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Jake The Snake

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Dedicated To The Chair of My Dept [Mar. 27th, 2012|12:51 am]
Jake The Snake
You are an overweight, overpaid, ego-inflated pig that embodies everything I ever fought against as a higher-education organizer. You also grade my papers and ultimately decide whether or not I am "good enough" to stay in your Graduate program. I hope you are enjoying the blood, sweat, and tears of my tuition money while you brag about the Vodka in your overseas conferences - you alcoholic academic anachronism. Go ahead, get fat off of the struggles of immigrants, the young, the broke, the desperate, and other people that can't do anything but hope that your favoritism lands them a job someday. When I make it, I am dedicating my career to sending people like you to the unemployment line. You are the reason that assholes like Rick Santorum resonate with people that never felt included in academia.

They call it a chair because you don't get up off your ass to actually contribute to society.


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Random Snapshot [Mar. 19th, 2012|08:45 pm]
Jake The Snake
is thinking about the Middle Schoolers in the Bronx that could have snapped me like like a twig.  Where on Earth did a class made 6', 200LB Middle Schoolers come from?  The words "Classroom Management" don't really seem to capture the situation.  So, I did what any slender professorial gentleman would do - I told the massive kids that I knew some dudes that owed me money and that I would give them good grades in exchange for their "help" with my "MATH" lessons.  As they started to giggle,  I then gave them a short math accounting lesson.   It works well enough to take their attention away from their brand-new iphones... 
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Doc Sugar: Morningside Park (A Police Raid On A Sunday Picnic) [Jun. 7th, 2011|06:34 pm]
Jake The Snake
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Slim Proppa]


This was inspired by sad actual events last summer...
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Slant Rhyming: - Infidel by Dr. Sugar aka Slim Proppa [May. 13th, 2011|12:57 pm]
Jake The Snake


This is my first recording of Slant Rhyming - done on a bootleg Dell Mic with a banged-out Laptop that runs Linux...I also had a lung infection...total Rappin' Punk ISH!

Enjoy!
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Just too Hip to the Hop... [Feb. 16th, 2011|12:46 pm]
Jake The Snake
[music |"Infidel" by Slim Proppa]

When I'm Mopping up the Garbage,
Kids call me pops,
like the barber-shop
ballers did!

I have been working long days here at Test Prep, Inc.  At night, I've been going home and "venting..." which means that I've been spitting verses that I wrote at the top of my lungs.  I not only use my normally way-too-loud voice, uncontrollable mouth, wild emotions and other "negative" traits in a completely positive fashion, but also use some meditative breathing!  I read once about having a "creative meditation," where you channel your meditiative energies into a creative task.  The sensation is a higher wavelength of thought.  When I spit, I feel the sensation and also can't believe that the word/sound combinations came from this ole white boi from Gaithersburg, MD! 

Now, I have to "vent" every day, or else I get grumpy and pissed off!

Some time soon, I am going to record and post a track or two...I hope I still have some fans up in this place!
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The Only Comment I Can Say About This Past Weekend... [Dec. 13th, 2010|04:49 pm]
Jake The Snake
[mood |Mack like the knife]



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It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year [Nov. 24th, 2010|09:11 am]
Jake The Snake
Because I am hungry!
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Your First Love [Oct. 7th, 2010|01:51 pm]
Jake The Snake
For eons, humans have been trying to define the concept of love.  At it's most base, it is a series of molecular reactions that have formed cells for the purpose of releasing certain chemicals in the body that create pleasure and attraction to others who (somewhat randomly) generate the desire to procreate and maintain the species.  I cannot recall the first time that this happened, but it is surely one of the best biological processes that humans have ever evolved to create.
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30 Days Meme - Introduction [Oct. 7th, 2010|12:33 am]
Jake The Snake
It's been a long time since I have posted. I may as well make it a Meme:

Day 01 - Introduction
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – What you ate today
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your day
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A moment
Day 09 – General, important beliefs you hold
Day 10 – Your spiritual beliefs
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – Your pets
Day 13 – Your favorite food
Day 14 – This week
Day 15 – Your dreams
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favourite memory
Day 18 – Your favourite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – This month
Day 21 – Another moment
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – A first
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favourite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your aspirations
Day 30 – One last moment


Introduction:

What is there to say in an introduction that is truly that important? The breadth of a human life is insignificant when compared to the grand scheme of the universe. Today, a human life can expect to live about 80 years. Our universe is estimated to have existed for Trillions of years (That's 1000000000000's). In fact, if the universe's lifespan thus far was measured on a 24-hour clock, human beings would only have existed in the last second of the last minute before midnight of the next day (11:59:59PM). Since an event that scientists refer to in the Big Bang Theory, our universe has existed as a result of a massive physical reaction to a source of energy. Since then, the universe has been expanding. We can measure the expansion of the universe by measuring known astrological positions over time. Their rate of movement indicates that the universe's expansion is actually slowing down...which is troubling to consider that eventually, the universe may reverse-course and start to shrink...

