March 29, 2007

Steez and Crackers

If I ever have a band again, that's what it'll be called.

Race is becoming the number one issue in the Seattle school district, which is really a byproduct of poor/non-white neighborhoods that have been confiscated by re-gentrification, which is a byproduct of America's most challenging issue. Check it out:
"Race, class splinter Madrona School"
"Racism tough to tackle — or even talk about — for Seattle School Board"

I thought about all movies that I really love and have owned, and they all scarily fall into the same category. Each centers around a hero who is estranged from his surrounding and tries to either discover or overcome the sources of his unrest (Motorcycle Diaries, Brick, Garden State, Lost in Translation, Stranger than Fiction, Groundhog Day, Roxanne, Life is Beautiful) or is woefully oblivious that he is estranged at all (The Man Who Knew Too Little, The Three Amigos, Arrested Development, The Office, and Being There, although its an inverted situation with Being There because his surroundings are oblivious to Peter Seller's condition, not him). I think it's pretty safe to say that I like a movie in direct proportion to how much I see myself in the characters. Most people like me not versed in cinematic technique probably operate the same way, I bet.

A much more troubling realization is that all of these movies have white actors, and that when I think about it, I don't really relate with the same intensity when I watch a movie with mostly black actors. I don't see myself collectively in those movies, apparently. Is that a symptom of my own racism, or is it due to the posturing, violent, two dimensional characters that hollywood so often uses to portray black men? To me it seems like both, but even then, is that conclusion made to lessen the burden of responsibility on my shoulders? "I'm not a racist...", or "This has nothing to do with race...", or "Everybody is given the same chance to succeed...". How many times do we hear that? As far as I'm concerned, anytime anybody starts a sentence with phrases like those, they might as well stop talking, because whatever comes out will be a direct contradiction of whatever they just said. WILL BE a direct contradiction of whatever they just said. The trouble is, I'm more racist than I'm willing to admit, and I have the impression that it goes even farther for most whites. If you're unsure yourself, try to get an idea for what your subconscious tendencies are, and check out Project Implicit at Harvard. They have all sorts of tests designed to show preferences on age, race, gender, etc.

But time and time again, I "begin with words and end with words." A few years ago, I said, "You know, I don't have any connections with the black community. There is not a single black person in any of my classes, or in my neighborhood. I have to change my behavior, my patterns, and my decisions to make it happen." I'm in exactly the same situation now. My thought is that, when we move to Seattle, we'll try to move into an area that has at least some diversity (where I work makes it exceedingly difficult to live in the very diverse neighborhoods due to traffic), and we'll start making connections in the neighborhood. But then we'll just be another white couple moving into the area, looking to make something our own, and in the process, further erasing what cultural identity was once there.

March 26, 2007

Mean muggin'

Mean muggin', originally uploaded by nathanbe.

More flicka tests. Looks like I got this one figured out. No effects on the picture either. Saturday mornings when school isn't in session flat out rock.

Just trying stuff out

Link test, and the picture looks like it looses a lot of resolution even when linked. Apparently you don't get to directly link to a picture elsewhere. I'll try something else next time.

Mixing things up

I know I said in the past that I was abandoning this site. This was a lie. While I'm still coming to grips with my old blog's terminal illness, this site will now be renamed "I said what?" It doesn't have the charm the old blog had, but it does have connections with all things google, namely youtube, and picasa. Combine this with audio posting abilities, and it makes for endless multimedia possibilities. Once my thesis blows over, look out.