefits of following a healthy vegan diet (it’s okay to cheat on your diet with vegan guilty pleasures every now and then) are many, but the most impactful benefits are the benefits to your heart and your brain.

Heart Benefits

  • At least 25% reduced risk of mortality from ischemic heart disease (Source)
  • TMAO, which increases the risk of heart disease, is lower in vegans/vegetarians than in meat eaters (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction and Stage B Heart Failure Burden (Source)
  • Reversal of existing coronary artery disease (Source)

Brain Benefits

  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (Source)
  • Reduced risk of Multiple Sclerosis (Source)
  • Reduced risk of senile dementia (Source)
  • Reduced risk of having a stroke (Source)
  • Regression of diabetic neuropathy (Source)

Check out this fun article on brain superfoods (11/12 vegan options).

Some other benefits: reduced risk of cancer, obesity, hypertension, gallstones, cholesteroldiabetes, and more. Vegans also have lower mortality rates.

Please feel free to google around for more sources. It’s fun to do your research, challenge your beliefs (and challenge assumptions in others’ beliefs), and in the end learn something new! If you’ve ever tried the vegan/vegetarian diet, leave me a comment! How did you feel afterward? Did it help you? Did it not? I’d like to know! Thanks for reading 🙂

Illegal Immigration into the U.S.

People don’t come here illegally because they want to break the law, they come here illegally because it’s the only way they can in their desperate situation (meaning waiting X amount of years isn’t an option). Illegal immigrants pay thousands of dollars to get here (that they would contribute to the U.S. if there was an avenue for that)…they don’t just walk in here…there are people along the way who they have to pay and there are risks to their lives that they take just to be here. Instead of building a wall on taxpayer dollars (especially given that the majority of taxpayers did not vote for President Trump), build an immigration system that works (immigrants made, and continue to make, this country great). To those criminalizing immigrants, how do you think America was made? You think they asked the Native Americans for permission? You want to criminalize immigrants in search for a better life, start with the ones in your U.S. history book.