Since the formation of the universe, the laws of physics developed that allowed for the development of planets: inertia, gravity, molecular bonding, etc. Most of what we know of as Space is made up of a little-understood substance known as "dark matter." Things like planets, stars, asteroids, people and slices of pizza are made up of "matter," whose mass in the universe is also infintesimal compared to the amount of dark matter. Mini-big bangs have occurred that formed giant vortexes in space, known as Black Holes. These massive fields of gravity attracted the building blocks of pure energy, which eventually collided and bonded into stars. Groups of stars gather together around these black holes to form Galaxies, and a black hole is at the center of each galaxy. Galaxies move and drift around in space, much like planets do around stars and stars do within Galaxies. There is typically a large amount of dark matter between each galaxy, and many of the distant stars that we see are actually distant galaxies whose light took thousands or millions of years to reach earth.

With the formation of stars, collisions and heat made molecules bond into other elements, forming things like asteroids, comets, etc. The gravitational pull of stars attracted large amounts of these molecules, and the explosions within these stars also produces large amounts of solids that cooled and solidified once they were projected far enough from the stars. Other stars and galaxies failed to bond together completely, forming objects like the Horsehead Nebula. Nebulas are the largest producers of non-pure energy elements, like comets and asteroids. They are made up of large gas elements that formed as a result of the failed bonding process.

The eventual result of all of this violent action was the forming of big rocks that started to linger in a regular orbital pattern around stars. Over the course of billions of years, these rocks would be hit by thousands of these element-containing objects, which would introduce the other molecules necessary to form water, and eventually, atmospheric gasses. If the gravity of these objects was large enough, they would retain these gasses near the big objects, eventually creating the building blocks of planets.

This takes us eventually to our own solar system, where yet another series of cosmic coincidences occurred. First, we need a sun that is our size to sustain us. Second, we have to be in the ideal range from the sun for our planet to not be too hot (like Venus) or too cold (like Mars). We also had to be big enough to retain an atmosphere. At one time, the Earth was much smaller, and had an orbital twin - the moon. The moon once had an atmosphere, similar to ours, but the two bodies collided and we stole both the mass of the moon and it's atmospheric elements. We are also essentially in the shadow of Jupiter, a planet thousands of times the size of the Earth, whose gravity protects us from the constant bombardment of asteroids and comets that would destroy our planet.

So, in essence, I was born, will live in a microscopic span of time, and die. And my life will be of less consequence than the few droplets of water vapor that came off of a comet millions of years ago containing the basic amino acids needed to create the first invertibrate life.
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Contemplations on Race, African Immigration, The African Holocaust, and Interracial Relationships [Oct. 6th, 2010|02:57 pm]
Jake The Snake
For those who have followed this blog since its inception (no, not the movie!), this used to be my mental space for my own explorations of race, culture, and white privilege. In light of some recent discussions, I think that it is time to dust it off again.

My fiance, Helene, is about to finish her bachelors and is taking an elective course on race and feminism (yay!). Helene's family is from Cote D'Ivoire / Ivory Coast in West Africa.  She came here when she was 18 months old, so her personal nuances are far more Americanized than her parents and older brother (her brother is 10 years her senior). The opening class excersize required the students to describe a time that they had been stereotyped, or had themselves stereotyped someone else.
 
Her response mostly revolved around our relationship - obviously an interracial one.  Her and I have been together for 2 years.  It isn't like I "forget" that we have differences in rearing and appearances, or that I am lucky to avoid the stereotypes in my personal and professional life; but after two years of looking at her every day, I pretty much just look at Helene as Helene...the fashionista, businesswoman, student, chef, and queen of the biting one-ups-man-ship that is so awesome to be around...unfortunately, the rest of the world is a different story.  I don't want to turn this into a post about "woe is me in my interracial relationship" but an understanding of this reality is necessary to contextualize my broader point.

Helene and I live in Harlem, not far from the Apollo.  While I have heard a few comments from white acquaintences about dating a brown-person, most of the negativity that her and I have encountered has come from other black people.  She has received comments asking if she thinks she's "better than everybody," "don't like black men," "is a traitor," that "no black man would want her anyway," and "is trying to be white."  I have heard comments directed at me, like "she just needs a real man to f**k her," "stop raping our women," "go get another hoe" and "you must be a down-low f@&&0t".  These are the overt things, besides the random looks and dudes who try to grope her right in front of me to provoke a reaction...and people wonder why so many cats in Harlem take martial arts!

We both understand that these are the few ignorant, unhappy (and usually a little bit crazy) people whose own self-centeredness prevents them from just letting two people be happy.  We try our best to, as Helene says, "Keep it moving."  But trying to summarize these occurances drew up other questions, that relate more to the reason for my post:

Helene was referring to the diverse array of African discendants in Harlem (and America in general) in trying to comment on our encounters.  She asked me my opinion on the proper linguistic terminology to define various African people's ancestry, based on my African-American studies background from college.  I could only explain what my understanding was, based on my readings of books and conversations with friends.  I emphasized that it was up to her to figure out how each term sat with her and then choose accordingly.  I will summarize my comments below:

African - a person born in an African country, who may have immigrated to another country.  A person of African ancestry who can trace their family to a specific people or location in Africa.  This is typically how Helene views herself.

African-American - a person of African ancestry, born in America - see "black" below.  Also used by African Immigrants in reference to themselves as Americanized Africans, or as the broader Diasporic community in America.  Helene did not identify with this title, because she was not born in America.  I have also heard "black" people state that they did not identify with this title, because they were not born in Africa and can only identify with their American heratage, due to the effect of the African Holocaust (also called the slave trade) on them and their ancestors.

Black - an African-American person who can be of the "second-generation" (or later) idea above.  Helene does identify with this, largely because this term is also how all people of African discent in America are lumped together.   Black is also commonly used to refer to discendants of the victims of the African Holocaust, whose ancestry is less likely to be traced to a specific people in Africa.  This is because people's cultural history was erraticated by European oppressors in order to maintain social control on oppressed African laborers and their children. 

Brown - sometimes a response to the negative connotations of "black" above.  Helene mentioned that other places on the Earth outside of Africa are also brown, so this is inaccurate to her.

Person of Color - another, more respectful attempt to quantify the "African" cultural element.  Helene mentioned that all people on the Earth have a color, so that this also does not sit well with her.

As you can see, it is difficult to find one universally accurate, unilaterally accepted term for the various manifestations of the African Diaspora...and I didn't even get into the other complexities, such as Afro-Brazilians, Afro-Cubans, Franco-Caribbean and White Africans.  I also realize that there is going to be at least one person on my LJ alone that finds an issue with the above definitions...

And therein is the point of this post: we must remember that race is an idea that has no basis in science and was invented for social control and economic exploitation.  Neely Fuller, a black cultural scholar, explained that words are tools.  Tools serve to empower those who possess and invent them.  In this case, words like Black, African-American, etc are trying to define a concept that cannot be defined in any logical sense, because race is an illogical, false concept.  

I am not hating on anyone who has pride in their ancestry.  I am stating that attempts by oppressed people to define themselves within the racial system are almost an excersise in futility.  The system of race is designed to cause division amongst oppressed people, to make it easier to exploit them and their children.  According to Fuller, there are only two kinds of people under the system of White Supremacy / Race: White and Non-White.  By this logic, Africans attempting to define themselves accurately under the racial system is impossible, because fundamentally, they are still "non-white."

Consider, the fact that the U.S. Census still has a race question on its surveying.  Every 10 years, the census comes up with more and more check-boxes to place people in, in the futile attempt to provide legitamecy to an illogical, illegitament, unscientific method of classifying humans.  For instance, African discendants from the Dominican Republic can be classified as African, because that is where their ancestors came from.  However, the population of DR was conquored by Spain, so the island is Spanish-speaking, if not also genetically intermixed with the "Latino" race - as well as the Native islanders that were there before the invasion of Europeans.  Also consider Jamaicans, who, in addition to their own native populations, have also seen people intermix from India, Southeastern Asia and Africa.  Yet, we would likely classify Jamaican in this country as African-discendant, black, or at least "Caribbean."  With these two examples alone, we can quickly see the quagmire that is forming...

I am not trying to spit the "color-blind" notion that we need to ignore our sociocultural histories or not acknowledge and respect cultural differences.  Cultural differences are beautiful and provide for a multitude of perspectives that enrich everyone.  But these differences have no baring on our value as human beings and cannot simply be lumped together under racial definitions.  The fact is, we've been trying for hundreds of years to come up with an accurate, working definition of race.  Racial "definitions" have evolved over time to further convolude and divide communities, in response to different groups frustrating the white supremacist hegemony.  We'd never stop to wonder why, with the supposed cultural differences between China and India, for example, both are still considered "Asian..." of course, the most recent Census tried to create a distinction between the two...

I hope that my broader point about the white supremacist system hasn't offended anyone.  My purpose here was to make people think.  Please feel free to comment with your own perspective on the situation, or respond to anything else that I have said.

Peace. Respect. Love.

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