I am a thirty year old daughter of four lesbians, ask me anything

March 29, 2012 at 6:21 am (Uncategorized)

So one of the few true joys of living with people you met off craigslist is learning about things you might otherwise never know existed. That was the case with me, some guy named Joe, and Reddit. For those not in the know Reddit’s motto says that it’s the frontpage of the internet. True, if somewhat self-selecting for cat photos. I immediately introduced myself to the community by posting a video made by Planned Parenthood touting the efficacy of the Pull-out method and asking what movies featuring only token black people (ahem, The Royal Tenenbaums) should be remade with all black casts. My favorite suggestion given in return to my query might have been Top Gun. Having had so much success in my first casting about,I made a leap of faith and submitted myself to the fickle prejudices of Reddit readers by posting an IAMA AMA. This is Reddit parlance for describing oneself in salacious terms like ‘daughter of four lesbians’ and then allowing them to ask you anything. I had a great time answering their questions and offer the thread up for when you might be bored and wanting to know what random strangers wanted to know about me. I plan to use it for the next book I’m going to write about my mothers, tentatively titled Stubborn Misbehaving Women.

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In the Absence of Cable

February 25, 2012 at 3:15 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Part of being a starving artist has included giving up cable television in the last few months. I have never been all that attached to TV but I have been surprised by what I find myself missing. The shows winning Emmys are not on my list.

Admittedly, I always liked the show “Hoarders.” Give me the A&E version or even it’s TLC rival and I am set. I love watching the family dynamics unfold as the hoarders defend their material belongings.
“A Hoarder’s going to hoard,” was a popular refrain in my living room during the times in which the show was on. While I took a detached joy in watching what was often clearly a tragic situation, it wasn’t due to a lack of empathy on my part. I know that my cluttered shelves hardly qualify me but the tendency is there. How liable am I to collect the plastic cartons that previously held feta in theory to use again? That’s the tricky part, the theorectically green mentality of recycling and reuse becomes insanity when taken too far. I’d like to think Hoarding is in reaction to the abundance our culture has afforded us. A vestigial instinct perhaps…

Hoarders seem to come in two varieties. The Poor and the Traumatized. The first group hoards stuff because they feel insecure having once had to go without. My Mom fits this “Hoarder” mold in the sense that she grew up in abject poverty and is therefore unwilling to part with what other people would consider “trash.” she has in recent years furnished a vacation home entirely with materials she already had- she literally had a second house worth of stuff waiting in the wings.

Mom thought she was pretty much genius for not having to buy a thing. “That’s the point of keeping everything,” she has proudly said. It’s perfectly reasonable in that sense but also in direct conflict with our consumerist culture’s binge and purge cycle. Hoarders do great on the acquistion side of the cycle, but less well on the letting go part. Although, hoarding makes some sense on a bioevolutionary level. One might think Hoarders may be better off were an apocalyptic scenario to unfold. They’d have more stuff at least, assuming it’s not one of those really filthy situations in which most of the stuff is totally unusuable anymore.

I admit to a lingering paranoia of my own, in which right after i’ve cleaned out my car of things like empty water bottles and fast food silverware I think, what if I now get stuck in some sort of disaster (an avalanche? an earthquake? lost in the desert?) and the supplies I am restricted to are the items from my car? Bear Grylls has traumatized me. Wouldn’t I be sad to have tossed that silverware then?

Speaking of trauma,the other half of the Hoarders start collecting stuff to fill some emotional hole left after someone dies or leaves or robs them at gun point. I think those are the sadder situations but the “Hoard” usually looks identical. Did that noun always exist btw? Or did reality TV create it- “the Hoard!” I question the shows’ propensity for forcing these “trauma-driven Hoarders” to confront whatever ails them. I saw one episode in which the camera followed one lady back to where her life had been threatened. As she looked visibly shaken and began to weep, I thought, hmm, if her current coping skills consist of rabid retail therapy are we sure this is safe for her? Not retraumatizing perhaps?

I felt similarly overprotective watching an episode in which a mother whose baby died in infancy was encouraged to let go of her now molding baby clothes. I thought if I had a baby who died, good luck prying those onesies out of my hands. Why shouldn’t she get to keep at least one? The therapist argued that tattered clothing wasn’t a great representation of her daughter’s memory. In the confines of my living room I argued that sometimes that’s the best you’ve got. Material belongings are a poor subsitute but they’re something. Maybe i’m a Hoarder in training, one trauma away, look I’m already attached to my television.

