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29

I turned 29 on Monday. The last year of the decade that’s the autonomous version of teenage-hood in American culture today. This is the year to hammer it out and get it right, right? I spent the day (really, a few days surrounding it) camping on Cape Cod, and at the beach on the bay side. It was beautiful, and I got to relive my childhood memories through the eyes of the cutest toddler I’ve ever laid eyes on. Not that I’m biased, as her mom, or anything. So how am I spending this last year of my 20s?

I’ll be going back to school to begin my plan to become an LCSW. Going into clinical social work in order to provide a therapeutic space for interracial families and their members to work on their mental health and well-being has been a bit of a goal for a while, and the development of a nationwide network of therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers who consider socio-racial identity when discussing other mental health or behavioral concerns with their clients is a goal for HypheNation.

I’ll be writing more. I was given the talent, the resources, and the voice for a reason, and I hope that anyone out there who needs to hear the messages I send is able to be reached. I’m sorry that I’ve made those people have to wait so long, and they won’t be waiting any longer.

I’ll be editing and publishing other voices in the interracial family sphere. Our voices, stories, and experiences need to be heard, and I’d love to help you bring yours out clearly. Please feel free to submit stories, plays, poems, manuscripts, drawings, graphic designs, etc. to HypheNation. We are the space for your voice to ring out! For all work, your intellectual property remains your own, with a license to distribute granted to HypheNation, unless otherwise discussed and agreed.

I’ll be doing consulting work and holding classes in the Northeast United States (and elsewhere as requested), working with organizations to make their spaces more conducive to people of color and/or interracial families, with families to help strengthen themselves as a safe space for identity formation, and with individuals who just need someone who gets it.

I’m ready for this ride, and I’d love for you to join me. Are you in?

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I Am a Native American Woman With White Privilege

First off, I think it’s important to say that I do not, and have not ever primarily identified as white. On my mother’s side, I’m Native American, enrolled in ghostmy Tribe, and, to a large extent, raised in my culture. I was born on the reservation and lived on or near reservations for much of my life. Indigenous cultural signifiers are important to me – I love Coastal designs and canoes. I love to eat Salmon, attend gatherings, and socialize at potlatches or powwows. However, due to genetics (while both my grandparents on my mother’s side are Indigenous, my grandmother is light-skinned, and my grandfather, of mixed ancestry) it so happens that I am light. Like, really light. Light as a ghost, let-me-put-my-arm-next-to-yours-and-compare-whiteness light. Some people call me glow-worm because they think I’ll be florescent under blacklights.

There are a lot of ways in which it sucks to be a…

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Blame It On Jamie Lee Curtis

What a beautiful post. Conformity is such a big deal, as is color and melanin, as is hair. It’s interesting, I’d never really drawn the parallel between what many women (and some men) do as far as coloring their hair to fight ageist standards and the relaxing process, but I guess it’s really the same thing. Chemicals to change the natural look of hair in order to fit some standard so as not to “stand out” negatively in American society.

Silver in the Barn

Why I would imagine that the color of my hair would hold an iota of interest to you, dear reader, cannot be explained other than to say I learned the hard way that it’s a subject that can ignite opinion, solicited or not.

11

I was serving as parliamentarian for a civic organization a few years ago and during a meeting, one of the members, henna-tressed, suddenly blurted out “What are you doing to your hair?”

“Nothing, really. I’ve just decided to stop coloring it.”

Stunned silence. Or as the hipsters say, “Crickets.” Just like that I was able to stop the proceedings of our monthly meeting. What power.

The president of the group, a woman in her mid-70s with expensively highlighted blonde hair, then offered this little gem: “But Barbara! You’re much too young to go gray!”

Tell that to the melanin levels in my hair follicles, please.

And as I looked out at the women around…

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Around the World: How do YOU tell time?

We tend to think of time as a pretty universal concept. Most of us know it’s pretty human-made, the way that we use the hours on the clock, and that some countries or regions use daylight savings and some don’t, that military time versus am/pm is a factor, and that where you are in the world will make a difference in what time it is; our phones today even have the option to tell us what time it is at home AND what part of the day it is for our best friend who lives in Spain. Well, today you’ll learn a little something about how even time itself–the way it’s calculated, not just the way it’s spent–can vary dramatically when you enter into another culture. Even for an international businessman, it can be confusing:

“Kemal Oznoyan was baffled.

He helped open a factory in Addis Ababa for the Turkish textile company, Ayka, seven years ago… “When we organize meeting, they were talking about Ethiopian time, but we were talking about European time,” he recalls.

Once, for example, he and his colleagues set up a meeting for 6 o’clock. Oznoyan thought, “6 p.m., no problem.” But a bit after noon he got a call from the guy he was meeting. “He calls, ‘Where are you? I’m waiting in the downstairs.’” Oznayan says. “[I ask him] ‘Why?’”

It turns out, Oznayan’s colleague meant 6:00 in Ethiopian time, which is noon by Oznoyan’s clock.”

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I would love to operate on Ethiopian time. How would you adjust? Comment below.

I am not dating a racial slur.

She has some things to learn, and he may too, but don’t we all? Man, some kids really just don’t know how to speak to another human being. But good for her, for knowing who her boyfriend is as a person, and knowing that that includes the color of his skin and hair texture, but that there’s so much more!

Ashlynsully

I work as a waitress. Last night I had a table of about 6 extremely drunk guys come in. Although they were not my table, every time I would walk by them to fill someone’s drink (They were sitting in a table right next to our pop machine) they would cat call me. I started out by ignoring it, why fuel the fire, right? However, when one of them blurted out that I am a “fine piece of ass” my patience was wearing thin. I turned around, smiled, and stated “Yeah, my boyfriend thinks so too.” 

In all honesty, looking back I should have just remained silent like I had been doing. But hindsight is always 20/20. The guys then all started laughing and saying that they were just trying to “compliment me”  and that I didn’t have to be “such a bitch about things” *This is when…

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Privilege amongst the privileged; discussing “the terms” at Lehigh University

Reposted from The Brown and White:

While pursuing the humanities and social science sections of any library, you’re likely to come across a laundry list of politically-charged and contested terms: white privilege, male privilege, the gender gap, heteronormativity, rape culture, American exceptionalism and first world problems.

Well, okay, maybe not that last one.

These highbrow phrases – coined by sociologists, historians, social commentators and the like — have driven many intellectual discussions on the state of equality in our contemporary world. But what place, if any, do they have in our lives on campus?

Click here to read the full article.

What place do you think these conversations have on college campuses? Do they have a place? Should it just be amongst students, one on one or in small groups in the cafeteria? Are support/student activity groups necessary? What about the administration–where does their responsibility lay in addressing these terms and the social issues they were created to discuss? Comment below.