Friday, June 29, 2007

i hope little jimmy likes his new kindergarten class. it cost america yet one more freedom.

but hey, i can see how superior coloring-inside-the-lines skills are totally worth challenging brown v board. your kid actually IS more important than black america. i get it.

sigh. there's no point in putting it off any longer. i have to have my say about the whole "supreme court" debacle.

quick recap, for those who have trouble focusing their eyes on newspaper headlines (that's not meant to mock, its sometimes very difficult): the supreme court passed down a decision 5-4 declaring that attempts to maintain diversity and integration in public schools which explicitly factor in the student's race are unconstitutional. The five who voted for this decision were, of course, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy, with Kennedy making a sidenote that sometimes, maybe race could be taken into account.

obviously this decision is a bit of a shot in the face to like, you know, justice. and as a sidenote, "shot in the face" will be one of my new catch phrases, in honor of our vice president. but i digress.

"the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race," 'justice' Roberts said, "is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." and i truly do believe that if the good justice roberts just perserveres a little bit longer, his saintlike conduct will be rewarded by god himself, and roberts' sight will be returned to him. all these years of true colorblindness have made him a beacon of honor in our society, but it will be nice for him to finally be able to tell the difference between water and wine.

but i don't want to take up too much space being angry at the whole "the way to make society colorblind is to just say 'i'm colorblind'" argument. because its stupid. and the fact that the majority of our supreme court justices are willing to say things that make them look like they don't have the capacity to reason is troubling to me, because i'm betting they're not ACTUALLY idiots, which makes the whole thing just a tad more sinister. what i'd like to think about briefly are some of the different issues being brought to the surface because of this decision. already the discussion has moved past "i agree" and "i disagree" to "i'm clever enough to nuance this argument and I say the real issue is the achievment gap." an op-ed in today's new york times entitled "Don't Mourn Brown v. Board" is one such article. the author is apparently also the author of a book with the scintillating title, "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America.” a lengthy title, yes, but full of chutzpah. culture of failure. them's fighting words. especially coming from someone who went to all the trouble of finding nuanced things to say about our school system and could only come up with "better schools are needed for all our children." gee, thanks. maybe we need to look into the culture of failure in today's media.

but in all seriousness, i mention this article because despite the fact that it had little to no point, the author brings up a couple of interesting questions that he refuses to follow to their logical conclusions. he notes, for example, that in the midst of bemoaning the loss of Brown v. Board, no one seems to notice that Brown v. Board did not, in fact, work. our schools are more segregated than they ever were, and the achievment gap is, at this point, ridiculous. he also notes that one of the biggest causes of unequal education in this country is unequal spending. it seems to me that given those two points, the next thought is not "why not reverse brown v board," but "how can we create an equitable funding system for our public schools." brown v board didn't work, that's true. but i'm pretty sure this new decision is making things harder, not easier. and that, my friends, is like buckshot to the face.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

gay eyes!!!

ok the hiatus is over. transitioning from "college" to "hobo" was a little rough, so i had to take a break from internet. now i'm back, and i'm ready to talk about one of the most fascinating topics ever written about: gay eyes.

but before i go into that, the inspiration for this post: stephen colbert's guest tonight on the colbert report was david france, author of a recent article in the new york magazine entitled "the science of gaydar." now i got excited because i heard the word "gaydar," but i was rather disappointed. clearly he never took a wgs class. well, i've only taken one so maybe i shouldn't talk, but i still managed to see several huge problems in his "argument." according to france, there are certain physical characteristics that statistically belong to gay people. and what he actually means by that is that there are certain physical characteristics we associate with masculinity, and certain female characteristics we associate with femininity. straight females and gay males are feminine. straight males and lesbians are masculine. except he takes seven pages to say it. he talks about the length of your index finger, the direction your hair "whorls," and other such fascinating physical characteristics. i found it, needless to say, problematic. he seems to be missing several entire points. the most obvious of those being that gender and sexual preference are not the same thing. a woman can be "more masculine" and be attracted to men. shocking, i know. it also seems like a fairly obvious research gap that he clearly did not run any tests on the billions upon billions (and that's an exact number) of gay and possibly gay people who either can't, won't, or haven't admitted their gayness yet.

