Category "Identity"

July 20, 2005

Identity Imprint

from the Sunday New York Times Magazine, 7.17.05

"Once implanted just under the skin, via a quick, simple and painless outpatient procedure (much like getting a shot), the VeriChip can be scanned when necessary with a proprietary VeriChip scanner. VeriChip is there when you need it. Unlike traditional forms of identification, VeriChip can't be lost, stolen, misplaced or counterfeited." - Source: VeriChip Corporation (

Posted by hgroteva at 8:10 AM | Identity

Category "Identity"

October 9, 2005

This I Believe

NPR has done it again. Back in July, I blogged about an innovative new program called "Open Ears," in which musicians talk about the music they love. I recently heard a new program (for me), which actually has its roots in a 1950s radio program of Edward R. Murrow's called "This I Believe". The NPR program of the same name asks listeners to "share the beliefs that guide you in your daily life." They are collecting essays of up to 6000 words, and they present a new one each week in the author's own voice.

The NPR website has links to a number of these fascinating essays that give voice to individuals' struggles and insights. They are well worth hearing. As one who studies narrative approaches to identity, I'm very excited about this project. These are powerful transformative stories that attest to the complexity and vigor of the human spirit.

Stories are powerful things. American Public Radioworks is also collecting stories --- of those involved in international adoption. They are developing a feature called "Finding Home: Fifty Years of International Adoption." This promises to be fascinating and useful. This program was recently discussed on colleague Rich Lee's blog "FamiLee Life."

Posted by hgroteva at 8:31 AM | Identity

Category "Identity"

April 21, 2006

Geek Prom in St. Paul

According to this morning's Star Tribune, "After four successive annual incarnations in Duluth, the only prom catering to adult [21 and older] nerds, nimrods, dorks, dweebs and other "misfits," has gone metro and arrived at its geekiest venue yet: a museum with science experiments and dinosaur bones."

"We celebrate the geekiness in all of us, and that certainly is what the Geek prom does, too," said Gail Vold Breco, the museum's director of public relations. "We needed to call our people home."

What a great concept! In the spirit of "calling my people home," especially with my blog's title, I had to take note of this important event. For more information, visit the website here. The event promises "awkward romance, cheesy music, and the dissection of a cow's eye." "For those who were too cool to properly enjoy their high school prom, it's an opportunity to finally let that inner-geek out."

Inner geek ... hmmm.... does that mean I should go? Actually, I did enjoy my high school prom. I didn't particularly enjoy high school, but I knew that the prom marked the end of something and the beginning of a big new adventure. It was 40 years ago this spring, and our country was on the cusp of a cultural sea change. The Beatles reigned, but it was still their relatively innocent stuff. (Rubber Soul was out - I think I played that record until it had a hole in it - but Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper were yet to come.)

Strange thing about my high school class. The football players married the cheerleaders, and they all stayed in the same town. (I, on the other hand, live a comfortable 1000 miles away.) One of them is now running for city council and is sponsoring our class reunion website on the home page for his election campaign! (PS: This is not from a small town.)

But I digress.... When asked to define a geek, Paul Lundgren, organizer of the first Geek Prom, said he didn't have a hard and fast definition. "I usually go with the old saying about pornography: 'I know it when I see it.' " Hmmmmmmmm... an unfortunate association.

In any case, I predict that the Geek Prom will grow in popularity. Although I can't make it this year, maybe another time. Guess I'd better check with my potential date for the evening. It might take a year to talk her into it.

To all Geeks everywhere, inner and outer, enjoy!

Posted by hgroteva at 8:40 PM | Identity

Category "About Inner Geek"

Category "Identity"

April 25, 2006

More Geekiness

HG Geek Inside shirt-b.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 5:42 AM | About Inner Geek | Identity

Category "Identity"

Category "Life"

May 29, 2006

What's In A Name?

A simple question, but one that has echoed down through the ages.

At Meredith's naming ceremony Friday evening, the Rabbi asked those of us in the congregation about our names. He reminded us that we each have 2 names: the name given to us at birth, which we had no say over; and the name we are continually creating for ourselves as we live in the world. We do have control over the latter. He asked (rhetorically), Would you rather be known as the-one-who-drives-the-gas-guzzler-and-despoils-the-environment ... or the-one-who-protects-the-environment-for-his-children's-children? You get the drift. It was a thoughtful reminder for all of us adults who were there to name a baby, that we are continually naming ourselves through our actions.

Meredith slept peacefully in our midst. Her Hebrew name, Meira, means "one who gives light." That's a tall order for such a little one, but our world certainly needs more people who will bring light. I think she'll be up to the challenge! Welcome to the world, Meredith!

Meredith3_2 wks-b.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 6:27 AM | Identity | Life

Category "Culture"

Category "Identity"

Category "Society"

January 29, 2007

"Race" Exhibit at the Science Museum

I like to go to movies and plays that trouble me. Sure, at times I like to go just for pure entertainment, but I also like to be challenged by what I see and hear. That’s the experience I had Friday afternoon, when I went to see the new exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota entitled, “Race: Are We So Different??

The complexity with which race is portrayed made me think back to a wonderful course I had as a college sophomore in 1967, entitled “The Concept of Race.? It was in the anthropology department, but it was very interdisciplinary. The first third was taught by a physical anthropologist (Robert Malina) and explored biological and genetic concepts; the second third was taught by a cultural anthropologist (Henry Selby) and looked at the diversity of cultures and “races? across the world. The last third was taught by an expert on the peoples of the Middle East (Robert Fernea), who talked about how race is experienced in specific cultures. They were ahead of their time. But I digress...

