Jan. 4th, 10 · 4:04 pm
As you can see, I’ve let this blog go. I don’t know, I’m just not as inspired to write like I used to be. I need focus most likely. I couldn’t even finish that Kwanzaa post before this one and what I DID get down was crap. So I’m going to chill.
If for whatever reason you still need a fix of me and my randomosity, check the following:
Tumblr: http://inakia.tumblr.com – I’m here posting stuff from the internet that amuses me. Pics, videos, IMs, etc.
Formspring: http://formspring.me/KiaJD – ask me anything (anonymously).
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KiaJD – I might not approve you though. My feed is locked.
Dec. 28th, 09 · 8:20 pm
I’m late. I wanted to post the seven Kwanzaa principles, aka Nguzo Saba for each day they’re recognized then give my own story, impression or thoughts. Well, Kwanzaa started this past weekend. Shame, I can’t even do an African-American celebration correctly. Blame CPT. So today I’ll post the first three principles and follow up daily with the rest.
– Umoja (Unity) To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
The family huh? I don’t think I’m striving to maintain unity in my family. I’ve pretty much charged that one to the game and put it in the lost cause bin. I just don’t feel that I have the strength to run after grown-ups who can’t get their lives together. I am striving for unity in my own family, however, whenever I start one. Unity in the community… I certainly don’t do as much here as I would like. I always see opportunities to get involved but decide I just don’t have the time. Being new to this particular neighborhood doesn’t help either, as I don’t feel connected enough to really strive for or maintain unity here. Nation… oh boy. Is that ever going to happen? Call me apathetic but I just can’t. That task seems too large. Finally, the race. Omigod. I love Black people so much. I would never want to trade places with anyone. But we’ve got issues that go way before anyone I’ve ever met and will continue on and on. It’s not a failure particular to Black folks… it’s just human nature I suppose. All in all, I suck when it comes to Umoja.
– Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Hard to say, even harder to do. Kujichagulia is definitely on my to-do list. I think this is what I’ve been striving for my whole life… to find out who I really am and what I’m supposed to do. A big part of that is taking initiative and making decisions instead of waiting for someone to tell me who I am. This is sort of why I want to work on a vision board, so I can de-clutter my brain, visualize the things I want and claim them for myself.
– Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
Wow. Um, I don’t know. This is a great principle because we live in a world where individualism is so exalted that people go so far as to forget about one another and credit all of their successes to themselves. We need to practice more collective responsibility and work together. Not going to happen, however. I’m sorry I sound so cynical about all of this but it’s true, right? I think we can work together on a small scale: families, social groups, committees, neighborhoods, etc. But as a society, a culture or a race? Poppycock. Again, that’s not just a Black thing, it’s an American thing or a Capitalist thing or even a Democratic thing. So what can I do to recognize Ujima in my life? I’m going to focus on the smaller groups and make it work there.
Dec. 15th, 09 · 6:21 pm
Aw man, I’ve gone and got myself depressed again. I know, I get like this every three months or so with the exception of this summer which saw everyday as down & out day. Bear with me, family.
Back in the spring, deciding not to take the bar exam gave me a brief moment of peace. I had been struggling with how to pay for the costly bar-prep courses and support myself while doing so, but when I reminded myself that I didn’t have to take it right away, I felt some pressure dissolve. There’s no time limit on the bar. Sure, you’d probably rather take it sooner or later so that you’re not too far removed from the subject matter, but otherwise take it 10 years later for all anyone cares.
Anyway, like I said, it was only brief relief. Soon after I got back to the States, folks wanted to know if I was a lawyer. I had to explain that I had a law degree but that I was not, in fact, a lawyer. It’s not as easy as you might think to explain how the bar works or how long it takes to study for it, even how much it costs. People were confused. After a while the questions became annoying and something I tried to avoid. Nearly impossible. Even if I am able to dodge questions (“When are you going to take the bar?” “Do you EVER want to practice?” “Why did you go to law school?”), I can’t escape the constant reminder that I have unfinished business out there. Contrary to what some might think I am NOT content with not taking and passing that exam. My addiction to social media is only exacerbating the problem. Continue reading →
Dec. 5th, 09 · 7:35 pm
[insert frowny face here]
Elle Woods, Harvard Law Grad. :p
So I recently heard that Harvard Law is no longer going to cover the tuition of aspiring public interest lawyers. If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you know that I graduated from law school. If you’re a close reader, you know that I spent my time in law school focused on public interest law, aka the kind of law that helps people who cannot access the legal system in a proportionate, just and affordable manner. The other side of Big Law and six-figure salaries. Apparently, the recession strikes again. Harvard had been offering scholarships to law students that committed to work in public interest for 5 years after graduation. The program, in existence for less than two years, is kaput. Not only has Harvard succumbed to the economy, but I guess way too many students were taking advantage of it. It’s sad to see a program like this go. My legal education was financed by a similar program.
