chess: (doing some serious work)
( Mar. 4th, 2005 09:32 pm)
Yesterday I discovered I had turned into a racist. I was looking at the pictures of the CUSU candidates, and one of them looked vaguely Indian (subcontinental? because I can't tell Indians from Pakistanis by sight, and have about the same prejudices for both, although I think I've had more contact with the former), and I immediately thought 'loud, untrustworthy, sells himself well and networks aggressively, got lots of contacts of the same race that he uses shamelessly to get ahead of more polite people'.

The problem is, I was probably right. About 50% of people of that extraction seem to fit that stereotype; the others fit a different one - quietish, work insanely hard, generally much smaller in stature than the first 50% and much less likely to have facial hair.

I've tried quite hard not to be racist in the past, but, dammit, people *do* tend to have racial characteristics. I can't describe the ones I have in my mind for 'black' and 'oriental' quite as closely, and I think I've met more exceptions in those groups, but I know they're there, subsconsciously affecting how I react to people. I tend to characterise oriental people as more manipulative than usual, more likely to layer on the social lies until you can't tell who they really are, and black people as more likely to be violent and in your face, or overly defensive (although Yorkshiremen come to mind for the second one - I even have regional prejudices, and *they're often right too*.)

I'm not really sure what to do about this discovery. I know that having any reactions based on someone's race is meant to be bad, but I'm not sure I can avoid making correlations when they seem to fit so often.
chess: (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2005 05:00 pm)
Why I discovered today that I am a natural manager (of tech things, at least):

- I can easily model systems in my head. This is a bad description of my talent. It is the talent to be able to listen to people talking about a thing they are building and then be able to answer someone's questions on how the system works. It is the talent of being able to put together all of the small parts of a system and hav a good overview.

- I can answer questions fluently. I do not need to stop and think if I am even slightly prepared on a subject. This way I am always confident, and also generally correct. I also know when my knowledge of a subject stops and I should ask someone else to carry on, or give a reason for my team not having thoroughly investigated that subject yet.

- I can work out what people are competant at, even if they claim to be competant at something different. I know that the art of management is to let people manage themselves as far as possible but also to know how to step in when necessary and how to spot when productive dialog has ceased and a meeting is just thrashing, and how to get it back on topic.

- I understand delegation and division of labour. I can keep a good, useful overview in my head without having to know implementation details, and answer almost any question from the overview, and know who to defer to if the question is too deep into one part or other. I can use other people to do research and to implement things and do not need to know every detail of what they are doing to be sure it continues to fit in.

These are the things I am good at. I am passable at a wide range of other things, but these are the things which I am *better than other people* at.
Christmas happened.

I went to Lincolnshire for most of Christmas. There, I played computer games and ate too much. Nicholas' family were lovely as usual. The people who they had round on Christmas Day offended me for reasons probably more to do with me than them. (The main speaker, the father, was involved in a legal firm which didn't take legal aid cases and seemed to pride themselves on this, and was generally unconsciously misogynistic throughout his conversation; the eldest son was a car salesman with *salesman's eyes*. They reminded me why normal people scare and sicken me quite so much.)

I have instructed [livejournal.com profile] tienelle not to let me play computer games, possibly ever again. Computer games are bad for me. At the very least I can write surreal short stories instead. Or read books.

After Lincolnshire I went home to see my parents, which was almost but not quite an unmitigated disaster. We did manage a couple of walks where I remembered why I quite like my parents really, but I'd put on a bit of weight over Christmas and had ample oppertunities to remind myself why I can't live with them any more. It did not help that both me and my mother had PMT. We went to the 'Eyes, Lies and Illusions' exhibition on the South Bank which was vastly uninspiring, and watched 'The Returner', which was a lousy piece of Japanese gun-fu. We also watched Troy, which was technically good but not quite stunning enough to get through my general PMT-induced antipathy to life.

(The main problem that I have with my parents at the moment is that my mother cannot accept that I can't be her perfect daughter even though the steps to become such are trivial to her and hence I must only not be taking them out of laziness and probably spite and insufficient love for her. Hence I spend the time I am with them pretending to be somebody I'm not, which is rather stressful but the only way, I have been informed, that I can stay on speaking terms with my parents at all; if I don't conform to this particular set of 'perfectly reasonable' expectations I can not be part of the same society as them, apparently, and hence can never meet them.)

Now I am sitting around in Oblivion wondering if the last two members of our rather sadly failed party are going to arrive. I am a bit hurt about this, really; I don't understand what further communication was needed besides my post, except perhaps a clarification of times, and don't see where any such was requested which I haven't replied to.

I probably should do something about the vast and cavernous gap between my last proper diary entry and the events covered herein, but I am not sure I have the energy. I might write nonsense or do memes instead. I feel like sitting and typing, but I don't have the energy for research. (I have a Rondak's Portal game that desperately needs some love, and an idea for an Ars Magica campaign which I Must Not Run - although I might consider doing it online somehow (I already submitted it as a Portal game, but doubt I'll have much interest there unless some people from here are willing to use that method, which I'm comfortable with and seems to work quite well but you might not be).
.

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Michelle Taylor

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