Things That Matter

A Gay Canadian Couple Upped The Racist Halloween Costume Game And Twitter Has Some Opinions

It’s Halloween so we know to expect some racist and offensive Halloween costumes. It is a yearly tradition at this point. Not only do we expect these costumes, but there is also the inevitable response defending the costumes and calling everyone else sensitive. That’s what happened when one gay Canadian couple posted what might be the most offensive couples costume of the year considering the inhumane condition on the southern border and increasing number of dead migrant children. Here’s a quick recap of Manuel Navarro’s (manverywell) and Marty Fortier’s (marty.fortier) tasteless costume making fun of the immigration crisis currently claiming lives in the U.S.

Marty Fortier and Manuel Navarro thought their ICE/Migrant couples costume was just a normal costume.

Credit: marty.fortier / Instagram

The white-Mexican couple, based in Toronto, seemed to consider it funny to create sexy costumes depicting a humanitarian crisis that has claimed several lives in recent years. According to NBC, 24 people have died while in ICE custody. That does not include other deaths in other federal agencies, including 5 children.

Here’s what the couple looks like out of their sexy ICE Agent/Desperate Migrant costumes.

Credit: marty.fortier / Instagram

Migrants coming to the U.S. border have faced increased scrutiny and mistreatment by federal immigration authorities. At one point, the Trump administration implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy that separated thousands of families. Some of the families will never be reunited as some children went unaccounted for into the foster care and adoption systems.

Some Twitter users immediately began to drag the couple over their tone-deaf costume.

Credit: @MikeMakesTwits / Twitter

The U.S. immigration system has been failing migrants and asylum seekers since President Trump took office. The Trump administration has intentionally misled and permanently traumatized families and children with their operations. If federal immigration authorities weren’t separating families, they were forcing asylum seekers back into Mexico as they wait for their immigration cases. However, many were not informed of their court dates so they missed their court dates making them ineligible for asylum in a cruel tactic utilized by the Trump administration.

Even when faced with a couples costume that is highly offensive, some gay people of color have added their own humorous commentary.

Credit: @MajorPhilebrity / Twitter

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case where a Border Patrol officer opened fire on a teenager at the border. The case is unique in that the teenager was on the Mexican side of the border when the agent fired his weapon and killed the teenager.

Some Twitter users, who followed the couple on Instagram, shared an alleged non-apology by Navarro.

Credit: manverywell / Instagram

According to the screengrab, Navarro explains that he and his boyfriend are not racist. In fact, his Mexican heritage is why he wanted to create the costume in the first place.

Twitter user, @MikeMakesTwits, had a lot of issues with Navarro’s IG story statement and defensive posturing.

Credit: @MikeyMakesTwits / Twitter

It’s one thing to apologize for a costume idea like that. It’s another to tell everyone that they are being overly sensitive when your costume represents the inhumane treatment of thousands of men, women, and children. Navarro clearly doesn’t think his costume is anything to be upset about.

Some people think that Navarro is in the sunken place.

Credit: robinrcloud / Twitter

The sunken place, for those who don’t know the movie “Get Out,” is where the black people in the town go after being hypnotized. The sunken place is where they are forced so that they can be subservient to the white people.

And one Twitter user is just not buying that this kind of behavior goes both ways.

Credit: @thatdivad / Twitter

What do you think about the costume? Do you think the couple went too far? Or do you think people are being too sensitive? Let us know.

READ: Here’s Your Yearly Reminder That Blackface For Your Halloween Costume Ain’t It, Y’all

An Ohio Teacher Used A Racist Meme About Dora The Explorer To Discuss Voter Eligibility

Things That Matter

An Ohio Teacher Used A Racist Meme About Dora The Explorer To Discuss Voter Eligibility

Twitter

A West Geauga High School teacher in Ohio is being investigated for using a racist image in class. The teacher showed students a meme of Dora the Explorer portrayed as an undocumented immigrant during an 11th-grade Advanced Placement government class. 

