Saturday, April 20, 2013

Women who don't have it all

Childless, single, women like me who just work. Yes, we are worthless in today's media and society. We are so far from having it all that we don't even get a discussion. We're that useless. Selfish creatures, all of us. I don't mean to sound negative but I feel that it's true. In this day an age, if you're not a mother, you're nothing. I feel that every single day of my life and I know there are thousands of women out there like me who are made to feel the same way. This is the state of feminism today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

nerd litmus test

Both pop culture and hispters have hijacked the term "nerd" and turned the image of "nerd" into something cool and pride-worthy.

I don't think nerds should be mocked or ostracized, and being a nerd is a worthy aspiration. My problem is that these people are now changing the definition of nerd to suit themselves, often so much that the very word is almost becoming meaningless. Also many self-proclaimed nerds or the pop culture version of nerds actually do little justice to nerds themselves, because the former versions of "nerds" in actuality are not nerds at all. No, they are cool people, manipulating the use of nerd to further give themselves outsider credibility and to emphasize how "different" they are from the boring, shallow jocks and sorority girls that are in stark contrast to their intelligent, culturally-sophisticated selves.

Yeah.

The definition of nerd that I'm going to be using is the socially-awkward, bookish, academically-driven, unfashionable nerd that I grew up with. The nerd who didn't have alot of friends and who wasn't popular in high school. In fact, social isolation and social ineptness is the hallmark of the nerd. The nerd is someone who dressed in clothes about 5 years behind what was considered trendy, or who wore clothes that weren't trendy at all. The nerd had interests that were far from the mainstream and who had trouble relating to others as a result. Almost always, the nerd was not attractive, or at least not attractive enough to be popular. (Hot girl nerds do not exist) I'm not going to use the alternate definition, listed in dictionary.com, that of someone who is single-minded in his or her obsession with something (comic books, computers, film, literature, fantasy, etc.). Although many nerds also fit the definition of being devoted to some hobby or interest, many people who fit this second definition are not nerds!! Although they would like you to believe they are. No no no!

So I have developed what I consider to be my nerd litmus test.

1. If you had sex in high school, YOU ARE NOT A NERD. NOR WERE YOU A NERD. Claiming you were a nerd in high school (now a favorite claim, especially among my generation, where the hallmark of coolness is that you're not considered cool) but mentioning you lost your virginity at 15 is like someone saying they survived cancer only to later mention that it was a stage one basal cell mole that they had successfully removed. It's just not the same. If you were successful in having sex in high school, that means that you were socially capable enough to to convince someone that having sex with you was a good idea. You probably were more than "socially-capable" and were pretty darn socially apt. You obviously were someone who wasn't completely embarrassing to be around, meaning that you were pretty presentable to downright attractive. Nope, no nerdness for you. And if you had a girlfriend or boyfriend, particularly if they went to your school, well, you're even more undeserving of claiming nerd cred.
"But wait! But I was in the school band! That makes me a total nerd. Even though I did get laid, it was with a former bandmate. I am nerd!!!!" (No, you are not. You could call yourself a band geek because you identify with that high school subculture, but you still probably had lots of friends and were popular within that group, and were clearly charming enough to trick someone into sleeping with you. You were not a nerd. Goodbye).

2. If you were voted "Best of" in any category in high school,you were not a nerd. This relates somewhat back to the first point. If your classmates knew enough of you and liked you enough to vote for you to win something, you weren't a nerd. You actually should consider yourself popular. Just because you didn't fit the teen movie stereotype of the popular crowd doesn't mean in actual high school you were unpopular or a nerd. Since when did any high school actually resemble the ones in teen movies?

3. Ladies: If you were ever voted onto any type of homecoming or prom court. This doesn't require explanation.

4. You were or are extremely good-looking. Nope. Even if you are incredibly shy, you probably have lots and lots of admirers. And usually really good-looking adults get very used to people being super nice to them for no reason other than them being incredibly hot, so they tend to get over their shyness. Self-confidence will do that. Which is why Felicia Day is a total geek, but not a nerd. And Zoey Deschanel? She's not a nerd on ANY planet. She's a beautiful, funny hipster who has a geeky devotion to things that aren't necessarily "cool". Which is now becoming cool. Which is why lots of girls are now saying they were or are nerds. When they're not. Which is what led me to write this in the first place. But I digress.

EXCEPTION: If you weren't good-looking in high school, either because you successfully hid it in ugly or terrible clothes (just wearing glasses doesn't count, again with the teen movies people!), or because you were a late bloomer, you can claim nerd cred ONLY if you didn't have sex, didn't have a boyfriend/girlfriend, and weren't popular.

