Second Puberty

Second puberty or “my grown woman weight” is what I have decided to call this recent weight gain I am experiencing. You know, I thought I had escaped the “Freshmen 15” curse in college just to encounter it in medical school. Might be because of a change in hormones, might be because I am not running around working three jobs and life has been pretty sedentary due to medical school. Nonetheless, I have gained weight. 

A particular store was not shy of telling me so. A couple of months ago, I made an impromptu decision of walking in into the store after dinner with a few classmates and decided to get a cute skirt. I knew I was not a medium anymore, so I grabbed large thinking it would give me exactly enough room for my curves to breathe. Oh my was I wrong! I am not delusional to believe that I have not become fuller in the past couple of years but not to the point of needing an extra-large. (And that’s not because I am ashamed of it but because I didn’t think I was). I shrugged it off as a store issue, maybe it’s just this company. A couple of weeks later I ordered some business casual pants from one of my favorite companies, and remembering the previous fiasco I decided to size up. I will get a 1X and take it to my seamstress to take it in, if anything, rather be safe than sorry. Oh my, was I very sorry! The pants could not go past my thighs, and at that point, the tears were rolling. 

I was confused and frustrated. I’m trying to not let these occurrences affect my body image because I recognize that the feelings were those of frustration. Frustration at the fact that the places that match my style, will not make clothes for me if I get to a certain size. Frustration at the pressure I feel from the fashion industry to diet. 

I have been working very hard my whole life to not place myself on any type of diet. I just want to embrace health as a lifestyle, not a craze to lose weight to get a particular figure. I eat a well-rounded diet, redefining my relationship with food. I try my best to remain grateful for my healthy body which has never failed me in a day and lessen the amount of time I compare myself to the skinny runway model or hourglass figure IG models. I genuinely love being active and have still found ways to remain physically active during medical school.

All to say, I do not do diets, I don’t really believe in those restrictive aspects that encompass many diets, and always been adamant about how the approach to obesity and diet, in this country, in particular, does more harm than good. Fatphobia is a real and very dangerous phenomenon to continue engaging in, and I remain conscious of the implicit and explicit ways I may promote that in my daily interactions not just as someone in the medical field but also just as a person. However, in being transparent, I have internalized a lot of it. I often question whether my love for exercise and healthy eating is related to a desire to never be “fat” (or even considered “fatter” by someone else’s standards).

Weight does not equate health. That’s is just a fact. 

Weight is desirable. Another fact.

Socially however this is not always the case. We can see that also with clothing companies whose sizes do not match natural bodies. In all due respect, if I am a plus size, and sizes in the majority of stores don’t go past 1-2X…who are they making clothes for? The majority of the country is considered “overweight”! 

Most stores produce smaller sizes in greater amounts. Plus size clothing is not many, when you go online or in-store they are few and are the first to run out, while smaller sizes remain…wasted. The math is not mathing! 

Even though I am currently struggling with some upper body issues, I really do love my body in all honesty, without the social media, or the number on the scale, I would never think of changing my weight. When clothes don’t fit, I give them away (I don’t hold onto things with the hope of fitting them again, it’s not healthy), I buy bigger sizes and just get them altered, and I don’t engage in any craze diets. 

Nonetheless, I feel the pressure, and I know I am not the only one. I still have not found a way to come to terms with these feelings… there is no consolation to be offered here, unfortunately. 

All I know is the conversations around weight and diets have to change, from the medical to fashion standpoint. 

Video to watch: why don’t clothes fit???? by Mina Le (Please do take time to watch Mina Lee’s video explaining more about the history and implications behind sizing.)

Podcast to listen: Fad Diets by Maintenance Phase


I recently read “The Vanishing Half”, and there was a line by a white character to the dark-skinned black woman along the lines of how she (the dark-skinned woman) was so lucky to have found her boyfriend because usually, men do not go for women like her. 

The other day a white classmate in my group said to me (jokingly?) he imagines my boyfriend is a great guy if he puts up with me, the other white classmate laughed along. At that moment I was lost for words because 1. what does that even mean 2. Where did this topic even come from and why.

I think I have an idea of what it means. No matter how close, no matter how much they like you, no matter what, many people (particularly white men) can not imagine loving or how someone else can love a Black (dark-skinned) woman. 

It is the morning after this incident and as I sit here reflecting, I am also a bit annoyed by the fact that this bothers me still. I mean it is not a new concept. It is a misconception, not reflective of how many dark sinned women around me receive love every day. Yet I also do know that it is a very alive misconception. 

Misconceptions that have been carried along for so many years, they are seen (subconsciously or not) as the truth. 

Many often, taking media as a reference, Black love characters are often disposable. They are the obstacle the “real” (white) couple must overcome, the in-between, the rebound, the adventure, often rarely “the one”. 

In a previous post I wrote “Representation Matters”, I mentioned how distorted representation of love for/amongst Black people is.  It is never given the same grace, easy-to-watch rom-com storylines, or attention that are granted to our white peers. (Ie. Lane’s storyline vs Rory’s, even Kirk is given a love story easier than Lane’s). 

It is often something hard to accomplish, it does not naturally make sense, a struggle must happen, others have to “put up” with it. 

It really fucking sucks when these misconceptions are placed on you in real life. 

