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Jun 16, 2020

Growing Up With Racism in Green Bay, WI



Photo: Google Images 


I'm not sure where even to begin. But let me start with saying, I love living in Green Bay. I've lived out of state in the past and couldn't imagine moving away again. My family is here. My roots remain here. I'm raising my child here. The people in my life who I genuinely love being around are here. 

Here's the thing though.. Racism in Green Bay, WI - it isn't loud. It isn't in your face. It's actually scarily quiet. It's dirty looks, being looked down upon, backhanded comments, being bothered by law enforcement, and more often than not - played off as a joke. 

I was born and raised on the East side of Green Bay. During a time when the only other black people in town were Packer players and their families. I first experienced racism at an age I was too young to understand why I was being treated differently. 

Day Care. I remember crying to my mom to just keep me at home because I was constantly  picked on. Both by the kids at the center and the caretakers. The same thing continued through elementary school. It's not being invited to birthday parties. Not having many friends. Not being included in games during gym class or during recess. Kids not inviting you to sit with them during lunch or not making room for you if you have no where else to sit. Teachers treating you like you're a nuisance when you're actually one of the brightest kids in class. Kids who you thought were your friends avoiding you at child-parent events because they don't want their parents to know they get along with someone "different". Your neighbor friend apologizing because their family was uncomfortable being around black people at a birthday party. I was the 2nd kid from a black background to go to my elementary school. I know for a fact, not many people at that time had ever experienced a culture other than the white-beer drinking-borderline redneck-football town that was Green Bay. 

It's listening to kids mock the fact that an entire month is taken to teach about black history. Only because our stories are excluded from "regular" history classes. It's learning from a very wise AP History teacher that history is told by the victors. Victors who colonize and wipe out any trace of stories that show how evil humans can be. It's people not wanting to educate themselves on any other culture than the one they grew up with. 

And that's the problem. The racism here is ignorance more than anything. When people travel, it's rarely to big cities where diversity is the norm. They'd rather head "Up North" to isolation in a cabin, tent, or lakehouse. That's the culture I grew up with. It's being asked to "feel" your hair, because straight hair is the only hair texture people around here had seen. And begging your mom to straighten yours so you can attempt to look like everyone else. It's being asked stereotypical questions because no one had ever been around people who "looked different" from them, so we were treated like aliens from another planet. Everything different about you and your looks, taste in music, taste in clothing, every thing being pointed out at every opportunity so you become hyper-aware of your self.

It's being provoked to the point that when you finally retaliate, the victim card gets played so the person can prove how "violent" or "out of control" you are. It's being called "coloured" because the person doesn't understand that calling someone that is not OK. It's not being able to sustain meaningful and long-lasting friendships and relationships. Even in my late 20s, finding a relationship with someone who DOESN'T have "old school" or "judgey" parents/family is pretty rare. It's hearing your friends' parents gossip and laugh at people they interact with who come from a different background from them. Or, parents not being friendly to you at all and watching you like a hawk because they're concerned you might take something. It's being blatantly followed in stores because they're taught people of color are prone to theft. It's people not taking the time to pronounce your name correctly and obviously ignoring you when you correct them. 

It's driving hours out of town to get "ethnic" food. Or to get your hair done because no one in town specialized in "kinky" hair. Or to find "hip" clothing. It's self-segregating yourself on field trips, because our people - as few of us as there were - "Get it". Standing up for one another because no one else would speak up but us. It's feeling relief when you see another person of a darker skin tone because you remember that you, by far, are not alone. 

It's locals who rant and rip apart the Native American tribe that neighbors Green Bay. It's people who laugh when organizations like ICE raid local Mexican communities. It's people who think every Asian person is Chinese, not knowing how many people are actually Hmong and Laotian in this region. 

It's having your father and uncles harassed by police for driving while black. Or because they "fit the description". It's having your mom and dad go through an entire court process because they want to blame the wrong guy, and them fighting to prove his innocence. It's having your son's father tazed and swarmed by police with their guns drawn because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's family and friends who plead guilty because they know the system will not fight for them if they argue their innocence. 