5. You enjoy anything that is now popular and mainstream but still called "nerdy." Liking science fiction movies and novels, fantasy movies and novels, comic book characters, and/or video games no longer places you into the nerd category. These pursuits are incredibly popular now. Liking this stuff doesn't make you a nerd. Sure, if you were obsessed with Game of Thrones when it first came out you could possibly claim some nerd cred, but now? Puhleash. If my mother and half the people on the train are now reading Game of Thrones, then it's popular enough to not be considered weird. And now that 50 percent or more of Hollywood films are based upon comic book characters and science-fiction concepts, the former obscure obsessions of some nerds aren't that anymore. I mean, it's cool to go to Comic-cons now. In other words, cultural interests that are no longer weird, obscure, or "lame", are no longer nerdy.

This whole false labeling of nerds matters to me because I happen to have some nerd friends. And those that want to steal this label unfairly for themselves are taking away from actual nerds who deserve the title, for all it's negative and positive connotations. If someone was actually a nerd in high school, it is likely they had a lot of difficult and trying situations to deal with. So for some asshole to take that away from them because they "were into comic books" or "really into films" yet were surrounded by lots of friends and dressed cool and had sex with many women...well fuck you. You don't get to claim that title. And neither do you, pretty girls who happen to be into Harry Potter or knitting or other such shit. Quit trying to make people have false empathy for you. Quit trying to act like you are cool because at some point in your life you supposedly weren't. I'm not buying it. Stop diminishing the experiences of people I know and admire who actually are nerds. I'm sure the Bill Gates's and the Sheldon Coopers of the world will thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

to all those people who were cheering at the republican national debate....

I think even the presidential candidates were appalled when the scenario was presented of a man who "chose not to buy insurance" (I love how they stated he had a job, made an income, but CHOSE not to get insurance....like most uninsured people are this guy...right) and slipped into a coma, and since he didn't have insurance, was not treated and died, and some people cheered for that.

My response to them, which I firmly believe, is that without compassion, humanity is nothing.

Death shouldn't be cheered or applauded. Especially the death of someone whose only "crime" was that he didn't have health insurance. I hope I am never one of those people who feels such a sense of entitlement and has such a view of the world in simplistic black and white terms that anyone who is poor or has made a bad decision or who hasn't had the most "ideal" life (whatever that is, apparently some of these people think they know) that I would be happy to hear of their deaths. I am saddened by the joyous and self-righteous reaction of these people, and hope they are not the majority.

The part that scares me is who else's death they would applaud...whoever didn't fit into their category of "worthy." That kind of thinking is scary....I think of the Holocaust-

Thursday, September 8, 2011

my new writing project

So I am working on a new project and it's going to be fantasy. I probably won't ever let anyone else read it, but I am having fun coming up with stuff I want to put in it and doing research etc etc. Today I made a list of character names I thought would be cool. I am leaning towards doing very formal, pretentious, old-fashioned names like Remington, Montgomery, Dabney, Emerson, Dashiell, Caldwell, etc for male characters, and names like Bernice, Millicent, Charmaine, Patience, etc for females. The hard part will be coming up with last names. If anyone has any cool character names I can steal from them, let me know!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

my reaction to the NPR 100 best sci-fi and fantasy books of all time

Since sci-fi and fantasy is my bread-and-butter, I feel the need to analyze the recently published NPR sci-fi/fantasy novel list as voted by people who like NPR. I have alot of friends who listen to NPR, and I've always felt that it should be something I enjoy, but for some reason I haven't bothered to look up which station it plays on where I live. It's probably because I'm spending my time reading fantasy novels and/or watching my TV shows, which are all about some aspect of science fiction or vampires. I have pretty much watched every show dedicated to vampires in the past few years, with a few exceptions. Not necessarily something to brag about, or even feel proud of. If I choose to beleive the results from a single scientific study recently published, than I am shedding years from my life span with every hour of vampire-tv I watch.
But on to the list!

1. Lord of the Rings, Tolkien: This was no surprise considering it pretty much spawned the whole genre. Three series started me on my whole love of this genre, and LOTR was one of them. The others were Harry Potter and The Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn (which is sadly unfinished).

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide, Adams: I love this book series so I'm fine with it being number 2.

3. Ender's Game, Card: I read this as a pre-teen and loved it. When I revisited it as an adult I wasn't as excited by it. But I understand why it's so popular and it certainly deserves to be in the top 10.

