Dear Ben “Uncle Tom” Carson,

And that’s why racial tensions are higher. Because those who want to stay as snug as a bug in their white privilege rugs aren’t so comfortable anymore.” – Aretha Welch

 

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An open letter to the Black Republican Ben Carson, following his shameful endorsement of Donald Trump. BTW – the black community is petitioning to have you voted off the island Ben.

Dear Mr Carson,

It can be argued that last month’s black history month celebrations were a bigger deal than in past years. Conversations about race are more widespread than say a decade earlier, and racial tensions are higher. Hashtags like #oscarssowhite have made it to the dinner tables and have been conversation pieces. America is addressing race with a renewed vigor.

You even addressed race while you were on the campaign trail, that was before you quit. You said , ”I think that things have gotten worse because of his unusual emphasis on race.” This was you Mr. Carson when you were a hopeful Republican presidential nominee. This was you talking about race relations in the United States under Barack Obama, aka the outgoing POTUS.

And never had I thought that I would so strongly agree with anything that came out of your mouth, but here I am agreeing with this statement.

But I do not believe it is true for the same reasons as you, Mr. Carson.

Yes, race relations have gotten worse in the last handful of years. Polls have shown that most Americans in fact agree with this. But it is not because Barack Obama has focused on race. It is instead because race has become a major focus since Barack Obama has come into office. Black male achievement, majority minority states and colored pride have risen to the forefront of the American narrative due to a number of factors, including social media and citizen journalism. The faces of the traditional power players in the U.S. have changed. And black and brown people are no longer simply here to work low paying wages to help the majority get their daily tasks done, no black and brown people are seeking out their own dreams on the American main stage.

Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a beacon that signaled that a new day had dawned in American culture.

And it wasn’t just a new day because blacks or mixed race people wanted it, but because many Americans want a new, more equitable America where people enjoy human privilege , not white privilege.

Obama campaigned on a platform of change at a time when people were calling for an America where Black and Latino young men are not imprisoned at exponentially higher rates than their Caucasian counterparts. Eight years ago the need for change was “a thing.”

And eight years after he took office the status quo is still being called out loudly and clearly with movements like #blacklivesmatter. And eight years later video footage from all corners of American society is still exposing the tears in the social fabric. Eight years later Beyonce is performing at the super bowl and paying homage to her culture in a way that made most of the presenters on Fox lose their collective minds. ‘Cause see, the new American being clamored for is quite frankly unsettling to many of those who have held the power since time immemorial. And that’s why racial tensions are higher. Because those who want to stay as snug as a bug in their white privilege rugs aren’t so comfortable anymore.

It is because traditional arguments of the inferiority of certain races are being turned on their heads by minority achievement. The “lay people”, including those of color, are now the media creators and conversation starters.

YouTube , Periscope, Instagram, Twitter and other forms of social media are allowing the revolution to be televised , without the constraints of traditional television.

The guidelines of the old guards no longer have to be followed for airtime and mass broadcasting of a message. The traditional narrative of the trouble-maker minority teen who is rightfully imprisoned or shot by a white male is being peeled back, and this is bringing fear into the hearts of traditionalists and those who see their privilege and superiority flailing before their eyes. See… they smell change, and to them it smells like the rot and decay of the old America. It smells like the death of the power assigned to them by nothing else but the color of their skin and how long ago their forefathers landed in this country. It smells like the strengthening of the pride of people black, yellow, red and brown, who had been told by the mainstream that they shouldn’t be proud because they were primitive.

This change doesn’t only smell only like black , yellow and brown skin though. It smells like national gay marriage rights. It smells like a woman winning the Iowa caucus for the democrats . See overall its a lot of change your fundamentalist counter parts are smelling Mr Carson. And they are trembling. And they are reacting with renewed levels of racism, stereotyping and fear mongering. That’s why they are buying the bigotry which that buffoon Donald Trump is selling. The traditionalists are clapping back harder than Amber Rose when she outed Kanye West as a “#fingersinthebooty” you know the rest. They ar fighting the change tooth an nail, and attempting to savor the last vestige of when America was, not great as they say, but white.

