Here I Go Again

This is just (what I hope will be) a short post in response to an ‘Ask the FSM’ I received. It has to be short because otherwise this post will turn into a political rant. As do the majority of my ‘neutral’ posts, now I think of it actually. But whatever. This is also quite a timely-relevant question, as October is the month we celebrate Black History Month in the UK.

QueenNefertiti asked at 15:04 – ‘What do you think of BLM?’

For those of you who are unaware, the abbreviation ‘BLM’ is in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, founded by three African-Americans in 2013, through a social media hashtag, (#BlackLivesMatter or #BLM) following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

I’d like to apologise in advance for any grammatical or informational discrepancies, but in short, this is what I think of it:

The fact that we live in a world where ‘Black Lives Matter’ has to be voiced aloud for people to recognise this basic fact is despicable. It should just go without saying. I think, as not just a black person but also a person who clearly sees injustices and racism in the majority of the institutions worldwide, that BLM is a very valuable and worthwhile movement. At the same time, it’s a travesty that this movement exists, because it just shows the so-called ‘progressiveness’ of our society isn’t, in fact, as forward-thinking as we’d like to believe. However, the general success and support of the movement inspires a level of hope in me; that despite the mostly fractured and separated community of blacks, there still remains some level of solidarity.

I believe that the common misconception of the BLM movement is that people believe that when it is said, it means ‘ONLY Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Let’s ignore every other marginalised group and recognise only the oppression of Black people’; both which are, of course, wildly inaccurate interpretations of the movement. BLM literally means ‘Black Lives Matter’, not any more or any less than any other race or ethnic group, and that we would like you – the authority, the law-deciding institutions of the world, but moreso of America – to recognise this fact when you are dealing with any case relating to the wrongful treatment of black people, judicially, socially and in any other relevant context.

Of course we need BLM. The amount of horrific cases of police brutality that have been surfacing for the past years are far too many – there should be none. The figures of inequality and injustices in the wrongful convictions of black people or alternatively the wrongful acquittal of white people who have committed crimes against blacks (especially in the case of police officers who have murdered innocent black civilians) are ridiculously high, and indicate (to me, at least) a clear problem. The fact that people are disregarding BLM as a movement which is ‘unnecessary’ or even ‘radical’ is, in my opinion, offensive. How can you tell me that a movement which acknowledges the oppression of a marginalised group and attempts to combat that oppression, through peaceful protesting and campaigning, is ‘radical’? They are literally fighting for the right to be recognised and treated as equals – a status which black people (in America in particular) have been fighting for, for the best part of 400 years.

BLM is not a supremacist, violent or systematically-racist movement. It is a movement that combats the supremacist, violent and systematically-racist institutions of America, and yet is still relevant for black people in communities all over the world. BLM is not a radical movement. There may be radical supporters WITHIN the movement, but there have been and are radicals within every group which stands for peace and equality; in the same way that you cannot label every Muslim an extremist or every white person a racist, you cannot label everyone who agrees with the BLM movement a ‘radical white-hater’, or a ‘segregationist’. Plus, not only black people support the movement. People from all different ethnic backgrounds and races support this movement; another indication that this movement is not at all an ‘exclusive’ one.

I support Black Lives Matter. I am not a violent, a segregationist, a ‘radical’ or anything more than a person who desires social, political and economic equality for blacks – and social and economic equality are, for the most part, still ongoing struggles.

I also do not think that the counteractive ‘All Lives Matter’ should even be used in the same sentence. Yes, ‘All Lives Matter’ but saying ‘ALL lives’ is not specifically focusing on the lives which are currently at risk; you’re including a group which is CLEARLY not marginalised or experiencing the same levels of inequality as others. Yes, there are other oppressed and marginalised groups, but rather than bringing them up as an argument to counteract the BLM movement, why not campaign for these issues yourself? Rather than attempting to invalidate the BLM movement by raising other racial issues, why not simply take up the mantle and raise these issues yourself? Rather than citing ‘black-on-black crime’ as the greater killer of black people in America than the American Police force, why not stop trying to invalidate BLM with somewhat pathetic and irrelevant excuses? As I saw on a very succinct Instagram post, it’s like people saying “Black Lives Matter” and the response group saying “Yes they do BUT…” There is no need to add a ‘but’. There is no ‘but’. Black Lives Matter. End of discussion.

I hope I’ve answered your question, QueenNefertiti.

That wasn’t even a short post, but I hope that my point is clear; I’m sure it is.

Love the Faerie Squad Mother x

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How Ironic

I think it’s really funny how some people seem really surprised that I’ve suddenly begun to talk more about racial issues and such, not just on my blog but also in real life.

I’d just like to let everyone into a little secret: I’ve always been talking about this stuff.

It’s just that when I used to talk about it, I tried to keep my voice as quiet as possible so that nobody complains that they’re offended or that I’m a ‘racist intolerant’ or whatever else. But now, I’ve made a conscious choice to make my voice heard.

I also find it really funny how before, when I was content to quietly mumble about social injustices with my friends, there was never a reaction, but the instant that I find and use my VOICE and on my personal BLOG of all places (what am I thinking? How RUDE of me; my PERSONAL blog?!) people suddenly make a fuss about my opinions.

I bet if I was to post a blog complaining about the Instagram update and saying how unacceptable it was, people would comment things like, “This is so true! THERE IS SO MUCH INJUSTICE IN THE WORLD!!!!!” or “I’m so glad SOMEONE said something! I thought I was the only one!” or even “I actually think it’s alright.” Even if I was to post entirely in (probably very poor) Spanish, I guarantee people would still comment, “I couldn’t understand anything but this is so true!” Even my post about my somewhat controversial religious beliefs didn’t elicit the level of hate and disagreement that my racial post from Sunday did – both online and IRL. But when I post about racial issues people tell me, “You make this all up” and “You’re not even oppressed. Go live in a third world country and see what oppression REALLY is” and “Stop complaining! You’re not helping your own situation by fulfilling stereotypes!” (Which, may I just ask, stereotypes do I fulfil?)

Plus, oppression is relative. Just because I don’t live in a third-world country or somewhere where many women are openly treated as subordinates, doesn’t mean I am not still at a disadvantage in my own country. I’ve mentioned before, I’m a black female. I live in a Western Society, where the institutions cater for White Heterosexual Rich/Middle-Class Cishet Males before anybody else. This means that within my own native system, I am at a disadvantage. And I think people think of oppression and imagine slavery being reintroduced into society; but it’s a lot more than that. Oppression is about how prejudice and discrimination has become institutionalised and normalised to the point where a specific set of people are benefitting – and it just so happens that I am not a person who is actively benefitting from the system.

I mentioned in my #BodyPostivity and Letter to my 8-year old self post that I’m learning to love myself and that nobody can make me feel inferior without my permission. Which is very true. In the past couple of days, because of the reactions to real life and on-line situations, I’ve begun to doubt the validity of my voice and my opinions. But then I get slapped back into reality and realise, “Why am I letting bitter, ignorant people limit my voice?”

And I realise that, as much as I don’t like confrontation, some things have to be said. It has taken me SO long to climb out of the box that I was put in from Primary School, and I’m still on my self-love journey. I literally cannot believe that I would even consider taking any anonymous person;s comments to heart. I literally cannot believe that anyone would take time out of their day to read through a post, become offended by the literal truth and then decide to share their negativity  – to be honest, I love hearing from my fans. Especially the bitter ones. (Plus, I’m flattered you think me so significant!)

Anyway, let’s not dwell on negativity.

