Excuse me, but I’m going to wax poetic a bit since I’m a bit emotional. This is the stuff I’ve been seeing on Twitter, and I want to comment on it. Many, like me, are already describing how their earliest memories of  Juan Gabriel are when they heard him as children around their houses or at parties. Many are thanking their parents for introducing them to a legend. There are already memes going around about how our mom’s, aunt’s, and grandma’s are crying over his death. 


See, in a way, Juan Gabriel is the legacy our parents gave us. Namely, by our mothers. For us kids that were born and raised in the US by Mexican/Mexican-American parents, we were listening to him when we were toddlers, since he became famous just around the beginning of the 1980’s. We grew up listening to him, and associated him with the music of our mother culture, and of our parents. It would create memories, and once we became more fluent in Spanish, would eventually learn what he had to tell us about love and heartache.  


My mother, always the most extroverted, and artistic of the family, has had the greatest influence on my musical upbringing, and always made it a point to have me listen to Mexican music so I’d always be aware of that part of my heritage. Juan Gabriel was a regular in my house. One of the earliest songs I remember is “Asi Fue.” One of my favorites as a teenager was “El Destino” a duet with another legend, Rocio Durcal. 


When I was in college, sometime around 2009-2010, he performed live on an awards show that I happened to watch in my dorm room when it aired on a Sunday. I lost it when I saw him perform “Para Que Me Haces Llorar” and as soon as someone uploaded the video onto YouTube, I emailed it to my mom, who consequently lost her shit and even called me and thanked me on the phone for finding that video for her. It was an amazing concert, because he was scheduled to only sing one song, but ended up running the show past its time because he wouldn’t stop singing—and no one would stop him! The crowd was wild, people dancing in the aisles, the mariachi getting on the dancing, it was an unforgettable night. 


But that’s what he did. He made you dance, and his charisma was unmatched.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying that he was the Mexican Elvis, the Mexican Lady Gaga, or Prince. No. There was no one like Juan Gabriel, and no one will be like him. He was “The Incomparable.”


[3 hours later, still mad]

Before I even watched Stranger Things, the young actor who plays him was getting hate on his imdb page. Black women were making and circulating posts asking people to go post some positive notes and topic to the message boards. I went and did it out of obligation to lil dark skin children BEFORE I’D EVEN WATCHED THE SHOW. This is the environment y’all foster.  

You don’t like the character or can’t understand his motivations, despite getting everyone else’s INCLUDING STEVE? Examine yourself. Do it or shut the hell up because I’m so tired of thinly veiled “Something About This Black Character Isn’t Good/Pure Enough” posts. It’s bullshit and you know it. 

There’s always something terribly or so bad about non-White and especially dark skin Black characters that is so inexplicable and irredeemable or worthy of your internet hate. I notice it happens when the Black character is a complete one– when they’re real.  It’s when these characters are given individuality, motives, and complexity that y’all cannot handle it and react with racist hate thinly-veiled as suspicion.

I don’t have time for it anymore. 

Especially when this character was the only Black kid and got split up from the group and didn’t have as many bonding scenes and yet STILL managed to touch my heart. 

Every fandom

Every piece of media

Every non-white character

Every fucking time. 

You do this every time and I hate it. I hate you all for it. 

If Lucas was white, fandom would be celebrating him for being The Brain. They’d compare him to Sherlock and Spock and other characters. There would be a million gifsets of him being clever and skeptical. Posts examining and dissecting every line spoken by him in attestation of his brilliance. But Lucas is Black so the majority of what we see if fandom nitpicking why they couldn’t stand the character.

It is predictable and unending.

youtube

When Piper & Paul rally their supporters for a drunk commentary video, this is what happens. 

5

One thing I really love about Steven Universe is how they emphasize that COMMUNICATION is important.

You have Garnet (who is essentially the embodiment of a relationship between Ruby and Sapphire) singing about being a conversation

You have Greg and Rose sorting out their confusion about their relationship through talking

And you have Steven encouraging Pearl and Greg to talk about their complicated history with Rose and with each other

Communication can solve a lot of conflicts, and is important in keeping a relationship going, whether it be platonic or romantic. I’m glad SU inculcates that in its audience :)

(on the fun side, you also learn that Greg likes to sort things out through talking then dancing)

It’s an all-too-familiar practice.

