This is not ok!

As a person with Mental Illness, I am not ok with what has happened here. Yes, the guy was brandishing a knife. But that is not the point. Police officers in this country appear to be trained in the manner of, “If I think he’s dangerous, then ergo he is and I can do whatever I want, even shoot him.” Do you know how simplistic that is? And how it opens the door for racism and other judgements? The guy needed to be calmed down, rather than be shot. I hope they charge the officer who shot this young man(who was actually what the BBC referred to as Intersex, no less…) with murder.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41302571

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White Washing in Hollywood

/White Washing in Hollywood. Why is it still an issue? In the year 2017, even amidst the incredible gains in diverse representation we’ve made(All female Ghostbusters, the diverse cast of Spider Man: Homecoming, which I did not see by the way), Hollywood still has a white washing problem. As far as I can see, there’s a huge issue with how Hollywood portrays authenticity in the world beyond it’s narrow borders. Even within the realm of what is known to hollywood, there is much they get wrong. (That’s for another time though.) We should not live in a world where actors don’t get roles based on the colors of their skin. That’s just wrong. And trying to put the focus of “A special white guy” into every movie is practically unworkable. (I heard that phrase, or a variant of it, in an article I read at one point on BBC News.) What is so scary or novel about a person of color?(I refuse to use the term POC. We’re just people. We don’t need an acronym to identify ourselves. How about we identify ourselves based on things like where we’re actually from, what we actually do, what we actually like and dislike. Y’know, the things that everyone else identifies with…) But seriously, back to the question. I live, personally, in a diverse world. My father is Thamizh or Tamil, from Tamil Nadu, my mother is German American(specifically Volga German, or RusslanderDeutsch as they would say in German. There’s a whole story behind that regarding Germans who lived in Russia. Look it up, it’s a real interesting story.) I have friends of every ethnicity. African American, Caribbean, Asian, (particularly Hmong), White, Hispanic…In many ways, diversity is a part of my world and it should be, even disregarding my lifelong obsession with different cultures, because the world is more diverse. I do get racist thoughts now and then but I recognise them for what they are: Distortions. They really really get to me, but I know on some level that it’s just nuts to believe that a person’s skin color could influence anything. So Hollywood, you guys need to wake up. Not only is it morally reprehensible to white wash so much, but you should also take into consideration that the amount of storytelling potential within a diverse framework is unimaginably greater than what you have now.

Life in Trump’s America

It’s been a few months since Trump won. And things have gotten hectic. For all of us. Sure, life still functions normally, to an extent. If you’re not a group blatantly targeted by Trump and his army of sycophants who arguably run the country, it can seem like we live in a bubble. For instance, I get up every morning, I relax, or try to, I do my thing, whether it’s taking the metro to Anodyne, and or taking the bus, or whatever. I go out and do fun things, I go to class, and so on. Nothing has really changed, on the surface. That little bit of surface tension serves to isolate us from the real issues. how long can it last? I am reminded of the fragility of life in Trump’s America every day now. In Trump’s America, we cannot take safety and security for granted.  Trump’s rhetoric allows for hatred to spread. People look to the highest authority or the most noticeable figures to guide their lives. Their actions influence us, send signals to us on what is and isn’t ok. Just as I believe Bush ushered in an era of ignorance, Trump is ushering in an era of complete disrespect for our fellow human beings. So there is a correlation in my mind.

I used to believe in the power of Trump Supporters, that mythical tribe, composed of racist wackos who would do Trump’s bidding, with eternal loyalty, kill someone on command for Trump potentially, (or so I thought. How the mind conflagrates things). The ones who screamed, “TRUMP THAT B****”, “LOCK HER UP!” “BUiLD THAT WALL,”,  and so on, during the rallies. When Trump was elected, I imagined hordes of  these crazy white racists running through the streets, creating havoc, targeting me and others because of what we look like. And while that has happened, it’s not something that has popped up in my world, fortunately. (I’m very sheltered and protected believe it or not.) And while many of the people who support trump are in fact nutjobs, the real story is that most of them are decent people with different values than I have, that got duped by a man who claimed to be for the people, their people, what Trump himself termed the  I now feel sorry for these people, that put their trust in him and still do in some cases. They got duped and not only are we all paying for it, they are paying for it dearly in the form of shattered expectations.