But see Mr. Carson you and I are not alone in our thinking that race tensions have increased in contemporary America. A CNN and Kaiser Family study released four months ago stated that an estimated half of the population, 49 percent , believe that racism is a big problem in America. So it is clear the tensions are high. We all agree.

Where you and I differ however Mr. Carson is that you bat for a team who is in support of the traditional narrative. A team who sells fear to the American traditionalists by saying ‘their” country is going to be taken away. You Mr. Carson bat for the same team as none other than the aforementioned Donald Trump, who is the king of pandering to fear. He has built a campaign on fear of Mexicans, fear of Muslims, fear of change. He paints minorities and those of newly-arriving ethnic groups as having no desires to achieve anything. But instead as those who seek to commit nothing but rape, destruction and terrorism. He is the anti-Obama, if ever there was one. He is anti-change. He is the “no they cant achieve” and “no we shouldn’t even let them in the country to try to achieve” candidate. And he is mounting a defense for those who would like to keep America as a 70 percent Caucasian nation, where white privilege is such a common thing , that it’s not even a thing. It’s the norm.

As a black, immigrant woman who may one day have a black son who I would like not to get gunned down because he is walking at night in a hoodie with a bag of skittles, I bat for the other side.

I bat for team change.

There are some who believe there should be no teams. Like the much talked about Stacy Dash, an African American actress who was used by Fox to argue that the voice which black people are using to express their frustration is flawed. According the Stacy “puppet” Dash black people are misguided in having their own avenues of recognition. And to some extent “the puppet” has a point, there shouldn’t be a need for BET and the NAACP Image Awards. But where she is incorrect is in her belief that there isn’t a need. See what ought to be and what is are usually two different things.

If the struggle that is being undertaken by minorities at present is successful, then one day we can indeed not have the need for BET or the Image awards because minorities will be included. But currently there is a need, because black children should be allowed to see achievement with a minority face . And not just achievement when we act as bad cops, horrible mothers, slaves and maids. See, representation is important so our children have role models. It is of paramount importance that they can have access to a wide spectrum of images of they can look like and sound like when they grow up and achieve. So they have something to counter the image of the black thug, stripper, maid or crack whore that is sold to them in mainstream media. And it’s not just black people. Muslim babies need a clap-back to the stereotype that they are terrorists. Mexican boys need a clap back to image of them as East LA gang bangers, or gardeners.

That’s why minority representation and art recognition is a necessity. Until the day that politicians like Donald Trump are not comfortable enough to get up on stage on the Presidential campaign trail with their white privilege showing and say things like muslim immigrants should be banned from entering the US, until that day , there is a need for minority specific forums.

See traditionalists have been comfortable with making others uncomfortable for too long. And these traditionalists infiltrate all aspects of our social institutions, they are police men, teachers, politicians. It is obvious from the social media viral videos posts of the last year some police men have become too comfortable terrorizing minority men and women. Politicians are too comfortable criticizing America’s new Latino immigrant population and demonizing Muslims. White privilege and minority pain and discomfort have been the cornerstones of American society for far too long . But it may not be that way for much longer . Four majority minority states have already been named and this probably scares the bee-Jeezus out of those who cant handle the idea of supposed “rapists” , “terrorists” and “thugs” running the show or at least playing a lead role in the show.

These statistics show where the seeds of the Republican party’s brand of fear they are selling come from. It particularly show’s the seedlings of Trump’s narrative. You know, the narrative that Americans are losing their country and good Americans must take it back and make it great again. Of course the people these type of fear and fire-breathing campaigns are really calling to action as “good American’s” are the tradition-loving, white privilege craving Americans among us, not the actual good people . The type of people who will kick a Black Lives Matters protester at a rally. The type of Americans who would say “FuckYourBreath” to a dying man. Those ones are Trump’s type of people.

See not all Americans and not even all white Americans are opposed to change and everyone having equal social rights, the right to a fair trial and access to achievement.

