My Friend Amy ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week

Kool-Aid Mom's Award

My Friend Amy

Amy at My Friend Amy is this week’s Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week for stepping out of her comfort zone and saying what needed to be said, regardless of whether it offended readers.  It wasn’t something she wanted to do, offend people, but she felt she needed to say what was on her mind because it was the right thing to do.

Before I had read this post, I hadn’t known anything of the whitewashing of covers.   Amy’s post also made me aware of other bloggers out there that I hadn’t read like Susan of Color Online and Ari of Reading In Color, who led me to several other wonderful new blogs, as well.  My Google Reader has nearly doubled in subscriptions, and I’m better for the diversity it has brought.  Her post has also made me think about how I, a white person, have been fairly cacooned to a lot of the issues people of color face.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what it means for Maggie, especially, being half-Vietnamese in a community where there are few Asians.  There have been candid conversations with her recently in which she’s expressed how she sometimes wishes she was all of one or the other instead of biracial.  Recently, her classroom finally received a second Asian, but to her dismay, the new person is a boy.  Besides the fact he is a BOY, and icky by gender (she’s in 5th grade, lol), she’s not terribly fond of him as a person (he says “Man!” a lot, and is disgusting and ill-mannered, according to her) and she says he looks like her daddy.  I’ve not seen the boy yet, but since he’s on the basketball team and she’s a cheerleader, I will see him at their first home game.  One of the things that distresses her most about Day Day is that all of their classmates are trying to push them together as boyfriend and girlfriend, just because he’s Asian.  Honestly, I think she’d like him as a friend, she does shows occasional admiration for him and, apparently, he has the redeeming quality of standing up for others from stories she’s told.

All of that paragraph was to say that Amy’s post On Being Offended has made me think a lot about how can I help Mags navigate through growing up and try to be supportive and understanding.  I can understand to an extent what it’s like for her, but I can never fully understand.  I see her beauty, grace and athleticism, and intelligence and listen to her talk about being an 10-year-old girl, and I am perplexed by the mystery of it all.  I was an overweight, social misfit, and never understood the social play that went on between my peers until I was in my mid-twenties.  Add to that the fact that when people look at her, they see a person of color and have reactions to that, either involuntary or conscious.

Most who meet Mags for the first time think she’s Hispanic, partly because there is a lot more Latinos than Asians, but also because most of her close friends are Spanish.  She is already beginning to feel the pains of racism as one of her classmates is known to “hate Mexicans”, and another accuses Maggie of being racist because she’s interested in Asian things.  And I’m beginning to see it having an effect on her this year as she’s starting to become a bit more shy and reserved, and less of the outgoing little girl who knew, at 18-months-old, how to get strangers to help her do and get the things she wanted.  I don’t know what to do to help her, other than love her and encourage her and to remind her who she really is.  AND I know this will only get harder for her as she gets older.

Well, this post is NOT where I wanted it all to go, but it kept winding back that way all the same, and perhaps that is part of what Amy’s post has done.  Her post, along with Lenore’s International Book Bloggers Mentor Program and Dawn’s Kiva posts, has made me think and think a lot about my place among so many both in the blogosphere and in the world. They impressed me enough that I wanted to tell others how much so by started the Flavor of the Week.

And now I’m out of Flavors that I had in the can, so I want y’all to let me know who has inspired you to think?  What Blogger is your Flavor of the Week?  What posts have made you reach outside of yourself and do something community-wise? 

Don’t forget to check out On Being Offended at My Friend Amy, it’s an excellent post :-)

She Is Too Fond of Books ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week

The Kool-Aid Mom's award

She Is Too Fond of Books

This week’s Flavor of the Week award goes to Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books

A week or so ago, Dawn posted about Kiva.org, a micro-lending organization that hooks up people like you and me, with people overseas to help alleviate poverty and to provide them with self-sufficiancy.

The presentation I attended last fall inspired me to make a small loan via Kiva.  I looked at several entreprenuers’ profiles, searching various parts of the world where Kiva lends, and looking for someone who was working in a field that spoke to me (sectors include agriculture, arts, transportation, health, and about a dozen others).  I felt strongly that I wanted to lend to a woman, and I was able to search on this criteria as well.  It’s very humbling to read of the modest requests made, and the business plans of the individuals.

Evelyn is a 52-year-old mother of six who lives in the Phillipines.  She makes a living sewing and selling curtains, and was looking to improve and expand her business with the purchase of additional fabric and materials.  Evelyn has already begun to repay the loans made by the seven microlenders (that’s me, microlender!).  When the loan is fully paid, we can choose to make another microloan, or to withdraw the funds.Now, with gift certificates in hand, my children have the opportunity to choose which venture they will help to fund.  It’s a great lesson in charitable giving, economics, and risk-taking.  A gift certificate with Kiva is a gift that keeps on giving.

After reading her post, I was inspired to join in microlending, as well.  I would also like to lend to a woman, and I’d like to loan to someone in Vietnam, but there’s none available right now (perhaps Kiva doesn’t have partners there?)

Since you can withdraw the money after it’s been repayed, I think giving a person a gift of a gift certificate with Kiva is the best of both worlds.  Sure, there is the wait for them to get the money you give them, and it might feel a bit like their being forced to be charitable, but I suppose you can give them a gift card to their favorite store along with the Kiva gift. 

From the site: Your recipient chooses the loans, receives repayments, and can choose to lend again and again!

 Currently, the site boasts a loan every nine seconds, and is having the really cool problem of not having enough loans for lenders as it’s getting some good press.  Check out She is Too Fond of Books, the Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week, and be sure to sign up at Kiva.org (signing up is fast and free, and the first step to giving ;-) ).

Presenting Lenore ~ The Kool-Aid Flavor of the Week

I’ve been thinking about doing an award of some kind for a while, and just not known what I wanted to do.  I’ve also been wanting to do a “featured link” post every week and share the blogs that I’ve found recently.  So I thought, why not combine the two?

And so I give you:

Kool-Aid Mom's Award

Presenting Lenore

What’s given me the push to start this now is Lenore of Presenting Lenore’s new The International Book Blogger Mentor Program 2010.  I blogged about her initial announcement last week, and am excited to add that she’s now taking application for Mentors and Authors to share books and experience, as well as for Mentees who are outside the mailing lines to which publishers are willing to send. 

To be a mentor:

You must have an active blog that has existed as a book blog for a minimum of one year. You agree to send 2-3 books that were published with a traditional publisher in 2009 or 2010 to an overseas address (if you yourself are located overseas, you may elect to be matched up with someone from your own country, if available). Additionally you agree to look over the recipients reviews of the books and give them advice.

I can tell you that oversees postage is a little more than to send a card to your momma, but, for the most part, it’s not a bank-breaking expense.  About six or so months ago, I changed my Bookmooch preference to “will send everywhere” and was a little nervous at first, but what I’ve learned is that generally, the postage is about twice that the average domestic rate of $2.80 per book by media mail.  This means it usually costs between $5-$8 for one book and would be around $20 for a one-time shipment of 3 books that I’ve enjoyed to someone who might never be able to get their hands on a copy.  It’s an amazing chance to do something good and to make our great, big world a smaller, friendlier neighborhood.  I can’t wait to see who I’m matched with!

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