Sunday, December 19, 2004

"Moral Values"

In the mail yesterday I recieved a little advertisement for a popular evangelical leader. The cover of this mailer proclaimed that 22% of all voters said that "moral values" was their primary issue. The letter part: "When Americans were asked about the issues that most affected their vote, 22 percent of the electorate said 'moral values' was at the top of their list, surpassing terrorism, the war in Iraq, health care, and other key domestic issues."

That is undoubtably true. 22% of voters, according to the Associated Press, did indeed cite "moral values" as their primary motivation. So, how are these people defining moral values? Do they mean anything relating to sex? ie gay marriage, sodomy, abortion, access to birth control? Is that our limited perspective on moral values?

Clearly people who voted based on access to health care, on terrorism, on poverty, on welfare, on the war, and "other domestic issues" were also voting on moral issues. They just didn't put them in those terms. Why is that? Have we all begun to define "morality" only in terms of things like abortion and homosexuality? Or were these people who voted on their moral convictions about the well-being of all simply reluctant to call their issues "moral issues" because we, as a country, have ceded this term to the far right? I know if an exit poller had asked me, I would have first wanted to say "moral issues" but would re-think so that I would not be confused with someone voting against rights for all and for restrictions on personal liberty.

We need to recognize several things. First of all, morals are not the sole purvue of religion, and certainly not of Christianity. Atheists, Bhuddists, Muslims, pan-theists can all be moral. But, and more importantly to me, I believe, is that fact that the particular brand of morality being pushed as "moral values" by some Christians is at times more ideological than anything else.

I believe God is neither Republican nor Democratic; Christianity should maintain a moral independence from partisan politics so that it is equally able to critique the right and the left.

It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact (a point that John Kerry certainly lost) that part of our moral charge in the world, as Christians, and a part of maintaining our basic humanity, as human beings, is caring for and loving our neighbors. These, I believe, are absolutley moral issues. These are things on which I voted on November 2. I voted for health care as a right, not a privilege. I voted on a guarantee for all children to go to good schools. I voted on the saving of American lives who are dying for an ideological cause while we ignore the fight against terrorism. I voted on a fair and living wage for all workers. I voted that no family with a full-time worker should live in poverty. I voted to be a good steward of the environment God created. These are all moral issues that I voted on. But, according to our popular definition (as defined by the Religious Right), I did not vote on moral issues at all.

Does that make those who disagree with me "immoral"? Certainly not. A person can have a "free-market" system of morality and vote against minumum wages, health care, welfare, etc. That does not make them un-Christian or immoral. That means that they have different moral values than I do. I know many people, people who I look up to for their Christian living and example, whose morals differ from mine as much as night from day. And I know we voted for different candidates. We are all moral and we are all Christian. I know several people who are not Christian who are moral, with similar and with different moral systems than me.

I guess that is the point of this post. Morality doesn't belong to religion in general or Christianity in particular. And "morality" isn't this one set of values and beliefs that everyone must hold in order to be moral. I may view it as fundamentally immoral that we let children go without health insurance. I have several friends who would disagree. Yet they are moral people.

So, when next you refer to "moral values," ask "whose values?" "how did they get defined?" "why do I hold them?" "what is it based on?"

For Christians, we ought to hold ourselves (and politicians) to the challenge given by Micah, to "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Communal Aspirations

This is from a commencement ceremony at the University of Michigan done by a sociology graduate. This speech just really inspired me, and I thought I would share it. Feel free to comment on it, I know some of you will have opinions on it.

COMMUNAL ASPIRATIONSBy: Cedric de LeonRackham Graduation CeremonyDate: May 1, 2004 When I arrived in Ann Arbor six years ago, I knew that I liked sociology and that I was good at it, but to be truthful, I didn't actually know what sociology was. What I learned at Michigan was that sociology is the study of the relationship between "structure" and "agency," between patterns among groups of people such as racial inequality or poverty on the one hand and the individual freedom of people to transcend those patterns on the other. No matter what the issue, sociology compels us to ask certain key questions of one another. How much freedom does each of us have, really? Are there constraints to our freedom, and if so, which ones?