And there was a time when these types of Americans who your party and your friend Trump, who you so kindly endorsed, love to call to action may have been in the majority. They definitely were during that “brief” period when black people could not own property or even be counted as a whole person.

But that time has gone , or is at least going , and this scares traditionalists. And THAT’S why race relations are such a poignant and noticeable issue at present. Obama’s ascendance to office has signified the pinnacle of black achievement and ultimate slap in the face to traditional lovers of white privilege and minority under and misrepresentation. And this pinnacle has scared people who never wanted to live to see the day when skin color didn’t automatically put a glass ceiling on what you could achieve.

And on the other hand, this pinnacle has excited those who are over dealing with the glass ceiling and the limiting labels. And so now race tensions are pretty high. And yes Mr. Carson it is partially because Barack Obama became President of the United States , but not for the reasons you and your crafty friends are implying. But nice try. #youtrieditbencarson

Aretha Welch

Business Is Blooming

Spring is officially here! It’s definitely my second favorite season (Winter: Cuddle season is #1). Time for the Springtime shenanigans and most importantly Spring inspired fashion!

I’m such a sucker for all neutral, earth tone colors : maroons, olive, grey, etc. I literally can wear them all year-round. Please don’t be fooled Spring does not call for ALL pastel colors and floral print. PEEP my Easter look for this year!

 

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Maroon Onesie -Detailed Gold zipper: H&M ($12)

Maroon Belt: H&M ($9)

Distressed White Denim: Targèt ($20)

Olive Green Cardigan: H&M ($10)

Grey Detailed Pump: Bakers ($40)

All jewelry was gifted to me! Lol

BELT

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HAPPY EASTER!

Xoxo,

@likeMYKK

Blackout Easter

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Does anyone ever wear black for easter?  This year I took a different route with my look. Many people  wear bright colors and don’t get me wrong, I love pastels and bright colors they remind me of spring.  So for my easter look this year, I played with prints and dark colors. I love how I still had some colors going on but not so much. I really loved how fun and simple but yet still classy and put together this look is. What’s your favorite easter look?

Top: Forever21

Bottom: H&M

Shoes: Macy’s

Bag: TjMaxx

Necklace: Forever21

Live Or Die Trying

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Crazy to think that right this moment, you are as old as you’ve ever been and as young as you’ll ever be again.  Usually people think of a #BucketList as a list of extravagant, wild adventures like swimming with pigs in the Bahamas but truth is it should also be filled with:

  • Attainable short-term and long-term goals (My list even has “Hair Goals” LOL)
  • Business Ideas
  • Places you want to go
  • People you want to meet
  • Food you want to try
The 3 main things that creating a #BucketList can provide:

Focus: Keeping goals and future plans on a list can keep you on track and motivated to check off another box, whether big or small.  Even when you review your list, it can re-energize you and keep you focused.

Purpose: Your list can help you discover your “Why”?  Focusing on your “why” instead of your “how” (i.e. bills, money) can lead to a deeper understanding of who you really are, your purpose and WHY you want to do the things you want to do.

Vision: The #Bucketlist begins to double as a clear path to follow that helps provide direction and a visual guide for your life.

Honestly, I created my #BucketList to one day share it with my kids and help give them a better idea of who I was before they were even a thought.  I’m trying leave a legacy and anything I don’t have time to finish before I kick the bucket, hopefully my children can finish off for me.

Take a peek at a couple of things on my #BucketList:

  • Dance with my dad at my wedding
  • Witness a miracle
  • Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
  • Stomp wine grapes
  • Get 2 abs
  • Stand in a red phone booth in England
  • Send a message in a bottle
  • Keep my hair “heat-free” for 3 years (2 years down, 1 to go!)

 

“It comes down to a simple choice…you can get busy livin’ or you can get busy dying.”

