Wednesday, September 26, 2001

hrm... I ended that short... sounding like I had a good time with a mysogynistic polic officer... he had this wierd charm. He somehow could get away with it, maybe we just all new it was slightly an act... a face he put on for his job, his character. It felt like being in a show.
I wish I would have had time yesterday to write while the day was fresh in my mind...

QUOTE OF THE DAY (well, quote of Tuesday): What are we going to do in this war, turn SAND into GLASS?

It was a class day. In the morning we had a discussion about the Department of Defense "requesting" Voice of America (an American radio station that airs US issues and news mostly to foreign listeners) not to air a story that was basically an interview with the head of the Taliban (can't remember his name) The debate was about censorship. Did the department of Defense censor the VOA from airing what I think to be the "other sides" propaganda. I heard later that over 80% of men in Pakistan and Afganistan listen to the VOA-- our class didn't even know where in America you can listen to it, probably the internet??? My opinion is that it wasn't really censorship because the information is elsewhere, and the VOA could have found a way to air it if they had really felt it neccessary. It only would have helped the Taliban cause as many of the listeners from Islamic regions have a better grasp on the issues presented by the organization. Americans don't have any clue where they coming from due to such cultural differences. If the leader of the Taliban wasn't already somewhat successfully pursuasive they wouldn't be as powerful, why give them more fuel and through an American format no less??? The class was fairly evenly divided, which I understand because of the staunch First Ammendment Rights journalists...

Our discussion was cut short by the arrival of Debra Dickerson, I've told you all to buy her books... you really should, especially Grandpa and Mom... An American Story... She was SO interesting, not to mention brought her absolutely adorable 3mth old baby... yup, she now has my number for babysitting. It was probably the frankest discussion I have ever had about race, particularly black/white issues. She is very strong minded, very intelligent and scared the heck out of most of us. She doesn't hesitate to call you on anything that might sound stupid. She talked a lot about how to get passed the race/class issues between blacks and whites in America and basically said that-- black people need to suck it up and move on or they will continue to drag them selves down. FRANK. I told you so. BUT... she also said that racism against blacks continues because whites don't want to give up power and are scared of racism but even more scared of giving up their supremacy... Hrm... but the thing she said that really hit home was that we need to talk about race issues. We need to stop pretending that slavery never existed. She reminded us that we have holocaust museums and are knowledgable about such tragedy, but don't talk about Jim Crow and Lynching laws. The only way to get passed it, is to acknowlege it through education. I agree... I always think racism doesn't exist, but this woman lives it and has made it her job to deal with it. I didn't think it was as surface as she spoke of right away, but I could see in the faces and the slight nods of the very affluent, incredibly intelligent NON-white people in my class that her words were truth and much of what they think and feel but don't speak...

She also said one of the stupidist things that we all do is to let stupid people get us down. When people play on our weaknesses we don't let it go. She gave the example of a affluent black woman who while walking in her neighborhood is often mistaken for a dog walker, while her husband walking their three dogs never is. The woman was bitter about people's reactions. Dickerson said she should just let it go... go back to her bigger house, better job and yippy dog and let it go. Letting stupid, ignorant people get to us is what holds us all back.

There were tons of other things, that I would love to get into, but can't do eloquently enough. I think I'd come off like an ass, as my writing doesn't have the context of the discussion to support it. I am sure I'll bring it up in many discussions, with many people, for many years... to say the least it was enlightening.

The afternoon was spent with the head press guy from the DC Police. He was very interesting to talk to, but we didn't really learn any juicy tidbits worth sharing. He was a character to say the least and told stories of his 34 years in the police force... kept the class in laughs and the girls cringing with a few slightly misogynistic remarks-- a bit of a change from Dickersons hour, but still a good time.

Monday, September 24, 2001

I must have brought a little of Minnesota with me... there were some serious Tornados here tonight. Usually this area gets straight line winds and not Tornados. These were bad and got the University of Marlyand... the got there via the mall which is sort of crazy. It has been raining like mad though... and was horribly humid before... PERFECT tornado day. My walk home from the metro soaked me. I had these pants that acted like litmus paper... even thought I had an umbrella I was soaked to my butt. The umbrella was basically worthless.

My day was medium interesting. We met with a PR lady in th morning... she was okay. I didn't really get anything to good out of her. The afternoon was with Barney Frank's press Secretary. Frank is a democratic congressman from Mass. who is the only openly gay representitive. It was interesting to here what it was like to be a deal with the media while representing a congressperson....

the day got a bit more interesting when we went and watched John Ashcroft address the House Judiciary Committee on the Anti-Terrorist Legistlation. We only stayed for about an hour, but it was interesting to hear the different senators issues with the legistlation. Obviously it centers around keeping civil liberties which the democrats are mostly concerned about. They are trying to quickly push the legistlation through... talk of tommorow morning wow...
Before I begin writing I just wanted to send my thoughts out to MN Crew, Wendy and Kerry's Family. Kerry, our team's novice coach passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. I know that the next few weeks will be difficult for all of Kerry's rowers, but as I am sure you all know... all she wanted was for you to pull hard... so keep pulling hard.

After writing that, I sort of feel like what I would write this evening would be slightly trivial. I have a homework assignment, when it's finished I'll try again. I did have a good day... and weekend.