Families go to see movies that feature fun, friendly animals on the big screen. Then they rush out to buy one of the very same type of animal, to keep as a pet. Before long, the cute new member of the family becomes too much trouble, or isn’t cared for properly; the animal dies, is abandoned, or is surrendered to overwhelmed rescue groups.

It happened when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies came out; at one point, 90 percent of purchased turtles were estimated to have died in the United States alone.

It happened in the wake of Beverly Hills Chihuahua — and the tiny dogs paid the price when they were abandoned at high rates.

It happened with Finding Nemo, when children clamored for clownfish. Some children, seeking to give their new pets freedom through the same route used by Nemo in the film, flushed their fish down the toilet.

Now, with two weeks to go until the very-hyped opening of Finding Dory — the Disney/Pixar sequel to Nemo — concern mounts for what may happen with the Pacific blue tang.

Please, Let’s Not Find Dory

Photo: Norbert Wu/Getty Images/Minden Pictures

Self care is whatever keeps you alive. This can mean different things to different people at different stages in their lives, because of different needs and priorities either short or long term.

Paying your bills and budgeting keeps you alive. Buying groceries keeps you alive. Eating healthy food keeps you alive. Exercising keeps you alive. Proper sleep hygiene keeps you alive. All of these are true.

Being kind to yourself keeps you alive. Listening to your favorite music keeps you alive. Staying in bed when you’re exhausted keeps you alive. Watching netflix all day when you’re exhausted instead of doing chores or hygiene keeps you alive. All of these are true, too.

They’re not mutually exclusive. All of these are important, but when you are disabled you often do not have the energy or brainpower to do all of them. Some days you need to triage one task for the sake of another. And that’s your business and your business alone - no one else can see the inside of your head, only you know what is best for yourself and what you most need, in any given moment, to stay alive.

You have a right to make those decisions for yourself without being shamed. You have a right to live your life at your own pace, on your own terms, to the extent of your energy and abilities. All you can do is your best, and some days that will look different from others, and that’s okay, it’s not a static thing. Do what you need to do, one day at a time, to take care of yourself how you best see fit.

You don’t deserve to feel shame for struggling. You are valid. You are doing your best. You deserve to have your right to autonomy and your choices respected.

2

You want to know what this is? This is the one moment we’ve all been waiting for. This is the moment where Clarke reaches that turning point with Lexa. Not only is this yet another completely vulnerable Lexa scene, but Clarke opens herself up too. She gives Lexa the tiniest glimpse before shutting herself away and locking it up tight again.

Clarke and Lexa are talking about Ontari and the ambassadors, but the subtext is so blatant. Clarke tells Lexa that the only reason she was on her side was because she was doing what was right for her people. (How often as she used that overly rehearsed line by now? Honestly, Clarke.) Clarke then asks Lexa how she plans to move on after her ambassadors betrayed her, but we know the words are much more personal than they seem, since we know Lexa betrayed Clarke. Clarke’s prodding. She’s searching for answers. Lexa says they were doing what they thought was best for their people. Just like Lexa was at Mount Weather, just like Clarke was when she joined the Coalition. Then we see it click in Clarke’s mind, she finally gets it. Lexa betrayed her at Mount Weather for her people, and Clarke was just an unfortunate casualty. Clarke then cuts the conversation, because what is she supposed to say? She shuts herself off completely, she doesn’t let the conversation get any deeper. Why? Probably because she doesn’t trust herself and her feelings. She probably doesn’t want to trust Lexa, doesn’t want to have those feelings again, yet look at the way she looks at her. Clarke, please. Chill. (Another reason could be that she’s gotten all that she needs from the conversation. She’s gotten what she was searching for with Lexa, and she can finally start moving on.)

