Mr Cardoza and that Black Turtle-Necked Sweater

Mr. Cardoza

when you wear that black turtle-necked sweater you look like a poet

with something profound and transcendent ripping at your soul

smooth jazz at your fingertips

and an emergency stash of coffee at the bottom of your desk.

 

Mr. Cardoza

when school is over,

and sometimes even when it’s not,

you sneak to coffee shops to get your fix of that bongo beat

and to those you meet your name is Tom.

Like an alley cat, you say,

running for his life from the butcher and his meat grinder.

Tom, you are an alley cat running for your life.

 

Tom you run,

and you run,

and you always run to the coffee shop

to tell stories about your chase

or listen to stories about other chases

or smell the coffee beans ground fresh every hour.

You appreciate that smell most of all Tom;

that smell means you’re free.

 

Is it nice Tom?

Is it nice to be free?

Is it?

Do you enjoy being free?

Or do you enjoy more the thrill of the chase?

 

You see Tom, you’re always running.

Always.

Even after you’re safe,

You go back to the butcher to run.

Doesn’t the butcher get tired?

Don’t you get tired?

Isn’t it tiring?

All that running?

 

But you know Tom, and I know too:

You are never safe,

and the butcher is no butcher,

and you are no alley cat.

Most of all Tom

You and I both know:

you do not run with legs;

you run with words.

So no Tom you don’t get tired.

You never get tired.

 

Tom poetry is the fix that keeps you awake, not the coffee,

although the fresh ground coffee is irresistibly delicious.

Or so I’ve heard.

Poetry is the only thing that makes you feel alive.

 

But then Mr. Cardoza-

Tom-

Mr. Cardoza

when you take off that sweater you are no longer Tom,

no longer a poet,

no longer running.

You know what you are Mr. Cardoza?

You are tired.

 

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Life is too Short to Wear Boring Shoes… And so am I

I have a reputation for a lot of things, but I think one of the most distinct is the fact that I’m always wearing absolutely fabulous shoes. I’m so well known for the glitz and the glamour, but nobody seems to realize that it’s more than just a superficial. thing. Shoes, they’re special to me. And here’s why.

When I was in fifth grade I was taller than my younger sister. In sixth grade we were the same height. By seventh grade my sister was taller than I was. At that time I was a ballet-flats kind of girl, nothing too gaudy, or showy; I thrived on the simplicity and safety of the flat shoe. as the height difference became more and more apparent, my sister, and soon my whole family started to make fun of me more and more. By eighth grade, I was absolutely sick of it.The next time we went shoe shopping I got a pair of short heels to make up for a difference. Walking in them was a complete disaster; I was so awkward. I practiced in my room and when nobody else was home, but I couldn’t help tripping all over myself. It was even worse in public, when all of the puddles would practically look for me so that I could trip into them. Obviously this was not going to work out. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I couldn’t face the shame of being shorter than my sister. Then one day it literally all just clicked. I could just walk, without tripping or falling more than the average human. Soon I went from just surviving in heels to straight out strutting, and then I knew I was unstoppable.

The heels thing worked for a little while, but when my sister got tall enough that even a five inch couldn’t close the gap, I still wore heels. It wasn’t about the height, things were changing about me. When I got a new pair of heels the first thing I would do is put them on and look at myself in the mirror. I started to notice a few things, like how the incline of my foot created this line that made my legs look longer my calves were getting really toned, and I was actually standing with my shoulders back and head up. It took me years to admit it, but heels were making me kind of sexy. The best part was that because I knew I looked confident, I felt more confident and it showed. When people asked what my secret was I would pop my leg and say “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can take over the world, darling.” and they would laugh,not realizing how serious I actually was.

And now the big question “What of it now?” Now? Well now I hunger for shoes. The gaudier, the taller, the more death-defyingly dazzling, the better. I spend hours online, finding the perfect shoes, when I’m wearing shoes I love I can’t not smile, when I see a new pair of shoes that I want or need I absolutely cannot stop thinking about them. I can run, skip, hop, dance in stilettos and I trip less than the average human (read: not at all) unless… Well funny thing. My superpower of functioning in heels came with the weakness of not being able to function in flat shoes. But other than that my life is fabulous! And so are my shoes!

On the Issues of Race and Disney Culture

Perhaps I should let you in on the reason I started being so racially conscious.

