Friday, August 22, 2014

Commonplace Book

I've decided to start using my blog as a commonplace book (some of the time), meaning a place where I record what I'm reading, some relevant quotes, and my comments.

Self-Segregation:  Why It's So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson by Robert P. Jones in The Atlantic.

"Clearly white Americans see the broader significance of Michael Brown’s death through radically different lenses than black Americans. There are myriad reasons for this divergence, from political ideologies—which, for example, place different emphases on law and order versus citizens’ rights—to fears based in racist stereotypes of young black men. But the chief obstacle to having an intelligent, or even intelligible, conversation across the racial divide is that on average white Americans live in communities that face far fewer problems and talk mostly to other white people."

"Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 93 percent white. White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent)."

"Widespread social separation is the root of divergent reactions along racial lines to events such as the Watts riots, the O.J. Simpson verdict, and, more recently, the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. For most white Americans, #hoodies and #handsupdontshoot and the images that have accompanied these hashtags on social media may feel alien and off-putting given their communal contexts and social networks.
If perplexed whites want help understanding the present unrest in Ferguson, nearly all will need to travel well beyond their current social circles."

I both find this hard to believe and know that it is 1) important and, 2) true. It explains so much that encounter on a regular basis. Not only do I have "black friends" I have several people who are significant figures in my life.  This makes a difference.

What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the Internet by Leo Mirani

"Harris, like your correspondent, grew up in a very different world, one with limited channels of communication, fewer forms of entertainment, and less public scrutiny of quotidian actions or fleeting thoughts. It was neither better nor worse than the world we live in today. Like technology, it just was."

Slightly hyperbolic. We have no idea what new technological revolution is just around the corner.  People were saying the same stuff about telegraphs and later telephones, I'm pretty sure. 

Metaphors for Graduate School: a post-lette  by Outside Higher Ed 

"God help me if we’re in metonymy; that would be bad indeed."  
Snarky commentary on the state of academia

What Lies Beneath Stonehenge? by Ed Caesar, Smithsonian Magazine

"The researchers have found buried evidence of more than 15 previously unknown or poorly understood late Neolithic monuments: henges, barrows, segmented ditches, pits. To Gaffney, these findings suggest a scale of activity around Stonehenge far beyond what was previously suspected."

"Gaffney’s voice lifted. He spoke about Jerusalem Syndrome: the feeling of intense emotion experienced by pilgrims on their first sighting of the Holy City. In the prehistoric world, there was no conception of God as he was understood by the later Abrahamic faiths. But, said Gaffney, as Stonehenge reappeared before us, 'whatever the ancient version of Jerusalem Syndrome is, that’s what you’re feeling now.'”