Awareness · Inclusion

My Thoughts on Black Panther

I’m going to try to make this as spoiler-free as possible. Or at least there won’t be any major spoilers. Long story short, this is a must-see movie for black people.

On March 17th, my boyfriend and I finally saw Black Panther. Two things jumped out at me: the emphasis on social justice issues involving black people, and T’Challa’s technology developer little sister Shuri.

The first thing I must say is that Black Panther did not get advertised as much on TV compared to other movies, and we know damn well why. Still, despite white Hollywood trying to make us unaware of this movie, r/BlackPeopleTwitter did it’s job to hype everyone up and it’s still scoring big bucks at the box office. You know, because we know the importance of representation in the media. I don’t watch superhero movies, and I don’t really go to movie theaters anymore after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, BlackPeopleTwitter hyped up the movie so much for me that I knew I had to do something about it.

Characters like Nakia and Killmonger talk about the social justice issues that faced black people in the past and the social justice issues we still face. Even in recent years. No more explanation about that.

There are two tags that describe my feelings when I saw a black girl who develops tech stuff: #ISawMyself and #SeeHer. I’m a black woman in tech who has never been on a project with another black woman in tech. All the black women were in administrative roles. I was always the only black female software engineer in an industry oversaturated by white men. After the movie was over and my boyfriend asked me about my thoughts about the movie, I said “This will be the only time I will ever see another black woman in tech unless I look in the mirror.” Representation is so fucking important. We need to show other black women that they belong in tech. It’s why I’m excited to be going to grad school.

Going back to black representation, how many times do we see black people being represented as thugs, thieves, and murderers? How many times does media portray us in negative lights while white people get on news shows like Inside Edition for what would not be considered news? How many times are black people portrayed as successful and educated? Black Panther is the step toward proper representation of black people. Black Panther is the start of a revolution to change our media. We will get the same respect in media that white people do.

Even if you don’t watch superhero movies, this movie is groundbreaking. Vote with your wallet and see this movie. Show Hollywood that this is what we want in a movie. This movie is feminist-friendly, womanist-friendly, minority-friendly. I should have seen this movie sooner. WAKANDA FOREVER!

Awareness · Self-Reflection

A Reflection on a Martin Luther King Event

So I was originally going to do a blog ranting about how many people at my job want to work on Martin Luther King Day, but I decided to do a blog post on yesterday’s outing instead.

My co-workers put me in a bad mood on Thursday and Friday because I felt like they didn’t care about the significance of today. Yes, they’re white so they were never affected by racism, but they could at least not want to work that day. On Friday, I was looking at upcoming events in my boyfriend’s town. I found the perfect one to make me feel better. So I decided to channel my anger into an educational opportunity for my boyfriend. He likes history and there was going to be a light lunch. Franklin loves food, especially if it’s free.

The event was a four-part event gathering people of the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in a “Journey to Peace”. This multi-faith event was created as a way to unite for peace when the 2017 inauguration was about to happen. The first event was the blood drive for people who are interested. 24 people signed up, and 16 whole units of blood were able to be used to donate. 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives, so up to 48 lives will be saved by the donations. The second part of the event was a light lunch. Bread, lentil soup, butternut squash soup, salad, and desserts were offered. I tried a new food, which I will talk about at the end of the month. The third event was us watching clips from movies and having a facilitated discussion afterwards. The final event was a 30-minute church service with scriptures from the Bible, Torah, and Quran; songs; and a ritual where we put tea light candles in a vase to promise that we will fight for peace and equality. As we said during the event, “Salam, Shalom, and Peace.”

We watched clips of the following movies:

  • Accidental Courtesy. In this documentary, we hear about musician Daryl Davis who meets with various members of the Ku Klux Klan to befriend them and try to learn why there are some people who hate African Americans. A few people he befriended quit the Klan
  • Malcolm X. This movie is about the life and activism of Malcolm X. He preached about a separation from white society, but his pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj, a mandatory religious duty for Muslims) made him learn that there are Muslims of all races.
  • Marshall. This movie is about Thurgood Marshall when he was a lawyer for the NAACP. He was assigned to defend a black man in Connecticut, but was not allowed to defend a fellow black man. Sam Friedman, a Jewish insurance lawyer, is assigned to defend Joseph Spell instead. Friedman is resentful at first. Trigger warning for the movie: mentions of sexual assault.

