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Think of the most interesting man you know. Now imagine what he would be like had he grown up in a tarpaper shack without indoor plumbing, joined a monastery, had an extensive career as a female model, actress, author and screen writer, then traded in his weave and acrylic nails for a Ph.D. in neuroscience. If you have been able to conjure up that image, turn it up to 11... and let's do it!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tradition, Emotion, Discrimination

 I was raised Catholic, so confession comes easy to me--so does guilt.   I want to talk about racist and sexist feelings.   It is no secret that I am an AVID, RABID, Michigan Football fan. I scored in the upper 2% of the nation on the NMSQT test, and had my choice of colleges to go to, I was recruited heavily by Yale and West Point, to mention a few--I chose Michigan because of their football team.   Make NO mistake about it, I am a proud Michigan alum.   Also, I have been a feminist since Junior High, and a Black and Gay activist, since Freshman year in college... many, many moons ago.   As you know, the last few years of Michigan football have been rough--ungodly losses to people who NEVER beat Michigan.  I can't even face my friends from Ohio State, I have to listen to noise from MSU fans, and now my nephew, a Purdue alum, is even in my face.  My cardiologist, whose a  Wisconsin Badger is strutting around.. I'm telling you I cannot stand it.   Make no mistake about it, I think Rich Rodriguez needs to go--even if he wins a National Championship.   Why?  Because he had the audacity to say publicly that "People in Michigan take football too seriously".  That may be, but the Michigan football coach does NOT need to think like that.   

All of that aside, what's disturbing to me is this.   When I think about Rodriguez, I find myself making racist, anti Latino comments, and thinking, "he should be coaching soccer".  Now what's up with that?   I'm supposed to be an intelligent man.  This is not intelligent.  If not going for race, I go for elitism "He;'s not a Michigan man"  "He's not one of us".... Bo was not a Michigan man and he was a great coach... kind of.... lots of wins... not so many National Championships under Bo, but Michigan is a school of tradition, and its about win the Big Ten and win the Rose Bowl, and those Polls don't matter... blah, blah, blah... Whatever gets my ego through the night.    After all we are the winningest football program ever.  So we set the standard.  I never said Lloyd Carr was white and he should be coaching Golf.  No in Carr's case, like the crowd, I went for age.   

I was furious when the University of Michigan considered going on the common ap with the Ivy League Schools... Michigan's a public school, and I seriously, do like private schools--because I'm anti-privilege, and private school are often about privilege and little more.  Michigan's waning academic rankings disturbs me immensely.   My first inclination was to blame it on  Mary Sue Coleman, the new president, because she is the first female and even worse than that, she's from the south!   More non brilliant thinking.  This is a pattern here... hmm... Do I need to adjust my meds?     

 I have to wrestle with wanting to believe that she's not a great University President because she's a woman.  I was a radical in college... I sat in, I rioted, I disliked all of the college presidents.   I slept on President Flemings desk during BAM II's take over of the Admin building.   

But I didn't dislike Robben Fleming because he was a man.  I disliked him because he was administration and  I was a radical.  Or am I?  What kind of radical defaults to racist, sexist, thinking when things don't go according to his thinking?  A human radical.    I guess what I've learned here is how humans are. We don't like change, and that's because the brain doesn't like change.   We play games with ourselves to preserve the status quo.   When a white man fails... its never because he's white, its because he failed.  When a woman fails, a hispanic fails, a black man fails, its because of their gender or their race.   And don't blame this on white men... we all do this.... i get angry with whites doing this with Obama, yet, I'm doing it Rodriguez, and Mary Sue Coleman.... or WAS doing it.   I'm not going to be ignorant.  I can't afford it.  So here today, I leave this antediluvian thinking.   I am going back to my old belief.  One world, one people, no races, no genders, no sexual orientations... call it delusional... but it works for me.   As long as I believe in races and gender, I'll be racist and sexist.  Outside of medicine, why is racial admixture and biologic sex important information.  It's not.   One more Thing Go Blue, and Good Luck Rodriguez and Mary Sue.   Sorry for putting those negative thoughts in the Universe.  But I'm glad I did, in that it has helped me reach some higher ground, and understand my self, and my world better.   

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