This scene is 3x04′s bow scene. It’s all Lexa and no Commander, with absolutely no bullshit. Lexa thanks her, twice, because Clarke is the reason she’s still alive. Technically Clarke didn’t have to, of course, but she’s put her faith in Lexa that she’ll do right by her people. This one moment seals everything. Once again, Lexa has caught Clarke off guard with her sincerity. Not to mention, Lexa has never looked at Clarke with more adoration, and you can most certainly see it in Clarke’s eyes too. Beautifully portrayed, as always. This entire idea is also emphasized by the fact that it seems to be the last quiet moment before shit hits the fan in 3x05, much like the kiss was the last quiet moment before the war in 2x14. (requested by anonymous)

Back to the Barn: A Lesson in Prejudice

A lot of people had already speculated that Pearl was one of many Pearls and that she was some sort of servant based gem. It’s pretty cool that this has been confirmed, and it is interesting, but I was particularly moved by how this played out on a social level.

So Steven Universe has developed that there is a prejudice toward a specific kind of people among their own and in doing so, has given themselves a means to talk about it, and I think this is awesome.

The first hint we get, in this episode, of this backstory is done in a perfectly subtle and realistic depiction of a micro-aggression.

Amethyst: What a cluster.
Garnet: That abomination must be stopped.
Pearl: But how? We’ll need to build some sort of machine to take us to the center of the Earth, it’ll have to -
(Peridot suddenly swats at Pearl.)
Peridot: Hey! I wasn’t finished speaking! What we need is to build some sort of machine to take us to the center of the Earth.

Peridot allows both Amethyst and Garnet to speak, but she quickly gets annoyed when Pearl does. Not only does Peridot interrupt her, but she also says the same thing Pearl did. She either was not paying attention to what Pearl was saying in the first place, or she couldn’t handle that Pearl was saying what was needed to be done and deliberately is showing contempt by saying the same thing and expecting it to hold more weight (when she says it).

I was slightly spoiled before seeing this episode, seeing that people were commenting on the ‘servant’ role of Pearls. This allowed me to have an eye out for this behavior and this was immediately apparent as a way the creators were marking this societal distinction. Pearl is seen as less than to Peridot. Likewise, you will often see in the real world women and people of color talked over, ignored, being seen as dominating conversations if they talk just as much as men/white people, and having their ideas taken. You see people listen to a white person saying something people of color have already said a hundred times. In the real world, you see that certain people’s voices are considered to hold more weight. Peridot seems to be operating under this same assumption in the world of Steven Universe.

But it doesn’t stop there. After this point, Peridot becomes open and unabashed in her prejudice. It’s unfortunate that no one else seems to step in for her, but it’s clear that Steven doesn’t really understand what’s going on, and Garnet and Amethyst don’t see the worst of Peridot’s abuse towards Pearl until they’re already going at it. This leaves Pearl to defend herself, and you see her fall into the same traps many of us do—the trap of proving you deserve basic dignity, respect, and humanity by somehow outperforming the person making the claim that you don’t. In doing so, both Peridot and Pearl’s behaviors escalate.

The show takes us from these two verbally fighting—Pearl to combat Peridot’s prejudice and Peridot to keep hers. They are both engaging in the same behavior, but it seems at least mostly clear that Pearl is the sympathetic one here and is the right to do so. Peridot is being cruel, and Pearl is trying to defend herself against the toxic status quo. And finally, the competition escalates to a physical battle. Pearl punches Peridot. Interestingly enough, the show doesn’t tell us that her violent reaction was unjust or evil. Peridot was bullying her, and although subtle, it’s clear that all their fates rest on these two working together, and Pearl has to literally fight to maintain her dignity as she is cornered into working with Peridot. She literally can’t walk away from this person who would abuse her verbally and emotionally. Amethyst literally is cheering Pearl on to do whatever she must to be allowed basic dignity by Peridot who does hold certain (knowledgeable) power over her.

And in the end, Pearl didn’t win. She ends up physically fighting with Peridot in an effort to prove that she was more than just a servant—that she deserved the same amount of respect and personhood that Peridot and the others deserve—and she loses that fight. I can’t help but applaud this decision. It would have been so easy to make Pearl win as a means to show that she was right. It would have been so easy for them to have the other gems step in and help her win. For her wining to in some way prove that she was right.

But she loses.

Sometimes we do. Sometimes those of us who fight for the rights of ourselves and others to be treated as much human as we should, lose battles.

But it doesn’t make us wrong.

Because in the end, who did Steven and the other gems support? Pearl. They didn’t applaud Peridot or reward her behaviors of putting Pearl down over and over again. In the end, Pearl is supported. She lost the battle, but it was never about the fight or the competition. It’s not about an individual being stronger or better, it’s about people deserving basic respect despite circumstance, disability, or minority status. There was a fundamental truth that Pearl deserved as much dignity and respect as everyone else, so Peridot’s victory is hollow.