I had an exam yesterday, a written one for Drama. Which went really well. We had to sit two papers; a live theatre and a studied play script. For my playscript, we studied Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’. If you HAVE read it or had to perform it then I feel sorry for you if you had to be Nora. If you haven’t, maybe do in your free time. It’s an interesting play definitely, but you have to take into consideration a lot of contextual factors. Interestingly, it touches upon issues of female subordination, to an extent, because – long story short – the play centres around a married couple, Nora and Torvald Helmer. They live in 19th century Norway, and Nora is literally treated like a child by her husband – a doll, in a sense of speaking, hence the title. It’s actually SO weird, he calls her all sorts of weird, dodgy pet names, and she loves it, but she’s quite manipulative.

To be honest, their marriage is just a disaster waiting to happen.

But in the end (SPOILER aha) she leaves him after a LOT of unnecessary and avoidable drama because she realises that she has become such a trophy wife and a pet to him that she doesn’t even know who she is herself. She says she wants to discover herself or whatever, so she leaves him with the children.

Great story.

But anyway. I have an exam next Tuesday for Spanish Listening, Reading and Writing which should be VERY interesting, seeing as I’m a lot worse at Spanish than I initially realised. I’m sitting in my study periods, and I’ve just spent about an hour practicing Spanish words and phrases and grammar etc. (Memrise is actually fantastic. It is keeping me going this year in Spanish, I swear!)

Because of the fact that my AS subjects have technically ended, I now have two mornings and two afternoons off from school, which is literally fantastic because it means I can go home earlier and I’M SO READY FOR SUMMER NOW.

PLEASE HURRY UP JULY!

Because they’ve changed the system and as of next year, AS-Levels will technically no longer be a thing, they’re introduced these new exams which are like UCAS Prediction exams, so that when we apply for University (next September, I think, we start) then you have the Predicted Grades from the ‘official’ University system, I suppose.

Which sucks because it means more unnecessary and stressful exams. But whatever.

I need to do some more Spanish.

Adiós.

Love the Faerie Squad Mother x

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Let’s Discuss

Time for a rant. I’m so ready for this. It’s been building up inside of me for a long time and I finally have the excuse to let it all out.

The title of this post is quite misleading; a lot of the things in this rant aren’t actually up for discussion. Without further ado, let’s go:

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

I can’t speak much for America (since I am neither natively American nor have ever experienced it there) but I’m just going to speak from the POV of a Black-British Caribbean teenage girl, experiencing it in England.

Let’s start off with my personal opinion of this commemorative month. My ethos is pretty simple when it comes to this actually; I don’t like it. (I am aware this opinion is controversial, but I don’t care) I feel like it is very tokenistic and patronising. Like the Almighty Council of Whites sat down and said, “Aww, the dark folk are kicking up a stink about the past… let’s subdue them by giving them a month to commemorate their background.”

A month isn’t enough. I’m not saying that they should institute Black History Half-Year or Black History Century, but at the end of the day, how do you expect us to cram centuries worth of culture, background and history into 31 days?

It’s impossible. You can’t. Especially when what you WANT us to cram into that month is not the entirety of the truth. (But more on than in a minute).

I may not like it, but at the end of the day, if we’re going to have it then at least let it be commemorated properly and respectfully.

That’s the first problem – that the existence of this commemorative month is tokenistic and patronising.

Problem two: the reaction of white (and ignorant) people. Here are some of my favourite reactions:

  • “What about White History month?” (Honey, every month of the year is White History month)
  • “Why don’t we make it Multicultural Diversity Month?” (You make ANOTHER month of the year ‘Multicultural Diversity Month’, don’t get it twisted with ours, THANKS)
  • “It sort of makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.” (I’m glad you feel that way. Our past was uncomfortable)
  • “I don’t see why we need to commemorate things in the past.” (Hmmm… that’s funny, because, you commemorate the Holocaust, you commemorate Remembrance Day but, you want to ignore a part of history which not only was the building block for most largely-developed countries but also lasted a very long time and which people are still living with the repercussions of today? Hmmmm… Okay. Let me just… sip my tea…)
  • “Don’t talk about the negative things… we just need to be positive about this whole thing.” (Yes but that’s probably not what my ancestors were saying when they were being beaten by yours in the cotton fields, so once again, let me… sip my tea…)
  • “Things have changed now!” (*crickets chirp*)

And so on. I feel like I should dedicate an entire post to the racist and offensive opinions of small-minded White People. I love hearing some of the gems that some of them come out with. Really. They warm me at night.

So, problem number three with Black History Month is what it’s actually used (or not used) for. It seems to me that for the majority of the country, Black History Month is only that in name. It doesn’t actually change anything. There aren’t any national days or services or anything where it’s acknowledged. I find it very ironic how people are so willing to commemorate Remembrance Day out of respect for a war that lasted 4 years which STABILISED the foundations the country we live in, yet entirely overlook the events of a time almost 100 times as long, which BUILT the foundations of the country we live in. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the sacrifices that any of those soldiers made weren’t commendable, and I’m not saying that it should have been made into a small thing. What I AM saying is that it isn’t fair that we as a nation (as a country with a White Male Supremacist-led government) want to pick and choose which events suit us most to commemorate.

The truth is, Black History makes people uncomfortable. To which I say, fantastic. Great. Get uncomfortable. It wasn’t a pleasant period of time and at the end of the day, its effects are still on the perpetual generations of black people, mixed people, people of colour in general. Who remained unscathed and actually benefitted from this regime? White people. It benefits them to keep their ‘reputations’ entirely untouched by simply pretending that those 300 years plus of history never actually happened. I’m sure it aids their consciences as well. After all, as I have heard so MANY DAMN TIMES, “my ancestors didn’t own slaves.” Okay, fantastic, so then WHOSE did?!

Furthermore (LOL I’ve always wanted to get that word into a blog post), the whole POINT of Black History Month is the re-education of narrow-minded curriculums and ignorants. We act like only four black people were influential and helped the world in any way. Black Historical Figures are comprised of more than Rosa Parks, MLK, Malcom X and Nelson Mandela. There were more than those four. (GASP. SHOCK. HORROR. OH NO. EVERYTHING’S BEEN THROWN UP IN THE AIR NOW!)

The problem I have is that people seem entirely comfortable in their ignorance. Last year, I had to fight for the commemoration of this month in my school (another problem – students shouldn’t be fighting for the recognition of something which is so important) and what happened was I got a WEEK – that’s right, a measly WEEK – in MARCH of the following year – another issue, Black History Month is OCTOBER not MARCH – to do assemblies.

Me. A student. Do assemblies.

Myself. A pupil. Educate the people who are supposed to be the educated.

So I was like, “You know what, I’m not happy, but I’ll roll with it.” What I decided to do was, since I go to a girl’s school, choose black influential women whom barely anyone ever spoke about or knew of. I also took care to choose people whose lives hadn’t had ‘happy endings’ so to speak; because really, that’s a mentality that needs to be broken. Not every black slave was freed and lived out the rest of their free life in happiness and peace. (That’s next in this rant). So I compiled my list and I was all excited and went to speak with the woman who was in charge of all this. I sat her down, told her my plan and she was like, “Hmm. Okay. Who are you planning to talk about?”

So I told her the names. And I KID YOU NOT she said,

“Well, I don’t know who they are so… maybe choose other people?”

I ended up settling with four mostly known women; Tina Turner, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Great people, though not as obscure as I had wanted them to be. I wanted to prove a point; that we are only ignorant of the things we WANT to be ignorant of. The woman had made a conscientious choice to dismiss the people I’d chose because ‘she didn’t know them’. That is the whole point. If we keep exploring people we know, then we will never get any further.

