Thursday, 30 October 2008

I'm tired and emotional at the moment....

It's due to a melange of reasons that is making it hard for me to have clarity.

I sat an exam yesterday for the unit that was the most badly administered and appallingly taught I have experienced thus far. The exam reflected this. I will pass, but it won't be my best result. On top of this I couldn't re-enrol on line due to an error in the system. When I pointed this out to the powers that be, it was acknowledged that the system was wrong, but that rather than amending the system, I , along with the others this was going to affect, needed to complete an amendment to enrollment form that I had to collect from the office.

I also didn't want to be at the exam on Wednesday as I would rather have been at a funeral. A friend died suddenly last Friday. He was the husband of a good friend at work. She was working on Friday and got a call from the police informing her of her husband's death. She was out on the road at the time, so a colleague and I went to collect her and drive her home. It was a great shock. The funeral was the same afternoon as my exam and changing it would have required moving a mountain. I was able to drop in to the 'after party' however.

I continue to find my colleagues at the Nursing Home very difficult to work with.

I am finding it a slog to complete the last weeks of the project at my other job. I have realised that project work isn't really my 'thing'. It's good to learn that of myself, but I am finding it a struggle to complete that which I have started. A mixture of laziness and lack of commitment methinks!

That workplace is also tensioned filled at present with various office politics at play. At times like this I find myself being the one unloaded to by various people. My stars this week told me I was good at that!

I'm contemplating a sickie tomorrow. Haven't done that for many years.

Amongst this melange have been some positive items of note.

Son has tennis of Friday night's. Last Friday I met him at the courts and was running a bit late due to D's death. We were hosting so there were things to be done. As I was sweeping the courts he came up to me and asked how work was. This in itself is not unusual, but in that context, where we were both focussed on something else, it was good to know that he has sensitivity to his environment and those within it.

I was feeling particularly flat last night when I got home. I then got a surprise visit from my man. It was a good night. He and son get on really well - even if it is at my expense at times! I like that - the getting on, not the my expense bit!, although I don't really mind that!

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a feelings guy, that I could process more clearly by thought, but that's who I am and it does have some positives.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Someone I know sent me this in an email. I like it because it gives specific examples which helps to ground a subject like this.

From Australia I can't verify some of the specifics, but I can imagine they are accurate.

How Racism Works
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman to whom he said 'I do'?
What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?
With America facing historic debt, two wars, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank failures, trillion dollar Federal bailouts of private corporations, etc.
Educational Background:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire ?


By Tim Wise [A national anti-racism trainer]

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a "f***n' redneck," like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll "kick their f***n' ass," and talk about how you like to "shoot s**t" for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don't all kill themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you're "untested."

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance because "if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me," and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the "under God" part wasn't added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was "Alaska first," and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she's being disrespectful.
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you're being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you're somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don't even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a "second look."

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn't support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological
principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God's punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you're just a good church-going Christian, but if you're black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you're an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a "trick question," while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O'Reilly means you're dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a "light" burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren't sure about that whole "change" thing. Ya know, it's just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, - which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


I have a very low threshold at the moment for any incompetence, inefficiency and stupidity that impacts on me. I attended one of the most frustrating lectures I've ever experienced today, and trust me, I've experienced many. As I type this, I think it was probably more the mood I was in that the fact that it was the worst lecture. Nevertheless!!
This lecturer has not attended Powerpoint 101 tutorials and knows nothing about how to use the medium as an educational tool.
We watched a video, but only after nearly 15 minutes of fluffing around trying to get it to work, followed by needing to watch it rewind from the end before starting it again because somehow that's the only way he could get it to start at the beginning! If he wasn't handing back our assignments at the end of the lecture, I would have been out of there like a shot. I guess he does have a degree of cleverness about him!
It is a Mental Health subject and some of the subject matter today covered sexual disorders. There was a scarily confusing discussion about homosexuality and paedophilia, with no clear clarification by the lecturer.
When I finally got my assignment I walked out using some of that language from the previous post!


I was reading an article in the magazine of last weekend's paper which was an interview with a local actor. It naturally quoted him many times and I lost count of the number of times I read 'f**k'. It got me thinking what power language has. Now everyone who reads that knows that it stands for 'fuck', but for some reason, we feel that putting it in black and white is just too much for society to read. I tend to think if only two letters of a four letter word are going to be left out, why bother? Are most people's sensitivities pampered to by only reading 'f**k', instead of 'fuck'?
I grew up with a blanket ban on swearing in the house. I remember Dad having a go at me for saying 'blast' once. This was from a man whose strongest expletive is 'blow'! Personally I thought there was only a small degree of difference between the two words, but I had obviously crossed the line.
While I'm not in favour of hearing the word 'fuck' in general society, I guess I'm saying that when it comes to the written word, there is no degree of difference between 'f**k' and 'fuck', so let's call an expletive an expletive!