Just because sometimes the wrong people win certain battles doesn’t make them right. Just because they may find a way to silence you doesn’t mean the battle is over.

And man, can we just take a second to appreciate how far Pearl’s come? She was so insecure in her self worth, and here we see her demanding respect from Peridot. Here we see her putting her foot down and refusing to be treated as less. And the show doesn’t punish her for it or tell her that she didn’t do it ‘the right way.’ Can there be a right way? When someone is denying you basic humanity? If only everyone could be so lucky to have as supportive people in their lives as Steven, Amethyst, and Garnet.

And if only everyone could be as open to changing for the better as Peridot. She may be doing it slowly and begrudgingly, but she is doing it.

Things I loved about the latest Check Please update:

  • Jack sternly switching back from the soft, affectionate “Bits” to “Bittle” when his procrastinating boyfriend’s not doing his homework 
  • Jack helping Bitty with his French
  • Jack setting and sticking to a strict bedtime, but Bitty being the one to slide down in bed first, sleepily telling his handsome boyfriend to continue telling him stories about his teammates
  • Jack, who’s so awkward in front of cameras that he turns into a hockey robot (“Okay, Zimmboni, not real interview!“), being relaxed and rumpled on Skype every single night
  • Jack - quiet, stoic Jack - smiling at Bitty and doing so much of the talking that Bitty knows every detail of his life and his new teammates
  • Jack being secretly pleased that the grumpy older vets on the team like him - and not being embarrassed to tell Bitty about that progression
  • The pet names. Never getting over the pet names.
  • Jack remembering where Bitty left off with his stories about his family and the ridiculous jam feud, and trying to prod him into telling him more about it, even though he thinks it’s incredibly silly
  • Jack wearing a Samwell shirt when he’s home in bed, because that’s still the thing that makes him feel safe and warm and like himself  
  • Bitty wearing a Zimmermann Falconers shirt while he’s home in bed. How does he even keep this a secret from the others?
  • Bitty wearing Jack’s flannel in his vlog, continuing his trend of being The Most Subtle Secret Boyfriend ever
  • Jack apologizing about the secret and feeling awful about making Bitty hide, and not knowing what to do
  • Bitty understanding why Jack needs to keep it a secret, and not putting any pressure on him to change that, even though it makes it tough for him to come up with believable lies to tell their friends
  • Jack keeping his personal life a secret, but being so happy and in love with Bitty that his teammates know he’s seriously dating someone, and even know that someone is an amazing cook
  • Jack inviting the entire Samwell crew to Providence so his secret boyfriend can meet his new teammates

I’m so glad our update before the next hiatus only had hints of upcoming angst, but with an emphasis on the warm, real affection between these two. It’s going to get them through all the hurdles. I believe it.

I love it when Castiel is widely regarded as a valuable asset by literally everyone including enemies and archangels:

  • Uriel wanted Cas to join him, saying with Cas they’d be strong enough to raise Lucifer. 
  • Lucifer wanted Castiel on his side in the Apocalypse. 
  • And Raphael, after the Apocalypse, didn’t execute Castiel on sight, but rather, wanted him to bow down and kneel for him in front of the entire Host of Heaven. Because killing Castiel would have made him a martyr; subduing him would’ve been much more effective in establishing Raphael’s dominion in Heaven.
  • Crowley believed that Cas had what it took to go to war against Raphael and win (and he did).
  • Similarly to Raphael, Naomi didn’t execute Castiel either, choosing instead to ‘fix’ him so that he’d again be a deadly weapon of Heaven.
  • Bartholomew wanted Cas on his side to unite all of the angels.
  • Other angels decided to approach and join him instead.