Fourth (I think it’s four, I haven’t really been counting) problem; the mentality surrounding this month. Once again, it’s ironic how people are so willing to be sombre and silent in respect of the fallen soldiers – they accept their deaths with sadness – people are so careful about making jokes about Nazis to Jews – they recognise that the Jews’ predicament was serious and sensitive – but the instant slavery is mentioned, it is either made into a joke or tried to be made light-hearted.

Slavery and Black History is not light-hearted. Yes, they were some stories of happiness and victory; but not many. Yes, there were cases where people did escape, and live happily, but not many. Because let’s face facts here. It was not a nice time period.

Women were raped. Children were raped and abducted. Men and women alike were tortured. Black people as a race were animalised. Stereotypes flourished which still circulate today. (Black people and chicken? A stereotype dating back to segregation in America. Black fathers walking out on their baby mommas and children? A stereotyped instituted by slavery and escalated by the subsequent mentalities of indoctrinated black males. Dark skin girls being ugly and light skin girls being pretty? Started in slavery and was cultivated by the consequent self-hatred of dark skinned girls. Do you need more examples or are these enough?)

I tried to communicate this all in my final assembly in March on the Friday. It was entitled “The Unknown” and focused on the bare facts of slavery and the harsh reality. I thought it was important to touch on the stereotype thing, but also was necessary to throw in the whole ‘Stop using the N-Word’ thing, because that’s so important. It was also important, I noted, to mention that saying ‘Black’ or ‘White’ is not racist. However, saying ‘Coloured’ is mostly offensive and it’s not a readily accepted phrase. (Unfortunately, the woman whom I organised the assemblies with seemed to think that it was an entirely acceptable phrase to use, going so far as to imply the opposite; that ‘Black’ could be seen as offensive and ‘coloured’ was more politically correct.)

The whole point of the Month in general isn’t to shock people. It’s to make them AWARE. It’s to educate them. Because if we’re not educated about these issues then where are we? Back at square one.

My last problem is in the education systems in relation to the commemoration of this month. The whole point of schools is to educate the minds of youth. If you are supposed to be making us ‘socially aware’ (I think the phrase is) and ’employable people’ of the future, then that constitutes more than just academia and examinations. It constitutes a self-awareness and a racial awareness, especially for those students who are from ethnic minorities. We’re not taught how our colour affects our standing in the world socially; we find that out the hard way when we hear on the phone that our aunt had several bottles of Coke thrown on her out of a car window while walking home, with men shouting horrible, derogatory phrases at her, because she was black. We find out when we turn on the news and hear about yet more Black people that have been killed by police or in police custody, because of their race. We find out when we apply for jobs and we are told by our mothers to use the last name in our hyphenated surname, because ‘Nzeogwu’ looks too black, but ‘Johnson’ sounds less ethnic.

These are the things we should not be surprised to discover. We should be learning about this in schools during this month. We should be discussing these things. They are only a taboo because we have allowed them to become that. We can un-make this reputation if we educate ourselves and our children, and pray that enough are educated about it in the future that what we are experiencing now will not be so bad for perpetual generations.

It makes me sad that so few schools commemorate this month effectively. It makes me sad that so little people know about the past of Black History and are so quick to make ignorant comments; and yet know nothing enough to understand that the nonsense they are speaking is offensive.

Nothing’s really going to change. That wasn’t the point of this post, by the way. It was a rant. I won’t ask for things to change because I know they won’t.

I can only hope.

Sweet dreams everyone,

Empress Rianna

Crown

Update: My Life – Bitterness and Malice*

Hello everyone, I’ve just finished my homework for this week.

This is a first. Please do not expect to see those words again anytime soon for two reasons:

  1. No time = No blog posts
  2. I don’t often finish all my homework at the weekend.

Which, yes, I know is probably bad, but I have 5 hours of free periods to do work during the week, so I’m fine. No detentions.

However lovely it may be, I didn’t really come here to small talk. I came here to have a rant, but then I thought, oh no, I can’t do that, because if the people I want to rant about read this rant then… that’s AWKS.

So let’s forgo the rant. Instead, I will channel all my ranty-ness, annoyance and irritation into a blog post which is fuelled with bitterness and malice. (See if you can detect the bitterness and malice and you get a prize! Just to make it even easier for you, I’ll add asterisks to the end of sentence which I took particular care to infuse with bitterness and/or malice. Take note how I even added an asterisk to the title, as it contained those two words! Fantastic!)

So first of all, update on my school life. I’m currently studying English Literature, History, Spanish and Drama – which, you may note are all essay-based subjects! Congratulations, you are correct! They are all essay-based subjects! I have chosen FOUR essay-based subjects!* (<—- asterisk) Let’s start with the best one, shall we?

Drama.* (It wasn’t even a sentence, but I think the tone that I said that in my head DEFINITELY deserved an asterisk)

I hate writing in drama so much. I love acting, I’m pretty good at it (or at least, so says my acting grade) and I am very dramatic.

I HATE WRITING. So naturally, when I was offered to do Drama AS at my school, which was comprised of 100% coursework (i.e. mostly acting and a TINY bit of writing, but no written exam at the end of the year) I was in heaven. As long as I worked hard, that’d be a guaranteed good grade.

Then my school decided to not run it because all the lovely people* (<—- asterisk) who wanted to do it decided not to go to my school. So what happened was I had to go to another school nearby for Consortium to do it. But guess what? Their school doesn’t run the same course that mine does. Their school doesn’t do 100% coursework.

Their school also has a written exam at the end of the year. I can’t NOT do Drama because then I will only have three A-Levels and no AS, but I can’t DO it because I don’t want to do all that lovely writing. Imagine, pages and pages and pages of, not actually writing about my OWN acting, NO, writing about how I would direct a scene that someone else would play. Because I care SO much about how to direct scenes to display the hierarchy between Nora and Krogstad.* (<—- asterisk) (For all those who are interested, we’re studying ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen; it’s an alright play, but I don’t really want to study and write about how to direct scenes and cast actors, I sort of just want to ACT) No. I don’t care, actually. What I WOULD like to do is hunt down every single one of the students who decided not to come to my school to do Drama AS and give them a box of chocolates.* (<—- asterisk) Like, congratulations. You have made my life so much better, I cannot thank you enough.* (<—- asterisk)

Next subject. Spanish.

I can’t rant very much because I run the risk of being read by people I could potentially rant about, so I’ll just say that it’s going well enough. I was a bit worried at the beginning of the year because we had a girl in our class who was Brazilian and could speak relatively fluent Spanish so I was a bit like …. ? And she was a tad arrogant and I was sorta like, I don’t REALLY like you. I mean, she was fine OUTSIDE of Spanish, but then in the lesson she suddenly got all hoity-toity and I was a bit like, I can’t deal with this. But then she left so I was like fine okay. So we’re RELATIVELY fine.

Next subject. English Lit.

But, let me ask you all, WHAT IS ENGLISH LITERATURE? WHAT IS IT? WHO DEFINES THE RULES WHICH CONFINE ENGLISH LITERATURE TO WHAT IT IS? (English inside joke) Also, we’re reading ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. Can I just say it is one SHAMAZING book!* (<—- asterisk) It is not at all weird, perverse or warped and it is an entirely COMFORTABLE book to read with your English teacher out loud!* (<—- asterisk) I almost feel the same level of annoyance towards the narrator, Offred, who is an ‘untrustworthy narrator’, as I did towards Atticus Finch, who is the book’s ‘moral compass’. Like, I know I’m NEVER going to be able to get away with not using that phrase to describe the ‘narrative voice’ every time I get an essay about it.

Because I will. Because it’s an ESSAY BASED SUBJECT.* (<—- asterisk)

Next subject. History.