Beyond this particular take on the discipline, Michigan sociology is also unique in its tendency to blur the line between the intellectual concerns of the academy and the issues confronting society-at-large. This past Fall semester, for instance, I taught a course on the effects of race and class in Detroit.

This orientation is due in no small part to the fact that the wider university takes itself seriously as a public institution. The University of Michigan does not shield itself from contemporary social issues, but rather tends to join the fray. It should be of no surprise, then, that there are some similarities between the lessons I learned in the sociology department and those that I learned in the course of graduate life in general. One such similarity is the tension on this campus between aspiration and access.

On the one hand, the university expects us to act like academic entrepreneurs. Each of us is encouraged to make good grades, publish, and write an entire dissertation on our own. But in addition to stoking our personal ambitions, the university also expects each of us to have an opinion about affirmative action, about who gets to be part of the university community and who does not.

Though both sets of expectations seem important, they also seem somewhat disconnected from one another. For example, I was a member of three groups that fought to preserve affirmative action here, but the unspoken rule was that my advocacy on behalf of people of color was my public life, while my research was my private life.

Now I should let you know at this point that sociologists do not do well with tension; we seek answers, and in this I am no exception. Today I would like to offer a resolution that might bring our personal hopes and dreams together with the distinctly public character of this university.

In preparation for the next crisis (and it will come), I believe we should start asking each other the following question: what are your individual aspirations … for your community? Let me put it another way. Instead of asking each other, "where are you going?" ask instead, "what kind of community do we want to be?"

Some of you might be wondering, "Why ask such a question? Why do we need to resolve the tension? In fact, there isn't any tension at all: listen here, sonny, you came here to get a degree, not to change the world!"

Well, for one thing, people in positions of power have a special obligation to act responsibly. Whether or not we deserve it, the graduates in this room are now authorized to speak about the world in a way that most people are not. What will you do with that authority? If Michigan celebrities like Gerald Ford and Arthur Miller are any indication, your answer to that question may have lasting implications for life as we know it.

Moreover, access and aspiration are not mutually exclusive: my ability to go where I want to go depends on whether or not my community will let me go there and support me along the way. You are graduating today, not just because you are especially smart or talented. I'm sure you are, but you are also graduating today, because in 1817 a community decided that what would amplify their freedom and humanity was a public university here in Michigan. For those of you who are women and people of color, you are graduating today, in part because your antecedents struggled for your right to be here. And all of you are graduating today in one way or another because of the support of your friends and family.

I am a living, breathing example of what happens when access meets aspiration. I come from a working-class family. My dad is a cook and my mom works at a meat packing plant. We live in a neighborhood called St. Jamestown, which is one of the poorest areas of Toronto. For the past two years, my sister, who is a sophomore at Queen's University, has been one family paycheck away from never realizing her dream of a college degree. Without meaningful public education and affirmative action, I might never have put my sister through college. Instead I stand before you today as a doctor of sociology, and you can bet your bottom dollar that my sister will graduate.

So I congratulate you, the graduates of 2004, for having realized your individual aspirations. But as a proud product of public education and affirmative action, I would be remiss if I did not appeal to your communal aspirations by suggesting that your lives can be enriched in other ways when people like me and my sister can share in it more fully.

Let the legacy of this class be a renewed sense of collective ambition that compels us to seek out the meaning of our actions beyond our front door, to the city down the road where high school students have no hope of a college education, to the country next door where farmers are forced off their land because credit is available only to large commercial exporters, and to the continents beyond our shores where children have never known the meaning of the word, peace. Let us understand that this is not a failure of individual aspiration on their part, but a failure of collective aspiration on our part. And when we finally come to live and work with those whom we have overlooked, let us at that moment rejoice in the realization of our hopes and dreams, for we will have done more than aspire to a degree; we will have achieved a community.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Wal Mart

So, I need a job over Christmas and decided to apply at Wal Mart. Well, my mother decided that I should, and I convinced myself that if I ended up getting a job, I could keep a journal a la Barbara Ehrenreich, and do bona fide sociology.

