exposition on affirmative action

‘Member how I said I’d talk more about it later?  Later = now.

I received a comment on that post – which I’ll respond to here – once I’ve expanded my discussion on the subject a bit further.  So here goes.

Affirmative action is an imperfect program designed to compensate for injustice that has been otherwise propagated in the American system.  So-called preferential treatment is given to women and minorities because they are under-represented [not represented in a similar relation to their presence in the population] in public institutions.  I say imperfect because there are kinks.  Sometimes the program is mishandled [often, IMO, to increase dissatisfaction with the program itself] such that an incompetent minority or woman is given a position above their skill/preparation level.  These kinds of mistakes fan the flames of ire from members of the majority, and often invoke comments about “reverse discrimination”.  These mistakes also help further racist/sexist ideas that women and members of minority groups lack the abilities to attain these positions on their own [on a so-called “fair” playing field], and that is why there would be so few of them, were it not for affirmative action.

The intention of affirmative action [hereafter called AA] is to level the racist and sexist field of American educational, employment, and government systems.  Systems that have existed since the beginning of this country [before, even].  The idea is that those who have benefited from being members of the privileged majority have been able to build wealth and take advantage of opportunities and freedom in ways that were restricted for non-majority citizens.  Women and minorities start from behind – from disadvantage – in this race to the American Dream.  [And it is a race: that’s what capitalism is all about ~ competition.]

In fact, the ideals of capitalism, and the spirit of competition that are sewn into the fabric of our culture are exactly what allowed things to get lop-sided the way they did – necessitating AA in the beginning.  They are also the very reason why AA has so many opponents.  Those that have been privileged to receive goods & services, employment, training, and enfranchisement instead of or at the expense of others will certainly view any program giving said ‘others’ the opportunity to get the same goods/services/employment etc. as “unfair”.  Unfair because it requires them to give up some ground – where before, they had to give up nothing.

But, of course, saying something is unfair does not make it so.  Examining the story from a bigger picture/longer view gives better resolution.  Inequities built in to the original system can only be remedied with systemic solutions.  AA is that solution, until a more perfect one is discovered and agreed upon.

And now – a comment from treewrestler: Continue reading

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biter

David Cook is a biter. All that stuff I said about him being original? Crap. He’s doing other people’s stuff! [a la Chris Daughtry and Live]

He can sing. He can emote. But the illusion of the talent of arrangement has [thankfully] run its course. He’s been duly outed, and I’m glad. The people who actually did come up with their inspired versions of classic songs didn’t have the platform of American Idol – they’re renditions aren’t as famous. But they are the creative geniuses.

I’m just glad Syesha’s still there. [cuz I voted for her – y’all, keep this girl. She’s good.]
(moment of silence for Chikezie)

affirmative action is imperative

Thanks to Rachel, I happened upon an MSNBC article and decided to vote and see the results of the ‘live poll’ about whether it’s time to end affirmative action. You know – cuz Ward Connerly’s initiative is making waves. I don’t really wanna talk about just how horrible I think this dude is…just that affirmative action is indeed what I already said: imperative.

There is still too much that obviously out-of-whack – out of balance – too little representation. I’ve known for some time that most of the white people I know feel like it’s so unfair and everything…but I was still surprised by the poll results.

Live Vote
  Do you agree with Ward Connerly’s argument that it is time to end racial or gender-based preferences? * 16618 responses  
 
  Yes. The successes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton show that preferences are no longer necessary.
74%
 
  No. Affirmative action is still needed to compensate for institutional racism and institutional sexism.
22%
 
  I’m not sure.
4.5%
Not a scientific survey. Click to learn more. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

think I’ll talk about this more, later.

MJ – interpreted by an Idol

David Cook just turned out American Idol with the most original rendition of Billie Jean since Michael himself. [if, of course, you can actually apply the word original to a cover] It’s rare for me to actually enjoy anyone else’s version of a classic – especially if I was alive and aware of the original when it came out. [See, I’m totally cool about all of Luther’s remakes – cuz I heard his first…and his voice is like buttah]

I’d love to know who actually arranged that – whether it was David Cook or a behind-the-scenes Idol person. Cuz (whoever-it-was) needs to be getting paid. It was on fire.

Syesha and Michael were also good. Everyone else was fair to middling. With Carly Smithson landing rather low on my list [as she has since day one], I wouldn’t mind her going – although it’s been Kristy’s turn to go for the last 3 weeks and she just won’t LEAVE. And of course, after singing Lee Greenwood‘s “God Bless the USA“, she’s probably gonna be in it for another week. Although I believe that’s just plain dirty – playing on people’s patriotism, just so they’ll keep you on the show. [Not to say that she’s not a patriot, just to say that Americans have recently exhibited the tendency to throw all rational thought away when presented with the opportunity to “demonstrate” their patriotism without actually sacrificing anything (a la the yellow-ribbon car magnet).]

So – in reality – it’s more likely that Ramiele or Chikezie will go home this week.

annie, are you ok?

Michael Jackson is an incredible artist – and one of my favorite songs is ‘Smooth Criminal’. For most of my life I have believed that the lines that sound like “Annie, are you ok? say, Annie are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?” were actually saying that. I’ve been told, though, that he was actually saying “Any that you won’t get – any that you won’t get – and you won’t get any.” Seriously? Either way – I’m not sure either makes all that much sense with the rest of the song.

And there’s the infamous ‘mama-say, mama-sa, mama-cou-sa’ [who in the world knows how to spell that?] – which I’ve recently been told is actually ‘I’ma say what I’ma say, and I’m not gon’ stop’. Once again – which way actually makes more sense?

…on the theme of Across the Universe, don’t you think they could totally make a movie with Michael Jackson songs? Maybe there’d be less songs…I dunno…but I’d watch it.

converted~a beatles apology

Having just watched Across the Universe, I have recently learned a bit more about the beatles songbook.  Influenced more likely by the clarity of voices and my understanding of the lyrics…I’m starting to get it.

That, and the soul behind Martin Luther‘s interpretation of the music…the lyrics from a lot of these songs finally make some contextual sense to me.

So –  I was wrong, y’all.

babies: the new lame

I’ve had an ebb and flow of popularity in my life.  Certain ages/places/times I was hot-like-fire, and other times not so much.  It’s interested to me how the excuses from my lamer friends have changed over the years.  These days – it’s babies.

Babies are little bundles of joy that come into one’s life bringing beauty, love, and a completely different perspective. [Not to mention all that other stuff that you’re probably thinking about – the scariest possibility to me being the episiotomy.]  But you know what happens when your friends have babies, right?

First, they go underground for a couple months.  This is cuz they’re not sleeping, and sometimes they don’t know if it’s day or night – so they just don’t bother going out unless they need food or diapers.  The only way to see them during this time is to visit.

After the first couple months, the parents will take the baby different places, but it’s a huge chore because babies have a lot of accessories.  They’re sleeping a bit more, but they’re still tired all the time.  By now they’re comfortable having those disjointed parental conversations where they talk to you about their kid but interrupt themselves by talking to their kid and ensuring that the baby’s not wet/hungry/thirsty/ill/gassy or otherwise distressed.  This interruptalk is permanent and may never really fade.

Reaching closer to the one year mark is cool, because there’s this window when the child is a tad bit more autonomous, but not entirely fluent.  From about 10months to around two, parents feel like they can still periodically go out and be cool as long as they have  a trustworthy babysitter.  Sometimes even up to 3yrs old.

After the 3rd bday, tho, parents are fully entrenched – and if they haven’t already had their 2nd, they’re thinking/talking about it.  During this time they may let you in on the info – they’re “trying” again.

That’s probably not something you wanted to know, because now, if you’re single, you’ve probably got at least a shadowy picture of this couple having sex in your head.  The more they talk about ‘trying’, the more detailed that picture gets.  And the more you wonder if you can exorcise these images enough to remain friends without feeling weird around them.  [I don’t know what pictures – if any – you get if you’re married.]

Anyway, now events are planned to consider whether childcare is available, whether children are allowed, or whether the entertainment is age-appropriate.  Other considerations include bathroom facilities, white furniture, and the proximity of other children or toys.

So, if you live in a less metropolitan area, where people get married and have babies fairly early [as opposed to say, after 30], you may be familiar with the boat I’m in.  Namely, that which has christened nearly every one of my friends and acquaintances as established families, new parents, or expecting.

Thankfully, I really like kids – so it works out.  I just didn’t expect them to change my life so much prior to me having any of my own.