Monday, May 24

My wife said it best...

Kanye is a producer, not a rapper. we are in agreement on this one: although he's topical and at times even hilarious, his delivery leaves something to be desired.

My pick for best hip-hop/rap album of the year so far? Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine. College Dropout is damned good - even though it brings up the question "why producers never save their best beats for themselves" - and the Pretty Toney album is in the CD player as we speak...

so this is why i'm a professor in training

because it's 75 degrees and sunny while i surf the web at panera, suckas!

granted, i'm a barely-functional member of an exploited underclass (read: PhD student), but i CHOSE this life. it went a little like this:

after f*ckin around tryin to be grown, i finished my undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa in 2001. my choices were: go work my liberal arts degree into a better job (admin assistant is a job best suited for the organized/anal retentive) or listen to my boosterized advisor and apply to PhD programs in Rhetoric and Composition.

so i sent off applications for both options (remember interviewing on campus? - it still sucks BTW) and lo-and-behold, i was accepted to every program i applied to. not only accepted: 1 school offered me a full ride for the PhD even though i hadn't exactly completed the application(!). at around the same time, Salomon Smith Barney offered me a position as an operations analyst (which paid less than my admin assistant job - go figure). i weighed my options, asked god for advice/help/a frickin sign, and decided on grad school.

end of story.

Sunday, May 23

by way of introduction

imma write this in as conversational a style as possible, so you grammar fiends and Ebonics-phobes please step the f*ck back. this space is where i plan to ramble about my two favorite obsessions: race and rhetoric. being that black culture is where my heart is, that's what i'll prolly talk bout the most - but other cultures (read: white) might crop up from time to time *evil grin*.

got an academic background (read: master's) in rhetoric and critical race theory, so if i start getting nerdy, please move past the parts you don't like. i study race, technology, and rhetoric at the University of Illinois, so my classes will probably make their way into this space too. because of my interest in critical race, i tend to rant about the economy, white privilege, and the black bourgeoisie as well...

which leads to my next point (and i do have one); i decided to start blogging because of the commentary i kept coming across about Cosby's speech - not just from the Niggerati Online, but on the radio stations i listened to afterwards. let me just say this one time - ITS TIME TO STOP HATING ON THE "COMMON" FOLK.

i was raised in Louisiana, grew up in Queens and Houston. although i was always crammed into gifted/talented classes (mostly in white schools), i never lost my appreciation for my folks that didn't have my opportunities. hell, most of them schooled me in things i could have never learned in school. my family is middle class on one side, poor on the other - and trust me, we've weaved betwixt and between both sides of that equation.

it irks me so much when black people forget that ALL of us make up the "black race". even those that claim to be aware of the plight of those of us who ain't economically viable seem to fall into a neoliberalist mindset that sez that po black folks CHOOSE to be po. that economic discrimination, environmental racism, poorly funded and poorly staffed school systems, a shitty job market, an omnipresent consumer culture that glorifies materiality, and just plain ol racist white folks might just account for the reasons why some of us never make it off tha block.

i'm not claiming a victim mentality, so put your conservative bullwhips away. i understand that there are many who actually do work hard in school and manage to find good jobs and then move away (!) from the 'hood. if it was all that easy, there'd be more of us in the middle/upper class, hmm?

Rebecca Gordon (i'll post the link later) writes that single mothers on welfare have trouble keeping jobs because of scarce child care resources; when their child is sick and they have to take off, employers are usually unforgiving. however, these mothers are considered "lazy" because they have trouble keeping jobs and have to apply for welfare to help make ends meet...sound familiar? poor black people in general have a higher hill to climb when it comes to "moving on up", so this theme of "personal responsibility" rings false to me - and probably to you too.

dang - this went longer than i meant for it too...we shall return.