So, they had a little kiosk in the back where you could fill out an application. It had the standard stuff, employment history, references, etc. But, then it got to a little questionnaire, which I assume was meant to weed out certain people that were undesirable to hire. But, the questions were... interesting. Especially coming from Wal Mart. They were administered on a Likert-style scale, going from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree for each statement.

There were the usual, "So-and-so gets high on the job but still does his job satisfactorily. He should not be fired." But, more interesting were one like this:

"Workers are more productive when organized as in a labor union." Fascinating, given Wal Mart's aversion to unions. Could they be subtly screening out those who could be problematic/rabble rousing, trying to get others interested in unionization?

"Success in business is due primarily to who you know."
"If I had more opportunities in life I could have been more successful."
"Success in business is based on hard work and talent."
"People in supervisory positions are there because they do their job better than others."

--What do all these have in common? Well, if you answer the way they want you to (which I totally did :-) ), they will come out with a group of workers holding a certain ideology. An ideology that is thoroughly American, an individualistic ideology that tells people that wherever they are, they're there because they earned it. If they're not successful, it's because they're not trying hard enough. This keeps workers satisfied; if you have people who have a sense that they're being cheated, they will demand more of you. This questionnaire makes it possible for Wal Mart to screen those people out.

There were some questions like:
"It is never acceptable for an employee to criticize his company."
"Successful businesses have usually gotten that way through dirty business practices."
"If something bad happens at work, it is acceptable for an employee to talk to the public about the issue." [There were SEVERAL variants on this question.]

--Clearly Wal Mart is concerned about its image problem. It wants people who believe it to be a good, honest company. But, if their workers get messed over, they don't want them speaking out about it. Hmm.

So, grr. This is annoying. Other questions were clearly meant to weed out other populations. For example, questions asked, very indirectly, about whether one had small children. That's illegal. It was never explicit, though. Questions were like, "If I work alot, I won't be able to spend enough time with my family."

Anyway, now I sort of want to get this job, just so I can have the Wal-Martian experience. Wish me luck!

On Movies.

I have a problem. I can't watch movies anymore. I seriously can't. I have thoughts running through my head the entire time, critiquing the messages being sent out by the movie, constantly realizing the ways in which whatever movie I am watching is perpetuating stereotypes/ideologies/acceptance of inequality/whatever. The script in my head won't let me just enjoy the script being played out on the screen.

Tonight, for example, I went to go see Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. It was a cute movie. And I wanted to like it. But at the same time, I felt guilty for wanting to like it. And, I couldn't like it. I couldn't enjoy it for what it was, a fluffy chick-flick, because my mind would not shut up. Every time I started to be drawn in, thinking, "ohh! he's cute!" or "he's going to kiss her now... *sigh*" I would catch myself. That's good. But it's also really bad.

For those of you who have not seen this movie, here's the basic plot: it can generall be considered a "feminist-ish" movie, I'd say. Mia, as you know if you've seen the first movie, is Princess of Genovia, and her grandmother, Queen Clarice, is thinking of stepping down from the throne whenever Mia turns 21, giving Mia the chance to rule. However, Duke Something-or-other will have none of this; his nephew ought to be king! So, he finds an archaic rule in the Genovian constitution requiring all Queens to be married before they can accept the throne. (Fear not, those who believe I read too much into things, this is not why I didn't like the movie... this could've made for a great plot by itself.)

So, the Duke and his (exceptionally handsome!) nephew come to stay at the castle, meanwhile Mia decides that her first duty is to her country and agrees to an arranged marriage. She picks some (cute-in-a-dorky-kinda-way) Englishman, and they become engaged. So, Uncle Duke tells Cute Nephew that he has to try to split up Mia and Dorky English Guy so she won't get married, can't accept the throne, and Next-in-Line-Nephew becomes King.

And thus the Problems begin.

See, he does all this pursuing of the Princess, the whole "I know you say no but you really want me" type of thing. This is common in movies and it is Bad. Especially when it turns out in the context of the movie that she really does want the guy, and he should just keep pushing until she gives in. I could go into a whole list of reasons why this is really bad, but I daresay you can figure them out.

The Soon-to-Be-Bride holds a bridal shower/slumber party with other royal princesses from all over the world, where they do girly things and slide down stairs on matresses and have a grand old time. Nothing wrong with this, but would we see a future King (over the age of, say, 15) in any sort of movie (comedy, drama, romance, name your genre) doing anything of the sort? What does this say about the nature of feminine power? The Queen joins in. How many Kings do we see doing this in all literature/filmdom?

So, anyway, Mia decides to get married to English Guy (instead of challenging the law, which, really, would be any rational person's first thought. Well, I guess there would be no plot there.). Meanwhile Nephew decides he's really in love with Mia (he sees her being nice to children and doing lovely feminine things), and decides to stop trying to break her and her fiance up. At one or two points they kiss, both times I believe initiated by him, rejected initially by her, but she eventually gives in, and we all go, "aww... how romantic."

So, anyway, a few days before her wedding they sneak out and, lo and behold, they get caught the next morning by a reporter; she assumes it was him (in fact it was the Uncle), and she decides to go through with her marriage.

And so she does. Wedding morning, she's all ready, being encouraged by her mother and grandmother to enter into this arranged and admittedly love-less marriage. She is seriously planning on fulfilling the letter of the law. Then someone tells her that Nephew was not the one who sent the reporters to spy, 'twas Uncle. Oh no! Panic! She runs out on wedding--then gives great feminist-y speech. A speech which I cannot seem to get into.

Here's the thing. She says to Parlaiment, "Think of your daughters, think of your sisters," etc. Would you want them to have to get married just to rule? And, parlaiment, of course, votes to overturn the law. Yay for Women!

Except, umm, no. Mia was going to follow the law to the letter... until... what? Until she realizes that she's in love with someone else. Her self-realization, the movie's climax, is dependent on a man. She is not self-empowered. She was ready to live by the rules of a patriarchal society until, umm, another man comes along who she liked better. This is like movies about women who learn to "have it all" and in the end realize that they are most fulfilled when they finally get their guy. Queen Clarice can only realize the dreams of her, and I quote, "womanly heart" (by marrying her head of security) when she steps down from the seat of power.

Before the Parlaiment vote, Handsome Nephew shows up and gives a little speech on why Mia should indeed be allowed to be Queen without requisite husband. He talks about how kind she is, how caring, how good with children, but, especially, how good she would look on the Genovian postage stamp.

This reminds me of the first movie, which I tried to watch and enjoy the other day but honestly could not make through. How many movies about Princes focus so much on the physical appearance of the main character? What message did this movie send? Well, Mia was Unpopular (we are told this via the fact that she has bushy hair and eyebrows), but as soon as Paulo (who appraised her looks like one would a horse, evaluating its quality) worked his magic, straightening her hair, plucking her eyebrows, and giving her better clothes, she was fit to be Princess and fit to be our Heroine.

There were points in this movie where I really wanted to like it. Especially the parts that I find worst of all--the romantic moments had by the (very good-looking) nephew and Mia; I found myself dreaming about myself in a similar situation--wishing I could be Princess of a country, with a cute guy in love with me, as pretty as could be. It's interesting that the thing that Queen Clarice knew would make Mia happy was a massive walk-in closet and a nice selection of jewelry. This is what powerful rulers love the most? Or just the female ones?

