"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Am Articulate... THANK YOU!

"Are you Jewish?", asks Barbara Ellen one of the characters in the current production of The New Century playing at the Newhouse Theater in Lincoln Center.

"Why because I am opinionated AND articulate?" answers Linda Lavin's character, Helene.

I heard that Barack Obama thinks that being called articulate is offensive. Phishaw!

I have recently been described that way and I like it! I believe it is accurate. I am articulate and probably much like Helene, opinionated which makes blogging the perfect outlet for me.

And I think the fact that I am so articulate throws off many people, especially when I was younger and in high school. I had a hard time in school and was told I was smart but lazy. But now at almost 37, I realize it wasn't entirely true. I was smart, but not lazy. I did end up going to college. I worked hard to get through and loved it but the truth is I really wasn't college material and there wasn't much available for a person like me.

Now however there is. In NYC there is a program called CTE (career and technical education.) These schools provide what we used to call Vocational Education. I remember the stigma of not wanting to be "one of those kids". But "those kids" are probably making way more money than I ever earned, being pushed to be a college bound and never quite feeling like I fit in.

I don't write about my work here because much of what I do write is so personal and I would not be thrilled to have clients search my name and read about my dating screw-ups. But what I will tell you is that I am a person who lives off the grid. I heard this term recently by someone I am partnering with in a business venture and I love that description.

I live off the grid!

I found work that I love FINALLY about three years ago. It's not corporate at all and it's not always steady work, YET, but I love it. But there are moments I can't help wonder what if they had this kind of program when I was in school? Would I have started this work back then and have been more financially stable at this stage in my life? Would I have felt emotionally more secure and happier earlier in my life? And would those things have enabled me to feel secure enough in me that I might have found my partner in life and had a family by now?

Who can say for sure? But I am glad to learn that kids today are not jammed into a one-size fits all educational mentality and perhaps find their passion and purpose in life earlier than I did.


carolyn said...

Hi Lauren:

His name was actually Sean. And he drove a red Toyota Celica. I don't even know his last name...my friends just referred to him as Celica Sean. We knew he was a wee bit odd, but it was such a great car! What did me in was when he showed me his ID card from the Anne of Green Gables fan club or some such thing. YIKES.

swile67 said...

Lauren, I just left a long response on my blog post for you. I never know where to post the responses!!! do you know if there is some kind of notification when someone has left responses to your comments? anyways...just wanted to say thanks and well you can read the rest!!!:) I am so glad you found a job you absolutely love...I definitely understand what you were saying...that is almost how our generation grew up regarding our careers. take care and will talk to you later!! Karyne

Lauren said...

Carolyn, OH BOY TOO FUNNY. Two strange boys who have read Anne of Green Gables. My readers have no idea what we are "talking" about. I feel another post coming. HEEHEE.

Lauren said...

Karyne, Thanks! It's nice to know you understand me. We are of the same generation eh? :-) It's kind of cool to see how much we have in common even amongnsts our differences.

Carrie said...

Alright, I've got ten years on one of you and twenty on the other, I am able to keep up (kind of). I went to high school with Anne of Green Gables (alright, just kidding) just wanted to say hi ;)

Jessica said...

Hmm, about Obama that's odd. I like listening to him because he's articulate.

swile67 said...

it is cool, isn't it lauren! i know carolyn and her hair is a beautiful orange colour like Anne of Green Gables!!!if you all want to know what lauren and carolyn are talking about you can pop on over to my blog and read the comments from blind date 101 from last week...she was sharing a story about an guy experience!!!

Lauren said...

Hey K, I will write something about this tomorrow and put your link in the post. The comment on your site was too ironic for me not to ask about. :-)

Gypsy said...

I think being told you're articulate is a massive compliment and you are by the way. I hope to try and get here more regularly so I can keep up with all your wonderful stories.

I'm glad you found a job that fulfills you and that you enjoy. So many people never find that and those vocational colleges are often a lot more useful than their highbrow educational counterparts. They cut out a lot of the fluff and get straight to what you really need to know.

Malcolm said...

As a Black man, I can understand why Barack Obama would be offended when someone refers to him as articulate. Many times when Blacks are referred to as articulate, it sounds as if the person using the term is surprised that we are. It's like they expect us to use Ebonics.

Lauren said...

Malcolm, first I am glad you are at my blog. I have seen you around. However you aren't going to get the PC answer from me. I am tired as I am sure most are of black people, and not all feeling this way, that others have to pussyfoot around "you" when we speak. Why should I or anyone else use a different word to say what we want or need because of YOUR RACE. THAT is offensive to me. You are no different than me in this respect.

I could write an entire post from a holistic standpoint about not assuming what others think and how emotionally improper it is, not as a black/white issue but just as a mental health issue.

You and anyone else really have no right to assume that when someone calls a black person articulate that they are saying it from the POV that a black man is standing before them and that every thought of theirs stems from this. As I have no right to assume that from you when you make comments on anyone's blog who isn't your race.

The fact that he was termed articulate was a compliment AND I am willing to bet my entire paycheck that many many others who have run for the highest office have been termed either the same or to the detriment of that term because we are assessing someone's intelligence and character when deciding if we think they would be a good leader of the free world and I think that is important.

More so, in this PARTICULAR case in this context -- meaning GW Bush is our current President and so much BASHING has been done about his lack of intelligence, him being a yokel from Texas and a Cowboy-- which no one has called racist but by your terminology should be called that and taken into offense, to call Barak articulate is to juxtapose the two people's intelligence and communication styles and say hey this man ain't Bush.

If you'd like to get into this more I will take a lot of time and make a good thought out long post.

Malcolm said...

Lauren: Thanks for your passionate and detailed response. Let me first say that I didn't expect (nor did I want) a PC response from you.

Making assumptions can be a dangerous thing. Having said that, I don’t see any harm in questioning incidents/comments that may or may not have a racist undercurrent. As a result of our country's past and present problems regarding race relations, this is bound to happen.

Please note that I said I can understand why Barack Obama would be offended when SOMEONE refers to him as articulate, meaning that there may be Blacks who may also be surprised by another Black person's articulateness. I'm not saying there should be a ban on the word articulate when used to describe Blacks. However, I do have an issue when someone uses the term to describe a person of one group when they wouldn't/don't use it to describe someone of another group. When someone describes Obama as articulate, it could very well be a compliment. On the other hand, someone else using the term might mean something else entirely. You mentioned that people's description of Obama as articulate is a juxtaposition of his communication style/intelligence vs. that of President Bush. I don't know about you, but I haven't heard anyone use the term articulate to describe Hillary Clinton during this Presidential race. That’s not to say it hasn’t been used, I just haven’t heard it.

If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend the book "It's the Little Things" by Lena Williams, ISBN 0156013487. It's a candid and thought-provoking look at race relations. There are things in the book that are bound to piss you off; however, it may also prove to be an eye-opening experience for you as well. If you have read it or eventually do get around to doing so, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

As for your offer to write a detailed post on the description of Barack Obama as articulate, I’d be intrigued to read it. I don’t know if you were planning to or not, but I would also love to hear your thoughts in general on race relations in this country.