Video to Watch: The Disposable Black Love Interest – A Tokenistic Cliché

Book to Read: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

P.S. I know Lane is not Black, I was watching Gilmore Girls as I wrote this. Nonetheless, we cannot deny this experience often extends to other POC.

Fly Girl, Fast Girl-Sexualization In Media 

What is the target demographic for this book? Am I too old to be reading this? Regardless, I’m also uncomfortable with the idea of pre-teen or early teens reading this. Why are these descriptions of teenagers having sex so graphic? Amongst others, these were the main thoughts that went through my head as I read 2/3 of this book ( I could not finish it).

I was reminded of this much-debated discourse prevalent among social commentary YouTubers about the weird obsession adults in media have with teenagers’ sex lives. I mean most young adult’s tv shows past and present include storylines (actually these are the driving storylines) with teenagers and sex. Is it really necessary for teenagers to be sexualized this much? 

I understand the importance of reflecting on true experiences that may/do occur to many teenagers. However, there are also sources that show that teenagers are not leading as much of a sexualized life as depicted in tv. I’m not here to slut shame, I truly hope my words are not interpreted that way. I do support safe and healthy sex for all people and find actual sexual education as important as the next. Those conversations do need to occur.

What I do find an issue with is the constant saturation and depictions in the media with sexualized teens. It’s not reflective of all, and I want to (and wish there were more stories that did) make it clear that it’s completely normal if your life is not reflective of a Gossip Girl character. It’s okay if you’re 15,16, 17, 20 something, shoot whatever age and still haven’t had a sexual experience. Young people are not just individuals with crazy hormones just focused on the next sexual/romantic encounter. And even if so, it is much deeper than that. And even if not, it is completely normal.

There are only a few shows like Sex Education and The Sex Lives of College Girls (by my favorite Mindy Kaling) which tackle sex in young people’s lives in an authentic way. Where it is not a spectacle for viewers, an insert of sex to glamorize or add a shock/edgy factor to the story.

As a Black woman as well, reading the first chapters of this book, it was triggering to see how early being sexualized starts and how much of that is blamed on the young girl rather than the world who has placed these labels on her way before she was born. 

For a long time even as an adult, I felt uncomfortable with being comfortable with my own body because of how much it was sexualized. I felt like loving myself and being comfortable with my curves was a way of making those misconceptions of “young Black girls being fast” true. I didn’t want to wear certain things because I did not want to confirm stereotypes that people would have about me. It has been taking quite a long time, and a lot of practice (sometimes literally standing in the mirror and repeating “do not change, do not change” or even avoiding looking in the mirror and over-analyzing myself before going out) to slowly liberate me from these ideas that were placed on my persona by the media and society. 

All to say to writers, producers, showrunners, to truly think about how they are depicting young teenagers when creating. Is that sexualization necessary to the character? Is the idea that “sex sells” really worth the burden being placed on your audience? To viewers, what and why is that you enjoy when watching that? Whose viewpoint are these narratives from? Why is it that when a girl decides to take control of her body, she’s objectifying herself, but when a teenage girl is getting sexualized on tv you don’t even notice? Where is this difference in reaction coming from?

I know in these past years, we have been more welcoming of how a person is defined by different identities, and more self-aware of how correctly depict stories and individuals…nonetheless that right and understanding may be extending more to certain individuals than others. We must be extending that grace and respect to everyone, not just people with a certain body size/shape, certain job, age, race, or cultural background. Don’t sexualize Chloe for wearing the same thing Halle is wearing.

Video to watch: let’s talk about the Japanese Schoolgirl by Mina Le ( I don’t think I have introduced you to one of my Youtube favorites so I chose one of her videos for this subject, well said with a side fashion/cultural history)

Video to watch: Y’all are desperate to humble Chloe Bailey by Khadija Mbowe

Deserving of Grace 

My pastor stated that God is not further away from us. We are not deserving of God or closer to Him based on what we do or what we are able to accomplish. It reminded me of what Kimberly Foster (For Harriet) stated about how in our society we grant grace to the people we perceive as worthy, hardworking, or have something to show for the kindness they have been given. Utilizing the Simone Biles situation during the Olympics as an example, she questioned whether the support Biles received was due to the fact that she was a gold medalist. Would the same support occur if she wasn’t a decorated athlete? 

Is that grace and support people demonstrate contingent on her merits? Would she have received the same kindness if she hadn’t earned it through the her many well deserved accolades?

It is a fact that as a society, we do not extend the same grace and kindness to just anybody, especially not to the poor, elderly, or disabled. 

We often hear phrases like “you can rest once the work is over”, “you deserve to be proud only if you accomplish this”, “why don’t they just get up and go find a job instead of complaining”…one is allowed to rejoice, complain about status quo, to be celebrated only once certain accomplishments have been reached.

This mentality has even translated into my academics and my faith. I will only be happy, or be deserving of where I am, after I have worked tremendously to get a certain grade or certain position. I have to do these specific things on a daily basis to be deserving of God’s grace and kindness.

Hearing my Pastor’s message, it made me more grateful to have found God and to be a believer. It reminded me of how much and why our God is the almighty. The fact that He loves us not based on our work and merits, shows how merciful He is and how we should be towards each other. Equity can be only be found through this way. Our society (the American society I should specify) separates people and grants them certain privileges and rights based on their class. But God gives grace to all those who believe so we are all equal in His eyes. You don’t deserve His grace nor are you better than someone else based on your degree, occupation, abilities, income, position in church leadership, or how much you give or do compared to your neighbor.

