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Hailea Palmer

Race Around Us – Stop Ignoring It

I grew up white and privileged without realizing it until June 2020. I lived in a small town and went to a big high school. I went to football games and played sports. If you could look up a typical middle-class white female family of four, mine would probably pop up.

I had two black individuals in my school. Just two, in a sea of 400 students per grade you could see how I grew up thinking that race and color didn’t matter in my eyes, everyone was equal.

I went to a public college in Rhode Island. I had a small awakening to the amount of race and colors I saw. Again, it didn’t bother me if you were Black, White, Hispanic, Latino, etc. As long as you were kind, I had no problem with you.

The first sign of racism I ever saw was when I was with one of my housemates. A black female, we went shopping and were being followed in the store. I couldn’t figure out why, so I asked the sales rep. I told her we didn’t need any help and she just gave this look. Like I was lying to her or something; so we left the store. Again, it had never occurred to me that this was an individual being racist against my best friend and me.

Of course, there have been incidents in the world since that but it never got my attention, I never took the time to learn until George Floyd. If you missed it, or were under a rock somewhere hiding out from being exposed to COVID. Then here’s a brief overview of what happened.

George Floyd a man who was killed by a police officer for no reason. He was strangled by the officer’s knee until he physically could not breathe anymore. This ignited a tumulus movement, Black Lives Matter that spread across the country. A civil rights movement that has been needed for quite some time. It brought out all the wrong full deaths that have occurred to black individuals for generations. The worst of it that no one was paying attention to these deaths until George Floyd went viral.

Since then everyone, well everyone should be taking the time to learn and educate themselves about black history, race and how people of color have been treated. I want to say that we haven’t been aware but the awakening of it all is that we have been sitting by and watching everything happen. When a black man is atomically assumed that he will rob or fight you. When a position is passed on from a black to a white individual is it because they are more qualified or is it because of the color of their skin? Do you automatically think basketball player when you see a black man? You think angry b***h when you see a black female complaining? This my friend is bias and racist.

I have read five books since June especially teaching me about black culture and history and what the heck it was like growing up as a black individual (listed below). Here is what I have learned.

  • If you see a black individual on the streets greet them like any other human being.
  • If a black female was passed up for a position in your workplace and a white female or male got it, bring it to HR’s attention and ask why this happened.
  • Stop thinking just because someone in the news is black means they deserved what happened to them.
  • Stop and remember what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for instead of using the holiday as a day off of work.
  • Sign petitions, donate to Mutual Aid Funds
  • Buy from Black-Owned Business, look up black-owned stores.
  • Stop thinking color doesn’t exist.
  • Go vote

Now, I know this isn’t everything I learned but if you want to learn more then pick up a book, listen to a podcast. This isn’t going to go away, it’s time to start the change today and we need to do this together.

 Books:

  • So you want to talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
  • Me and white supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper
  • Stamped from the Beginning  by Ibram X. Kendi

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The thing that major milestones have taught us

Life is not something we could be taught about. We can be warned, lectured and told about the experiences of our elders that have already gone through. With every day that passes and every new milestone I hit. I find that I carry those lessons and experiences with me to the next big opportunity that presents itself in my life. These are the lessons that change us, lessons that shape us. Lessons that we learn by actually being engaged and living. These are the things that cause us to change, not the people we surround ourselves with.

  1.   Life presents itself as it should, Not according to my schedule 

Wishing for things would happen the way you want typically doesn’t go the way it is planned. No one expected there to be travel bans and businesses to be shut down, but it happened. All those plans that were put into place months ago have now been postponed or canceled. It can be upsetting and frustrating in that moment but think about in the long run. This one moment may be super frustrating right then and there but think about how this can help you adapt to other situations that don’t go your way. 

  1.   Less is More

I don’t know about you but when I see something, I usually go full force and invest all my time into it. By doing this something those other things that are in my life get the short string. I point out that balancing those priorities should be at the top of your list whenever you pick up a new interest. 

  1.   People deserve a second chance

That moment you forgive somebody, chances are that you will also give them a second chance, that chance to be close to you, without trying to remind them of what they did. By doing this you are allowing them to grow and become better and better every day.

  1.   The world won’t change if you don’t change 

You hear people all the time complaining about how crazy the world is now and how they want it to change, but if you tell them to make the first step. They will back away and make excuses on why they can’t. If we want the world to change, we have to start with ourselves. 

  1.   Your education is never complete 

Determine to live fully and continually learn. Prepare for what life has to teach by being open to the lesson in everything you do and experience 

  1.   Never settle for average

Whether you are applying for a new job, a significant other, working on yourself. Never just settle for the easy way out; you will never find your everyday joy if you just go through the motions everyday. So if you’re sitting in an interview and they say they will hire you for ‘X’ amount but you know you are worth ‘Y’ amount then why not ask and show initiative and prove that you are worth that experience and degree you have worked so hard for. 

Think about it now. What challenges or achievements have you brought along with you to your next milestone? What have you learned, make a list of the things you want to change next time and what you want to keep. I guarantee you that it will make a difference in the next time reach that milestone.

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Using Quarantine to Your Advantage

When I was told that I had to come home for quarantine I was thrilled. I was going to use it to my advantage to broaden my horizons and learn new things I’ve been putting off. I wanted to add to my business by learning how to code and increase my skills for school, I wanted to read books that have been sitting on my shelf for months.  

If you’re in the same boat and want to take advantage of this time of being home here’s your kick in the butt to keep motivated and maybe even make a positive mark on a negative situation. 

So why not increase your appeal to a potential job: Get a new certification in your field. A lot of certification can be gained online quickly and can be inexpensive as well. Use this time to become familiar with the companies that your interested in; social media presence. If they don’t have one learn about graphic design apps that are user friendly so you can help build their presence. You can use this opportunity to completely redo your resume. Make it bold and stand out, the top 1/3 of the documents should grab your attention. Use key words that have been used in the job description you are applying for.  If you don’t feel comfortable working on it on your own you can hire someone to look over your resume for you. You can use zoom or team meeting for a face to face meeting. 

 

Take on a new language: Since most of us are connected to your phones just about 24/7 what better way to use them, than by downloading an app to teach you something new. Such as Babbel or Duolingo, both apps are user friendly and slowly introduce you to learning a new language. 

 

Get creative: Have you also enjoyed art and graphic design but never had time to really learn the ins and outs of it? There are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube for free that can teach you how to use Photoshop and lightroom and edit your designs, even just take a free art class.  If you have a camera, take the time and go outside. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day.  Were you a painter at one point in your life and put it away because life got a little crazy? Well now is the perfect time to idle those hands again. 

 

Take control of your health: Have you been struggling to stay on track with your goals, do you want to avoid losing all your progress you’ve made in your health in the past few months? Join an online fitness community following a live workout that personal trainers and gyms are hosting on social media. Test out new recipes with items just in your home, replace out habits with new ones. Start by drinking more water each day, small changes like this can make a big difference down the road. 

             

           So now that I’ve shown you the limitless opportunities you have why not take advantage of them. Start showing up for yourself and prove that quarantine isn’t just a period of isolation. 

 

 

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