– Shawshank Redemption

 

Freeing myself from my rapist…

 

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(Three minute read)

This year marks the tenth anniversary of my rape. And this year I will end my obsession with rape.                                                                                                                                                                                       See , after what happened to me , so much of my private life became consumed by rape and the idea of rape.  My art became littered with rape narratives and metaphors.  I would write poems about women who were raped. My debut novel opens with a brutal and haunting rape scene . When I read the news I would always read the stories about rape or molestation.
And until a month ago  I did not know how I had become this person. Yes,  I did these things in private but I did them nonetheless. And I did not like that I needed to do it to feel whole. And I did not know why I did it.
But now I do and I want to share it with other women who may need to hear it.
It only took me ten years to get here, but now have the knowledge and power to free myself.
See I  realized after much introspection that by creating characters who were assaulted and reading about other women,  young and old , who had shared my fate, well it made me feel less odd. Somewhere in my mind nothing odd had happened to me , because it had happened and was still happening to so many others . That’s how reading about rape made me feel. It helped me cope. Everywhere in society women were being raped,  and I found comfort in that.
But that was not right. My logical mind knew it. But my emotions needed the stories , the images. They made me feel like a part of a community of people who were just like me: broken, hurt, victimized and confused as to how we let it happen.
But that changes now. No more will I seek solace in the suffering of others . Their pain cannot be used to numb my own any longer. This year I let go.
What happened to me was unfortunate . More than unfortunate . But when it happens to other women it doesn’t make me more normal . Because nothing about rape is normal. This year I own that. Rape is abnormal but I was not the issue. I did not let it happen.  I was not weak. Other women who are raped are not the issue. They did not let it happen. They are not weak. I don’t need to see rape as a normal occurrence to be O.K. Because what happened was not O.K. . But it also was not my fault .And now I know that,  and believe that,  100 per cent . Now I finally own that reality and can move forward.
It only took ten years . But this year my obsession with rape ends. I do not need it . I take back the control he took from me, all those years ago. And now I know I am finally healed inside . Because I can say for the first time in a decade, I am in control and I do not need other women to be raped and attacked, so  I feel less awkward.
In fact  what would make rape less awkward is if  men just stopped raping us. Women are not the issue. I am not the issue. And for the first time I can say I know that I never was.
As women we never need to find excuses for being sexually assaulted. It is not normal and we do not need to cope by acting like it is or was.                                                                                                               I know it’s hard to face what happened as an individual sometimes. I could not for years. For a decade I hid behind the collective pain of all rape victims . Any rape victim I could put my hands on. In books. In the news.  Their pain helped me mask my own. But at some point we must face our own individual demons  if we are to get better.   There are professionals to help if these demons are too big for us alone . I never reached out to a professional to tackle my own issue . Maybe if I had, I could have healed more quickly.
Or maybe my art needed it. You know , the tortured writer. Maybe my pain worked for me in some way for a long time, and that’s why I kept it and kept feeding it. But at some point I needed to get better.
I believe we all do. Better is not the same for everyone who was raped . I acknowledge that . But this year I urge you to find your better . Seek it out whatever it is and wherever it is . Because we deserve it . There can be sound emotional health after rape.  I urge you to find it , if you haven’t yet. And sometimes it doesn’t  come in one piece. It may not all come for you this year. Yes , sometimes it’s a process. But we have to start it , if one day we want to finish it . And we can get better and be in control again. I promise you it’s possible. It may be a long , winding road , but it is possible my sisters. It is my dears.

Sincerely ,
Aretha Leah Welch
Another 28-year-old Rape Survivor

Cargo x Plaid

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This spring plaid is back, even though I feel like it never left. Spring 2016 is all about plaids and much more. For this look, I was in San Francisco and definitely wanted something casual and stylish.  I literally have an obsession with cargo pants, they are just perfect to me.  The one I’m wearing are from H&M, I bought a couple years back and I still love them. My flannel plaid is from thrifting. Its a thrift store in San Francisco and totally was by random that I found something good. I usually don’t thrift shop because I just can never find anything good, beside old people clothes. Don’t get me wrong, some old people are stylish and own a lot designer name clothes but unfortunately, for me I never find anything that I would wear. I paired it with lace up ankle boots from LoveCulture and my bag is from Tjmaxx.

What I am wearing:

Plaid top x thrift shop (San Francisco)

Pants x H&M

Shoes x LoveCulture

Bag x H&M