Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Double-Edged Sword

People have gotten up in arms about the accusation that Obama has gotten this far in the election because he's black, and I just read a piece that I suppose was meant to be a clever critique of that point. However, I don't disagree with the statement, or automatically assume a white person is racist for saying it while a black person is some kind of sellout for saying it. Hell, I say it. And I'm not saying it to be upset about it, or because I think it's wrong, as this piece suggests. In fact, I partially say it because I somewhat agree with the piece.

You see, oftentimes being black or any kind of minority is a double-edged sword. The best example of how being black is both a blessing and a curse is seen by examining the black male. Black men are both the most accepted blacks and the most hated blacks at the same time. How could that be?

Well, despite Whitehead's claim in the piece that black guys can be invisible sometimes--and I suppose in certain kinds of environments, they can be--they are the blacks that white people think are cool, whom whites will date, whom white guys will talk about sports with and white females will befriend the quickest despite the fact that they essentialize women and sometimes claim to think we all are/should be united, whose music whites buy and mimic, whom whites will support on the football and basketball fields, whom whites have "positive" stereotypes about. Even Asians and Latinos get in on the act, especially Asians more and more. It's getting to the point where it's unbelievable how many Asian women I see dating black men.

Yet, they are also the ones who deal with white (and other) people locking car doors as they pass, clutching purses, crossing the streets, labeling them thugs, blaming all the crime in the US on them and claiming their rap music is the reason for all the problems with today's youth, falsely incarcerating them for crimes, stopping them for little or no reason as police officers.

With GLBTs, lesbians are the best example. Now, I know white gays never like to admit that gays have any privilege in the world whatsoever. However, you've got to admit that I'd probably have more women AND men chasing me if I were out. Even though in a guy's fantasy a lesbian might have to be hot, in reality all he has to do is be able to tell or learn that you're one, even if you look kind of manly or unattractive. You might not like that attention, but there are plenty of straight women dying for it. Basically, I'm saying you constantly get "sexy" points from the general population just for liking women--even from "straight" women who are curious or sexual--and my observation is that it's easier for out and/or obvious lesbians to get attention from women, too. Furthermore, so many people in the US think it's okay for women to like and have sex with women but think it's completely disgusting for men to do the same things.

At the same time, many people don't believe that any gay person--male or female--should get married or adopt kids, and some rights aren't even legally recognized as protecting GLBTs though they protect other groups. And people in the US are not yet to that point where PCness regarding gays has been shoved down their throats like it has for blacks, making them keep their bigotry about homosexuals inward for the most part like they do with blacks...except when they're on the internet.

Basically, Obama is in the process of benefitting from the double-edged sword, because the majority of people who support him do so at least in part because he's black. It's likely that he'll even win the Democratic nomination because of it. However, being black is also why he probably won't win the general election. The majority of Latinos, Asians and whites are not going to support this guy. Several of them would probably support Clinton if she got the nomination, though, but will swing to McCain or possibly an independent if she doesn't. Many gays are not going to support him, either, because, as I've written before, a black person who is not the perfect gay advocate is going to be criticized much more harshly by white gays than a white person who is the same way (and so it is with Obama and Clinton). Working class whites weren't supporting Obama before in many states, and now after he has "insulted" them, more of them will refuse to support him.

And even if he does manage to become President, being black will bite him in the @ss several times during his Presidency. This is probably the worst time for a black person to be trying to be President, with all the problems Bush has created for the next President to clean up. People will not soon forget or stop criticizing Bush, but the next President will also inevitably find him or herself the target of criticism for stuff relating to what Bush has done. Inevitably, Obama will find some white people criticizing him, yet finding some way to tie it to the fact that he's black and how a black person should never have been President, how incompetent blacks are for the position, etc. Sure, Clinton would get the same in relation to her sex, and some people will use it to make sweeping generalizations about women. However, most people do truly believe that blacks are incompetent and unintelligent, including many blacks.

