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12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From the Classroom · 0 replies · +2 points

I believe that personal circumstances have an extreme impact on most of the decisions a person makes throughout their life. Take college for example. People always say that a priests daughter will go wild in college because of the strict rules she followed growing up. This daughter doesn’t necessarily have to be a priest’s daughter, but you can think about in terms of anyone with a strict upbringing. In college they are free and on their own, and may be willing to try drugs or alcohol, or have sex. This upbringing by the parents has influenced the child to experiment a little bit once given the reins of their own life. This ideology can be looked at even before college. Take a young male from a more urban and poor area. This kid may be inclined to not even go to college, as his parents didn’t, his grandparents didn’t, etc. He only knows what he has seen in his left, and may settle to sell dope on the corner downtown. This lack of expectations from his parents has not motivated him to move on. Instead, he has continued the downward spiral of a trend that his parents have set. However, you can take a look at this from another perspective. This lack of motivation by his parents may influence him to work hard in school and bust free from the shackles of his ghetto life and empower him to make good decisions from there on out. As you can see, personal circumstances can have a major role on someone’s decision making process.

That being said, I don’t believe that personal circumstances can make someone choose to be gay or not, as I believe that one is born the way they are, sexuality and all. As discussed in class, often times you can determine if a child is gay from when they are a really young age. I have seen this with my own eyes as well. So it makes sense that you are born with your sexual preference. I don’t think a child of that age can choose to be a homosexual. Rather, I believe the try to choose to be straight because that is the social norm. Most people stick with this lie the rest of their lives. Others come out later in life. Others struggle to come out early in life. Either way, they are born with their sexual preference. However, I do believe that your parents have an influence on the way their straight children view gays and lesbians. If your parents are anti-gay, then you will most likely end up being anti-gay. Parents to their children are like media to all of society. Parents skew information for their children’s ears in hopes of instilling the same values that they themselves have.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From the Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

In today’s society information spreads like wildfire. Whether they are true or false, information, ideas and notions can seemingly be immediately presented to almost anyone in the world. It is hard to say whether social media is a positive or negative thing. In one way, social media makes light of things that we never would have heard of 15 years ago. In this case social media is beneficial. However, social media used by news programs seem to only focus on the negativities in the world. These programs are often sponsored by political platforms, which skew the information to match want they want to you to see. I am sure these major news corporations have secret agendas, as most companies do nowadays. It is easy to see where the divide is, as different stations present stories in different ways; a clear indication as to which political party is backing which station.

But this really isn’t our fault. Since we were children we have been persuaded to not pick up details, and even falsify information to help save face. Similar to the exercise in class, I can remember back to elementary school when we would play the telephone game. It is the same exact concept as to the values clarification exercise, just on a smaller scale. The sentence told to the front of the line always slightly differed from the final telling of the sentence. I am not sure if as Americans we have grown to become poor listeners, or if a human being really does not have the capacity to retain a simple story. When we did the exercise in class, the story slowly dissolved to a small sentence. The one girl even interjected that there was a Filipino girl involved in the story. I am not sure if she was trying to be funny or what, but she just looked plain stupid up there. Frankly, it started to annoy me. Why would you even volunteer to make fun of the guest speaker’s demonstration? Maybe she didn’t have the capacity to understand the sentence she was told. At least she has a creative imagination, and for that kudos to you.

As for who I would listen to a story from, well that would depend on how detailed the story is that I am being told. Off the bat, I would not believe anything the girl that talked about the Filipino, as she has lost all credibility in my book. I also have trouble believing anything that news stations say, as like I said before, their information easily gets skewed by those who are paying for their broadcasts. I guess that leaves my friends and family. I probably would believe anything that any one of them would say, except for one of my cousins; he lies, a lot.

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

I agree that many people feel that they have to talk to a higher up person in the religious world to help develop a relationship with any sort of God. I believe this is the case for mostly any religion and any person. I am not really sure as to why this is, so I can only speculate around my assumptions.

For one, I believe that people see rabbis, priests etc. as individuals that are closer than to God. They live to spread his word and teachings, and seemingly already have a pretty deep connection with their religion. So, people think that by talking to and confiding with one of these individuals they are a step closer to God; as the priest as acting as a stepping stone towards heaven. As a catholic child, I was taught that priests are closer to God, but that shouldn’t discourage us from developing our own personal relationship with him or her. I quickly realized that did not have to be the case. Growing up, my paternal grandparents were very devout Christians; they went to church every Sunday and worked at various church functions, just really involved. So I thought by emulating that I could get into heaven and what not. On the other side, there are my maternal grandparents. They are much more relaxed about religion, but still went to church every once in a while. Then I realized that it doesn’t matter how much you go to church and pray to develop a relationship with God. You simply need to have a conversation with him.

