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407 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I thought this was a very interesting question considering that I am here on a minority scholarship. That being said it was a bit difficult two come to a conclusion on this issue.
You're characterizing each student by reason of the color of his or her skin," chided Justice Anthony Kennedy, during the Supreme Court arguments last week over the legality of school-integration plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle. "And it seems to me that that should only be, if ever allowed, allowed as a last resort." Kennedy is the court's probable swing vote on this issue, and he has a clear track record on racial preferences: he doesn't like them. "It appears Kennedy is going to stick with his long-held position that affirmative action is unconstitutional," says Paul Gewirtz of Yale Law School. If so, the Roberts court is embarked upon a gradual, but ineluctable, rollback of all racial preferences. As Gewirtz puts it, "This could be the most significant short-term impact of the Bush appointees on the Supreme Court."
Affirmative action was never a very elegant solution to the problem of racial injustice. In fact, Gewirtz—who clerked for the civil rights legend Justice Thurgood Marshall—remembers that Marshall was opposed to making distinctions by race, and had his doubts about racial preferences. But Marshall overcame his doubts, and affirmative action became part of the fabric of American society. On the plus side, a generation of minority and women college graduates has entered the workforce, creating a significant black middle class and a more integrated society. But the price has been resentment, especially in the white working class, and some real inequities. Racial gerrymandering of legislative districts, for example, has created a distorted, extremist politics of racial identification, especially in the South.
Even the most passionate advocates of affirmative action agree that it's a temporary fix, that writing racial distinctions into law is corrosive and illogical in a society that presumes racial equality. Even the most passionate conservative advocates of "color blindness" know that race prejudice still exists and needs to be rectified. So what do we do now? Here are three possible ways to ensure diversity and repair injustice:
Make it poverty, not pigment. This is an imperfect solution. Yes, a disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos are poor, but the majority of poor people are white—and more than a few are Asian. If race-based remedies are supplanted by class-based remedies, the number of African Americans attending elite universities, for one thing, will fall. Tom Kane, a Harvard economist, told me, "You'd need an economic affirmative-action program six times the size of the current racial preferences to [benefit] an equivalent number of African Americans." Having stated all of this, I conclude that we should keep affirmative action around but just change the criteria.

410 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I thought this was an interesting experiment for the class and I understood the significance of eating the second piece of chocolate, but I did anyway. I did this because I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t eat it after seeing a short video on the issue. I couldn’t possible act as if I knew everything there was to know and to give up chocolate in that moment would be saying exactly that. What did decide to do was actually research the topic to learn all there was to know. The results were astonishing. Most of us, though, aren’t all that concerned with the history or chemistry of chocolate. When it comes down to it, frankly, we are content so long as the market shelves remain well stocked with affordable tins of cocoa and bars of chocolate candy. Or at least that’s how it was in the United States until the summer of 2001. For then the Knight Ridder Newspapers across the country ran a series of investigative articles that revealed a very dark side to our chocolate consumption. In riveting detail, the series profiled young boys who were tricked into slavery, or sold as slaves, to Ivory Coast cocoa farmers. Ivory Coast, located on the southern coast of West Africa, is by far the world’s largest supplier of cocoa beans, providing 43% of the world’s supply. There are 600,000 cocoa farms in Ivory Coast which together account for one-third of the nation’s entire economy. An investigative report by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in 2000 indicated the size of the problem. According to the BBC, hundreds of thousands of children are being purchased from their parents for a pittance, or in some cases outright stolen, and then shipped to the Ivory Coast, where they are sold as slaves to cocoa farms. These children typically come from countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Destitute parents in these poverty-stricken lands sell their children to traffickers believing that they will find honest work once they arrive in Ivory Coast and then send some of their earnings home. But that’s not what happens. These children, usually 12-to-14-years-old but sometimes younger, are forced to do hard manual labor 80 to 100 hours a week. They are paid nothing, are barely fed, are beaten regularly, and are often viciously beaten if they try to escape. Most will never see their families again. “The beatings were a part of my life,” Aly Diabate, a freed slave, told reporters. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”