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert: Hell yes!!!! I love Dune.

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin. He is someone I read and am angry that I could never write as well as he does. I also find him very inspirational for my own writing. He doesn't hold back in making his descriptions as gritty and realistic as possible. He has been accused of being exploitative of violence and rape, but I disagree. The world of this series isn't pretty or designed to make you want to live there, but it is fascinating.

6. 1984, by George Orwell. Yes, I suppose it's a classic. But there are about 200 books in this genre that I have liked more than this one.

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. I would argue Martian Chronicles is better.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov. I haven't read it. I did read The Gods Themselves, because it won a Nebula, and I thought it had an interesting perspective but the writing was pretty boring.

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. This is a book I feel I should like more than I do.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I'm a huge fan of this book, but I'm not as into his other novels. And I don't think he's above Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson, or Robin Hobb.

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. I like the movie better.

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan. Yeah, I get it, I guess. This is one of the first "serial" fantasy novels in the recent decades. But the books are damned slow....and the gender politics in them are so boring. All the main female characters are bitchy shrews and the male characters are hopelessly confused and inept around the women. And chaste. I like the magic and world of these books (granted, I've only read the first 3), but so much else about this series puts me off: too many characters that I don't care about (which can happen in George R. R. Martin's books but they're so engaging that I don't mind as much); glacially-moving story, and no pay-off in the sex/romance department.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell: I haven't read it.

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson: Haven't read.

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore: I'm sorry but this doesn't deserve 15th in this list. Maybe in a list of greatest graphic novels. The story is good, and I think he is a really talented writer, but there is no way he should be above writers like Neal Stephenson and Robin Hobb. WTF.

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov: Haven't read but he is already in the top 10 for his other books; this is overkill.

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. Haven't read.

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss. I like this author and this is a good fantasy novel, but I am pissed that he is above Robin Hobb and Jacqueline Carey. Ugh!

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut: I don't consider this sci-fi but I love Vonnegut so he gets a pass.

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I read this in school. The end.

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick. Should read.

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. Should read.

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King. Go Roland! Ultimate bad-ass.

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke. Haven't read.

25. The Stand, by Stephen King. My favorite post-apocalyptic novel. Just skip most of the part where they're in Boulder and you'll be fine.

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. Not my fave, but awesome.

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. This should replace 451 and that should be removed from the top 10.

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. I suppose this is sci-fi. Whatever.

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman. Haven't read.

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. Fine.

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein: I love the movie but I hear the book is much different, and not as silly or satirical. Heinlein was apparently glorifying the military-industrial complex and not making fun of it. It looks like an interesting read.

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams. I have this book but haven't read it.

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey. Cool.

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein. Never read.

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller. Never heard of it.

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. He should be higher but ok.

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne. Haven't read.

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys. This is sci-fi? I guess-

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells. Eh.

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny. Haven't read.

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings. Since I am already reading Martin and some other reallllly long books, I am really hesitant to start another author who writes several books in a series of over 1000 pages.

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This should be higher. This book is better than any Gaiman book I have read. Give me a break.

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson. I didn't like Mistborn. He's very popular. Whatevs.

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven. Haven't read.

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin. Haven't read.

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I get LOTR but this? Come on.

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White. I'm glad that Mists of Avalon was ranked higher than this. hehehehe.

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. Seriously? I can find about 50 authors with books more deserving than this one.

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke. Haven't read.

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan. Haven't read.

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons. I love Dan Simmons. It's bs that he isn't ranked higher than Gaiman or Patrick Rothfuss..or f'in Sanderson.

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. The movie is better than the book. Why is there so much fucking Gaiman? I like him, but COME ON people. I can think of SEVERAL books more deserving, than this. This book isn't really a novel, it's so short it should be considered a novella. And it's not that well-written.

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson. Yay!!!!!

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks. Haven't read.

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. I love the movie. Does that count?

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman. Haven't read.

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett should be higher than his fellow Englishman Gaiman.

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson. I'm a little baffled that Rothfuss and Sanderson are above Stephen Donaldson. He was on of the first fantasy authors to introduce the concept of the deeply flawed, reluctant hero.

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold. She is awesome!

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett. They should just have the whole Discworld series as one entry to make room for additional worthy authors/books.

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. Haven't read.

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind. I haven't read this but have heard from sources I trust that this series is a bunch of crap. It's obviously a projection of the author's adolescent fantasy of being a Christ-like savior of the world with the other characters (especially the woman) having no value whatsoever. Lame.