It's getting anxiety any and every time you have to interact with police because you are well aware they need to make their "monthly quota" so they are looking for any opportunity to issue a ticket. It's knowing that you can't congregate or get too loud in a public area because someone will send the police after you, even if you're doing nothing wrong or illegal. It's learning that you and anyone who is of a darker complexion is taught to be a target because of skewed "statistics". 

It's being on edge as soon as you see someone with a Confederate flag and hoping they don't want to start any trouble. 

It's being called a Nigger on the corner of Main and Baird while advertising for a high school fund-raising car wash. It's being called a Nigger unprovoked while looking for love on a dating app. 




It's having to explain why Black Lives Matter. Why being Pro-Black is NOT being Anti-White. It's people who want justify death by cop because "you shouldn't have been doing anything illegal". Even though, that is up to the courts to decide punishment. It's people using any distraction from the topic of racism at hand so they can avoid these uncomfortable conversations. 

It's one day knowing, that if things don't improve - and fast, you'll have to sit your 6 year old child down to have "The Talk" about what it means to be a black boy in the U.S. and how you won't always be there to protect them. That because of systemic-racism, he will be seen as a threat. So you try to teach them the best you can what it means to comply, and be on their absolute best behavior. If not, they could lose their life. 

With the Black Lives Matter movement becoming one of the largest Civil Rights movements in the world, I have hope that EVERYONE will have basic human rights. Segregation was not that long ago. This was a time my grandparents grew up in, had their kids in. Only a couple generations ago. Racism is not going to disappear over night. 

But from what I've seen after the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery - the American people are fed up. Unfortunately, it took some very traumatizing, but clear evidence that people of color get treated as if our lives are worthless. That being arrested for an alleged misdemeanor office should be expected to be met with death, even if we comply. We don't get the chance to plead our case in front of a judge. And if we make it that far, the system is used to keep us locked up with unreasonably long sentences. Time and time again, we are taught very hard and extremely unfair lessons such as these. 

The sense of Unity throughout this movement is something I personally NEVER EVER thought I would see in my lifetime. But we have people from all backgrounds and upbringings standing behind us. Protecting us. Being there for us. Fighting for us. Taking the time to understand us and most importantly. LISTEN to us. 

These conversations are tough to have, but being murdered by cop during a Global Pandemic really shows that we can't brush this under the rug any longer. We need to stand up together. I am so glad to see how many people are on the same side, and that's the side against the oppressor. Through these record breaking protests (all 50 states and at least 18 counties), we are finally being heard. Our voices and businesses are being amplified. Companies are starting to be more inclusive (if they weren't already). The organizations that have the power to make a difference are backing the movement. I believe between Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z - we can change the world for the better. And what's amazing about that, is that we'll do it together. And not just by talking about racism, or having these discussions. But by action. By voting. Running for office. Proposing viable, realistic laws for change. By donating. By educating. 

Growing up in Green Bay, dealing with the not-so-obvious forms of racism was tough. I won't pretend it wasn't. The racism in Green Bay is uncomfortably prevalent here today still. I will say, as more and more people of diverse backgrounds moved here throughout the years - the feel of racism has lessened. A lot. But there is still work to do. Just take a look at the comments of WBAY or WLUK's Facebook comment section if you want real-time evidence of how close-minded and ignorant some of the community is around here. 

One day though, I hope. I PRAY, that what I'm typing right now will be irrelevant. That my son can grow up in a world better than what I experienced as a kid. That people are treated based on their character, not the color of their skin. "I have a dream" and all that.  

Dec 5, 2019

My Favorite Podcasts | December 2019

I absolutely love listening podcasts! I binge listen while working and during downtime. I figured I'd share what podcasts I'm currently obsessed with listening to!

1. Jenna & Julien Podcast 


Image result for jenna julien podcast"
(Photo via Google Images)

If you don't know who Jenna "Marbles" Mourey is, not going to lie. You may or may not be living under a rock. She's the number one female YouTuber.. like ever. I may be wrong on that statistic but she's an internet legend. Her longterm boyfriend, Julien, co-hosts and the two are hilarious. They find interesting and entertaining topics to talk about each week. What I like best is they sprinkle in their advice on how to be successful online - whether it's YouTube, podcasting, or Twitch streaming. I end up giggling to myself every episode. They are absolutely hilarious. The mix of Virgo and Aries energy works so well, and I listen as soon as they upload new episodes.

