Saturday, February 27, 2010

When statistics go bad.

A new york times article about the rising anti-abortion movement in the African American community mentions a "Sting video" operation by conservative activists who filmed planned parenthood workers "welcoming donations specifically for aborting black children." They are using this to argue that the statistically high abortion rate, or "womb lynchings" (I'm not even making this up) among black women is a new form of eugenics.

WOW is that some anti-choice spin right there. I feel like I just stepped into bizzaro land.

Let's apply our sociological imagination here for a moment. Maybe the high abortion rate among black women is because due to historical and continuing structural inequalities that have prevented African Americans from acquiring wealth, black women are more likely than women of other races and ethnicities to be living below the poverty level, and poverty is highly correlated with the unwanted pregnancy/abortion rate, not to mention the rape rate. NOT because they are black, but because they are poor, and poverty is associated with crime. Maybe, just maybe, some people are specifically donating money to HELP black WOMEN who need help paying for abortions, perhaps because they themselves had a hard time paying for their own abortion, or struggled to succeed in life because they were unable to afford one. Or maybe they were just feeling particularly altruistic and had a reason to want to help young black women struggling to raise the money for a medical procedure that has a time limit.

Only someone starting from an anti-choice standpoint that abortions are murder, and that they are always a bad decision could see donating money to help women fund them to be targeting a specific type of child- because they focus on the child, not the mother. It is the mother who is making the decision to have an abortion, no one forces any mother to have this procedure, and I firmly believe that everyone who wants to have an abortion should have access to an affordable, safe, and local provider.

That's one heck of a PR lady. That's one heck of a group of rich white ladies who hired the "Right" PR lady. Sadly she managed to hit upon the perfect mixture of paranoia based on lasting memories of the great injustices done to the African American community and a veneer of scientific legitimacy due to some misinterpreted statistics that are presented as evidence of a deliberate 'genocide' while glossing over the historical structural reasons behind those patterns. You know what though? If I were black I would probably be paranoid too - because white people HAVE done shit like that, not too far ago in the past.

This is fairly diabolical.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview ahhhh!!

So since I'm graduating this semester, I'm hoping to secure some type of employment for next year- ideally either an assistant professorship position or a postdoctoral position. I have a good chance on a couple of postdocs, and should be hearing back from those in the near future (fortunately those do not usually require interviews).

I had an interview at a small liberal arts college a few weeks ago that I'm waiting to hear back on, and tomorrow I have an interview at a decent sized state college in a region of the country I have never actually been to before and that is known for having conservative values (hint: it rhymes with "the mouth"). So that should be interesting.

For those of you wondering what an interview for an assistant professorship job looks like, here's a peak into the hell that will be the rest of my week:

Tomorrow: After spending the morning helping out with "graduate student recruitment day" in my program, take an afternoon flight to the area of the school, land at 7:15ish, have dinner with a professor who will pick me up at the airport (thereby forcing me to wear a suit on the plane!), check into a hotel, furiously re-iron all my clothes upon checking into the hotel, and then have a melatonin pill to help me fall asleep while watching the local news (which I like to do when traveling to new places I may potentially move to)

Thursday: Meet a professor for breakfast at 7:45am, then have one-on-one meetings with a bunch of professors and probably the dean and provost over the course of the entire day. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner with professors, so that even when I'm eating, I'm being interviewed (that's the part of the interview where they test out your skills at putting your napkin on your lap when eating, correctly pronouncing the names of obscure foods, ordering wine, and making small talk).

The only time I will be alone from 7:45am to approximately 9pm on Thursday will be when I'm using the bathroom, and that's if I'm lucky- last year I went on an interview where both times I went to the bathroom, a professor was in there who wanted to talk to me whilst I was peeing! I didn't get that job, I wonder if it's because they heard me pee?

Friday: Meet with a professor for breakfast at some ungodly hour in the morning, give an hour-long teaching demonstration in an actual class which is attended by the regular students and most professors in the department, more meetings, give an afternoon presentation on my dissertation research in front of the department faculty and graduate students- it's scheduled to be an hour and a half, I will talk for about 45 minutes and the rest of the time will be spent answering random questions some of which have nothing to do with my research, and some of which will probably be downright hostile because every department has THAT professor. Another meeting with the chair to 'wrap up the interview' followed by a quick dinner followed by a flight home that lands at midnight on Friday night.

Then starts the fun part..anxiously waiting for SOMEONE to offer me a job!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding invitation

Got a wedding invitation today in the mail for a charedi first cousin of mine. I had no idea she was engaged, but I guess these things go really quickly when you're 19 and getting married through the shidduch system. The wedding is in less than a month.

The invitation was addressed to "Ms. Abandoning Eden" and not + guest or + B. But I'm not sure if these cousins and this aunt/uncle are aware that I am married- my grandmother (my aunt's mother) knows and my mom (my aunt's sister) knows, but that doesn't necessarily means they would tell this aunt, especially since she is the only charedi member of our family and therefore very judgmental about stuff.

So what to do? Do I:
A) make up some excuse and don't go (would really like to go through, was pretty close with this cousin growing up, and I also think it would insult her if I didn't go. Also I never get invited to family events cause my parents don't pass on any invitations anymore, so I kinda want to like see all the other members of my family that haven't been douches to me cause they have no idea I'm married... and also the ones who do know and haven't been douches, some of whom will be there)
B) go by myself and don't mention B (Which I did at another cousins' wedding last year)
c) email my aunt, tell her about B, and ask if b can come (but I have no contact information for these people either- but I have her daughter's email address and can probably get some info through there)
d) mystery option D

Other things to consider: someone needs to take care of Barkley, and going with B would mean getting a dogsitter. B isn't particularly thrilled about going- the traveling (about 2.5 hours each way) wearing a suit, and possibly having to wear a kippa, plus also the whole meeting my mom's entire family in one crazy night while witnessing an arranged marriage (Especially given that I haven't spoken to my mom in a year). Showing up with him at a wedding may be a bad idea when there's the possibility he could meet my parents in a much more favorable setting - my graduation in a few months. This would also devastate my mother probably, since her ENTIRE family would find out I'm married to a goy at her sister's daughter's proper jewish wedding (and she has always had a little rivalry going with her sister).

