Sunday, November 21, 2010

patter




i remember
the precise patter
of his heart racing
beneath my ear

him?
I could do without
but his patter?
his patter, I miss

Friday, November 12, 2010

Can beautiful just let smart live?!

My bestie recently earned her doctorate in neuroscience. She’s gorgeous (no exaggeration). A few months ago, we were complaining about our abysmal dating experiences when I think I made her cry:

Her: “I’m real hopeful about the future.”
Me: “I’m not. You think shit gets better after grad school? I don’t. Negroes are already intimidated by brains… da f*ck you think gon’ happen when they hear you’re a Ph.D.? There’s no hope for either of us. It’s over. We’re gonna be spinsters.”

I speak harshly at times. Ok…most times… so I apologized. I can’t even say I really believe that - I was just having a moment. But beneath my point lies one nagging assumption:

Women can’t be too smart. If you are, no one will like you.


I just cringed typing that. Even looks bad written there. Mostly because I don’t want to accept that I’ve accepted that. But I have.

Enter Kanye West and his Runaway movie. He serves up Selita Ebanks as a feathered-out Phoenix – complete with 12 ft. wing span and 24-karat talons.



I truly enjoyed the flick and CAN’T WAIT for Kanye’s album. Runaway left me with three thoughts:

1) Damn! Selita Ebanks has some nice tetas! Are those things real?!?
2) “Your girlfriend is really beautiful… do you know she’s a bird?” – voted most memorable line. I’m still snickering at the double entendre, even if it wasn’t intended.
3) Society’s conceptualization of ultimate beauty in women is usually coupled with romanticization of naivet√©.


I get it. Men fantasize about exposing women to new things and being eternally jocked because of it. Wide-eyed gratitude generally comes easier from dogs and toddlers – and stupid people. Accordingly, men cherish (subconsciously or not) ignorance in women. Oh, you can be smart… just don’t be too smart - meaning smarter than the cute boy you’re talking to.

I know there are men who find smart women to be the sexiest thing on the planet, but I’m willing to bet they’re in the minority. Also, I’ve found that a man’s fascination with a woman’s intelligence usually wears off quickly – right around the time when she’s right and he’s wrong. Suddenly, smart isn’t sexy anymore. Nope, then you’re just a bitch.

I dunno...maybe it’s just me. Perhaps some day I’ll learn to walk these fine lines between intelligent and bitch - between assertive and dike - between opinionated and shrew. Or maybe some day beautiful will go her own way, and just let smart be.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Black "Dating" Proposals

Of course I couldn't just let "Black Marriage Negotiations" slide!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Who Cares About Black Male Privilege Anyway?


In a recent post, @TKOEd expressed concern regarding the terminology “Black Male Privilege.” Reasonable criticism from reasonable individuals always makes me pause to think. That’s when it hit me:

Why are Black women defining their grievances vis-à-vis Black men anyway?

On some multi-tiered dream-within-a-dream “Inception” type isht, the concept is about as patriarchal as it gets.

We must ask ourselves, what is the purpose of the Black Male Privilege debate? Is it not to articulate grievances of Black women in hopes that those injustices be eradicated?

If this is true, then we ought to express grievances of Black women in a narrative centered on Black women. We need not relegate Black women’s plight to a position beneath the thumb of Black men. Furthermore, there are enough communication difficulties between Black men and women in America today. I concede tossing up the word “privilege” if it means our intergender debates proceed productively.

If our purpose is to abolish injustices specific to Black women, we must begin our conversation on agreeable grounds (that’s Persuasion 101). The history of the Black man in America makes it extraordinarily difficult for him to swallow the idea of being an oppressor. Correspondingly, the Black Male Privilege debate has become divisive, and inevitably distracts us into a counterproductive and phallocentric discourse.

When we discuss the issues of Black women, let us discuss the issues of Black women, not the privileges of Black men. In that way, we keep the debate appropriately focused instead of derailing it into a conversation that ultimately buries our gripes (which is exactly the opposite of what we desired in the first place).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Barriers to medical advancements and the silly people that perpetuate them.

I read an article on CNN today that really cramped my crotch: Many studies great news for mice, not so much for humans

Besides the fact that it’s misleading and poorly researched, the commentary fails to disclose one very important aspect limiting the translation of bench-top biomedical research to clinical practice – profitability.

