Why Hillary's Run Matters

My first conscious recollection of prejudice had to do with my parents favoring my twin's choice of the fish tank as our collective birthday present. I'm part of a fraternal pair of twins, and as the female half, I felt gipped. This was in the summer of 1968. My brother always got the cool toys, trucks, tools, and always new and sensible clothes. I, the youngest of four daughters, got mostly well worn hand me downs, that were heavy on dresses and shorts sets that frankly were not designed for girls who climbed trees and preferred to play war with the boys at constuction sites. I knew my request was doomed ( I had wanted rock em sock em robots and a years supply of space food amongst other things ) when my father stated that this choice would be good for the family and educational.

We were'nt rich, far from it and birthdays for a catholic family of six children was a fairly modest affair. The best I could hope for was my grandmother's cash present in which the amount rose $1.00 a year to reflect my age. $8.00 can buy enough candy to rot your mouth and the spending of the birthday cash was sacred in our family, no-one and I mean not even the Pope could dictate how we spent our annual "Gommie Money".

The fish tank arrived and my dad put it together. My brother and I went to the pet store to pick out fish, which I remember were mostly yellow. My brother who I have to mention was clinically hyper-active and whose favorite activity was taking anything apart he could get his hands on (to see how it worked)  was on Ritalin; the dosage of which depended on how tired or distracted my mother was. Taken in the uncertain liquid form of the day, sometimes he became more of a blur then ever and sometimes he took a nap for about 3 hours. I watched as my brother named all of the fish and solemnly promised each of them that he would take good care of them. I was silently praying that Jesus would not recognize my relunctant role in what I feared was the certain mass murder of innocent fish and wondered if this qualified as a mortal or venial sin. Would I still get to keep communion privelages and the weird but cool Catholic stuff I'd gotten at this recent milestone.

My twin brother, truly one of the kindest souls would never intentionally harm the fish, but they were as doomed as any other toy laying in scattered pieces throughout our shared toy legacy. The fish were doomed. My brother in the sexism of the day was granted and assumed the paternal responsibility for the welfare of the fish. I was assigned the cleaning of the tank. My twin was assigned the feeding of the fish. Typical gender assignment and it was no use to complain. Each of us made a cocerted effort to follow the instructions of our dad and for a while the tank was clean and the fish looked happy, at least as happy as fish could be to my eight year old mind.

A few months later the occasion came when the folks decided it was time to go visit the grandparents who lived in another city. Two station wagons, each loaded with coolers, food, pillows, toys, kids and the dog caravaned  home to Houston from the alien strangeness of this new city we had moved to called Dallas. Houston as any native knows is much better for tree climbing and critter hunting, especially frogs and lizards. Houston was also where a tom-boy with a pixie hair cut under the age of ten could run around in her brothers jeans without a shirt on and no-one batted an eye. I did'nt have penis envy so much, I just envied the freedom boys had. I liked everything about being a girl except the dolls, dresses, and chores. Mowing the lawn seemed alot more cool then sweeping up the clippings. I mean the mower was cool, brooms are not. Boys sports were cool, hopscotch was'nt. Anyone who thinks softball is as cool as baseball, just does'nt get it.  As we pulled into the driveway, tired and cranky after the long trip home, my twin ran into the house to check on the fish.

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More Than Black

    Being a sports fan and also a New York Yankees fan I couldn't help but catch the hoopla surrounding the latest tirade by Gary Sheffield, a former Yankee. According to Mr. Sheffield, the Yankees manager, Joe Torre treats Black ball players different from the White and Latino players. As I was reading the article I couldn't help but wonder about his comments in light of two factors. Number one of course would be the source of the comments and number two would be my own personal experiences.

    First off, Mr. Sheffield is a player and a man that thrives on controversy. He feels that it is his job to keep things "stirred up", so he has been known to make some pretty radical statements. Because of his penchant for saying these things he strikes people immediately; they either love him or they hate him, there is no middle ground. This appears to be alright with Mr. Sheffield since his wealth affords him the luxury to tell people where to go. It is also true that Mr. Sheffield has been known to make some comments just for shock value, sort of like Dennis Rodman and the wedding dress thing, well sort of. I have learned in this life that anyone can have a message and that I need to focus not on the messenger, but on the message he is delivering. So with that I listened to the message and found that there was a part of it that had some merit.

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Why The Supreme Court Was Wrong

    After having read all the reasons why the recent decision of the Supreme Court concerning school desegregation was wrong, I have come to the conclusion that we have all missed the boat. The purpose of integration was not to make black kids smarter by sitting them next to white kids. If you judge the process based on that criteria, it has been a failure. If you talk to the people who were on the front lines of bringing this issue to the forefront or read their stories, it was never for that reason.

    The purpose of integrating the two separate systems was two-fold. First of all, it would bring badly needed funding to the black schools which were in such bad shape; it was a wonder anyone could learn how to tie their shoe, let alone reading, writing, and arithmetic. And the second was to give each child a chance to actually see and meet someone from a different place, diversity. An opportunity to talk, play and argue with someone who was not like themselves. It put a face and a life to "those people" that we didn't talk about or for that matter even see. It made the invisible, visible. It allowed kids that were willing to see, that we were not so different after all, that a lot of those stories and stereotypes were just not true. If gauged in that light it was a great success.

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The Pope and ecumenicism

In Salon, there is a reprint of an Associated Press piece about a recent re-affirmation of a document by Pope Benedict XVI about the relations between the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.  

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Diaries

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