Thursday, April 3, 2014

What it’s like to be a network engineer, translated into normal people speak

Nipped from +Drew Nicholson on Google+

User: I think we are having a major road issue.

Me: What? No, I just checked, the roads are fine. I was actually just on the roads.

User: No I’m pretty sure the roads are down because I’m not getting pizzas.

Me: Everything else on the roads is fine. What do you mean you aren’t getting pizzas?

User: I used to get pizzas when I ordered them, now I’m not getting them. It has to be a road issue.

Me: As I said before, the roads are fine. Where are you getting pizzas from?

User: …I’m not really sure. Can you check all places that deliver pizzas?

Me: No, I’m not even sure of all the places that deliver pizza. You need to narrow it down.

User: I think it’s Subway.

Me: Ok, I’ll check…No, I just looked and Subway doesn't deliver pizzas.

User: I’m pretty sure it is Subway. Can you just allow all food from Subway and we can see if pizza shows up?

Me: <sigh> Fine, I’ve allowed all food from Subway, but I don’t think that is the issue.

User: Yeah, I’m still not getting pizza. Can you check the roads?

Me: It’s not the roads, the roads are fine. I’m pretty sure Subway isn’t the place.

User: Ok, I found it, its Papa John's.

Me: Ok I looked and Papa John's does deliver pizza. Is it the local Papa John's or one in a different town?

User: I don’t know. Can you allow pizza from all Papa John's to me?

Me: No, I can’t do that. Can you get me an address for Papa John's?

User: No, I only know it as Papa John's. Can you get me all the addresses of all Papa John's and I’ll tell you if one of them is correct?

Me: No, I don’t have time for that. Ok, I looked at the local one and it looks like they have sent you pizza in the past and they are currently allowed to send you pizzas. Try ordering a pizza while I watch.

User: Um, yeah, still no pizza. I’m guessing they are getting blocked at the freeway. Can you check the freeway to make sure they can get through?

Me: NO, this is a local delivery. They aren't even using the freeway.

User: Ok, well then it has to be a road issue.

Me: NO, the roads are fine. OK I just drove from the Papa John's to the address they have on file for you and there is nobody there.

User: Hmm, wait we did move recently.

Me: Did you give your new address to Papa John's?

User: No, I just thought they would be able to look me up by name.

Me: No, they need your new address. What’s your new address?

User: I’m not really sure. Can you look it up?

Me: <sigh> Give me a second…Ok, I found your address and gave it to Papa John's. Try ordering a pizza now.


Me: Ok, good.

User to everyone else they know: I apologize for the delay in the pizza but there was a major road issue that was preventing the pizza from getting to me. The network engineer has fixed the roads and we are able to get pizza again.

Me: But it wasn’t the roads…whatever.

User: Oh, can you also check on an issue where Chinese food isn’t getting to me? I think it may be a road issue.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Good Hair" and Internalized Racism

One phrase that always sets me on edge is the term "good hair." For those outside the African-American community I'll just explain that "good hair" in reference to a black person generally translates into hair with Caucasian characteristics. "Good hair" is straight or wavy on its own, without the application of chemicals or heat to straighten it. This is in contrast to most African-American hair which is tightly curled or "nappy" by virtue of its oval cross-section. The typical comparison is between having "good hair" or "nappy hair" with the implication being that those without "good hair" are deficient. It goes into an internalized racism in which those with "good hair" are superior in some way to those without.

I hear the phrase "good hair" most often among African-Americans of my parents' generation and older but I've also heard it used sometimes by those closer to my own age and younger. It's usually stated as a description such as "he's that fellow with the good hair" or "she doesn't have to do anything to her hair, she's got that good hair." The phrase establishes white characteristics as being the ideal. If your genetics didn't provide those characteristics for your hair, you're just out of luck. It's this self-loathing in the phrase that really ticks me off. You're not a prized catch if you don't have that "good hair." As a consequence there are those who straighten their hair, either with chemicals or heat, and those who choose to wear a natural hairstyle. That discussion will have to come later. In the meantime, can we please drop the phrase "good hair" from the vernacular. Thanks!

Kudos to Isaac Kuo from Google+ for the link to this Sesame Street video!

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