Stellar Racism: Black Holes and Brown Dwarfs

Recently, a Dallas county commissioner Kenneth Mayfield (melanin expression: low) used the term “black hole” to describe a bureaucracy in the county, to which another commissioner, John Wiley Price (melanin expression: higher), objected and corrected his esteemed colleague by saying that the bureaucracy was a “white hole”.

The presiding judge, Thomas Jones (melanin expression: higher) demanded an apology from Mayfield for his “racially insensitive analogy”. You can read the story here, Dallas County officials spar over ‘black hole’ comment

Now, most people know what a black hole is. One may form when a large star explodes and provided there’s enough mass, voila ! (correct me as deemed necessary).

It’s an astronomical term with no racial undertones, it appears that Mr. Wiley and Mr. Jones are not guilty of PC policing but of ignorance. I’m not sure which is worse, I’ll leave that to the peanut gallery.

For my part, I’m Mexican and vertically-challenged so can I roll with Wiley and Jones’ outrage when I hear the astronomical term, brown dwarf?

Now that I think about it, brown dwarf is pretty offensive. I’m suing astronomy, the corpses of Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, Copernicus, and Gene Roddenberry. Why stop there? We’ll go after NASA, JPL, the European Space Agency, Jill Tarter (the hegemonic and oppressive xenophobe who coined the phrase) and George Lucas (maybe I can recover the money I’ve spent on his Star Wars brand through the years).

Where’s Jackie Chiles when you need him?

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Elderly Women in front of a Counter in a Small Town

During the winter break of my first year of college I worked as a cashier at a now defunct truck stop in a small town.

The memories I have from said time are lively to say the least. Two incidents are still vivid in my mind after “all these” years.

If you hung around this blog long enough you know that I am Mexican. No, not of Mexican descent only (that is Mexican-American) but actually born in México.

Personally I can’t recall being discriminated against because of that, at least directly. I know there are people who think Mexicans inferior and all that but I haven’t directly been the target of such ignorance.

To be fair, I probably don’t fit the image most people might have of Mexicans for I’m not dark-skinned or swarthy or perhaps even wear a sombrero (If that is your impression of us, well you haven’t been exposed to very many of us). The accent I did have when I first started speaking English on a daily basis, is by all accounts gone.

The 2 incidents which I recall are in this vein. The first involved an elderly inhabitant of the aforementioned small town. The woman, she couldn’t have been younger than 70, and her sister came to buy something or other and as they were paying me they laid out their cash on the counter to count it (after all isn’t that what a counter is for?).

Now the women were Anglo and probably grew up during a time in this country were racism was not only extant but acceptable. As they finished coming up with the cash to cover their purchases one of the women turned to the other and dropped this line,

Put your money away before a Mexican comes and steals it

Now I found this amusing though I didn’t react visibly. My initial thought was, “This woman doesn’t know I’m Mexican or if she does she doesn’t care”.

I know such an incident might send some of my compatriots (real or pretend) scrambling for the nearest phone so they can call some civil rights group and demand so-called justice.

At the end of it I dismissed it as the ignorance of a woman who grew up at a time when such ignorance was believed and perhaps even encouraged. What question did arise in my mind was the following,

Were (are) Mexicans really viewed as thieves? Just waiting to part a fool from his/her money?

The other incident involved a couple of elderly Mexican women. Sometimes I would have to work the graveyard shift (Midnight-8am) and the middle of the night would bring bus after bus of gamblers (the vast majority Hispanic) going to or from the casinos in Louisiana (gambling is not legal in Texas).

One night a bus disembarked and sure enough it was a bunch of elderly Hispanics. Understand that working this shift is hard for it is somewhat unnatural to be awake during these hours. I probably didn’t look as awake as I could have been.

So these 2 Mexican women roll up to the counter to pay for whatever it is they bought and one of them tells the other one in Spanish,

This guy doesn’t even look like he’s awake

Of course she was referring to me and I let her know (in Spanish) that I was quite awake. The reaction was priceless as they always are when one commits such a faux pas. The woman was understandably embarrassed (unfortunately, I’ve been in her shoes and believe me it’s embarrassing) yet didn’t offer an apology.

She merely said, “Well you do look half-asleep”.

I know Pearl Jam sing about an “elderly woman behind a counter in a small town” but as for me the ones in front of a counter have proven more entertaining.