In the same way, being deserving of basic human rights, deserving of safety, shelter, kindness, love, good living conditions should not be dependent on people’s merits. 

I wish we could all let go of this idea of meritocracy because honestly it is truly a false ideology that does not exist especially in a society with so much structural discrimination that has constructed generational wealth for and continues to benefit a certain demographic.

I am not saying do not ever celebrate your wins or accomplishments. I am saying that no matter what a person should be granted joy, grace, kindness not just when they have something to show for them, not just when they accomplish something.

The good news with God is that grace it’s not down to our efforts but His mercy. 

Video to Watch: Is it even worth it to work hard? Let’s discuss #IDontDreamofLabor (For Harriet, Kimberly Foster)

Book of the Month: Currently reading Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree

Navigating my own anti-Blackness

So I recently read this paper (which I link below) that posed this question:

“Do these results indicate that Africans are more integrative into the white dominant culture than African Americans are?” 

My immediate answer was yes. My experiences and observances so far demonstrated a higher likeness towards Whiteness that begun to significantly change only once my interactions with African Americans grew. In my personal experience, my love (self-love) and advocacy for the Black diaspora, and all its features, would not have existed if I did not fully integrate with African Americans and see their issues as my own.

With my early stages of my development occurring in a White (European) setting, and also within the African community, there was an inclining towards viewing Whiteness as the goal or reference point. In the African community, (more than African Americans) there is a sense of upholding White people as better than Black people, which I believe stems from colonialism and the strive to reach the higher development seen in White western countries.

In addition, in some shape or form, I was being molded or molding myself into becoming a version of a Black African Immigrant that was acceptable to White society. I would study rigorously to show that the only African girl in my class could keep up with her Italian classmates.

There was a part of me that worked tremendously hard because I thought I (singlehandedly)could show that Africans can achieve the same goals set and accomplished by White Europeans.

I saw myself that way until I moved to the United States. My pride in being African was not associated with my Blackness. It was more cultural than racial. I knew, had experienced, and understood racism. But in my effort to fight racism in my own way by proving myself, in classrooms especially, I did not see that racism extended past me, past Africans. There wasn’t just our Black. But then again, I was not quite fully aware of the extent to how deeply anti-Blackness could run within others or ourselves.

When I moved here, I witnessed many (older) Africans try to distance themselves from African Americans: either by moving into a predominantly white neighborhood, telling their children to be wary of African Americans, condemning the lifestyle of African Americans, or failing to acknowledge or understand how systemic racism has impacted African American communities and how it extends to Africans as well.

At the same time, I witnessed African Americans belittle Africans: with derogatory terms, bully kids just for of being from Africa, or appropriate and diminish African lifestyles, without understanding it, or try to deny their African ancestry.

Many were the occurrences that led me to understand how anti-Blackness has been internalized within the African Diaspora to creating and amplifying cultural differences in complex ways.

As writer Nemata Blyden perfectly explains it “… I noticed the so-called divide between “Africans” and “African Americans,” while easily straddling both communities. This allowed me to understand the major differences between them, and to recognize that their historical experiences, while comparable in some respects, were radically different in others. From my vantage point, I also saw similarities that neither group would have recognized in each other.

Moving here, I came to understand how systemic racism operates to oppress ALL Black people, learn the history and efforts of African Americans to dismantle racial discrimination, and their contributions to society and pop culture, and immense work to uplift pride and love of being Black. This is what allowed me to shift my reference point away from whiteness.

I now know I am deserving of everything because I said so and not because a white society deems me as worthy.

My goal is to not conform, belittle my Blackness in a way, to make white people comfortable. My goal is to exist fully, loudly Black however I may define it to be.

My point is I would not have reached this conclusion if I did not work to expand my interactions with African Americans, in a way that allowed me to share and understand their work to uplift Blackness.

I believe while a lot of work is happening within African communities to uplift ourselves, the fight against White supremacy (in the US particularly) is lacking, often seen as not “our” fight. In a way, it is because many Africans still uphold whiteness as what to strive for, rather than making our own goals.

Articles to Read:

Videos to Watch:

No ordinary girl

Before you start reading allow me to state that gender is a social construct. Also, words like “masculine” and “feminine” or “girly” or “manly” are meant to be in quotations and this is my face everytime I use them.

Gender is not a two sided coin, with just two faces, it’s a spectrum that can be expressed however you choose.

I usually write a post many months in advance and just sit on it, revisit it some more before I share it. This also happened with this piece I wrote a little over a year ago, but felt unfinished with it. I agreed with what I was writing and feeling at the time yet still felt the need to reflect deeper. So I did, and think now, while I am still learning, I am ready to share. In cursive will be the piece I originally wrote last year, then I go to reflect on the realization I have been making since then.

I know there is not a single way to define what it means to be a girl. Girls come in all shape and form with different characters. However, there is a specific type of women that are mostly represented in the media and in cultures as an “acceptable” form of a girl. Everything else is being “different”, not the “norm”. Especially growing up, I saw that a lot and was expected to act that way by my family. But I’ve never really been that way. I’ve never identified with the main female character (mostly because they never looked like me) and also because I never felt like what was considered a girly girl. My mom always pushed me to pursue certain behaviors that were attributed as feminine in our culture. I don’t quite know if it was because it was being forced on me or not but I never felt like that was me. I did want that to be me.