In addition, being white can counteract criticisms commonly associated with sex more effectively than being a man can counteract criticisms associated with being black, partially because there are more white women in society than black men or even black people. There are a lot of more famous examples that [white] women are capable per societal standards than exist for blacks, and with blacks even when an example exists it's often dismissed as an exception. Hell, Obama is that example and exception. And yet, the first sign of a screw up, whites will throw him to the wolves. It doesn't work that way for women. Furthermore, all those white male superdelegates, mayors, senators, congressmen and governors who back him now will surely leave him hanging when he runs into a problem that results in criticism of him. Right now, many people are saying he's not qualified. Imagine what they'll be saying when he's in office and stuff goes wrong or he does something a huge group of people don't like, as happens for every President at some point. Only with him, it'll have something to do with race.

I don't think it's totally the case that Obama is being handed the nomination, though I'm sure some people do perceive that to be the case. The thing about blacks being handed anything, though, is that there's always tons more that is taken away to the point of the handout being worthless sometimes (this is one reason why he should have just let Clinton run for and win the Democratic nomination). Affirmative action can be like this, for example. You might be able to attend a better college, but that doesn't mean you'll get the same kind of job as white classmates, the same pay as white classmates, the same kind of treatment on the job as white classmates or even reach your full potential on the job in terms of promotion or the fast track like white classmates. You get just one thing that non-blacks can perceive as discrimination while you're still left to battle discrimination that they don't get, from all corners. This leads to your getting blamed when things don't work out for you as well as they do for others who don't battle the extra discrimination.

This is ahead for Obama whenever he becomes President.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Black Student Org is Anti-Western

Apparently, a bill in Arizona started by--naturally--a Repughblican seeks to do away with groups like the Black Business Students Association because all they do in those kinds of groups is sit around, talk about how they hate America and how to take America down. Oh, you didn't know they did that in the Black Business Students Association? Oh, yeah, man. I know when I went to the Black Law Students meetings, we'd just sit with a dry-erase board, take ideas for how we're going to murder everyone working for the US government and then take over, changing all the American values that whites--err, all Americans--have worked hard to instill in everyone, including people in other countries who think the US is so much better than everywhere else.

Yep, sometimes we even went into elementary schools or invited kids to the campus so that we could teach them all things "anti-Western," from how baseball sucks to inequality is real in the US to how Columbus didn't really discover America because you can't discover something when other people are already there once you get there. Nah, eff the West, man. We're going to take over and force everyone to get "authentic" African hairstyles, all guys have to walk around with their clothes hanging off--you know, because that's what they do in Africa. All women have to roll their necks, get up in your face and yell all loud with a finger about to poke your eye out--also done in Africa. All kids have to get up and sing every...single...word straight from memory when "their song" comes on the radio or TV but still go to school and flunk their reading and spelling tests because they can't read. Again, Africa.

Hopefully, in time, whites, Asians and Latinos will see what we've done as American values. Hey, why not? It worked for whites when they "discovered" America. Apparently, whites figure that if their ancestors did it, why would it be so far-fetched that blacks, Asians and/or Latinos are sitting around in their racial/ethnic organizations planning to do it? Hmmm, but they're the only ones allowed to do stuff like that. It's "manifest destiny" or "survival of the fittest" and all that when they do it--it's something great to be taught in the US History. But if another group is teaching anything like that, then it's anti-Western, cause for concern, to the point of passing bills and doing anything possible to keep others from doing it. It's basically all here.

First of all, as much as I think racial & ethnic organizations should sit down and come up with ways to either smash so-called American values because they're really nothing but white standards or figure out how to get into power in the US, this is not what people do in these organizations. Second, this has been an issue for a long time now--whites have opposed these kinds of organizations for a long time. Now I'm finally starting to see why--it's fear. Apparently, they have no idea what goes on in these meetings, but because whites have done the worst they assume we're trying to. It's also an indirect admission that whites have more status and power, and they're worried one of the less powerful races is plotting to take all that away.

