Is it weird that some of our most patriotic holidays (Memorial Day and 4th of July) happen in the summer? Memorial Day isn't just about remembering those who fought, but about the unofficial start of summer. That means everyone can celebrate, right? Wrong. I guess it's better for these commemorative days to be associated with warm and happy feelings than actually reflecting on our actions as a global "super power." The 4th can’t really be avoided because history, but maybe Veterans Day/Memorial Day could have been in the winter to make it more of a somber holiday, where we really reflect on the army’s practices. Holidays like today and others make it hard to criticize our country and self reflect because if we discount those who died, it seems as though they died for nothing. And dying for nothing is a really horrible end for anyone. So we say they died “defending our country” and “we wouldn’t be here today without those who served,” but we don’t really know that. Just like we don’t really know if they died for nothing. That's an alternate history we’ll never get to live out, so I guess both statements “died for nothing” and “died protecting us” are kind of invalid? This holiday also goes without mentioning COs, it’s just to remember the “heroes.” Most go into he army with good intentions, but then the total institution of the military changes them for the worse or brings out qualities in them that they wish they didn’t know they had. At the same time, people go into the military for less patriotic reasons too, people who just like to be violent may join, just to be kill. Some people thrive, others don’t. It’s just a whole unfair system to not only those who fight, but the victims within the military and those who died as victims on the “opposing side.”
Why is the U.S. is afraid of mixed people? Because it means the loss of white racial privilege. With racial mixing come mixed raced people who don’t fit in the binary and thus, debunk it. The U.S.’s miscegenation laws were used by Hitler. Hitler actually got a lot of his eugenic ideas from how the U.S. justified their treatment of non-whites. So, that brings us to Latin Americans. I guess we call it Latin America because the roots of Spanish, French and Portuguese are from Latin. They speak those Latin rooted languages because of white European colonial and imperialism, and their people are mainly of mixed race, because of the intermixing of indigenous and African slaves. We in the U.S. refer to central and south America as “Latin America” because of the languages. But it is also used to mean a “race,” not just a geographic area and nationality. We say Latin, rather than mixed because of the U.S.’s fear of racial mixing.
My mom constantly brings up struggles that people living in impoverished conditions face in order to make the people around her, and herself, feel more grateful for what they and she has. “Whenever you think you have it bad, just think about the people who walk bare foot in carrying heavy logs on their heads in [insert 3rd world country/continent named here]. It really puts things in perspective.” That reminds me of the aphorism parents say, “There’s people starving in Africa, you better finish your food.” My mom (and other people) uses “third world problems” to make her feel better and rid herself of white guilt. It helps her cope with her own “first world problems.”
Nothing gets me more mad than a Julia Roberts bad film. Not saying I don’t like her at all (Mona Lisa Smile is a great film!) but god has her agent put her in some bad films recently (Timothy Green comes to mind). However, I think the worse movie she has been cast in was EAT PRAY LOVE. MY GOD that movie makes me angry. Typical clichéd unhappily married woman goes to Italy and India to try to find herself and magically gets transformed into a better person.
Now that the Rio Summer 2016 Olympics are over I think its important we unpackage some of the stereotypes and common misconceptions about Brazil. First, I don't speak for all Brazilians, I'm speaking from a western US gaze to remind other people in more 'developed' countries to check our privilege before falling for all of the stereotypes of Brazil. Second, it's important to note that the Olympics being held in Brazil have been contested mainly because they are seen as a 'second/third world' country filled with disease and corruption. I'd like to remind the reader that this kind of uproar wasn't so prevalent with the London 2012 Summer games because unlike Brazil,
Culture is hard to put into words. It’s so easy to say culture is a language, food, famous land marks and famous people who come from that certain culture. Culture can be embodied in clothing, music and art. But is that it? Can we grasp a culture just by tasting its food, by walking down a street in a foreign city, or even by becoming an expatriate and living there permanently as an adult? Well, I don’t think so.
In the US we have a lot of stereotypes of a lot of different groups, mostly with negative stigmas attached to them. The stereotypes I’m going to focus on are stereotypes of other countries and cultures that the US has had contact with inside the US. What I think is the most interesting is how a cultural difference from a country outside the US gets produced in the US due to our high immigrant population. Then after it is made in the US it is applied to the country of origin. These stereotypes are not only at play within our borders but globally and that is detrimental not only to the immigrants who come here looking for safety and refuge but also to the people who live in the country of origin and are subject to the same sort of myths.
21 year old college senior. English major. Adopted from China as a baby living in the US ever since. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.