When I first stepped into the social hall where lunch and video viewing was located, I was surprised, but deeply disturbed at the lack of black people. This event is to honor someone that helped us. Why aren’t there more of us? More black people showed up when the lunch was ending, but I expected it to be a mostly black event. I decided to change that way of thinking and thought it was good that white people are here to be educated about the struggles we went through and still go through. Education is key to changing the perceptions people have about minorities. The food was vegetarian-friendly (and vegan-friendly if vegans avoid the desserts). It was a light lunch, but the soup helped to satisfy me and I didn’t feel hungry until later than usual. Drinks included sweetened ice tea, water, and lemonade. I usually don’t drink anything when I eat.

One key takeaway from this event was that change must first come from within. I first learned this in my Peacemaking class during my final semester of university. If you want to change others, you must look within yourself to see what self-improvements need to be made first. Kind of like “Love yourself before you can love others”. Another key takeaway is the message of how we need to unite with people like us instead of fighting with each other. Franklin liked the event overall, which is good. This boyfriend seems to get it, while the previous guy refused to acknowledge his privilege. I think we all felt renewed by going to this event. Go to your town’s (or nearest town’s) Patch for local events.


Feminist Joys: Better Access to Birth Control in Maryland

Today while I was at work, I came across an article about how a Maryland law will make access to birth control easier. This law was passed in 2016, but will come into effect on New Years’ Day. Article here.

People! This is so important!

And before some of you complain, vasectomies are covered too.

Maryland is among a dozen states that strengthened birth control rights for those who need it. The Affordable Care Act has some loopholes that still made getting birth control harder, and with the people in this presidency who are trying to roll back women’s rights, this is a major step to resistance. Many states adopted this law after the results of the 2016 election.

Let us feminists and womanists thank the people who helped Maryland become a state that helps with women’s rights. Even when we’re scared, we can still resist.


Time to Educate: How to Choose the Right Birth Control for You

So as a feminist, I believe that feminists should educate people. Since healthcare is a part of feminism that got me started with being a feminist (but not the main thing to make me become a feminist), I thought I should provide some education on choosing the right birth control for you. This blog post is inspired by a recent IUD string check.

Disclaimer: Diaryofself is not a medical professional. She is a software developer. Please have a discussion with your healthcare provider to determine the birth control that is right for you.

When determining what kind of birth control is right for you, there are some questions that may be helpful when making your decision. Here are some questions that I have come up with that you can answer:

  • Do you want to eventually have kids? If that answer is yes, then you want a temporary form of birth control. If that answer is no, there are a few permanent options for birth control
  • Do you want hormonal or non-hormonal? If you want hormonal, you have many options. If you want non-hormonal, there are not many options
  • Would you forget to take a pill at the same time each day? If so, choose something other than a pill. You can take it as soon as you remember, but you may ovulate if you take it even six hours later than usual (according to my 9th grade health teacher)
  • Would you be in circumstances where taking a pill the same time every day would not be possible? For example, you are a wedding attendant a wedding. Wedding attendants have to start getting ready for the wedding many hours before guests even start to arrive. Of course, all personal belongings will be locked in a room. Will you need to grab a pill to take it on time if the wedding ceremony or reception is still going on when it’s pill time?
  • Are you able to see a doctor every few months for shots? Working a job may make appointments difficult. So is traveling abroad. Will you be able to go to any doctor for a shot? Seriously, do you? I never did shots for birth control.

There may be other factors you may have of choosing the right birth control, but these were questions I came up with when helping someone online with choosing what birth control they want to use. A few questions were questions I answered before deciding that I want to get an IUD.

So I won’t risk making this blog post too long, if you want to know what birth control options exist, Planned Parenthood’s website is an excellent resource to use. Not only do they tell you what options exist, but they mention the pros and cons as well as the effectiveness of the birth control.


Veterans Day: What Does It Mean?

So today is Veterans Day. It’s a day where people honor military veterans. But do people know where this day originated? Because I’m a milso (military significant other) whose boyfriend is a veteran, I’m probably required by the milso community to make a post about today. So I will, with a little education taught to me by the project manager of my previous project. But before I do that, let me recognize the veterans in my life:

  • Some people I used to work with (army veterans, navy veterans, and air force veterans)
  • My grandfather (Korean War army veteran)
  • My Godfather (Army veteran)
  • My kickboxing coach (Marine Corps veteran)
  • Franklin (Army veteran, currently in Army National Guard)

Who in your life is a veteran? You can tell me in the comments if you’d like.