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Depressing.

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. This book should be much much higher. This book should be in the Top 20. Sigh.

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. Haven't read.

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist. I've heard this a good series.

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks. Lame. If you want to read a re-telling of LOTR then go for it.

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard. Haven't read.

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb. Really NPR fans. Really? You think she isn't as good as Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss or fucking Terry Goodkind. Take the sticks out of your ass NPR voters!!!! Robin Hobb is one of the best modern fantasy writers..wayyyy better than alot of the writers above her who think they're cleverly subverting fantasy tropes in their writing but really aren't. She actually DOES IT. Her books are like NOTHING you will read in other fantasy novels. Nothing. If you don't believe me than pick this series up and I will happy to argue with you ove rpersonal opinoin and preferences :)

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. Boo! This book got alot of acclaim when it was published and so I read it. It's shouldn't be on this list.

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. Ugh. So unfair.

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne. Haven't read.

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore. Haven't read.

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi: Haven't read.

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson. Stephenson rocks!

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. I haven't read any Clarke but does he merit all these books on this list?

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey. FU NPR voters. This series is better than Rothfuss, Jordan, and Sanderson! It's got hot lesbian action and S&M! All you male sci-fi and fantasy nerds should be reading this book. Right now.

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin. Haven't read.


79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. NO. Just because he's a legend of the genre doesn't mean a silly little book like this deserves to be in the top 100.

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire. It's good.

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson. again, so long.

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. Okay.

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks. Haven't read.

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart. Haven't read.

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. I love Stephenson, but not sure he needs so many of his novels on this list.

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher. I haven't read. His Harry Dresden series is fun.

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. I'm not a fan of his. I tried to read The Wizard Knight series because it won some awards but it wasn't my thing. I think he's a good writer though.

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn. Haven't read although I've heard good things about this author.

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan. I love this series but it's really more historical fiction with a little time travel thrown in.

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock. Haven't read.

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury. Just because he's Ray, doesn't mean every 10 entries or so have to be him.

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. Haven't read.

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge. Haven't read.

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov. boo.

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson. Haven't read.

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. Haven't read.

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis. She has won the most Hugo and Nebula awards of ANY sci-fi or fantasy author and only one of her books appears at 97? Once again, FU NPR Voters!!!!!

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville. Heard good things.

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony. Haven't read. The covers of these books scare me. And that's saying alot because I read many many fantasy books with crazy covers.

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis. I haven't even heard of these. I'm assuming, because they left out Narnia, because technically it is young adult,they threw in this? Lame.

I don't really have a problem with the top 10. This list is heavily male authors, which is fine, a lot of the classics of the genre are written by men, I get that. And sci-fi is fairly male-dominated, although Lois McMaster Bujold and CJ Cherryh (who isn't on here) are both women and have some great sci-fi books. I think if this list was split between fantasy and sci-fi it would leave room for some people that got shut out. I think many of the modern female fantasy authors got the shaft, particularly Hobb. Her recent series aren't fantastic (but still very good), but the Farseer series is amazing. Way better than Sanderson or Robert Jordan even. Dan Simmons has also written some amazing books which got the shaft here. I'm not too sure why Gaiman was on here so much, I like him, don't get me wrong, but Stardust isn't that well-written of a novel. I've always felt that Gaiman had wonderful ideas and characters but was also lacking in the execution of his books. I'm all for the Stephenson love but Crypto should have been the only book on here. I think alot of votes probably were due to the author's name rather than the merit of the actual work, which is why there is so much Gaiman, Bradbury and Asimov.I believe they deserve to be on a list like this but not with so much frequency.

I know Sanderson has a huge fan base and maybe I should try another one of his series, but I still don't think he is deserving of being over Robin Hobb or Jacqueline Carey. And even though I thought Rothfuss was too high, I don't have hate for him and his blog is awesome. I do enjoy his books as well. I have to wonder if George R. R. Martin would be on a list like this in 10 years if he doesn't finish the Song of Ice and Fire series. He's already turned lots of fans against him. A lot of people hate Feast for Crows, which surprises me, I think it's pretty good. I haven't yet read Dance with Dragons. I include Melanie Rawn on the list of authors I thought got the shaft even though I'm pissed she won't finish the Ruins of Ambrai series. Complete BS! And now apparently she just sold a whole new series to TOR that sounds dumb. I think if I was a fantasy editor, I wouldn't buy the first book in a fantasy series unless the author had an outline of the entire series worked up. These unfinished series really annoy me.

