Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

15 Jul 2006, 12:19 p.m.

An Other Roundup

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2006 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

The Muslim comic boom! Includes a few jokes Muslims tell about themselves.

The result is a kind of black-Muslim fusion. Azeem recalls being 17 and telling his grandmother, a devout southern US Baptist, that he had become a Muslim. "I said, 'Grandma, I'm a Muslim.' She looked up and said, 'No you're not. You ain't never been to jail.'"

Hugo Schwyzer, a soccer fan, has a fresh take on the Materazzi/Zidane incident from the World Cup final. Materazzi almost certainly made a racially charged insult to provoke Zidane. Schwyzer comments,

I am a white, Christian, heterosexual male.... There isn't a single term in English that you can use that attacks me for being who I am.
Yet another part of being Other -- the epithets hurt more, and there are more of them.

Ben, once Barbara Barres, automatically gets more respect. Joan Roughgarden, once Jonathan, automatically gets less. N.C. Andreasen's papers get published; Nancy Andreasen's don't. In psychiatry, in neurobiology, in lots of academe, this happens. Trans people, like immigrants, can tell us more about the color of the water we live in.

"Female scientists who are competitive or assertive are generally ostracized by their male colleagues," [Barres] says. In any case, he argues, "an aggressive competitive spirit" matters less to scientific success than curiosity, perseverance and self-confidence.

Women doubt their abilities more than men do, say scientists who have mentored scores of each. "Almost without exception, the talented women I have known have believed they had less ability than they actually had," [genetics] Prof. [Gregory] Petsko wrote. "And almost without exception, the talented men I have known believed they had more."

My parents kept telling me to be confident. I understand better now.

"I think we want to step back and ask, why is it that almost all Nobel Prize winners are men today?" [psychologist Elizabeth Spelke] concluded. "The answer to that question may be the same reason why all the great scientists in Florence were Christian."