I can’t even complain about this, I’m so surprised. I literally can find NOTHING to whine about with history, so I’ll just add an * so that I feel a little bit less biased towards this subject. Like, I literally abandoned Geography to take History, and it seems to have been, out of all of my options, the best choice. This is weird LOL. I mean, minus the essay-writing obviously, the lessons are actually so fun. And there’s 5 of us in the class (were 4 before, but then Steph dropped Chem, YES STEPH!) and we have top banter. Right now, in Tudor England we’re doing Henry VII – great fun. In Nazi Germany we’re detailing Hitler’s rise to power; it’s actually so interesting.

Wow. Well, there ya go, Pete. Something that I can’t whine about. Are you surprised?

Because I certainly am.

Okay, moving on. Update on my writing life.

I have none.* (<—- asterisk. Also, hyperbole. AYYY getting in them key terms from English Literature) I have written very little since for EVER, I’m working on about forty-trillion things at the same time right now, but they’re not going anywhere because most of the time I’m too a) tired, b) busy or c) annoyed to write anything worthwhile.

So, I have written nothing, my creativity is crumbling to pieces mostly, squad is being torn apart by school and boys are very silly.

Update on my qualification life. Would just like to clarify that even though I have a Masters Degree in ‘Rambling’, ‘Dramatic Queenship’ (I’m going to need to do my Masters in ‘Dramatic Empress-ship’ soon) and ‘Girlology’ amongst other things, I am NOT a qualified Boyologist.* (<—- asterisk) In fact, all you boys just baffle me in general. So it would probably be good if you spoke my language; and you have a choice as well! I speak two languages: Girl and English. Addressing me in either one is fine.* (<—- asterisk) I also speak Fabulous, but I wouldn’t want you to strain yourself too much by trying to pronounce those words. But of course, what would a statement be without a source. So I took the time to ask my good friend, Z (who, by the way, has a pHD in Boyology) why exactly boys are so confusing, to which he answered:

“I don’t know.”

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. A qualified boy doesn’t even know how to answer a question about his field of qualification.* (<—- asterisk)

I don’t know how I should tie this post up. It seems to have been relatively bitterness and malice filled. I’m sorry Dezza, I didn’t manage to properly roast this roast to a perfect crisp; it’s a bit of a pathetic one, to be honest. This is why I need to set up that page for you guys PRONTO.

Anyways, love everyone. Sleep safe.

Wait, why am I saying sleep safe, it’s only 7:40. (I mean, unless you sleep at 7:40 in which case, fantastic. You go Glen Coco!) But the sunset times are completely throwing me now, and I need to pay more attention to the time, rather than the colour of the sky outside. Winter is coming! (Oh man, I am acutely aware of the fact that I accidently quoted GoT and I hate myself as a result of it).

Stay safe everyone. I hate this weather. I also strongly dislike Sixth Form.* (<—- asterisk)

God bless, love from your Empress Rianna

Crown

A Friendly Reminder

Dear White People,
Please imagine a person saying this word: Nigger.
If, like some white people, you do not even feel comfortable reading this word, let alone imagining someone actually saying it, then I can only hope that your reasoning behind such thought is that you understand the hurtful intention behind it; not because you just genuinely feel uncomfortable whenever issues surrounding race are brought up in conversation. (In which case, congratulations! You have reached a higher level of human intellect otherwise known as AWARENESS :D👏👍)
If however, like some white people, you feel like this word would be said in a friendly, amiable tone, or are only uncomfortable because you don’t like discussing racial issues or acknowledging that your ancestors were more than likely slave owners, then you are both silly and very, very mistaken. (In which case, you seem to be stuck in the depths of human misunderstanding, also termed IGNORANCE :oops:😯👎)
Do you know the origins of this word? This word was used by your ancestors as part of the systematic oppression of black slaves. You using this word only evokes these memories. At no other point in history has the word “Nigger” been synonymous to “Comrade”, nor has it even had connotations of affection or respect. Using this word evokes these memories.
It is not okay to say. I don’t care if your boyfriend/girlfriend is black, I don’t care if your best friend is black, I don’t care if your chicken/dog/llama or the flower in your back garden is black. This does not give you the right to use this word. When you use this word, you are accepting and becoming a part of the systematic oppressors. When you use this word, you are conveying the narrow minded, racist and stereotypical view that black people are worse than animals; this is what the word was intended for, to make black slaves feel worthless. Calling a black person “My nigga” does not make you black, nor does it earn you any credit. All it makes you sound like is an ignorant person who is unaware of the meaning and intention behind this word. It is not okay to sing it in songs. It is not okay to laugh it off when someone gets offended at it. Apologise.
It is an offensive word. It was not intended to uplift the broken spirits of sufferring slaves, it was intended to grind them further into the dirt. You using this word is only grinding the broken bones of my ancestors deeper into the ground.
Stop
Saying
Nigger
Nigga
Nigguh
Or any other variation of it.
And what the hell is a “whigga”? A white nigger?
Why are you familiarising yourself with the word? Why are you trying to extend the narrow barriers to include the very same people who instigated the oppression? Stop getting familiar with it. Unfamiliarise yourself. Stop being comfortable with saying it. Recognise what you are saying.
In conclusion:
1. It is not a friendly word so stop saying it.
2. There can be no justification for saying it.
3. There is no context in which using it becomes acceptable.
4. Any variations are just as offensive as the derivative.
5. Just stop.

Dear POC,
The same applies for you.
It doesn’t help either, when you refer to your White Friends as “niggas” or “black”. Also, stop using phrases like, “You’re actually so black” or “You’re more black than me/that girl/that boy etc.” Being black or a POC is a biological predetermination. It is not a feeling and you cannot BE black or a POC unless you are biologically black or a POC.
You referring to your non-POC friends as “black” is problematic in two senses; firstly, like I said, it is not an adjective you can attribute to them without first embracing racial stereotypes. (Please, define what “being Black” is for me – if your description includes twerking, having a large butt, talking “ghetto” (which, in itself isn’t a particularly flatterring characteristic to attribute to Black people or POC anyway…) listening to Dancehall, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap and/or Reggae and eating chicken then I hope you realise how your stereotyping is reflecting on yourself as well). Secondly, it also puts these friends under the false illusion that they have the God-given right to say/sing/use the word “nigger” without causing offence; after all, if they are “black” and “all Black people use it” then why should they not be allowed to?

In conclusion:
It’s not really up for debate, to be honest, it’s just not a very nice word. Please stop acting like it’s okay to use.

Yours sincerely,
Empress Rianna

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Being The Minority

So the past couple of days have been an interesting experience to say the least. But let me not get ahead of myself.

Good morning/afternoon/evening (wherever you all are), this is the first time I am addressing you as a 16-year old Empress! How fantastic!

Anyways, now we’re done with that. So my family and I had a bit of a holiday this week; we didn’t go abroad, just to a small village, which I cannot name for obvious reasons which you will later discover. We stayed in a hotel, about a 5-minute drive away from the village centre (as in, probably their equivalent of a high-street or whatever) and so on the Monday afternoon, we get there and we check-in. Once we put all our cases and everything in our rooms, we go back downstairs so we can have dinner.

That was the first alarm bell. (We didn’t know it yet, but it slowly dawned on us). On the way through the lounge to the Restaurant, we got a lot of awfully odd looks; people were double-taking, some people were staring, and lots of people were doing that awkward ‘I’m-staring-but-if-you-look-at-me-I’ll-keep-eye-contact-for-about-5-more-seconds-until-it-becomes-uncomfortable-and-then-look-away-just-to-make-sure-you-saw-me-looking-at-you’ sorta thing. So naturally, as a family that is mostly unfazed, we ignore them.

