dagoski: Emperor Norton I of the Bear State Republic (Default)
[personal profile] dagoski
I guess it's officially fall now.  I've had my first quiz in class.  I'm discovering that the class I expected to be boring is actually interesting and the one I expected to be interesting is dull and stupid.  I rediscovering why I liked Calculus the first time around and why I loved Differential Equations.  There's just a rush that comes with solving problems.  Also, so much of Calculus is mathematical hacking.  Logarithims, for instance, were invented as shortcuts to deal products that were painful to calculate by hand.  Meanwhile, Microeconomics is dull and taught by a disinterested professor.  It never ceases to amaze me how a professor can make an inherently interesting and vital subject an absolute ordeal.  This experience is different from initial undergraduate experience.  The Evergreen State College experience was that every class was important, every class was taught by a committed, capable and engaging professor who was genuinely interested in you.  My experience was that said professors had a habit of taking your best work and using it to reset the standard for barely acceptable work each week.  UToeldo on the other hand is just a good chance for me to catch a review and get an introduction into the fundamentals of a discipline I'm interested.  I'm getting what I pay for, more actually, since these classes are free. 

There's another large difference from my original college experience.  For those who don't know, I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood of LA.  Moving away for college to a place that was not a port of entry for the world.  Evergreen, for all its rhetoric of diversity, was not every diverse at all.  How could it be in Olympia, WA?  University of Michigan was much the same except for its varied population of graduate students.  How could it be diverse, based as it was in America's Heartland?  Now I'm in Toledo, just a few miles South of UofM and the year is 2010.  Things that were once worthy of an op-ed column are now just facts of life.  Case in point today.  I saw an information table for a fraternity set up in the lecture hall where my Microeconomics class is taught(or not taught as the case may be).  That was not interesting.  We're coming up on pledge season.  What was interesting is who was sitting at the table.  The frat guys waiting to haze pledges were represented by a Sikh, a Korean and generic white guy.  They were just kicking it at the table shooting the breeze while waiting for potential pledges.  And this represents the UToledo student body.  It's Black campus.  It's a Middle Eastern campus, a Vietnamese and Chinese campus.  And there are also a lot white folk attending as well.  And, it's no big deal.  This is status quo for this generation of kids.  The weight room has no racial divisions whatsoever.  The social splits are by age and status.  Staff members caucus with one and other.  Grad students hang together.  Everyone else just kind of works out and scopes out multicolored members of the opposite sex. 

Now fire up your cable set or dust off that old radio and surf the airwaves.  All you get is talk of taking back the country, the evil of anchor babies, the menace of the 9/11 Mosque and a whole lot of other voices preaching a fear of the other.  Take a look, the other is growing up just behind you and they're hoping you leave them a good legacy.  That's what this election is about.  Forget the economy.  Yeah, it's important and should be worked on by informed policy makers.  A lot of voters are going to the opposite party this season because they're ticked off at the economy.  But, is that side talking economy?  No.  They're talking about the Sinister Other.  They're talking about Muslims, illegal immigrants and those who look like them, about gays, about people who aren't Christian.  In short they're talking about my classmates.  They're talking about the children of the USA. 

What really bothers me is the simple fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Back in '84 and again in '88, I remember being scapegoated along with my multi-ethnic classmates.  I'm really tired of this.  When do the bitter old honkies in charge of things finally die off and let those of us who simply want to be human live our lives and build our communities?
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dagoski: Emperor Norton I of the Bear State Republic (Default)

July 2011

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