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Archive for the ‘blogtastic’ Category

Oh – hi….

So… I’ve been gone.

It was the end of the semester with massive grading out the wazoo, then I got sick, and on top of being sick had to deal with unsavory commenters which was making me rethink this whole blogging and so I was writing posts in my head and reading the amazing stuff so many of you are writing and now… it’s time to hang out and do the holiday thing.

Have a happy holly merry jolly whatever you celebrate – I’ll be back soon.

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Music Meme – lifted from here.

  • Put your IPod or MP3 player on shuffle.
  • For each question, press the next button to get your answer
  • YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
  • Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the game as well as the person you got the note from.

Not tagging because I’m disobedient like that…. but play along if you like (and let me know).

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
Superwoman (Alicia Keyes)

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Pullin’ Back the Reins (k.d. lang)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Choux Pastry Heart (Corrine Bailey Rae)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
I Need You (Alicia Keyes)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Three Days (k.d. lang)

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Trail of Broken Hearts (k.d. lang)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Work in Progress (Growing Pains) (Mary J. Blige)

WHAT IS 2+2?
Mr. Radio (Chrisette Michele)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
A Little More You (Little Big House)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Mama Knew Love (Anthony Hamilton)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Float (Anthony Hamilton)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Be and Be Not Afraid (Tracy Chapman)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Stay the Night (Mariah Carey)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Change (Tracy Chapman)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
The Air That I Breathe (k.d. lang)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Blood and Fire (Indigo Girls)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Promise Me (Luther Vandross)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Golden (Chrisette Michele)

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Luck in My Eyes (k.d. lang)

HOW WILL YOU DIE?
My Old Addition (k.d. lang)

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Here and Now (Luther Vandross)

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
So Amazing (Luther Vandross)

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
It’s Like That (Mariah Carey)

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Better Love (Luther Vandross)

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
I’m Fine (Patty Larkin)

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
The Joker (k.d. lang)

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens (Anthony Hamilton)

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Good Girl (Chrisette Michele)

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Beyonce is stalking me

… or somehow using her otherworldly powers to turn all eyes in the universe on her …. why else would four of my favorite blogs* feature Beyonce all on the same day? (Renee’s is the funniest.)

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

I am strangely compelled to post this. I both love it and I hate it.

If video doesn’t play (embedding disabled) click here… or on one of the sites above.

Nothing but love for this one, though:

ETA – here’s one more….

* That last one links to another blog featuring an older post – good stuff – on Beyonce…

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I teach at a small, private college in the Midwest. While it is not the most expensive school in the area, it ain’t cheap. Many, many of my students are quite privileged. But there are some that are not. There are those that are less well off, of course. And then there are those that are poor. Maybe it’s new poverty – the divorced or never married single parent and other family drama induced poverty. Could be the lost my job/had a major illness or accident, and we were only a couple of paychecks away from real trouble poverty. Or maybe it’s familiar poverty, known all the student’s life. Often they are the first in their family to go to college. Often (but not always) they are black and brown.

Lack of money is not the only thing students who are poor need to deal with. Yes, that lack is a pretty basic, tangible part of it. Cities tend to lump poor people together, if they are not in fact pushing them out of the city altogether with gentrification projects. Poor areas of town don’t have the same type of services that wealthier areas have – things like access to good food; a full service grocery store within walking or biking distance that has fresh produce rather than fast food joints and corner stores that sell mostly cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and lottery tickets. A bank that will gladly handle small accounts rather than a pay day loan place. And schools. Schools that have resources enough for every student, resources that are current and relevant and useable. Teachers that have what they need to teach, and the resources both internal and external to teach the children who live there. It seems to me so many poor kids end up hating school because it seems to be a system that hates them first.

Students from these kinds of circumstances are familiar to me. My parents came to the north in the 50’s to escape the poverty imposed by southern segregation. They wanted to find jobs. During that time period, the “good” jobs for men, and, importantly, the ones open to black men, were in the steel and auto industries. My mom worked in childcare, first taking people’s kids into our home, then working in day care centers, and eventually becoming an administrator. As kids, we didn’t have a lot of extras, but we always had what we needed.