Lily, the friend, played by Heather Matarazzo, everyone's favorite ugly girl (not saying she's ugly at all, but she's cast in parts where she is not supposed to be attractive, but, rather, a dorky sidekick), is, tellingly, going to graduate school. That's for the un-cool, non-pretty girls, all that education stuff. Being Queen and getting married is for the pretty ones.

So many times in this movie, I really wanted to like it. It's not particularly egregious or bad, especially when it comes to most movies' portrayals of women. It had a pro-feminist message, I'd say. But it's careful not to offend. And, think, sends the wrong message. It says women can be independent, but the plot doesn't play out like that. It requires the love of a man before Mia is able to challenge the system. If that's the case, isn't the system reinforced? It's a step forward. In previous generations, the law might've been accepted as reasonable, and the plot focused on changing marriage partners from Dorky-but-Disinterested English guy to Cute-and-attractive Nephew. So, this isn't bad. But it's not that good.

The movie was funny, romantic, touching. I cried, I think, twice. But, through most of it, I couldn't shut off the voice in my head, telling me why I shouldn't be enjoying it.

I can't figure out whether this is good or bad. But right now it's annoying. Rather like having a conscience pop up at undesirable times.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

No offence, but why are all white men so aggressive? by Gary Younge

No offence, but why are all white men so aggressive? Turn round the questions asked of black people and you may get the point Gary Younge

Wednesday December 1, 2004 The Guardian

Sometimes it takes so long to figure out what's wrong with a question that you never quite get to the answer. At the forum on being British and Muslim organised by the Guardian last week, participants argued that some of the questions and issues being raised would never be put to white Christians, for example. These included: "do you have a duty to vote and/or participate in British political life?"; "do you have a responsibility to inform on political or religious groups who use violence to achieve political ends?"; and "do you want integration into British society or parallel lives? Why?"

The reluctance to confront these particular questions didn't stifle debate, but it raises broader issue of how and when to withdraw from problematic dialogues.
Sometimes, though not in this forum, questions can be so pregnant with assumptions that they are, arguably, better left unanswered. Not because they do not relate to important issues, but because they are so loaded with prejudice and crippled by ignorance, thoughtless in tone and reckless in content, that the manner in which they are put renders them incapable of addressing important issues. To engage with them would be to legitimise their bias.

This is not an issue confined to race or religion. The victors in every battle do not just write history (and then rewrite it continually until the vanquished have either been disappeared or demonised beyond all recognition), they also frame the terms of reference for the present. Questions, and those who pose them, are never neutral, but are both informed and misinformed by the received wisdom of place and time.

Nobody ever asks: "when did you first realise you were straight?" or "how do you balance fatherhood and work?" One day, hopefully, they might. But in the meantime some identities will be subject to relentless examination, while others coast by with eternal presumption. Those who ask the questions of others without interrogating themselves are effectively saying: this is our world, you're just living in it.

So we inquire in our own image with all the limitations and prejudices implied. The point is not that we should ask tough questions of others - our best and only hope is that we all keep talking. But if you want a substantial answer, you must ask a substantial question. The respondent may meet you half way, but if the person asking the questions hasn't moved an inch, half of nothing will not take either of them very far.

One of the most distinguished members of the panel at the Guardian forum, academic Tariq Ramadan, argued that turning their backs on the court of British public opinion, like a republican detainee before a Diplock judge, was not an option for British Muslims.

"Just because they are not asking others does not mean that the question is not legitimate," he said. "You cannot get rid of perceptions by saying that your question is wrong. It's like saying to someone who says to you 'I'm scared. I feel that you are a threat to this society'. And you say 'No, It's not good to be scared'. If I am scared, I am scared. Now try to help me to put it in another way."

Mr Ramadan has a point. If you are interested in conversing with the world around you, then you cannot simply ask people to change the subject every time a subject you do not like comes up. Such pre-emptive defensiveness stands little chance of winning over potential support and shows every sign of a lack of confidence in your ability to make yourself understood. We cannot choose the terrain on which these battles are fought; nor can we dictate the rules. These are subject to negotiation.

