And I Will Drive My Chariot Down Your Streets and Cry

8 02 2007

So. I’ve run out of interesting things to say, and for that I apologize.

Well, maybe this. Last night I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Richard Rodriguez. Read all about it, he seems to be a very gentle soul despite the very highly-charged nature of his discussions. Not surprisingly, during the question and answer session that followed the lecture the only question that had a single hint of “I’m a victim” mentality came from the awful person in my bilingual ed class, the person that gives me a stress headache and had the nerve to call me naïve and ignorant. Something about Prop 203, it’s not worth m time to get into it. Anyway!! During his lecture, Dr. Rodriguez was very thorough in including as many aspects of a person’s known heritage as possible. “His mother is of German-Mexican descent” “his brother’s wife comes from a Mexican-Asian background” “my Irish neighbors” and so on and so forth. Dr. Rodriguez, very thorough man. What was bothersome to me, however, was something just the opposite. While almost meandering through the litanies of heredity, Dr. Rodriguez hastily clarified “But they’re not gay!” when discussing two of his former students, a pair of young men named Lance and Steve. Later in the lecture, when the German-Mexican son was described as a chef, Dr, Rodriguez emphasized again that the chef was not gay. That made me wonder. What prejudices could Dr. Rodriguez have? It was with apparent enjoyment that he shared what people were, so why was it so important to share what those three men were not? Specifically, gay? Who cares? Do people automatically assume “Two male classmates sitting together! Gay!” Or “A man who likes to cook! Gay!” I know I don’t. Did Dr. Rodriguez assume that this was my assumption? And in his haste to clarify that these men were indeed not gay, what does that say about his attitude towards my assumption? Specifically, his collaboration with it? Very confusing. Especially considering this man is spending the time of his life trying to eliminate people being alienated because of their differences. It’s ponderous, man, really ponderous. Try to Google those lyrics. I failed!

Ok. I haven’t knit much, but GET THIS! My Secret Pal from the Blogger SP9 sent my final package, and it contained: some yummy lotion, some very pretty stationery, two skeins of Andean Silk in a gorgeous color, and …..Mmmmmmmalabrigo in the most cheery, red Cherry Jolly Rancher color you could ever hope to see! I’ll take pictures when I’m less exhausted. This student teaching thing and class at night can wear a girl down! I don’t have much time to blog anymore and that bums me out as this is super fun! I’ll make the next one a good one, I PROMISE! It will have pictures, too!

G’night, y’all, and that includes Anna Nichole Smith.

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12 responses

8 02 2007
trillian42

Hmm… interesting point. I get that a lot with my brother – he’s 31, single, and a hairdresser, so the automatic assumption from a lot of people is that he’s gay. He doesn’t happen to be, but it baffles me that people still think it matters…

And I LOVE the song “This Is Ponderous”… I used to have a copy of it somewhere, possibly on a cassette single (!). The group was 2nu, if you are looking for it. 🙂

8 02 2007
bezzie

Yes, yes, very interestink. But it sounds like this man likes labels. He labels everyone else by their descent and since he doesn’t know Lance and Steve’s lineage and therefor feels the need to label them in some way even if he’s allegedly un-labeling by calling them “not gay.” When in fact by trying not to label them, he IS labeling them. Just like he labels the German-Mexican-Swedish-Foot-Fetish person.

I need to lie down. I think I just blew my own mind.

11 02 2007
P del F (Fireball)

Oh my, Jeff Buckley was a genius.

Ponderous, indeed, that he repeatedly made an issue out of sexual orientation. Maybe he’s been burned before re: not (over) clarifying such details of cultural deversity… which might explain his kinda quasi-defensive tone? Many (but certainly not all) LGBT individuals consider that aspect of their lives to be part of/another aspect of their cultural identity. I know that a prof going to such lengths to clarify ethnicity but leaving out LGBT issues would have pissed off more than a few of my counseling classmates. One snarky question/answer session or a hotly worded teaching eval can make even the most seasoned, tenured prof change their tack.

