White “issues” are coming to the surface like dirt eventually comes up…

This week, I was surprised by a Facebook message. I won Teacher of the Year a few years ago and we have a cohort of 74 amazing teachers from the state of Florida. I had a great idea that I ran by a few Black colleagues (from another entity). We discussed how it would be great if the best of the best would be willing to produce something as a cohort to give back. We won money that year and I can honestly say that about sixty, probably seventy percent went back into the community that I taught. I helped with prom expenses, helped with camps, helped with other things that I just don’t wish to disclose. I did this because I would not have won without those babies.

I realize that I am different. I took a personality test again, and again it comes out as INFJ (https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality). I’ve taken it about four times over the last few years and I have actually become more and more introverted. I finally figured out why. I distrust many people now. I am very cautious of who I allow in my space even more now. I was pretty oblivious to motives of people, but with each of my kindhearted acts, I come into contact with mean people.

During this pandemic, my son and I have been at peace in my one bedroom apartment. I purged last year after quitting my job due to racism. I moved to another state. My son moved with his dad. My dog and I moved from three bedrooms, lots of storage to a one bedroom. My son moved with his dad (I am emphasizing this because this was our first time being away from each other). I kept only essential things (YUP….lots of shoes are essential…).

I landed a job where there were more people that looked like me; an HBCU. This was for healing purposes because I couldn’t quit understand what happened over the last year. Why would someone want to take advantage of me or even discriminate against me because of the way I look?

I’m nice, I smile big, I laugh LOUD (and I mean loud), I love gifting, I hold intimate conversations with people, I actively listen, but I am also pro-RIGHT! I do not judge, I will literally give the shirt off my back to anyone in need (and this has been noted by a mentee that I actually did this for her), so why would someone do this… hurt me because of my skin color?

I thought about the EEOC I filed. It’s still in process… I thought about the emails. I thought about the actions of my white colleagues and how they paralyzed me. With every racial discussions I facilitate and with every group that I have had discussions with about racism, they don’t understand that this is nothing new.

While we know our blackness great, they cannot seem to see this. We can learn. We are resilient and do not need pity. We do not need for you to make excuses when we are constantly being challenged.

I hate playing the game UNO with kids. They make up rules over and over. They cheat when they are losing. This is what I have found to be an issue with my white colleagues. They make up rules. They do it to educators like me and they do it to our students. But, WE cant seem to understand why we must continue this fight! Why are we fighting a fight that should have ended years ago with The Emancipation Proclamation? And why do people who do not look like us continue to HURT us.

I am tired. They are tired. We are tired.

The comment that was left on my page was an emoji of a peace sign. This is what we we have to deal with very often. It was a white woman who took my weariness, my pain, my exhaustion and used it for her gain. She assumed I was angry by a comment. I shared with her that I wasn’t, but I can assume that my comment “I’m not angry” was not truly received. Instead a barrier comes up because “they” feel attacked. NO! I have right to share my pain. The same way that “they” share their frustrations about menial things; such as, not having enough school supplies, or the paint they purchased for their brand new house was not ordered on time, but we can’t be mad about something that IS and HAS always BEEN BIG and they DONT LISTEN to us!

And when we speak with passion and even become vulnerable, they turn it to themselves. Well, this one time…and Oh yeah, I remember when I was picked on…STOP it! JUST SHUT UP! You are hardly ever the only person that looks like you in a room. You are not the one who advocates for our babies when your “friend” complains about everything regarding that child; from his mom and dad being on drugs, to his scent, to his inability to say the word “ask” correctly. YOU ARE NOT US! You do not face the struggles I face.

I had “that” conversation with my son in elementary school. Do you even know what “that” means? I am still advocating for my son when people with your skin color are AFRAID to say the word “racism.”

I am fighting a battle with colleagues who called me a racist because I was against an assignment. Do you know what that assignment was??? To pretend to be a FREAK**** Slave! What in the hell? And they posted this picture on the walls of the school…and they filed a grievance against me because I sent them an email about coon cooking and lynching. They were uncomfortable? HOW THE heck do you ask someone to be a slave and you are uncomfortable about seeing those picture? What do you think slaves endured…..horseback rides? Swimming in the lakes? Roasting treats over an open fire? Yeah…they were being roasted! So sit down and LET us grieve. Let us hurt, let us talk. LISTEN without sharing your story, because we have listened to you and we are tired of your stories!

I just wanted to propose a great idea for white women and men who are teaching our Black kids to work together to help out with the plight, but instead I get what most that look like me have gotten throughout their life. I am sure they are uncomfortable. I am certain they are oblivious, nervous, unsure, and possibly even frightened to open up to admitting they might have been a part of the issues that are coming to surface now. And while that is not my problem, I am calling them out to fix it so we can fix the education system.