It all started when a friend posted a picture claiming that the ethnic representation in Disney movies was fair. A few of my friends and I commented on how that wasn’t true. We waited for a response, but our friend nstead deleted the picture and ignored the issue. So why did she post something controversial, and then refuse to face opposition. Because she is a member of what I like to call the “white Disney” state of mind and I’ll explain a little bit what that is.
White Disney is a class of racism where people are not discriminatory, but still racist. In order for you to really understand that, let’s define the two. Discrimination is an act, racism is a way of thinking. The thing is that people think that both are actions so they don’t realize when they are being racist, especially Disney fans with a whitecentric attitude because “it just makes sense.” I hope to kind of help people realize and maybe even change that attitude. Of course this type of thinking isn’t exclusive to Disney fans, it’s prevalent all throughout literature and cinema, but I’m going to focus just on Disney.
Now while I know that there are a lot of Disney princesses and all of them could be used to analyze the subject of race I’m going to mainly focus on the last five Disney royals from the last four Movies, because that’s where the public controversy seems to be focused.The following paragraphs will be the most common defenses that I have seen along with my responses.
Statement one: “These stories were written by white people who live in ‘white’ countries so they’re characters have to be white.”
This is actually the most common one that I see and it seems to make the most sense. Until you actually look at the facts.
Frozen is based on the story “The Snow Queen” written by Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish man, and people in Denmark are white, so check. And of course we all know the story, the evil troll with his magic mirror, The young boy Kai kidnapped by the beautiful ice queen, sweet little Gerda who saves him, the garden of eternal summer… wait, hold on, that’s not frozen. Frozen isn’t even about the same thing. Oh well.
Tangled is based on Rapunzel written by the German Brothers Grimm, two white men. And although in Tangled they don’t include the husband who stole radishes for his wife, the fact that the prince who finds Rapunzel is rendered blind by Rapunzel’s mother, or that Rapunzel bears twins in the wilderness, we should honor the brother’s grimm by keeping the race that they deem acceptable.
And while we’re defending that stories written by white men should keep white characters, why don’t we talk about The Princess and the frog, which features the first black disney princess, Tianna. The story takes place in New Orleans, and has mostly black characters. It’s based off of the story “The Frog Prince” by the beloved black author…The brothers grimm. Weird, didn’t we just establish that their stories should stay white?
Statement two: “It’s a children’s movie.”
This one actually makes absolutely no sense to me. So, it’s a children’s movie, but does that mean that the characters have to be white? There are children in America, in Denmark, in Germany, all over the world who are not white, and you know what? Chances are that if they are white they have friends who aren’t, yes even as children. If you honestly think that children are so racially insensitive that they would be uncomfortable if people in the movie were not the same race as them, maybe you’re teaching racism.
Statement three: “It wouldn’t be realistic.”
Are you trying to say that ethnic people and people of color aren’t real? That they dont exist. That a story featuring ethnic characters would have to take place in a land too fantastical for even Disney? That movies with a talking snowman, magic hair, a woman who turns into a bear are nit so far gone, but racial equality would tip it over the edge. Literally, realism has no place in this discussion.
Statement four: “It has to be relatable.”
The first time I saw this one all I could think was, “Wow, just when I thought it couldn’t get more racist.” Has it occurred to you that maybe ethnic children need someone to relate to as well? Because, assuming that we can only relate to people who are our own race, Black, and middle eastern, and Native American children are near alone, and Hispanic and Indian children are completely neglected. So what do you say to that ethnic little girl who doesn’t have a Disney princess to represent her?
Statement five: “What are you talking about? There is representation, just look at Tianna. And like Jasmine and Pocahontas or Something.”
You know, the fact that you have to point out all of the ethnic Disney princesses and can literally count them on half a hand really says a lot. Let’s talk about Tianna though. Tianna, my only real choice as a favorite. You know because she’s the only one I can actually relate to and even though we don’t really share any facial similarities she’s the one I look like. Her world is so filled with stereotypical “blackness” that this effort at representation, misrepresents black culture.
“Well what about the trolls in Frozen?”
How can you tell that they’re ethnic? How about their caracaturized ethnic features. How about the fact their characters are over dripping with stereotypical ethnicity used mainly for comedic effect. The real question though is, why do they have to be ethnic? It’s because they have tribal magic, something primitive and uncivilized, which is not representative of white people at all. But wait! The trolls are in Frozen, which takes place in Denmark, where only white people live.
My goal today was neither to accuse nor offend anybody, I apologize if I did and I hope that you don’t mind my being controversial. This does not cover the extent of what I would like to see represented in Disney, of course it would be great to see interracial families, religious representation, different body types, and other moves toward overall diversity, but racial equality, it’s a pretty good place to start.

A (Short) Introduction

(I had posted this earlier, but I guess it decided to delete itself).
I was never really one to stir things up by any means, and I’m still not quite, but now I have more adamant beliefs concerning humanity, race, and feminism. I’ve started thinking about the three a lot lately and it got to the point where I thought to myself: “Well, why not blog about it?” Lots of people do it and my voice is no less valid. And thus the blog was born. I created it so that I have a place to talk when I’m going on mental rants that I don’t want to flood my Facebook with (though I don’t think I’m doing too well at that). I’ll probably focus mainly on race, but it really just depends on my mood and with whom I’ve been arguing (if it’s Josiah you can expect a talk about feminism). I’ll try to post once a week at least, but if something especially infuriating/moving happens I may post more than once. Again it all depends. Anyway, I will see you later and I hope you enjoy.