LGBT training is a huge hotbutton issue in the professional psych/counseling journals ATM (has been for at least the last two/three years) and was covered extensively in both multicultural courses I took. I’d bet a hank of STR that that’s what’s up.

11 02 2007
P del F (Fireball)

Vague pronoun reference there. Nice job, me.

Jeff Buckley was a genius, but the “he”=Dr. So-and-So.

11 02 2007
oldladypenpal

Jeff Buckley, may he wander in peace, sure was! But … which part was Jeff Buckley? The song quote is Van Morrison (or The Waterboys, take your pick!).
The disappointing part about that lecture is that this is a man who has advised speech writers for US Presidents! Traveled the world over delivering lectures. He’s a very well-known, highly educated man and for some reason, because he was advocating the … actually, I’m not sure WHAT he was getting at. The “I” and the “WE” of America. So why the not gay clarification? This was about ethnicity and culture, and his slanted comments stuck out like a sore asexual thumb. Between you and me, mi Pelota del Fuego, I’d gladly give up this NCLB business for a while for some LGBT discussions.

And Pam! Thank you for the 2nu clarification!

11 02 2007
P del F (Fireball)

Ha! I didn’t realize JB had covered that song — I assumed it was his. 🙂

I hope you’re well, my sweet. Haven’t spoken in ages. I need to get my hiney in gear and create a knitting blog.

12 02 2007
the kitchener bitch

That’s appalling. You should have hit him in the face with a croquembouche.

We’ll have to chat NCLB sometime. Or more accurately, we’ll have to have you over to get you drunk with my former-teacher Husbeast and I and chat NCLB sometime.

13 02 2007
Batty

It’s not unusual to find this sort of prejudice in macho patriarchal cultures. When they tried to do a Gay Pride parade in Yugoslavia, many of the participants were beaten up by bystanders. I felt so embarrassed, even though I was a couple thousand miles away. But it’s deep-seated prejudice, and that takes a long time to go away. It’s sad, but obviously, being a victim of one kind of prejudice does not automatically enable a person to recognize all kinds of prejudice in existence.

Which feeds into an issue frequently found in East German literature beginning in 1950 and lasting past the opening of the border: Can victims be perpetrators? What are the dynamics when it happens? How is blame shifted, how are actions justified?
Just because someone is a member of a minority doesn’t mean all his actions are justified on that account. It is still possible to discriminate against and violate others, even if one is discriminated against and violated as well.

14 02 2007
Ceallach

Hmmm, DFIL was like that…..after quite some time, I decided that it was a peculiar brand of prejudice….almost reverse prejudice. But then he was an anthropologist and spent a lifetime classifying people….he took it to a fine art….you got a whole breakdown of the person’s family, including the Muslim brother who married the Jewish woman, and about how were they going to resolve the issue of which faith the children would grow up in, and that the youngest son was gay as a lark but could never tell the father, because he would surely commit some desperate outrage upon his own son…..it’s all rather Shakespearean, actually!

Doesn’t make it right, though.

15 02 2007
caro

Well, here’s the thing – Richard Rodriguez IS gay. Openly so. My husband worked with him last year at USC. Doesn’t explain his comments, but…he’s not a homophobe from a “macho patriarchal culture.”

15 02 2007
oldladypenpal

Caro, thanks for the comment. One of our professors mentioned after the lecture that Dr. Rodriguez is gay, and, ok. It truly makes no difference to me who someone else chooses to love. And I do not understand why it makes a difference to other people. But having said that, why did it make such a difference to Dr. R? His being gay doesn’t explain the absolutely out of place comments he made. It might even make things a bit more difficult to understand. And although I didn’t say so in my original post, it certainly did sound homophobic. I might even go so far as to say it diminished the rest of his lecture.

4 03 2007
blanket

OLPP, your musical references always make my throat catch.
Astral Weeks.
Man …

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