February 27 – In Class Writing

My typical Thanksgiving experience is not so typical. In the first 3/4 of my life, we would go all out for these types of holidays. My mother and her friends would cook all day and we would have a nice meal with our neighbors and friends. Nowadays, we don’t celebrate most things, especially Thanksgiving. As my parents’ relationship got worse throughout the years it became hard to appreciate our time together, even in these precious traditions. At first, when we stopped celebrating Thanksgiving I was very upset because I loved the whole ritual of the cooking, eating, and community gathering. But, now I understand that it is a holiday in the name of oppression so I don’t really mind not celebrating.

I would say I now most relate to the first painting shown: John Currin’s Thanksgiving. Everyone is doing their own thing, the turkey is untouched and there is a certain sadness on each of the subject’s face. I least relate to the fourth image because I don’t have anyone in my family in the army or anything like that. But even with that one I can kind of relate to it because now we (my family) don’t do anything on the holiday and it feels like something or someone is missing.

February 27 – In Class Activity

Mariam Jebari

Caitlin Tan

Food Deserts

There are many food deserts in our country today. “A food desert is an area that does not have a supply of healthy foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. This is due to the absence of mainstream grocery stores and farmers’ markets within a convenient traveling distance, such as less than one mile of walking distance from a person’s home” (Harmon, 2019). We have built thousands of McDonald’s and Burger King’s that are in fact affordable, but aren’t giving the needed nutrition these communities are deprived of. The fast food restaurants are thriving in these areas while healthier options are more scarce. The problem is transportation. These impoverished people can’t just drive to the nearest health food store to get their nutrients because they may not have a car or enough money for gas. This is not a rural vs urban conflict.  This is a problem with our system.

Even if there are grocery stores in these areas they “do not meet the needs of their residents. They tend to offer little or no fresh foods. They also may have limited food choices. For example, people with food allergies and restrictions, such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivities, may have a hard time finding foods they can consume” (Harmon, 2019).

We as a country have taken steps to combat this social conflict.  For example “Pennsylvania passed the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, which offered financial assistance to grocery stores that opened new locations or expanded fresh food supplies in food deserts.”(Harmon, 2019). The purpose of this law was to put more healthy grocery stores in food deserts in order help those communities.  The a federal government has taken steps to combat this aspects that come with food deserts such as obesity (Harmon, 2019).

But studies have shown that we can’t just keep throwing money at our problems we have to band to together as a community to fix these issues.  According to Gloria Howerton and Amy Trauger “Economic development that integrates community organizing and place making activities are keys to mitigating social exclusion in food deserts, and call for further research in the roll of place in shaping access to food”(Howerton & Trauger, 2017).

Reference list

Harmon, A. (2019). Food desert. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science. Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=c163e045-8a1d-40af-97af-  16a9e70cb5fe%40sdcvsessmgr01&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZzaXRlPWVkcy1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#AN=87324136&db=ers.

Howerton, G., & Trauger, A. (2017). “Oh honey, don’t you know?” The Social Construction of Food Access in a Food Desert. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 16(4), 740–760. Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=c163e045-8a1d40af97af16a9e70cb5fe%40sdc-v-sessmgr01.

February 25 – In Class Writing

One of the biggest differences between my father and mother’s cultures is the way they eat.

In Morocco, we mostly eat with our hands. We gather around a circular table, grab some bread, and dig into our sliver of the meat dish we are served. We thank the mothers and grandmothers for their delicious offering and we dig in. It is a very intimate time with your family. You talk about life, your dreams, your hopes, and the town. It is a bonding activity that joins us together as one because we are all sharing from one big plate. At the end of the meal, the elders will push the remnants of the dish towards the children. This is way of showing love and that they want their offspring to be well-fed and content. It is a beautiful ritual that I always look forward to whenever I get the chance to visit my fathers motherland.

