The graduate school chapter of my life is finally over.
I got to walk at graduation and get ‘hooded’ and with that short ceremony, the last 7 years have been solemnized.
I did it!!!!!!!
TAKING A BIG BITE OUT OF LIFE
The graduate school chapter of my life is finally over.
I got to walk at graduation and get ‘hooded’ and with that short ceremony, the last 7 years have been solemnized.
I did it!!!!!!!
So i’m starting to look for options for childcare for our next trip home and getting quite stumped. Are the only options available to have someone come and look after your child in your home?
Does anyone know of any daycare centers that will accept a baby a few months old for a few hours a day?
And lets not even get into how guilty I feel for looking to leave the little guy with someone else even for those few hours.
Honestly, I thought the world had moved on from these pseudo-scientific explanations of race!!
“In the long run, people with dark skin tones have little chances of survival under Northern conditions. Also, their birth rates drop. The reason for this lies in the weather’s impact on their bones. Says Professor Schiefenhövel: “Their bones quickly become soft and warped. The womens’ pelvises become distorted which eventually renders child-birth impossible for them.”
“Barack Obama’s victory means that for the first time a Coloured has been elected into the highest office of the US. His frizzy black hair, negroid lips and dark complexion stem from his parentage…”
This is just some of the racist content of a newspaper article that has recently been published in the german newspaper “AZ” (Abendzeitung, Munich) and on AZ’s online presence. The article was motivated by Barck Obama’s election and stayed online despite numerous protests during the commemoration day of the Pogromnacht on November 9 and 10. Scroll down for full translation of the article.
The fact that it appeared in a not specifically right-wing but mainstream newspaper, shows very clearly the lack of awareness in German media.
The response to negative reactions from readers throughout Germany was an e-mail from the author in which he regrets that his article evoked such negative reactions – a reaction far from an apology. The executive board, publisher and editor in chief haven’t found any reaction necessary so far.
Please help Germany’s mediashpere comprehend that the use of racist language and content -even if seemingly ridiculous at first- is harmful and watched with concern from people all over the world.
You could do so for example by writing an e-Mail to the AZ’s editor-in-chief with cc to us for documentation of your reactions. Or cover the issue in your blog and forward it to counter-racist-organisations.
Mail contact to the newspaper:
full article translation:
Author: Michael Heinrich (Editor at Abendzeitung)
Publishing Date: November 5th, 2008
Circulation print version: 148,000 sold copies, 290,000 readers
Circulation online version: not known
Circulation areas: mainly Munich and Nuremberg
The Mystery of Skin Colour
In the past, all people were black. The fact that at one point they turned white, red or yellow, is due to the duration of sunshine
Barack Obama’s victory means that for the first time a Coloured has been elected into the highest office of the US. His frizzy black hair, negroid lips and dark complexion stem from his parentage: his father is a black African from Kenya, his mother is white. A good occasion to pose the question: Why is it, actually, that people have such diverse skin complexions?
In the past we were all black. The undisputed scholarly opinion is that humans originated in Eastern Africa – and this region had massive sun exposures already millions of years ago. “In that region those humans had better chances of survival whose strong pigmentation protected them from harmful ultraviolet rays”, Wulf Schiefenhövel told Abendzeitung. Schiefenhövel is a Munich based Professor of Anthropology. During the course of thousands of years skins turned ever darker until they were black. Until today, the populations of some parts of Africa and also Melanesia are nearly inky.
In the long run, people with dark skin tones have little chances of survival under Northern conditions. Also, their birth rates drop. The reason for this lies in the weather’s impact on their bones. Says Professor Schiefenhövel: “Their bones quickly become soft and warped. The womens’ pelvises become distorted which eventually renders child-birth impossible for them.”
All other skin complexions are hybrid forms of black and white. Schiefenhövel explains: “People always call the Chinese yellow, and the Native Americans Redskins. Obviously, that is wrong.” Both these groups have simply developed skin complexions that had the “right” mixing ratio for their respective habitats. I.e., their skins would sufficiently protect them from the ultraviolet rays while at the same time absorbing just the right amount of sunlight.
