Stop Telling Celebrities To "Just Do Their Job"

Stop Telling Celebrities To "Just Do Their Job"

This is their America too!
25
views

Whenever an actor moves the audience with a stunning monologue everyone applauds because they are doing their job. Whenever an athlete makes the game-winning touchdown or shots a 3 pointer with 10 seconds on the clock, everyone jumps to their feet with cheer... because it's their job. Whenever a singer or musician sing/play a note that touches the listener's core, that listener will be overcome with positive emotion because that singer/musician was doing "their job".

However, when a celebrity in any category speaks out about the racism, sexism, police brutality, unfair treatment of the LGBTQIA community, or *cough, cough* unfit presidents... They are told to stick to what they know or stay in their place.

Newsflash... being a celebrity does not take away a person's humanity, citizenship or voice. Just because they are in the limelight doesn't mean they are now somehow only allowed to speak when you tell them to and to say what's written for them. They are just like every other American citizen who sees the state that this country is in and wants to speak up. America is their place, just as much as it is yours.

Celebrities have every right to voice their opinions or silently protest. Why is it that a hate group can protest and the "president" reminds us that some of them are good; but when athletes kneel in solidarity and silently protest they are considered un-American. I think the real problem is everyone has their own opinion of what it means to be an American and it usually has to fit in with their own actions and if it does not, well the person opposing them must be bad and unpatriotic.

But what can be unpatriotic about protesting? About challenging the system because you feel something is wrong with it? About calling out people who are unfair and one-sided and vain, and saying you will not stand for the injustice... so instead you'll kneel. What is unpatriotic about that? This country was formed out of protest. Out of wanting to be free from a tyrannous dictator who treated his subjects unfairly. The first amendment of the Constitution gives every citizen, even the celebrities, the right to free speech, free press and yes to protest. People love to whine about free speech when they are yelling "Send them back to Mexico" or "GOD hates gays"; whenever it's a bad, evil, or negative thing that people want to scream and they are shut down, they complain about how they have the right to free speech. But let a Meryl Streep speak out about corrupt politics at an award ceremony, she wakes up to tweets about how she isn't even a great actress. Or let a Colin Kaepernick kneel for the national anthem not because he hates America, but because he is tired of the ill-treatment of individuals of color in America. People who can be shot and killed while their murderer walks and then are called criminals after their death. And yet he ostracized made to feel like he is in the wrong.

This treatment of celebrities has to stop (I mean along with all the injustices in America today). They are not monkeys that are gonna dance when you tell them to, to the song you choose, for as long as you care to watch. They are individuals with a talent and a platform. In fact, any celebrity that uses their platform to speak up and out is actually doing their "job". If you have an influence on people and you don't use it, what good is it for? Some celebrities use their influence in negative ways, they promote violence, drugs, and abuse towards women and sometimes these are not even the lifestyles they live. But a athlete who isn't afraid to make a statement. An actor who isn't afraid to take a stand. A celebrity who uses their elevated voice to help evoke change and movement towards a better America... Well I can't think of anything more patriotic than that.

via">https://giphy.com/gifs/mtv-yes-oscars-all-of-this-... GIPHY

Today's food for thought:

Think about someone other than yourself today...
Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

Filipino-American Mental Health: It Starts with a Conversation

132
views

When it comes to talking about mental health struggles, I feel like a lot of Filipino-Americans share a similar attitude—sure, it happens, but not with my family. Whether it is because the language is still inaccessible to our communities, or we refuse to approach the topic because of fear, or a little bit of both, a lot of us have yet to really contextualize and express how this particular topic shows up in our daily lives. So you can just imagine how radical it was when a group of Filipino-American health professionals, academics, student leaders, nonprofit leaders and more participated in the first ever National Forum on Filipino American Mental Health held at the Philippine Embassy. On that day, members of our community said yes, mental health struggles absolutely happen, and they are experienced by our families too.

