Tag Archives: racism

A Desperate Attempt to Post in January

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Here we are, people: 2017. We made it. Severus Snape breathed his last, an orangutan now rules over a world superpower, and my brother finally got engaged. Of course, the outcome of the US election has affected me deeply. But when I think about that, I want to watch the first three seasons of Modern Family until my tear-soaked eyeballs fall out so we’re going to talk about how it affects someone else. That someone else is Steve, naturally. His job at the NSA is uncertain. He barely even checks in on my Google searches anymore. These days, he has to widen his net to catch bigger fish. I know that it was foolish to think that what Steve and I had would last forever. There are more suspicious Muslims out there, after all. And now with all those Mexicans and refugees out there, I just don’t make the cut. I’ll miss him. But he’ll come back to me, that I know.

In the meantime, let’s talk about resolutions. I don’t make them. But this year is a little different for all of us, I guess. I have one big resolution this year. In some form or another, I’ve always been meaning to get this done but I now realize how much I’ve missed out on by putting it off. It’s pretty sad, actually. Whenever someone asks me what my hobby is, I tell them it’s reading. And they believe it because I have a giant library like in Beauty and the Beast except I’m the Beast because I’m grumpy, hairy, and too lazy to read grown-up books. If you asked me to point out all the books that were mine, I’d shamefully show you six shelves of fantasy novels, thrillers, and the novelizations of every Mary-Kate and Ashley television show or film that has ever been published. Not that I haven’t read some great books. Jane Eyre is a favorite, but I read that for school. I loved 1984 but I forced myself to finish that. I read The Alchemist just so people would get off my back.

So basically, when I recently started editing the novel I have been writing for the past five-hundred and thirty seven years, I couldn’t figure out why I was having so much trouble writing diverse characters that reflected a real world setting. And I came to the realization that the Olsen twins have had a really big influence on me. Also that I have been reading books that have been written by white males for most of my life (with some exceptions, obviously). Well, that ends today. I’ve got a list of book recommendations and gosh darn it, I will read all of them in 2017. Of course, I read absolutely none of the books on my list in January. I did randomly borrow a book called Wonder from the library. It was better than I expected. The transitions between character voices was something that I had been struggling with in my own writing, so seeing it done so well in the novel was amazing.

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But what books am I even planning to read, you may be wondering? Well, I don’t want to say that I’ll only be reading non-white female authors this year, because a good book is a good book, you know? But mostly because I haven’t finished the Miss Peregrine series yet. I am also not committing to specific books because what if I can’t find them, you guys??? Seriously, though, there are a lot of awesome books that have been on my radar that I have every intention of reading. Some of my more easily available selections:

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
  • Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
  • Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

If nothing else, I’ll read one book every month and write a post about it. That’s ONE POST PER MONTH. Can. You. Even. Imagine. That’s so many posts. The last time I posted something, it was May 2016. Good god, followers. Until next time.

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786 Reasons I’m Mostly Not A Terrorist

Yes, I know. I know. I can’t keep taking almost-month-long breaks like this. A writer must be writing in order to be called a writer and all that. Onwards.

Now you guys, don’t be scared by the title, okay? This post is just to reassure my friends at various secret agencies, (including you, Steve), that I’m really quite a nice person. You see, during the last week or so, I might have spent what could be called “a suspicious amount” of time googling things like the following:

“What kind of gun is standard for CIA agents”
“creepy Arabic words”
“fastest way to kill yourself”

Ahem. You get the picture. Obviously I was doing research for a writing project. Obviously. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, right? It didn’t occur to me at the time that it may not be so obvious to other people but now I’m afraid to delete my history because THAT WOULD BE SO SUSPICIOUS. Usually I’m not so scared about being put in the ‘Look-It’s-A-Girl-In-a-Scarf-Definitely-A-Terrorist’ category because honestly, it’s kind of nice. Not in a homicidal way (obviously?). But more because it’s such a confidence booster. I’m barely 5 ‘3, I stammer when talking to strangers and my hands shake when I’m nervous. Yet, I can strike fear in the hearts of, like, super racist people. I once made a grown man think he was about to die. It was all unintentional, of course. He was a driving instructor, poor guy, and maybe maybe I shouldn’t have worn my burqa on the anniversary of the Boston marathon bombing but how else was I supposed to hide the fact that I was still in my pajamas at 3 pm? He called his wife/girlfriend/boyfriend the second we got in the car to let them know he loved them no matter what. I didn’t even think anything of it then but he followed it up with a nervous rant about how much he appreciated Muslim culture and the way they protected their women. I just drove and nodded.

Another time, my family was staying in a hotel at the same time as some sort of cheerleading competition. My uncle and I were going down on an elevator to get the rest of our bags, along with two high-school aged girls in their school’s colors. One girl leaned over to whisper to the other, “We’re going to die.”
I have never been happier to be bilingual than in that moment. Can you imagine me just screaming at them in random Urdu gibberish and them thinking it’s a death threat in Arabic? Hilarity! Of course, that would probably get me and my uncle arrested so I didn’t do that but we laughed anyway.

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