I love to clean. I clean baseboards, I clean cabinets. I am on my hands and knees scrubbing my floor. I do this very very often. I drive my son crazy because I vacuum daily (sometimes two times…DON’T judge me). I light candles, I organize just to reorganize. I clean my shower/ tub daily, I change the clear plastic shower curtain as often as needed. Even with cleaning my shower daily, I still pour cleaning solution into the tub weekly and let it sit. I spray the solution around the tile and I wait a few before I go back into the bathroom to scrub it.

No matter how much I clean during the week, the day that I let it soak, I always find that a little bit of dirt emerges. This is what is happening to us now. With each deep cleaning, we are finding that those people who are and were afraid to address the issues are coming to surface and they might not get it with the daily cleanings, but with a deep clean, they will either be called out and get it, or they might get it when they decide to post or even send private emails (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cpi-security-ceo-under-fire-after-email-surfaces/ar-BB156FJn) https://www.wsls.com/news/local/2020/06/01/black-liberty-university-alums-rebuke-jerry-falwell-after-blackface-tweet/).

As we continue to become weary of things like cleaning for perfection within all areas of our lives, remember that those pieces of dirt will eventually come to surface. Keep cleaning, even when you are weary….

#BlackLivesMatterInEducation

#WearyButStillCleaning

#DirtRises

white folx…would you for once stop thinking everything is about YOU

I don’t need a disclaimer, but I’ll add one anyway. I have a Latino last name, I was married to a Black American, I date a Ghanian, and my maiden name is Drewery. Oh! And I crush a few white men movie stars, my boo thang…. Matthew McConaughey (I am checking on you! I know you are still getting over the Rona, so please feel better boo! We need you!). Every time I think of how sexy he looked in A Time to Kill….whoa…Ok…so let me keep going…..I think yall see I DO NOT discriminate, but I am very AWARE and VOCAL!

I live in this extremely nice community. I am surrounded by spoiled A&& White folx who are so concerned with the pool being opened because they want a tan. I wonder if they really realize how spoiled they are? Probably not, because I was the one that posted in our community app forum to stop complaining and sit down. There are so many other things that we need to be doing versus going to the damn pool to get a tan…and OH yeah protesting to open up SHIT!

When Blacks protest, its seen as alarming and we are aggressive, but when white folx protest…and shed their White tears…and add their emotions= they will get their way.

I started rereading the Constitutionhttps://constitutionus.com and I’ve reread it a couple of times over the week. I remember being in Constitutional Law class my 1L year of law school. I remember my white professor from Alabama very well. I remember discussing affirmative action and other cases that centered around racial discrimination and her face….it was so red. She shared with me when we walked out of class that she felt so uncomfortable because of the class make up. This was probably the most Black students she had ever had in my law class and ….she asked if I would say something the next class. I taught African American studies. I was a part time law school student, and a full time college professor at this time.

When I read The Constitution, I don’t see any protection for me. I don’t see any protection for my son. I don’t see or feel that anyone that is not White has a voice. When I read the history behind why it was created, I definitely know people like me were not included. I don’t know much about my ancestors, but I can make assumptions. My grand-dads last name was Drewery. He is from North Carolina. THIS IS a JOKE: my mom has that good hair and when I condition mine really good, it curls up pretty nice too….JOKE! I’m sure my family, like many Blacks lived on some plantation; particularly since my grandparents are from North Carolina. I can assume my great great grandmother was born about 90 years or so after The Constitution was ratified…1788, so around 1888. We have our students remembering this, but we fail them. We fail to tell them that even though it was ratified, many states still didn’t free slaves. And not only that what happened when slaves were free? If we don’t teach our kids how to live after they leave our house, what will happen? So, how many slave masters taught Blacks how to be successful? How many slave masters sat down and gave them a layout of how to live post slavery…right! I knew you were a smart cookie reader!

So, in 1864 (and we all know these dates because they drilled this shit in our heads. We have to remember all of these white folx dates, but they don’t ever and I mean ever take the time to be objective and see our plight.) the 13th amendment was passed. Well damn, it took yall long enough…And still no progress was made. So, when I hear white folx say, opportunities were available…SIT yo butt (I will not say A&& because I’ve used my limit of cuss words today and I don’t want to seem too aggressive in this blog….) because there is an AMENDMENT to add everything! And please don’t give me the white woman and women votes being added in an amendment crap, because that is NOT the same! You have an entire race of people who were not treated inhumanly and were not even prepared for success post the inhumane treatment (and this is the mild version…you know if I add links of coon-cooking and lynching that actually happened in the 1900’s, some might feel appalled..).

