Archive for May, 2006

More conversations with Saqib…

On peppers being fruits: says:
isn’t it that anything with a seed is a fruit?
noaman says:
yeah but
noaman says:
it’s not like you know
noaman says:
you’re not like
noaman says:
yeah that’s a fruit when you go to the store
noaman says:
you’re like, that’s a vegetable
noaman says:
then someone’s like, no, bitch, that’s a fruit
noaman says:
and you’re like, shit! says:
you have issues

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Racial comments

The Faculty of Arts & Science is searching for a new Registrar because the incumbent, George Altmeyer is retiring.

The Dean struck a search committee. I’m on it. In addition, there are two college principals, two department chairs, a couple of folks from the deanery, and a person from human resources, as well as a part-time student. That’s a total of nine people, including myself.

I’m the only non-white person on the committee. That comes neither as a surprise,
nor as anything novel for me (or, indeed, any person of colour involved in such activities).

The committee has been meeting to interview candidates for the position. Friday, there was one such meeting.

The committee members variously ask questions of the candidate and evaluate their answers. One of the members of the committee was asking the candidate about how the Office of the Registrar could be envisioned ten years from now, or such.

The candidate responded with ideas about the use of technology to make processes more efficient, and also less time-consuming for students. While students should not have to come in for most things, the candidate said, it is important nevertheless to maintain a human face, have personnel in place, for interaction with students.

That’s when the questioner said that he certainly hoped the Office of the Registrar doesn’t become “a call centre in Pakistan.”

Everyone chuckled, except for me.

When it came time for me to ask the question, I implied rather strongly — for “great minds” anyway — that I was irked. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. No one apologized, no one said anything — the person who made the comment simply avoided my gaze for the rest of the time.

I understand the context of the statement — i.e., impersonal services — but it’s still disconcerting. It made me uncomfortable, and was almost offensive. It’s certainly not something I’d expect from a senior university administrator.

How come everyone in these meetings is white? Or mostly male? Rah rah diversity.

I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost.

– Malcolm X

In the fall of 2005, soon after the school year started, a representative from the Commerce Students’ Association came to speak to ASSU about his organization. He talked about how they hadn’t been interacting with ASSU for a considerable amount of time and so were like the black sheep. I said something like, “more like the Chinese sheep.”

That didn’t go over well with him, as well it shouldn’t have. I apologized rather quickly and have kept it in my mind ever since. It wasn’t the right thing to say, especially coming from someone in my position (as an Executive Member of ASSU).

(Context: before I met this person, I had met three different friends of Chinese backgrounds at three different points in the day who were cracking jokes with me about their Chinese-ness. I also have a few friends in Commerce who joke about it being dominated by East Asians. That doesn’t, by any means, excuse my comment.)

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The Viaduct

One of my goals this summer is to visit the Bloor Street Viaduct more often — that is to say, to take walks over it, and not just rides under it.

One percent often makes a lot more of a difference than one person does.

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From my facebook profile:

POL majors: stay away from POL323, unless you have trouble sleeping. Even when the instructors get involved and enthusiastic, the course content is more sleep-inducing than advanced calculus. It’s boring, uninteresting crap that some dead white guys wrote hundreds of years ago and we study now because — well, apparently these brilliant men had brilliant things to say, and hid it in deeper layers upon layers of meaning, because some despot would otherwise have their head. And now it is our duty to go through this stuff and contort our minds and bodies to come up with esoteric shit that only four people on the planet give a shit about — and if we don’t agree with those four and a half people then we’re clearly wrong in our interpretations (how can you be “wrong” in fucking political philosophy?). I fucking hate this course. Biggest mistake I made this year.

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Nothing like three exams (almost) in a row that you know you’re going to screw up to make you feel insecure.

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TTC announcements & exams

Last night as I came home from downtown, the driver was announcing the station names in peculiar, unique and funny ways (doesn’t happen as often as it should, I think). There were some young folks and children in the car I was in, who particulary appreciated the novel method — but the rest of us got (more than) a few chuckles out of it. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I were going back with someone but, alas, I was alone.

I have three exams in two days (Monday and Tuesday), one of which I am sorely unprepared for –my preparation for the other two is only mediocre.

I’m screwed.

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