Secondly, I believe that God wants priests, rabbis etc. to not only act as figureheads for religions. I think that the more important reason that they are set in place is to give people a sense of hope; a hope of unfaltering love that will remain untarnished through thick and thin, a hope of freedom and justice in the world, a hope for eventual and eternal happiness. Just think about it. In the Christian faith, when some has been caught up in some wrongdoing they are told to go to confession. Here, you get to confess all of the bad things you have done and are forgiven; given a clean slate. The priest shows you love, justice and happiness. We can take this vision of hope and look at it another way. If you are not a religious person but still believe in a God of some sort you are still given hope. Whether it be praying for a little boy to get an organ, or a family to have a safe flight, or even for a friend to get through a bad break up. A simple “prayer” to yourself may not work, but it gives us a certain sense of hope and or comfort that everything will turn out alright.

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

Nowadays, any type of person can seemingly become offended by anything that anybody says. I am not sure if this is a sign of progress for mankind, or if it points out an assimilation of all cultures, and a loss of past heritages. I believe that the degree of offense should depend on the degree of the maliciousness in whatever is being said. For example, the African American kid asking the blog question brought up the fact that he likes watermelon and doesn’t take offense when someone talks about the fact that he enjoys eating watermelon. However, I believe if there was some sort of malicious meaning behind someone saying that, people would get offended. For another example we can look at the kfc commercial of the people sitting in the stands and the white couple getting the cheering black people to be quiet by giving them fried chicken. Although I don’t believe that KFC was planning to make that commercial malicious, I did get offended by that ad. The level of malicious content was not high per say. I got offended by the fact that an ad like that made a television broadcast. For one, commercial ideas and concepts go through layers upon layers of approvals and pre screenings and other analyses. So if this was an actual KFC commercial, the employees within did a poor job of marketing their product and inputting racist content. This may speak volumes about KFC’s company as a whole, but I am not a hundred percent sure that I can say they are racist.

On the other hand, I believe that there are white people out there that may not actually feel offended, but will outwardly portray exuberance of hatred and ill feelings toward the ad. As a white male I can say I have never done this, and I can’t understand why people would. If something is truly meant to be racist then it will most likely not only affect the person who the racism or stereotype is geared towards, but will influence the behaviors of people around them. If a black person is not overly offended by a watermelon joke because there is no ill will behind it, then a white person should not pretend to be offended and go off on a rant about how racist society is today.

As for my feelings about getting offended by material aimed towards someone else, well, it depends on the content like I have stated above. If the material is meant to be racist I would take offense to it no matter who it is geared towards. But if it is not, then I feel a person of another race should not feel obligated to feel offended if they truly are not affected by the statements.

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

Throughout the early years of my life I lived in predominately white areas. Although I was really young, I was still able to realize that everyone around me was of a relatively similar skin tone. Then when I was 7 years old my family and I moved down to Mexico. I remember being so upset because I did not want to leave my friends, my family, my country. I was scared of living in a foreign place, having to pick up a different language. Looking back I can see that I was afraid of succumbing to a different culture and losing my past. After living in Mexico for two years, my family moved to New Jersey. It was like assimilating into a new culture all over again. I became accustomed to the Mexican culture and was fluent in Spanish. I was so fluent in fact that in my Mexican school I said their version of the pledge of allegiance, as I didn’t use any slang; using the proper Spanish that I had been taught.

I believe that this experience opened my eyes to different cultures in a way many children could not see. I am not really sure how to explain it, but I seemingly was a new kid. Although most of my friends remained white, I didn’t partake in racist jokes, stating stereotypes etc. This was hard to do, as I lived in a white town surrounded my neighboring predominately black and Hispanic areas. I believe I was in stage 5 due to my experiences I in Mexico. I viewed everyone as equals. As I reached high school, my friend circle seemed to be really diverse. My best friend circle consisted of Hatians, Philipinos, Whites and Mexicans. I was an active member of the cultural awareness club, and that wasn’t just because of the free food. (although that was a major reason behind it) Unlike some people, my parents did not care who I hung around with; at least they never told me so. I feel that they promoted diversity and enjoyed that I was spreading my network circle.

I started college at Penn State during the summer session, which is the time for minority based summer programs. I’m not sure if this was by accident or coincidence, but I started hanging around with them. My comfort level may have been high because of my past experiences, but I believe it was just because they were a blast to hang out with. They remain my best friends today, and they are my roommates currently. So I feel like I am at the highest stage I can be. I don’t see race, color, ethnicity etc. If a person is genuine and has a great personality, there is no reason to discriminate against them.

