Monday, January 21, 2008

Norah Vlog

Just wanted to throw a video up of Norah so you can all see her moving about. It' s not awesome or anything, but you'll get to see her holding her head up, and me being a goofy dad making stoopid noises. Ugh... I really am that guy already.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Shaker Heights has a "Race" problem?

The New York Times ran an article today about Shaker Heights Ohio. The article discussed the brutal beating of a white lawyer by six African American youth in Shaker Heights. There were two quotes from the article I would like to comment on :

"Mr. McDermott was attacked on a quiet street one block south of Ludlow Elementary School, which in the 1950s and ’60s became the center of Shaker Heights’s successful integration effort."

I'm not sure anyone familiar with Shaker Heights would consider it "successful" integration. The community is so overwhelmingly segregated it's alarming. This isn't because the people of Shaker Heights are racist, it is because something about American Society makes it easier to be rich if you are white. After writing this, I thought "Is that true? Or is it merely an impression that I have?" So I looked up US Census data on the issue. I was alarmed.

The 2006 US Census data shows that of all white people in America, 8.2% live below the poverty level. Of all black families, 24.3% live below the poverty level. I knew there would be a difference, but I had no idea it would be this dramatic.

This brings me to the second quote I would like to comment on:

“'People in the Cleveland area resent us because we’re a repudiation of everything they believe,' said Brian Walker, 56, who was among the first African-Americans to attend Ludlow school. 'We’re proof that white people and black people can live together.'”

Since when do we need proof that "black"people and "white" people can live together? The source of conflict between African Americans and Caucasian Americans is not race, it is socioeconomic inequality. The reason it is difficult for the Whites to live near the Blacks in Shaker Heights, is because most of the Whites are rich, and most of the Blacks are poor. And historically, we have seen that when the Privileged live among the Underprivileged, the Underprivileged eventually lash out in an attempt to level the playing field.

The beating of a white lawyer by six black youth does not highlight the tension which arises when Whites live near Blacks, it highlights the tension which arises when the Rich live among the Poor. The problem is not that black people and white people hate each other. The problem is that our society is structured such that rich people are white, and poor people are black.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finally an Update...

Wow... talk about busy.

After having a little baby Girl, Rachel, Norah and I travelled to Cleveland to spend Christmas with my family, and then we spent about a week in Beaver Falls with Rachel's family and introduced Norah to as many Aunts, Uncles, Grandmas, Grandpas, Cousins, and Friends as we possibly could. Then, the day I got back on campus, we had training with the RA staff, and prepped the building for reopen. Students moved in a day later, and now we are finishing up twelve students moving out, eleven students changing rooms, and one student moving in. Wow. It's been NUTZ.

But, we've had time to enjoy Norah and our living situation as well. It's a huge blessing to me that we get to raise Norah in a college dorm for this time. We've had so many people offering to hold her and folks asking if they can babysit, we don't know what to do with it all. Just yesterday one of the baseball players in our building asked if he could watch Norah while I went to a meeting. I said sure, and handed her over. When it turned out that the guy I was supposed to meet with wasn't there, I went back to the baseball player's room. I opened the door to see this big bulky baseball player sitting in a chair with his lifting belt on the ground next to him in front of the TV holding Norah, watching Dora the Explorer. It was awesome. I said "Andy, are you watching Dora?" He said "Yeah, I was watching Spongebob, but I thought she'd like this better."

Seriously. Later one of my RAs found out that Andy got to watch her for fifteen minutes, and he was so jealous Rach and I decided to let Ben watch Norah while we went to the grocery store. When we left, Norah was sleeping in the chair and Ben was playing Assasin's Creed on the X-Box. When we got back, the TV was off and Ben was holding her on the couch. It's just so fun to see the guys excited about her. And, on another note, I think it's totally necessary for them to see a guy model the acceptable motherly instincts when it comes to kids. It grinds away at the "Dude" exterior that is so prevalent in a college dorm.

Anyway, I haven't posted in forever, and I can't do justice to all the people that we got to spend time with over break. So, I'll leave you with some pictures, and a list of things that I plan on doing to the first boy Norah brings home when I answer the door.

Don't forget, there's a link on the sidebar to Norah's Flickr Album if you ever want to see some photos of her.

This is one of my favorites so far.

8 days worth of diapers. Sheesh.

Sarah Lantz came all the way up to Cleveland to meet her.

Tim wanted to show me the proper way to hold a Baby.

Uncle Jeremy giving Norah some of the white gold.

Awww....... *BURP*

Grandpa took her for a walk.

She actually likes Bath time now that her belly button fell off.

She looks like she just found out that I'm actually her Dad, not just another person that is going to be gone in a week.

Sleepy time!

OK... Ben and I were talking about things to do to the first boy Norah brings home. Mind you, I'm guessing this is a very sweet, scared, nice, little 12 year old boy we're talking about. Here's the top ten things to do when I answer the door.
  1. Ask "What are your intentions with my daughter?"
  2. Blow in his face and ask "What did I eat for dinner? Go ahead! Guess!"
  3. Answer wearing a surgical mask and hand him one explaining "Sorry, Norah has SARS."
  4. Spray mace in his eyes.
  5. Give him a knowing wink. If he asks anything, give another knowing wink.
  6. Hand him a razor, a mirror, and a straw and say "I think you know what to do with these." Then have Char pull him over and search his car.
  7. Walk with a severe limp and tell him it's rude to stare.
  8. Open the door, grab the seat of my pants, and run back into the house yelling "Hang on!" Then fail to return.
  9. Punch him in the temple.
  10. Answer the door with "Wrong house." and slam the door shut.