Multiple parents called the school district to express outrage and vented about the incident on social media. Some parents even pointed out that besides being offensive the information the photo was supposed to convey was inaccurate, according to Fox 8

The teacher was put on leave pending an investigation but eventually reinstated by the superintendent. 

An Ohio teacher uses a racist meme about Dora the Explorer to discuss voter eligibility.

The teacher used two photos to demonstrate voter ineligibility. One showed the mugshot of an alt-right man with a felon, the other showed Dora the Explorer with the charges of “illegal border crossing” and “resisting arrest.” One of the upset parents, Stephanie Anderson, expressed that the lesson was inaccurate according to Fox 8. Anderson noted that undocumented citizens would obviously not be allowed to vote so listing their charges would be pointless. However, the offenses that are listed are not felons but misdemeanors. 

“I was outraged,” said Anderson, “Whether this teacher intended it to be a joke, something he found online it’s simply inappropriate and outrageous.”

“Seeing that white supremacist juxtaposed with a brown-skinned child who has a superimposed black eye, blood coming from her mouth with the offense of illegal border crossing and resisting arrest combined with 666 666666 is 100% inappropriate,” she said. “There are so many other more appropriate ways to get your point across.”

The Superintendent released a statement to parents. 

“We are investigating the matter related to the politically-insensitive slides allegedly contained in a teacher’s classroom presentation today. The teacher has been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation,” Superintendent Richard Markwardt, Ph. D wrote in a statement to parents. 

While the teacher was put on leave, Anderson was hopeful that the entire district understood the gravity of the situation. The mother, whose son was in the class, believes the classroom is not a place for a teacher to impose their personal political beliefs. 

“It’s not okay for either extreme,” said Anderson, “So whether you are very liberal or very conservative at either end of the spectrum, imparting your views on your students in a non-educationally beneficial way is unacceptable.”

The Washington Post followed up on the story and found that Markwardt had already finished investigating. He told the paper he recognized the inappropriateness of the imagery but didn’t think the teacher had any ill will and refused to terminate them. 

“I will not use what I regard as a lapse of judgment as the reason to damage the career of a good teacher,” Markwardt said. “That would be following one mistake with another.”

Anderson told the Washington Post that the school district has struggled with addressing diversity and inclusivity, but that she was satisfied with the school’s response. 

“I genuinely believe they’re taking measurable steps to ensure all the students in the district can come to school in an environment that’s free from harassment and discrimination,” Anderson said.

Markwardt said some individual staff members may require diversity training, but the district overall will continue to focus on the matter. 

“I perceive the use of the objectionable image as symptomatic of a general lack of attention to the diversity of individuals in a largely homogeneous school district,” he said.

The Dora meme is a decade old and you can thank Arizona SB 1070 for that. 

According to the BBC, the Dora meme first appeared in 2009 in response to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s SB 1070 Bill, which would propose the strictest immigration laws in the country. The bill that allowed law enforcement to demand documentation from anyone they thought “looked” undocumented and made it illegal to be caught without papers would eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012. The meme was used to illustrate the effects of the law, which some members of the right championed. 

University of Cincinnati sociology professor Erynn Masi de Casanova told the Washington Post that using a meme in like this in class can legitimize and trivialize the real lives of Latinxs. 

“Because Dora is what I call a ‘generic Latina’ stereotype, a fictional character without any identifiable national origin, people may feel comfortable projecting their ideas about Latinos onto her,” Casanova said.

However, Casanova did point out one silver lining to the disturbing incident. 

“It is heartening to me that students and parents were disturbed by this image that dehumanizes and makes light of immigrants’ struggles,” she said. “It seems they are learning something about empathy in spite of this teacher’s efforts to discourage it.”