Ok, so or so when my great grandmother was around, what was in place for people that looked like me? OH!! Nothing! Reader, you are So DARN smart! There was nothing at all because there still was nothing in those papers created by white men to ensure people that looked like me. Now, there were some that crushed “us.” (thats where that GOOD hair come from….follow me?). Ok, so then there were still Supreme court cases, protests, marches, deaths, lynches all to assist with people being treated LIKE people! Do you see what I wrote? People being treated like people! And what I hate are oblivious white folx from the south or from the midwest who think just because they don’t use the n-word and they only judge them when they leave that is not being a racist. You don’t have to be a member of the KKK to be a racist. You can still smile in my Black face and be a racist.

It takes me back to that time when even though everything showed it was racial discrimination, it just couldn’t be because a white person was able to hold a conversation with a Black person. But…..nevermind.

So as I see protests and the white tears wanting society to open up, the reality is they will get it. Hell, Trump might just become the President again because regardless of what he does, he is immune to this document that was created by White men and only add amendments for people that look like me. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/30/michigan-protests-coronavirus-lockdown-armed-capitol

As Blacks are dying, our students are struggling, inequity is truly seen, and rich white people continue to play golf and mistreat nannies, and of course go to beaches to get a tan (lucky me…I’m the color they want to be, but they really don’t want this all of the time…), protests versus finding something constructive to do….but this is the United States of America where voices are heard when you are white with money….

I’ll add more, but until then, take a moment and read this…just why and what if it was a group of Blacks? And if you haven’t watched a White Man’s Burden https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1067214_white_mans_burden, this would be a good time to see for yourself….what privilege looks like.

#ThisThingCalledLife #WillTheySITDown #WhitePrivilege

We still quarantined…and don’t mind

I asked my son why did he think we seemed abnormal about being ok with being in the house and doing nothing. We have enjoyed being in my very small apartment. This is the first time we have ever lived in such close quarters, but honestly I don’t mind. I have worried if this 17 year old has enough space and am I around him too much, but then he plans for us to run together or do six minute planks (my upper body though…), and asks just about nightly if I want to eat popcorn and watch a movie with him.

This touches my soul more than anything. I don’t know if it’s because we have always done something and are bodies and souls just need to sit down, or what, but I do know that everything about this quarantine has been perfect for us. The sun has been shining and even on those days of gloom, we still open up the blinds, pray, and start our day.

I promised him one thing after he told me last night that I still do too much to help people, which is once I submit my grades I’m going to disconnect from my texts for a week. Unless they are friends, I’m not responding because as he sees it, people keep asking and as I’m pouring it because unfair he says. A 17 year old sees this.

I wish I could allow others to see through my lens; the peace and the joy of being truly quarantined with someone who loves me and I love them; the peace of having a child that does not get on my nerves; the joy of having my child help make dinner and lunch and even breakfast (why didn’t I just say breakfast, lunch, and dinner haaa).

Even my job has been fantastic… I’ve reminded my students to have fun, to embrace every single detail of this moment and share their stories and they have….

While their stories are not as peaceful as mine, reading their stories remind me to ensure I’m taking time to be gentle with them.

Just be mindful during this time, we all share different stories and they all matter!

https://kvargas193.wixsite.com/preserving-history/about-the-blog

#ListenMore #TalkLess #BePatientWithYourselves #ThisThingCalledLifeHaveFun

To purge … or not to purge

I had a conversation with my therapist yesterday. I shared with him how much I’ve purged. I’ve gotten rid of new clothes, old clothes, new shoes, old shoes, wedding rings and engagement rings, books…. and so much more.

He applauded me for this, reminding me of how hard this must have been. After our phone session, I went back to working on grading papers, and messages began coming through my MacBook. I read them, responded, and then scrolled all the way down to the oldest messages. They were dated back to 2016…2017 and my heart smiled as I read them, remembered the I’ll emotions I had, and realized that pain does go away; particularly when you give yourself time to heal and when you allow God to lead you.

I typically share pictures of my journey, but these messages aren’t just sacred they are very intimate. (This goes back to the difference between blogging and journaling. I share what I find to be comforting here, but my journal or just my memories store those intimate details.

Those texts and even screenshots that accompanied them are solid reminders that we must let go in order to truly feel the peace that we deserve.

#ThisThingCalledLife…EmbraceIt

#DeleteThatShitBecauseItsToxic

This tree represents how history continues to repeat itself…

It disgusts them to see the realities of life. This tree reminds me of lynching and coon cooking. Stop reading if you can’t handle what’s next. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/27/lynching-naacp-photographs-waco-texas-campaign

I’m unqualified to teach what society wants me to teach because I’m a realist and to teach, you “can’t be a picky eater. You can’t be a vegan and still eat pork daily. You can’t be a car dealer who is successful and have never sold a car. Ok…. bad analogies but… how can you teach without knowing everything, right? Joking!!! How can you be a teacher (seriously ) and never take time to open up your minds to learn things out of your comfort ?

