I decided to write a post on my thoughts about ICE Detention Centers doing forced sterilization on immigrant detainees, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying. It’s been one hell of a week even with COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter going on as they have been for months now. I have been sheltering in place for six months now thanks to COVID-19 running rampant (see one of my previous posts about COVID). It’s been months since Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, and other BIPOC youths who have been murdered and the fight for justice continues.
I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to say on these subjects. As a US citizen and a Third Culture Kid, I feel it is my duty to answer for the atrocities committed by my passport countries. This is in no way a form of bashing my passport countries. As a TCK and/or expat, you are a representative of your passport country/ies. Therefore, when your passport country/ies are at fault, it’s a reflection on you. I learned from living in different countries to be clear on whether or not you support your country/ies actions. People from other countries will judge you based on where you come from and what your country does, especially if your country’s actions affect their country.
As an aspiring author, I know there is a convention to not take sides. In this case, I am breaking with convention because times have changed and transparency is more valued. I see a trend happening of people being more conscious of the things they consume. Whether it’s media or material goods, people want to know where those things are coming from. Additionally, it is getting to the point that we can’t NOT talk about those things (double negative), if it hasn’t already got there. So, I will say this outright: I welcome any polite, educated discourse on differing views, plus any insights anyone has to offer. I love to hear people’s stories and perspectives, particularly any cultural factors. However, if you intend to troll or simply yell at me, please don’t. I will block you. If you wish to leave quietly, please do so. I wish you well.
Last week, nurse Dawn Wooten did a press conference to admit publicly that ICE detention centers in Georgia are doing forced hysterectomies on immigrant women being held there. I wanted to say first of all, good for her! I completely believe and support whistleblowers and I want to take some time to talk about them. Other whistleblowers come to mind: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, Colin Kapernick, Roger Mark Boisjoly, and even me. Yes, I have been a whistleblower too. I am not ready to share my story yet, but I was a whistleblower on sexual harassment once. People who revere certain whistleblowers often comment on how they are so brave. When I was a whistleblower, my family and friends told me I was brave. After a while, I hated being called brave because it felt fake. I was terrified of blowing the whistle and only the people closest to me could see that. A friend reminded me what FDR said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” I felt better when she told me that. I have more empathy for why people say whistleblowers are brave because it’s hard to put yourself in a whistleblower’s shoes if you haven’t been in that situation yourself.
Around the time I was dealing with my whistleblower situation, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford testified to Congress about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh’s history of sexual harassment. I can bet my bottom dollar that she was petrified of having the eyes of the world on her and risking so much, but she never showed it. After all, the word “emotional” has negative connotations when applied to women. Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford had to be calm and logical in order to be taken seriously, while Brett Kavanagh could act like a child having a tantrum, and get away with it. I could tell Christine Blasey-Ford was as terrified as any other woman who has been in her shoes and is openly talking about a heavy subject like sexual assault! I saw a video once of a Black footballer telling his story of why he started kneeling during the US national anthem in protest of the police killing Black youths. I can’t find that video now, otherwise, I would post it! He was among the first to start kneeling, and he talked about how he was scared of what could happen if he did kneel. He was a new player and his career was at stake. I cried because I could relate to the fear on a personal level. Part of me was saying, “Thank you!” It’s time to see whistleblowers as humans and not robots. I will say something later on in this post about courage.
When the news broke that Dawn Wooten had exposed the ICE Detention Centers doing hysterectomies without patient consent and the shock had worn off, I felt a sting inside me. I felt worse knowing the doctor performing the hysterectomies is NOT a board-certified gynecologist! I know that physicians are required to be licensed if they work in different states, but not required to be board certified! Sounds to me that the law needs to be reformed! Additionally, this doctor has apparently committed Medicare and Medicaid fraud! For those of you overseas who don’t know what that is, feel free to ask me. When you find out someone is guilty of committing eugenics, you wonder what else that person has done that’s equally heinous.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called ICE Detention Centers concentration camps in 2018, and I believed her. Trump’s hateful rhetoric was emboldening authorities to do unethical acts, and this was no different. Of course, you hear about families being separated, and squalid conditions in the detention centers. Part of you wonders whether it has gone any further than that and if it has if someone will say something before it’s too late. I often wonder how many world crises (African slavery, Indigenous genocide, Nazism, Apartheid, or any other human rights abuse) could have been averted if even just ONE person with clout had stepped up to say, “This is not okay!” Because of my wondering this, I admire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for calling the ICE Detention Centers what they are and that there is an Abolish ICE movement.
I admire anyone who speaks out against injustice, from microaggressions to full-blown attacks. I speak out too because the more people who do, the better things become for everyone. I mean everyone too because if you improve your country, you improve relations with other countries and those other countries benefit from your country’s good deeds. There seems to be this hope that when enough people do their part to make their country a better place, it’s enough to avert acts like eugenics. Sometimes, that hope ends up wrong, and it’s hard to live with. The best you can do when it is wrong is to own it. I often wonder how a situation like this will affect the actions of authoritarian governments. Heck, the Nazis took the idea of eugenics from the US before, so there’s no telling who will take that idea next! This is precisely why citizens of a country need to own up to the problems in their culture, even if it doesn’t affect them directly. You have no control over a foreign country’s action in response to your own country’s action. Additionally, Trump is trying to make unconstitutional things happen in the US by praising dictators and their heinous actions and controlling the media.