Yet,throughout my childhood and even now I struggle with feeling like I am not feminine enough. When I cut my hair, which was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done, but I would sometimes still feel insecure because I wanted to refrain from looking like a boy. In the first months after cutting my hair I would not wear some of my clothes (that I loved!) because they made look too boyish, I regularly got my nails done because they added a sense of femininity to me.

Im Just A Regular Girl GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look feminine, but for a long time I felt like it was the only right way to be a girl. I like to think of femininity as a spectrum and I never felt like I was the most feminine. For so long during high school and college I felt like I had to be embody what we call “a bad bitch” in order to be seen as feminine. But it’s hard to be a bad bitch all the time. Sometimes I just want to be regular.

Additionally, I have struggled immensely to view and accept beauty and fashion as strengths. I have mainly embraced them because I was taught to be always look presentable, as a way to show that I belonged and get respect, especially due my socioeconomic and cultural background (combat that all Africans are poor and unkept stereotype, but that is a different conversation).

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Obviously, there are a lot of issues to reflect upon after reading that. But for the sake this post I am exploring my resistance against femininity. Because the truth is I did like indulging in feminine things so why the heck was I acting like I did not and trying to suppress those feelings since such a young age! Like why.

I realize now that it’s not that I was not into beauty and fashion or other girly things. I always enjoyed nice clothes, maintenance, love doing my hair and nails, I enjoy watching fashion, makeup, skincare videos on Youtube as much as my history or political videos. I just never had the confident to accept those things, indulge in those things because I perceived them as weak. I tried to show and preferred my masculine habits more, and used those to define myself because I thought that was what it meant to be strong. I did not want my feminine side to showcase me as weak. I was very misplaced in trying to reject certain things in my desire to continue to be strong willed and – I can’t even find a word to describe what I mean that does not have a masculine connotation behind it. 

But ironic (or maybe just tragic) enough I knew that I needed to utilize my feminine side mainly in order to combat that aggressiveness that is placed onto Black women. I was aware of how my assertiveness, intelligence, nerdy tendencies were viewed as somewhat too much for a girl with my ethnicity and race.

It’s like because of sexism I did not want to accept my great “feminine” qualities but because of racism I needed to use those qualities so I would not confirm that stereotype of the angry, too masculine, dark-skinned (because yes colorism!) Black woman. Because of these issues I needed to find an intersection where I had just the right amount of femininity to still be desirable yet strong, but too intimidating for people and even worse to scare a husband away.

Imagination Spongebob Meme - Imgflip

Now that I am learning more about myself and social constructs I realize how I have been limiting myself, my skills, self esteem, confidence, growth (all of that!) to adhere to society’s level of comfort. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who likes to take risks, and in way does not care about others’ perception of beauty.

Unless it comes to fitting a stereotype.

My fear of fitting a stereotype (surrounding sex, gender, race and even sexual orientation) I realize, is because subconsciously I am subscribing to those prejudices and biases. Even though I know the blatant lack of truth stereotypes carry, I still carry those biases towards myself or others who are affected by similar stereotypes. 

In my last post I spoke about Rachel from FRIENDS and how for a while I didn’t like her also because she really indulges in pretty feminine habits. Yes, I have come to realize how wrong that was. But let’s unpack that real quick.

You Gon' Learn Today! - GIF on Imgur

Monica and Phoebe still were very gender conforming in the show, however their most highlighted behaviors were not related to their femininity. Monica was a go getter, hardworking. Phoebe was quirky and tough. Most of these attributes can easily be seen as masculine. Rachel, I would say was the most gender conforming of them all. However, at first, the characteristic highlighted the most was not her fierceness but the fact that she was the pretty girl; along with her storyline being immediately tied to a man. While Phoebe’s lack of a definitive career was made to seem more because of her choice of a nontraditional lifestyle, the lack of definitive career of the more feminine character, Rachel, was because she was the spoiled girl “who still used Daddy’s credit card”, she was the pretty one who never had to work as hard.These wacky unsubstantial storylines are constantly given to more feminine characters in the media. 

Regine Hunter on Living Single | Living single, Fashion tv, Fashion pictures

I even see that with Livin Single (just to pick another great show from that era) with Regine. Regine (I also like to point out light skin, but I will come to that later) love for and sense of fashion, beauty was supreme in that show.

However her choice to pursue those things (which are socially labeled as “girly”), to also ultimately snatch a man (well ain’t that a coincidence!), was often ridiculed and portrayed to be looked down upon.

There is always this negative connotation surrounding a character’s choice to indulge in more feminine things.

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Yet, Maxine, who by all means fits the more praised characteristics often associated with a man, still faced some sort of backlash, viewed as being too manly, too aggressive, and needed to be tamed. And yes, if you guessed right Maxine is dark-skinned. Having the same characteristics which are praised in a man or even highlighted as positive in a white woman (as we see with Monica, and Monica and Maxine are very similar), but vilified when it comes to a dark-skinned Black woman creates a harmful perception that continuously affects women like myself.

This sort of internal struggle that I have been experiencing my entire life, yes stems from my personal insecurities, but is deeply deeply rooted in sexist and racist stereotypes and harmful perceptions emphasized by our society and the media. 