The Science Museum exhibit had many displays – some were interactive, others used words or pictures to make their points. The most powerful to me were the personal stories. An interracial couple talked about their experience in Minnesota – the double-takes they would get in shopping malls, the stares they would get in restaurants or with their child. A young woman adopted from Korea talked about how her adoptive parents were told by their social worker not to talk about race with their child; and they didn’t. A social scientist commented on the U.S. by saying “This is a world of racial smog. We all breathe it.? An American Indian woman said, “My name is Cindy Bloom. I’m a Cherokee Indian but I am not a [football team] mascot.? A woman whose race was “indeterminate? [her word] said that people were uncomfortable when they first met her – almost as if they needed to figure out what racial group she belonged to before they knew how to relate to her. They’d ask “What are you?? as if her racial designation summed up her existence. A middle-aged African American woman said, “Politically and culturally, race is as real as it gets.?

Several exhibits talked about “white privilege,? a concept popularized by Peggy Macintosh in her paper "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" The interviews with Doug Hartmann (U of MN Associate Professor of Sociology) noted that one aspect of white privilege is that white people claim the privilege (or option) of saying they don’t have a race, or that they are part of the human race. For people of color, race is a part of daily experience. They don’t have the “privilege? of ignoring it.

One exhibit showed 134 Brazilian terms for skin tone. Rich Lee’s blog entry for January 27 talked about links between skin tone and salary in the U.S.

Several exhibits debated the use of race in the field of medicine. Recent studies showing race-specific risks for some diseases (e.g., higher risk for hypertension among African Americans) have suggested that new drugs be targeted toward different groups. However, the exhibit effectively argued that since there is no genetic or biological validity to the concept of race, treatments targeted toward different groups rest on flawed assumptions.

One fascinating display about DNA stated that “the pattern of DNA variation across populations shows a nested subset. African populations harbor some alleles (gene variations) that are absent in non-African populations; however, all of the alleles that are common in non-African populations are also common in African populations.? In other words, the gene variations in European and Asian populations are subsets of the variations observed in African populations. There are no gene variations found among Europeans or Asians that are not also found among people of African descent. It makes sense, considering where the world’s population originated – in Africa. But it presented a new way of thinking about this.

All in all, it was a great exhibit. It “troubled? me – in that it made me think deeply – and I think it will do that for many people who pass through it. I have asked my lifespan development students to see it; I’ll be very interested to hear what they have to say. One of the background documents for the exhibit contained this quote from Robin D.G. Kelley, historian: Race “is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look.? I like that, because it puts responsibility for dealing with race squarely where it belongs: in our own hands.

Posted by hgroteva at 6:16 AM | Culture | Identity | Society

Category "Art"

Category "Identity"

Category "Society"

April 15, 2007

Still Present Pasts

Still Present Pasts.jpg

Last night was the opening of the exhibit, Still Present Pasts, a multimedia exhibit exploring the legacies of the Korean War. Congratulations to the many people and funders who made it possible, and especially to my university colleague Rich Lee, who chaired the steering committee. Rich has been building excitement about the exhibit for several weeks now on his blog - Here's a link to the posts.

There's a lot to take in - poignant displays and first-person accounts about people who lived through the war and their families who came after. I want to return when it's quieter in the gallery to soak it all in. One of the most moving speeches at last night's opening was delivered by Dr. Ji Yeon Yuh, Associate Professor of History and Director of Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She placed the Korean War in nested, yet broadening circles of human conflict - extending to today's global hatred and bitterness. She gave a moving plea for global understanding and placed responsibility for it squarely on each of our shoulders.

The opening program also featured readings of poetry and prose, and performances by the Chang Mi Korean Dance and Drum and by Shinparam, A Korean traditional drumming troupe. I was delighted to see that two students in my research methods class participate in Shinparam.

The exhibit is particularly important for people involved in any facet of adoption because of the large number of children adopted from Korea into the U.S. following the Korean War and continuing for many years. Several adoption-related events in conjunction with the exhibit should be noted:

Birthmother Panel -- "Korean immigrant mothers share their story of giving up their children for adoption as a result of the Korean War."
April 28, 10 a.m. - noon
Korean Presbyterian Church

Made in Korea
a film by In-Soo Radstake
April 28, 7:15 pm, St. Anthony Main Theatre
April 29, 2:30 pm, St. Anthony Main Theatre

Evening with Deann Borshay Liem
Screening and discussion of her film, "First Person Plural" and discussion of her current work
May 5, 7 - 9 pm,
Nicholson Hall 155, U of Minnesota, East Bank

Here: A Visual Portrait of Korean Adoptees Living in Minnesota
Book preview and reception
June 3, 3 - 6 pm, Weisman Art Gallery
Kim Dalros and Holly Hee Won Coughlin, project curators

For further information about these and other events, visit the Still Present Pasts website.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in making these events possible.

Posted by hgroteva at 10:20 AM | Art | Identity | Society

Category "Family"

Category "Identity"

Category "Music - of all kinds"

March 17, 2009

Once, Again


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, it's time to listen once again to the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies of all time: "Once." Such a great story, and such great music. I'm listening in memory of the Irish side of my family, especially my beloved grandfather, Leo Francis Ryan. He died suddenly of a stroke when I was about 8 - I wish I had gotten to know him as an adult - my sense is that he was quite a guy. He's the second from the right.

Floyd Ed Leo Jim painters 1955.jpg

Here is a link to the soundtrack
- enjoy!

Posted by hgroteva at 8:58 AM | Family | Identity | Music - of all kinds