411 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

A core element of the American creed has always been a belief in the dignity of labor at least until now. Supporters of a guest-worker program for Mexican laborers say that "there are jobs that no Americans will do." This is an argument that is a step away from suggesting that there are jobs that Americans shouldn't do.President George Bush, a strong supporter of the guest-worker program, has long said that "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." We are supposed to believe, however, that the work ethic does stop there it is only south of it that people can be found who are willing to work in construction, landscaping and agricultural jobs. So, without importing those people into our labor market, these jobs would go unfilled, disrupting the economy and creating an epidemic of unkempt lawns in Southern California. This is sheer nonsense. According to a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, illegals make up 24 percent of workers in agriculture, 17 percent in cleaning, 14 percent in construction, and 12 percent in food production. So 86 percent of construction workers, for instance, are either legal immigrants or Americans, despite the fact that this is one of the alleged categories of untouchable jobs.Oddly, the people who warn that without millions of cheap, unskilled Mexican laborers, this country would face economic disaster are pro-business libertarians. They believe in the power of the market to handle anything, except a slightly tighter labor market for unskilled workers. But the free market would inevitably adjust, with higher wages or technological innovation.the end of the bracero guest-worker program in the mid-1960s caused a one-year 40 percent wage increase for the United Farm Workers Union. A similar wage increase for legal farm workers today would work out to about a 10-dollar-a-year increase in the average family's bill for fruit and vegetables. Another thing happened with the end of the bracero program: The processed-tomato industry, which was heavily dependent on guest workers and was supposed to be devastated by their absence, learned how to mechanize and became more productive. So the market will manage with fewer illegal aliens. In agriculture, I speculates that will mean technological innovation in some sectors (peaches), and perhaps a shifting to production abroad in others (strawberries). There is indeed a niche for low-skill labor in America. The question is simply whether it should be filled by illegal or temporary Mexicans workers, or instead by legal immigrants and Americans, who can command slightly higher wages. The guest-worker lobby prefers the former option. If this debate is presented clearly, there is little doubt what most conservatives and the public would prefer.

412 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

The question at hand here is “what makes this our land?” Now, by “us” if you are referring to all the Europeans who came over here and decimated the indigenous peoples than the answer is simply “hedonistic brutality”. When I say this, I mean that the english settlers and all european peoples who came over here with discovery on their agenda were shocked to be greeted by the natives. They did not understand them culturally or linguistically for that matter, therefore in their minds they were savages. But if you ask me who fit the mold of savages more so, it would be the Europeans, who stopped at nothing to steal land from its rightful owner. The Natives were nothing but gracious in the beginning by teaching the settlers the ways of the land whether it be in topography or farming. In return they had their families broken up, women raped, children slaughtered, and their people damn near wiped from the plant. For what? The white man’s manifest destiny?. Really though? Who seems more civilized in this instance. So to narrow the answer down a bit more, what makes America the land of its current constituency which as of right now are the majority white is the hedonistic brutality of many of their ancestors. I can say this, because it is not a racist statement for two reasons. One, I said that “most ancestors of white people” not all, and two, historical account given by the settlers themselves boasts their foul play from the beginning so its not a question as to “if” it happened or “who did it. Now I know what you may be thinking, what about all of the black people, in America? If that question really has to be asked at this point then you just dug another hole for all ancestors of white people. Since most of the Natives were decimated at the hand of the europeans they need someone to work the land. Of course they didn’t want to do it themselves so they again labeled people from a different land savages because they did not understand them culturally or linguistically. They took these so called savages from West African lands and placed them in their newly acquired/stolen land and dubbed them slaves. Honestly, in my opinion I believe all African Americans today should be pardoned from the blame and dishonor of living on this stolen land we call America because of the injustices served to their ancestors by those of the europeans. As for today and the nation we have learned to know as the land of the free, it is one of the greatest to be established but at what costs. It is true that America is beautiful today but it does have a very gruesome and shameful past that needs to be acknowledged.