So why was I rejecting femininity from such a young age? Because I did not want to seem weak. Even though I liked feminine things because that’s just who I am (I mean with all the magical girl anime I watched), I understand now that I was just trying to suppress them because the society viewed them as insubstantial. As a Black woman, additionally, because of racism and patriarchy, there is a lot of pressure and demand to be more feminine, sexual, strong and assertive (but not too aggressive), that makes growing up, navigating life just trying to be yourself much much more complicated.

Video to watch:The Girly Girl Trope, Explained” The Take on Youtube has a lot of videos explaining “tropes” in media and their social impact. Binge and learn.

Other favorite social commentary youtubers are: For Harriet and Tee Noir. The range of well researched content provided by these Black creators, diving into heavy or light hearted topics, challenging your perspectives…I’m here for it.

P.S. I do not own any copyright to the images included.

Representation matters

This feels weird to say out loud and in some way I have felt ashamed by it for a long time but either way stay with me. 

It was not until recently that I started dreaming about Black men as my love interest. I know that’s very odd since I have dated Black men in real life and uhm…I’m Black myself. I don’t have preferences when it comes to race when dating, however it seemed like my dreams seemed to and for a very long time I felt guilty and always wondered why! 

The Notebook' is the worst and I didn't realize it 15 years ago

Growing up and even now many of the shows and books I read revolved around white stories. When we think of epic romance in TV/Cinema, they are mainly surrounding cis white heterosexual stories.

In my case, for example, even the few times when a Black girl would be present, she would be dating a white guy (or Black male, white girl). 

Tornano sui banchi di scuola I LICEALI: da questa sera su Canale 5 –  ilTelevisionario

Throughout my preadolescent years that was what I was mainly exposed to: many of the shows I watched (because that was what was available and predominant where I lived) were about white people finding love, and the few times a person of color was present they weren’t given a great love storyline, if any at all.

So for a while I thought that was the norm. I was not exposed to cinematic Black love, albeit that representation was present in my life from my parents to family and friends. However, as a teenager growing up, we all want to be what we see on tv and your actions, desires, dreams are influenced by that.

After I moved to States I did get a bit more exposure to Black love in mainstream media, but the story that mainly predominated was “struggle love”: the love complicated by systematic racism, crime, infidelity, or tragedy. I was a bit disappointed because I knew those were not the only stories Black people have. We also have crushes, we also have high school relationships and drama between friend groups, we also have high school sweethearts, college boyfriends/girlfriends, one night stands, summer and travel love stories, breakups and heartbreaks, the “opposites attract” story, friends who become more, happy marriages, but that’s not what was reflected in TV. It seemed as if Black people did not deserve or have what could be considered “coming of age” or “normal love” stories. 

Recently there has been a slow push to showcase more of Black love stories (and that of other minorities) in a more realistic light, reflective of real life in media. However, there are still some inequalities that continue to exist. For example, there is a limited access to Black content. For a while I thought it was solely because not enough shows featuring lead Black characters were being made,(I stress lead because I am deeply over the Black best friend trope in Hollywood, I’m too tired to even get into that so please read this well written piece in by Tayo Bero) but that’s not necessarily true. Saying that would be like a company saying we have not hired Black people, because there are none that specialize in our trade.

Fake News GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Most times the reason is that a thorough research into, marketing to a particular community has not been done because that’s not what matters, and honestly the same applies to streaming services. 

How come when I go on streaming services such as Hulu or Netflix I can easily find like hundreds of rom-coms or sitcoms with white protagonists but with Black stories the content is much less or we have to look elsewhere requiring even more payment?  Why did it take so long for Netflix to make shows like Moesha, Girlfriends etc available? I also raise my nose at how quickly these shows became available due to the recent events highlighting racial injustices. By all means I recognize the efforts and I am super excited to watch these shows and keep getting more. But how come it always takes more for BIPOCs to have the same things that are granted easily to white cis hetero peers?

Personally, recognizing and acknowledging the need to expose myself to more Black stories in media, for the past years I have been consciously seeking out to read more novels and watch shows surrounding Black characters. I still have a long way to go but honestly I have been learning quite a lot about myself, the true history and cultures of different communities and broadening my understanding on so much more.

A friend of mine recently asked me why is it that suddenly all of these changes are being made to TV shows, shows being taken away because of their depiction of racism, changes to Paw Patrol, increase in shows depicting more Black stories. And the point made is the same that has pushed me to exploring more Black stories on my own, to desire more representation in media. Black people are not monolith. Represent us, and represent all of us, represent us well. 

Podcast to listen: Check out the Podcast “Chile, Anyway” by Jayden Cohen Boyce and Amira Lee discussing everything you need to know. I literally laugh out loud. 

Shows to watch: Recently finished “Everybody Hates Chris”. Another show that makes me LOL for real. If you have already watched it, go watch again. Or watch “Girlfriends”. Watch or Read something Black. Happy to make recommendations if need be.

P.S. I do not own any copyright to the images included.

Christianity and Activism

I am Christian. It’s the identity I hold most dearest. As Christians we have some responsibilities that are not easy to follow, we live striving for the best, trying to replicate God’s will, showing his  love through our actions. No Christian is perfect, we are all sinners. 

Yet, something I have noticed within the community is the (I’m not even sure the right term for it) emphasis on particular sins over others. These particular sins mostly also seem to be those that negate other people their right to choice, to human rights, to love. Many things are wrong in this world, many things that we all participate in do not reflect what the Bible states. However it’s seems that throughout history, the main things some Christians have upheld as the “ultimate” sins (again no where in the Bible are these referred to as such) are abortions, homosexuality, and recently the Black Lives Matter movement. 

