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When Justice Failed

Today’s Google Doodle honors Fred Korematsu, an American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. As a child in elementary school, I read When Justice Failed: The Fred Korematsu Story as required summer reading, and it changed my life. It was the first time I had heard about Japanese Internment. This book shaped my broader interest in social policy, especially in regards to how immigrants and first-generation Americans are viewed.

Being Assyrian-American, I have never felt I quite fit in; not with white Americans or with other brown people. Quite frankly, I fly under the radar and can “blend in” a lot more than many of my Asian, other Middle Eastern, Latino or Black friends, simply because of my physical appearance. But as a child of immigrants, I have always been conscious of the fact that–while I love my country and am an American patriot–others do not view me as American. This has been reinforced time and time again thanks to the wonders of the internet, where people have told me to “go back home” or “go back to your hooker country” (I don’t even know what that one means). These interactions have happened on the comments of this blog as well as on Twitter. And the funniest part to me is that, technically, I am considered “White” (thanks for the privilege, US Census!), and I legitimately don’t look that different from Americans whose families have been in this country for a few more generations than mine. This is how I know first-hand that racism is not limited to skin color. It is not based in fact or truth about who other people actually are. Racism is taught and learned behavior. It is an attitude that promotes fear of the other.

For those who are saying that President Trump’s Executive Order temporarily banning immigration from specific countries is not racist, or who disagree that it is dangerous, I implore you to read about how Japanese-Americans were treated in the US. All this while Jews, gypsies, Poles, Slavs, and people with disabilities (to name a few) were being rounded up and executed en masse by Nazis in Europe. I encourage everyone to read Mr. Korematsu’s amazing story, and about the stain this tragedy left on the American story. Less literary, I recommend watching “The Siege” with Denzel Washington, Annette Benning, and Bruce Willis. The eerie part is that it was made before September 11.

I want to say that the response to President Trump’s policy agenda is not a bunch of leftist sore losers. This is not hysteria. This is genuine fear of known, fairly recent history repeating itself. It can happen here unless we stop it. And the most selfish reason it is so important for me to personally stand and speak against these actions, to condemn them as racist, and to give voice to those harmed is that I know if I do not stand for them now, there will be no one to stand for me later.

I will leave you with Luthern Pastor Martin Niemöller‘s poem in response to indifference to discrimination in Nazi Germany:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


Donald Trump continues to prove he is irrelevant

It’s been a while since I last posted on a politics. With an upcoming, presidential election in 2016 I thought it a good time to get back into the thick of the hot-mess we call the American political system. Over the weekend, Donald Trump stated that he did not think Sen. John McCain (AZ-R) is a “war-hero.” He believes he only received this distinction because he got caught; and Donald doesn’t like people who get caught. These comments come on the heel of his controversial statements on the current state of illegal immigration. Trump believes that many of the country’s undocumented workers, specifically from Mexico, are criminals. Read More…

Californians might be voting for the passage of the “Sodomite Suppression Act”

(Credit: Mariusz Niedzwiedzki via Shutterstock)

(Credit: Mariusz Niedzwiedzki via Shutterstock)

Yes…You correctly read the headline.

According to a article, the above mentioned act proposed by a lawyer (someone should check his credentials or at the least his sanity) would punish “the abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy” with a bullet to the brain (or death “by any other convenient method”) and also mandates a decade imprisonment plus permanent relocation from California for anyone who advocates LGTBQ rights to an audience that includes minors.” The initiative needs 365k valid signatures to make it to next year’s ballot. As absurd at it might seem the state might have to allow this debauchery to proceed due to the state’s 1974 Political Reform Act which sets procedures (including a $200 fee) that allows for citizens to propose acts for state ballots. Read More…

Mom of Child with Special Needs says United Airlines ‘Humiliated” Family

ABC News. (yahoo news)

ABC News. (yahoo news)

I just read an article on about a mom who claims United Airlines humiliated her family. The family of six was returning to Newark, New Jersey from the Dominican Republic when they were approached by a flight attendant about a safety concern. Elit Kirschenbaum’s 3-year-old daughter, Ivy, has Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and is a stroke survivor. The family bought Ivy a seat (in the economy section) because they were aware of federal regulations requiring anyone older than 2 to purchase their own seat. Read More…

Should obesity be considered a disability?

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Yesterday, I read an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune. The paper’s editorial board shared their opinion on the thought of considering obesity as a disability. The consensus was a resounding negative to the notion.

They write: Read More…

Brittany Maynard dies on November 1st

Over the weekend, Brittany Maynard decided to exercise Oregon’s Death with Dignity Law by consuming lethal drugs that ended her battle with terminal, brain cancer. The 29-year-old made headlines in early October when she revealed that she had decided the day she was going to die, November 1st. Maynard had been diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and was given 6 months to live. After consulting with many doctors she was told that not only was her form of cancer incurable, but it would be extremely painful in the end stages.  Maynard said she didn’t want to let the cancer decide which day she’d die. Read More…

The Ebola Virus- should we be concerned?

For several weeks this has been the main topic of conversation in the news media as well as in the households of millions of Americans who have become skeptical that the Ebola virus is something they should be concerned about catching. The Ebola virus is not a newly discovered disease, but rather a hysteria that has infiltrated the psyche of American minds the moment a citizen contracted the disease on American soil. While I will not concede to such mass frenzies, I will admit that despite statements from the government urging me I have nothing to fear any foreign disease can cause a threat to national security, albeit a likely, remote and diminutive one in that respect. Read More…

Crying baby at Alinea prompts the question if children have a place at high-end restaurants

Baby YellingA crying baby at a high-end restaurant has been the topic of much discussion both in Chicago, where the 3-Michelin-star restaurant resides, and amongst the nation as the story has garnered national attention.  Recently a couple brought their 8-month-old baby to the 64-seat restaurant because the babysitter for whatever reason couldn’t watch the child.  The baby proceeded to cry throughout the entire dinner which prompted many patrons to complain to management.  Read More…

Should the Newtown 911 Tapes Have Been Released?

Sandy Hook RibbonIt has been almost one year since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The events of that day will forever be ingrained into the psyche and memories of the American public.  The shooting sparked outrage over current, lax gun laws, pleas to finally tackle mental health issues, whether the school should be reopened (it has since been decided to be demolished) and now the latest battle is over the release of the harrowing 911 tapes.  Read More…

Cristy Nicole Deweese, a Texas high school teacher, under fire for previously posing for Playboy Magazine

Cristy DeweeseCristy Nicole Deweese, 21, teaches Spanish at Townview Magnet High School in Dallas, Texas.  Some parents have become outraged when it was brought up to their awareness that Cristy had once posed for Playboy Magazine and its online publication three years prior.  Read More…