In Colombia, we eat in a very European manner. Etiquette and table manners are forced and if you break a rule you are likely to get pinched under the table. In this way, it is a much more stressful encounter. You always have to be at the top of your game and attentive to the conversation and your table mates. We each eat from our own plate and usually a maid will do the cooking. It is much less intimate in these aspects. There are too many expectations to keep track of and you always have to watch your mouth because the elders are extremely judgmental. The food itself is much more basic and utilizes less spices than Moroccan cuisine but still tastes good.

In America, I feel like all values are thrown out the window. We eat in front of TV’s, with our phones, and we sometimes just eat alone in hopes of getting a moment to ourselves. From an outsiders perspective, you can see that we live in a fast-paced society just by the way we eat. We don’t put much importance into it and it has become less of an intimate act and more of an obligation. In this country, I feel like we are quickly losing a lot of the traditions that our ancestors once brought with them.

February 20 – In Class Writing

The distinction between masculinity and femininity greatly affects our modern day society and social norms. Even in our progressive social climate, gender roles are alive and thriving because of how large the system stretches. In general, women (and feminine presenting people) are still widely seen as inferior compared to the “big strong man”. This means that as women we have to work more than twice as hard to achieve the same things as our male counterparts. We have to work harder to achieve the same amount of respect and credibility in order to be accepted as an equal.

No matter how hard we try to fight it, we perpetuate these unequal systems daily without even realizing it. If there is a physically difficult task we have to complete, we are told to call a man for help. If we are looking for babysitters for our children, we directly look for young women who have a “nurturing” aura. The biggest distinction is in family life. The woman is told to stay at home and take care of the young and house, and the man is told to go out and get a job to support his family– the opposite is frowned upon in most cultures.

Now, as for football, that is one of the topics that is greatly affected by these norms. Women aren’t even allowed to participate in the NFL. The stereotypical football player is a meaty man with a violent streak. Try to imagine a woman fitting this stereotype– you probably can’t! This is because football is used as a way to normalize violence and to display superiority whether you are one of the players or just an ordinary fan. In this sense, we look for burly men who will represent our community in the most masculine and overprotecting manner. This can get dangerous. A lot of NFL players have developed criminal records for beating their partners/family or just simply not knowing how to control their violence. By elevating these players as we do in America, we are giving them a god complex that can be very hard to take away in regular life. If we continue to support these types of activities we have to find a way to create a safer and more inclusive fandom that won’t end in danger and toxicity.

February 18 – Discussion Notes

  • Instead of using the phrase “disabled people”, using better language such as “differently abled”.
  • Having a disability only changes some factors of life, not everything. Just like any other person that goes through highs and lows and has their limitations.
  • Singer vs. Johnson argument: should newborns with severe disabilities be euthanized?
  • Two different viewpoints. One very optimistic saying that every living thing deserves a chance, and the other more pessimistic view saying that there has to be a standard in order for every being to live a complete and balanced life.
  • Important moment: “He is the one who wants me dead”. A very accusatory exclamation by the author.
  • Another impactful quote from Johnson: “It’s not that I’m ugly. It’s more that most people don’t know how to look at me. The sight of me is routinely discombobulating”


In my experience, I have been “tokenized” for many different reasons but only a few are for my appearance. Nowadays, what I am most tokenized for because of my appearance is my hair. At the moment it is blue but I have changed it quite a few times and get mostly negative reactions when I’m back home. Here, in San Francisco, I get a lot of positive reactions but having weirdly colored hair leads to a lot of unwarranted interactions. For example, just last night I was at a concert and a guy came up to me asking if I had met him the other night at a party in the Richmond district. My face said it all. I was so confused and simply said “no sorry” and he walked away saying “well then it must’ve been another girl with blue hair”. So, in many ways it makes me more unique but the longer I have my hair colored, the more I realize that people tend to group funky looking people together.