We went back to our rooms after and got ready for bed. (Although myself and my little sister – who I have now decided to crown Princess – stayed up so she could post my birthday tribute on Instagram at midnight… and then I COULDN’T sleep because I was absolutely stunned by the intensity of raw beauty my friend posted of me also… But at any rate, we got to bed pretty late)

Then we woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast. That was the second alarm bell. The seating staff dude for the morning looked up at us from the desk and seemed a little startled. After he led us to the table, we all split to go and get our food, and more alarm bells started ringing. (Not literally, that’d be a little bit scary). People kept staring, we got even more weird looks, one guy was double-taking so much I’m pretty sure he got a headache.

By this point, I was pretty sick of all the looks, so whenever people looked at me, I’d give them the sickliest-sweet smile I could conjure up. And then they would blush embarrassed and turn away.

I thought it might get better, but NO. It only got worse.

Later in the day, we went into the village centre, to get some food and to just stroll around and explore, seeing as we were in this lovely, quaint little village and it was my birthday and it was like, well why not?

I’ll tell you why not.

Because it was like we were wild, exotic animals walking through a zoo of spectators. My sister, the Princess, and I stopped at a window-front display, and she looked at this teddy-bear she liked, and went, “Oh wow, Rianna look at how cute that is!” Then I heard a gasp.

‘How strange!’ I thought to myself. ‘Teyah doesn’t usually gasp…’ So I turned to her to ask her if she had gasped, and her face mirrored my expression of confusion. Which in itself answered my question. No she had not gasped.

In fact, the woman who HAD gasped was about 5 steps away from us, walking briskly down the road, and kept looking back over her shoulder at us with these wide-eyes. We couldn’t stop laughing.

Later, my mum and dad told me that they had had a similar experience; they were walking down the road and three little children in a car had pointed out the window at them in excitement – then their mother had also joined in with them.

What started off as irritating slowly became funny. We were walking to Tesco’s and two teenagers, a guy and a girl, came out of a shop; teenagers who looked like the ones, whom, in London, I would ordinarily avoid – just move out of the way for. They looked pretty intimidating. But they gave me one glance, and it was like their faces were streaked with terror, and the BOY, this intimidating looking boy, actually ended up in the road on an effort to move out of my way on the pavement.

Every shop we went into (because the shop’s were pretty tiny) the shopkeeper’s eyes would LITERALLY follow us around the whole way. When we bought stuff in Tesco’s and went to the self-checkout till, nearly every other shopper’s eyes watched us.

It was so strange.

But that wasn’t even the HIGHLIGHT of it all.

Because not only were we treated like an exhibition, we simultaneously got treated like we were invisible.

The final evening we were there, Wednesday evening, when we went down to dinner, we sat in a relatively accessible place. Like, there were quite a lot of other people sitting nearby. We had the staring spectacle of course (but what else could be expected at this point?) from a girl and her brothers? cousins? who all looked around our age.

But then – and this was the BEST part of all – a family, or perhaps a bunch of friends, came to sit near to us. They sat on the table next to us and ensued in very loud conversation. [Conversation which, if anything, only reinforced the fact that they were racist.]

The man, I assumed, was talking about his daughter. He looked about 60, with greying hair, and was talking animatedly about this woman; I figured it was his daughter or his wife, but it was more likely the former. Anyway, my mum and I only managed to jump into the conversation at the part where he started talking about her travelling and all her journeys around the world.

“And yes, one year she decided to go to India.” (It seemed that she was working abroad a lot, I think it was for her job as she was working for a bank or something? From what I gathered anyway…) “She said that her experience there was very interesting but,” at this point, he leaned in as if confiding a secret, “the only trouble was the flight… because of…” he paused for effect, chuckled, taking a sip from his long-stemmed glass of wine, “well, the Hindus.” At which point they all burst out into unabridged, racist crooning at his entirely UNFUNNY and OFFENSIVE joke. I mean, let’s just forget for a moment that what he said was offensive, basically saying the flight wasn’t enjoyable because of the Indian passengers on it, he is also assuming that EVERY INDIAN IS HINDU. Which they are not.

My mum and I looked at each other with wide open mouths. We were actually stunned that anyone could say that. But it got even better when he continued.

“She loves travelling abroad, but there’s always a language barrier for her. She can’t adjust well to the culture.” All things which suggested, my mum jokingly informed me, that perhaps she should stop travelling, because clearly if ‘Hindus’ were an issue on the plane flight, then how would she expect to fare in an entire country FULL of them?! “She could practically COUNT the number of British” (by British, he meant white) “people who were there as well!”

Boo hoo. I thought. That’s my life all the time. That’s my life RIGHT now. Wherever we go places, we can COUNT on one hand the number of black people. Why are you suddenly surprised by this? Oh that’s right; because except from when you travel, (and even then, it depends on where you go) you’re NEVER in the minority. I live my LIFE in the minority.

He went on.

“But when she came to England to work, she found it so much more enjoyable.” Of course she would, my mum added, surrounded in her own culture. “And her work was based in [location], which was great because she didn’t have to commute so much from where she stayed in [location]. She had a lovely little studio flat and a fantastic view.”

“But then they [her company business] relocated to Canary Wharf, and it became an absolute NIGHTMARE for her to commute.”

Oh no! My mum and I crooned. How hard it must be when your business relocates to the central hub of business in London (and also the world) and you have to TRAVEL in on public transport! Oh no! Such #FirstWorldProblems! All the people he was talking to sympathetically ‘awwwwwww’d and he nodded with a face of such sincerity that me and my mum started laughing again.

“So, is she permanently employed then?” One of the women sitting with him directed the question at him. He shook his head with such conviction.

“No, not really. She is partially on the work force, but if they start chopping jobs and sacking people, then she could lose her job.” At which point, I had to shake MY head sympathetically.

I’ve got two words for you, Mr. Racist Wine-Drinker: White. Privilege.

Your daughter would not be one of the first to be unemployed, especially considering the fact that she is the one constantly travelling the world for her company (she also went to Singapore, some countries in Europe, and has been to Australia so much that she has a flat out there) and not to mention the fact that you CLEARLY come from old-money; so regardless of whether she is kept or sacked (and most likely, the FORMER), she has pretty much worked her life away for this company (he never mentioned any partner, or kids of hers) so she is sitting pretty for the rest of her life.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I present to you, the plight of a black family in a small village in England. That was the reason we got so many stares from people. Because we were perhaps the only black people that some of them had ever seen. That was why we got gasped at, and pointed at, and stared at, and talked about, and ignored, and watched, and followed.

Because we were black. Now, if you know me, I totally hate using the race card, but this is one situation where it actually does apply.

The small-mindedness and ignorance (and in some situations, racism) of these people actually astounded me. I mean, I’m not stupid, I know racism exists – I live my life at the receiving end of it – but I didn’t realise how condensed it was in certain areas, and how concentrated those areas were.

But that’s my little rant for this morning. A bit early for me but, ah well. Have a good morning/afternoon/evening everyone,

Empress Rianna

Crown

Phenomenons

I’m going to be petty and childish right now and I have decided that I am just going to WHINE about all those fantastic (and not-so fantastic) books which people decided to turn into movies.

And just to clarify, I will not fight with anyone about this. Books are ALWAYS better than movies. There is never any exception to this rule. If you wish to ensue in a debate about this, feel free to leave a comment and be absolutely obliterated. 🙂

Yes, so perhaps a movie can be an accurate translation of the book (this is often quite rare) and maybe sometimes the movie does the book justice (even rarer), but the only people who can hand-on-heart tell me that movies are ALWAYS better than books are the people who haven’t even read the books.

