Monday February 8, marked the Chinese lunar new year, an event celebrated by Chinese all over the world. Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel across the globe to reunite with families (In China, there is even a specific name for this travel season, Chunyun, which describes the extremely high traffic load around this time of year), to participate in what has been called the largest annual human migration in the world. And while there are slight differences in the zodiac, this same lunar calendar cycle is also shared by Vietnamese, Tibetans, Koreans, and Mongolian peoples.
[You can read more about the Chinese zodiac here]
Lunar calendars — that is, any calendar based on the cycles of the moon — trace back millennia to the Ancient Chinese, Greeks, Babylonians, and Jews. In fact, there are many cultures around the world today, such as the Islamic Hijri Qamari Calendar, Chinese Calendar, Hebrew Calendar, and Hindu Calendar, that still mark their calendars by the moon, and each follows a different lunar phase for determining the start of their annual cycle. There are also many who use the Gregorian calendar for everyday use but use the lunar calendar to determine holidays and festive occasions. (more…)
I’m sure all of us have much more important things to do than to worry about the race theorizing of random billionaires, but I thought I’d spare a few pixels on a quote from Mark Cuban — dot-com billionaire and owner of the NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks.
In early June, NBA team owners will come together and vote on whether or not to oust Donald Sterling — the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers — from the league. As you may recall, a few months ago, Sterling was caught on voice recording imploring his biracial girlfriend not to consort publicly with black people. Mark Cuban, who has been hesitant to condemn Sterling’s comments, not so much for their content but for the fact that they were intended to be private, spoke recently in an interview admitting his own biases. Here’s the money quote:
I know I’m prejudiced and I know I’m bigoted in a lot of different ways. If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos, I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts, we all live in glass houses.
I don’t mean to read too much into Cuban’s statement, but I find it interesting that for a “black kid” to be threatening he must only don a hoodie (indeed, by this calculus, I’ve been threatening for the majority of my life). Yet for a “white guy” to reach the same street-crossing threshold “a shaved head and tattoos” are required.
Whether Mark Cuban realizes what he’s admitted here or not is irrelevant and he’s not alone in this way of thinking. We should all realize, however, that this is the magic that turns innocent black kids into murderers and thieves. This is the magic that transforms gun-toting, vigilante, neighborhood watchmen into heroes.