The funny thing is it seems usually whites are, at the very least, told they're welcome at these meetings. The overwhelming majority just never come. If they really wanted to know what went on, they'd come to a meeting. Then they'd see orgs like the Black Business Students Whatever are usually never more than, at worst, some kind of "let's see who is black enough because they're here and who's not black enough because they're not so we can talk crap about them after the meeting" medium, a "holy sh!t, hardly anyone at this school is of my background, and experience tells me that unless I find some black people quick I'm not going to have very many people to socialize with" thing...and at best, 1) it's about planning and having social events that are the black equivalent to those little drunken parties or bar-hopping events white people have but don't invite us to--or sometimes do but we feel incredibly awkward at them--and 2) it's about half-hearted efforts to get us in touch with alumni and other networks, and give very basic career advice, study advice, etc. You can argue that racial pride fits in somewhere, but I don't even buy that--these organizations are almost strictly social. Trust me, nothing deep comes up most of the time, let alone "seditious teachings." And, honestly, this is part of the reason why I don't participate in these kinds of organizations. If they had real discussions about ANYTHING, I'd be there...but since they just want to socialize I say, hey, I've found the few people I like and want to hang out with here.

The medium reason for racial & ethnic organizations is important, though, because it, once again, demonstrates the fact that we're not all just American. To me, there's no such thing as American values. If there were, they'd need to be about more than shoving white ideals down everyone's throats and trying to make everyone conform to and assimilate into whiteness. This bill is yet another example of that. However, I will grant you that a few American values really do exist. Probably the first and biggest one is anti-difference. If that's true, then that encompasses racism. In addition, it encompasses homophobia, sexism, classism and every other identity issue from which the US suffers.

One could make an argument that if racial & ethnic orgs are stripped away, then the next thing will be GLBT orgs, women's orgs, and so on. However, if you look at the reasoning for the "anti-Western" bill...I'm not sure anyone would believe gays or women are sitting around teaching people to hate America. Furthermore, men benefit more from sex-exclusive anythings than women do...being that men are the ones who come up with dumb stuff like this bill, I don't think they're going to want to bite themselves in the @ss by coming up with something that will keep them from being able to segregate from women whenever they feel the need or to bestow benefits on other men as many all-men things do. Finally, gays and women are not cast outside of American identity the way racial minorities are, unless the gay person or woman is a racial minority. It's also because of this reason that gays and women don't really have as much of a reason to form groups to undermine white American ideals, and not many people think they do.

The fact that racism is the American way necessitates a need for racial & ethnic orgs. These groups are not the reason we're segregated; we formed these groups because of segregation. Most blacks know that you can put racial minorities in one small place together and that's not going to make us all mix. I can imagine how many blacks attend Arizona State vs how many whites do. When blacks are in environments like that, it's just a fact that the majority of them will not have as many friends as whites in those environments, and race has a lot to do with that.

Although whites complain about racial & ethnic orgs and claim that they'd never be able to have a White Student Org--which, yeah, almost every org on campus is the equivalent of a White Student Org with the parallel phony "all are welcome" extension that black student orgs offer--the majority of blacks AND whites would tell you essentially that there's nothing wrong with segregation. Most whites see nothing wrong with living in all-white neighborhoods, attending all-white schools, having all-white friends and dating only whites. A lot of blacks concur. I can't tell you how Asians or Latinos feel about it. But if this is the case, then why not let blacks, Asians and Latinos have these seperate orgs? As a matter of fact, at my school, we have several Jewish orgs and I think even an Irish org. Or is it that you think we're supposed to be dying to hang out with you because you're a white God or Goddess, but you can take or leave us? Basically, doing away with these orgs will not make us become one with whites, and that's generally going to be white people's fault.

