Let me start off by saying that I can’t believe it’s May already! Where did April go? And while we’re at it, why hasn’t it felt like Spring until just now?
April was a really tough month for me. I couldn’t really bring myself to do much of anything for the better part of the month, much less write a semi-decent blog post. Despite that fact, there is a lot that I want to talk about, so let me just jump right in…
The Boston Marathon Bombings left me pretty numb for a good two weeks, and I still haven’t fully recovered. Being from the area, most of my friends and family were at the Marathon, many close to where the bombs went off.
The attack hit really close to home, both figuratively and literally. The worst part, for me, was experiencing it all from 6 hours away. I was so emotionally invested into what was happening in Boston that it was hard for me to focus on anything. All I wanted to do was curl up under a blanket and watch the news, like so many of the dearest people in my life were doing. But life goes on, and most people here didn’t seem phased by the events that happened. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking about them.
For those of you that don’t know, “Marathon Monday,” as it’s called in Boston, is also a holiday: Patriot’s Day. So, it’s kind of a big deal (if for no other reason than that it always marked the beginning of our Spring vacation week). I used to go into the city to watch the Marathon every year. Up until April 15 2013, the worst thing that ever happened (to me) at the Marathon was having to buy a really awful pair of Gap wind pants and knowing that I looked less-than-stylish all day (clearly tween Martine had her priorities straight).
Luckily, family and friends were all ok. Unfortunately, one of my mom’s friends cannot say the same. He and his girlfriend were standing right near where one of the bombs went off and are still in the hospital today. His colleagues set up a GoFundMe campaign for them and they’re very close to their $100,000 goal. Even if you aren’t in the position to donate anything, I encourage you to go to the campaign site and read the updates from him. Today, he was visited by the EMS crew who saved him, and gives some insight into what exactly his ambulance ride to the hospital was like. Scary stuff.
The light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, is how truly amazing it has been to watch Bostonians and Americans come together to support our great city. Emerson students created a Boston Strong t-shirt that can be purchased at the Ink to the People website. Net proceeds from each order will be donated to The One Fund. Professional sports teams from all over the country gave special tributes to the city of Boston intheir own ways, which, as a sports fan, was especially nice to see. Even the Yankees, the number one Red Sox rival, played Sweet Caroline after the third inning at their game on the day after the bombings. And runners in cities across the country honored Boston Marathon runners with runs of their own. We even did a Boston Solidarity Run right here in Philly. My favorite, by far, was the Boston Red Sox tribute video, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to properly embed on the blog, but it’s worth the click, I promise!
In the wake of tragedy, the true American Spirit shines. I think, as a country, we can be proud of our resilience in the face of terror and know that we all are Boston Strong.
BEING (A) WHITE (TWENTY SOMETHING) IN PHILADELPHIA
At the beginning of April, I went to a town hall style meeting at the National Constitution Center. The meeting was hosted by Philadelphia Magazine and was a discussion about their then-recent piece titled “Being White in Philadelphia,” written by Robert Huber. If you haven’t read the article, and especially if you live in the Philly area, it’s worth the read. Not necessarily because it is such well written, hard hitting journalism (because it’s not), simply because it was a very hot topic when it was released, and it’s good to stay in the loop with things like that. Well… I think so, anyway.
The meeting was really interesting. It did get heated (if only I had popcorn!), and it wasn’t exactly super productive, but I think it was at least good that people came together to try to talk about the race issue.
As for the substance of the meeting and the article… Since the main point of the article was to get people talking about race, I think Huber did a great job. Was the article balanced? No. Did he step out of his comfort zone to get a different perspective on things? Absolutely not. But that’s one of the main reasons people talked about it. And it certainly did get a conversation going, even if that conversation was mostly accusing him of being a bad journalist.
One thing that someone said at the meeting that really stuck with me was something along the lines of the “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck” saying. Basically, don’t dress like a thug and act like a thug and then be offended when people think you’re a thug.Now, that might not be the most PC point someone could have raised, but still… Yes. So. Much. Yes. If you want to be taken seriously in this society, you have to act the part. Now I’m not saying it’s ok to judge a book by its cover, but come on, people. Be smart. It’s kind of like when women get whistled at when they walk down the street. If I’m in sweat pants and a sweatshirt, then, yeah, why the fuck are you whistling at me? But I would expect nothing less for the woman I was walking behind the other day, who was wearing a skin tight dress that barely covered her ass and unbelievably tall heels. See what I mean?
As a white twenty something living in Philly… I can’t say I’ve ever been too concerned with black people. Not because I haven’t ever encountered a black person while living here (hopefully that wasn’t what you were thinking), but because I don’t really look at people as black or white, they’re just people. To me, it really doesn’t matter what race you are because by now I know that if you’re a good person, you’re a good person and if you’re not, you’re not. Race doesn’t have anything to do with character. Sure, how a person is raised has a lot to do withthat, but how you’re raised shouldn’t have anything to do with race. One of the panelists at the meeting kept trying to communicate the difference between race and class. Class, she suggested, is the real issue. Whether someone is black or white (or asian, hispanic, etc. etc.) doesn’t have as much to do with how someone is brought up and acts as much as class does, since class is dictated, in large part, by wealth and education. Changing the conversation from race to class is important, I think, because in order to make any progress with the issue, we need to first understand the issue.
I took a lot away from the meeting and I’m really glad I went. The older I get, the more I appreciate doing things that are a little bit out of my comfort zone and out of the ordinary eat, sleep, work, repeat. What different things have you done lately?
Here’s hoping your April was better than mine. All I can really say is, bring on May!