Then again, if I go without him, the entire family would probably find out too, since I have no intention of taking off my wedding ring, and if anyone asks me how I am, I would answer "married!" But he wouldn't be like right there. And also if I brought b it would be more obvious to other people that we are not talking to my parents, which would be embarrassing to her (which is how I got a stilted hug out of her at the last wedding last march- some other family happened to be there when we ran into each other). Then again, she should be embarrassed for her behavior. But that's taking the low road, and I am all about my more subtle version of taking the low road, which involves secretly feeling superior while taking the high road.

Yeah I'm thinking more and more that A or B would be the better road to take, although also cowardly and every time I do shit like this I end up feeling bad about not standing up more to my family.

I have a great(?) passive aggressive reply for the RSVP card if I go with option b: "I would be happy to come to the wedding, and am looking forward to seeing you there! Unfortunately my husband B will not be able to attend."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Three years ago today

Three years ago today, at around 2 in the morning, me and B were lying in bed back in his old crappy apartment. He turned to me and said things like "I want to tell you something...but I'm not sure I should tell you yet..but I really want to tell you..but I'm not sure if I should!" He went on like this for literally half an hour, and of course I knew what he wanted to tell me after about 2 minutes, cause I had been wanting to tell him the same thing for a few weeks myself. Finally I was like "ok just say it already!" and B told me he loved me for the very first time (after which I told him I loved him too!)

Happy valentines day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Avalanche of awesomeness? Back in touch with Aunt H..

So, around a year ago my favorite aunt, Aunt H, sent me an email asking me what's up. I wrote back all about how I was getting married to B, he wasn't jewish, etc.

I never heard back from her, so I assumed she was upset about me getting married to someone not jewish. Or something. I don't know what I thought, but I spent the past year being somewhat miffed that she would just ignore my email and never write back like that, especially since her family are more to the left than my family (still modern orthodox, but she wears pants, doesn't cover her hair, etc), and she was always the one arguing with my charedi cousins about how they are being too extremist (part of the reason she is my favorite aunt).

Well, now I think it's possible the email never even reached her!

See, a couple of weeks ago I was checking out some pictures on my cousins's webpage (her daughter) and noticed my Aunt H had joined facebook! I was still a little upset from never hearing back from her last year, but I decided-what the heck, I'm going to try to friend her, and if she rejects my friend request then it'll be on her, not me.

But about a week later she DID accept my friends request and sent me a facebook message asking me how I was doing! I wrote her back a really long message and asked her some career advice, since she is the only woman in my family besides me who has a full time career (another part of the reason she is my favorite aunt). So I figured asking her about career advice would be a good way to get her to write back, if she was hesitating about that. Got this back:

So good to hear from you Abandoning Eden! It has been entirely too long!! I want to reply to your email message, however, for purposes of privacy I would like to do so from my yahoo account. Please forward your email address to my account at EMAILADDRESS

So I sent her an email from my school email address (the same one I sent her the email from last year), and no reply. A few days later I sent her a facebook message giving her a different email address, and YES instant reply to that email! Which started like this:

Hi abandoning eden, I just received your email. It was so good to hear from you. Congratulations on your wedding. I hope that we can see you soon and meet your husband.


So now I'm thinking a) she might not have ever gotten that previous email, since she didn't seem to get the email I sent from that same email address this week
b) uh oh, I hope she knows that my husband isn't jewish, since I didn't mention it again (although I did say something in the facebook message about my parents possibly meeting B for the first time at my graduation, and my grandmother/parents/other cousin knows he's not jewish, so someone must have told her, right? Unless they are really secretive about it, also possible).
c) awesome!!!! I'm back in touch with my favorite Aunt, and she wants to meet up with me and my husband.

In other awesome news, I had an interview this week for an assistant professorship at a lovely small private college that is about an hour and a half from where my parents live. While I was applying for jobs I was especially applying to tons of jobs in the midwest, since I figured my half of the family would never talk to me again, and B's half of the family is all over the midwest, so I would love to be close to some family that actually acts like a family to us. Unfortunately none of those midwest jobs panned out for me, and the one interview I've gotten so far was at this school that is closer to my half of the family.

But now it seems at least some of them are coming around. I doubt we will ever have a really close relationship again, but I really liked the school I interviewed at, so it's nice that they are coming around a bit. I don't know if I got this job or not, but I hope I did- I really liked the department, and so far it's my only option. I also will be hearing back from a couple of postdocs I think I have a good shot at in the next couple of weeks, some of which are in the midwest. It's getting to be late in the year, and I'd love to know where the heck I'm going to be living 6 months from now.

Oh and the best part of the interview? The chair of the department was a huge deadhead- had dead and jerry pictures all over his office- and we ended up spending like 45 minutes talking about him going on tour with the dead in the 1970s! I'm hoping that little connection will give me an edge in this job. They are interviewing 4 people, and I was the first, so I might not hear back from them for like a month though.

Also this:

is my block this morning. Me and Barkley had a grand time beating a path to the coffee shop for croissants and orange juice= he kept trying to follow up previously beaten paths into people's houses...around here, as you can see, a lot of people have porches, and he climbed onto at least 5 during out walk.