Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Edward Alexander Bouchet, 1st black physicist (1852 - 1918)

I mentioned that I would be making a couple of posts dealing specifically with black history month. Yes, the month is already halfway over but I don't recall any rule saying I can't start late or make these posts in November for that matter. Anyway we will be starting with something near and dear to my heart, physics.

The man pictured above is Dr. Edward Alexander Bouchet. Ph.D Physics, 1877, Yale University and member of Phi Beta Kappa. He spent most of the rest of his life teaching chemistry and physics at an all black school in Philadelphia. All this at a time in when most black people were lucky to get any kind of rudimentary education at all.

People like him inspire me greatly. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be a black graduate student in the 1870's. He probably faced obstacles I can barely imagine on a fairly regular basis and yet he stayed true to his goal and excelled. That kind of strength of character gives me something to strive for and helps make me a better person.

Dr. Bouchet, wherever you are, I'm probably not worthy to walk in your footsteps. But I'm going to try anyway.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm smart!

I just had an interview today for the job of assistant Linux network admin for a lab in the neuroscience department. Thankfully it went great. At least I assume so from the fact that the interview lasted almost an hour and a half. They asked me a lot of questions covering a wide range of possible issues and I think I came up with good answers. I knecw some things which they didn't, which felt great. I hope i get it. The money would be great, I'd love the experience and I might be able to talk them into giving me free staff parking.

I'm a little conflicted when it comes to their experimentation on animals though. Don't get me wrong, I realise the necessity of that kind of research. I also realise that this is not the only way people use animals for our purposes. At the same time there's a part of me that hates to watch another living thing suffer. Considering the fact that I like meat, this does make me seem hypocritical, I know. Something else to deal with.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

You have got to be kidding me!!!

Apparently, here is an 'urban' radio station somewhere in the bay area having a black history month contest. The listeners have to write an essay at least six lines long talking about local black leaders. Now so far this all sounds reasonable right? So what's the catch?

Well, in a stroke of marketing genius worthy of Amos & Andy, they decided to award the winner a free dell computer and a year's supply of Popeye's Chicken!!!

Yep, you read that right. A year's supply of fried chicken. From a 'black' radio station. I'm guessing that their plan to have the National Watermelon Promotion Board co-sponsor didn't pan out. Who do they have working there? Rejects from the Mcdonalds frycook training program? How monumentally idiotic do you have to be to even consider offering chicken as a prize for a black history month event? What kind of drugs are these people on? I have nothing else to say about this. I feel like I already lost brain cells just looking at that site.

Black History Month

The longer I stay in this country, the more aware I become of how absolutely necessary the idea of Black History Month is. With this increased awareness, however, comes the increased frustration of seeing it turned into a marketing tool and watching the history of black people in this country and wordwide reduced to MLK's "I have a dream" speech and George Washington Carver's work on peanuts.

I have a little cousin in middle school who is growing up with this as his perspective on black achievement. At least in Ghana he'd have gotten a decent education on the history and beliefs of the major ethnic groups plus colonial/postcolonial Ghanaian history. Plus he would have gotten to see the forts and castles where slaves were kept before being shipped off. Now, granted, The history curiculum back home needs to be widened in scope. A lot of my knowledge comes from personal research and college classes but compared to what he gets taught ,he has less to start with than I did. Thankfully he has his mother and his cousins to fill in the gaps.

For my own peace of mind, though, I will be making a couple of posts, mostly about black people in the sciences. Enjoy