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

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This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

@2shotsofmely / Twitter

We all know how annoying family can be, nitpicking and offering opinions about how we choose to live our lives. Sometimes, though, our relatives’ perspectives are more than frustrating—they can be hurtful, causing us to question and doubt our place in the world. For many of us, it may be really difficult to address these issues with our loved ones, and we might often need to process these complex situations on our own before we can make any progress within our relationships. For Twitter user Hot Girl Scholar (@2shotsofmely), art was part of this process. She addressed some deep family conflict through poetry, and y’all, Twitter was shook.

According to her pinned tweet, @2shotsofmely and her family emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was seven years old. In May of this year, she graduated cum laude from Clark University with a BA in English and a minor in Education, ecstatic to dedicate her degree to immigrant and first-generation students. By embracing her role as a “hood girl, educator, and undercover poet,” @2shotsofmely is “living [her] mama’s wildest dreams”—although the poems that have electrified Twitter focus on some hard-to-swallow cultural viewpoints, reiterated by su madre y su abuela.

In poetry, the author of the poem is not always the speaker of the poem, but because of the caption in @2shotsofmely’s post (“Heard it so much I wrote poems about it”), it is clear that these poems—displayed on the walls of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence-based art and social justice organization—are written from her perspective. 

In one poem, “Negra Yo, Pero El No!,” @2shotsofmely acknowledges the hypocrisy (and the shadowy nature of racism and colorism) that defines how her mother reacts to a hypothetical boyfriend: based on the title, we know that @2shotsofmely’s mother is black, yet she proclaims that if @2shotsofmely ever dated a moreno, he must have a thin nose—la nariz fina—green eyes like @2shotsofmely’s grandfather, and “good hair.” In other words, he must not have black features. Why? “Because hay que refinar la raza.”

In the other poem, “LGBTQue?,” @2shotsofmely explores the cultural stigma attached to LGBTQ identities, affirming that her grandmother would “prefer [we] open [our] legs for all the men in the barrio before we walk around with a sister in our arms.”

The original tweet has garnered over 2.3k likes and 900 retweets—people can’t stop gassing @2shotsofmely’s badass display of honesty, the simultaneous pride in and critique of her roots. Several people expressed solidarity, citing events from their own lives that mirrored @2shotsofmely’s poetry.

This Twitter user really related to @2shotsofmely’s experience on the receiving end of her mother’s words.

This Latina responded in Spanish, explaining that her own grandmother married a white man para “mejorar la raza,” but affirmed that it wasn’t her fault—this point of view, according to @ditasea88, is a remnant of colonization.

This Twitter user applauded “LGBTQue?” for its resonance and truth.

Her poems even moved some folks to tears.

Although each of these tweets suggests a common experience which is largely negative, the response to @2shotsofmely’s poetry was rich with compassion—not only for those other Twitter users who share that experience, but for the madres y abuelas whose lives were very different than ours, and who had to make different decisions as a result. History is complex and difficult to synthesize without a broad contextual understanding, and @2shotsofmely’s work draws attention to how cultural patterns from the past can leave a dark impact on the present. However, alongside the criticism and pain at the core of these poems, there is something else: a sense of defiance and hope.

Now, in the midst of the political chaos within our country, it is especially important to celebrate the victories of individuals and groups creating supportive platforms for folks—particularly people of color—to express themselves. It is always exciting to see expressions of Latinidad—from art to poetry to a bomb Insta selfie—spark conversation and communion, even if people are relating about moments that have left them hurt or bruised. In a way, this type of conversation creates a sense of camaraderie, amistad—a feeling of familia.  

And although a lot of Latina familias struggle with antiquated viewpoints (like those presented in @2shotsofmely’s poems), times are changing, and cultural expectations are becoming more inclusive to Latinx people with a range of diverse identities. Often, the more difficult aspects of our upbringing lead us to create meaningful work and connect with others who can relate to us—@2shotsofmely’s poetry is a great example of how intergenerational trauma can produce beauty, connection, and personal growth when you honor yourself and your dreams. @2shotsofmely, you go, girl!