Or just don’t read in general. (Which is something that upsets my soul to an ever greater extent)

But anyway. There have been so many recent releases of movies which have been taken from – mostly sub-standard – books; a while ago, I was watching a trailer for Mockingjay Part II, and I was just SO mad, because there is so much HYPE about it and barely anyone has even read the series. One trailer describes the movie as an ‘Epic Global Phenomenon’. I DO NOT KNOW WHY THEY ARE HYPING SO MUCH. The series was alright – hardly a phenomenon. I know this will probably get me some hate, but in my opinion, it didn’t deserve to be made into a movie. It was definitely a thrilling, fast-paced read mostly (especially the final book) but I won’t be a kill-joy and tell you who dies. 🙂 At any rate, it wasn’t fantastic, and I would not have thought it an easy transition from book to movie.

It isn’t. (SHOCK HORROR!) Because in the movie, they cut quite a lot from the book. And yes, I get the whole point that you have to cut bits out to make the movie flow more etc. etc. but they cut out PIVOTAL moments from the book. Like where she got her Mockingjay pin from. (HINT HINT: It wasn’t from The Hob). Also, they just seemed to completely miss out a bunch of other things, like the fact that Katniss doesn’t have feelings for Peeta; she has feelings for Gale. But in the movie, they portray her as some greedy girl who can’t seem to make her mind up about who she’s into. (Which, I would assume, is partially the fault of the actors playing her love interests? Clear distraction there…)

Now, I wouldn’t mind so much if they had made this movie with a decent cast; but I think we need to be honest here with each other. Jennifer Lawrence is perhaps the worst Katniss Everdeen they could have cast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating. Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress (and obviously, I can’t hate, because I’m no Dame Maggie Smith) but come on. Of all the female actresses to cast as this kick-ass female heroine, they choose her. J-Law. I kid you not, she has two expressions as Katniss: sad and angry. And they’re both the same face.

Also, we have to keep the sense of realism throughout the book translation into a movie. For example, if I find the protagonist of a book to be portrayed as annoying, ignorant and mostly infuriating (*cough cough* Tris from ‘Divergent’) then I want her to be portrayed in the movie in the same manner. I know I’m not the only one to entirely dislike the main character from the Divergent series, and I am completely okay with the potential hate I may get from that statement, but I really dislike how she is portrayed as so lovely and kind and caring in the movie.

Because she is NOTHING like that in the book. And I completely hate her in the book. So much.

The love interests are always difficult to cast (in my mind at least) because in the books, you always imagine them as being extremely attractive – unless it had been stated otherwise. But then in a movie, if they cast an unattractive (or not particularly aesthetically-pleasing) male as the love interest, then your faith in him wanes and you find yourself shallowly wondering how this guy could ever have possibly gotten her to like him. (The key word here being shallowly).

But the main reason why I strongly dislike books-turned-movies is because you can never read the book in the same way again.

Some of the concepts in the ‘Thursday Next’ series (by Jasper Fforde; I am ALWAYS hyping about this, so they BETTER NOT make this series into a movie!) so accurately describe the process of reading. Basically, they say that reading is as much work on the part of the reader as it is the writer. For readers, we have to take the words and turn them into concepts and images in our minds. We have to do part of the job when reading it, as well as the writers have to do by writing it. No two people can have the same experience when reading the same book.

In the same way, when we are reading and imagining characters, they are each different in each of our minds. The writers can only describe the colour of eyes, hair, the shape of mouths, or expressions of different characters. They cannot give exact proportions for nose height and width, or eyebrow elevation (they could but it’d become pretty damn boring and TOTALLY unnecessary) and as a result, we begin to imagine those features more defined in our minds.

The problem is, when there is a movie, we already have an image and a vision of what the characters look like in our own minds. And, like I said before, no two people can have the same experience when reading the same book. Therefore, you could have anywhere from 1million people upwards, all with different needs to be catered for in terms of the casting… so you can never get the casting EXACTLY right for everybody.

Sometimes, when we read it, we actually imagine the most suited actor in Hollywood as that character, but more often than not, we usually invent some nameless gal or dude in order to visualise the world being created in our minds.

If, by some perversion of nature, I was to sit down and pick up the Hunger Games books to reread, the whole time I’d be reading, I would be imagining Katniss in my mind as Jennifer Lawrence. In my mind, Logan Lerman is forever Perseus Jackson, and now, Mary Boleyn from ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ has the face of a blonde Scarlett Johansson.

Which is kind of annoying seeing as I can never get those actors out of my mind now and they will forever dominate my thoughts when I visualise these characters (and more who couldn’t even be listed…)

I only really see three solutions to this problem:

a) I stop watching these movies (stopping reading the books isn’t an option),

b) People stop trying to MAKE the books into movies OR

c) I write the script, cast the actors and direct the movie

I’m definitely leaning towards C.

Anyway, I love you all, and peace out.

Queen Rianna

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p.s. Since I turn 16 in 2 days, I have decided that Queen is no longer enough. The instant I turn 16, I am being upgraded to Empress. Just to let you know though, this shouldn’t change much; I’m not feeling ‘The Ramblings of An Empress’ to be honest, so I’ll stick with my blog name, I’ll just sign it off differently? I’m working on how this will all be implemented.

Eye of The Storm

This week I have been at Pathfinders Camp. Pathfinders is the Christian equivalent of, I suppose, Guides or Scouts for example. (Am not sure what the American equivalent would be… Someone help me out?) I would explain Pathfinders as ‘Christian Camp’, but it’s not really just ‘Christian Camp’, because I don’t think that term effectively encapsulates exactly just what it entails. Yes, admittedly, Seventh-Day Adventism (which is what I am, an SDA) is a denomination of Christianity, but there is a lot more to it than that.

At any rate, I was pretty excited when we left on Monday (after my entirely hectic, chaotic birthday party… Shoutout to all those who dressed up authentically!) and was really looking forward to meeting new people.

Skip forward to today. I am tired, my entire body aches, and I AM SO ASHAMED TO SAY IT, but I have only had 2 showers in the entirety of 5 days (and one doesn’t even count because I only had it when I came home to get my GCSE results… Brrrap brrrap for that by the way, Queen RiRi actually did well by God’s grace!) I was upset because of people’s bad attitudes and stink personalities, certain people don’t know when to keep their mouths shut and others don’t know when to open them.

The tents were alright, but the second or third night it rained and some stupid boys thought it would be funny to run their hands along the insides of one of our tents. If you are a camper, or have been camping, then you will know that one of the golden rules is ‘Do not touch the inside of the tent’, especially when it’s raining, because it limits the tent’s waterproofing abilities, and the tent floods.

Which is exactly what happened. The tent flooded.

Other than perhaps the socialising aspect, learning self-defence, the song services and the Christian side of it, It has been absolute hell and I really don’t want to bring it all back, because, to be fair, it might have been a slightly poopy week, but what has happened in the past is in the past. Where it belongs.

I am not blogging today with the intent to make a statement or have a rant or anything (if I rant, it would just get super personal and I don’t need that) so I am just posting this short snippet before I have my shower (that makes 3!) to let you all know that I am alive and well, and also inform you as to why I have been off the grid for the past week.

Anyways, love you all, I may or may not post later, and I apologise for the negativity… but on a brighter note, it’s my birthday in 4 days. Woohoo!

Queen Rianna

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A Few English Lessons

So. *taps mic* Is this thing on?

I haven’t posted for a VERY long time (considering the fact that I am drastically failing at my goal to post at least one thing everyday) and so I feel the need to; especially seeing as this blog is mostly my way of talking to somebody (i.e. you) other than my friends and family who probably get sick of hearing me talk at them all. The. Time.

Anyways, before I start the ACTUAL blog post. This week (hopefully) will be a nerd-filled, jam-packed week of geeky excitement. Myself, the Astellians (all bar Sazza and my little sis) and the Elms Squad are going to turn into a bunch of tourists; we are visiting nearly every single *coughs* FREE *coughs* museum in London. It was literally a matter of Susanna and I sitting down and saying: “We have a week free. We have 10+ museums to visit, so we need to get to at least 2 everyday.”