And, believe it or not, take the orgs or not but you'll still have the black table, the Asian table, the Latino table. You'll still see groups of blacks clumped together, groups of Asians together. Could we not, in those instances, be denigrating America? Actually, it's more often in these kinds of gatherings than in organizations where you'll find us talking sh!t about the US. So, what to do about that? Basically, as long as you segregate from us, we'll segregate from you. If you're not going to send a white transplant over to our gatherings every single time, then you're not safe from knowing that we're not plotting against white Americans and America as we know it.

And the point about "go back to that culture"--as I was hinting at, most of the things that are stereotypical of blacks in the US have nothing to do with Africa, which people usually consider our only place of ancestry. They have nothing to do with any of my ethnicities or cultures. So, going back to Africa won't work on that one--there's nowhere we could go if our only choices were to be who we are or be like white Americans, because we are unlike any other culture. As far as Asians and Latinos who keep part of their heritage alive in the US, people can argue this is a melting pot and that different cultures is what makes America so great. I'm not disagreeing, particularly with the argument about different cultures making things better, but the fact of the matter is most people who say those things don't mean it, as demonstrated by their daily actions. The bottom line for me is everyone has the right to be who they are or who they want to be, especially without some white jackass stepping in all the time as the culture police. Besides, Asians and Latinos who grew up in the US are stuck in the middle culturally almost as much as blacks are.

Finally, I usually don't use the Constitution to back up any of my arguments because I think its an imperfect document, almost to the point of being worthless. But there's another thing a lot of Americans, especially Repughblicans, like to throw in all of our faces when they're saying something others don't like--it's called the First Amendment. Once again, it's whites trying to change the rules mid-way through the game to suit their needs (which, actually, is how the courts use the Constitution, which is one reason I think it's kind of worthless). People can speak freely on their issues with the US and acknowledge that the US isn't perfect just like whites can claim all black mothers are on welfare freely and skinheads can go on hate marches in Ohio. In general, speech is protected.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Passed the MPRE & You Can, Too

I'm halfway to lawyerland, in terms of the dumb exams you have to take to get licensed. Regular readers--if there are any--you might not care about this. But since there's a lot of confusion surrounding the MPRE and a lot of people do online searches for more information, I decided to try and help as much as possible based on my experience and other info I found/had been given.

The MPRE is the exam nobody ever talks about. You hear all about the Bar exam far before you enter law school or even if you're not a lawyer. You think that's the last and only hurdle before practicing and after you get through, at least, your second year of law school. The MPRE is this test with 60 questions, only 50 of which count, that is as essential as the Bar exam...because you're not practicing law until you pass it. The score you need is jurisdiction-specific. Since I decided to take the NY Bar, I needed an 85. Had I decided to take the Illinois Bar like I want(ed) to, I would have needed an 80. The state of my law school and the state that I'm from only need a 75, and the consensus around getting that score is you only need to get half the questions right on the exam. Now, that's kind of sad to me, as well as makes me question the point of the exam in the first place, but whatever.

However, no one really knows how many questions you need right to get any other score, regardless of what you find on the internet. Unfortunately, there just aren't any clearcut guidelines. Honestly, are you surprised? I mean, those of you who have been through two or three years of law school? The fact that the organization administering the exam won't let you know anything other than you need to take this exam and there are 60 questions on it but only 50 count falls right in line with everything else regarding law school and the legal profession, i.e. downright nonsensical and unnecessarily complicated/mysterious/scary. That, my friends, is the one thing that makes the "easiest test ever" induce anxiety attacks...well, aside from the fact that many people DO fail this exam...some MANY times.

I'll do a Q & A for you, based on stuff people tend to want to know:

Q: How easy is this exam?

A: Honestly, I didn't think it was as easy as most people say. The key might be that it's easy to pass. But the material is not easy--it's convoluted (which is probably why most jurisdictions make it so easy to pass). To that end (the next two Qs)...

Q: How long should I study?
What should I use/do to help me study?