But the reason some people get defensive is because they feel that they are forever being attacked. It's true that we have to work with what we've got. But sometimes the material we are given to work with seems so lame that I am tempted to take a day off. Before there can be negotiation there must first be goodwill - the desire to fill in the gaps of knowledge and perspective. A good question does not seek agreement but engagement; a point of contact; the recognition of at least the shred of commonality with the questioned.

Without that, all we are left with is full-scale interrogation - the hostile questioning of the prosecution counsel: less of a conversation than a trial by presumption.

It's time to flip the script, to lay bare just a hint of the assuming subconscious that infects the most common questions I have either been asked or heard. To ask the kind of questions of white, British people (some are just for Christians) that they often pose to "others" but are never asked themselves. I didn't make these up because I wouldn't know where to start. This is my world. For the next 500 words, you're just living in it.

Do you think of yourself as white or British or both? Does it worry you that you got your job just because of your race? Where are you from? No, but really? Since this is where you live, don't you think you should try and integrate with other races more? Is your first loyalty to your God, or to your country? Is it true what they say about white guys? Given the genocide, slavery and colonialism unleashed in the name of Christianity over the last two centuries, do you feel your religion is compatible with democracy? Mr Grant, do you think of yourself as a white actor or an actor who happens to be white? I don't mind white people, but if they want to live here then why shouldn't they have to fit in with our traditions? Shouldn't the police be doing more to tackle white-on-white crime? Given the objectification of women in your culture and the rise in teenage pregnancies, don't you think it's time to ban young girls wearing make up? What do you make of the tribal conflict in Ukraine? I thought you asked for flesh-coloured tights? Don't you feel that this politically correct belief that we have to respect white people's feelings has stifled honest discussion and debate? Isn't it a shame that white people cannot pick more responsible leaders? What do you mean, you can't Morris dance? Don't you ever worry about being pigeonholed as a white person? Why aren't you doing more to check the rise in Christian fundamentalism? Who are your community leaders? Why should we balance our belief in human rights with our tolerance for Christians? What do white people think about Jews? How would you define "white" style? Mr Amis, why do you write about white people all the time? Don't you find that limiting? What are you doing for your people? Have you seen what the Bible says about women? Are you the token white guy? Don't take this personally, but why are white men so aggressive? Now the Olympics are over, can we finally admit that white people are genetically equipped to excel in archery and rowing? What is it with white people and homophobia? You know what white women are like, don't you? I understand that as a white person you come at this from a particular place, but can't you try to look at it objectively for a moment? Why do you people have such a chip on your shoulder? Don't get offended, I was only asking.

· Gary Younge chaired last week's Young, Muslim and British debate organised by the Guardian,11374,1363528,00.html

It is finished.

Well, mostly. It will be finished at about 3:30 when I go to turn in my final paper for Race and Ethnicity. That is, unless I want to do an optional essay for Social Theory, which I am certain I don't need for my grade, but would be something interesting to do, and might come in handy if somehow I did blow that last quiz on Monday.

Incidentally, the book lists for next semester are up!!
How exciting do these sound:
Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood -- MacLeod
Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes -- Marger
Freedom Summer -- McAdam
Why we Lost the ERA -- Mansbridge
The American Dream and the Public Schools -- Hochschild
Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City -- Anderson
Mama Might be Better Off Dead -- Abraham
Transformation of the Welfare State: The Silent Surrender of Public Responsibility -- Gilbert
Understanding Poverty -- Danzinger
When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor -- Wilson
Black Ice -- Cary
Hopeful Girls, Troubled Boys: Race, Gender, and Disparity in Urban Education -- Lopez
Learning Together: A History of Coeducation in American Public Schools -- Tyack
Separated by Sex: A Critical Look at Single Sex Education for Girls -- Morse
Born for Liberty -- Evans
Herland -- Gilman
Seneca Falls Inheritance -- Monfredo
Women's America: Refocusing the Past -- Kerber
Women's Magazines, 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press -- Walker
Managing Like a Man: Women and Men in Corporate Government -- Wacjman
Women and Men in Management -- Powell
The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work -- Hochschild
Contemporary Asian American Experience --Fong
Strangers Among Us -- Suro