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BLACK AND JEWISH !

July 22, 2011 at 2:06 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

http://player.ordienetworks.com/flash/fodplayer.swf

Black and Jewish (Black and Yellow Parody) from Kat Graham

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Satire and Sincerity- America-F-yeah!

May 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

In the less than twenty four hours since Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces I have noticed a trend in the responses my friends and acquaintances have posted on FB and the like- lots of South Park style enthusiasm. “America- fuck yeah!” the triumphant slogan of the marionettes in the Team America movie has been co-opted as a popular reply to a event of international largesse. Team America: World Police was supposed to be a lampooning of patriotism and American over-involvement in international affairs and is well understood to be satire. So why has it so easily been transmutted into sincerity ? The same phrases used to address terrorism on a satiric level is being used to address terrorism on a serious level. Huh?

In another example, I watched the introductory video for Obama’s speech for the White House correspondents dinner and thought it had to have been done by whoever is in charge of video at the Stephen Colbert show. It had the same campy patriotism on display. And while the president’s jokes were funny and appropriate to the context of the event, I was surprised he was willing to offer up the symbols of his station( bald eagles, american flags etc) for even the slightest derision. Is he unconcerned by the cheapening of possible propaganda tools?

In college I read about the use of satire as a tool of the oppressed to needle those in power. What is interesting to me is the fluidity between satire and sincerity, between jokes made to make fun of people in power and the people in power using the jokes to their credit. Who wins and loses in the trade?

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Yesher Koach

September 17, 2010 at 7:41 pm (Uncategorized) ()

In honor of my favorite of Jewish Holidays and the one time you’re sure to find me in Shul, I would like to introduce two amazing things: Religious Teenage Heartthrobs and Rabba Sara Hurwitz. For the best video ever consult the unbelieveable “One Mitzvah at a time” care of Youtube. Thanks Boys!
Now onto the “Rabba”
i’m late picking up on this (what’s new?) but in my journeys through the world wide waste of time, I found a list of America’s top 50 Rabbis and thought we’ll jeez, I better find out who these guys are, right? Well, I’d only made it to number 18 when something caught my eye- Rabbi Avi Weiss was famous for ordaining one Sara Hurwitz as a Rabba or as close as modern orthodoxy has come to letting a woman into the club. I had to find out more!
I started with an interview with her in Heeb Magazine and then went a little deeper…
There is something special about creating change from the inside out, a certain respect for establishment and tradition. I dig that. I also really dig her conferral speech and it’s mention of female Jewish scholars from back in the day. It reminded me of my mom reading out the women resistance fighters who died in the Shoah and to whom we dedicate a cup on Passover.
Here’s an excerpt from the text:

While women in positions of spiritual leadership are still somewhat uncommon in the Orthodox community, there is precedent for this phenomenon. The Pitchei Teshuva Choshen Mishpat quoting the Hida 7:5 records that “even though a woman is disqualified from being a judge, a woman who is wise and learned is fit to render a ruling.” If women are well-versed in law, they can become authorities on any subject matter. אשה חכמה יכולה להזרות הוראה

Furthermore, the Sefer Hachinuch, published anonymously in 13th Century Spain, in commenting about the ban of entering the Beit Hamikdash in a drunken state, extends the prohibition restricting a drunk man from giving rulings, to a woman from giving psak in this state. That is to say that in a sober state, a wise (learned) woman is fit to render a ruling. “ ”.וכן באשה חכמה הראויה להורות

Now, I am not going to focus on the (shakla v’tarya) halachik debate of whether a qualified woman can render halachik rulings or not (although it is clear that the halachik literature supports this). I want to know: who were all these “nashim chachmot? Clearly, the Sefer Hachinuch and the Hida, commenting in the Pitchei Teshuva (R Hayyim Yosef David Azulai) were dealing with a reality—with capable learned women, who were in a position of “rendering rulings.” And I believe that in every generation there have been “nashim chachamot” who have felt a spiritual calling and dedicated themselves to the service of their communities.

A few such wise learned women who come to mind:

Devorah Haniviah—Devorah the Prophetess who judged and served the Children of Israel in Sefer Shoftim.

Bruriah, the Tannait, about whom the gemara in Pesachim 62b says that she studied 300 laws in one day.

