Y’ALL FUCKBOYS CAN KEEP THE BULLSHIT. I’M GOOD. I’M SET WITH MUSIC FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR ON JULY 4TH. I’M READY. I’M READY SON.
Kanye West. Love him or hate him, you have to talk about him. And with his new record “Yeezus” debuting next week, he’s bound to polarize you/us/the world even more. But more importantly, what happens when you combine an awesome Kanye New York Times interview, a perpetual hater of all…
jimmy fallon sucks, but this is pretty good.
—Let Nas Down
“long live the idols / may they never be your rivals”
100. dollar. bill.
—Keep It Thoro
Murs + 9th
Big K.R.I.T. - R.E.M.
Last time I wrote about the bitchassness occurring in the academic environment at Columbia, but this story has more to do with the social environment. Bringing up this event in law school is a little bit tougher than the other posts because it is less about being bitter about my overall experience or specific incident and more to do with disappointment. Y’all know me, I fux wit Latinos, and I’m all about repping the Latino community. It doesn’t mean I can’t be critical, but just to make sure people understand where I’m coming from.
I’m still cool with some of my Latino folks from law school, and I was always treated kindly by the group. So this next story has nothing to do with the great people from the group, it’s just a commentary on the specific event sponsored by the organization. It speaks to the words utilized by one guest of honor, which the members of LALSA do not necessarily co-sign.
As always, I only speak for myself. My views are mine, and they don’t try to represent how others perceive things. The words of the speaker might not have been offensive at all to others, but it doesn’t change the fact that I think he was a dickhead. Thank goodness he wasn’t Dominican or I would have been even more ashamed.
The second incident which I’m speaking on of took place at a banquet held by the Latino/a Law Student Association, which takes place every year honoring the graduating class of the previous year. To me, the experience I had at the banquet mirrored a scene in The Wire.
(One quick tangent: The Wire is the greatest television show of all time. There is no argument. Greatest. Of. All. Time. Period. No disrespect, but if you don’t agree with that statement, your opinion is not valid on the matter. Sorry I’m not sorry.)
In season 4, there is one scene in which a police officer – serving in his capacity as public school teacher – treats some of his students to a nice dinner. In his classroom, he has the most troubled students in the entire middle school, all of whom the public education system has pretty much given up on (what a shocker right?). Rather than rely on ineffective and ancient teaching methods, he approaches the classroom in a refreshing manner that more thoroughly engages students and allows them to develop at a much better rate without completely losing their interest. He provides the students alternative approaches to their troubling inner city Baltimore lives.
In providing this alternative method, the officer offered his students a prize for the first group to successfully complete a project. The group of three students that won were to be rewarded with dinner at a nice restaurant. The scene begins with them pulling up to an upscale restaurant in the officer’s car, playing Billie Holiday, a legendary artist that the students do not recognize but enjoy. The viewer is able to observe the students embrace new surroundings and environments, see the world through a different perspective, and look forward to being able to see experience something else other than poverty stricken Baltimore. It was a small glimpse of a life that did not involve using or selling drugs, one not completely disregarded by the rest of society.
As soon as the students enter the restaurant, however, they become uncomfortable and feel out of place. They do not like the menu offerings, their excitement quickly dwindles, and the positive feelings they embraced at the beginning of the clip are now completely gone. After the failed dinner, the students ask the officer to bring them to McDonald’s for hamburgers and fries. While one student had initially wanted a picture in front of the restaurant, after the night is over, she no longer wants to prolong the moment and simply wishes to go home.
As they drive off, one student disavows the classic old school sound of Billie Holiday and instead seeks to listen to new age hardcore rap, blasting the music as the officer asks him to turn it down. After experiencing life outside of Baltimore, the troubled students no longer seek to embrace a new, different, “better” world. Rather, they prefer to remain within the confines of a plagued Baltimore, feeling more at home in their current world rather than moving towards a change of scenery.
Although not completely analogous to my situation, the looks on the faces of those students, as well as the feelings of discomfort they displayed at the restaurant, is exactly how I felt at that LALSA banquet. The fancy dinner was supposed to showcase Latino influence within the legal profession, raising awareness and celebrating each other’s success. Two respected practitioners from different segments of the legal world came to speak, a Chicana from Texas and a Puerto Rican from New York. But if the views represented by the judge from New York were to be deemed as “success” and “better,” I was content on carving my own path, listening to Jay-Z, and stick with my sneakers and fitteds.
The man from New York was a judge that sat on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, someone with an illustrious career who had been practicing for about three decades. One would think that a judge with so much influence and respect would utilize it to the benefit of his community and the people he is supposed to serve (correction: I would think, because to some people that notion does not resonate with them). Instead, he worshipped at the altar of colonial Spain, thanking the “motherland” for her rich history and great traditions bestowed upon Latino America (what a crock of shit).
