Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘sociology’ Category

Peace through property rights

Posted by thoughtful1 on December 8, 2008

If you bother to read, you may have already seen this.  In case you don’t read, I humbly submit this bit of food for thought.

I hadn’t thought of it before, but it makes sense.  After all, I’ve heard that a strong rule of law is one of the keys to a stable economy.  It’s easier to do business if you know that any disputes you have will be settled in an organized, rational manner.  Thus, it follows that the ability to own property and have any property disputes settled in an organized, rational manner would also aid economic development.  And, money in people’s pockets tends to make them less antsy and biased towards revolution.


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Op-Ed on Prop 8 and the Black Community

Posted by thoughtful1 on November 11, 2008

I read this today by Jasmyne A. Cannick.  It provides insight into why blacks did not oppose Proposition 8, and it exposes the disconnect between the black community and the white GLBT community.  My initial reaction was, “white liberals fail to get the race thing (again).”  Maybe later I’ll have a more refined opinion.

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This is for all the fat girls!

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 14, 2008

Some of you may remember that Cameron Mann shouted out, “This is for all the fat girls!” when she won an Emmy. Well, I was thinking that when Whitne was named this cycle’s winner of America’s Next Top Model. A plus-sized model won!!! And she won it after walking in a Versace show! Dude – Whitney won it in a high fashion show!

I am just psyched that a big girl won. I don’t expect the fashion industry to change, but this is a pretty cool start.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the fashion houses made clothes for all of us?

Posted in happiness, sociology, TV | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Because my “To Read” list isn’t long enough

Posted by thoughtful1 on July 19, 2007

Multiracial Sky has a post with an interesting list of books about racism and privilege:

A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present, by Howard Zinn (I’d actually heard of this one, and I think I saw him speak at a graduation ceremony.  I didn’t realize the significance of this book in detailing the Missing In History facts we never learned in school.)

Everyday Acts Against Racism: Raising Children in a Multiracial World, edited by Maureen T. Reddy

Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships, edited by Emily Bernard

Yet another set of books I need to take a gander at.  Like I need more books to read…  At least I’ve curtailed buying books and check them out at the library first.

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Will the people with the clipboards please go away?

Posted by thoughtful1 on July 18, 2007

As I avoided the Save The Children people with clipboards who were trying to engage Boston commuters, tourists, and other assorted pedestrians in some meaningful conversation leading up to a donation or something, I wondered:

Would it be a form of internalized racism if I pretended I didn’t speak English to avoid talking to these people?

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“Passion versus Mission”

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 8, 2007

This post from Korean Adoptee Bride caught my eye. It challenges assumptions those of is in white, middle-class, privileged America have, and gives some insight to the challenges immigrants face in this country. Seriously – would you be able to teach yourself English after working 80 hours a week and raising a family? I work 40-45 and I can’t manage to teach myself Perl, which is written in English (sorta).

Something to think about as the immigration debate rages on.

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Discrimination Linked to Health Problems Among Minorities

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 7, 2007


The article written as well as I would have liked – it left some holes. For example, what is it about Chinese culture/history that would cause discrimination against Chinese Americans to be related to heart disease? Huh? I don’t follow… Or maybe I don’t get it because I am an incompetent Asian, raised by white people 😉

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Asians at the office

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 25, 2007

Nearly a month ago I moved to a new cubicle at work.  Due to some personnel shuffling I am part of a new group, so I am no longer with the same people I’d been with for five years.  I am with a new crew.

Naturally, I was a little nervous.  Would I still be allowed to listen to audio streams on my headphones?  Would the new cubicle neighbors be friendly?  Would I fit in?