Yalta, wife of R. Nachman who through her expert knowledge in laws of niddah, managed to influence psak.

The wife of Jonah the prophet who it says in Talmud Eruvin 96a, attended the pilgrimage festival, and the Sages did not prevent her.

Or, Hannah Rochel Verbermacher, the maiden of Ludmir, living in the 19th (1815-1892) century, who built her own synagogue and preached led prayers and developed quite a broad following.

Or Osnat Barazani, daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Barazani, living in the 17th century who taught in her father’s yeshiva.

And these are just a few examples of nashim chachamot, of wise and learned women. I can only imagine that there were many others, who had a calling for spiritual leadership, and who despite the barriers blocking their way to achieve a public position of spiritual leadership, mastered halakha and quietly ministered to others.

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I’m “all right”, I don’t know about the rest of them

July 31, 2010 at 10:40 pm (Lesbian, queerspawn, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Cute Queerspawn, huh?

Because I only review movies after everyone else has had a crack at them and I can have the last laugh, I finally saw “The kids are all right”.

First off, it’s a great movie and everyone should go see it, even if it will lead to straight people asking me if my moms like gay porn (yes, they do, it’s no biggie), now onto the talking:

It’s hard because as a marginalized community, we don’t want the portrayals of our families to be anything but positive. Let’s start off looking good on film and then we can take on complicated…Ms. Cholodenko doesn’t deal in simple though (see High Art, Laurel Canyon). I was nervous going into it because I wasn’t sure that I would be happy with the way a lesbian family is shown and it is so important to me as the daughter of lesbians.

It is a blessing that from the very first scene the film rings true. Their dinner table banter is familiar in the best of ways. It allows the audience to trust that the filmmakers know what they are doing, that we are in good hands. I teared up throughout because it was so real and cute.

Particularly, Josh Hutcherson does a spot-on job as the son of lesbians, I had to call my younger brother afterwards and tell him how wonderful he is. Nothing beats a man raised by lesbians. Mr. Savage in his New York Times review mentioned the character being starved for male attention but I didn’t get that vibe. He observes closely father-son relationships certainly, as in the scene of him watching his friend and his friend’s dad wrestle, and is interested in knowing his own dad’s identity but upon meeting him, he is far from sycophantic. He isn’t blind to his faults, unlike his mother and sister. Mr Hutcherson did a great job of showing how boys will be boys in any household and how much they love their mamas. If nothing else just watching that on film made the trip worthwhile. So what’s the problem?

From what I’ve read on the lesbian blogosphere(thanks Mombian.com), the main issue taken with the film resides in the fact that Julianne Moore’s character, the more femmey one (spoiler alert) sleeps with the newly discovered sperm donor. Not just once either, she has an affair. This has sent the lesbians into a tizzy. What is this film trying to say? Did it need to go about saying in this way? Lots of good points have made on both sides. I especially enjoyed the pointing out by Lesbian Dad that movies need conflict so something had to happen right? I have tried coming up with a better, different conflict to tackle and ain’t got much. It could have been a lesbians vs. the system thing but that’s a different tone entirely.
Mr Savage also bemoaned that the movie ended with the donor being cast out of the family circle, since he is so appreciative of his relationship with his children’s surrogate. Well, I hope she doesn’t try to break up your marriage sir.

And here’s the crux of what’s absurd about that idea. Gay men don’t really harbor any insecurities of women, any women, Miss USA whatever, stealing their men. It’s not considered much of a threat. Why is that? Well there is a great double standard set up by homophobia by which if a man sleeps with another man, even once, he is cast out from the league of straight men, forever suspect. We as a society think bisexual men are really gay etc., but with women it is the opposite, they are perpetually waiting for the right dick to come along, she just hasn’t gotten laid good enough, it’s just a phase and the like. It is this fallacy, that lesbians can be turned straight, that when internalized leads to the discomfort around this film. Men seem to think it can be done and consequently try, lesbians end up defensive. And American film, so far, hasn’t much helped the situation. After all, as many have pointed out there is hardly a lesbian on film who hasn’t fallen for a guy(see Chasing Amy, Kissing Jessica Stein), so it makes us nervous that this is just going to more of the same.

