Certifications, Helping, and Racism

Certifications, Helping, and Racism

Yesterday, I took the Microsoft 70-526 certification exam and passed it with a 940. That certification is for Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development. After I take the 70-536 (Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0—Application Development Foundation) on 1/31/2007, I’ll be MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications. I’m already MCTS: SQL Server 2005. Doing these certification exams is fun, but taking all the classes for them every week is really time consuming. If you add that onto my 40 hour work week and 12-16 hours of school plus homework, I have almost zero personal time. I’m taking 16 hours next semester in addition to this DotNet University and work, so don’t expect many blog updates.

Today, after I finished part 1 of my CSC 460, I was leaving class around 5 PM and there was a truck blocking my exit of the TC building. I honked at the pickup and got no response and as I was about to backup to go another way all the way back around one way lanes, the person stuck his head out of his car and said he couldn’t move. I jumped the curb with my expedition to get beside him and asked if he needed me to call somebody. He said he had a phone but he was out of gas. I offered to take him to Circle K and he accepted. I drove him there to get some gas, but they had no gas canisters, so I drove him down to Chevron at Youree and Sophia. He grabbed some gas there and I put the container in a plastic bag in my car so it wouldn’t get as much gas in my car (it still smells a little like gas).

When we got back to his car, the LSUS cops were around it and wondering what to do with the car that was blocking the way. Eric (the guy’s name) and I explained the situation and after he was finally able to get the car to start after refueling it, Eric and I shook hands and the cops, Eric, and I all left.

I went to my parents’ house to meet up with them to go get something to eat, as I often do during the week on nights that I don’t have school. On the way back home, we were discussing how stinky southeast Shreveport is thanks to the poop lifting station in the back yard of one of the homes at Smitherman and Youree. Some people we know used to live there and after they finally moved out, that house sells all the time. People probably view the house on a “good” day and then find out the horrible poop truth. That’s mildly humorous.

What’s not humorous is that my dad said that they should “get some Spaniards to live there since they wouldn’t mind”. I became irate and started yelling at him that he is a racist, because he obviously is one. He claimed it was a joke to “get my goat”. The reason he knew that would “get my goat” is because I have called him on his racism several times before, usually about black people. He wants to pretend he’s not a racist, but I’m fed up with it. I’m not talking to him for a long time. He paid for my dinner but I put cash in his shirt pocket for more than what the meal cost and he asked why. I told him I didn’t want to feel like I owed him anything and the money was for the meal and gas money. I am so pissed off at him right now, and I’m ashamed that he’s my father.

The worst part is that my mom won’t call him on it because she has to live with him. He’s not violent or anything, but she just shies away from any conflict. I asked her point blank if she believed he was kidding. I could tell she was lying and after she stuttered a little bit and then hesitated, she said he was kidding. I call bullshit on that one. She needs to stand up to him and tell him that’s not OK. She even votes for whoever he tells her he’s voting for because she said “I like who he likes.”

And next time Craig says something racist, I’m going to call him on it. I’m sick of it from him too. Craig, for those who don’t know, is someone from the Shreveport Atheists. While discussing the white bus driver in Natchitoches that sent the black kids to the back of the bus and insulted him (we were discussing it because Randall is on the local ACLU [of which I’m a member] board), Craig had not heard about it. When we elaborated, he first started laughing out loud, literally! After that subsided, he asked “Are you sure it wasn’t because they were being loud? You know, when a lot of them get together, they can make a bunch of noise.” How bold! How crass! How unbelievable!

It is NOT OK to be a racist in 2006. Apparently, it’s still possible to do it in Louisiana, but it’s not OK, and I’m going to start telling people besides my dad. There is no excuse to think you’re better than someone because of the color of your skin. I knew Craig was a racist from some of his blog posts, and I called him on those. I’m now blocked from his MySpace, so he’s probably posting more racist blog entries that I just can’t see now, but I’m not going to be friendly to someone who can’t even understand that pigmentation has nothing to do with how good of a person you are.

So in closing, I’m happy about the following: I finished one half of one of my finals with an A. In another class, I don’t have to worry about the final because I have a 103% and I only have to make like a 40% on the final. I’m also happy that I was able to help someone a lot with only 45 minutes of my time. (I guess I’m glad I never mentioned to my dad that the guy was black.)

I’m pissed off at my dad and as an extension, I’m pissed off at Craig again. Am I crazy to think that it’s not OK to be a racist, even if it’s just to “get my goat”?

Author: Chris Benard

Chris Benard is a software developer in the Dallas area specializing in payments processing, medical claims processing, and Windows/Web services.