2. Daniel & Jorge Explain The Universe

Image result for daniel and jorge explain the universe"
(Photo via Google Images)

Arguably my favorite podcast is Daniel & Jorge Explain The Universe. I have learned SO MUCH from this podcast. The show is hosted by Daniel, a particle physicist, and Jorge, a cartoonist. Daniel has a voice like silk. I could, and have listened to him talk for hours on end. And paired with Jorge's humor and engaging questions, the show is everything I could ever want out of a science podcast. What's great is that they will often take the time to answer listener questions. Both on air or they will respond via email/direct message. I have zero background in science, but the duo make learning all the odd things that go on in the universe easy to grasp. Daniel and Jorge are excellent at breaking down science ideas and concepts for listener consumption. Anyone can listen to this podcast and know what's going on. And if you don't, they lay it out perfectly for you to go into a Google Deep Dive to learn more. Which I've often done. I rave about this podcast on pretty much every social media platform I have. Daniel & Jorge is hands down my favorite podcast ever created.

3. The End Of The World with Josh Clark

Image result for the end of the world with josh clark"
(Photo via Google Images)

I discovered this podcast from ads during Daniel & Jorge Explain The Universe. And I got very excited on an episode where Daniel gave his insight on a topic. Josh Clark thoughtfully explains human life's existential crisis' we are facing and will likely face in the future. He also lays out how life has grown into what we know it as today. And teaches us ways to take action against certain existential crisis' that are coming sooner, rather than later. Heads up that this podcast is a limited series, not a podcast that recurs each week. 10 episodes that I finished within 2 days. Josh frequently pulls in voices from highly regarded scientists and it is absolutely compelling to listen to. Similar to Daniel & Jorge, Josh is excellent at breaking down science concepts and ideas so it's easy to understand. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but what I took away from this podcast is our future doesn't look as bleak as the title of this podcast might sound.

4. Science Rules! with Bill Nye

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(Photo via Google Images)

BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY!! Hosts an animated and educational podcast alongside his co-host and longtime friend Corey S. Powell. I've just started listening this week after being all caught up on the podcasts I listed above. I am so glad I started! Bill and Corey bring on a 3rd guest, typically a scientist or someone well versed in the science field. Bill, Corey and their guest are always extremely passionate about the topic they discuss each episode. It brings me back to science class watching Bill's TV show. It's fun to listen to them geek out about the topics they discuss, and it's hard not to geek out along with them. I'm excited that I have many more episodes to catch up on, and I'm sure I'll be on a Science Rules! binge for at least the next few weeks.

I have more on my "Listen To" list, I'll be sure to update you with what I'm loving in the future. What podcasts do you love? Let me know and I'll be sure to take a listen!

Nov 10, 2019

Popeyes vs Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich Challenge | cween.com

We were finally able to take part in the great debate! Who has a better chicken sandwich, Popeyes or Chick-Fil-A?

Watch the video below to see who we think makes a better chicken sandwich!

My son Jac, and my brother Isaac, give me their takes on which sandwich is more tasty and who has better mac 'n' cheese.

Have you tried the challenge yet? What do you think?





Oct 30, 2019

Empty Apartment Tour | cween.com

Take a tour with me in my new apartment!

I moved into my new place in late spring/early summer 2019. Let me tell you, I am so happy with my new space and have tons of ideas on how to make it a home!

This tour features new hardwood floors, tons of wood cabinetry, and lots of opportunities for natural light!

Have an idea of how I should decorate? Leave me a comment on this post or in the comments section of the video!







Oct 13, 2019

Son Does Mommy's Makeup?! | cween.com


Welcome back! It's been awhile since I've created new content for my blog, and I am SO SO excited to be blogging again!

Today, my son and I created a fun "Son Does Mommy's Makeup" challenge video. JacJac is just as passionate about YouTube as I am, so this was a fun experience for us both!

If you LIKE this video, please SUBSCRIBE! And come back to visit here on CWEEN.COM