I'm not as knowledgable about sci-fi, but here are some fantasy authors who deserve consideration and who (in my opinion) are far better than Brandon Sanderson or Terry Goodkind or that other Terry (not Pratchett, he's awesome, the other, other one):

Kate Elliot
Octavia Butler
Charles DeLint
Tad Williams
David Farland
L.E. Modesitt
Scott Lynch
Dave Duncan
Melanie Rawn
Julliet Marillier
Mercedes Lackey

Of course, all of this is a matter of subjective opinion.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

just a thought

I'm wondering if the bleating sheep in our nation's news media outlets stopped going on and on and on and on about how horrible everything is and how terrible everyone is and how the whole world must be going to shit, then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't think things were so bad??? Just a thought???

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

why is the young white generation so socially awkward?

I can't speak for the adolescent and early twenties white kids out there. But I can speak for the fairly youngish white folks of my generation. Or at least those I've encountered in New York. Maybe other places are different. Or maybe I'm biased against them. Who knows. But I have found that a lot of late 20ish, early 30ish, white people are either rude or very socially awkward.

The office space that my company rents and the NYC subway system both have provided me the evidence on which I base my observations.

First space, my office. My company rents an office in Brooklyn. The office is a shared space called "Green Desk". Green Desk is a brilliant idea because they take a large space and divide it up using glass walls to make smaller work spaces of various sizes. They rent these out to small businesses and also to individuals who freelance or run their own companies and have extra money to throw around on space that isn't their bedroom. These spaces are much cheaper than most office space you can find, and come completely furnished with internet and a copier and all that...blah blah I'm boring myself now. I get a little excited when I think about my nice little green desk office because for 2 years my company had no office space of our own here. No mailing address, no storage space, nothing to call our own. We existed on the good will of the agencies we served, and I'm not one who likes to operate on the whims and goodwill of others. But I digress.
The company has two buildings in DUMBO and one in Downtown Brooklyn. My coworker and I chose the Downtown Brooklyn location because the DUMBO space was too far from the courts and also too hipster. Plus it was older and more crowded than the downtown location. Again, maybe I am biased against hipster-y types and didn't give it a chance.
Anyway, my office space has a pretty good mix of people, from young to older, with lots of different professions represented. I'm not sure what everyone does in my building, but there are quite a few attorneys, some small accounting firms, some small call centers and sales-types jobs, some freelance creative-type jobs, real estate people, and some internet businesses.
This being New York, there is also a mix of people, many different races, religions, etc. To illustrate my point about the social awkwardness or rudeness of the younger white, I will provide two identical scenarios (which are true and happened) but featuring two people of different races.

The typical white encounter at my office goes like this: I walk towards the tiny kitchen, which consists of a single wall with a small counter, sink and a full-size refrigerator on the end. I smile and attempt to make eye contact with the white person, who is either pouring coffee or filling a water bottle. I will say hello or good morning. The white person will not make eye contact, will not return the greeting with one of his or her own, and will not even acknowledge that anything was verbal was exchanged between the two of us. The white person will shuffle around for a bit and then awkwardly leave without making eye contact.

The typical encounter with a black person at my office goes like this: I walk up to the kitchen. I smile and make eye contact with the black person. The black person is either getting coffee or filling up their water bottle. I say a greeting, either hello or good morning. The black person will return my eye contact and return my greeting. We will engage in small pleasantries concerning the weather or the state of the coffee at the office. Once the black person is finished, her or she will usually say "have a good one", and leave without awkwardness.

UPDATE: I wrote the above paragraphs last week. Just yesterday, some white dude comes into the kitchen while I'm rinsing out my coffee mug and stands right behind me with a fork that he's waiting to wash. He doesn't say hi, acknowledge me, or anything. Just stands about 6 inches away from me holding a fork. When I turn around to leave he doesn't even make eye contact and shoves his fork under the faucet. WTF?

UPDATE: Today while I microwaved my lunch, I witnessed an awkward encounter involving a black woman and a white woman who both needed to use the water filter. No eye contact was made, no greetings were exchanged, and the situation was quite awkward. So there are exceptions to the stereotype.

My subway experience stems from the fact that when disabled people, pregnant people, or elderly people get on the train, it is usually a younger black or Latino man who gets up to offer their seat, or a woman. I have rarely seen a white man get up to offer their seat. These other people may beat them to it, who knows. I could be biased against whitey.