Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hey Amex, Abolish Affirmative Action and the Obsession with Diversity

Is there any reason to continue on with this so-called affirmative action or diversity quota? With an economy at 6.5% unemployment, can we focus for the time being on ourselves rather than assisting every other international student attending our programs so they can take their human capital back home and be praised for it. We've had this glass ceiling supposedly lingering over those with socioeconomic limitations, but let me take a few examples off the top of my head here....Stan O'Neal, African American, was able to run Merrill Lynch for years making hundreds of millions of dollars. Russell Simmons and Jay-Z, the latter I believe it was recently noted Shawn Cahhhta (said like Don Knotts in his best Furley rendition) will make a combined 100 million dollars with his wife Beyonce'. Did I forget to mention Obama....I apologize, a black man is now President, which I am very proud to say, honestly. The point however is that the statute for limitations on the ability of those with racial barriers to rise the social, educational and political ranks just doesn't hold water anymore now that the walls have been steamrolled.

Take my current situation for example, I'm studying for the GMAT's. A test essential to a candidate applying to an MBA-Program or Business School. The other day I'm sitting outside a Pinkberry listening to the conversation of four girls chowing down on the new pomegranate gurt. One starts yapping about UCLA and it's 2006 ranking in Newsweek or Forbes, I forget which one. Each adding their two cents about how they know the rankings are compiled and what the competing schools were for the top spot. Figures I'm looking at the UCLA Anderson School as an option being located right here, but definitely think they'd wipe their asses with my application. Especially if the US, like Russia did years ago to their loose-lipped citizens, decided to rid us of toilet paper (jeez, if they're loose-lipped, consider all Americans gaping images of Heidi Fleiss). Looking briefly at their table, there's not a white face amongst them and each don the hoodie of their Alma mater as if some advertisement for Stanford and Barnard. Two Middle Eastern girls and two Asians. At least I know they're smart, or are they as smart as me but with an added credential.....they sound like anti-social websurfers studying the statistics of Forbes magazine's latest survey. These are the business savvy? I can picture them in a class chewing their gum because they believe any answer they give to be the correct one even if the professor says "no it isn't." Now, my girlfriend is sitting there with me and she's Persian. She used her ethnicity to her advantage when applying (not to UCLA but equivalent), and that was after she'd been denied from the same school where she originally said she was Caucasian, and then they accepted her after a semester in community college and a new application stating her Iranian background. Now of course this isn't a perfect example, but it's not as if this is all a conspiracy theory, this exists. Now, I believe that California's Proposition 209 in 1996 was passed by 54% of the popular vote, and that prohibits granting racial preferences in government hiring and public school admissions however I'm unsure the ramifications on diversity quotas set by any schools, private or public. The way I look at it is, these schools aren't going down to the burbs of Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana to find these so-called diamonds in the ruff, and if some real talent does competitively apply from there, I still don't believe they can adequately beat someone of greater strength in academics who was denied because they're not a minority. Can you put a challenged student in a class with Harvard kids and expect them to keep up with the class? When I graduated college I got into an Investment Banking Analyst program...the best possible job you could get coming out of college with a finance degree. I was in way over my head but Id written a great cover letter and interviewed well, and they gave me an opportunity. After three weeks into the program, this means 16 hour days studying financial statements and training our computer modeling skills, we were tested on the material. I'd stayed up til 4am the night before and practically every night before that, to try and read as much as possible.......of course I know that's not good for you when taking a test but that's not the point...I wasn't anywhere near those kids in my program from Yale, Princeton and Wharton. They just got it and didn't need to do what I was to prepare. You could put Weird Al Yankovic on the Brazilian National Soccer team, but that doesn't mean he's going to become Pele. Why not just deny him for two reasons, one because he's probably not Brazilian (no I'm not researching it, you can), and two, because he probably sucks when paired against Ronaldinho (which I can assume as fact thank you). My downfall is my Italian mother's attraction to an Irishman who really is just an American like her, both born here instead of some other country that might look better on an application. Funny thing is, 80% of these people were born here like I was, not in some other country, yet they pull their cards out like credit seeing what the store actually accepts via policy. Sorry sir, we've reached our limit on American Express.