Temple Law has the Rubin-Presser Scholarship which covers 2 out of the 3 years of tuition for students willing to commit to working in the public interest after graduation. Temple is still offering the scholarship and, as far as I know, they plan to continue. You don’t have to be Alan Greenspan to know that Harvard has a much larger endowment than Temple, but the reason TULaw can offer this scholarship year after year is probably because they only give it to three select students each year. You’d think before cutting the program altogether, Haaaavaaaad would have implemented alternative strategies (offer half tuition, limit the recipients per year, you know… get like Temple).
It’s a shame but I can’t really get TOO boo-hoo for anyone that graduates from Harvard. It sounds mean, even a bit salty, but still. While the work is rewarding, many public interest lawyers are “sacrificing” in one way or another to do the work they believe in. After receiving the same training, spending the same money and taking the same licensing exams as any other attorney, you’ve got to call it a sacrifice to willingly accept a third of the pay and half of the prestige than your peers. Ivy League law grads, however, can afford to work in the public interest, knowing that the institution on their degree gives back some of that prestige (to a certain extent) and may even garner a better salary in some places. They’ll be alright, for sure, but I hate that there’s yet another obstacle inhibiting those who want to be “do-gooders” from going out and saving the world (without going broke in the process).
Nov. 19th, 09 · 11:58 am
As if you needed another reason to hate child molesters (and you probably don’t).
Black Santa... because you know, why not?
Pervs are now screwing with Christmas! It’s not breaking news or anything, but kids who write letters to Santa may not get an answer from his North Pole address. Instead, it appears that the Claus family is having their mail forwarded to other places this season and will be responding to the naughty and the nice from there.
Operation Santa Claus is a volunteer program that answers needy children’s letters to Santa. Cute, right? Now, I was the kind of kid who didn’t believe in that Santa Claus mess as soon as I was old enough to read One Fish, Two Fish. We had no chimney. White people didn’t really come through my neighborhood. I saw my grandmother wrapping gifts sometimes (though I could never figure out where she hid them). We don’t just let cookies sit out in my family. LOL. Still, I think for kids who still want to believe in that jolly old dude bringing them fun new toys, the program is great.
While the US Postal Service runs the Operation out of many post offices around the country, the popular location was in the small town of North Pole, Alaska for obvious reasons. The town, with a population of just 2,100 folks, has basically built an identity and industry around Christmas. North Pole’s “light posts are curved and striped like candy canes and streets have names such as Kris Kringle Drive and Santa Claus Lane. Volunteers in the letter program even sign the response letters as Santa’s elves and helpers… Huge tourist attractions here include an everything-Christmas store, Santa Claus House, and the post office, where visitors can get a hand-stamped postmark on their postcards and packages if they ask for it.” Those people live Christmas all year round (Groundhog day anyone?).
So why no more North Pole, AK for X-mas? Last year, it was discovered that one of “Santa’s Helpers” was a registered sex offender. This set off a scare that pretty much got the program there shut down after the USPS decided to tighten up the procedures nationwide. That’s commendable, no doubt. You don’t want sex offenders having the names , addresses and wishes of children around the world. I bet Christmas is already a holiday (duh) for pedophiles everywhere, what with all that lap-sitting and such. So no, I can’t blame the postal service for making sure things are in tip top shape. Smartly, they’ve redacted the last names from letters, instead, using numbered codes to match names with addresses.
Two big lumps of coal for yuletide pervs and a big plate of cookies and milk to the folks up in North Pole.
Nov. 18th, 09 · 11:34 pm
I believe the children are our future. I believe that it’s important to meet people where they are when trying to reach them. I believe we should educate young people about real topics like sex, economics, politics, race and health. So it follows that I should like Dr. Clarke’s “Health Hop Music.” Uh, no.
Dr. John D. Clarke has a series of albums he’s written, produced and performed focusing on educating young people about their health. Relying on studies with conclusions like “the average teen listens to 40 hours of music per week and 10,500 hours of music between the 7th and 12th grade,” and “today, Hip-Hop is the music of choice for many teens and is the ideal genre for capturing their attention,” Dr. Clarke hopes to use hip hop to break through to kids and get them to listen up.
While the doctor’s motives are admirable and his attempt to make good songs not too shabby, I have to say that this is a fail. Take a break from reading right now and head over to the Health Hop page on CD Baby and listen to some clips. See what I mean? No? Read on. Continue reading →
Nov. 6th, 09 · 7:34 pm
Looking at my blog and realizing I haven’t posted an entry since October 21st is uber depressing. I want to write something so badly but I think I end up tweeting my ideas in 140 characters instead of fleshing them out here. I’m going to stop doing that so much.
Most recently I’ve been laid up sick. Worn down, snotty, coughing up all kinds of sexy shit. Went to the doctor today after my boss sent me a preemptive “don’t bother coming to work” email and turns out I have a respiratory infection. Gotta hit up these anitbiotics and all will be well. I hope.
Seeing as I’m still sick and will be spending a fun-filled weekend on my sofa, I should be able to write some of the things I’ve been thinking about all week. It always seems to go that when I write my “sorry I haven’t been posting” posts, I follow with like three new entries. So yeah, I’ll be back to business.