A: Depends on you. A lot of people say they studied too much for this test, and oftentimes those people studied for a week, maybe a little bit less time than that. I studied for close to a week and don't feel it was too much. Don't let anyone tell you their story about how they studied in the car on the way to the exam only and got a 141 out of 150 as evidence of how easy this thing is, unless perhaps you're a white male. I say that because I've been noticing that the people who get the highest scores on this test of ethics and professional responsibility and/or do the least amount of work and get a great score...are often crazy, extremely unethical and unprofessional (online) white males. Or so they say, i.e. I don't believe their stories to begin with and just think they are messing with everyone's heads when they get online and write about how they went into the test with a hangover from partying the night before and got a near-perfect score without studying at all.

Don't let them succeed in freaking you out or making you think you don't really need to study. My theory is these are those borderline serial killer-looking kids you see in class with glasses who have really lame "friends," got picked on in high school and either do nothing but study or study most of the time with study breaks that consist of them behaving like an alkie because they don't know any other definition for the word "fun" but that. If you see a calm, logical-looking post that discusses studying for a week a few hours a day or maybe three days for about 8 hours a day, pay more attention to what those people have to say.

To me, this is how you answer the question of how long you should study (and, for the record, this is basically what I did): before you study at all, get the Barbri Professional Responsibility study guide (if you're not taking the prep course, buy the book off eBay or something like that, which is what I did) and do one of those practice tests cold. If you were smart, you did this with the LSAT--the MPRE is not to be handled any differently. Do a practice test and see how many you miss. Obviously, if you're missing half or more, you need to study more than one day, which a lot of people claim they only studied that long (and I know someone who really did only study for one day). If you're missing, I'd say, 10, maybe 15 (out of 60), you're good to study for one day just to be on the safe side (i.e. maybe read over the short outline in the Barbri book and explanations for the questions you missed).

For the score I needed, based on materials I read online, my rough guideline was I needed to be getting 32 out of 50 correct and/or 39 out of 60, i.e. roughly 64% if I'm remembering correctly and have all the numbers right (I think I am/do). Although one guide I found during an internet search indicated that 64% was needed for an 85 one year (I think 2005), another guide indicated that only 53% was needed another year (I think 2003). Thus, I went with 64%. For me, no matter how much I studied or what I did, that's roughly what I was making on nearly every practice test--whether it was the first test I took cold or the last one I took before the exam. On one practice exam, I did extremely well and on another I did beneath what I needed (not all my exams were from the Barbri book, and I honestly did at least 6 or 7 of them). So, on average, I was hitting somewhere around 32/50 or 39/60. Since I got a 91, I'm guessing this was good enough for NY, CA and any other jurisdiction if this is what you're getting on practice tests.

If you do a practice test and don't care for how many you're missing, I suggest reading the explanations given for the ones you missed and then reading through the big outline in the Barbri book. Then do another practice test after you've finished that. Note what you're having problems with most and go back to those sections in the guideline and/or maybe take note of what kinds of questions tend to pop up the most so that you can get that material down. The good thing about emphasizing practice exams a little more than reading/memorizing the material is you get familiarity with what kinds of stuff pops up a lot on the test--how questions are asked and what kinds of answers are correct for those questions. Again, this was how I found the LSAT to be (although I did better on the LSAT than the MPRE). But if you're GOOD at memorizing or remembering what you read, studying the outlines more will probably be best for you. I, unfortunately, just don't remember things that I read all that well, unless I'm really interested in it.

Q: Do I need to take a legal ethics course?

A: I took one, and I would say no. That class helped me only with issues that were crammed down our throats during class and/or weren't convoluted to begin with. Then again, as I hinted at before, I'm not that nerdy kind of student who takes class, school or studying seriously (unless it's for an exam like the LSAT, MPRE and--coming up--the Bar exam). I pass/failed that class and went about my business (it's required at my school, so I didn't take it trying to learn for the I somewhat indicated, I didn't even know about the MPRE when I took that class, not that that would have made me work harder--it wouldn't have) you can question how much I learned in that class to begin with, not through the fault of the instructor.