Slumdog Millionaire

Sometimes you see a movie and it changes your life. Your life in that moment, not forever but in that time that you're currently challenged with. It's so good that you want to be the main character, someone who is utterly selfless and deathly in love. And maybe it’s a moment of weakness in our own condition, maybe I need that relationship he’d finally gotten, maybe I deserve that love that he had, because the story had to come from somewhere, these things exist. I can achieve anything cant I? So why not head over heels mutual infatuation? Why not in a slum, just like it happened in Shantaram. Real couples and families living and loving amongst the most horrid of conditions, because that’s the hand they were dealt and even in its squalor, they still find love, suck up their pride and move on in life for whatever happy reason. Sometimes we walk out of a movie and we want nothing but to stay in our car and drive all night….so late in the night that no one's on the road, and nothing but the windows down and whipping wind can cure us. No music, no conversations, just an eery smile and gleaming eyes revealing your thoughts….just more time before reality strikes you that it’s over, you’re not actually there, it was just a movie. But it’s not just a movie. It wasn’t some cheap comedy where the beginning and end are exactly the same, or some action thriller where the bad guy is introduced in the second scene as a good guy you’d never expect. This was a story, and one quite close to real, and it took you away for once. A last meal, is that just a meal? It’s a definition of who you are, what you’ve longed for right before you die. Something that transcends you to another place, somewhere you remember or always wanted to be. Slumdog Millionaire was one of those movies where it leaves its mark in your mind. Shot in India, I wished I’d been exposed to such a culture, and yet I don’t. I wish I had such confidence and belief that destiny had a way of playing its part with time. The challenge is, how green is that grass you seek, and how permanent is your loss once you've given it up to find out? In this case, there wasn't much to lose and that there makes a decision a heck of a lot easier.

an inside out tighty-whitey intro

From the confines of my studio apt I come to you....well I'm not exactly broadcast through your speakers, but Im leaving some notes if you ever come a'knockin. I might say I'm in my upper twenties, maybe 35 by the time you read this. I came to LA with a job in that fantastic line of work where grandma and grandpa call every other day just to see how their portfolio's performing. Yup, you guessed Oh you're smart, yes, I'm now unemployed. I worked in New York, mainly the city all my life, either painting or wallpaper hanging for my dad and my uncle, before graduating college. Dreading the idea of re-entering Wall Street it's like going to a local carnival for the fiftieth time. Everything there is the same old shit, waste of money, con-artist, bent basketball hoop, hypnotize ya type of shtuff. You know exactly what that huge stuffed animal is gonna do when it gets home....collect dust, take up space and fade in color until finally some douche comes over and plops down on it like some bean bag chair and it explodes. That was me in front of my computer towards the end. A boiling pot of water figuring out what dunny I could add to my collection on eBay while watching my client's money drain through a colander. Either way, that's why I don't want to go back, it was sooo fake. I can't deal with risking other people's money. Lying and telling every phone call they're gonna be'll all come back. So present I am, rocking these Incredible Hulk boxer briefs from H&M. I had my mom buy em for me and my friend as we stared nostalgically, laughing because we wondered if someone was still wearing our original He-Man's twenty years ago that we donated to large dumpster bins behind a King Kullen reading St. Vincent's Collection. My mom likes treating anyone she loves to something. Me and one of my best friends in this case, we'd grown up next door to each other, he was 5 and I was 6. She used to get me a bottle of cologne every time we went to the mall, it was like a tradition of ours as we walked out of Macy's to our car. I still literally have twenty bottles in my dresser, standing crooked on the bubbles of warped wood from sprayed drippage. LA is beautiful though....ridiculous sunsets every single night. I used to die for a good sunset on Long Island and I'd have to zoom down to Jones Beach with a blanket or hoodie if I suspected one. You'd be lucky if you caught it over the Robert Moses bridge because the reflection off the water and how high you are versus the land, it's like the huge hill coming down Santa Monica to Pacific Coast Highway, there's no better view but from the top of those cliffs or that bridge across the country. No matter how cliche the discussion of weather is, you really take it for granted here. It's just so much easier to be happy, especially if you've got family or friends nearby. Speaking of fam and friends, I left them all to come here. You never know in life what type of transitional stage you're in or where you'll be in 5 years. This'll be an experience I draw upon for my kids in case they ever want to take a risk or try living elsewhere. Knowing that I did it, why wouldnt I support their same excitement toward discovery? There's nothing twenty minutes on a webcam cant cure. It's not the end of the world, just a melting period. Shed some layers, earn some new ones and travel the diameter of life's circle even better than our parents did. Leaving behind a positive impression on as many people you love as possible...what else is life really all about?