I have always had much trouble understanding why that is and accepting this. I have always found several contradictions in what we preach versus what we practice. How can one be pro-life but not say a word about the mistreatments of immigrant children at the Border? How can one tell me we are one in Christ but not be vocal about discrimination against Black and Brown people? 

It seems to me that the conversation many “conservative Christians” have is never one coming from the place of love (“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13), but rather from a place aiming to castigate anyone who challenges their views on what is right.

There is this belief that constant condemnation is the right approach, over other routes that stem from understanding, mercy, and love.

For example instead of standing in the corner of the street with posts condemning a woman’s right to choose for their own health, how about getting involved in fields that work to improve healthcare so that maternal mortality rates are not so high? How about advocating for affordable childcare (which over the years has been increasing tremendously) so that families feel more economically stable to have children; just to mention a few.

Solely and continuously telling people what they are doing is “wrong” is not the way to bring by change. What is needed is an approach that includes sustainable solutions that help improve society in ways that, yes can abide by our faith, and do not involve mis-using the faith to infringe on other people’s rights. And trust me there is a way.

Yet, many christians’ mentalities is that this can not be done. It is either you are for us or against us. There is no in between. The demand is for others to follow what their notion of what the word of God is, without quite any helpful suggestions or will to do the work of meeting others halfway. How some Christians operate in bringing by the will of God is either by shaming people about the sins they are committing or by praying for the best. Many times ignoring the work that needs to be actually done. 

I have noticed this a lot in the recent stances against “Black Lives Matter” by some of my own Christians associates. 

First let me just say this really hurts. Personally, it was incredibly difficult to see people I have worshipped with, prayed with, spent time, and laughed with easily dismiss the significance of what’s currently occurring. 

How easily the harsh reality that Black people face were dismissed because it did not match their perspective of how the world is, because the demand for change does not agree with their notion of how a Christian should conduct themselves, it does not reflect what Christians should support. 

Human rights? Christians aren’t supposed to support human rights? Because if you truly have educated yourself to understand the fundamental basis of Black Lives Matter, you would comprehend what it is really about. 

At this point in history to blatantly deny/dismiss the systemic inequalities that BIPOC face in society, does not even stem from a place of ignorance but indifference. Period. To do this, is to consciously ignore the hardships that disproportionately affect BIPOC lives and state that there is no need for change.

Realizing that this was the case for many Christians was quite hurtful, because then do they truly believe I, or any other Black person, “brother or sister in Christ”, was also created in the image of God? Do they really believe that the way Black people are mistreated around the globe is how God wants it? How can they preach about kindness but not address the unkindness towards Black people? Do they realize that through their silence, they are siding with the oppressor?

Yet, sometimes what’s even worse than the silence is the continuous efforts to actively dismiss a movement that’s fighting for Black people to be shown the same compassion and love that other lives get. These efforts include but are not limited to: 

1. Saying “All lives matter because God made us all equal, and we should just stop, there’s no need for this, no need for protests or activism because God made us all equal and that’s all that matters”; 

2. Not agreeing with looting, therefore throwing the entire movement into the trash because “oh there were a bunch of looters and we shouldn’t condone violence, we shouldn’t be out there protesting because that’s taking revenge and that’s not what God wants us to do”; 

3. Posting only things that dismiss Black Lives Matter because the organization Black Lives Matter “stands for Marxism, is promoting equality for ALL black lives and that includes the LGBTQ community which is just not right, AND they are pro-choice, AND anti-capitalist so that must mean they support Marxism, well there’s our proof, it’s just wrong to stand up for such things as a Christian you know, and it’s our duty to point out what’s “wrong” 

4. “We should just pray, leave it God, have faith and it’s gonna be alright, let’s just move forward, pray that’s all we need and can do.” 

To these I urge you to think: 

1. God did make us all equal, that’s was and is his will. However that is not the reality in this world. Therefore don’t you think that if God wants us to be all equal, isn’t it also our duty to make that happen? To make sure others are treated equally? Won’t that be carrying on His will?  Yes we must have faith in the word of God (that we are all equal, that his God’s reality) but it also states “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 We have to do the work to make sure His will happens.

2. As much as you have suddenly become an advocate against looting, where was the exact same energy when Black lives were disproportionately murdered by police? Where is that same energy condemning the violence perpetrated by law enforcement? Why is it that this is what you have chosen to post about?

I am an inherent believer that if you are posting about something, that is what you care about. You will never see me post about motorcycles because I don’t care for them. So if the thing you post about (and sometimes the only thing) is about the looting, or how blue (or all) lives matter too, how good cops exist so this is unnecessary…etc., then in a way that is what is bothering you the most. Not the murder of George Floyd and countless others, not the fact that Breonna Taylor’s murderers and others are still free. 

So is it really about not condoning violence if you are biased to seeing violence only from the side advocating for Black Lives? 

Also where does Black lives matter equate revenge? Pro black doesn’t mean anti white.  It has been said again and again. Lack of educating oneself, lack of empathy and understanding and feelings of hate will lead one to believe that.