So far, so good.  The interesting development is that there seems to be a very loose  Asian networking type of thing going on.  By that I mean there are a few of us who were all raised here, and I began to notice yesterday that one of the reasons we get along and occasionally go out to lunch is that we’re Asian American.  It’s a new experience for me – engaging in casual social get-togethers (lunch, watercooler type chitchat)  in part because I’m Asian.  Also novel is that no one blinks any eye over the fact that I don’t speak any Asian languages.  No vibe that I’ve somehow failed the Old Country or that I’m not Asian enough.  My lack of Asianness, so to speak, is accepted matter-of-factly.

It’s a nice feeling

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What kind of white people are these?

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 23, 2007

I went to see The Namesake two weeks ago. Very good movie. I had also read the book. However, there was one part of it that mystified me, mostly because I’ve heard other Asians talk about this, as if all white people did this:

When the main character, Gogol, brings home his WASP girlfriend, she rattles his Indian parents by immediately calling them by their first names. Horribly rude. Especially in Indian (and Asian) culture.

A few months ago I got together with several other Asian Americans – NOT adopted. They got to talking about trying to raise their children and bridge that divide between general (White) American culture and the Asian culture that they were raised with. One comment people made was how the white people in their church would call people by their first names, even if it was a child talking to an adult. I got the feeling that every white person they encountered did this, that it was perfectly normal in white American culture to call adults by their first names if they are significantly older than you.

Who are these white people? I don’t know any of them, and I live in a very, very white world!

Yes, I did call my mom’s friends by their first names, BUT only when I was told to! I never presumed to call any of my friends’ parents by their first names. I never went over to so-and-so’s house and said, “Hi Dave and Judy!” It was always, “Hi Mr. Smith! Hi Mrs. Smith!” And none of my white friends ever presumed to call my parents by their first names. My mom will tell people to call her by her first name, but my friends only do that because she tells them to, and I think they feel a little weird about it.

So, who are these white people who go around thinking everyone can be on a first name basis? Are they uber-wealthy liberal WASPs who are soooo entitled they can ignore Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post?  Or is it just a situation where a handful of white folks are doing this, and in turn have given the impression to Asian immigrants that all white Americans do this?

Who are these people?

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“Living In Color”

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 15, 2007

The Boston Globe Sunday magazine printed this column today:

Its author, Calvin Hennick, is a white man married to a black woman. He writes about their experience living in Harlem. Sadly, while their marriage is legal throughout the entire US, unlike 40 years ago, before the Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia, interracial marriage is not universally accepted. But the experience helped Hennick understand better his wife’s life as a black woman in the US.

I cannot imagine a life where just running an errand with my boyfriend or husband would provoke harassment and violence – it is outside my experience. It’s sad that racism, a stupid social construct with real life implications, can cause people to view a couple, minding their own business, with such derision, and to make judgments on the white husband’s motivations for marrying his wife. On the one hand, I can see where they are coming from – history is full of relationships tainted with inequality caused by race. A white man with a non-white woman can trigger various thoughts. Is he with her because he has a sex fetish for Asians/blacks/etc.? Is she with him because she doesn’t like men of her own kind, and by extension, herself? But, the reality is, people are people, and while racism exerts an often unnoticed influence, men and women will still fall in love, and can you really choose the color of your spouse? And how can you so quickly pass judgment on a couple you see on the street, whom you don’t even know?

But perhaps this is all easy for me to say. I’m an Asian raised by white people. I’ve lived my entire life on the other side of the race line. I grew up seeing white people as whole people, not as people who have done nothing but beat me down. Nor have I been kept down by white people to the point that I cannot support myself and live a comfortable life. Yes, there were a few assholes along the way, but most people in my life have had either a neutral or positive influence. And I was raised without any family history of being racially oppressed. (For all I know, some 17th century ancestor stole land from a Native American tribe, so I could very well have family history of racially oppressing…)

I guess what I’m really getting at is that I cannot truly understand what is in the hearts of those who treated this couple with scorn because I have not lived the same life they have. But, it is a sad thing that racism is able to cause that kind of scorn.  Racisim drives a wedge between people and fractures society as a result.

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