It makes me so proud :’)) 

A Message To Meat Eaters:

Why White People Should Stop Using Migrant Workers As An Argument Against Vegetarianism (Masterpost)

Introduction: During my time here on tumblr, I’ve often seen well-meaning Social Justice Warriors point to the (very real and unconscionable) suffering of PoC in the plant-based portion of the agricultural industry as a way to counter vegetarians’ and vegans’ claims of living “cruelty-free.”  The argument is that veg(etari)ans don’t actually have cruelty-free lifestyles, and are just being hypocritical.  The more radical anti-veggies even claim that veg(etari)ans ‘care more about animals than people’, or that by incorporating more plants in their diet (to supplement the lack of meat) ve(getari)ans are exacerbating the suffering of migrant farm workers, and perpetuating racism to a degree that is not present in omnivore lifestyles.

This is dishonest and inaccurate for many reasons. 1) Non-vegetarians also consume products resulting from this exploited labor force, so it’s logically inconsistent to imply that non-vegetarians are in some way morally superior to vegetarians.  2) Not only do non-vegetarians still eat fruits and vegetables, but the food that is given to the animals raised for livestock is also cultivated by agricultural workers, and clearly the amount of food needed to sustain an animal over its lifetime is greater than the amount of food garnered by the meat upon its death.  (The actual ratios can be found here for anyone interested.)  3) Most importantly, and the key lesson of this post, is that the animal production industry - known colloquially as “factory farming” - upon which Americans get the majority of their meat, is also largely dependent on exploited PoC laboring in inhumane conditions. Thus, there is no logical reason at all why you should use the abuse of Latinx laborers specifically as a counterargument to vegans/vegetarians.

Obviously raising awareness of the suffering that low-income PoC in the agricultural industry face IS fundamentally important.  It’s also true that it’s nigh-impossible to live a truly “cruelty-free” lifestyle under a capitalist system.  However, it is worth mentioning that it is incredibly offensive for white people to ignorantly misuse the suffering of agricultural workers of color in order to perpetuate their own political agenda against vegetarians.  Consciously or not, it is both disingenuous and exploitative, and ultimately does nothing to actually alleviate the suffering of these workers.  Furthermore, it completely erases the equally-legitimate suffering of workers of color in the meat industry, who are just as deserving of our advocacy.  *(Here are two posts I’m aware of where you can get PoC perspectives on this, since I’m whiter than Olaf tbh. If you have any other resources, please feel free to message me and I’ll add them in.)

So without further ado, here’s some knowledge.

The American Meat Industry - The Human Cost

  • 72% of farmworkers were born outside of the US, 68% in Mexico. The average education level of these laborers is the 8th grade. (x) If you’re thinking these stats are only for plant-based agricultural workers, you’re mistaken: “The Public Health Service Act provides the definition of migratory and seasonal agricultural workers for health center grantees, and includes those working in aquaculture and animal production. (x) (For that matter, any time you see something about “farmworkers” or “agricultural workers”, it includes the meat industry.  Agriculture includes animal production, as well as food cultivated from plants.) If you’re still skeptical, this 2014 survey from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics also confirms that over half of the people working in “animal slaughtering and processing” are black or Latinx.  (Additional details on demographics can also be found below.)
  • Just like you might expect from their treatment in the horticulture (plant) industry, these poor souls are desperate for work, so often have little choice but to accept mistreatment - especially because slaughterhouse workers are at-will employees (meaning they can be fired at any time, with no job security or protection against wrongful termination).  As a result, very few workplace hazards are reported to supervisors for fear they will lose their jobs or be replaced by somebody else willing to do the grueling and dangerous work. (x) Many workers have even been threatened with deportation. (x)  One study found that the large numbers of undocumented workers from Mexico and other parts of Latin America are almost half as likely to report an injury or job-related illness as their white counterparts.  Factory farms depend on these types of employees because they are thankful for the work - and, as a result, are unlikely to unionize, will endure horrible working conditions, tolerate long hours (sometimes 10-hour days or more), and be satisfied with very little pay. (x) and (x) They also aren’t necessarily forewarned of these conditions ahead of time, since most of them speak little or no English. (x)
  • Animal production is a dangerous job: among slaughterhouse workers who have been in the business for five years, 50% have experienced injury. (x)  The risks of workers in the meat industry could range from contracting diseases from handling the animal carcasses, to severe injuries from using the line equipment. During an average workday, employees inhale anything from ammonia to hydrogen sulfide, plus a number of other airborne bacteria. The air quality is so bad in these farms that nearly 70 percent of pig farm workers experience some sort of respiratory issue. (x) There are also long-term injuries to the employees’ hands, arms, shoulders and backs due to the physical and repetitive nature of the work. The health risks can even be deadly. (x) Remember that the overwhelming majority of these folks don’t have any form of health insurance, either.