I even made an itinerary and everything. (Is that even the right thing? An itinerary?) So that should be absolutely fabulous.

Right, back on track now. So. I’ve probably mentioned before – or you may have even noticed – that I am a stickler when it comes to punctuation and grammar; and very little stresses me out as much as the lack or the misuse thereof.

As briefly as I can in one short evening post, I am going to just highlight some common mistakes, how to rectify them, and then throw in some of those rules. (Because EVERYONE loves English grammar rules!) I’d just like to add a disclaimer: I am not an English scholar. I repeat, I am not an English scholar. I AM, however, a teenager who very much appreciates the correct usage of the Standard English Language and I feel like we need to learn to speak correctly as a generation, to be honest.

I’m rambling again. Anyways. If you’re reading this and you’re American, you may think, “Hey, she is adding a lot of ‘u’s where there don’t need to be any!” Well, let me just tell you: if I read your blog, I am thinking “Hey, he/she has removed all of those ‘u’s which upsets me very much!”

But hey. Common dialects, right?

1. YOUR and YOU’RE

The Queen’s Explanation: YOUR is used in reference to a person’s possession, either of object or character. (i.e. A characteristic or possession, both physical and metaphysical; like emotions)

e.g. YOUR dimples are adorable, YOUR jacket smells like roses, YOUR six-pack… etc.

You cannot use YOUR when you are DESCRIBING what a person is doing or what they are!

e.g. YOUR amazing (though it is true of me, it doesn’t make grammatical sense), YOUR ugly (there are two errors in this example anyway… I am not ugly, and you are using the incorrect word), YOUR winding me up, YOUR boring, etc.

Key Point: YOU’RE is a contraction of “You are”. When you say YOU’RE, you’re saying YOU ARE. So if you replace the word YOU’RE in the sentence with YOU ARE and it doesn’t make sense… YOU ARE using it incorrectly! (See what I did there? Hee hee!)

e.g. YOU’RE fantastic = YOU ARE fantastic (Correct in BOTH senses!)

YOU’RE coat is very nice = YOU ARE coat is very nice (Incorrect!)

KEY POINT: Just don’t get it wrong in conversation with me.

2. THERE, THEY’RE and THEIR

The Queen’s Explanation: THERE is used when you are talking about a place. Let’s combine this concept with point number 1:

e.g. YOUR coat is over THERE, so YOU’RE going over THERE

THEY’RE is a contraction of THEY and ARE (similar to YOU’RE – YOU ARE). You use THEY’RE when you are describing the actions or characteristics of a group of people.

e.g. THEY’RE going over THERE (The same principle applies here; replace it with THEY ARE and if the sentence still makes sense then it is correct!) THEY ARE going over THERE.

THEIR is used when you are attributing a physical or metaphysical possession to a group of people.

e.g. THEIR coats are over THERE THEY’RE going over THERE to get THEIR coats.

Confused yet? YOU ARE? (WOW… I did it again.) Okay good.

3. WHERE and WERE

This one is a lot simpler than the other two concepts.

The Queen’s Explanation: WHERE is in reference to a place or destination. (e.g. WHERE are THEIR coats? THEIR coats are in your wardrobe, WHERE YOU’RE keeping them…)

WERE (by my understanding at least, I hope this is correct) is simply the past tense particle of the verb ‘to Be’ (Long story, so let’s not get into how that works… it’s an irregular verb, okay?)

e.g. WERE THEIR coats over here? No, THEY’RE over THERE. WHERE are they? THEY’RE with THEIR coats. (I’m not sure why I have a sudden obsession with coats, but for some reason, that’s the only example I seem to remember from all these books about correct grammar and punctuation!)

Key Point: You cannot use WERE in reference to a place.

A good way of remembering THERE and WHERE is that the former can be a direct answer to the latter:

WHERE? THERE.

Whereas WERE cannot be used as a response to THERE

I hope this is not getting out of hand now. Only a few more things to clarify now!

4. Using Apostrophes ( ‘ )

The Queen’s Explanation: Apostrophes are not natural disasters. They can be used as means of contractions (not like the ‘giving birth’, ‘dilation’ type contractions; but the ‘shortening word’ contractions) or also to show possession. I am going to try and keep it as simple as possible, because it can get VERY technical.

CAN’T (cannot), DON’T (do not), WON’T (will not), COULDN’T (could not) and WOULDN’T (would not) are all standard examples of using apostrophes for contractions. The use of this ‘ shows that the user has intentionally missed out letters and is replacing those missing letters appropriately by alerting any reader to the fact that they have purposely omitted these.

SARAH’S doing something she SHOULDN’T be; she just CAN’T help herself = Sarah IS doing something she SHOULD NOT be; she just CANNOT help herself. (Meeting up with Lampton boys… just some Astellian banter there)

Using apostrophes to show possession is simple: you use their name or identifying tag and then add an ‘s’ after the apostrophe:

e.g. The CHILD’S pen. The apostrophe highlights to the reader that the pen belongs to the child.

MATTHEW’S family. (Whose family are they? THEY’RE Matthew’s family.)

Now here comes the plot twist. It has always been taught that when someone’s name ends in an S, you cannot apply this principle (adding ‘ ‘s ‘), but actually, that is incorrect. You are allowed to do that… and it is in fact, grammatically correct.

e.g. JAMES’S car – this is actually correct. This is because there is only ONE James.

IF however, the FAMILY is called the JAMES family, only THEN do you add an apostrophe by itself:

e.g. The JAMES’ car.

If I don’t stop now I am very much convinced that this will turn into some sort of online teaching seminar: How To Use English 101. I think I will end with two commonly-taught rules; both of which are absolute RUBBISH to be honest, because they are violated so often:

1. ‘I’ before ‘E’, except after ‘C’.

2. Never start a sentence with a conjuction (i.e. And, because, but, or, also, so) – Honestly, the amount of times on this blog that I have violated this law… I should be put into prison!

And just in case you didn’t think the English language was complicated enough (SEE? I just broke law number 2!) :

CATS HAVE CLAWS AT THE END OF THEIR PAWS, COMMAS ARE A PAUSE AT THE END OF A CLAUSE.

The English Language, Ladies and Gentleman. Just try to understand and follow the rules I mentioned above (as in the ones where I was giving my explanation) and you’ll be alright.

As long as you don’t mess them up around me. Then we might have a problem. But with that, I bid you all adieu and goodnight.

From YOUR Queen Rianna

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How To Become A Minister Of Education

I’m not too sure how I would go about applying for this job but I think that I’d make an excellent candidate. Unfortunately, seeing as everyone’s best friend (who is oh-so-close to our hearts) Michael Gove, a most worthy candidate for such an important role, was unlucky enough to have been replaced by a seemingly-worse reincarnation, all I can really do is give you some tips based on his example of how to become a MoE and overall improve the education system in the UK.

