Yesterday we went into town later than usual. We wanted to try dinner at the Grub Stake which just started serving food recently. I also had some library books due. First, we stopped at the library and I returned the three books and one CD I had checked out three weeks ago. I had checked out a book on the history of the Navajo, a book on the history of the US-Mexican border, a Tony Hillerman mystery and the Roughguide to Greek music CD. I played a lot of Greek music in the last three weeks. Yesterday, I checked out four new books and a CD. I got a book on European explorations of Arabia, one on the Hopi, one on the various Indian wars of the South West and another Tony Hillerman mystery. The CD is by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Estonia is world famous for its music. Last time I was there in Februrary I saw a military concert in Tartu to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty. I had a personalized invitation from an admiral. Later in Tallinn I saw a small jazz concert. I actually liked the jazz concert better. At anyrate I find it amazing that a rural area of only around 800 people has a library that is open on Saturdays and actually has books and CDs worth checking out.
After the library we headed to the post office. To my surprise I had mail. Last week I sent out my first job application with my new cover letter to a university in the mid-west. Yesterday I had a letter back from them. Granted it is only the stupid affirmative action form, but it is signed by the chairman of the history department. I hate filling out affirmative action forms. I find them to be the worst sort of politically correct racism. It asks for my Racial/Ethnic background and then gives me a set of very arbitrary choices. First, the cultural heritage of my ancestors is information totally unrelated to my qualifications to teach history. The only reason one would collect such information is to use it to discriminate against some group of people on the basis of being biologically descended from certain arbitrarily defined cultural groups. Second, they do not even bother to have a group that fits me. They have a catagory of White, non-Hispanic which is just dumb. What do Germans, Finns, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Berbers, Jews, Ukrainians, Kurds, Italians, Hungarians, Portuguese and the other myriad groups subsumed in this catagory have in common with each other? Could they at least have European? I know you have to seperate Spain out for some stupid reason, but maybe call it "Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals plus Portugal?" Maybe divide Europe into cultural groupings like Germanic or Teutonic, Latin (except for Spain which is Hispanic according to the US government not White or European), Uralic, Slavic, Baltic and Celtic? But, classifying these diverse cultures as White on the basis of having less pigmentation than sub-Saharan Africans is insulting. I used to be White, but pigmentation has nothing to do with ethnicity.
My great grandfather like many Germans from Russia went to Canada. However, many went to Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Paraguay and Mexico. Many also went to Brazil, but since it speaks Portuguese its people are not Hispanic. I guess they are considered either White, non-Hispanic or Black, non-Hispanic depending on if they have any African ancestory. Now if my grandfather had been born in Argentina like many other people of Russian-German descent rather than Canada I would be Hispanic. My racial/ethnic background would not be any different in reality, but legally I would be in a catagory that receives official preference instead of one that is defacto discriminated against. Of course it is all completely a waste of resources in this case. The number of people who are in a catagory other than White, non-Hispanic applying for the jobs in my field is extremely miniscule. I strongly suspect it may be zero for this particular job.