I am happy to say that by my mind it is not. After watching this movie it becomes clear that Mark Ruffalo’s character has lost the battle. He is the odd man out( to Mr. Savage’s chagrin). Seducing lesbians isn’t a great idea, this movie says, it won’t end well for you. This is because Julianne Moore’s character doesn’t actually turn straight, as she stresses to her long term partner, Ms Bening, once the affair is exposed. She reiterates this fact, that she is gay, to the donor when he proposes actually making a go at being together romantically. Yes, she slept with a man but this doesn’t change who she is- (I think this is rather obvious but it is revolutionary in film history).

As to why she sleeps with a dude in the first place and of all dudes, that guy? Well,her sleeping with a a woman wouldn’t have worked as a plot device. If she had an affair with another woman it would have been a much more significant threat to her relationship, she might have actually left her partner for another woman. Whole different movie, way more depressing (see real life). The dissatisfaction Ms. Moore’s character is experiencing in her relationship is what leads her to cheat. It being with a man makes the whole thing less heartbreaking really. But why him?

Mark Ruffalo’s character for me is the least likeable in the film, despite his organic farming. I am a straight woman and I didn’t want to sleep with him, unlike in most of his other films, where… yum. My distaste was based partially on his smug arrogance, the quality which leads him to believe he can “turn” Ms. Moore straight.

Femme lesbians are used to this misplaced confidence. My own father, a one night stand in Paris, thought that he had turned my mom straight for an evening thirty years ago until I broke the news to him that she had already been planning to get pregnant before meeting him. He was more of a means to an end in that case and unhappy all these years later to hear it. He was operating under that same tired assumption that even though she had been a lesbian for years, she would give it up for him.That sleeping with him might change her mind. That’s patriarchy for ya, if you ask me. Anyhow this is the unspoken truth that sits below this movie. This double standard is what we as an audience are in relationship to. I see it as basically what the movie is about. A weakened lesbian relationship that when exposed to patriarchally endorsed seduction temporarily falters but struggles along, and the kids are supposed to be okay throughout.

I found myself feeling so protective of Ms. Bening’s character. The case can be made that she is the protagonist in the film, the head we get the most inside. Certainly, she drew the lion’s share of my sympathy. She is supporting the family, being the disciplinarian and can’t have a glass of wine without people bitching about it. And then her wife cheats on her with a man. He’s lucky she didn’t snap and shoot him.

Anyhow, It’s a movie that made me appreciate the butch women in my life. The ones who have had to deal with men who thought they could bed their women, who played the role of “daddy” by being my protector and champion, responsible stable figures in my life, who have shown my younger brother how to be strong and soft at the same time. I want to see more of these kind of women on film. Ms. Bening does a great job of beggining.

So the sleeping with the donor part didn’t bother me and I loved seeing a family even a little like mine on the big screen, what a novelty, what pleasure.…But I can’t help but be bothered by one thing. Can we talk about the weird anti-sexuality of the daughter? She, as a character comes equipped with a male best friend who she might be in love with but can’t get up the nerve to kiss and a promiscuous best girlfriend who she is constantly shaming. What’s with this sex negativity? Part of what I love about being a part of the queer community is its’ healthy attitudes about sex. Neither of the kids in this film seem to exhibit such positivity.

By the time I was their ages I was far from virginal and I am more the norm. If this movie got it right she’d be much more like her slutty best friend. Studies of children of lesbians find us to be promiscous during adolescence but then we settle into normative serial monagamy like everyone else. As opposed to the daughter in this movie, who when she finally kisses her best friend doesn’t seem to know how to make-out. She ends up kissing him about the face with chaste pecks instead, which is super weird. She’s supposed to be eighteen?!

Likewise the son’s sexuality is totally absent other than his parents wondering whether he’s gay and him clarifying that he isn’t. Not much to go on there. Okay, so I can see that this isn’t what the movie is about but as Queerspawn myself I did take notice of it. Perhaps it’s because we kids of gays are only now hitting ages where our sexuality comes up and counts. I am almost thirty and leading the pack. The fact that their sexualities aren’t explored just leaves more room for me and my story in the social consciousness. Thank goodness because the negotiation of heterosexuality by someone raised in the queer community is the subject of my upcoming book. It’s going to be great!