In this age of social media, our lives are in the spotlight and the need for accountability is even greater. Think about technology at the time of WWII. People were still writing letters, and telegrams were only used in an emergency situation. Early computers were being developed, and the news took a long time to reach people compared. Now, the Information Age means people can get news in real-time, and that can affect people’s actions much quicker. It’s interesting to see global patterns in activism thanks to the Information Age and it gives me hope to see more people around the world openly disagreeing with oppressive systems and being able to do so in real-time.
Then, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. As if the news of eugenics wasn’t bad enough. I was hoping she would last into next year after the inauguration of the next president. I sometimes wish she had retired around the time Congress was still confirming Obama’s justices and that she hadn’t died with the worry on her mind for the future of the US. And, Moscow Mitch being the slippery psycho he is said the same night she died that there will be a new justice as soon as possible. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s granddaughter stated that her grandmother’s dying wish was for the position to be filled after the inauguration. Seriously Mitch? No respect for the dead? The grief, shock and fear I have seen on social media remind me of the day after Brexit and the day after the 2016 US election. It’s like, “What do we do now? Is there any hope?” I feel like it’s NSFW: Not Safe For Women here, and it’s not exclusively because of The Notorious RBG dying. There are lots of things here that don’t make me feel safe here as a woman, and the death of a feminist legend and what it means confirms that. I can’t wait to get out of here! Apparently, it is said among Jews that a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is a person of great righteousness. It can’t be a coincidence that she died that special night.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a video on Instagram the night RBG died and I felt a lot more hope with her encouraging people to vote and organize. It was clear she was tired, but she was there for her supporters and constituents when they needed her the most. One tip AOC gave in her video was to turn fear into fuel. She opened up and told stories of times she might have looked brave, but she was genuinely scared. That reminds me of what I just said about being a whistleblower and feeling scared. She said “Courage is not a present tense emotion”, and it was another special moment for me! Thank you, AOC! I love you and wish I could vote for you! I’m glad she has tremendous support in her district and that she was re-elected, despite having a few challengers to try to unseat her!
There are a few things that I have found consoling while grieving for RBG. I have a DVD series with the Great Courses on the history of the Supreme Court, and it’s oddly comforting to learn. It is steeped in corruption, but it can have moments of brilliance. Of course, the moments don’t make up for a broken system. It’s been a while since I have seen On the Basis of Sex, but I love that movie! I hope I can see it again soon. How many of you know that RBG has a praying mantis species named after her? Yes, it’s true. Apparently, a species of praying mantis is normally identified through male species and this species was identified through the female species for the first time. Additionally, the species looked like it was wearing the lace collar RBG has as her signature look. That species was destined to be named after her! I love RBG’s quotes too. I do what I can to apply her wisdom in my own life and it was hard to pick one or two when I was creating a photo, but I settled on these two. Her quote about men taking responsibility for raising the next generation is what I use to judge all men.
I am not saying RBG was perfect. She has done rulings that I don’t agree with because they were detrimental to certain groups of people, and ultimately, she was part of a corrupt institution. I can see there are many Supreme Court justices who are intent on keeping that institution corrupt. My Mum calls it the Supremacist Court, and it’s becoming clear how true that is! If there is another corrupt justice on the court, the US is going to have to answer for more atrocities! After all, justices dissent for the next generation. Yes, RBG said that!
Here are my final thoughts on these heavy subjects. Before I became a UK citizen, I found myself apologizing on behalf of the US for their actions that were detrimental to other countries. I learned to do that when I was 11 years old and 9/11 dragged the UK into the Iraq war. As an expat, you get dragged into international relations between countries, whether you like it or not. Heck, I find myself talking about Brexit a lot these days as well as what’s going on in the US! People around the world don’t care how you have voted or where you stand. They care about results because the results are what affects other countries.
When I became a UK citizen, I learned that adopting a country’s nationality means adopting everything about it from its history to its international reputation. You adopt the good and bad, and it’s a big responsibility. It’s not something you think about when you’re a native-born citizen of a country, especially if their education system doesn’t turn out responsible citizens who can think for themselves. Thinking for yourself is the best quality you can develop because it helps you see the good and bad in your country more clearly. Plus, you can recognize if you are just being told what to think. I started to apply that same thinking as a US citizen because that’s my birth nationality. There was no rule that said I had to do that as a native-born US citizen, but I still wanted to do that. After all, innocent people around the world are hurt by the actions of the US. The US citizens deciding those actions have clearly not gone through the same process of owning everything about their country, and I think if more people did, the US wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in now!
What are your thoughts on what I just said? Agree? Disagree? Why?