Oct. 21st, 09 · 10:40 pm
You might know those terms in the title to refer to double-dutch moves, especially if you’re from New York ( and only if you’re real!). I wonder what kinds of tricks they pulled in the ropes in Chicago back in the day? Let’s ask Michelle Obama, shall we?
I find this terribly awesome and so very very Black. Pay no mind to what you see in those double-dutch competitions full of skinny lil boys and red-haired girls in French braids with matching t-shirts who call it ‘skipping rope’. I love D-D and it has always been a very Black, urban, around the way experience for me. I still remember the day I learned how to jump and the songs/chants we used to sing. I’m the chick who carried a rope in the trunk of her car up until last year just in case somebody wanted to get a quick jump in.
So yeah, I’m enjoying this way more than I think I should.
Oct. 21st, 09 · 10:31 pm
I’m not a racist, I let white folks use my bathroom! I do, however, have a preference for people of color in certain situations, specifically Black folks. There are limits, of course. When given a choice on nearly everything, I don’t care who does it if it’s done well. I don’t go to Starbucks and wait for the Black barista to make my latte over anyone else who is equally qualified at foaming milk and stuff. I do like to have Black doctors, though. Maybe because I haven’t been exposed to many over the years. Perhaps it was too much Cliff Huxtable. Could be now that my friends are dentists, ophthalmologists, anesthesiologist and such, I like the idea even more. I don’t know. Moving to a new city, I’m having to re-up on my roster of health care providers. I’ll probably just break down and ask my friends or coworkers who they see and roll with their recommendations (an excellent way to find a provider, actually) but at present I’m asking around to see who knows a Black dentist, primary care physician and a gyn.
Wait… that last one, gynecologist… that’s a special category. While I wouldn’t mind having a Black FEMALE gyn, I cannot have a Black male. I said as much on Twitter a couple of days ago and I wasn’t able to fully articulate why I felt that way when asked. I don’t even know if I can get my feelings about it across right now but I’ll try (and fail). Continue reading →
Oct. 19th, 09 · 1:11 pm
The idea that social networking is contagious is not new or novel. Web-savvy folks already know how the simplest and silliest images, videos or sites can spread like the flu as illustrated by terms such as “viral video” or “memes.” Most people don’t think of their interactions offline as social networking since the phrase has come to represent a new media/web2.0 phenomenon but that’s exactly what they are, right? Your group of friends, colleagues, associates and family are all part of your social network and may or may not be interrelated at some point. Regardless of where your network is primarily located (online or offline), your social network can have a profound effect on your own choices and behavior, influencing everything from what music you download purchase to how much you weigh.
The idea that social networks impact our preferences from the simple (music selection, what to wear) to the important (voting, spreading disease) is examined in the book “Connected,” by Dr. Nicholas Christakis (sociologist and physician) and James Fowler (political scientist). Christakis’ and Fowler’s research found that within three degrees of separation, we have a significant impact on one another’s behavior. “That means that your friends, your friends’ friends, and your friends’ friends’ friends may all affect your eating habits, voting preferences, happiness, and more. At the fourth degree, however, the influence substantially weakens.” Hmm, so taking an example from my own friends (with a little help from Facebook), my pal Travis, his friend Crystal and her friend Sakina (who I have never seen or heard of) can all have an impact on my life? Sakina’s friend Johnathan from Ohio State, however, wouldn’t really make a difference at all Wow.
It’s not so much of a big deal if Sakina’s preference for the new Ginuwine album leads to me somehow listening to some tracks. That’s like the social media equivalent of the contagious yawn. Christakis and Fowler have found that the impact can be greater than that, impacting your physical body. “If a mutual friend becomes obese, it nearly triples a person’s risk of becoming obese.” Forget the fact that Sakina lives in North Carolina, ” you’re still at risk for gaining weight if a friend 1,000 miles away gets bigger.” Um, you guys know that I have issues with the obese set. Luckily I don’t have to concoct some new Facebook Quiz (How Much Do You Weigh and How Many Miles from Brooklyn Are You?) to parse my friend list. The researchers found that people who 86’d their chubbo friends were even more susceptible to obesity. That’s internet karma coming at you. “On the one hand, yes, our work showed that if you keep your friend, you are going to be susceptible to their bad behaviors,” says Fowler. “On the other hand, time and again, what our work shows is that every friend makes you healthier and happier.” Aw. Warm fuzzies!
Americans are a funny breed. We value traits like independence and autonomy. We like to be in control of our own lives for the most part, yet most of what we do and feel is tainted by the actions and feelings of those we socialize with… and their friends, and their friend’s friends. So what is the takeaway from all of this? We are not in this alone and we are all connected with one another. What you and I do matter, not just to you and I, but to people we may not have ever met. It certainly lends a little more weight to the idea that one person can make a difference. Thoughts?
Sources: CNN.com/technology; Connected; BostonGlobe