August 2009 Archives

Eming Piansay

My Dengue Fever Health Care Crisis

By Eming Piansay, Aug 27, 2009 2:18 PM

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Editor's note: YO! Youth Outlook blogger Eming Piansay joins the EthnoBlog discussion with her take on young people's role on the health care debate.  The elderly aren't the only ones contemplating their mortality, Piansay argues, and they aren't the only ones who need comprehensive health coverage.  Eming is a 2009 graduate of San Francisco State University.

One year ago, after returning from a month long trip to the Philippines, I developed a case of Dengue Fever.

I went to the hospital thinking it would be an in-and-out thing. Next thing I knew, I was getting branded with a little plastic wristband and carted off to an uncomfortable bed, horrible hospital food, and late night nurses’ visits to take my blood samples and blood pressure stats.

Laura Goode

Martha's Vineyard: The Carnival's-Eye View

By Laura Goode, Aug 27, 2009 12:21 PM

Editor's note: NAM EthnoBlog Blogmistress Laura Goode is freshly back from a summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard.  From a carnival's-eye view, she reflects on the arrival of the Obamas to the island, long an enclave of the black, privileged, and on vacation.  What, she wonders, are the downsides to that privilege?

I like an unconventional vacation. Good people-watching and cheap/free accommodations usually outrank pomp and circumstance for me when I’m choosing travel destinations; this is to say, I’m young and don’t really have the means to visit places where I don’t know people with available couches, tents, or air mattresses. Such are the circumstances under which I happily found myself on Martha’s Vineyard with my partner’s family last week.

When friends asked me where I was going on vacation, I realized “Pat and I are going to visit his family on Martha’s Vineyard,” though altogether true, came off a little disingenuous. Most Columbia graduates on family vacations on the Vineyard, some might imagine, are enjoying sailboats, guest houses, and private beaches. Not us. We were shacking up at the carnival.

Edwin Okong'o

New York Times Magazine Issue on Women an Insult

By Edwin Okong'o, Aug 26, 2009 10:11 AM

Editor's note: A frequent critic of Africa's portrayal in Western media, here NAM EthnoBlogger Kenyan_born Edwin Okong'o, points out the faultlines in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's chronicle of the status of women in the developing world.  Asks Okong'o: is a good man in the third world really so hard to find?

On Sunday I got to read the much-anticipated New York Times Magazine issue dedicated to women of the developing world.

Before I comment on “The Women’s Crusade,” the lead story by Nicholas D. Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn, let me make one thing clear: I have deep respect for the couple.

In 1990, Kristof and WuDunn became the first couple to ever win Pulitzer Prize in journalism for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square. In his career, Kristof has gone where few of us journalists would dare go. His continuous commentary from Darfur exposed the Sudanese government’s atrocities against civilians and earned him another Pulitzer in 2006.

Kristof’s travel resume is unrivaled. According to his bio on the NYT’s Web site, he “has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 140 countries, plus all 50 [American] states, every Chinese province and every main Japanese island.”

But reading “The Women’s Crusade” made me feel like I was reading a tale from the 19th century. The story portrays the developing world as a backward frontier full of rapists, wife beaters, sex traffickers and “bride burners.” If I hadn’t grown up in Kenya, one of the places Kristof and WuDunn wrote about, it would have been hard for me to imagine the existence of even a single good man in the developing world.

Erik Fowle

The Race to the Top is Already Over

By Erik Fowle, Aug 25, 2009 4:45 PM

Editor's note: How are America's teachers being evaluated and compensated?  EthnoBlogger Erik Fowle examines President Obama's recently unveiled Race To The Top initiative and its implications for America's persistent education gap.  Erik is a 2009 graduate of Colgate University, and a NAM intern who comments regularly on education issues.

President Obama--or, as I prefer, dude--you can’t just reward teacher performances with cash incentives. Test scores shouldn’t have the power to represent teacher and student growth. Don’t get me wrong, I like you Obama. I voted for you. I support you. But some of these initiatives you’ve introduced for education reform just don’t make sense.

Laura Goode

The Student in The Loan: Patrick Cushing on the cost of higher education

By Laura Goode, Aug 25, 2009 3:02 PM

Editor’s note: In our continuing investigation into the status of student loans and the young graduates they burden, the EthnoBlog’s Edwin Okong’o sat down for some straight talking about money management and the cost of education with one such debtor, Patrick Cushing. Pat is a product manager for Wikinvest, a startup web/finance enterprise in San Francisco, and graduated from Columbia University in 2006.

EthnoBlog: So we’re here to talk about the great American dream that begins when you get student loans.

Patrick Cushing: Oh, that dream? All right. You don’t have to start paying off your loans until you graduate. And so the way that, at least in my case, it worked for a school like Columbia, is they determine what your parents make and they say, you know, this is what your parents can afford. And then for everything else they’ll offer up some sort of assistance whether it’s a grant or some sort of loan program.

I think the key though is that where they offer up what your parents can afford is usually a far cry from what they can actually afford. So it’s kind of like the hidden loans, I think, a lot of times. And these are things that are taken out in my parents’ name but there’s sort of an agreement between them and me that I would take on the loans as soon as I graduate. So I think those are the loans that are probably the biggest issue for me.

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