  • Again, working conditions are terrible. Here are just some of the occupational hazards for those who work in aquaculture specifically (aquaculture = seafood and fishing): extreme temperatures, bacterial pathogens, heavy lifting, repetitive motions, chemical exposures, hazardous machinery, and all-terrain vehicles. Workers in the U.S. aquaculture industry are at an elevated risk of work-related fatalities. The agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry sector has the highest rate of work-related fatalities in the U.S. (x)  

  • Here are still more disturbing facts for the morbidly-inclined: The greatest risks for fatalities in aquaculture are inherently painful and violent deaths - namely, drowning, electrocution, head injuries, & gas poisonings. :| Non-fatal injuries and illnesses include work-related musculoskeletal disorders, slips, trips, & falls, hypothermia, heat stress, sprains & strains, respiratory illnesses, skin allergies, bites & cuts, poisonings & envenomation, and work-related stress. Exposure can also lead to the development of allergies. Prolonged exposure to both finfish and shellfish without personal protective equipment may result in itching, eczema, urticaria, and irritation. Workers in processing facilities with poor ventilation have an elevated risk of developing work-related asthma. (x)

  • As with the meat industry in general, immigrant workers often constitute a significant proportion of the worker population on poultry farms and in poultry slaughter and processing facilities - a field classified as predominantly “3D” jobs (dirty, demeaning, and dangerous) . (x)  About half of poultry processing workers are Latino, and a quarter do not possess legal documents to work in the US. (x)

  • These workers face similar challenges - extreme temperatures, stress injuries (one poultry plant in SC had a 42% rate of carpel tunnel syndrome in its employees), exposure to dangerous chemicals, and exposure to infectious bacteria. (x)  Poultry workers at each link of the production chain earn low wages and work long shifts, often 12-14 hours. Chicken catchers earn an average of $92 per day for a 12 hour shift, and even poultry growers live in poverty: 71% of poultry growers have annual incomes below the federal poverty limit. Chicken catchers are particularly vulnerable to wage and hour violations, as they are generally paid for the completion of catching a set number of birds, and will not be paid for overtime. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is often not provided by employers, despite frequent worker exposure to chemicals, blood, feces, mold, endotoxins, and sharp cutting tools. (x)

  • The dairy industry is also horrendous.  There are accounts of Latinx workers being denied overtime, and forced to sign contracts promising to pay a fine of $50/day for any sick days they take. (x) Such conditions are the norm for hundreds of workers in California’s dairy industry. Exploitative dairies pay workers barely enough to eat; force them to work 12 to 16 hours a day, six or seven days a week; deny workers meal breaks; and withhold overtime pay. Some dairies abuse workers both physically and verbally; many expose employees to safety hazards on the job, and house employees in rundown buildings onsite which have no windows or locking doors, and are infested by vermin.  (A word of caution, if you choose to read the article that talks about this, it contains descriptions of severe abuse, injury, and death to exploited PoC and is quite disturbing, though important.)  Here are some more facts too.

  • It’s just a fucking horrible job - gross and violent and unhygienic. (x) Here is a short (graphic and disgusting) quote from an article from The Guardian describing the work involved in meat packing: “Every hour, more than 1,300 severed pork heads would go sliding along the belt. Workers sliced off the ears, clipped the snouts, chiseled the cheek meat. They scooped out the eyes, carved out the tongues, and scraped the palate meat from the roofs of mouths.” (x)  It’s brutal and dangerous, and multiple reports exist of workers being permanently injured by distressed animals (e.g., cows).  It isn’t just hazardous, it’s fundamentally a deeply unpleasant line of work.

So in short, please stop using the abuse of seasonal farm workers as an excuse to rag on vegetarians.  It’s completely ignorant and you’re throwing thousands of vulnerable PoC under the bus.  By all means, speak out against the mistreatment of the PoC working in the fields.  It’s a desperately important issue.  But if you’re only doing it when you have the opportunity to chastise vegetarians you don’t like, you’re using their suffering as a prop, and doing absolutely nothing to end that abuse.