MrCyriac Returns From Kenya

Dear readers, I am back after a two week hiatus. I saw lots of lions, smelled lots of hippos, drank lots of Tusker and had a few interesting conversations.

Young President Obama and his grandmother

When I told my mother that I was going to Kenya, she thought for a moment and asked “Isn’t that where Obama is from?” “No mom, he’s from Hawaii. His dad was from Kenya”. “Yeah, OK fine. Send my regards. Tell them he’s my guy”.

As a tourist, I had little access to what could be considered the “real” Kenya as lived by its own people (but I, like most people, came primarily for the animals). Every time I tried to talk to someone about something other than animals and the local tribal dances, a wall of politeness and training stood in the way of any potentially sensitive discussion. The disconnect that exists there between visitors and the staff at the hotels I stayed at was no accident –  it was designed to be that way.

One topic that consistently garnered a response was President Obama. Continue reading “MrCyriac Returns From Kenya”

Guest post: What’s so great about a meritocracy anyway?

Dear readers:  MrCyriac has gone to Kenya for holidays. In his absence, he asked me (mexindian) to keep you entertained. Conceding defeat pre-emptively, I anyway give it a go:

So let’s talk about meritocracy, defined as: “the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability”. Let’s step over the quagmire of prejudice in the selection of “the best candidate” in order to focus on something slightly more interesting. For the sake of argument, let’s assume we are capable and willing to hire the best candidate we can find.

What is the benefit to this hiring practice? One could say it’s fairest, it maximizes efficiency for the hiring company, it maximizes efficiency in society by forcing incompetent employees to “be better”, among others. Each of these benefits could also be discussed in and of themselves. But again, let’s bypass these discussions in order to allow me to present my two-part point: 1. Merit is not merited, 2. Getting a job because you are “better” than another candidate doesn’t necessarily guarantee society more happiness.

Don’t Google Image Search Asians

Two weeks ago, I posted a couple of thoughts on the Asian American community. During the writing process, I did a Google image search for Asian – the results were almost entirely pornographic in nature. Since Google’s algorithm shows results based on popularity, my search results suggest that when people do an image search for Asian, they are almost always looking for pornographic images.

This got me to thinking – what are people looking for when they search for other communities? I use the term community very loosely – any group of people that can be described using any word, whether accurate or not. I did an image search for a bunch of people, mostly by nationality to see what was popular. Here’s what I found: