Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brilliant: Derailing for Dummies

Why, why, why didn't I ever find this when I was swimming in a sea of privileged, smug yet disarmingly bitter expatriates in South Korea?

This is brilliant.  Now, I won't ruin it by giving you too much information.  Plus, it's 12:25am on a Saturday morning, that is, Friday night.  I'm busy.  I'm working.  However, as is many in the USA right now, I'm still a bit too pressed for funds to be out and about wasting my money.

It's pretty funny when it happens to me because the person doing the derailing usually sees me as yet another race card playing whiner.  I say that because never do these conversations come up with long-time friends who know me and my background well.  They know that 1) I'm very much more on the pull yourself up by your bootstraps and forge ahead sort of person and 2) I'm more middle of the road to conservative than not on a few issues.  It's social issues where I'm a card carrying liberal.  Also, my experience speaks to someone who forges ahead in spite of statistics and norms.  If I wasn't, I wouldn't have done half of the stuff I've managed to do so far.  I'd be too busy whining about how the world was racist.  It IS racist in many respects, but I'm going to go on about my business in spite of the dummies out there.

Speaking of dummies...

The name of the site: Derailing for Dummies.

The topic: a guide for privileged people to derail and marginalize the experiences and observations of minorities. (Yes, it's sarcasm.)

It's great!

Here is the intro, but click over for more.
You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim.

The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!


Just follow this step-by-step guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that you have.

The best part is, you don't even have to be a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, cissexual, upper-class male to enjoy the full benefits of derailing conversation! Nope, you can utilise the lesser-recognised tactic of Horizontal Hostility to make sure that, despite being a member of a Marginalised Group™ yourself, you can exercise a privilege another Marginalised Group™ doesn't have in order not to heed their experience!

Read on, and learn, and remember… you don’t have to use these in any particular order! In fact, mixing them up can really keep those Marginalised People™ on their toes! After all, they are pretty much used to hearing this stuff, so you don’t want to get too predictable or they’ll get lazy!
(yep, you know it...code not fixed. There is no "more" to the "read more" link.)


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Urban Prep: 100 percent of Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men admitted to college -

This is just a great story that I have to share.  100% of the students at an inner-city charter school in Chicago have been accepted into four-year colleges and universities!  This is great.  It ought not be that rare in my community, but it still is.

I'm so happy to share this story of positive achievement because the media and people in general, like to focus more on the negative stories.  Well, here is a positive one for you all.

Urban Prep: 100 percent of Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men admitted to college -

Posted using ShareThis

Here is the full article:

Every Urban Prep senior is college-bound

100 percent of first senior class at all male, all African-American Englewood academy is accepted to universities

Urban Prep Academy senior Keith Greer, along with his classmates, celebrates the news they will receive a free prom in Chicago because 100 percent of the graduating class was accepted into 4-year colleges or universities. (Tribune photo by Heather Charles / March 5, 2010)

Four years ago, Bryant Alexander watched his mother weep.

She stared down at a muddle of D's and F's on his eighth-grade report card and threatened to kick him out. He had barely passed elementary school, and high school wasn't even on his radar.

"Something just clicked," Alexander, now 18, said. "I knew I had to do something."

On Friday, Alexander proudly swapped his high school's red uniform tie for a striped red and gold one — the ritual at Englewood's Urban Prep Academy for Young Men that signifies a student has been accepted into college.

As the Roseland resident and 12 others tied their knots, Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school fulfilled its mission: 100 percent of its first senior class had been accepted to four-year colleges.

Mayor Richard Daley and city schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at the all-school assembly Friday morning with congratulations, and school leaders announced that as a reward, prom would be free.

The achievement might not merit a visit from top brass if it happened at one of the city's elite, selective enrollment high schools. But Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls all comers in one of Chicago's most beleaguered neighborhoods, faced much more difficult odds.

Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen, said Tim King, the school's founder and CEO.

"There were those who told me that you can't defy the data," King said. "Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don't go to college. Black boys don't graduate from college.

"They were wrong," he said.

Every day, before attending advanced placement biology classes and lectures on changing the world, students must first pass through the neighborhood, then metal detectors.

"Poverty, gangs, drugs, crime, low graduation rates, teen pregnancy — you name it, Englewood has it," said Kenneth Hutchinson, the school's director of college counseling, who was born and raised in Englewood.

He met the students the summer before they began their freshman year during a field trip to Northwestern University, the first time many of them had ever stepped foot on a college campus. At the time, Hutchinson was Northwestern's assistant director of undergraduate admissions. Inspired by what he'd seen, he started working for Urban Prep two months later.

"I'm them," he said Friday as he fought back tears. "Being accepted to college is the first step to changing their lives and their communities."

Hutchinson plays a major role in the school, where college is omnipresent. Students are assigned college counselors from day one. To prepare students for the next level, the school offers a longer than typical day — about 170,000 minutes longer, over four years, than other city schools — and more than double the usual number of English credits, King said

Even the school's voice-mail system has a student declaring "I am college-bound" before asking callers to dial an extension.

The rigorous academic environment and strict uniform policy of black blazers, red ties and khakis isn't for everyone. The first senior class began with 150 students. Of those who left, many moved out of the area and some moved into neighborhoods that were too dangerous to cross to get to the school, King said. Fewer than 10 were expelled or dropped out, he said.

At last count, the 107 seniors gained acceptance to a total of 72 different colleges, including Northwestern University, Morehouse College, Howard University, Rutgers University and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Alexander was accepted to DePaul University.

While college acceptance is an enormous hurdle to jump, school leaders said they know their job isn't done; they want to make sure the students actually attend.

To that aim, King said, staff made sure that every student has completed the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid, lest the red tape deter them.

Later in the year, the school plans to hold a college signing day where every student is to sign a promise to go to college, he said. Staff will stay in touch through the summer and hopefully in the first years of school.

"We don't want to send them off and say, ‘Call us when you're ready to make a donation to your alma mater,' " King said. "If we fulfill our mission, that means they not only are accepted to college, but graduate from it."

For now, students are enjoying the glow of reaching their immediate goal.

Normally, it takes 18-year-old Jerry Hinds two buses and 45 minutes to get home from school. On the day the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was to post his admission decision online at 5 p.m., he asked a friend to drive him to his home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

He went into his bedroom, told his well-wishing mother this was something he had to do alone, closed the door and logged in.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" he remembers screaming. His mother burst in and began crying.

That night he made more than 30 phone calls, at times shouting "I got in" on his cell phone and home phone at the same time.

"We're breaking barriers," he said. "And that feels great."

Excellent story.

No, I've not fixed the code, so "read more" leads you nowhere.


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Thursday, March 18, 2010

MiniMed Paradigm® Revel™ Insulin Pump!!! Whoop, whoop!

Okay, if you read my blog, you know I'm in auto-immune disorder hell.

I've got type 1, insulin dependent, diabetes and a thyroid disorder. I still have them. The thyroid disorder has shifted from Graves' Disease to hypothyroidism. Lovely...just lovely. However, the thyroid stuff is easily treated.

What's not? The diabetes. I currently wear a very old model of an insulin pump. That was because when I went to buy one when I lived in South Korea, they only had that model available. Since I'd never been on the pump, well, what did I know?

Now I'm back home. I'm back to exercising, which is very healthy, but for a diabetic can be downright dangerous because I have to adjust my insulin doses down. I thought I had but two weeks ago, fell into severe hypoglycemia aka low blood sugar. That kicked my medical care into high-gear. I'm glad I have access to medical care. However, I'm just frustrated that it takes almost dying to get a higher level of care in the USA.

One good thing? I'm getting a new pump! I'M.SO.DAMN.EXCITED!!!

Here is the video for it.

It's the new MiniMed Paradigm Revel Insulin Pump. It does so many cool things that will help me manage my blood sugars and live better.

You might not care, but I'm so darn excited!

(Haven't fixed the code, so "read more" leads you nowhere.)


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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

This is a great 20 minute video that I got it via email this morning and am finishing up watching it now. I've GOT to share this.

It's Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a writer, talking about how the single story robs us all of perspective.

Since it also touches on my previous post, which most people got. There is always the tragic exception who wants to call you racist for talking about how race impacts your experience...alas. I appreciate the intelligence and wide scope of vision of those who did get it.

Please share this.

Code still not fixed. Please skip the "read more" link if you're viewing this on the main blog page. (However, if I keep blogging like this, I just might take the time to fix the code.)


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Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Get Yo' Bulgogi On..." Really, asshole, I mean really?

 Image from Just Another Blog

If it's not clear from the title, this is a rant.

I've been in NYC since late August. During one very short-term assignment, I discovered a restaurant on 32nd Street. I LOVE it. After living for eight years in South Korea, Korean food IS comfort food for me. NYC is definitely a city you have to adjust to. That means I have bad NYC days, just as I had bad Korea days. Of course, as I spent more time in Korea my bad Korea days were much fewer and further in between. I know the same with happen with NYC. However, right now, I'm very sensitive to the insane amount of mean people here.

I had a bad NYC day on Monday. At the end of the day, I decided to head to my favorite spot on 32nd Street and get some Korean food. As I was walking in, two white men were walking out. One saw me and said, "Get yo' bulgogi on." Now, he very well might have just been saying it in general, but really? It's rare I pass whites in NYC speaking Ebonics unless it's in jest. My initial read was he saw me. It registered to him that a black woman in a Korean restaurant isn't something you see often. Then this smart ass decided to say something funny. However, I chose to just ignore him. I mean really, what if I was wrong and it was just an oddly timed moment?

However, assuming my gut reaction was correct, the irony is 1) I really don't like bulgogi that much and 2) if he knew my history and about my eight years in Korea, he would have just zipped his stupid f%^kin' yap.

There is another element here. That is an element of entitlement. Please explain to me why some whites seem to think they're the only people entitled to experience and like foreign cultures? (Please note I said "some" and not all, so don't wander in the comments saying I'm laying this on all white people...I'm not.) I ran into this while in Korea a lot. I'm running into it here a bit too. However, in the USA, so few people have spent any significant time abroad that it rarely comes up.

I don't know how many times I get the very impressed with themselves Caucasian who happens to have a few visa stamps in their passport and think that entitles them to be a world expert. I might entitle them to being a backpacking in Europe expert or a summer work in Mexico expert, but world expert? Nah. Hell, I'm no world expert. I know NE Asia and, specifically, South Korea. I've traveled to a few places but just because I've spent a few weeks in Paris doesn't make me an expert. How damn hard is that to understand?

Rant over... (and, um, yeah...that code ain't fixed yet, so there is nothing after "read more".)


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