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Showing posts from July, 2009

Obama was right - Cambridge Police did act "Stupidly"

I'm sure you know about the arrest of the Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, in his own house!

After the initial strong reactions, including one from President Obama, people by and large seem to have settled down to accepting the incident as an unfortunate one, with no one to blame but the situation itself. And history - of race in America. And also perceptions - of black and white about each other.

Here's an AP article that does a fairly good job of analyzing the incident.

Still, as a brown guy from India who is neither white nor black, and having lived in the US for more than 18 years, I have no hesitation in agreeing with the initial reaction of President Obama.

The issue is pretty simple, really.

A police officer gets a call about a possible break-in, and while investigating, makes a few errors in judgment, overreacting and aggravating the situation. He should have given Mr. Gates the benefit of doubt, while continuing to verify his identity and his side of the story. Instea…

Hanky Panky, Social Norms and Brainwashing by Marketing

As I wiped my hands on my handkerchief after I stepped out of the restroom, my friend's teenage daughter turned to me and said, "that right there is a major turnoff for women, if you ever plan to date women, don't ever use it". Startled and a little puzzled, I asked her why she would say such a thing about an object of hygiene. She said, "Have you heard of Kleenex?" And what if I don't have one handy when I have to wipe my hands or face or worse, have to sneeze or blow my nose? "Use your hands and wash them later", she replied without hesitation, and added, the only person she knew who uses that (referring to my guilty hanky) is her grandma!

Her reply was eye-opening - she was hinting at social cluelessness defined by a generation gap, but it also gave me the missing clue to a similar comment on TechCrunch last week by someone who said he blows his nose into his elbow joint! (Remember that ladies, the next time someone holds his elbow out for …