Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Psychology, sore shoulders, and a bit of oomph

This morning I decided I was tired of the doldrums--my shoulder didn't seem to hurt as badly, I didn't really have anything I wanted to dig into at my desk, and I needed to get out of my rut. So I got dressed and went to Home Depot--you have to understand this is not a place that's on my list of easy places to go. I almost never go there alone, but I gutted up and did, and it was fine. I found the patio chairs I wanted, explained to the man that I wanted four but I drive a VW bug convertible, and he said he was quite sure they could fit them into the open car. So I bought them, and a nice young man loaded them for me. I must have made quite a sight, driving along with all these chair legs sticking out of the back seat (they're stackable chairs). When I got home,my new neighbor, Brian, saw me struggling with the first chair and came to help me unload and put the old chairs in the backyard where they'll wait for my brother--Jordan wants to keep two because she thinks I can take Jacob and his trike out there to play. I think it's a pretty dismal and boring place for a child to play. But anyway, tonight, I'm pleased as punch with my chairs--and with the fact that I went and got them.
Had lunch with Katie, a good friend I don't see nearly often enough, and we chattered throughout lunch like magpies, mostly about our grandchildren. But Katie did bring up a study, done some years ago, where small children, African American and Anglo, were shown black and white dolls and asked to point to which doll was the prettiest, smartest, etc. Inevitably all the children, no matter skin color, pointed to the white doll. Asked to point to the dumbest, etc., they pointed to the black. A couple of years ago someone replicated the study on YouTube, unscientifically, but the results were the same. Then some trained sociologists repeated it recently, and the results were still the same--even though we now have an African-American president. One little Anglo girl, sitting safely in her mother's lap, pointed to the black doll as stupid and ugly, and Katie said you could see the tears start in the mother's eyes. We haven't come nearly as far as we should, and to me it points out a much larger problem--we have a population of young African Americans who have no self-esteem and so feel they can't contribute and why should they try. Awful.
My shoulder was hurting again, even as we ate lunch,and reaching don to retrieve my purse was downright painful. I came home, piddled, took aspirin, had a bit of wine, and went to asleep. When I woke up there was an email from an editor I'd queried at a local university press saying she as indeed very much interested in my idea for a book. So tonight I've begun to think about a table of contents, an introduction, and a sample chapter. And you know what? My shoulder doesn't hurt nearly as much! Ain't psychology wonderful?

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