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April 03, 2007

Ask Ms. Sandra D.

Dear Sandra D.,

In Con Law class we recently read about integration and some of the opinions regarding race relations in America. I am a white female, and while I was in undergrad I had a long-term relationship with a black classmate. We were very much in love and had planned on getting married –until we met each other’s families. We both found ourselves uncomfortable and ostracized at the other’s home. Although our parents never directly said that race was an issue, it was clear. Now, I am interested in someone who is from a different background again and I wonder if it is worth it to fall in love again, just to see it end in heartbreak? Has anything really changed from the days before Brown?

Dear Jaded,
What a loaded question! The truth is that many parents are still opposed to seeing their children marry outside of their race. They may have no problem with interacting with people from different backgrounds or even having a diverse range of close friends but it becomes an entirely different matter when their kids are involved. Parents worry that you two are being shortsighted –for example, that you are not considering the unique challenges to your situation, or the effect this decision might have on your own kids. These are realities you and your partner should keep in mind, but in no way is Sandra D. saying that this should prevent you from pursuing a relationship with someone you care about. All relationships are bound to have challenges, and unfortunately there are going to be some unique ones you face if you are in an interracial or intercultural relationship. As long as you and your prospective partner can acknowledge these possible challenges now, you will be able to avoid heartbreak in the long run.

Dear Sandra D.,

Spoons has taken over my life and I am extremely frustrated because I have not even been able to get in one thwack. What the heck? What can I do to get my guy??

Dear Thwackless,
If I had a dollar for every person who asked me this question, I would still be in debt. The spoons competition is winding down to some of the most conniving and most elusive law students at Michigan. Nobody said it was going to be easy being the spoons champion, but nobody said it would be this hard. As days upon days pass without having thwacked, just remember that it is one day closer to when you will thwack your person. There will be a moment of weakness. It may be that they have to put their spoon down to sneeze, or put on a pair of gloves, and you will be there, ever vigilant, ever ready to thwack. Stay strong.

Dear Sandra D.,

I am slightly embarrassed to even be writing this question, but I feel I must because it may be an issue many law students face. I sit next to someone in class who has very bad hygiene. Particularly, very bad breath. This would be fine if we were free to change our seats but since the seating chart of death has been well established, there is no way I can change my seat. I actually hate to go to this class because I am afraid I will gag. Please help!

Dear Disgusted,
Writing in was a brave thing to do, and it will help many law students. Law students of Michigan, please hear Disgusted’s call. Go to your local Kroger and get the 3 pack of Dentyne Ice, which is often on sale for 2/$3.00. It will be an investment that goes a long way; from helping you make more friends at school or not grossing out future employers. Personal hygiene is key. Make sure you are brushing at least twice a day and using mouthwash. Flossing is one of the best ways to kill bad breath because the bacteria that causes it often lives between our teeth. Get unscented deodorant so you can really pile it on without feeling like you smell like the deodorant aisle. These simple and cheap steps will go a long way to making the world a better place. As for you, Disgusted, a simple tactful hint can go a long way. Perhaps make an effort to reach out to your classmate, take chewing gum and mints to class and place them visibly between you or offer one casually. Best of luck!