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SATC2 Review from me to you

May 28, 2010 at 12:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

the imperialists

I had the pleasure of attending a pre-screening of SATC2 with a pair of my closest girlfriends. The evening involved cocktails prepared by a sponsoring liquor brand and lots of girls dressed up for each other. There were four guys there, tops. We entertained ourselves by judging others and reminding each other as to the character with which we corresponded- I am Samantha. We lack a Carrie but decided we wouldn’t like her in real life so it’s not a concern. A weight off my chest. As for the film I definitely enjoyed the first fifteen minutes. I can say that. I loved the Eighties flashbacks, the gay wedding and certainly the use of Liza Minelli, who delivers a stand out performance. I liked checking in with the girls and where their lives had gone in the interim years. And then they went to the Middle East…
I have been racking my brain as to why they might have gone this route despite its inherent complications. And there are so many… The two worst parts of the movie wouldn’t have been an issue if the girls had just gone to Mexico. Instead they tackle a hotbed of intercultural misunderstanding and tension. I hear that the Middle East is the last holdout of the exotic in the American mind but what a can of worms gets opened… Sometimes it’s hard to watch.
In the first cringe inducing scene, they find themselves at a kareoke show in Abu Dhabi replete with bellydancing girls shimmying to the tunes. The girls themselves notice that the bellydancers are in contrast to the veiled women they see outside. It’s explained away as a patriarchial loophole- okay. SATC commenting on Arab social culture I can follow that (vaguely), but then they procede to take over the stage themselves and sing a rendition of a seventies pro-woman folk song! They warble ” I am woman… hear me roar” which outside of dating them terribly- especially for a younger audience that didn’t know the song themselves- is a weird choice to sing in Abu Dhabi, like why shove it in their faces how liberated you are- its was super strange song choice wise. Still can’t decipher what they were trying to say with that one. They make it past there, wear some rather hideous fashion and then gets stuck again in the same mire of western sexuality/feminism meets foreign culture= disaster.
The second disastrous moment occurs later in the movie when Samantha, in short shorts gets confronted by a male mob in the souk. First off, I don’t believe a woman, as smart as that character is supposed to be, would be dumb enough to make her feminist stand in that situation, with that behavior. She is world traveled, she should have some basic sense of cultural sensitivity and personal safety guidelines. I have traveled in muslim countries and would never have dressed that way- because it’s not safe or respectful to do so. She would know better. It only gets worse when they are rescued by local women and put in burkas to disguise themselves and sneak away. They pop out from their hiding places, one veiled head atop the other in a shot that could be out of a fifties movie in terms of ignorance- look at us wearing these silly outfits- it felt like Scooby Doo or The Three Muskateers do Arabia. It made me feel guilty just to have seen it.Complicit. Any thought that Abu Dhabi had sponsored this went out the window- if anything this movie would encourage terrorism… and I can’t support anything that makes America any less safe. I am a patriot afterall… The small saving graces came with the honesty of them getting unceremoniously kicked out of the country, which really would happen if those kind of ladies tried all that over there. That and the line “Lawrence of my labia”, which is pure genius.

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Love the Comments!

May 3, 2010 at 7:20 am (Uncategorized)


I feel compelled to address the substantial amount of feedback i’ve receivedin regard to my Lil Wayne post “No Homo”. It seems that the topic of Mr. Carter’s sexuality provokes strong feelings in people. In case you’ve not had the chance to peruse the comments section attached to that post here is a selection:”pushin flowers means sellin trees you fucking idiot and LIL WAYNE IS A F-GGOT ASS BITCH NO REAL STRAIGHT MAN IS GONNA KISS THE HOMIE FUCK THAT NIGGA AND F-CK YOU IF YOU LIKE HIM”

Now none of the commenters seem to have noticed that I don’t care whether Lil Wayne is gay; I think he’s a great rapper gay or not. Indeed the truth is that I am instead fascinated by people caring so much about it. Or maybe i’m underestimating these folks, maybe they do understand my fascination and are just trying to make me happy by caring so much. I am tickled pink that people have been interested enough in lil wayne’s gayness to make it through cyberspace to me and then comment on what i’ve said. People want to either protect or tear Mr. Carter down on the basis of whether he is gay. I question why his sexual orientation is so important. People have straight up told me that they think homophobia is intrinsic to hip-hop culture. I don’t see why hip hop should have to uphold gender norms or work to maintain the status quo. It could be progressive instead. Anyhow- happy to have dialogue, keep up the great work!