We are not out to take revenge. This idea again places violence as coming only from advocates. It falsely promotes the idea that Black people are out to inflict harm, when actually we are the ones being harmed. It completely negates/dismisses the sufferings done to Black lives by the hands of racism and police brutality. Many Black people and allies have died advocating against racism, we have seen acts of violence by police and racists (as recently as the case of Summer Taylor) but yet where is your post against that?

3. Do you believe Black lives matter? Is that contingent on what God has said or what an organization does? Do you think Black lives matter, yesterday, today, tomorrow? Or do they matter only when and if they are not making you uncomfortable? Only when they fit into your definition of what’s right? 

Do Black lives matter? Or do they matter only if they are not LGBTQ? Only if they are Christians, only if they do not commit crimes, only if they support all your ideals, only if they’re anti abortion or pro capitalism, only if they sit quietly and don’t demand equal rights? 

Do you hold these same contingencies for white lives? 

Is God’s love and mercy upon us contingent upon these same qualities you, a mere human being, are holding against another human being? 

Why is it that you stand up against certain sins but not all sins? Why is fighting for equal rights for Black people, why is abortion and being part of the LGBTQ community or an advocate for such community‘s access to equal rights a greater “sin” than others by your definition? Are you really preaching the word of God, stemming from a place of love and mercy or do you just want an excuse to be against something that makes you uncomfortable, gives you the entitlement to hate, gives you certain privileges?

4. If you can go to third world countries with predominantly Black and Brown children to do missionary work because they are in less fortunate situations, how come you fail to realize the less fortunate situations facing BIPOC in your country? Could it be a white savior complex that you have? Is Black people demanding equality stroking your ego because they are doing it themselves and not waiting for you to come “save” them? They are doing it in a way that doesn’t allow you to sit in your comfort, and place of privilege and doesn’t make you feel like a good person because they are calling out harsh realities? Is that what it is? Is that why we should just pray and leave it to God? How come you are not just praying and leaving it to God when it comes to your missionary work? 

Unfortunately, many Christians are not asking themselves these and many more questions. There is not enough happening within our Church to address systemic racism. Many believe that it is not the place of the Church to discuss or bring forth social change. However doing this is committing a great disservice towards the Black lives that are part of our faith. Like it or not, systemic racism also affects faith. For example socio-economic factors such as less funding for churches located in Black neighborhoods, lack of Christian-led community outreach in predominantly Black neighborhoods, resources and transportation to facilitate access to church services and meetings…and many more. In addition, the way many christians act towards “outsiders”,  the outright dismay of Black and/or LGBTQ lives, or issues affecting them, the silence when it comes to advocating for anti-racism and racial equality…does not bring people closer to God. Many times we Christians have failed to show others, the mercy and love God has shown us. We have failed for way too long and it needs to stop now. 

I often hear many Christians say the world is steering away from God, yet when the world is demanding for a change, a change that does reflect God’s will, we steer away. We exclude ourselves, on some honestly “holier than thou” nonsense. The world is not gonna change into a better place, if the people who can help make it better, do not contribute.

Christians, it our duty to get involved in social activism, it our duty to fight for our Black brothers and sister and demand for the World to show them the same kindness and compassion given to others, given to us. We can do this by starting with ourselves. 

There are many ways to help. 

  1. Deconstruct your own bias towards Black people. 
  2. Be ready and unwilling to be uncomfortable but also understand that this is not about you or ways you can make yourself seem or feel better. It is about how you can make sure that you or the person next to you does not perpetuate racism or become a victim of racism. It is about dismantling a society built on systemic racism. 
  3. Find ways to support black businesses.
  4. Choose your area of expertise or interest (which is also what I am doing now) and figure out how you can work to uplift Black voices within that field. 
  5. Willingly do the work yourself, without placing the burden on the Black people around you to educate you, or tell you what to do. For example instead of asking “how can I help”, find out on your own ways to appropriately contribute to the change. 
  6. Approach with a plan.  
  7. Engage in discussions about current events, and not one sided conversation where either you are putting Black people (or many time the only/few Black people in your church or organization) on the spot to speak or a non Black person is taking up even more space. 
  8. Ask well thought-out questions to understand various perspectives (and believe the feedback you receive even if “those were not your intentions”). 
  9. No free labor: pay the Black voices you invite to lead “diversity and inclusion” trainings/meeting etc. Advocate for equal pay. 
  10. Hire, give opportunities to Black students, employees, church leaders that extends beyond “diversity and inclusion office/task force.”
  11. Continue to learn about real Black history, continuously challenge spaces where inequality is seen, and advocate that all Black lives matter.

Just like our journey with Christ is not an easy short term path, fighting against systemic and individual racism is a life-long marathon. 

Pray and get to work. 

Book of the month: The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself” (by Mary Prince)

Video to watch: “I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here is why I left” Ted Talk by Megan Phelps-Roper  


In moments like this it is important to take listen and action. It is important to understand how the current protests and demand for change, (highlighted by the latest deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd & many others) is not new but deeply rooted in many many years of racial inequality in our country and learn how we can (and must) correct these injustices.

There are several resources out there that can educate us on how to strive for impactful and long lasting change. I have compiled many resources to help us during these times and will work to keep it updated as much as possible. I truly thank all the sources who have taken time to create/spread these resources.