By the way, the skin shade only plays a minor role in the definition of human “races” or “populations”. Decisive factors are, amongst others, the shape of the head and the body height.
The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of liberty and
democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008 service outage.
The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption has been
located, and the parts responsible for it were replaced Tuesday night, November
4. Early tests of the newly-installed equipment indicate that it is functioning
correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional by mid-January.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage, and we look
forward to resuming full service — and hopefully even to improving it in
years to come.
Thank you for your patience and understanding,
For the first time in a couple of years Mzee and I are hosting Thankgiving at our place.
I LOVE the holidays and being pregnant this year has given me an excuse not to travel and to instead stay home and go overboard. I’m giddy with excitement and anticipation!
First of we’re feeding 16 people! Ive been planning for months now and I’m ready with a typed up guest list and menu including two turkeys (hoping I can convince Mzee to give one of them the bikini outfit above), massive quantities of side dishes, four pies and peach cobbler etc.
I can’t wait!!
then the next day it will be time to go out and pick out the family christmas tree. Mzee have a tradition of going to a farm to cut down our own christmas tree. He usually goes for a modest size one, I go for the largest in the farm, we argue, then settle on one that just barely fits in the ceiling of our place. I suspect this year will be no different.
I can’t wait though!!
wooohoooooo!! the holidays are here!!!!
I’m getting bigger by the day!
I can’t believe its 31 weeks already!!
9 more to go!
So when Mzee and I got married my family went through a huge debate/fight/dilema about whether or not mzee should have to pay dowry. Interestingly my mom was adamantly for the idea and my dad was adamantly opposed.
We managed to dodge the bullet at the time by deffering the issue. At the ngurario my parents basically made the statement that the would overlook the issue at the moment since we were both young graduate students but they wanted us to know that dowry is an important part of the culture and should we ever feel compelled, we should bring some…..
Fast forward four years and now we’re expecting our first little guy. Should we make a move on paying some dowry?
The issue only recently came up when my class was discussing the impact of culture on African women’s emporwerment and I shared my story. I can’t stop thinking about it since then though….
On one hand I think culture is important and some of these traditional practices have their value. And truth be told, I’m also a little supersticious that something bad might happen to me if we don’t handy up…
On the other hand, what statement about women as partriarchal property will I be contributing to by participating in the process? Paying dowry just feels so wrong to my deeply feminist sensibility. Like mzee and my dad are trading me.
I’m also thinking a lot about the issue because a close friend just died last week and I’ve been sensitive to the way that his Kenyan family is letting his American wife make the decisions. I’m really impressed by their decision to stand by his wife and the choices she is making even though they are not their first preference.
Its made me wonder though, how my family would treat mzee if I passed on without the dowry issue resolved. Would they stand aside and let him make the decisions or would they pull the traditional Kenyan “the woman wasn’t yours so you can’t burry her’ crap that is so common?
So, what do you think? Should I encourage Mzee to take home dowry to the folks?
A while back I blogged about how annoyed I was getting by Kenyans’ refusal to recognize that we have very little to claim for Obama’s success and that indeed we were acting like the deadbeat Dad who only returns many years later to claim credit for his son’s success.
I mean, how conveniently we forget that Obama’s Kenyan dad had the nerve to leave the boy at a tender age, and proceeded to start an entirely new family. We have been so quick to forget that Barack endured having to grow up without his biological father and that there are enough similar stories in the U.S. and in Kenya!
Indeed I think that even as we celebrate Obama’s impending victory (note I said even as, not instead of,) we should take the opportunity to think about how not only our country works as a deadbeat dad to all the brilliant minds and entrepreneurs out there who get screwed by the system and are never able to achieve their potential, but about all the literal deadbeat dads in the country. Oh yea, and deadbeat moms too. Because there are plenty of those as well.