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Sea Shanty

February 26, 2010 at 7:24 am (Uncategorized)

So I finally gave into the theater of spectacle and went and saw “Avatar” last night. And while I was blown away by the visual array I couldn’t help but try and think through some of the messages hurling from the screen in 3D. I have heard people wrangle with whether its racist. I see the point that its a retelling of Pocahontas-all white man coming in and falling in love with one of the natives in contrast with the genocidal attitudes of his peers. But if you try to read it as parable it makes things really weird. At one point, when (spoiler alert) giant CG animals showed up to save the day, I exclaimed to my partner that it was too bad Elephants weren’t bigger and couldn’t save the Indians. But what I ended up rambling about at length to my poor companion was the justification of force, potentially against the US or its people that Avatar seems to rationalize.
In the movie the hero, when he feels like his folks are doing wrong, turns against them violently. How is this different from an american joining up with the taliban to save america from itself through Jihad? The conflict in this case had more of a save the rainforest, last firefly, feel to it, but the issue is the same. It reminded me in fact of what I recently learned about the Somali pirates who briefly occupied the mind of the media last year. Turns out that a bunch of them are local fishermen who got tired of international fleets taking advantage of their dearth of govt to poach fish and dump toxic waste and began to patrol Somali waters in response. And low and behold the same countries whose boats are culprits are happy to seek harsh responses to the piratism. Well it seems to me that James Cameron should be the great defender of the Somali pirates in this case. He should make a movie about them. They are just like the Na’avi, trying to protect their home from foreign imperialism and abuse- right? Avatar is pretty political after all…check out the pirate story…
http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/3-toxic-waste-behind-somali-pirates/

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I’m a Bureaucrat !

February 4, 2010 at 6:13 am (Uncategorized)

My recent stint with joblessness has been brought to a temporary end thanks to the 2010 Census. Since my employer is a bureau, I am officially a bureaucrat. Feel free to start hating me as of now. My work has included multiple days of training introducing me to the way government does business. I’d forgotten the love of acronyms. I am suddenly awash in them. AA, GQS, LCO, AMFO, AVIR. As each day dissolves into endless handbooks, each color coded and labeled something like D674.8, the strings of letters become understandable. By the time I head home I speak a whole new language. I was reminded of my love of learning; unattached from the merit of the material. It was fun to read aloud and bathe in new information. I even enjoyed the open book test at the end. I am impressed by the hour spent lecturing us on cross cultural dynamics as it pertains to the Census.
Our trainer reads verbatim a guide prepared to explain EEO(equal employment opportunity) policy intentions to us. Interestingly, the census divides the world into Individualist vs. Collectivist cultures. A table is provided in our hand books to contrast the two types: Initiative vs. Group Effort, Individual Achievement vs Affliation, Competition vs. Cooperation, Self Reliance vs Collective accountability. Another table contrasts communication values: Direct vs. Indirect, Silence as dead space vs. Silence as important, A high vs. low tolerance for ambiguity, More or fewer emotions displayed. I thought it was an interesting if simple division to classify the world through. I was interested that they never discussed who was who. Which cultures were which was never explored. Instead a list of tips is given in hopes of making the work place “Harmonious and Productive”- aka Accepting Change, Respecting Others, Valuing Differences, Being Aware of your own culture based communication style, adapting to the styles of others, Thinking about how your audience might interpret what your saying. Good stuff, if basic. Wonder who wrote it for them?
The Census is an interesting thing. It is intended to be above politics but is essentially connected to it. The information collected is used to determine budgets, apportion districts and who and where gets how much government representation. Who gets counted ends up being very important. My connections in the GLBTQ community have been making an effort to ensure our families be counted. Although now that I am so familiar with the actual form I dont see where the information belongs. There is no question relating to marriage status in general.
And for all the census employee training’s emphasis on EEO compliance the census has already generated some community ire around Race. Both by using the term “Negro” on its forms as a alternate descriptor for African American (WHAT?!) and for leaving people of middle eastern descent off the form entirely, making all those potential terrorists into white folks by default. Unless they want to describe themselves as “other Asian” the next best fit. Ah, the Census….
I also discovered that I am not very adept at fingerprinting. In fact im not sure ive ever been worse at anything in my life. The girl whose job it was to help me with the task seemed both used to peoples’ idiocy and unimpressed by my floundering. When I’d finally managed to complete a full set of prints I felt like a college grad: weary but proud. And then they asked me for a whole second set…

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