I am going to have the best semester ever. Yes, I know I say that every semester, but a quick glance over this book list merely confirms my suspicions: my semesters are all my best semesters, because they consistently get better and better!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ghandi Quote

"I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ." -- Mahatma Ghandi

Random amusement to keep from writing my paper!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Almost there!

It seemed as if this day would never come, but, indeed, it has. Constitutional Law is quite finished. As I suspected, the test came down to essays about cooperative and dual federalism and the various SC fluctuations over the years as well as a discussion about the development of the doctrine of economic substantive due process, which, interestingly, I found to be the most interesting part of this whole second half of the course.

There has to be some way to say that the concept of economic substantive due process is somehow weaker than regular ol' due process. I would much like it if there were some legal rationale to say, "yes, Congress, you CAN regulate that company, but you may NOT peek into peoples' bedrooms." Hmm. I'm sure such a way exists. But we didn't talk about it in class. No, we didn't talk about interesting things in that class. And there was alot of potential there. Alas.

Anyway, so I am finished with two classes, Research Methods and Con Law, and until the end of the semester have yet to complete a final in Individual and Society, a paper for Health and Illness (which I really forgot about until this moment. scary.), a quiz and (optional) essay for Social Theory, and the exciting paper for Race and Ethnicity.

I had vowed that as soon as I got out of that con law test I would immediatley begin work on the Race and Ethnicity paper (not so worried about the other stuff). But, I've come home to my apartment to find that my first order of business really ought to be to clean.

It continually amazes me how 1)clean my room gets when I have a paper to do, but 2)messy it gets when I have tests to study for. I guess with a paper, I can say, "I simply can't work in this mess!" and convince myself to clean away to keep myself from actually having to write. But, when I'm studying for tests (especially multiple ones), I throw papers everywhere, don't do laundry, have plates and cups and silverware everywhere from the past two days. It's quite gross really.

I can't write a paper in this environment.

Ack. There I go again.

But, seriously, I can't. If I had pictures, I'd show you, 'cause it's worse than it probably has been before--papers, notes, books, all strewn about.

But, as I write this I realize that I am only writing in order to keep from cleaning in order to keep from writing a paper. I am the Queen of Procrastination. Maybe I should put off the cleaning and make myself a crown. Yes, I think that's a good thing to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Statement of Purpose

I'm not entirely sure what I'll be putting in this blog at the moment. In my livejournal currently, I've been mostly posting political, sociological stuff anyway recently. So that blog might just die. Who knows. I'll keep it, though, if I feel a random need to rant about something of a more personal nature.

Here, I'll probably put some essays whenever the mood strikes, interesting things I learn in class, links to news articles that seem relevent...

But, regardless of the eventual fate of this blog, at the moment, I'm merely using it as a procrastination tool, to keep me from studying for my constitutional law final.

When that is finally over (on Tuesday), I will go full force into writing my paper for Race and Ethnicity. So, I can expect to start regularly posting sometime after the 2nd of December, when all classes and finals are finished and I can settle into my (ridiculously long--39 days!!) winter break.

Feel free to reply to this, say hi, or something. It would be great to get to know people who don't actually know me in real life and only read my blog out of a sense of obligation to see what's going on in my life (and finding that I don't really talk about it all that much). But, if I know you in real life, please post as well!

First Post!

Well, this is my very first post on this new journal. I'm separating it out from my livejournal, which was getting a little too current events/sociology-ish for some. That's ok. And very understandable. So, this shall be the new home of my rants and ravings and musings about the state of the world!