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

In my opinion, war is a necessity in today’s society. In fact, I believe that wars have been necessary throughout the history of mankind. If you look back in time, wars have been prevalent to help maintain peace and sovereignty. If it weren’t for the Revolutionary War, the United States of America would not be in existence. Likewise, if the Civil War had not occurred, slavery may not have been abolished, and many African Americans would be continually oppressed today. Although wars come with a lot of violence, negativity and bloodshed, I believe that the good that comes out of them outweigh the negatives profoundly. Through war, American soldiers have protected our rights we have as American citizens. We have taken down major criminals, such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And it is just not wars involving the United States which I find beneficial. Although the United States intervenes in foreign wars most of the time, I believe that these foreign wars are beneficial for establishing peace in other countries.
It is also important to take into account what the motives behind a certain war are. If a war is started for immoral simple reasons then I most certainly do not support it. However, I would support foreign intervention in said war to stop the immorality that is taking place. If for the good reason, war can reap the positive benefits that every human being deserves. If in today’s society every country strived for peace and happiness, many of the negativities in the world would be nonexistent. There would be less poverty, less bloodshed and less death. Many children would not have to fear for the life of their parent in the armed forces. Or even worse, children in foreign countries would not have to worry about being handed a gun to shoot their own family members. However this perfect scenario will never happen, as most people in the world today are individualistic, self-absorbed and generally just greedy. It is this nature of people that make the need for war a necessity.
I have believed in this perspective of war pretty much since I could actually come to grasps with war was. When I was young I thought it was just a job that a person did. Many of my older relatives were enlisted in the military, and I viewed there enlistments as simply an occupation. This childhood perspective has since changed, yet the idea of enlisting as a job can still make sense. You do as you are told and follow orders, just like a job. The difference being that in enlisting in the military you are taking on the task of protecting your country, which in my eyes is the greatest job of all, and we all should be very thankful for what our veterans have done for us.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - What more do you want ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Since the beginning of class, we have talked about a variety of topics that have enlightening, which have triggered different emotions and reactions. A major one of these topics shocked the entire university. This situation is the aftermath of the Sandusky allegations. I feel like Sam’s opinions and viewpoints on the situation were quite interesting. First of all, the sociology behind the rioting and everything is very intriguing. It is amazing that so many people could get together over the firing of Joe Paterno and throw such a tremendous riot. The mere gathering of thousands of people is pretty cool, but that fact that it was for a cause that was not a very deserving cause is even more interesting. From Sam’s shoes, I can’t even imagine how much more intrigued he is.

The discussions in regards to this have been numerous and powerful. One of the major points that I found riveting revolved around Joe Paterno’s death. The notion that he chose his moment of death was something I had never thought of before. I also never thought of him as a so called savior, as he decided that he were to be the one to take blame for lack of communication revolving around the entire situation. The media has portrayed Joe Paterno as an evil man, a devil, a cynic. And to think that he decided to take this blame to ease the lives of others is tremendous. In addition, Joe did this to open the door and convince anyone who was abused, or is currently being abused, to have the courage to stand up and reveal their abuse. This shows that, even on his death bed, Joe Paterno was a sincere man, making actions for the greater good and beneficial for all.

As for something I would like to learn more about, well I really am not too sure. We have covered some many topics and genres that it takes a while to think of something to figure out in discuss more in depth. I was interested in the sports and racism conversation. I would be interested to discuss the history of race and sports, and how other stereotypes have become associated to certain sports. For example, I have always been interested in the stereotype behind Asians and ping pong, and why there are so good. Also, the Jeremy Lin conversations have been interesting and am curious when African Americans started joining the game of basketball, and slowly started dominating the sport. Another example of barrier breaking in basketball can be seen in Hammed Haddadi. He was the first middle eastern basketball player to join the national basketball. Although his success was not as great as Lin, he still broke a barrier by entering the league and I think this topic would provide a great discussion.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices From the Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

In today’s society there is a giant negative cloud over many stereotypes and even just the word ‘racism’ in general. And I can totally understand why. As seen through Native Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans, white supremacy has been a major sociological presence throughout not only our nation’s history, but throughout the entire history of mankind. The kind of oppression that minorities faced in the past was tremendous. So it makes sense to have this awful connotation with the word ‘racism.’ However, it seems that positive stereotyping is often overlooked. Now I am not saying that there is a good type of racism, but often times the stereotypes that are not so demeaning and nasty are not always rejected by the person who these labels are being placed on. As stated in the blog question, Asians are usually stereotyped as being intellectuals, as their brain and smarts serve as the carrier for their wealth and futures. For example, as discussed in class, Jeremy Lin is not being considered a great fundamental basketball player. Rather, he is being referred to be having a very good basketball I.Q. and is very thorough in his thought processes before driving to the hoop. One can look at this stereotype and say many things. But how many of these things are going to be negative? I would say very few of them.