If you're going to take the class and take it seriously, it might help...but I don't think it's necessary. It's not hard to sit down with the outlines in Barbri's book and/or learn from the explanations to the practice tests in that book, even if you're taking the exam while school is in session. The material was convoluted in Legal Ethics, and it will still be convoluted when you open the Barbri book...regardless.

Q: Did you feel you failed right after the exam, or did you know you did well?

A: Neither. Had no idea how I did. I just felt that if I were taking the MPRE for Illinois or any state needing a score lower than that, then hell yeah I passed. For NY? Not too sure about that one. Indeed, it seems that the majority of people who fail...were taking the test for a jurisdiction needing one of the higher scores. I just told myself that, hey, the test cost me $60 and they're offering it again in August. I won't have my Bar exam results that soon anyways and since I'm not going to a law firm that hires people to start in September, I don't need to be licensed before August.

Q: Does the Barbri study guide/course prepare you?

A: I didn't take the course, but I have friends who did and have read about it. I suspect the course is a waste of time. The Barbri book...I can't put my finger on it, but I don't feel like those questions are exactly like the ones on the real MPRE. It's not like studying from the book will steer you wrong. But if I had to say anything, I'd actually probably say the MPRE is a tad easier than the Barbri questions. Some people feel the opposite. To me, while I was taking the exam, there were simply more questions that I felt like either had obvious correct answers--even to the point of your knowing the answer before reading the choices--or obviously incorrect answers to the point where you could get it down to two choices. There were just some questions that if you read the outline, you were going to get those questions right because they were so straightforward. Others were a little too off-the-wall from what I'd seen on practice tests or discussed in the outlines to the point where I figured they had to be among the questions that don't count towards your score. As with most other standardized tests, the MPRE just has levels of difficulty, it seems, for all the questions.

That said, I did say that no matter how much I studied I just could not get my score to go up to a point where I felt safe. This might have more to do with me than the study guide, being that, as I said, I have problems retaining what I read (auditory learner, part of the reason why my grades suck in law school since they don't just tell you in class what they want you to spit back out on exams/papers like they do k-12 and college).

Q: Is it normal to finish early?

A: Absolutely. I finished all my practice exams in about an hour & 1/2 and finished the actual exam in that amount of time, as well (the exam is 2 hours, 5 mins long). I was one of the first to finish, though, so I don't know how long it took others.

One more thing I found about this exam--if you read the directions, they try to make it seem as if you can't bring anything in the exam except pencils and your admission ticket. But people came into my center with drinks, cell phones, hats and all kinds of stuff that was expressly prohibited. The only thing the proctors said was that you couldn't have drinks at the desk and cell phones needed to be off. In addition, you probably don't even need pencils, because the proctors came with a whole bunch of those.

As far as timing, you don't need to be there super-early. It seems like they will basically close doors right at 9am on the dot (which they did to us), but you don't have to be there at 8:30. The test won't start until 9:30am anyway, thanks to all that bubbling-in crap for your name, address, etc. So you will have time to go use the restroom and everything.

Also, don't be like some of the dweebs I saw at my center, i.e. don't study right up until the exam. If you don't know the material by the morning of, you're not going to know those white-boy stories I mentioned. Plus, I figure it just makes you more nervous. You have to let go of the exam at some point and except it's out of your hands. There were people out there at 8:30am cramming, 8:45am cramming, 8:55am cramming. The worst part is I was probably the only person there who needed a high score--the rest needed a 75, I would bet (based on the state we were in, the kind of law schools people in that state attend, the kind of states they tend to end up working in and the kind of states that will even consider hiring people from the law schools they attend). Seriously, I'm not going to say the test is easy or serious, but it's not that serious, especially if you need a 75. On the day of the test, let it go. Go take it, and then forget about it because there's nothing you can do anymore.

