Monday, July 20, 2015

Just Pick One: White or Black?

Cari Amici,

I normally keep my book reviews and my personal blog separate, but today I'm going to make an exception. I learned that an acquaintance of mine wrote and published a book. 

I was impressed, curious, and so I decided to pick it up. I had not idea what to expect. The title was "Just Pick One:" Stories of a Biracial Girl. I figured it would be about race on some level, but other than that I had no expectations. 

Before I talk about the book, let me share a personal experience. 

Today I was planning an activity and was using a poem that told girls they were princesses. In other words, the activity was trying to instill a sense of self worth into girls and women who unfortunately often lack it in today's society. 

Somebody had created two versions of the poem with accompanying images: one had a black girl and one had a white girl. 

I stared and debated long and hard about what I should do. I felt like it was drawing a division between the different races that seemed too stark and pronounced. Almost as if I were saying you can be white or black, but you can't be in the middle. So if you're black, then you have to get a special one. You have to have a different one from everybody else. 

I didn't feel comfortable drawing this much attention to differences in race. I felt like I was saying, "You're black, so you're different from anybody else, and I'm going to make that perfectly clear."

But then I thought if I were black, how would I feel getting a white girl being called a princess? Somebody who didn't look at me? I thought I'd feel like "oh joy, just another reminder that I look different."

I was startled. 

This issue of race was staring me straight in the face, and I didn't feel qualified to come up with a solution. 

Shortly afterwards, I read "Just Pick One," and my eyes were opened even more. What if you were neither "white" or "black" or what if you were both? How would you deal with race then? Which princess would you choose then? And would people force you to choose the "black one" because you looked closer to black than white? 

I don't pretend to confess that Caucasian me can make any claims or statements regarding race or can begin to understand this struggle, but this book was a beautiful and enlightening read. 

I will start out by saying that on some level I do know the author personally. I wouldn't go as far as to say we are close friends, but we are definitely acquaintances. 

I keep in touch with her on Facebook and probably keep in better touch than the author realizes (more or less read all of her statuses). 

I won't try to say that didn't affect to a certain degree how I looked at this book. It probably did, but honestly I don't think it really did affect my opinion all that much. 

The topic itself spoke to me as did the experiences the author shared. None of which I was privy to and none of which I was aware of.

And, if I'm being honest, I didn't even know that she was biracial, and unfortunately, I probably would have identified her as African-American, just like so many others did in the book.

(Although I hope in not nearly as snooty or racist of a way as some of the people portrayed in her book.)

That's why this book spoke to me. It opened my eyes to a real person's struggle that I had never been aware of. And not the struggles of a stranger, but of somebody I knew for a year.  

Tinesha Zandamela's book is poignant, heartbreaking at times, and eye-opening. She allows readers a personal look into what it means to be biracial. She doesn't ask for pity or as she talks about "play the race card," but presents, as the title says, a look into one girl's stories. 

This book is only 99 cents on Amazon and incredibly short (33 pages). It's one I would recommend everybody read. Do yourself a favor and go buy it on Amazon

I was skeptical, but I have no regrets about reading this one. 

They say good writing allows you to make connections to your own life, change the way you view things, and leaves you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.

This book did all of that and more. 

Just as the author promised, there are no neat, tidy conclusions. No answers of how society can fix the racism that plagues us. No foolish, impractical solutions.

It's merely one girl's experiences; but it's one girl's experiences that prove to be impactful and insightful. 

I always have a hard time rating non-fiction, but I'll give this 5 stars because of all the emotions I felt while reading.

Warnings: No violence, sexual innuendos, or swearing. Perfect for all readers. 

So I invite you all to join me and stop and think: How do I view race? Am I a little more unaware of racial issues than I thought I was?

Read the book and find out. 


Danica Page 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Burying Our Heads Doesn't Change Reality

Cari Amici,

Rarely do I engage in political or controversial issues online. It seems that whenever you do, there are a thousand voices ready to slam whatever you have to say down. 

However, some issues are worth speaking up about. Some issues are worth issuing a wake up call for.  

The truth is burying our heads is never going to change anything, not in a million years will ignoring problems lead to a solution.

If people hadn't stood up, would African-Americans still be enslaved? Would labor laws ever have been unforced? Animal rights? Human rights? The list goes on and on.

People deserve to be treated as people. People deserve to know that when they are victims of something horrible that somebody cares. People deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. 

We all have the responsibility and ability to step up and help make changes. 

Ignoring human trafficking that takes place in our backyard, pretending that children aren't abused in our neighborhood, acting as if there are no cases of domestic violence, and pretending like everybody has been given the same opportunities we've had won't make these realities any less real. 

It never has and it never will. 

We have the ability and the responsibility to step up and do our part. We have the moral obligation to care about our fellow brothers and sisters (our neighbors). 

Ignoring these problems won't change anything.

We all need to step up and commit to making a difference. The facts are there; the problems are there; and the solutions are there.

Now it's just up to us to make a difference. That's what I'll be exploring over the next few days. 