But the area of town we lived in, the schools we went to, the lack of services to the part of the city – the black part – that we lived in is also my reality. I went to a poor school where I was richly rewarded basically for staying out of trouble. I was a smart kid and was lucky enough that a couple of influential teachers took notice of me and challenged me to do more than just get by. We had books at home, I had a parent who read to me when I was young and shaped me into being a voracious reader. My mom was college educated herself, and I grew up with the expectation that I would go to college. I have no idea how my family financed my first couple of years of school. We had money enough that I did not qualify for need based aid. My parents helped me as much as they could, but eventually I was on my own. For that reason among others, it took me a long, long time to complete my degree.

A couple of years ago, in my Race and Ethnicity class I overheard a small group discussion that gave me pause. Our school is mostly white, so I usually have at least one or maybe two small groups (out of 6 or 7) that are made up of all white students. This was the case in the discussion I overheard. The students were making the assertion that African American students had it made, because of all the scholarships available to them simply for being black. So me with my ‘never quite poor enough to get a scholarship’ behind sat down with them to give them some facts.

There are assumptions made by students, and others made by faculty and administrators. What often gets interpreted as laziness, or disengagement – I see the product of an underfunded school system. Underfunded because our many of our public schools are supported by property taxes, and this puts schools located in poor districts at a severe disadvantage. I see students who did not read the same things their college classmates did, or go on the same trips, or play the same sports. I see students whose families still count on them for various things, and so they do not have the freedom to do what the other students may have the freedom to do. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t coddle these students. I kick their butts. But I hate that I have to do so. And I hope they know I understand them, and that I have their backs.

I’m worried that in this election cycle, there is much conversation about the middle class. I guess that’s who votes and so that base needs to be covered. But how can either major party say with integrity that they are about change when there is no substantial conversation about the poor?

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only Tuesday Wednesday Thursday (sheesh) and all I can say is what a week.  But the dust is beginning to settle and I hope I will be back to posting more regularly soon.

Especially since Professor What If – whom I adore – has bestowed this upon my little blog:

Thank you, Professor! I think you are pretty brilliant yourself, you know.

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Folks, we’re going on vacation. Be on the lookout for pretty pictures from Savannah, GA, like this one from 4 years ago:

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Oooh, a tag.

The guidelines:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

This is corny and obvious, but I love it. When the radio starts playing this one (yeah, I still listen to the radio) summer is here. And remember that Will Smith? With the fade?

Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff – Summertime

Apparently, there’s something about girls and guitars (and fiddles, etc.) that I really like. Checking my itunes revealed I’ve been playing the mess out of these three….

Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine

Tracy Chapman – Baby Can I Hold You

Dixie Chicks – Sin Wagon

And guys with guitars… who sing about cooking rice in the microwave and being long in the tooth…

Travis Tritt

This is just… well…

Me’Shell Ndegeocello – Dreadlocks

Men Without Hats – Safety Dance

Ah, the 80’s. Really, what better motto?

We can dance if we want to… we can leave your friends behind….cuz your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance then they ain’t no friends of mine.

People, there are jesters and dancing chickens in this video. So awesome….

As the previous will attest, I like dance themed songs/videos. Summer in the city….taking it back real old school — this is one of my FAVORITE scenes in one of my FAVORITE movies. Come on… the twist… the frug… the freaking Watusi!!!! Please, people, control yourselves.

Yep, summer’s really all about dancing, peeps.

Okay, that was fun. Come on, everybody play…. I’m not tagging specifically – anyone who’s game – c’mon.

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Share The Love

The excellent Renee at the excellent blog Womanist Musings has sent some love my way. I’m honored by her comments about my post and return the love several fold – she is a passionate writer who daily covers important topics related to women, and particularly women of color. My hat is off to you, Renee – keep up the good work.

Crystal, the creator of Share the Love requests that the blogosphere help educate people about the importance of organ donation – her own son’s life was saved because of such a gift. I will add that for people of color, widening the pool of organ donors is critically important in order to increase the possibility of matching within our communities.

And as requested, I will pass the love along. Here are some blogs I can’t do without:

Beautiful, Too, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters (check out the transcript of “Ethnic Notions” posted today for more about African American caricatures, including Mammy)
The Curvature
Educated and Poor

Diary of an Anxious Black Woman
La Chola
Feline Formal Shorts
Off Our Pedestals
Rev Johnny
Sexuality and Religion: What’s the Connection?
Tiny Cat Pants
WOC PhD

Go give these fine folks a visit.

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