When people first meet me they would assume that I am some crazy white woman who dresses in funky ways and loves to alter her appearance. In reality, I am a white-passing woman but nobody would guess what’s underneath. I am Colombian, and in Colombia, I am the token American cousin. My family there treats me very differently and ask me about my experiences in the States even though our lives are not that distinct. I am also Moroccan, and in Morocco, my cousins and random kids from my father’s hometown will kind of treat me like royalty. At first, it made me very uncomfortable that they treated me with such respect and care but now I realize that it is all out of love and curiosity. For them, America is the dream. Nice cars, nice clothes, cool friends, cool life; so now I tell them my stories with pride and I try to step in their shoes and imagine how I would be treating them if they were to ever come to the US.

February 6 – Freewriting

I remember when I wrote one of my first songs. I was angry. I needed to get my feelings out of my head, they were suffocating me. My mother had been getting on my nerves all day and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had told her that I had plans with my friends on that day and needed to leave at a certain time in the afternoon, but she refused to listen. She forced me to clean my room, do the dishes, and entertain the guests we had staying at our house. I was not in the mood. After doing the dishes, I went up to my disorganized room and sat on my bed, full of frustration. I then decided to grab my guitar and my notebook. I furiously wrote down very hateful lyrics about a two faced person who tells you one thing one day and completely switches it the next. It outlined the frustrations I held against my mom and her constantly changing mind. Our relationship has always been rocky and our arguments have the tendency to drive us insane. We both know each others weakest points and insecurities, so when we fight, it’s a disastrous battle.

Expressing my feelings through a written composition liberated me from my overthinking mind. Writing songs has now become my meditation. From that day on, I have created endless songs and poems about my experiences in life and how they made me feel.

January 30th – Journal

After reading a few of my classmates responses and thinking about my own digestion of the readings I have come to a few conclusions. From Jodi Kantor’s piece, “Historic Day for Gays, but Twinge for Loss of Outsider Culture”, my classmates and I gathered that the uniqueness of coming out as gay or lesbian has kind of faded. Once the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal, the outpouring support and coverage the topic was getting seemingly drifted away. I really like how Sebastien talked about how being openly gay used to be magical and now it seems to have lost a lot of it’s glory and shine. I find this to be very true especially after living in San Francisco for almost half of a year. Here, if you identify as gay, most people will usually shrug it off since it has become so normalized. While this is a great step towards acceptance, the community is no longer very celebrated or appreciated even though coming out is still a brave declaration. The biggest outcome of this reading is to note that when certain cultures are finally accepted by popular culture, they lose their sparkle.


After watching the culture bloopers video, I am able to reflect on my past experience with this topic being the child of two immigrants. As a kid, and to this day, I have always been embarrassed by some of the things my parents have said in public. My father, coming from Morocco, has a bit of an accent so some words in English come out of his mouth very differently than they would from a native American. My mother, coming from Colombia, has a very thick Hispanic accent that can be hard to understand for some people. For example, instead of saying “let’s go to the beach” she will say “let’s go to the bitch”. This happens because Spanish and English have very different ways of pronouncing vowels. Another quirk of hers is that she will sometimes try to translate her Colombian sayings to English but they don’t really make sense in this language. For example, in Colombia, if we don’t really care about something we will say “me vale huevo” but that translates to “it matters to me egg” which makes no sense.


Hello! My name is Mariam Jebari. I come from a small town called Exeter, New Hampshire but I was born in Boston, Massachusetts. I graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 2018 and took a gap year instead of heading straight to university. On my gap year, I went to 10 different countries and explored several distinct cultures and landscapes. My favorite destination was Amsterdam in The Netherlands because the people were all so kind and open, and there is always something to do there.

I come with a mixture of different backgrounds because my father is from Morocco, my mother is from Colombia, and my brother and I were born in the United States. While sometimes having all of these eccentric and vibrant cultures becomes a challenge, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Knowing people with many different viewpoints and values has led me to live a very open and accepting life. I love to learn and love to have deep conversations about life and existentialism.

My one true passion is music. Since I was a toddler I’ve been in love with music, whether it was creating it or simply listening. I play guitar, piano, ukulele, trumpet, and I love to sing. I am in the Performing Arts and Social Justice major here at USF and I am enjoying it so far!

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