January 21st, 2013

kusanagi: aww

Racism Sucks, by the Barber Institute security guard

My dad and I went to the Barber Institute, the art gallery at the University of Birmingham, a couple of weeks ago. The (self-identified) Jamaican-Black-and-Chinese security guard greeted us in a jocular manner, then later came to talk with us while we were wandering through the permanent collection. After a few minutes of the standard where-are-you-from, gosh-the-weather-is-cold stuff, he peered at us keenly and said,

"I have a story for you guys. I think you'll like it. My stepmum is white. She used to take great pride in introducing me by saying, 'This is my son.' Then she'd watch people look from me to her with puzzled frowns, and she'd say calmly, 'Is there a problem?' They'd look embarrassed and reply 'No, no, of course not.' She'd smile at them and say, 'Good.'"

My dad and I laughed sympathetically.

"I gotta tell you one more. I took my Jamaican Chinese relatives out to my local when they were visiting Birmingham and introduced them to my mates. When my uncle started talking, one of them dropped his pint and the other one stood there with his mouth open for a good few minutes. I love doing that. I love showing people how stupid racism is. All right, I'll leave you alone. You enjoy your time with your granddaughter."

♥ ♥ ♥
lolcat: science

My Up-goer Five bio

On being a spacecraft engineer, using only the ten hundred most used English words:

I went to school for a long, long time. I tried a job doing exactly what I had studied but I didn't like it enough to keep doing it. So I moved far away and tried again.

Now I have job I enjoy. I work with a group of people who build things. Our things get sent into space. They tell us how much of something that we can't see, smell, touch or hear is present in space. It takes a long time to build a thing that can go into space and stay on for years. We have to make sure our things don't break easily and don't use too much power. I use a computer to make sure that the stuff our things tell us is right. This is so that we can learn about our world and other worlds. We want to know things like: how shifting lights in the sky form, how the hot stuff in the middle of worlds helps keep them safe from the stars and how to find worlds that could have life on them.

Right now I'm taking a break from my job because I had a baby. I take a lot of pictures of my baby, my boyfriend, my cat and my house. I also like to tell true stories to my friends and to paint. I live in a place that lets me spend time raising my baby without losing my job. This place also gave me free care during the time just before I had my baby. I'm happy because when I do my job, I help to pay for this care for myself and for other people who can't pay for it. This is very good and I wish it were true in more places, like the place where I used to live.

(Created using the Up-goer Five text editor http://splasho.com/upgoer5/, which challenges you to use only the ten hundred most common words to explain an idea.

Words I was unable to use: instrument, measure, device, engineer, planet, system, country, partner. Worst of all, the word “science” was forbidden. Argh!)

Unpaid work and universal childcare by [personal profile] rmc28
Singlet oxygen by [personal profile] holdthesky
Political canvassing by [personal profile] miss_s_b
Working for a Fair Trade organisation by [personal profile] ironed_orchid
Working as a clinical psychologist by [personal profile] vi
Working in retail by [personal profile] pbristow
Working in the hotel industry written begrudgingly by [personal profile] gominokouhai
Virtualization and "the cloud" by [personal profile] azurelunatic
Researching politics, gender and human rights by [personal profile] ajnabieh
On being a physics teacher by [personal profile] crystalpyramid
Space science & outreach by [personal profile] rinkle
Teaching people about dinosaurs by [personal profile] innerbrat

ETA: They accepted my submission to the Ten Hundred Words of Science tumblr: here.