CS Lewis Posthumously Corrects Philip Pullman

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of “Heaven” ridiculous by saying they do not want “to spend eternity playing harps.” The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them…

A child saying a child’s prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and good. But if you are not–and the modern world usually is not–if you want to go on and ask what is really happening–then you must be prepared for something difficult. If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.

Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy Christianity. Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a child of six and make that the object of their attack. — C.S. Lewis

When a movie or a book comes out which is perceived to undermine Christianity, the reaction by some Christians really leaves a lot to be desired. The rallying cry of “Boycott” is heard from some Christian leaders and is a symptom of perhaps what can be called knee-jerk reactions.

Exhibit A,

“Christian groups slam new Kidman children’s movie”

The movie, of course, is “The Golden Compass” which is based on Phillip Pullman’s book “The Northern Lights”. Mr. Pullman does not like Christianity very much, this may be in part due to a misconception regarding the Way of Christ, but more than likely it might be the natural contempt humans have for the things of God, as the Apostle pointed out here.

Albert Mohler does not commit the mistake in Exhibit A, on the contrary he wrote a good article regarding the upcoming movie,
The Golden Compass — A Briefing for Concerned Christians

Dr. Mohler does his usual stellar job of breaking things down in a logical and concise manner. In his commentary, he cited an article in which Pullman further reveals his ignorance,

“This is exactly what happens in the Garden of Eden,” Pullman told me. “They become aware of sexuality, of the power the body has to attract attention from someone else. This is not only natural, but a wonderful thing! To be celebrated! Why the Christian Church has spent 2,000 years condemning this glorious moment, well, that’s a mystery. I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that this so-called original sin is anything but. It’s the thing that makes us fully human.”

Besides the obvious display of darkened human understanding, as evidenced by Pullman’s description of original sin, Isaiah describes Pullman’s view of things here.

Though Pullman is no fan of C.S. Lewis he might want to read his works to at least know just what he is so vehement against,

A reasonable (and traditional) guess, based on our own experiences of going wrong, can, however, be offered. The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting Yourself first–wanting to be the centre–wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race.

Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. (The story in the Book of Genesis rather suggests that some corruption in our sexual nature followed the fall and was its result, not its cause.)

What Satan put into the heads of our remote–ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods”–could set up on their own as if they had created themselves–be their own masters–invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God.

And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

Lewis goes on,

That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended–civilisations are built up–excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin.

In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down. They are trying to run it on the wrong juice. That is what Satan has done to
us humans.

Texas Tech Says No to “Vick ‘Em”

In no way do I condone what Michael Vick admitted to doing, that is, fighting dogs for “sport” and/or gambling, and brutally killing the dogs that did not perform per Mr. Vick’s standards.

That being said, I think the current flap over a t-shirt being sold in Lubbock in preparation for this Saturday’s game against Texas A&M is a fine example of inconsistent overreaction.

poor-taste.jpg

The shirt is a play on the Texas A&M motto, “Gig ’em” on the front. Seeming how the Aggie mascot is a female collie by the name of Reveille (yes, Texas A&M’s mascot is a female dog), the clear implication of the back of shirt is for the Texas Tech football team to do to the Aggies what Vick might to do Reveille, kill her.

Seeming how the Red Raiders have handled the Aggies the past 2 times they’ve played in Lubbock, the shirt does not seem too far fetched.

According to this story,

Tech officials announced the fraternity that sold the shirts was suspended temporarily and will face judicial review for allegedly violating the solicitation section of the students’ code of conduct. The school said it wouldn’t allow the sale on campus of items that are “derogatory, inflammatory, insensitive, or in such bad taste.”

No more shirts are being produced, the school said in a release.

Look, the shirt is in poor taste no question about it but banning its production?

If the frat that made these shirts makes a shirt showing a Longhorn being barbecued would there be this much outrage from the general public? Would Tech officials ban that shirt? I’m guessing not, because of the way dogs are viewed in this culture as almost-people.

The fact that we choose not to eat dog does not change the FACT that they’re still animals. True, animals which have been entrusted to us by God and therefore not to mistreat, but I think it is endemic in the U.S.A. to (incorrectly) view dogs as people, and unfortunately vice versa.

When I was at Texas, a student organization (can’t remember which) sold shirts prior to the annual Texas-Texas A&M match up. The shirts had “Gag ’em Aggies” on the front with a picture of a Longhorn receiving oral sex from a female Aggie cadet on the back.

I would say this shirt was more offensive than the one pictured above, yet UT administration not only did not lift a finger to prevent the sale of the shirt, it permitted this group to sell it on campus, inside Jester dormitory!