Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Random Notes from a Crank

I rarely get into casual conversations about politics, but when I do, if the person I'm talking with says he is worried about "entitlement programs," that's usually a tell that person grew up with the benefit of financial assistance from his parent/s once he screwed up and needed a sweet influx of cash. Rich people like to worry about "entitlement programs" because they've been entitled to stable financial backing. Poor people worry about getting through the week. 

I finally got around to reading my spring issue of The American Scholar. The feature article is "Color Lines: How DNA Ancestry Testing Can Turn Our Notions of Race and Ethnicity Upside Down" by W. Ralph Eubanks. It's worth  a good read. Ponder this passage if the title intrigues you: "What we see when we look at a person may or may not correlate to his or her ancestral and ethnic background. DNA results confirmed for me that identity cannot be constructed based on a “percentage” of African ancestry, and that our society’s generally accepted racial categories cannot begin to address the complexity and nuance of our heritage. I soon began to think about race only in terms of culture and biology together. And as race became an abstract rather than a concrete concept, the categorical ways in which I had thought about race in the past were quickly broken down. Once we see how small the differences are that bring about the characteristics we think of as racial—hair, skin color, eyes, facial features—in relation to the entire human genome, it’s hard to make a fuss about them. Our differences are astonishingly slight."

During the summer I interact with incoming college students and their parents on a regular basis. In yet another sign I'm getting old, one recycled fashion trend I've noticed is the resurgence of boat shoes. I didn't care for them in the 80s, and I still don't like them. Regardless, happy boating everyone! 

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