413 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

Now, I understand that we are uncomfortable with each other. That is a part of life. You are right there that, you know, white people generally hang out with white people. Black people generally hang out with black people, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera -- all down the line, because we have -- we have our cultures in common. We have our histories in common in many ways, but, see, that's the problem. That's why we used to've concentrate on being a melting pot. We we're both I contend that African-Americans are just on -- as uncomfortable speaking in a room full of white people as I am speaking in a room full of black people, because I'm constantly -- I have a constant inner dialogue in my head -- not of "don't say anything racist," but "don't say anything that might be perceived by others as racist." And here's why it freaks you out, and you just clam up and don't say anything, because I don't know what would be perceived as racist. Because what I say is not racist. If we speak the same language, if we use the same -- if we use the same language -- and I mean that by not Spanish and English, although that's important -- I mean, drop the Ebonics crap. There's times that I've gotten into conversation with people, and I don't know what they're saying to me, because it's Ebonics, and I don't wanna say, "What the hell are you even talking about? What?" And it -- I don't wanna say anything because I just don't want -- that's the whitest white guy ever. Like that's a slam. Let's speak the same language. Let's believe in the American dream that you can accomplish anything with hard work, with education, with optimism. Let's start melting into each other again.
I've never had culture shock. My parents raised me in a very non-traditional American household. I also guess it's because I've lived in California my entire life and have live in an extremely diverse city(Ironically, it was an extremely racist, white dominated city in the 50s. ). I've always just had an open mind because my parents did. They never made comments like stupid black lady(I have heard a black person say that in public. So I guess it has to do with the way you were raised and where you grew up, because if you grew up in an all black/white/Asian/etc... community, then of course somethings may shock you. Finally I don’t believe it would make you a poser to hang with a race other than your own, because that then starts a chain reaction, making other more comfortable to do the same. Its really all about environment and how you are raised.

414 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I think there is a strong correlation between an individual’s race and their point of view in this world. A white person will see things differently from a black or brown person and vice versa. Whether it be socially or politically there is a different mindset that is adopted according to the person’s race. For example race dramatically shapes the attitudes towards same sex marriage.Certain races are more opposed to same-sex marriages, because cultures are different. Cultures in which strong opinions exist about masculinity and femininity may opposes same-sex marriages. For example, homosexuality is less of an option in some African and Asian countries. Culture definitely affects the way these issues are viewed as we are in part a product of our culture. As America is a mix of different cultures, it is not surprising that some of these issues are so controversial. It does seem frequently, however, as if those cultures that experience prejudice expressed towards them are sometimes the least accepting of conventions that challenge "social norms." Men often feel threatened by same-sex couples because they feel like their sexuality is threatened. Women don't seem to have the same problem. That may be stereotype though. The same is true with race. In black culture, it is often unacceptable to be gay.
Culture goes hand and hand with race so it is also true that culture can shape behavior. Both culture and the members who affect it construct the social world, and the social world is defined by economics, politics, society, and culture. History can teach us a lot about the way we respond to culture, and how our response consequently evokes change in culture. This is proved when a child is raised without human contact. This human being's behavior is shallow when he is confronted with the culture of an individual who was raised with human love and intimacy.
Cultural knowledge is a valuable currency in our society, and social mobility or the lack there of is linked to the possession of cultural knowledge. Lifestyles reflect the value of cultural currency, which forms behavior in groups. An individual in an interview for a position in management may have excellent experience in the field of management, but if he lacks cultural knowledge it may cost him the job. Culture is a man made condition and therefore cannot exist without our interaction, so culture and lifestyle work hand in hand to create behavior. It is clear that determinism plays its cards when it comes to our society that is stigmatized by race. This is what the world is like in most cases but it is quickly changing. Maybe sometime in the near future we can break away from our own individual social norms.