He must have been ignorant of the fact that Spaniards do not associate with or identify as Latinos. They do not view Latino America as part of its culture or allies within a global context. Latino America serves as a distant reminder of what Spain once was and they disavow our growing global presence (my feelings on the matter). For the life of me I could not understand why he would focus solely on colonization and oppression (WHEN TRYING TO REPRESENT HOW LATINOS BECOME SUCCESSFUL IN AMERICA). I was so disgusted with his perspective on our culture and the bullshit he was spewing that I got up and walked out before he finished speaking. I chose to pass the time in below freezing weather rather than sit through his ideological submission to a colonial past.
Granted, most of my peers at my law school were completely different than me. Not that that is a negative fact, but we are a diverse community and all have different interests and passions. However, it felt (at least to me as I looked at their faces across the room) as if many in that group had no problem with subscribing to white European ways of thinking (and if not that, at least didn’t perceive the judge to be sucking on the teet).
To me, such a meager response and lack of displeasure was not a sign of a banquet supporting “the people,” or raising awareness among our more successful peers that could provide sufficient inspiration to the up and coming generation of attorneys. Instead, some of the group was more focused on rich people and upper class notions (disregarding the masses), in complete contrast to my own personal background and what I believe is some of the principles people from my own community stood for.
As a quick aside, I’m not saying that to be wealthy is to not be Latino, not at all. Just that romanticizing and prioritizing the image of colonial Spain and its conquests is not something that aligns with some of the struggles of Latinos in America. If you think that the best Latinos in America have to offer is their connection to colonial Spain, then I can’t fux wit you.
I never felt more out of place in my life. I always could relate more to maintenance staff at the law school building than my peers. On a broader scale and not just within LALSA, many of my classmates were rich and had their parents pay for their education, instead of having to borrow over $200,000 thousand dollars because you cannot afford a “prestigious” education. Some of my peers had parents who were friends with NFL owners, ran multi-million dollar companies, had generations of professionals in their family, or even own a baseball team playing in the World Series.
Although I’m all about progress and improving one’s own life situation, I’m the type to feel that it doesn’t have to come at the expense of others. If I’m making moves, I want my people to make moves with me. In my short time on this Earth, I’ve come to realize that most people don’t feel the same way as I do (some do tho, and I fux wit those). So to them, some dude kissing Spain’s ass was no big deal. But for those who know what I’m talking about, I think you would have felt the same way.
So I don’t disavow coming up and caking it. I want to be financially stable as well, but there is a limit to what I do for money. If the table I’m sitting at isn’t open to others like me who haven’t had the same opportunities, then I won’t sit at it. I want others like me, who value the strength of the community and the importance of our culture to advance and progress, I just don’t want them sounding like pompous assholes when they do so.
So I wrote a piece for another publication that should be coming out soon. It was way too long (as you would expect when it comes to me complaining, especially about law school). As it was for a more formal and professional setting, it was too bitter sounding and didn’t provide enough evidence as to why Columbia sucks. This is a fair assessment, because I can’t be rational when it comes to that bloodsucking institution.
Y’all know me, I am El Don Agrio (Don Bitter if you don’t eat platanos). So if my writing gets called bitter, I don’t really take it personally. If you was in my position, even if you kept it less real than me (some call it pessimism) and always tried to look for the bright side of things, there would still be a tinge of Lawry’s in your voice too. Just saying.
That being said, I can only express my own views. I will never pretend to try and describe how other people feel. What you read is my own thoughts, right or wrong. Just know, there are many people who go to law school and absolutely love it. They make long time friends, have successful careers, and will forever be happy they made the right decision for themselves. I am genuinely happy for them, because it is a good thing to wake up and enjoy what you do. That’s cool.
Obviously, I don’t fall into that category. I hate that bitch. Forever and ever. Real talk.
So when I say that a diatribe on the reasons why I hated my law school experience would be too lengthy, just take my word for it. Too many complaints and issues that generate a tremendous amount of resentment on my part that would be neither lead to a fruitful discussion (you’d prolly get a few laughs, but it might be too strong for some of y’all). Sure, it would provide a good avenue for me to vent my frustrations, but ain’t nobody got time for that. People just tend to have the “it’s your fault” kind of mentality to it. To a certain extent, it’s partially correct. But for the most part, fuck that.
Two specific moments that occurred in the last of my dreadful three years at Columbia: a meeting with a professor and a banquet. You could say that the meeting with the professor was not a positive one, or you could say it was bullshit. I was being interrogated – a more accurate term than questioned – over a paper I had written. Mind you, this was three days before graduation and never had I, in twenty years of academia, been accused of plagiarism. Not once. Before that incident, I attended a banquet sponsored by the Latino/a Law Student Association, in which the organization presented two well-respected Latino lawyers to come to the school and talk to the students.
The class I wrote the paper for was Law and Visual Arts, focusing on the rights of visual artists as well as the fiduciary duties and responsibilities of museums and cultural learning centers. The course took place during my last semester in law school. In order to complete the course, students had to write a term paper on one of about seven possible topics.