I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Just been busy with midterms for my students and some happy gardening.
I had a bumper crop of vegetables this year. The five tomato plants went absolutely crazy for me as the pictures below show.
the squirrels ate all the maize though 😦 Imagine, not a single cob for Mzee and I
Surely this is a set-up!
I’m watching the vice presidential debates and i’m shocked. I can’t help but think that the Republicans are up to something evil. Why else would they put on their ticket such an inept woman!?? Is it to prove that women can’t do it? Surely did McCain fail to find a more qualified woman for his ticket?
At this point i’m even pining for someone like a Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman. Palin is straight up painful to listen to!!!!
She has such a poor command of english grammar, makes ridiculously circular arguments that make absolutely no sense, and to top it all off, the world finaly deserves a U.S. leader that can actually pronounce the word ‘nuclear’!!!
This clip is hilarious!
RACIAL VIEWS STEER SOME WHITE DEMS AWAY FROM OBAMA
By RON FOURNIER and TREVOR TOMPSON
Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON (AP) – Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks – many calling them “lazy,” “violent” or responsible for their own troubles.
The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 – about two and one-half percentage points.
Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: He’s an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nation’s oldest first-term president. But Obama faces this: 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.
More than a third of all white Democrats and independents – voters Obama can’t win the White House without – agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Obama than those who don’t have such views.
Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books. Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.
“There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean there’s only a few bigots,” said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.
The pollsters set out to determine why Obama is locked in a close race with McCain even as the political landscape seems to favor Democrats. President Bush’s unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does that fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans.
The findings suggest that Obama’s problem is close to home – among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters. Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Obama, compared to the 85 percent of self-identified Republicans who back McCain.
The survey also focused on the racial attitudes of independent voters because they are likely to decide the election.
Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren’t voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn’t vote for any Democrat for president – white, black or brown.
Not all whites are prejudiced. Indeed, more whites say good things about blacks than say bad things, the poll shows. And many whites who see blacks in a negative light are still willing or even eager to vote for Obama.
On the other side of the racial question, the Illinois Democrat is drawing almost unanimous support from blacks, the poll shows, though that probably wouldn’t be enough to counter the negative effect of some whites’ views.
Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that.
Three in 10 of those Democrats who don’t trust Obama’s change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.
Still, the effects of whites’ racial views are apparent in the polling.
Statistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama’s support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.
But in an election without precedent, it’s hard to know if such models take into account all the possible factors at play.
The AP-Yahoo poll used the unique methodology of Knowledge Networks, a Menlo Park, Calif., firm that interviews people online after randomly selecting and screening them over telephone. Numerous studies have shown that people are more likely to report embarrassing behavior and unpopular opinions when answering questions on a computer rather than talking to a stranger.
Other techniques used in the poll included recording people’s responses to black or white faces flashed on a computer screen, asking participants to rate how well certain adjectives apply to blacks, measuring whether people believe blacks’ troubles are their own fault, and simply asking people how much they like or dislike blacks.
“We still don’t like black people,” said John Clouse, 57, reflecting the sentiments of his pals gathered at a coffee shop in Somerset, Ohio.
Given a choice of several positive and negative adjectives that might describe blacks, 20 percent of all whites said the word “violent” strongly applied. Among other words, 22 percent agreed with “boastful,” 29 percent “complaining,” 13 percent “lazy” and 11 percent “irresponsible.” When asked about positive adjectives, whites were more likely to stay on the fence than give a strongly positive assessment.
Among white Democrats, one-third cited a negative adjective and, of those, 58 percent said they planned to back Obama.
The poll sought to measure latent prejudices among whites by asking about factors contributing to the state of black America. One finding: More than a quarter of white Democrats agree that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.”
Those who agreed with that statement were much less likely to back Obama than those who didn’t.
Among white independents, racial stereotyping is not uncommon. For example, while about 20 percent of independent voters called blacks “intelligent” or “smart,” more than one third latched on the adjective “complaining” and 24 percent said blacks were “violent.”
