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Crying Among the Farmland

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From TechCrunch:

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan welcome their second daughter, August, into the world

BY JORDAN CROOK 3 hours ago

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have welcomed their second daughter into the world, and her name is August. Before you ask, it’s unclear if she was named August because she was born in August. (But I highly doubt it.)

As I mentioned last week, the founder of Facebook is obsessed with Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire:

“I love Rome so much, that when my wife and I got married, We came to Rome on our honeymoon. I made us go to all of these different historical and classical places. So much so, that when we got back and we were looking through the photos, my wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her and Augustus. All the photos were different sculptures of Augustus.”

For the sake of their new baby’s future happiness, let me point out t’s probably not too late to change the paperwork: August Zuckerberg sounds like the prosperous owner of a wurst factory or a brewery (as in August Busch).

The name August Zuckerberg is reminiscent of Augustus Gloop, the fat kid in Roald Dahl’s quite nasty (and enduringly popular) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

By the way, their first daughter is named Maxima, which sounds either like a Roman or a sedan.

These maladroit names could lead to much Crying Among the Farmland.

Naming his daughter, say, Julia after Julius Caesar’s much-admired daughter would have been a low key way for Zuckerberg to indulge his taste for Roman history, without saddling his daughter with a strange, wrong-sex first name.

But giving a girl a girl’s name is sexist, dontchaknow?

Naming her after a Chilean dictator, in contrast, is stereotype shattering.

By the way, if Mark invites you for a fun flight on the Facebook helicopter, plead airsickness.

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From the Portland [Oregon] Mercury:

How Portland Is Driving Away New Residents of Color

The City Wasn’t Giving Me What I Needed—Which Is Why I Left
by Zahir Janmohamed

Zahir Janmohamed is the co-host of Racist Sandwich , a podcast about food, race, gender, and class. In August, Saveur magazine nominated Racist Sandwich as one of America’s best food podcasts.

As I hope you expect, iSteve has already been covering the Racist Sandwich beat.

He is now based in Columbus, Ohio.

It’s cool when, instead of saying they live in Columbus, journalists say they are “based in Columbus.” It would be cooler, however, if they said they were based out of Columbus, like hitmen in an Elmore Leonard novel: e.g., Icepick Willy is based out of Kansas City.

Also, Icepick is a cooler first name than Zahir: “Icepick Janmohamed is based out of Columbus.”

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that Columbus is a hopelessly lame place to be based out of.

But I’m just trying to help.

… So then what does it mean when I, and other people of color (POC), walk away from Portland because we can no longer stomach its racism? …

What struck me was the very frank and seldom heard opinions by POC born and raised in Portland who are tired—understandably so—by new transplants like myself criticizing their city.

Do you get the impression lately that POC are about to collapse in a heap of exhaustion from all the Emotional Labor they do?

… But almost immediately after I arrived, I found myself eager to get out.

I quickly grew accustomed to being asked by white people about my ethnic heritage—whether at the grocery store, sports bar, or on TriMet—and learned to say that I’m Indian American in the first few minutes of practically every conversation, just to set them at ease. It never really worked. They specifically wanted to know about the “Mohamed” in my last name.

When I lived in other more diverse US cities, I didn’t feel such a pressing need to talk about race. But in Portland, I often felt forced to do so because of the daily slights I, and so many other POC, experienced. It was taxing and unfair…

The thing is, I tried liking Portland. I even co-founded a podcast, Racist Sandwich—covering food, race, gender, and class—hoping it would make me feel at ease in Oregon. …

But Portland was simply too much for me. …

“The thing that trips me out about Portland is not that it’s so white. That’s just a numbers game that will change as the demographics shift,” said Robin Ye, a Chinese American recent graduate of the University of Chicago who is now once again in his native Portland. “The issue is that for many white people, they walk into an office meeting or classroom, see no people of color around, and feel like there’s nothing wrong about that.”

What makes matters worse, many told me, is the climate in Oregon post-election. According to the Southern Poverty Legal Center, Oregon experienced the highest number of hate incidents per capita in the 10 days immediately following Donald Trump’s win. …

Taz Loomans, an Indian American, also moved to the Bay Area from Portland. … “Living in Portland made me hate white people! … In Portland the most painful experience was that my white friends and colleagues very much resisted and refuted the idea that it was a difficult place for people of color.”

… “I don’t ride my bike at night,” she said. “No way. I’m Black. Even Black people are shocked to see Black people ride their bikes here.”

… “Portland is racist and it’s hurting my career and spirit,” Tam said originally. …

Two words that kept coming up repeatedly in my interviews were “erasure” and “privilege.”

… I gained amazing friends, a keener understanding of LGBTQ issues, and the importance of asking a person for their pronouns of choice. But Portland also forced me to revisit parts of my childhood that I would rather put behind me, like episodes in my life when I was the only non-white person in the room, something I don’t have to deal with as often in Columbus.

… I couldn’t, though, get past the fact that the tasting menu was called a “magic carpet ride.” Growing up in California, sometimes kids would come over and, after seeing my mother’s prayer Muslim mat in our house, tease me because they thought I carried a “magic carpet” like the characters in the Disney film Aladdin.

When I pushed back and said I was more than that, they responded I was being too sensitive, I had an attitude problem, and that maybe they might hear me if only my tone were “right.”

It hurt. It still does.

Reading all these I Cried Among the Farmland essays of Immigriping, I have to agree with one commenter: They’re not sending their best.

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From the New York Times:

Two Lessons in Prejudice

What I know of rural white America mostly begins and ends with the three times I went at the age of 8 to visit a friend’s farm in Butler County, Pa., about an hour north of Pittsburgh, where I grew up. I recall vast farmland, ample sunshine and no black people — or Hispanics or Jews, or for that matter, half-Iranian, half-Jewish people like me. There was, however, my friend’s father, who found it amusing to make fun of my name over dinner, coming up with a wide variety of ways to mispronounce it each time. I did my best to politely correct him each time, until it finally became apparent to me that I was participating in a game in which there was no chance of winning, and I ran from the table and out of the house and cried among the farmland.

Okay … “cried among the farmland.” … Possible alternatives:

“cried among the crops.”
“sobbed among the succotash.”
“blubbered all over the beets.”
“sniveled about the terrain.”
“eyeless in Gaza.”

It is, of course, unfair to judge an entire county with a population of almost 200,000 on the behavior of one man 40 years ago, but I hope you can understand my disbelief when on a dark night last November, I watched on television as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign tried to assure her supporters that little Butler County was going to come through for her in the 11th hour and overtake Donald Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania, and by extension the Electoral College. Now, I thought, is as good a time as any to turn off the television and go bury my head under the pillow.

I’ve read countless such essays in recent years. Is there a name yet for this genre?

Update: Interestingly, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh isn’t actually an immigrant. He was born in Brooklyn to a pair of Trotskyites. His Iranian communist father left when he was an infant, and he was raised by his Jewish-American mother. His mother’s brother, the prolific novelist Mark Harris (born Mark Harris Finkelstein), was best known for the 1956 baseball novel Bang the Drum Slowly, which provided Robert De Niro with his breakout role as a dying catcher in the 1973 movie adaptation.

So, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh is basically a Jewish guy from New York who has followed his uncle into the writing biz. But instead of being, say, Sid Finkelstein, he has an unpronounceable name, so that gives him more Pokemon Points in the Diversity Racket and makes him relevant.

Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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