Danica Page 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Need to Stand Up

Cari Amici,

Often we look back to the past and at issues like slavery and we think I wouldn't have let that happen. I would have stood up and made a difference. I would have been the Harriet Tubman to run the Underground Railroad.

But would we have been?

I've heard people say something along these lines often: "If you're not willing to stand up for today's social injustices, what makes you think that you would have stood up for the issues in the past?"

I have to admit that it's a poignant question. If we're not making a difference today, why on earth would we think we would've done so in the past. 

There are several atrocious social injustices today: sexual trafficking, the myths of the rape culture, domestic violence and assault, children starving, a large population of illiterate adults, and so on. 

People need our help today. People that live in our backyards need our help today. 

If we're willing to condemn the past for their mistakes, we should be willing to step up to help with the issues of today. 

There are so many ways to get involved. Where I live, there are organizations to help with each one of these issues. 

If we want to start making our world a better place, then we need to stand up and make a difference. 

Yes, our contribution might not change the world, but I like what Mother Teresa has to say.


Danica Page

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Art of Being Busy

Cari Amici,

Sometimes I think we let ourselves get so busy that we lost sight of what really matters.

I'm a pro at this.

Being busy is something I thrive on. If I have free time, I always find ways to fill it. More classes, another job, more service, etc.

However, sometimes I think we forget the joy in just relaxing or not having a schedule.

Is being busy really a good thing?

I'm not so sure it is. When we're busy, we forget to stop and smell the roses (figuratively and literally).

Being busy is seen as a badge of honor, but at the end of the day isn't having time to spend quality time with our friends and family more important?


Danica Page 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fear, Dreams, and Flying

Cari Amici,

I think sometimes we don't realize how well we've mastered the art of pretending. I think sometimes we're pretending and we don't even realize that we're pretending to ourselves too. 

Sometimes we want something so badly that is scares us and so we ignore it. We deny it. Or better yet we pretend that we don't want it all. We just run.

And then we're forced to confront it. And then our heart shatters. We can feel fear building up inside of us and a want that is undeniable. We're in fight or flight. Fight the fear and chase our dreams. Or flee and go back to the safe, the normal. 

We have to make a choice and sometimes it's not easy to choose. We want to choose to chase our dreams and yet something holds us back and all too often we choose the safe, the familiar. 

We even lie to ourselves without realizing what we're doing.

The things we don't have control over Marriage. Love. Romance. Fame. Respect. Success. Friends. I think we all want those things. 

In the Lana Del Ray song Young and Beautiful there's a line that says "Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?" For me, that's proof. We have these questions. Ones that sometimes we're afraid to have answered. We have these dreams that we're afraid to admit we have. 

I think that for all of us there's something we want to chase after, but another something holds us back. Until one day, we just decide to take the leap and go for it. Only then can we find out if we're going to fly or fall. 

So today I'm going to take that leap, at least with one of these dreams I'm aware of. I'm not going to pretend anymore. 

I challenge you to do the same. Find out what's that something you want and then go for it. Take the leap of faith. If we fall, we'll land among some of the greats and start climbing our way back up.


Danica Page

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

7 Confessions

7 Confessions:

1. I absolutely adore laughing. Seriously, if somebody can make me laugh, they automatically make it on my favorite people list.

2. I will stay up until 5 am reading a book and have been known to do so before. Whoops.

3. I would eat popcorn every night for dinner if I could. 

4) I love the idea of kissing a random guy on a bridge...not that I'd ever do it.

5) I have a secret obsession with all things romantic (even though I'm usually afraid to admit that).

6) I'm absolutely terrified of dogs. 

7) Slow walkers rank among one of my biggest pet-peeves.

And that's seven confessions of the girl behind the pages. 

What about you? What's something you secretly love or hate? Feel free to comment.

Danica Page

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The truth about secrets

Cari Amici!

I know a's a phrase that instantly will get hearts racing, ears itching to know what it is, and mouths ready to reveal it.

A secret kept can break hearts. A secret told can crush them. A secret ignored can destroy a person.

The word secrets is accompanied by words like intrigue, mystery, heartbreak, scandal, rumors, gossip, and pain. Often it's accompanied by these two words dirty little making the infamous phrase dirty little secret

And yet, we are a society full of secrets. A quick google search will instantly pull up thousands of quotes on secrets.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Now this one I thought was most profound. How often do we keep secrets from ourselves? For example, I was afraid of failure and rejection for so long and yet never was really willing to admit it. I think that's the most dangerous thing we can do. When we keep a secret from ourselves, we don't give ourselves the chance to face it, to overcome it, to recognize it.  

And yet how often do we try? How often do we hope that time will wash away a secret truth or a secret lie that we don't want anybody to know? Time reveals all truth. 

How morbid this seems? And yet I think it might be true. I was bullied so badly during high school I thought about suicide. That's one secret that somebody told that broke my heart. I think we all have things we've been through and things that if we talked about would hurt others. And yet, if we don't tell them, it might just break their hearts anyway.

Okay, I love books. I couldn't help this one. I think it's true though. Books really are incredible. 

Secrets are powerful. They are enough to bind people together or to destroy them. What do you guys think? Are secrets a good thing or not? Why are we so fascinated with them?