"some of the work has been derided as modern-day phrenology," france writes. really? i wonder why.

his intentions are what i guess one could qualify as "good." he's using this "science" to prove that homosexuality is genetic, not a choice, because he thinks that with the power of science behind it, gay people can gain a solid defense against the "lifestyle choice" argument. aside from the fact that it's nothing but a reaction to conservative rhetoric, i guess its an alright idea. except that i shouldn't need to prove that i was born gay to have rights. but that's a minor detail, right?

i won't go into all the various problematic things said in the piece (lesbians really are a lot like men, but wait, female sexuality is just a myth anyways), but i will say that it reminded me how ridiculously idiotic our society can be when it comes to gender. this man talks about androgyny as if he can spell it. i'm not even sure i can spell it. but i'm pretty sure he's confused. and he's not the only one. our society seems to conflate gender and sexuality on a regular basis, and in very problematic ways. i mean i'll be the first to admit that i love watching people on the street and picking out the androgynous ones as potential gays (i like to call that the gay face). i notice girls on the street who dress more boyish and take a second look to decide if i think they're gay. yes. in our society a lot of gay people perform their identity through playing with traditional gender roles. but that's not biology. and its dangerous to think of it like that. sure i notice people on the street who "seem gay" because of the way they choose to perform their gender. but that's not how you actually tell if someone IS gay. if you must know the secret, it's all in the eyes. although i think i'll save that for a later lesson. you've got to have a reason to come back, after all.

anyways, the basic point in case you skimmed is this: that dude david france is a bit of an idiot. i'm not going to come out (no pun intended?) on either side of the whole "its a choice" "you're born with it" debate here because the point is that if you're just going to argue one side or the other for a political reason, you're going to end up doing a lot more harm than good. i hardly think being able to yell "i didn't choose to be gay" at a homophobic politician is worth the damage of telling the whole world that lesbianism=masculinity and that gay men have more feelings than straight men. but what do i know? i'm gay. i should stop writing on this blog and go buy some power tools.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

poetry in motion

Hectic times in the city, so I decided to write a few haikus that came to mind as I sat on a crowded A train with a crazy man playing the piccolo two seats down. Yes, in lieu of a 'real' post, but I think that the short, sweet nature of this post will accurately demonstrate how I'm feeling at this point in my life...
The Commute
Each with their own unique smell
Must they stand so close?

A desperate search
Craigslist sells us lies
Each place we see is crappy
Can we find a home?
Yeah, so you know. If I can think of some more that are applicable I'll go ahead and put them up. New York City in the summer, man I tell you- full of crazy people, weird smells and lots and lots of street meat. ..The kind on the carts. And also (unfortunately) the kind not in carts.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pride, Not Prejudice

That's the theme for San Francisco's Pride this year. I thought it was cute. Anyways, Brittany is right. Graduating is a crazy time so sorry for the long hiatus. This is going to be short because I'm still trying to get my life together after having been evicted from college, but I thought this was pretty great news: Deval Patrick went to Pride in Boston! article here. Apparently he is the first sitting governer in mass to do such a thing, which seems a little crazy/sad to me, but also I'm really happy he did. AND he's black. this just seems great to me. I wasn't in boston at the time, but I'm pretty psyched for Chicago Pride. if we do a little quick math, it would seem that since Chicago the city is infinitely cooler than Boston the city, Chicago Pride should be the best time anyone's ever had in their lives. sweet.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

you may now begin your lives.

We just graduated. Please forgive our lack of updates for the next few days (potentially week for me) due to the fact that we are attempting to transition our lives. As soon as we find some really interesting social situation/event/puppy to write about, you can be sure that we will begin typing away.
A few words on commencement: Fun, sad, at last, too soon, friends, family, anxiety.
This past week has been full of more emotions than probably any other. And cutely enough, one thing I noticed was that despite all of the things that I've been through at Harvard, even though I didn't feel as connected as I thought that I should have felt to faculty or staff or tutors or even in some cases my class mates, despite the fact that I have gone through immense personal changes and have become a completely different woman... I feel like things have come full circle. In some cases quite literally.

I'm grateful for the times I've had and the family I've gained. If you are reading this and know me, please know also that you have- in your own individual way- moved and shaped my life. It is because you are that I am.

And I think that's enough for now.