QUEEN RIANNA’S TOP 20 TIPS ON HOW TO BE A USELESS OUTSTANDING MINISTER OF EDUCATION:

  1. Have absolutely NO insight into the life of working class children/people. I mean, to be fair, what is the point? It doesn’t make sense to actually understand the majority of children and their backgrounds when you’re making decisions which will affect them for the rest of their lives. It makes it easier to make ruthless decisions when you can’t see the faces of the suffering, and know that you’re destroying their future looking at their innocent faces.
  2. Have children who are in private education. This way, it means that when you make decisions, you are making them only for the good of your children and nobody else’s. Also, it stops people from being able to call you a bad parent; if you’re looking after you and your own then the media can’t accuse you of bad parenting.
  3. Be ruthless in choosing the curriculum. If you don’t like something, cut it out. If you like something, put it in. Don’t worry about the essentials of what needs to be taught; only worry about what you do or don’t like. That way, you are sure to always be able to smile at what you hear being taught when you walk into a sub-standard school to sit in on a lesson for the purposes of being filmed on BBC News.
  4. Have a cheesy grin. It always helps for the cameras and the people looking on at you thinking “How could this man/woman be so selfish and thoughtless?” If you smile, it’s a sure-fire way to make them suddenly think “Look at that beautiful smile; how could such a beautiful man/woman be horrible? Who couldn’t love a person who smiles like that?” The media will snap up photos and all round you will appear to be a nicer person.
  5. Have friends in high places. Make sure you have lots of friends within Parliament, in the Cabinet and MP’s who will be able to get you your job despite your lack of experience, expertise or much knowledge in general. This way, when you are unable to become Prime Minister, you can destory the country from the foundations: the children. You don’t have to be the Prime Minister to tear down this country and grind it into the dirt; though it seems that Cameron is doing a good job of that already! As the Minister of Education, you can tear down the standard and quality of education and grind children’s dreams and aspirations into the dirt; that way, when they are older, there will be less of their souls left to crush! 🙂
  6. Be absolutely sure about what direction you want your department to go in. If you want to run it into the ground (which is your job, really) make sure that everyone knows this. Making your policies clear are always a definite way to make people admire your steadfastness and decisiveness.
  7. Never stick with things that work. There are always new methods which are untested, unconventional and mostly unadvised, but hey-ho! It doesn’t matter. Try them out anyway, whilst playing with thte future of several million children. Even when there is a system in place that has been working perfectly fine and seems to be going very well, scrap it. If you don’t feel like it is new, modern or contraversial enough, get rid of it.
  8. Leave your mark. When you leave, people should be able to say,”That fantastic Minister of Education [insert name here] has absolutely destroyed/annihilated/obliterated etc. the UK education system! :)” Make sure that people are never at odds as to who you are; don’t just leave your office with a bang. Leave it in a mushroom cloud.
  9. Ensure that you are on the same page with whoever may replace you. One of the most important things about holding a post is ensuring that your potential successor has the same drive and vision that you do. After all, you wouldn’t want them to come in and correct your mistakes. Make your ideas very clear to them so that if they DO replace you, they continue to work on the sectors that you have been working away at. They have to continue the sculpture that you have begun; you must show them how to whittle away at the sculpture that is (metaphorically speaking) the education system in the UK, until there is nothing much left of it.
  10. Be widely disliked. What is popularity, eh? Why be liked and adored by people when you can just do lots of things that irritate people? After all, you wouldn’t want to ACTUALLY speak to the peasants and commoners to understand THEIR plight, when you can just refer to your fantastic and divserse experience of education at Eton, Cambridge and Oxford; where you used to be in clubs where you would beat people up and burn £50 notes in front of homeless men for the banter.
  11. Base everything on you and your personal experience. Be very selfish. Don’t worry about what others think. The only children you should be concerned about are your own children – and maybe a few nephews or nieces. Other than that, even though they are very much the minority in this situation, refer to them for advice on everything. If you want to do something but you’re not sure about the reception you might get, make sure to ask a few children who have been privately educated in middle-class areas for their entire life and have no experience of what it is like to attend a state school at which you are making the changes.
  12. If in doubt, do it anyway. Do you have an idea which you think, hey, this MIGHT work? Even if the ‘might’ is very big, do it anyway! Even if there is a huge question mark on whether it will be effective, do it anyway! Use very unorthodox methods and overall just change everything.
  13. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. When you have a few million children who are being greatly affected by the changes you are making, and their parents and carers are complaining to you, don’t worry about them! They may be the majority, but it’s not their opinions and appoval that you are in place for. You are there to make the most money possible, from salaries anywhere from £100,000 per annum and upwards. Their opinions won’t make you lose any money.
  14. Increase the gap between the rich and poor. Since this is often done in the government anyway, your job is slightly more difficult, as you have to begin the divide in the first place. Education is an essential field when it comes to raising children and teaching them about the world and how to be savvy etc. Beginning the divide from now just means that when they are older, the divide can grow even larger. This is often best achieved by making it more difficult for working class children and children from poorer backgrounds to get into top universities.
  15. Discriminate. You will never get anywhere if you don’t discriminate. Even though you are able to improve the standard of education for more than one group, that is absolutely TOO much work for you, and you are NOT being paid enough for that! Choose a group which you want to further and do everything in your power to do so. Even though ethnic minority groups (Black African and Carribean, Asian, White European) are struggling within the education system and White Middle and Upper Class students are clearly beneffiting the most, don’t even attempt to help those who are at a disadvantage in the system! Just focus on the people who benefit you the most, i.e. the Eton and Oxbridge boys who will one day grow up to be just like you.
  16. Make decisions on a whim. You have to make a speech? Wing it. You have to change the grading system? Do it. Don’t think about logic, reason or sensibility; none of that matters really. Just pick and choose. You may also like to put decisions into a hat or ball machine (like the lottery) and pick out random ones when you’re REALLY struggling to choose. This way, not only does it mean that you cannot take responsibility for the decisions made (seeing as it was all just chance) but also it means that you don’t have to make any actual decisions which could really help these children out.
  17. Waste the budget. Even when you have £56.7 billion annually, don’t let any of it go to good use! Invest it in useless things (who even cares, right?) but not schools or teachers! Don’t use any of it to train teachers to do their jobs adequately. Just choose sub-standard teachers – that way you can pay them less. Also, make schools into academies and free schools; that way, they have to pay for everything themselves, and you can fund them at little as possible.
  18. Don’t listen to advice from anybody but your family. Despite the fact that there are other people in charge of the sub-departments below you, just remember that their ideas don’t matter; you are the boss. You have overall responsibility over everybody and can take charge whenever you need to. Don’t feel afraid to overule some people’s ideas just out of sparing feelings. You don’t care about feelings, remember!? Everything you do is for yourself!
  19. Pretend that nobody has any feelings. That way, when you make decisions, you’ll feel less guilty when you hear all the complaints. When you hear about young people (especially females) in ethnic minorities groups who couldn’t attend Cambridge because they didn’t pass the interview, despite their outstanding and consistent record of A stars, consecutively in GCSE’s and A Levels, don’t try to be nice or kind. Don’t even sympathise with them!
  20. Just don’t have any feelings. Feelings equals guilt for the bad decisions that you have made, and that is NOT something you want on your chest. Having no feelings means you will be able to sleep at night without imagining the hundreds of thousands of rejected University applicants, the failing students at High School, the students who are unable to get jobs because they didn’t pass GCSE English, Maths or Science, and the ones who simply can’t do much because there aren’t any opportunities for them. That way, despite the fact that knowing they are all crying themselves to sleep and some even contemplate suicide as a means of escape from the Education system, you can sleep peacefully! 🙂

So there. My 20 top tips on how to follow Michael Gove’s fantastic example and become the best possible Minister of Education. I sincerely hope that the new Minister, Nicky Morgan, reads this post, just so she has an insight on the unattainable level of perfection of which Michael Gove has set. She has a tough example to live up to. Let’s just hope she’s up to it.

And farewell Michael Gove, you will be greatly missed by the millions of children, teenagers and young adults whose lives you have touched in an unforgettable way. The irrevocable changes you have made will stay with us in our hearts – and lives – forever. We will never be able to repay you for all the things you have done for us and for that, we are truly grateful.

Spoken on behalf of every young person in the UK, we thank you immensely.

Queen Rianna

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