While you're taking the exam, as well as while you're taking practice exams, I advise that you mark questions where you don't feel like you know the answer or you're unsure (if you're worried about how you'll do). This helps on practice tests because it allows you to match your feelings up with reality when you go to check your answers. You can see how many from the ones you marked were actually incorrect and how many you didn't mark that turned out to be incorrect, and get some sense of how often you do these things. When you do it while taking the test, it allows you to utilize time you have left over to go back and count up how many you marked and compare that to your experience taking practice exams. This way, you can do some rough math leaving out of the exam, knowing that you probably missed a certain percentage of the ones you marked and a few of the ones you didn't mark.

During the exam, I marked about 15 questions. Therefore, figuring that I probably missed 15 out of 60 and maybe a few more just from ones that slipped past me, I did feel a little more like maybe I at least got an 85 on the dot. Considering that I figured out of 60 I'd be able to miss around 21 and get the score I needed, plus the fact that I came out with a 91 from marking 15 questions, this seems like a good task to help you feel better when you leave the exam or at least somewhat accurately measure how you did on the exam before you get your score.

Finally, don't let anyone tell you you're a complete idiot for failing this test. For certain jurisdictions, I can totally see how someone could fail. Needing a 75, I don't get it...but, as I have said repeatedly, I find the legal ethics rules to be convoluted. Even seasoned lawyers have to go to other lawyers sometimes for help interpreting those damn rules--my Legal Ethics professor told us about how he gets calls from former students who are practicing regarding the rules. Plus, my experience with the practice tests on which I did worse than others were little mistakes, when corrected, make a big enough difference to get you where you need to be. Don't rush and read carefully are huge. Probably on every practice test, I missed some questions for silly reasons like not reading carefully just because--despite the fact that I always finished early--I felt I had spent too much time gazing about the room because I was mentally tired, thinking or quibbling between two answers on other questions, causing me to read faster or skip over words in the passage on subsequent questions.

So, no, if you fail, don't feel bad about it--just suit up again and figure out what type of study style works best for you. Consider what I've written here and you probably won't fail, especially if you don't let others play with your mind.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Finally Surprised Me

Since I can't sleep, I've been thinking about this experience I had this past weekend and decided to come share.

Some friends of mine and I went out. This particular group of friends is great because we always end up having real conversations, whereas with some of the other people I know they always want to talk about the same empty twenty-something nonsense. Closer to the end of the conversation, we somewhat did that by talking about guys. One of my white friends, whom I've referred to here before as my best friend in law school (BFLS), said that she thinks black men are the most attractive men in response to my mentioning that another one of my white friends (my best friend in music, BFM) thinks black people are the most attractive. And since she was speaking to two black women, she assumed we would agree with that. I guess my black friend agreed, but I didn't see her response because she was sitting beside me and I was looking at BFLS, who was across from me. Plus, I just figure she probably would agree--I can't really see her dating interracially, though we've never talked about that.

When BFLS kind of asked us if we agreed that black men were the most attractive, I was thinking, "HELL NO!" and just shook my head no. She was kind of like, "You don't?" And I could feel that the next thing would probably be to assume I thought white guys were the most attractive, because that's what so many people do, i.e. the only options are black or white. At the same time, this is a friend of mine who should know better, because I tend to carry on about white men and not in a good way. I've been doing that with her almost ever since I've known her, so 2 & 1/2 years. So I just said, "I like Asian guys."

And then both of my friends went crazy. How? I guess just out-of-this-world couldn't believe I said that or could think Asians are more attractive than white or black people. Now, with the black female, I'm not necessarily surprised. I know how most black women are about Asians, especially when thinking about blacks and Asians dating--it's weird to most. But with BFLS?!?! White females actually do date Asian males. And, though I know Asians still do experience racism from white people, I have just never seen it, at least not in real life. To me, white people generally love Asians and have no problems with dating or doing anything else with them, so this was really amazing to me. And it still is. And, you know, I'm not ever surprised by racism, but this has really caught me off guard.