I’m unqualified to teach what society wants me to teach though. A statement from a colleague from last year stated that when I shared a video of coon cooking and lynching they “was [were] so appalled that I contacted our union president.” And….This is why history will repeat itself. This is why our Black and brown kids will never get a chance to understand who they are as students. Because you are appalled by history, you can’t discuss reality? Hmmmmm, I guess. So I guess that also means that while we are learning about the issues of this pandemic, we must be quiet about the racial disparities? I guess I’m really unqualified because that was definitely something that has come up. Am I fired?

It digusts “them” to see the realities of whiteness. It appalls “them” to read beyond the scope of whiteness in literature from texts that were not designed for equality.

It disgusts “them” to read about “a noose in California where students got into trouble” because “they” are the epitome of what our country stands for. I’m sure it will disgust to read the attached article and especially see the pictures. I wonder will it disgust “them” to see those black babies who have been murdered in the streets because they were just proud ….Black…. citizens? But citizens only because of amendments…., right?

They are those people that cry victim. They are those people that will never take the time to see those that don’t look like them. Those are the people that will ensure history does repeat itself. How can you teach about history if you don’t help students see the flaws of our county, like the many amendments that are added to protect “us.”

And I suggest that if this is too much… to stop reading. Moving forward it might be too much and I do not have the time to white your White tears because… many that look like me are fighting their way out of oppression and they need me to come help them, so wiping tears ….or giving a helping hand…

The “us’s” (ha!!! I had to do it!) that were not initially included and now you want “us” to exclude history and the realities of life because it appalls you?? Please SIT (God is working on me…) down and pick up a book and learn about OUR history like we have been forced to read about the “saviors” you all are…..(I’m being facetious here….)

My moms mom was born on June 12, 1916. She was born in North Carolina. She was not born into slavery, but she was oppressed as a Black woman. She had ten kids. Two uncles received college degrees. Three grandkids received college degrees. Two great grands received college degrees. In 1916, a month after my grandmother was born, the NAACP released pictures of a Black man who was lynched in Texas. Here it is again: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/27/lynching-naacp-photographs-waco-texas-campaign

Pretty appalling don’t you think? But why do you believe this was published? Why should we continue to learn about such horrid issues? So we can see …. the Constitution was created because? Do you even know why? The room was full of ALL White men… NOT ONE single Black person to offer a bit of “diversity, equity, or inclusion” here… At this point Blacks were not even … any thing more than…. nothing…

My grandmother helped my mom raise me and passed away when I was in 8th grade. She learned from her mom. Her mom was born in the late 1800’s. This history is very close to me.

Every other event that happened over my grandmothers time on earth dealt with the struggles of being Black… in America has shown me what racial tension and struggles look like. My grandmother taught her kids. Her kids taught their kids. My Black experience has taught me where I came from. It taught me that I must always push harder than anyone. It also showed me that equal will not happen because those that didn’t look like me still saw nothing about lynching except how “appalling” it was and cried victim like every other White person who doesn’t get their way. Hell… look at the protest…https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/first-person/2020/4/25/21234774/coronavirus-covid-19-protest-anti-lockdown

Look at this.. a Senator provided a dumb A$$ excuse for wearing a confederate flag mask…https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/us/dale-zorn-face-mask.amp.html and he represents our government.

Then this… a white girl blames her boyfriend and social media that she will not get into her dream school because she was playing…. https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2020/04/20/georgia-students-expelled-for-posting-racist-video-on-tiktok/amp/ and she is VICTIM now…. GO sit down! By the way where are her parents??

There were lynchings ….there are still lynchings… there will always be lynchings because our world is full of privileged people who prefer to hate versus understanding the tree of life…

I’m unqualified to teach despite my many degrees. I’m unqualified to teach because my voice and my critical thinking skills are probably higher than many; I know for sure compared to 45 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/us/politics/trump-disinfectant-coronavirus.amp.html. I’m unqualified to teach because I have mastered being able to live in the White echelon of America while still being true to myself, while holding people to fairness and calling them out when they are wrong.

I’m unqualified to teach because I am private about my matters and I don’t gossip about others. I’m unqualified to teach because even after rereading the Constitution and seeing the shit (that one slipped and as a good friend says, pardon my “French”) that was written for “them” and not “us” I have faith in… what’s next, and I will still continue to work for progress.

I’m unqualified to teach because I can see that in my moms lifetime this wasn’t just a tree…..and for someone to…. attempt to ignore history…. it appalls the heck out of me.

So as we move forward during the pandemic, working to make change, pick up your books, a copy of The Constitution and ask yourself why people that look like me (I’m black if you didn’t know) raise their heads high to remind everyone that they are Black…. and Proud!

Signed “the unqualified blogger who teaches”

#ThisThingCalledLife #TheTreeOfLife