My paper discussed originality with regards to copyright law. Under copyright case law, an author – defined as a creator of copyrighted works, whether music, art, or literature, etc. – need exhibit sufficient a “spark” of creativity and originality in order to be worthy of copyright protection. The paper I wrote was 35 pages long, with 196 footnotes, consisting of a great amount of research and analysis (I’m good at that type of shit).
Although in general my law school transcript was not as strong as I would have liked, I still displayed a great sense of knowledge with regards to research and writing. The classes I was successful featured research papers rather than final exams, and I was at or near the top of my classes in those requiring papers. If a professor had doubts about my writing abilities, they need only contact other members of the faculty who had encountered my writing (I was also an articles editor for a law journal too).
This specific professor did not believe in asking her peers about my performance at school, dancing around the fact that she believed me to be an “inferior” writer who had “clearly” plagiarized on his term paper. She asked to see my notes and physical printouts of the articles I had read to produce the paper, because, in her words, “it was not possible for someone like [me] to write such a paper, as it was too sophisticated an analysis.” Little did she know, after I am done with a course I burn all evidence of its existence. So of course I had no notes.
In academia, there is no greater insult and/or accusation than that of plagiarism. To have a professor question my integrity – without any actual proof or evidence of wrongdoing – is straight up some disrespectful shit. Regardless of the fact that she could not indicate a single sentence, in thirty-five pages, that was not mine, she felt completely justified in her accusation. All ideas and words that were not mine were properly cited and credited to the proper authors (you know, in the 196 mothafucking footnotes I had [ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY SIX!!!!]).
In law school and in the legal profession, a lawyer’s reputation has everything to do with ethics and morality, conducting business and practicing law in an ethically responsible manner. As such, being accused of cheating and stealing someone else’s work is one of the most serious allegations that can be brought against you. In our meeting to discuss my process of writing the paper, the professor had asked the dean of studies to attend, without first letting me know that we would be accompanied by her, thus heightening the seriousness of the accusation. In other words, the bitch brought backup without letting me know about that shit. I really wanted to dropkick her in the teeth, but my inner Obama made sure to prevent such an incident.
Both the dean and my professor kept insinuating my ethically corrupt paper and questioning my abilities, thinking they could catch me slipping and somehow accidentally snitch on myself (sidenote: even if I was cheating, I’m too smart to be a dumbass and get caught, but that is neither here nor there). They complimented the paper, commenting how they would be willing to work with me to try and get it published, but that the editorial process is much more thorough and rigorous and could highlight any issue not raised in a paper for a course. That being the case, they asked me if there was anything that I wanted to reveal to them that would bring me further scrutiny or trouble for whatever journal were to publish it. You know, like stealing somebody else’s work that was better than mine.
In bringing forth their allegations against me, both of them completely disregarded the fact that I was an articles editor for a law journal at the school. I knew exactly what kind of rigorous process law journal articles went through because, you know, I WAS THE MOTHAFUCKA THAT MADE AUTHORS GO THROUGH THAT VERY PROCESS.
They also disregarded the fact that I had taken another intellectual property course with the accusing professor’s best friend. In that class, I received an A- on a similar research paper (covering the copyright implications of mixtapes within the music industry, really interesting if you want to read at some point) and was complimented by the professor for my writing ability. She found the paper “informative and a joy to read,” as I had provided the type of analysis that she had not thought of beforehand.
So let me reiterate, I provided an analysis of copyright law that someone who ran the Intellectual Property center at the number 4 ranked law school in the country had not thought of.
Yet that shit didn’t matter to these bitches.
Like any reasonable person who did not wish to wrongfully accuse a student, both the dean and professor could have spoke to other faculty members for whom I wrote papers. In my opinion, they could not act reasonably, because I was a liberal Latino student at a corporate conservative school (to keep it 100, this was the only time I was accused of cheating, but still, that shit should never have happened since there were was no modicum of evidence).
That being the case, they “had” to assume I cheated. In an academic space supposedly designed to teach legal reasoning, I was not allowed any room for reasonable doubt. There was no probable cause to allow them to justifiably believe I was plagiarizing. No benefit of the doubt for the student who could not pull strings with a simple phone call.
Instead of seeking out the truth, their initial reaction to the high quality of my work was to think that I was not a capable writer. I answered every question they had without hesitation because I had nothing to hide. I properly cited all works I researched (again, 196 footnotes!) and they had no proof or any evidence even remotely suggesting I plagiarized.
Based on their allegations, I should have been given an A+ on the paper, but instead I received an A-. Such a grade means that 3-4 people got a better grade than me, BUT NO ONE ELSE WAS QUESTIONED. Not a single other person. Only me. No one else was accused of cheating, of not being good enough, of being a liar. So when I say they was on that bullshit, now you know to believe me.
this hurt my soul.
this might be the most vicious dunk i have ever seen in my life. apologies to kemp and carter.
5AM in the Bronx.
y’all can stay canada dry.