But what are the origins of Veterans Day? Believe it or not? November 11th wasn’t originally to celebrate veterans. It was originally Armistice Day, a day to celebrate the signing of the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany during World War One. The armistice was signed on November 11th at 11 AM (Source). In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed that Armistice Day will be commemorated to honor those who fought in WWI. It wasn’t until 1954 when November 11th became Veterans Day, a day to celebrate Veterans of all wars.

Because of people who were or are in the military, we have the freedom to protest what we want to protest. Football players have the freedom to take a knee or stay in the locker room during the locker room. People have the freedom to boycott the NFL this weekend. Sure, I’ll think you’re a whiny nationalist who needs to stop seeing veterans lives as more valuable as black lives, but you have the freedom to boycott things.

My boyfriend loves free food, so he wants to have a free meal today. I’m surprised that some restaurants that are participating in giving free food to veterans and active duty military will accept a picture of someone in uniform as their proof of service. Guess we can use the picture of my boyfriend wearing eclipse glasses when he was at his Captain’s Career Course. Thank a veteran for their service, but only if you’re sincere about it. Don’t thank someone because you think you have to; it makes the thanks seem fake.

Awareness · lgbt

Bi Visibility Day

Bi Visibility Day, also known as Celebrate Bisexuality Day or Bisexual Awareness Day. What is this day about? It is a day to recognize bisexuals who are family members, friends, significant others, historic figures, and people in the general community. It is also a day to raise awareness that bisexuals exist.

Did you know?:

  • Freddie Mercury is bisexual. He was very much in love with Mary Austin and they remained close friends from the time of their breakup in 1976 to the day of his death. People only know of his relationship with Jim Hutton.
  • Bisexuals are marginalized by the straight community and LGBT community. This is why Bi Visibility Day exists.
  • Bi Visibility Day would not exist without Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur. These three people are bisexual rights activists.
  • Bi Visibility Day is in September because Freddie Mercury was born in that month. I just learned this fact. The bisexual rights activists mentioned in the previous fact love Freddie Mercury.
  • There is a strong lack of representation for bisexuals. Try finding an LGBT book. Not too hard with Google, right? Now find a book about bisexuals. Good luck. Look at the TV shows that have a gay person or a lesbian in it. They’re becoming more prevalent. Now find one with a bisexual character. Hard. Now find a bisexual character that is not a damaging stereotype. Likely doesn’t exist.
  • Bisexual originally meant having two sexes in one being. If you mentioned bisexuals in the 19th century, people would think “hermaphrodite”. Note: A hermaphrodite is a being with both male and female COMPLETE sex organs. Since this is not possible with humans, intersex is the term for a person with variations in sex characteristics.
  • Some bisexual celebrities (besides the aforementioned Freddie Mercury) include Angelina Jolie, Billie Joe Armstrong (from Green Day), Andy Dick, and Carrie Brownstein (from Portlandia). Of course, this is not an exclusive list, so don’t complain if I didn’t include your favorite bisexual celebrity.

Of course, those are not all the facts relating to bisexuality. There are also some statistics about bisexuals, but I will not post them here since some statistics may be triggering. In honor of bi visibility day, I am going to say something that I don’t tell most people. I understand if I lose followers from this:

My name is diaryofself, and I am bisexual.

Awareness · Rant

Where are the Black Voices?

Warning: White people might be offended at this blog post. I don’t care. Either read this and be offended or don’t read this blog post. I’m not holding a gun against your head to force you to read this.

We all know what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. We see firsthand what happens when white supremacists use their power to make it dangerous for me, a black person, to live in America. The white supremacists aren’t even hiding anymore. I can no longer travel south of Maryland due to fear of being attacked because the color of my skin is wrong. Another white supremacy rally was allowed in Boston. Fuck Boston. I heard the sports fans are racist there too.

On Sunday, August 13th, there were rallies around the country. There was even one in my county! I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to bring my white friend with me due to my fear that he’d be harassed. That wouldn’t have happened, and it was a good thing I didn’t go anyways. The next day, mom saw images of the rallies around the country. There were mostly white people in attendance.

Tonight, I saw news reports of confederate statues being taken down. Guess what race did all the talking about racism? White people. Whites will NEVER be the targets of racism!

In these two cases, there was a strong lack of black people, the race that is the most affected by these scary spikes in racism that started occurring with Ferguson. Where are the black voices, the voices that matter the most? Yes, I know that white people marched with black people during the civil rights era, but these marches and protests didn’t consist almost entirely of white people. Black people have the power to change the world they live in, but they can’t do that when white people once again try to take the spotlight and silence us. Enough is enough.

White people, please do not speak on my behalf. I am alive. I am the oppressed one. I can speak for myself.