Nearly four in 10 white independents agreed that blacks would be better off if they “try harder.”
The survey broke ground by incorporating images of black and white faces to measure implicit racial attitudes, or prejudices that are so deeply rooted that people may not realize they have them. That test suggested the incidence of racial prejudice is even higher, with more than half of whites revealing more negative feelings toward blacks than whites.
Researchers used mathematical modeling to sort out the relative impact of a huge swath of variables that might have an impact on people’s votes – including race, ideology, party identification, the hunger for change and the sentiments of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s backers.
Just 59 percent of her white Democratic supporters said they wanted Obama to be president. Nearly 17 percent of Clinton’s white backers plan to vote for McCain.
Among white Democrats, Clinton supporters were nearly twice as likely as Obama backers to say at least one negative adjective described blacks well, a finding that suggests many of her supporters in the primaries – particularly whites with high school education or less – were motivated in part by racial attitudes.
The survey of 2,227 adults was conducted Aug. 27 to Sept. 5. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.
Associated Press writers Nancy Benac, Julie Carr Smyth, Philip Elliot, Julie Pace and Sonya Ross contributed to this story.
Seriously, are the Republicans joking?!! WTF?!! Sarah Palin?
I’ve held my tongue long enough and I really don’t want to spend any ounce of my life energy thinking about the incredible double standards in the McCain campaign.
This guy already said it better than I could:
This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who
are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it,
perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol
Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your
family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you
or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black
and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified
as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,”
like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone
messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how
you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a
responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather
than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six
years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of,
then returned to after making up some coursework at a community
college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to
achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as
unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first
place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town
smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state
with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island
of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people
don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S.
Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means
White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under
God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for
the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately
disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was
written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until
the 1950s–while believing that reading accused criminals and
terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you
used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous
and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.
White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make
people immediately scared of you.
White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an
extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the
Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your
patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your
spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with
her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s
White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and
the work they do–like, among other things, fight for the right of
women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end
to child labor–and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if
you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month
governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in
college–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.
White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even
agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your
running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the
ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made
them give your party a “second look.”
White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your
political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being
a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and
merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in
Chicago means you must be corrupt.
White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose
pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize
George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly
Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian
theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who
say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for
rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good
church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black
pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of
Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign
policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on
black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.
White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by
a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you
such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give
one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging
the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.
White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has
anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being
black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a
And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly
allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W.
Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing,
people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is
increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters
aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too
vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which
is very concrete and certain.
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears watching Mbeki’s resignation speech on c-span just now!
And then it turns out he is to be replaced by South Africa’s current speaker, a woman! Even though it will be an interim placement, i’m thrilled for Africa to have its second woman president!
From the bits i’ve just been reading it seems like South Africans aren’t too sad to be rid of Mbeki. I wonder though, how Mama Mbete will fare considering her past issues with apparently getting a fake driver’s license……
Then of course Zuma will step into the post shortly and I must admit to be a bit nervous about him and the implications of his leadership for South Africa and Africa as a whole. I mean the guy thinks a cold shower will take care of HIV infection after you rape a HIV infected lesbian. (WTF?!!!)
so much to go read up on.
Mona’s post reminded me of an unanswered question.
What will I ever tell little njugu karanga (peanut) if/when he asks me if I ever did drugs?
Truth is that I had quite a good time in college and the beginning of grad school. I limited myself to herbs (nothing powdery or that needed complex equipment like needles etc). So should I tell the truth and risk him thinking “well, she turned out alright so I will too”, or should I just plead the fifth and direct little njugu to his squeaky clean father who would actually be telling the truth when he say’s he never even touched alcohol until we started dating?
Paroz out there, will you fess up to your previous sins? Have you fessed up yet?
sorry I gotta bitch.
So there’s this ridiculous expectation that pregnant women glow. I’M NOT GLOWING!