415 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I think women are more likely to dress in order to impress men because in our society there is some kind of ideology or unspoken law present. Men never feel like they must please women but women feel the opposite way. I never really focused on that concept, but when I did for this blog I felt that it is completely unfair.The more I thought about it I realized how engrained in our culture it was. In almost all magazines and every movie you watch it has become a stigmatized necessity to have gorgeous women in skimpy outfits to lace the spread. The men’s roles in these films always tend to be violent and portray a tough image. This coincides with movie I once saw about men’s perception that they must be tough. The film is called Tough Guise. The film ends begging the question, “What is media and pop culture doing to society and what needs to be done to evade this issue?” This was all capitalized when there was a segment in the film which showed a real of short interviews of teens and young adults who were all male. They were all asked, “What do you think it means to be a man?” Most of them answered, “A man must be strong, tough, brave, responsible, unmoved.” I initially felt that everything on their list of responses was spot on until Jackson scolded those responses saying those males have the wrong idea. He made it a point to say that bravery and courageousness does not always equate physical toughness. This made me wonder, is it not still brave to show your emotions to a friend who cares or use brains not brawn to resolve a dispute? Most men are so quick to make threats or even come to blows to prove their points or maybe themselves, when being sensical about the problem would suffice without harm done. This may bring about some disparity but you could see why I asked it. I feel like they focused on men because men feel like they have more to prove then women and most of the time women are violent because the men in their life were violent. Therefore if the issue is being resolved among men it should reciprocate for women. All in all, I really enjoyed the film and now I will always reevaluate my actions before I do them to see if they are really sensical or if they are just to prove my masculinity. At any rate this problem is going to take much time to change because with each generation the acceptance and need for more brutal scenes in movies and physical prowess of men are increasingly being perpetuated. The film also put into perspective why men think the way they think as to why women must be the skimpy dresser and they should be the protector.

416 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I was interested in there question about the ideology of feminine and racial innocence. I think someone who favors or undermines a person because of there race or gender is a sociopath with no perception of true equality in all its aspects. Not to long ago I saw a film named Tough Guise with a similar topic. The film criticized the notion of male machoism. It was basically describe how media and society tells men they need to be tough and intimidating and that women need to be innocent damsels in distress. The title of the film is a play on words because when said quickly it is heard as “Tough Guys”, but to give more meaning they threw in the homophone “guise”. The film starts off with an attention grabber. There is a compilation of short clips from various action movies ranging from the 50’s to the 90’s. All of the clips showed men either fighting, shooting, or threatening.
Most kids male and even female grew up with Nerf guns, water guns, or violent video games or something of the sort. This is why when the film’s host Jackson Katz implied that perpetuating violence from a young age will more often than not cause domestic abuse and it is nearly always males, I was a bit confused about his initial explanation. Was he implying that since I was exposed to certain types of violence at a young age that I was going to be another statistic? Were my kids going to grow up to be violent towards their peers because I gave them a super soaker for their seventh birthday? These were just a couple of the questions running through my mind in the first fifteen minutes of this film.
“What is media and pop culture doing to society and what needs to be done to evade this issue?” This was all capitalized when there was a segment in the film which showed a real of short interviews of teens and young adults who were all male. They were all asked, “What do you think it means to be a man?” Most of them answered, “A man must be strong, tough, brave, responsible, unmoved.” I initially felt that everything on their list of responses was spot on until Jackson scolded those responses saying those males have the wrong idea. He made it a point to say that bravery and courageousness does not always equate physical toughness. This made me wonder, is it not still brave to show your emotions to a friend who cares or use brains not brawn to resolve a dispute? Most men are so quick to make threats or even come to blows to prove their points or maybe themselves, when being sensical about the problem would suffice without harm done. As tragic and illogical as it sounds Jackson showed us that it was a growing problem spread through ideologies created through media. Its societal manipulation like this that has the world thinking women are innocent and that certain races are more pure and harmless than others. This is an issue that needs change.