I participated in the forum as an EPYC Ambassador for the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). The EPYC Program, in its sophomore year, hopes to empower the next generation of Fil-Am leaders across the country by assisting in the personal and professional development of students and young professionals. As an ambassador for the Capital Region, I was quickly introduced to the scene in the D.C. Metro Area. I made my way from one community event to another, increasing my networks and learning about the resources that I wished I knew when I was younger. But it was, ironically, the topic of mental health that made me very anxious to attend the forum. At the time, I was going through one of the hardest college semesters of my life, and I was afraid to participate in an event dealing directly with this very topic. I woke up that morning with every intention of fading into the background to listen rather than to speak.

But that is not what happened. The hosts made it clear that they wanted to hear what the young people had to say. Jon Melegrito, a local community pioneer known fondly as "Tito Jon" said that that day was about sharing our stories, because we rarely have the opportunity to do so. The room had prominent scholars like Dr. Kevin Nadal (who sat next to me!) and Dr. E.J. Ramos David, but their eyes were focused on us. And so we spoke. We talked about dealing with stigma both inside and outside the community. We talked about the structural barriers (like costs) that make it hard for anybody to get support, regardless of their ethnicity. On the topic of collaboration, I mentioned that it was important for us to address that Filipino-Americans are not a monolith, and that we must always strive to center the most marginalized among us.


Pictured: Austin Chavez, Kevin Nadal, Andrew Bartolome, Jon Melegrito, and Janis Manalang. Photo by Lia Macadangdang


There was one topic, however, that we kept circling back to: the disconnect between parent and child, between first gen and second gen, between the homeland and the diaspora. I often find these conversations to be very interesting, because as someone who identifies as 1.5 gen (someone who immigrated to this country as a child), I serve as a good example that those conversations are not black-and-white. If there is anything I learned from being pushed into the diaspora it is that this life is very hard. No amount of Filipino resilience can prepare you from dealing with so much loss when you are away from your people. What diaspora asks of us is to rebuild and re-envision a new life without having much of a blueprint to borrow from. So who should we be? What kind of life should we have? These are some of the broader conversations our communities will need to have for some time.


Quezon City, Philippines. 2003.


And what we are seeing now is that more and more of our people are willing to have them. Recently, Instagram hired Filipino-American student Jazmine Alcon (@pettyofcolor) as an Instagram Ambassador. Alcon uses her platform to create online spaces for youth, specifically Filipinx youth, to talk about mental health issues. Malaka Gharib of NPR has published a heartwarming multimedia piece on Filipino-American Mental Health with the help of Ryann Tanap of AARP. Academics like Nadal and David have been making a name for Filipino-American psychology for some time and still continue to make breakthroughs.

And we should not stop there. We also need to take a look at what Ruby Ibarra is doing, what Bambu DePistola is doing. We must engage with Elaine Castillo and Jose Antonio Vargas. We have to ground ourselves in the work of Dawn Mabalon and Carlos Bulosan who did so much work for our people when they were here. We also have to be humble enough to look at what other communities have done that help paved the way for us. Fil-Ams, especially non-Black Fil-Ams, need to be just as dedicated in reading their bell hooks and Audre Lorde and James Baldwin and Kimberle Crenshaw and Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston, and so much more. Inclusivity, intersectionality, and solidarity should be the heart of our many conversations. Kapwa (connectedness) must not come with any conditions.

As I unpack my own struggles with mental health, I often look back on the day of the forum. I often have to stop myself from feeling like a hypocrite because I was talking about a topic that I have yet to fully resolve on my own. And then I realize that perhaps the bigger problem was that I thought I had to resolve it alone. As I get closer to graduation, I am beginning to understand that I should not beat myself up any longer, because life in the diaspora already does a good job of doing that. What I should do is be more gentle and give more grace for those are the more radical things to do in the face of what we are dealt with. The business of being free is hard work, but to echo Dr. E.J. Ramos David—this is because "this is the heart's work."

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

558
views

Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

Related Content

Facebook Comments