I kind of want to ask BFLS what that was all about. Chances are the whole thing will get lost in the hustle to graduate and figuring out what to do about the Bar exam. But I have a hard time resisting attempts to answer questions like this. And the other reason why her reaction surprised me is I know she would have something to say if someone acted like that in response to blacks. Usually, I hate when people try to act like everyone in the US gets way more up in arms when bad things happen to black people and just 100% won't tolerate unfair treatment towards blacks while they will do so with every other disadvantaged group and sometimes even with whites--it's not true. But with her, I think it is; she would have poo-pooed someone if they had acted shocked that anyone thought blacks were hot.

And this isn't the first time this has happened, but I guess I'm more shocked because I know her better. The other time was actually when BFM told me that her fiance--white guy--said he doesn't find Asian women attractive. Now, I was really surprised at that, too, and still think about that comment in amazement. But with that comment, it's not the racism I find in it so much know, I've never heard of a white guy not liking Asian women, HAHA. And with him, I think he wouldn't totally dismiss dating a black female, so that's also interesting. I'm pretty sure many Asians have these experiences as teenagers and younger with white people, but I didn't really think it kept happening after that because the majority of white people appear to grow into a point where they accept Asians as almost no different than they are.

And the funniest thing is after her reaction, BFLS got back on her liberal (though she denies being a liberal) throne and started talking about how Asian men are hurt by interracial dating. As always, she was correct and knowledgeable with what she was saying. But still, you're going to act like I told you I was going on "Flavor of Love" so that I can date Flavor Flav at the idea that Asian guys can look better than black guys, and then talk about how much harder it is for Asian guys than other guys to find women. With people reacting like that, uh, YEAH it's harder!!

I guess another thing that surprised/bothered me was this idea that one race is better-looking than another. For some reason, it seems like black men are the flavor du jour while Asian women are the counterpart flavor du jour. I'm tired of that. While I have my preferences, I know there are times when a white guy will be the best-looking in a room, a black man will be the hottest, etc. In the past year, I've gone from being interested in a lily white-looking female to a dark black female to a half-Asian/half-white female. This weekend, I stayed up all night watching re-runs of "I Love New York 2" on VH1 and just thought the black guy Buddha was the sexiest thing. She picked this wimpy white guy called Tailor Made because he would allow her to run the relationship, and I get that--I applaud her for that one, not to mention find it hysterical. But the white guy had nothing on the black one. Buddha was just sexy. I'm not one of those people who exalts one race; I see beauty where beauty exists, and it could be in anybody.

So, I just can't stand when people make a blanket statement that one race is the most attractive, or act like a couple of races are acceptable but others aren't. Part of the reason I was like, "HELL NO!" was because I was rejecting the blanket nature of BFLS's statement. In other words, no, I don't think black men are more attractive than other men--I think there are all kinds of attractive men. Generally, I don't want to date them. But I notice good-looking guys. Furthermore, I feel like this sudden fashionability of black men is, yet, another symptom of this mass movement occurring in the US entitled "White People Dying To Demonstrate We're Not Racist." I know this is not true of BFLS. She's marrying a white male, and she said she wouldn't date black men because 1) that hurts black women, and 2) she would be afraid of black women, HAHAHA. Oh, man, I love that woman! HAHAHA. Plus, you can't be friends with me unless you acknowledge your racism, which she did a long time ago. But I think some of these other women are silently self-congratulatory, thinking they are waging their own modern-day civil rights movement or some such crap with their black boyfriend or husband and a Barack Obama sticker on the car or whatever. With Asian women, who knows...perhaps white men are being "revolutionary," too, but are generally too wimpy (or shall I say too fond of white male power?) to go too low on the social totem pole.


Meanwhile, they've got a little problem with Asian men and black women, gasping at dinner tables when people find them attractive or completely acting like they don't exist. Yep...definitely not racist. You see, I've kind of noticed that white women who get with black men tend to not have black female friends or even associates, and white guys who get with Asian women tend not to have Asian male friends or associates, HAHA. Not all, though, but I've seen it too many times.