Sunday, July 1, 2007

where are all the black people?

Check out this article from author Martha Southgate. I cannot say I particularly liked the one book of hers I read (she has 2?), as the idea that women are alone except of that one man (the Man, I will call him) who is always around and will always care for them, does not really strike me as a constructive idea to teach young girls. But that was my interpretation of the book,and is not very relevant to the rest of what I have to say. So, I present to you this article, where Southgate is struggling to figure out why there are not more "literary" African American/ Black writers. As Jason and those of you who have been following me know, I have been struggling with why there are not more black people in the sciences, and this article hints at something that is much more widespread than I thought. Black people are struggling, at least those born after a certain era. I have no idea how to explain why it always appears things are getting worse for black people since the "glory days," though I think it might be useful to take a look at the people who were very young during the Civil Rights Movement, as they are more or less middle-age and have at least one generation under them (like my parents). Now, I don't want to point fingers, but since so many people like to decry young black people/ the gov't/ history/ etc., I think it's fair that the people who were around (but were too young to participate in) the Civil Rights Movement should face some responsibility for not passing on their successes (and there have been quite a few). They reaped the benefits of affirmative action, integrated schools, had access to greater training and jobs than most black people before them, but their kids have, on the whole, royally fucked up. Now, I will concede that black college enrollment is up in the South (or up down in the South?), and black people are making strides. But if these things are the case, then why is there still an achievement gap, and why are public schools like the UC's so low on black students (especially males) when they have what I consider the most inclusive college admissions process around (UT-Austin has it too, according to my neighbor). I just do not understand how a group can proclaim both tremendous success and tremendous setback at the same time. Really, only black people in America could do some silly shit like that.

Anyway, I went paintballing today. It was awesome. Talking to my friend who's from around here and is showing me around a bit, it's really interesting to see what kinds of things people take up as hobbies and why. I didn't get a chance to ask any of the regular players what they love about paintball, but I will admit there is a certain excitement associated with shooting/ being shot at and not having to worry so much about getting really hurt that makes it fun. Maybe I'll find and ask a regular at some point. I also almost got swindled by a Hindu monk last Saturday. I was walking around campus (it's awesome, and huge) and this guy came up to me talking about a debate that's being had on evolution vs. creationism, something I am totally interested in. He then took out a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and said I should read it. For the record, the oldest book known to man is physically one of the densest collections of paper I have ever seen. So he asked for a small donation (I had 42.50), and I took out 2. He wanted more, and I wanted change. He had none and tried to convince me it was OK. No, sorry. He asked a friend of his, and some random guy, and I told him I needed the money for groceries and I would pass, but I would show up to the discussion (which I missed because I was in the lab, oh well). He said it was his last copy, I told him I was sorry, but Bradley must eat (not in those words), and then he left and I sat on a bench. I got a book about meditation as consolation, he got my 2 bones. He then sold the book to some other guy for at least $10, and came back to me trying to give me the book (I thought he was out of them?), to which I had to decline. An interesting experience to say the least.

They get so big so fast, then shrink even more quickly.

Life in the lab is still slow, I am going to try and flesh out this project of mine more this week in terms of design, what it will/could mean, what we already know, why it's important, etc. 2 days until Transformers, suckers.

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