The 2016 Oscars

I will preface this post by reminding everyone I am a feminist. I am a mixed black and white woman who believes in equality. I would agree, The Academy Awards this year was unnecessarily white washed.

I watched the Oscars at an event in New York City called Every Single Word: The Oscars at the Bowery Ballroom. The event was a live commentary featuring: Franchesca Ramsey (MTV’s Decoded; Creator of “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls”), Danielle Henderson (creator of Feminist Ryan Gosling), Sean Rameswaram (WNYC Host), Crissle West (co-host of The Read; Drunk History), Naomi Ekperigin (writer for Broad City & Difficult People), and Bowen Yang (Broad City). The event will be hosted by Dylan Marron (Welcome to Night Vale; creator of Every Single Word). It was awful.

While I have not read or seen most of the work of these writers or comedians, I understand they are all pretty accomplished and well known in their fields. What I saw of them last night makes me not want to read or see any of their other work, frankly. I understand the need for dialogue and debate about the racism at The Oscars and the systematic issues at play—this event was not that. It was unproductive heckling.

I can’t remember the last time I was in a room full of so much hate. The host opened the show with a lot of sarcasm about what we were about to watch, and an explanation why we were all here to watch it. He asked all the straight white men in the room to identify themselves so everyone could laugh at them. He handed out tally cards for people to count the times certain inevitable things happened such as “the word ‘diversity’ is mentioned.” He even handed out confetti poppers to be exploded every time the camera shows “white guilt.” I understand the point, sort of, to uplift people of color in this space, because we have been put down in the world’s arena. I did not feel uplifted. I felt uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because my “white side” was feeling the “white guilt,” but I think it’s more because the whole event was overkill.

I went to this hoping for a respectful conversation about the real issues reflected in the Oscar nominations. What I got was a room full of hatred towards anyone not of color, or maybe in the LGTBQ community. I don’t think that was the point, but that is what I felt.

The panel hated Chris Rock’s monologue, exclaiming he “sold out” and felt he made a mockery of the situation. I felt he did a good job as a black comedian hosting essentially an all-white party. Someone just said to me earlier in the week “We make jokes about the things we feel most uncomfortable about. It’s how we cope.” That’s how I felt about Chris Rock’s jokes, but apparently was wrong.

My ~favorite~ part of the evening may have been when Vice President, Joe Biden, came out and the panelists talked about how sexy he is and how they would or would not sleep with him as he spoke about sexual assault. Yet every commercial break the host showed clips of past acceptance speeches where men were sexist because they said the women were sexy. Joe Biden was one of many figures who made the panelists ask each “would you or would you not do?”

If we take out the fact that I was very hungry and physically uncomfortable in my plastic folding chair for four hours, we still have the same result. The event was a screaming match between these panelists and a screen, and it had little positive effect in my opinion. My colleagues seemed to enjoy it, and I’m glad they did, but I did not. I think screaming about how much you hate white people is not going to get us any further towards equality. You cannot beat hate with hate.

xoxo,

Kam

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Open Letter to all the “Open Letter” People

Dear Open Letter People,

Why? Why do you all keep doing this? We all see every OdysseyOnline link that gets shared a billion times “Open Letter to______” I’m sorry, I’m not sorry, it’s unoriginal.

I did it. I have an “Open Letter to the Gays” on my blog. I did it over a year ago before this huge influx of open letters, so maybe it’s my fault this whole thing is trending, but now it’s getting really old.

I encourage writing! I think everyone should try their hand at blogging and writing personal essays. I don’t think every single one needs to be in the form of this “open letter.” Anything you post on the internet is an open letter, you don’t need to specify that.

Writing an “Open letter” to me is first and foremost clickbait. I get it, you want people to read and share your post. Look at this headline, it’s an open letter. I’m hoping everyone and their sister reads it and maybe stops writing these open letters. It’s a marketing ploy, which is fine, but maybe try something different. Instead of “Open Letter to my Former Self,” try “I Killed the Child Inside of Me.” Instead of “Open Letter to my Mom,” try “My Mom Isn’t Beyoncé, but She’s the Next Best Thing.”

It’s like people who think liking coffee is an important personality trait. We get it. You like coffee. You and half the country. I believe that you like coffee, it’s just not interesting. It doesn’t make you different. Do you like the blood of your enemies in your coffee? THAT’S different! That makes you the special snowflake you are!

Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” Do that. Be yourself. Be unique. Stop writing open letters.

xoxo,

Kam

 

I Don’t Hate Exercising

You know, I really really hate to admit when I’m wrong, but there comes a time when we all must humble ourselves and admit the truth. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post called I Hate Exercising where I explained why I felt that way. It actually was very focused on “the look” of working out, but also explained that I thought going to the gym was mind-numbingly boring.

I’m here today to tell you that I have been changed. I kind of sort of love working out. It’s still a lot about the way I feel after a workout, but part of me has really come to enjoy the grind (I still hate gym lingo, but baby steps).

Most of it came from being an athlete. That has never been as big of a deal as it has for me in college. Not only is it part of my social identity, it’s also just a huge part of my lifestyle. From February-May, I am in the gym 6 days a week with my team. Something that takes that much time out of your life has to be something you enjoy, or you lose yourself. And I prefer to be a winner.

This year in particular, I just got really motivated to be as in shape before the season started as I could. I went to the gym as often as I could, and really started to enjoy what I was doing there. Maybe I am just high on endorphins, but there’s something incredible about movement. I’m starting to understand the whole “runner’s high” experience (I get more of an “elliptical high,” but I digress). I feel like my mind and body have synced up and are operating to their full potential.

I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise, but you know them already, and they’re pretty boring. I will tell you that when you start to enjoy this activity, though, it’s kind of euphoric. I can’t even really explain it. I’m in a pretty good mood most of the time anyway, but I’m in a better mood now that I’m more in shape. This my way of saying everybody needs to get in shape to be happy, it’s not even about my physical appearance. It’s more of a mindset. I like the feeling of knowing I have started this good habit and I don’t want to quit.

I don’t know. I wanted everyone to know that I’ve had this revelation. I encourage my readers to find something they like doing that makes them feel this way. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you at the gym.

 

xoxo,

Kam

Time

First and foremost, let us all take a deep breath and remember that time is a man-made concept.

I’ve been thinking about the future and life in general lately, and it’s insane. That’s the best way I can describe it. Life is insane. You’re born, you do some stuff, then you die. And whether or not that matters does not matter. Whether you believe each life is equally meaningful or completely meaningless does not matter because they mean the same thing. Stay with me.

If you want to believe my life as a contribution to this earth means equally as much as Mother Teresa’s great. But that belief, I think, means the same thing as the belief that every life is meaningless. Because if we all mean something, we cancel each other out. You need me, and I need the next person, so it’s a random cycle of meaning that doesn’t mean anything.

What does that have to do with time? Well, I think our culture revolves around this idea that we’re running out of time. “Life is short.” “If you’re not living you’re dying.” “Time is money.” Everyone is at least a little obsessed with this hourglass inside of us because we’re afraid that time is going to run out before we get to accomplish great and amazing things.

I once read this thing probably on tumblr or whatever that said “I wish people would stop saying life is short. It is literally the longest thing you will ever do.” That’s a fact. The longest thing I, Kamaron, will ever do is my life however long that may be. So what is the rush? I’m not saying slow down and live every moment like it’s your last–that’s a whole other thing I don’t really subscribe to–I just think we should stop overthinking the time thing. Think outside of yourself. Sure, you could die at any second, but you know what? The world could stop spinning at any second. Who knows?

I think it’s really important for young people to wrap their heads around this. We get so caught up in what other people are doing faster than us that we lose sight of what we want. Goals become should-have-dones, and life is just a race to the graveyard. Yes, some things are time sensitive. But there isn’t going to be a time when your days move faster than days before them. Sure there are times you feel like all this time has passed, but that’s all in your head.

I don’t think it’s really possible to “waste time.” You gain something out of every moment. Whether it’s a lesson learned in time management or a moment when you just unwind, you got something. I told a professor last semester I needed to prioritize my time better and not just watch Netflix and she said, “Yeah, but if Netflix is what you need to do to relax and rejuvenate, then you need to do it sometimes.” No, this whole idealistic stream of consciousness wasn’t an excuse for me to keep watching Netflix, but she was so right. There are times when you have to buckle down and work towards a goal, and there are times when you need to take a break and give yourself the space to feel at ease.

 

xoxo,

Kam