In fact, at the risk of being a ‘bad’ woman, I’d be hard pressed to say that i’m enjoying being pregnant at all. I’m nauseous all the time, completely exhausted, I feel thoroughly fat and ugly, and the realization that my life will never again be mine and mine alone is dawning on me too fast for comfort.
I must admit I got caught up in the unrealistic expectations. Particularly the ones that tell you that your second trimester is full of energy and radiance. I”m well in to my second and feel just as crappy as I did in the first.
i’ve never been of the Miss Kenya proportions but the physical changes are happening too fast. I now don’t have a belly and instead my entire midsection has inflated all around from my boobs down to my knees. I feel more like the Michelin tire blimp….
I know I know it could all be much worse. I could be on strict bedrest and so long as the baby turns out healthy thats what counts, and Its all going to get worse once there is a little wailer attached to my boobs at all times. I know that. But on some days its just hard being pregnant.
I’m sure i’ll be back to my normal cheery self again tomorrow but for today, I just needed to exhale and let it out.
At today’s ultrasound we found that we’re having a healthy, big and tall boy. (I can’t believe its been 20 weeks already!) I must say that it came as quite a suprise because in my mind I had decided that we’re having a girl. Don’t know why but that had been my intuition. oh well. so much for women’s intuition. Perhaps it was just me wishing…. Good thing I hadn’t painted the nursery pink!
Now comes the fun part of picking names. Mzee and I are picking a Swahili first name then each of the grandfathers get to pick out one middle name and then he’ll keep mzee’s last name for his last name. Yep, this unfortunate cross cultural kid will get loaded down with four names total.
Mzee and I had so much settled into thinking that its a girl that we had picked out the girl name: Naima. Boy names are harder. We’ve got a short list of swahili boy names none of which we’re thrilled about. we’ve already considered Fadhili, Tumaini, Taraji, Jabari and Johari and none of those are really working well for us.
So Swahili speakers out there: What are your suggestions for swahili boy’s names. Help!!
I know its a little late in the game but I just discovered Anthony Hamilton, my latest crush. This is the same Anthony Hamilton of “Charlene” and “Coming from where I’m from” fame. I always liked those two songs but I wasn’t familiar with the rest of his work. I bought his relatively unknown (at least to me before this) album “Southern Comfort” and i’m in love. My favorite track by far: “Don’t say what you won’t do”. Other favorites are “glad u called”, “never give up”, and “they don’t know”. Unfortunately i can’t find videos from this album on youtube but to get a taste of his work here is
and Coming from where i’m from
I think this is exactly the kind of car that would do really really well in Kenya especially as fuel prices continue to soar. What are the chances of hybrid technology being introduced there in the form of new cars though? Pretty darn low according to an industry player I had a chat with when I was there. In fact it sounded like there were absolutely no plans to go that route. The only hope is for Kenyans to be able to import used hybrid cars from Europe and Asia where i gather their production and sale is not government subsidized and so prices remain high. Which is all too unfortunate because with the growing pollution problem, mass adoption of hybrid cars (which i’m sure would happen if Kenyans had access to them) could really make a difference.
I’m finally back from an intense five weeks in Kenya. I hardly blogged while there as I had a long list of things to do for project A and barely had any down time.
Sometimes blogging is a bit like taking pictures. It requires that you stop and disengage from whats going on so you can report on it. Instead I decided to focus on being present for every moment and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
In the meanwhile i’m trying to get caught up and preparing for the new semester teaching full time. I’m excited as I get to teach a seminar on the political economy of developing countries!
The pregnancy is going well even though my evening sickness (morning sickness is a joke!) is still with me and the doc seems to think i’ll probably have to deal with it for the rest of the pregnancy. I’m at 19 weeks today but still not really showing though my clothes don’t fit at the waist anymore. I can now feel the little munckin moving around in there which is absolutely incredible. Next week we find out the sex though i’m convinced we’re having a girl.