Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Barack Obama Infomericial

(Comic from The New York Times)

What did you think about the 30 minute spot the Obama campaign ran today on NBC, CBS and Univison?

The cost was approximately five million dollars and it featured no commercials...

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts...

I thought it was really well done... although having already voted, it just reaffirmed what I already knew and felt about his candidacy...

What struck me the most was how profoundly different his campaign is from McCain's... the entire 30 minutes focused on Obama, his plan and his vision... from what I saw, McCain was not even mentioned once...

This is compared to McCain's campaign over the last month... where every rally, speech and interview is about cultivating fear of Obama and an Obama presidency... when was the last time you heard McCain talk about substantive policy?

The question many pundits are asking is if this infomercial is overkill... what do you think?

I would argue... that for a black man running for president of the United States... there is no such thing as overkill...


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Black Womans Toolkit for Graduate School

What every black woman needs to stay sane in graduate school:

1. a great therapist: if your one of those black women that believes that black women don't need to address the mental stress of their daily lives... get over it... i firmly believe that no one can get through graduate school without directly addressing the anxiety, stress, fears and insecurity that graduate school inflicts on you with no mercy...

2. great mentors: academic, spiritual and personal...

3. good relationships: family, friends and lovers... all need to be able to remind you of who you are and why you are where you are... positive energy is key...

4. enough ego to believe that your brilliant enough to be there and that your ideas are important enough to warrant years, even decades of energy and time...

5. enough humility to respect those that came before you and the brilliance of your peers and those that come after you...

6. awareness of the mental and spiritual costs of being apart of academia...


Monday, October 13, 2008

Applying to Graduate School pt. 1

Things to think about before applying to graduate school:

It seems simple... but the first thing you should ask yourself is whether or not going to graduate school will even help you achieve your professional goals. A lot of folks assume that this is the case, but quite often, graduate school ends up having more financial consequences than professional benefits. So do some research into how people successful in your field of interest got there. It might just be that internships or entry-level positions end up getting the job done better than another two-six years in the classroom.

Ask people already in the program you are interested in about their experiences. Asking people in your specific program of interest is important, to often people think just talking to any random graduate school will help them out. But oftentimes, a masters student won't be able to tell you how to get into a doctoral program. A political science student probably won't be able to tell you how to apply to a psychology program and a medical student probably can't help you get into law school.

When you do talk to people (especially potential writers of letters of recommendation) be clear about where you are in the process of thinking about graduate school. If you aren't sure if you are ready to apply to graduate school, make that clear. If you talk to a bunch of people, and they dedicate a lot of time to trying to help you get your application together and then you don't follow through, when you actually are ready to apply they may not be so willing to help you out.

If you are applying to doctoral programs, ask yourself if you have existing relationships with faculty who can write letters of recommendation for you. If you are a couple of years out of school and have just lost contact with former mentors and professors, that's ok, there is probably some leeway to be had. But if you are a senior in undergrad, or just recently out of college and you don't have any faculty who would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation... that might just be a bad sign (lol... remember this is just my personal opinion).

When applying to doctoral programs, don't get so caught up in the department that you ignore the climate of the campus itself. Make sure there are resources and people present that will help you live in a way thats healthy and vibrant (to the extent that, that is possible in graduate school).

more to come...


p.s. check out my post on finishing the chicago marathon

Monday, October 6, 2008

Random Thoughts for October

1. Whats going on with the revival of Colored Girls on Broadway? The show was supposed to debut in August, but after losing a backer in July, I haven't heard anything else about it... I hope Whoopi and company are able to make this thing happen!

2. I'm so excited about this opera written by Toni Morrison, its the story of Margaret Garner, a runaway slave. I'm going to try to get the $10 tickets for students to the dress rehearsal.

3. Whats the difference between socialization and assimilation? Does the difference matter?

4. I really like the new Jazmine Sullivan album... but I had to take it out of my cd player because I'm just not feeling the fear/hatred of men theme throughout the album... My vibe is much more aligned with the new Maiysha album... I really recommend that you check her out...

5. Why do people like that Kanye "Love Lockdown" garbage?

6. 6 days until the Chicago Marathon!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gender and the VP Debate

As a good friend of mine said... Sarah Palin had a serious case of the "white womans" in the debate tonight...

From the outset she referred to Senator Biden and Senator Obama as "Joe and Barack," while both of them have always courteously referred to her as "Governor Palin."

She also never found it necessary to actually answer any of Gwen Ifill's questions directly. For all of the questions on the economy she continued to instead talk about Alaska energy. Her answer to the question on gay marriage was disingenuous and blatantly false. She attempted to imply that she agreed with Biden on civil unions, but when directly asked about it by Ifill she was unable to answer.

She constantly tried to play into stereotypical ideas of womanhood by smiling coyly and winking at the camera. She would giggle and say things like "well I'm not one of you guys but..."

She both played into her white privilege and stereotypical ideas of what it means to be a woman simultaneously!

But most notably, I think the sexism of the McCain campaign becomes more and more apparent. As I have said in other posts, McCain's pick of Palin illustrates his sexist feelings that any woman will do regardless of qualification.

Her consistent under performance in her interviews and in tonight's debate continues to show the rampant sexism in their campaign. It was clear that they gave her no policy preparation what so ever. She was completely unprepared to answer the majority of the questions asked (apparent in her unwillingness to answer them), and when she did answer it was completely filled with rhetoric and devoid of any substance.

For the McCain campaign, having Palin get up on stage, smile, wink, be cute and say catchy one-liners is good enough. Its amazing to me that she actually said that she would like the powers of the vice president to be expanded, because the McCain campaign has made it very clear that she will have no real part in the administration should they win. Her function for McCain is an expanded version of the first-lady, she smiles, waves and occasionally says something funny.

One other note on gender and tonight's debate. I found it very powerful when Biden became emotional speaking about his family. Particularly when he said "I have a serious problem with the argument that just because I am a man, I can't understand what it means to be a single parent." I thought that pointed out the way in which Palin has attempted to monopolize whatever capital there is to be gained from having family centered values. It also brought to the fore an important and [absent] discussion about the changing demographics of American families.

Anyway, I will leave the rest of the debate nit-picking to the people who actually make some money doing it! *smile*


p.s. can we also just note that if Barack Obama gave a "shoutout" all [racial] hell would break loose?!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can We Believe the Polls?

Over the last month I've heard more than a couple of Political Scientists, as well as pundits and other political commentators mention that they don't trust this years presidential polls.

Some blame the increasing use of cell phones, others simply can't believe that almost half of the electorate are in support of John McCain.

A professor in my department brought up an interesting point last week. To date he has not heard a single American Politics specialist who believes McCain is going to win.

So the question has to be asked. Does the academy and the media have such a strong bias towards Obama that it is incapable of accurately assessing whether or not he will win the election?

Can we believe the polls? I'd love to know what you all think... What reasons do we have to believe that they aren't accurate?

(and of course we're talking about reputable, time-proven polls, i.e. from survey centers like Gallup... not surveys with heavy respondent bias like those CNN text messaging polls).