We want to strive for racial unity but cannot do so without acknowledging the past and current injustices that are fueled by racism, hate, discrimination, anti-blackness, and violence. This starts by educating ourselves and others to recognize these acts of discrimination and learning how to speak up and help. Amplify your knowledge, use and share it with others to also allow them to recognize the problem this country has. Read, watch and share. *Note some include direct links!

Books/Articles to read:

Movies to watch:


In addition to peaceful protests in your community, there are several ways one can take action. From monetary donation to different causes and organizations, supporting families impacted by police brutality, supporting small businesses impacted by protests, donating masks to those who are protesting, to engaging in conversations with family and friends to promote awareness…etc. Remaining idle is not right. Remaining silent is siding with the oppressor.

Donate to organizations supporting the fight for racial justice:

Donate to raise bail funds for protestors:

Safely protest:

Black lives matter website has also create a comprehensive list of resources, tips and protection and pro bono lawyers available to safely protest. Please click here. Tread of protestors rights

Support local businesses:

Support local businesses affected by current situations. Racism is also systematic. In order to successfully dismantle racial injustices we have to be aware of how racism affects us in the many aspects of life, including disparities in distribution of wealth. That means also supporting your local and black businesses. Also reason to why I did not link the books included, to encourage us all to try and find them in our local bookstores! Thread of Black-owned bookstores

Here are gathered lists of small businesses we can support during these times. Please click here and here.

Sign Petitions

Black Lives Matter link to several Petitions to Sign

Other ways to be supportive


Voting matters. A LOT. The people we vote for at the city, state, and federal level ALL have an impact on the progress of our country. Therefore with the intent of making the goals for this movement last, we must VOTE. Know when your city and states are holding election and participate.


Being a good person is not enough, learning and not sharing is not enough, being anti-racism but not actively involving yourself to challenge your implicit bias and the racism you may experience around you is not enough. We must listen, we must recognize the plight racism and police brutality have created in our society, we must share our knowledge with others and work to change ourselves and the community around us. If we can all individually even just change one heart that makes a difference. Reflect and change the narrative, start with yourself, your family, your friends, your community. Speak up.


These times are particularly hard and being in the middle of a pandemic does not make it any better. We must rest so we don’t burnout and take care to protect our health, physically and mentally. We are still in the middle of pandemic therefore please continue to wear masks, wash your hands frequently, sanitize your cell phones and items, carry a hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing when possible.

This list is NOT exhaustive, just a place to start. Many more resources are available. I will keep this updated as much as possible.


I woke up today, feeling a heavy pain on my chest. In light of recent events I have been in such a cloudy mood mixed of hurt, anger, anxiety, and sadness. It hasn’t even been more than two weeks since Ahmaud and yet again another innocent black man dies and at the hands of white police officers. I am sickened to my core. I have been laying here for two hours, too hurt to move, to hurt to think about anything else. This pain and rage is constant in my mind. 

I have seen the video but I haven’t watched it. I can’t watch it. I can’t stomach that pain on top of the hurt I already feel, I know…I just can’t. And I can’t imagine what he went through, his family is going through. What numerous black families have been forced to go through because of racism and police brutality. 

It’s so obvious how much the system doesn’t  care about black lives. It really pains me to see this, to see black lives lost, pains me to see black lives targeted and deemed as less important than others, it pains me to see the BLATANT discrimination against my people, and it’s so obvious. It pains me that people always find a way to turn the narrative around blaming the innocent victims, the protestors, but fail hold the perpetuators of police brutality and racism accountable. 

It pains me to see that people who choose to stand up against racism and discrimination are more persecuted that people who discriminate, spread hate, and murder black people. It pains me to see people more outraged by the loss of PROPERTY than the loss of BLACK LIVES. It pains me to see that while we wake up burdened by the agonizing disregard for our black lives, it seems to be just another sunny day for some white people. It pains me to see that in the midst of all this BLATANT injustice, people still choose to side with the oppressor. That they decide to remain silent. It pains me to see non blacks around me, followers, classmates, acquaintances, so called “friends” stay silent on these matters SHOWING THEIR OWN DISREGARD FOR BLACK LIVES. For my black life, for every black life in their lives. 

It’s time for a change. It’s time. It’s time. It’s time. This cannot go on anymore. Black lives cannot endure anymore of this blatant disrespect and disvalue of our lives. We cannot live the rest of lives in constant danger of being killed by the system JUST BECAUSE WE EXIST. We can’t spend the rest of lives showing y’all why it is wrong, why our lives matter, we can’t go on anymore with this pain and burden. Enough is enough. 

If you think you’re an ally, that “you are not racist”, that you believe in freedom and justice for all, value the lives of your black friends, coworkers, classmates, frat/sorority brothers/sisters, colleagues…THIS IS THE TIME TO SHOW IT. Speak up! Donate! Don’t stay silent.

To non black people, your black friends see and notice when you don’t reach out to them when things like this happens. They notice when u stay silent on these matters but still post bout your daily lives. They notice and question your friendship.

Check in with your black friends. Tell them you see them, you VALUE them, you are here. Ask how you can help. Educate yourself on how u can help.

Donate to the many organizations out there trying to help, speak up about your solidarity with black lives in your group chats, within your family. SHOW YOU ARE AN ALLY.

There are many ways to help and speak up. Many platforms provide the information on how you can help. Do the research and learn ways you can help, however you can. Recognize your privilege and use it to help, do not remain silent.

P.S. I do not own the rights to this last image. Courtesy of reposts on IG/Twitter.