This week was in one word, CRAZY! I had my exam and I started my new research gig. I also started attending seminars in Emerging Infectious Diseases/ Biological Agents and in doing so, I realized just how much diplomacy and politics plays such a HUGE role in averting international crises. So I guess that means I'm going to have to work really hard on developing my diplomacy skills, lol! I actually have no issues with diplomacy, except on the Internet. Then as many of you well know, I let it rip.
I can say though that for the first time, it's kinda strange to work in a lab where the people are young enough to be my kids. REAL HARD, considering so many born in the 80's have no clue about things like integrity and respect. While a persons integrity tends to be a personal issue unless they make your lab work disappear, the respect thing will get checked with a quick!
The one thing I really liked about working at the NIH was that not only were the people there amazingly smart, but as long as you held your own, you would get treated as a colleague. At least that was my experience and what I observed. There, I felt like another up and coming MD/PhD, but being back in an academic environment brings about some of those same ol' nagging issues of race, class, and gender. In other words, I realize that to be successful, I'll have to "dance" a LOT. For example, I've already realized that I'll need to downplay just how much I know so as not to intimidate other students and I know there's a woman, minority, or both that knows exactly where I'm coming from with this. So strange, this knowledge as intimidating game that gets played in certain environments and VERY tiring! But I realized that until you get your "letters", are presenting research at a lab meeting or national meeting, it's best to keep a relatively low profile.
Other things on my mind this week is the Jena 6 situation in Jena Louisiana and as much as this is shocking to some people, I find it pretty typical. Black kids in the South having the justice system punish them unjustly. The question I asked is where's the news"?? It's clear that inequities in the justice system exist and the punishment these kids received versus that which the white kids received is blantantly unfair. But some in the black community have tied this issue to the case of the young black Georgia man in prison for 10 years and charged with child molestation for having oral sex with a 15 year old white girl, a "crime" he committed when he was 17. Now I definitely think his sentence was unfair especially given that his "victim" told police she was a willing participant. However, most blacks are aware of the violent history of being black in the South, and with this realization, avoided certain situations just to stay alive. And in my mind especially if you live in the South, you need to do what you can to avoid any situation that could potentially place you at the feet of the justice system.