Here’s the skinny: sometimes, academic scientists can cure diseases in lab mice. Often, that’s where the story ends. Basic biomedical research infrequently becomes real-world application. There are significant reasons for this beyond those discussed in the CNN article, and they are multifold:


First, academicians aren’t particularly interested in profiting monetarily from discovery. Sounds silly, right? Unfortunately, it’s generally true. Most academics aren’t beholden to academia because they want to be rich. I’m not claiming that everyone conducting biomedical research at a university is altruistic, but if money were a pressing issue, they’d probably work in industry where they could make truckloads of it. Furthermore, it’s somewhat frowned upon in the scientific community to be all about da benjamins. I guess because researchers are supposed to be in it for the greater good, or fanatical about the integrity of our work, or something like that. Whatever the reasons, academics seldom turn their biomedical research discoveries into tangible, patentable, and marketable products (read: medicines).

Second, industry doesn’t care what academics do.
Admittedly, I’m exaggerating. Yet, ask any employee of a pharmaceutical company’s research and development team about this, and you’ll find the truth isn’t too far fetched. Industry is about profit. Drug companies have one major goal: make money. If they intend to develop a drug and market it, they require near certainty that the drug will sell. Unfortunately, diseases and/or novel therapeutic modalities that interest academics because they’re rare or understudied, usually carry the least potential profit for pharmaceutical companies – because they’re rare and understudied. Furthermore, communication between academia and industry is abysmal, preventing even those ideas which might be of mutual benefit from propagating in fertile soil. Many researchers are working on closing these gaps; still, the sharing of intellectual property between academia and industry can best be described as “throwing it over the fence.” As a result, few if any academic biomedical research discoveries are subsequently translated by industry into tangible, patentable, and marketable pharmaceuticals.

Furthermore, WE LET THIS HAPPEN. That’s right, you and me – the market. We dictate what sells based on what we buy. And for some reason, we’re more concerned about erections than we are about prostate cancer. We the people aren’t protecting ourselves from the inherent dangers of free markets in medicine. We’re content to let the market regulate itself. As a result, acne has a better shot at being cured than melanoma. There are ways out of this. The government could offer incentives to pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments for rare but fatal diseases. We could develop programs that foster discourse between academia and industry. We could invest more into therapeutic development via The National Institutes of Health…

The point is, the greatest barrier to medical advancement isn’t lack of technology - it’s misdirected motive. If we can engineer diseases in mice, trust me when I tell you that we can cure those diseases in humans. Yet, as long as we allow the healthcare market to regulate itself and let profit be the primary motive for medical advancement, we’ll get drugs that induce 4-hour erections and treat restless leg syndrome instead of cures for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yes, the whole world causes cancer. Sorry.

I read about cancer and conduct research towards a cure nearly everyday of my life. Little disheartens me more than the constant barrage of attacks (usually instigated by companies trying to make a profit) aimed at products which have served us valiantly for decades, now accused of being carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).

Look folks, the truth is EVERYTHING causes cancer. I can design an experiment that demonstrates any entity you can think of induces cancer in cells growing on plastic. Even water. The fact is, environmental stressors promote tumorigenesis. Yet, cancer itself is a set a complex genetic diseases – none of which can be attributed to a solitary cause. A series of unfortunate genetic events generally precedes the unchecked cell division that typically initiates tumor development. Thankfully, your body is pretty good at protecting itself from singular perturbations; nevertheless, accumulating events can overwhelm the body’s defenses, thereby causing the petrifying disease. To my dismay, people tend to focus on avoiding particular disease-causing agents, instead of taking a more beneficial holistic approach to health.

So does this mean microwaves and cell phones don’t cause cancer? If I’m perfectly honest, I have to give you an answer you probably don’t want to hear – I don’t know. In fact, the jury is still out in the cancer research community on many environmental agents purported to be cancer causing. But the axiom of consequence has previously been stated - EVERYTHING causes cancer. Hence, the best advice anyone can give you when it comes to lowering your risk for tumor development is simple: “all things in moderation.”

I know you didn’t want to hear that. You wanted me to provide a list of things you could consume or avoid to lower your cancer risks. How’s this for a list: eat right, exercise, keep away from bad things, take in more good things, place limits on everything. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help to reduce your risks for cancer, and ALL diseases. It really is just that simple folks… and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or should I say a cancer biologist) to figure it out.