417 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Everyone Respond to Th... · 0 replies · +1 points

First and foremost I think that the Haitian people are extremely gifted in their crafts and are very hardworking. The attributes that they display are very rare to find not only here in the states but anywhere. The first videos I looked at were of Clorene and her seamstress business. She had many speed bumps in the path of a successful business but she was very hopeful. Sam pointed out her problem in lacking her own label. Also the issue that she doesn’t have her raw materials sent to her bulk. This causes a whole slew of problems. If she can’t get her materials whole sale she has to pay more, therefore her prices are escalated. I personally think 10 dollars for a shirt is a tad bit high. I really like the fact that she pays all of her hard working employees fairly. That shows honor and respect for her peers. That also means that she earns close to nothing in revenue out of the whole ordeal. Her process of retrieving her textiles and materials that she uses currently is seriously flawed. Her only option at this point is to get them from the Dominican Republic where they inflate the prices. Although this is Clorene’s livelihood, this is no way to live. I think Sam’s idea of letting her gradually pay for new machinery and a embroidering machine to expand her business was a very good idea. It is also a nice gesture that Clorene is not into accepting charities, and she would rather work her way to the top. Despite all of Clorene’s culminating issues I believe that with a little push she can be set in the path for success, she just needs the proper support.
Similar problems burdened her sister Anaes in the next video I watched. Anaes has a hand bag business. She needs to buy really expensive products to produce her goods and her business cannot continue to be economically sound if she can’t sell all that she makes at high end prices. As Sam repeatedly pointed out she also needs to work on many of her bag designs. I think they were all very well crafted, but I do agree that she needs to make them more convenient and user friendly. For instance the weak handles/straps on the bags is enough to put a company out of business. Although Sam was being a little rough on her with that aspect, it is necessary to fix the variables that she is able to correct on her own. Overall the entrepreneurs were very positive, hardworking people but they all had one thing in common, living and operating a business out of the impoverished and inopportune environment of Haiti.

418 weeks ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From The Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

I was very interested in our class discussion about determinism vs free will. That being said I thought it was only right to write my blog on the question of which determines life patterns more. This question has a high rate of dependency. What I mean by this is that there are many variables which vary from person to person, that need to be taken into consideration before it can be answered. These variables includes situations like parental influence and socioeconomic status. For instance someone with wealthy influential parents who both graduated college does not think twice about the decision to attend a university. Where as someone who was raised by a single parent who only has a high school diploma in an impoverished neighborhood is far less likely to do the same. When faced with this question personally I am still hesitant to give either answer because I am reluctant to say it was not my own decision to be a college student. Yet, I must admit that if it were not for my parents guidance I surely would not be here. In the education scenario I have come to the conclusion that most people who come from less fortunate beginnings and make it to college tend to graduate. I believe this is due to a decision made completely made from free will. They’re parents didn’t necessarily tell them they must attend college but they know they must attend and succeed in order to get out of they’re current state of need. In comparison, someone who has everything available to them will go to college because that is the norm to them. The problem is that they do not always hold the opportunity to attend college at the same level of resplendence. This is not to say that they all take it for granted.
When it comes to religion I would strongly say that the reason we are what we are is mostly because of determinism. This is so, because it is much more of a taboo to stray away from your parent’s religion than any other opinions they may hold. Most people in the world hold their religion closer than anything else in their lives. Therefore, free will is less of a factor. Religion has no variables of dependency like attending college might. It is merely a belief based decision. For example if you believe in Christ, then you are a Christian, but just because you believe in education doesn’t always mean you are able to continue with it. All of that is to say that I think the decision to go to college leans more toward free will than religion does because it is a lesser taboo to do anything other than the norm in that scenario. Although in any case I believe that free will ultimately rules and we are seeing it more in todays society.