Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Oppression Abacus

So, Oprah is on hold since it's only 1:00 and she isn't gracing my television until 4 (which by the way pisses me off b/c I'm supposed to have VideoOnDemand, and lets face it, VOD is just The Man giving me a few options of what I can acutally watch on demand to make me feel like I have choice. I mean, it's 1:00 and I want to watch Oprah....where's my VOD?).

I'm a little concerned that while driving I now think of what cool or interesting things I could write about on my blog. I used to spend that time thinking about fun calculus equations (b/c I'm a freak who likes math and likes to keep my non-calculator skills sharp), or I used to think about papers I was writing and how I would make changes, develop the ideas, etc. I feel this blog may encumber my productivity elsewhere, but what the hell; who cares?

Back from a recent visit to see Madam Hootch, I am driving thinking about our conversation on oppressors/oppression, and I am left wondering how do you know if you are the oppressor or the oppressed?

My love of quantitative data and research methods leads me to conclude that a simple forumula should be used. So, let's use me:

Gay= 3
Middle Class=1/2
1/4 Latino=.-.50

(See the Key Below)

First we take my sex, male which is a score of 4
Then we make my race an exponential factor to my sex b/c let's face it a white male is exponentially a greater oppressor than a black male. So, now I have score of 4 to the 2nd but since I'm a 1/4 Latino, I add my two race scores (2-.50=1.5), so that I'm 4 to the 1.5 power, which is 8. If I where a black male my score would be .0625, and if I were a Latino female I my score would be .25.

Next we take the score from above and divide it by sexual orientation so now I'm at 8/3 which is 2.67

Now we take that score and multiply it by class so 2.67 x 2 = 5.34

Key for Oppression Calculation




Lowerclass= 1/2

If there are any additions to this forumual I should make, let me know.

Just for fun if you were a white male (4 to the 2nd) =16
Who is straight (16/1)=16
Who is upperclass (16 X 4)= 64

If you were a black male (4 to the -2nd) = .0625
Who is GLBT (.0625/3) = .0208
Who is lowerclass (.0208 x 1/2) = .0104

Now, I'm not for sure where exactly the lines are, but at least this is an idea of potentially where on the spectrum of oppression you might be. Of course higher scores mean you are more often an oppressor and lower scores mean you are more often oppressed.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oprah & Education

So,....I've decided to begin my posts with "So," to provide myself with some sense of continuance and uniformity.

With that anouncement out of the way, let's talk about Oprah. Yesterday I'm watching Oprah and low and behold the show is about education in crisis and is co-developed with Time magazine and its article Dropout Nation. The show proceeds to showcase the drastic differences between city schools that are apparently comming apart at the seams and falling apart around and sometimes on (as in the case of Harper High in Chicago) students and teachers.

Moreover, Anderson Copper and Lisa Ling (because apparently Oprah now is slowly seeking to become a mass media conglomerate and slowly take over CNN and whoever Lisa Ling works for) showcase other schools that are falling apart (almost all city school districts like Washington D.C.) and even some middle class area schools that are facing sickening drop-out rates and faciilities that could be at best described as lackluster. Watching the show I am again impressed with Oprah and her seeming ability to cover virtually any topic and do it in such a way that appears, at least to me, credible, dramatic and shocking. I'm sure Unequivocal Prowess will inform me that Oprah is evil, but whatever I love myself some Oprah.

Anyway, watching this show (which for all of you Oprah fans will be continued with part 2 today) I realize two things: (1) Increasingly I feel like the problems facing our country and minorities within it, specifically, are so complicated and systematically integrated into every other part of our society that solving almost any of them seems impossible and an effort in futility; (2) I, unbeknownst to me, have officially entered the technology age and have become a multi-media user.

Addressing the second issue first, I while watching the show, realize that as Oprah reveals statistics and names schools I find myself taking out my laptop and googling (by the way google and it's subsequent forms (i.e. googled, googling, etc.) are in fact words according to the most recent edition of Webster's Dictionary) them in an attempt to validate the information I am hearing and to learn more. I also realize that while watching Oprah and googling the information, I message Prowess with my cell phone to tell her to watch the show (even though I am sure she scoffed indignantly at the text message and did not watch) and I start looking for the most recent copy of Time (which I didn't find).

This leads me to question (1) What the hell happend to me? I mean I used to not even like my cellphone and took months to respond to e-mails and now I am using all of this technology like it's an extension of me. (2) Does this mean I am more informed now since I use all of these media at once to gather information, or am I just falling prey like so many others to a shorter attention span that even Oprah's new set with flashing screens, changing camera angles, parade of celebrity reporters and dramatic story clips can't even hold? (3) Am I getting so caught up in a rat race of chasing canned information that all says the same things and is probably produced by one or two media outlets that I am missing the vital information that exists elsewhere and am being left with a feeling of hopelessness in solving the problems; and thus, remain unmotivated to actively seek change and threaten the self-perpetuating social systems that oppress and harm so many?

Ok, I've typed all I can for right now, and my need to see immedate results prohibits me from just saving this as a draft, so perhaps later I'll address my thoughts on the first issue (hopelessness of solving problems facing our country).