It’s been several months since I first started this post. A lot has changed and nothing has changed at the same time. The early activism and anger demonstrated this year has given way to a certain numbness on everyone’s end. Trump himself has turned out to be as much of a freak clown of a politician as he was a freak clown of a candidate. Nothing substantial has happened yet, and it’s difficult to say what will happen in the future. Trump’s America is an unstable trip, a descent in chaos. I’m trying to think of an analogy for this whole thing. There isn’t anything in politics that I know of. He has all the idiosyncracies of an African dictator, but none of the clout or dictatorial presence. He has an authoritarian mindset, but very little idea as to what to do with the authority he has been granted. He might be stupid enough to think that he can snap his fingers and order people around. That’s not how the presidency is supposed to work in this country. I think he’s been in for a rude shock, however.  And as for us, the people, we’re all just numb, as I mentioned earlier. Either that or if you’re a trump supporter you’re still engaging in mental gymnastics to avoid thinking about what has been going on in a way that will invoke rage. Or you might truly still believe that he is the best person for the job. I don’t know. As for me, I started out this year politically active. Very much so. But now, I’m struggling to keep myself afloat mentally. Is it because I feel drained by the lunacy of this country? Possibly. There are other things going on in my life as well, and I think that all of that combined with the stressors of the world we live in, has caused me to dissociate, in a way. At least, I think so. Being inside’s one head is sometimes preferable to dealing with the mess that we have on our hands as a nation. I don’t know if there’s anything we can do on a large scale, but individually, we have power within our own worlds. If we can stop hatred on our own level, spread the positive qualities we wish to bring forth in the world in our own neighborhoods, our workplace, our relationships, even the local grocery store or wherever, then maybe we have a chance of bringing normalcy back over a period of time.

Adventures from the underwhelming 2D con(Gaming convention)

So this weekend I went to a local gaming convention, by the name of 2D Con. It was decidedly underwhelming, I must say. I didn’t really feel that inspired by it sadly. To be fair however it was a small convention: Maybe 200 people at the most attended. I’m used to the conventions being huge raucous affairs, with thousands of people and waay too much partying. There was partying at this convention but it was a small affair. I spent the time I was there kind of trapped in my own mind, trying to figure out how to enjoy myself. I quickly grew weary of the limited selection of video games, the lack of stimulating panels, and the underwhelming sparseness of it all. I did manage to play pathfinder, however. Pathfinder is a roleplaying game similar to dungeons and dragons, and it’s what saved my butt during the convention itself. Pathfinder and other games like it require the player to be attentive and relaxed, freed from obligations and bound by them. I know that doesn’t really make sense, I’m trying to explain it as best as I can. The structure of the game reminds me of improvisation exercises. There are sayings such as “Free your Ass and your Mind will follow,” and also sayings such as “Find the game”. This means that while you have the ability to be free to do whatever you want, whatever you do must remain at least somewhat consistent with logic to be of any use to the players. This was the best part of the convention for me. Other than that there’s not much to report, other than the fact that there were a lot of money problems and issues that came up. And some bad news at the end too.

About my one act(15 min. scene)

Wowo…I’ve totally forgotten about this post. I guess I’ve been kind of buried in my own head over the course of this year, so a lot of things are going by the wayside. But I digress. I’ve been working on a 15 min. scene(yes, I’m a playwright now). It has to do with parenthood and Indian culture. Specifically, it’s about a young adult named Imran who happens to have autism and has difficulties going to college and doing the ‘traditional’ route, much to the costernation of his father, Salman. There’s a lot of other things in there too. There’s a Tamil server in a pakistani restaurant, a white girlfriend and few other things. I’m really proud of this one act that I’ve been working on. It’s almost to fruition, but I’ve had a problem finding the cast to do it. It’s really disheartening because I’d very much like to get it produced, but if I can’t find the people then I don’t know what I’m going to do. The play itself is inspired by my life, both through things I’ve experienced and my observations from afar of Indian culture. But it speaks to the trials of parenthood more than anything, at least, that’s the goal. I don’t know of any parent who has been able to go through smooth sailing with their children 100% of the time. Especially since the days of parents expecting complete filial piety from their children are long gone in many ways. But even so, there has always been conflict between the young and the old. This play deals specifically with the added trial of what happens when you do want your kid to go one way but they can’t, or they are unwilling. I speak from experience, having experienced the fruits of crushed expectations from both sides of my family, the Indian and the White side. This is supposed to be the ideal, but it seems to be muddied. Hopefully the editing process will change that.  I am looking for people to audition as I am still writing this scene, which will be part of a much larger work.The play itself is very satirical.  I’m very much looking forward to producing this. If anyone is reading this, and they are interested, please contact me at Nishanthpeters@gmail.com for more information. Please note that I will need mostly Indian roles as this is a predominantly Indian play. I am based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America(USA), so if you are auditioning you’d have to be based in Minnesota.