Friday, August 12, 2005

A good excuse for not posting redux.

I know I said that my next post would be about Stanley Fish. My next next post will be. Promise. Been a bit backlogged.

Sassy tagged me with this book meme, which I did before when Gigi tagged me. This, however, is a slight variation on the original one. These two women are two of my favorite bloggers.

Total books owned:

Comparatively speaking, not a lot. I have around a hundred or so, which range from pop fiction to historical fiction to racism to Garfield comic books. He is my favorite cat in the whole world. I adore him.

Of course, these books don't include my dad's and the family's. If so included, it would probably be in the high five hundreds. Which is still not a lot.

Last book I bought:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. All I can say is, why did I wait such a long time to get a copy?!

Last book I read:

I don't know. I tend to switch from book to book when I get tired, which is pretty frequently these days. I'm halfway through Samantha Power's America and the Age of Genocide (to understand this fully, I got this book LAST YEAR, for shame) and a third of the way through Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. These are not boring books - hardly. I suffer from short attention span, maybe. I also talk to myself, but that's another story.

Five Types of Books I Read:

I normally just pick up whatever's interesting to me. That includes contemporary fiction, classic American literature, children's literature (don't ever diss Anne of Green Gables to my face), and yeah, historical novels too. Plus I like Tom Clancy whenever he doesn't get too technical. When I'm in the mood to be snooty, I read through my dad's Greek classical history books. When I'm in the mood for some literary college throwbacks, I read former recommendations from Ms. Marj Evasco (i.e. Sinuhe, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari; Picture This by Joseph Heller). When I'm in the mood to be editorial, I read the BusinessWorld Stylebook and books on semantics and language. When I'm in the mood for a good mainstream read, well, that's where my pop fiction comes in. Hello, Mary Higgins Clark and William Bernhardt! I also think that William Bernhardt is heads and shoulders above John Grisham in courtroom thrillers.

Like Sassy, I also like reading a lot of nonfiction, even though I can't finish what I read (which is alarming but not so much). I've got one on my list now: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

books that meant a lot to me:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Anne of Green Gables (series) by LM Montgomery
The Berenstain Bears (series) by Stan and Jan Berenstain
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Yes, I know that some of these are children's books. I love reading them. Brings back good memories.

I also think that I'm missing a few books in this list.

Favourite Filipiniana Books:

The Pretenders by F. Sionil Jose
Manila, My Manila by Nick Joaquin
Viajero by F. Sionil Jose

I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here. But these are the ones I read and reread.

There you go.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Affirmative 'blacktion': A bit of history.

American History X is one of my favorite movies. Due to the overwhelming influence of scintillating college friends (yes, that's you, the lot of you reading this), they insisted that I watch this and were appropriately horrified that I neglected to watch it. Properly chastened, I went out and got myself a copy, and immediately understood why it rated so high on their list. It's such a painful look at racism and the reality of it in the United States (US), the corresponding effects of brutality and brainwashing.

One of the ideas that American History X repeatedly touches upon is affirmative action. What is affirmative action anyway, and how did it begin?

It first began with the civil rights movement, which was put into place for African Americans to become full citizens of the US. The thirteenth amendment to the US constitution outlawed slavery; the fourteenth amendment guaranteed equal protection under law; the fifteenth amendment made racial discrimination in access to voting illegal.

In 1896, the US Supreme Court upheld a "separate but equal" doctrine that effectively undermined all the previous laws allowing blacks their rights. Justice John Harlan, the lone dissenter, wrote in part "Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law." (bold mine; same link from above)

The "separate but equal" law ushered in the era of segregation. Blacks could only enjoy black-only establishments and services - buses, trains, places to eat, etc. In education, that meant white students went to white-only schools, and black students went to black-only schools. This wasn't overturned until the 1954 SC decision in Brown v. Board of Education, where the court ruled that "in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place".

The term "affirmative action" was first used in President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 Executive Order 11246, which required federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

The next post will have more on affirmative action, its detractors, and Stanley Fish.