Friday, April 04, 2008

One Of Those Moments: Part 1

Have you ever been in a situation where the thoughts running through your head are moving so fast and are so numerous that you really never make sense of them? Well, I had one of “those” moments. Please allow me to lay a foundation (read: describe the actors involved) before I delve into the circumstances. I’ll make this a two-part entry, so not to overwhelm you with too much babble at one time…

-My Friend Who Will Remain Nameless: I will call her “Roe” for these purposes. Roe is from Africa, (Nigeria I believe), and has been “Americanized” as far as I can tell. At the very least, she doesn’t have that foreign look that most people not from here possess.

I like Roe; she possesses a confidence in self that seems to effortlessly balance poise with maturity, a plateau that I find some black women either can’t or refuse to achieve. Of course I am not talking about all, most, or even half of black women, but (in true LSAT fashion) “some” do lack maturity with their confidence. Whomever doesn’t have it isn’t important; Roe has it. This fact made the story I will tell surprising at first glance…

-The “Over-Extended Captain Morgan,” Professor Payne: You’ve met him during one of my earlier reflections about law school. Now he is my constitutional law professor, and he’s as awkward as ever.

As a graduate from a liberal arts college, I have learned a great deal about well-intentioned white folks. For the purposes of this conversation, they really mean no harm to anyone and do a great deal to truly understand people of all cultures and (I believe) place no stereotypes on anyone whom they first meet. But these attempts often come from a fear of being a racist, which has its dangers. A comedic understanding of what an individual who fits this description would look like is the white guy who enters The Carter in order to take care of a person in legitimate need, refusing to recognize the warning signs of danger, only to catch a royal ass-whooping after innocently stumbling across Nino Brown’s principle place of business (those last four words go out to all of my civil procedure fans out there. Shout out to minimum contacts…). Na├»ve to a fault (let’s be real, none of us would enter the Carter uninvited in 1991), but good peoples. Anyways, if you make that guy 65 years old with bad teeth, you’ve got a good picture of Professor Payne, Captain Morgan in the flesh.

Constitutional law class: Given America’s current level of diversity and regrettable history on issues like slavery, women’s rights, and that far-reaching commerce clause (law school is turning me into a boring conversationalist. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…), the opinions handed down by those illustrious jurists will necessarily offend someone at any given time. It is what it is; every class provides an opportunity to have that conversation Obama was talking about (if he included gender) yet people are too afraid to have it for fear that they will be labeled. Those are genuine and logical fears indeed, but they’re exactly what prevents what I believe to be THE conversation that must be held for progress to be obtained. So my classmates just sit there and take in Payne’s dissection of Amendment after Amendment, in hopes that no one raises his/her hand and rocks the boat too hard. I can’t front like I confront the issues; the only questions I ask relate to the practical construction of the document and relevant cases, leaving THE questions for my mind alone to toil with.

The story to come...

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