Thursday, July 23, 2009

This whole Gates thing is bothering me.... does class + race = progress?

Apparently I'm not the only one with all the media talk that has been going around.

First, I was bothered that a racist incident like this could take place in an area of Cambridge with which I am so familiar. Then, I was bothered that a black man needs to worry when his front door gets stuck, that he will be arrested when his neighbors call the police. 

I remembered an incident in my neighborhood a year or two ago when I saw two guys, around 20 years old, opening the window of a first floor apartment and climbing in. My street is full of college/grad students throwing parties etc - they fit the profile of college students who had locked themselves out - wearing printed T's and fashionable jeans - it was broad daylight - so I just figured that's what it was. They were white.

When this whole Gates thing came up, I asked myself, if those two guys had been black, would I have acted differently? I have called the police before - though the circumstances were completely different (once a guy was trying to beat down the door of his girlfriend's apartment after sneaking into the building - oh and his face and hands were covered with blood - another time I heard gunshots, screams and then looked out my window to see a man running across the Christian Science Center reflecting pool area with a HUGE gun in his hand - the first case, the guy was Japanese, the second he was black).

After reflecting on these thoughts though, I got more bothered though because something didn't sit well with me and this professor. He reminds me of the famous "Don't tase me bro" kid who got himself in trouble with the police after pushing the limits when at an event where John Kerry was speaking. 

As far as I am concerned, the most important part of this video is the beginning where, upon the suggestion from the police that the shut the hell up and move on, he fights them. I believe that the student's desire to provoke combined with a juvenile sense of superiority over those around him is what led to these circumstances. Did the police need to taser him? Absolutely not, but that is a secondary issue. What did he set out to do when he went to the podium? To reveal dishonesty within the Kerry campaign I assume. Did he achieve his goal? Um, I'm going to go with NO here. In my mind he, and only he, failed his cause.

Here is an interview with him on the Today Show where he admits that he made a mistake. He concedes that he wasn't able to keep his composure and the police where just trying to do their job.

This whole post was provoked by a comment one reader made in response to an online news story regarding the Gates arrest. They said that Gates had set back Black/White race relations by 30 years.

Well, what if this is actually evidence of advanced race relations in United States? It seems there is sentiment upon sentiment that this case is not just about race. This Boston Globe reporter says it's more about "power and machismo on both sides".

Though I don't have the empirical evidence to prove it, I felt early on that the professor was operating under the influence of something other than injustice induced outrage. He was making public appearances so quickly. He is accused of making statements like, "You don't know who you are dealing with" - he apparently didn't want to show his ID. 

That people were so offended a Harvard professor had been arrested made me feel something was amiss. Have we not established that one's profession does not necessarily preclude them from doing something illegal? Isn't that like, really, really obvious? 

Methinks that in a case where race and class are so entangled, the only way to fairly evaluate the situation is to look at the behavior of the individuals involved. Again, I think this is fairly obvious and is the manner by which all individuals should be evaluated but it seems we have strayed in this case.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Well, I'll be damned - ladies get your hormones tested now

Alright, I have recently unearthed some women's health advice that really surprised me. 

As you may have deduced by now, I'm a rather big fan of anything that can make a women's life better. Naturally, the pursuit of knowledge and Oprah fall at the top of my list of things that ameliorate the female journey.

I was watching this sex webinar of sorts on Dr. Laura Berman, a sex therapist, and Oprah were discussing all sorts of things surrounding sex. The topic of hormones and menopause came up. When addressing the issue of one's hormones being all out of whack during menopause, Dr. Berman recommended women get their hormone levels checked BEFORE menopause. WAY BEFORE. Go to about the 9 minute mark to listen to her explanation.

Her point is that if you get your hormones levels tested when they are normal, say around your 20s and early 30s, then later, when they aren't normal and your doctor is messing around with them to get you where they need to be, it will be a heck of a lot easier. It seems every women's hormones are as "unique as her fingerprint." If you test them when you are at a happy and normal place, you are making things easier down the road.

Well now, doesn't that make sense! I'm in my thirties (Decade Four - get it? Remember this: Decade Three vs. Decade Four ?) so I have not yet been blessed with the wonder and mystery of menopause, or even childbirth for that matter. Naturally, there are women in my life that have been. And, I'm not sure they would use the word "blessed." I'm not looking forward to menopause so naturally, anything I can do now to ease the transition is welcome.

So what do you say ladies? Has anyone out there heard of having your hormones tested earlier in life? Has anyone gone to their doctor and asked about it? What did the doctor say? Did they think you were crazy? Did they think it was a great idea? Was the doc old, young? Male? Female? Are you planning on bringing this up with your doctor?

I'll be poking around the web for some more info on this topic and if all goes well, I will probably ask my doctor about this. In the meantime, please send along your comments about any experience or knowledge you might have!