On Rachel Dolezal

Dolezal after and before

In case you are unaware, there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal, Africana studies professor and head of a local NAACP chapter. You see, for years, Dolezal has been represented as an African-American woman. However, that was recently questioned when reporters found a Caucasian couple who claims to be her estranged birth parents. The investigation was launched when doubts were raised about hate crimes she had reported.

There are so many questions. Why would she lie about her ethnicity? Why would her parents out her as Caucasian? Why is she estranged from her parents? Should her race even matter? And, the most burning question for me personally – how did she get her hair to look so damned good?

Dolezal after and before
These pictures are both reportedly of the same person

The regional leader of the NAACP has stated that Ms. Dolezal’s race doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t. But what does matter is the dishonesty. If she truly is of two Caucasian parents with no discernible African ancestry, why the dishonesty? Can you really trust her to champion the cause of racial equality when she’s not true to her own race? But then again, does race really matter?

I can’t claim to have the answers to these questions. It would be ideal if we lived in a world where race, ethnicity, religion, gender, were extremely minor details that mattered very little.

No matter what her race, Rachel Dolezal appears to be a formidable ally of racial equality, who’s clearly personally invested, given that she’s the legal guardian of a young Black man (her adopted brother) and has another African-American (or perhaps biracial) son. And if she knows her stuff about Africana Stidues, then she should be able to teach to the subject. I’ve had French teachers of Italian descent, Spanish teachers from France, and I’ve never been taught English by a Briton. It’s a sad reality that if she had been perceived as Caucasian, she probably wouldn’t have been able to get as far as she has. It shouldn’t be that way.

If anything, she can always fall back on doing hair; if those are crochet braids she’s rocking, she does an impressive job!

Continue Reading

Six13 Parodies Taylor Swift in Addictive Hanukkah Song! [FriendPlug]

I should have posted about this before it “went viral,” but I was out of town for a wedding. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, my friend Mike Boxer and the rest of the NJBs (Nice Jewish Boys) at Six13 came up with another amazing song parody for Hanukkah; this time, it’s to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” It’s as educational as it is catchy and amusing. I, for one, learned a lot about the scoring for the dreidel game!

They’ve ended up in Cosmo, Newsday, AM New York, HuffPo and even on TV!

Seriously, listen to this song and tell me it’s not better than the original.

I want to synch it up to the 1988 aerobics championship now.

For the record, before Six13 become multi-platinum artists, I want to say that I always knew Mike was super-talented. Not only was he able to play every Billy Joel song on the piano and/or cello back in high school, he’s an all-around cool guy. (Remember, I was awesome on the xylophone in that impromptu performance of “My Life.”) I’m just saying, if you ever have need for an alto or lapsed pianist/violinist based in Boston… call me!

Continue Reading

Are US Drivers Ready for Mirrorless Cars?

Over the years, cars have had more technology replacing what we humans have had to do manually. Nowadays, nobody bats an eye at automatic transmission; in fact, it’s difficult to find a stick-shift car with options.

Now, as the US is making rear-view cameras mandatory in new cars, Tesla, in conjunction with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, wants to take it a step further: replace all safety mirrors with cameras  (no word yet on the vanity visor mirrors).

Photo: Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X, with sleeker, mirror-less sides. Photo by Tesla Motors

Is it safe? Probably. Is it reliable? Most likely? Am I comfortable with it? Heck no! Call me paranoid, but I like having low-tech contingency plans in place. Despite all of the safety technology we have today, the road is still a dangerous place (according to the US Census Bureau, there were 10.8 million auto accidents in 2009).  I like the idea of having cameras eliminate all of the blind spots, but I still feel like mirrors should be there, just in case the cameras fail.

Your thoughts on the matter are appreciated. Would you embrace the high-tech, aerodynamic option with open arms, or do you also have some trepidation?


h/t Car Talk

Continue Reading

First World Problems, LES Edition!

There is an online petition going around asking officials in the Lower East Side of Manhattan to work to decrease the amount of “dollar pizza shops” in their neighborhood.

Let me rephrase: someone created a petition because he or she believes there are too many pizza shops that sell slices for $1.

I’m not even sure most of the nation even has shops that sell pizza by the slice. When I lived in Upstate New York, places like that were hard to come by. Heck, pizza shops that weren’t Domino’s or Pizza Hut were hard to come by! Yet this person is so upset that there are so many options for cheap pizza slices, that they want officials to do something about it, in the name of “diverse restaurants.” It matters not that they can walk or take the subway a few blocks to all sorts of options. Apparently, being able to order food from your computer or smartphone and have it delivered to your door isn’t good enough.

I wonder if this person is joking, or he just has major issues with pizza.

Link: WCBS article



Continue Reading