And it is not only Asians that receive positive stereotypes. African American pertain to a few of these ideologies as well. For one, people are often racist about how athletic African Americans are. Granted this is indeed racist, it still is negative at all. I would not mind being perceived as athletic. Another stereotype of African Americans, although sometime negative, is that they have a good hustle. A hustle is simply busy movement and activity. Unfortunately hustling is often portrayed poorly in films and the social media. It is my belief that in order to be able to hustle you have to have a determined attitude and personality.

Another factor to consider would be that often time people support these positive stereotypes. I have Asian friends in the past that have bragged about their wits and have openly discussed that they were smarter than average white and black people. This is seemingly behind closed doors, as if someone were to ask them in front of a group of people they would not say anything of the sort. As for African Americans, they are open about their stereotypes. My roommate brags that he can run faster, jump higher, etc. just because he is black. He also supports that ideology of black people having a good hustle because he says it is “true.” Not to mention the stereotype about all black men being large below the belt. I have never met a black man who would not at least put a false front up against this stereotype. As a society, we have grown accustomed to these positive stereotypes.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices from the Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

First and foremost, I have to disagree with Sam when he says that a person is ignorant because they choose to not study different religions of the world. I believe that the mere acknowledgment that there are many different religions in the world puts someone a step above an ignorant.

I am a Roman Catholic, who had a somewhat religious upbringing. My parents dragged me to church on Sundays, most of the time I had my gameboy in my hand. As I grew older, I still did not have much interest in religion, I just thought it was a good time to try what I then thought was wine. My parents sent me to a catholic high school, and I still did not gain a large affinity towards religion. However, I did learn about many other religions as well as a thorough and in depth look towards Catholicism. Now I am not saying I am a religion wiz, but I do understand the basic ideologies and beliefs of Muslims, Israelis, Buddhists, as well as Christians. And from all of the things I’ve learned, I decide to remain a Roman Catholic.

So, after all the years of my parents trying to get me to have an interest in religion and have faith as a roman catholic, I decided to do so on my own. I agree with what Sam said about our parents influencing us to have the same faith as them. But aren’t they just trying to what is in our best interest? I feel like there is not a single loving parent in the world who would try to do something that is not in the best interest of their child. Granted some children will not realize it until later in life, but their parents are truly doing what they believe is best for their children. And if parents do not have a religious upbringing with their children then so be it. It is what that parent believes that will turn their child into the best person they can possibly be.

Now back to this ignorant nonsense. According to the dictionary, an ignorant is one who lacks knowledge, learning and information. I am a little different than most in that I have learned about various religions and beliefs around the world. However, I do not believe that people who have not dug into research of another religion is a racist. From Atheist to Baptist, Muslim to Israeli, whatever religion you are, if you know that there are other religions out there than you are not ignorant. There is so much information on the news, and on line in the social media, that it is highly unlikely that someone is unaware of other religions. And if you are you must be very oblivious. It is the refusal to tolerate other religions that makes you an ignorant.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices from the Classroom · 0 replies · +1 points

It seems that throughout history many different people have tried to dissociate themselves away from their particular background and or ethnicity. From black people to Asians, to even some Europeans, people are often uncomfortable with their ancestry. It seems that white people are one of the only groups to not dissociate themselves racially. However many white people tend to dissociate themselves culturally instead.

It is somewhat clear to say that during the Civil Rights Movement, some black people reverted back to referring to themselves as whatever nation they came from. This may have been done in fear, as whites’ treatment of blacks during that era was downright atrocious. If one were to call themselves Dominican, or Haitian, as opposed to black, it would give them a sense of security and safety from the harsh world they faced. Now a days, I am often perplexed why this action has changed. Granted that times have been better after the civil rights movement, some black people have seemingly tried to disconnect themselves from their ancestral roots. I feel like this is very disrespectful. One’s ancestors fought for your right to live in America, no matter what race you are. Whites fought for freedom against the English. Blacks fought for freedom against slavery. Native Americans fought for freedom against people trying to take their land. If these struggles were not endured in the past, none of us would be able to enjoy a life remotely close to the one that they enjoy today.

As for Asians, well often times they also dissociate themselves from their ancestry. A couple of the Asians I know actually do dissociate themselves from their ethnic roots. These friends are quite Americanized, and want to be referred to as Americans rather than Korean. This may vary between North Koreans and South Koreans due to the social different situations that these two nations find themselves in. Nonetheless, I feel that they should be proud of their heritage. In addition, I believe that Asians from other countries and backgrounds often do not dissociate themselves from their ancestral past. Many Chinese and Japanese people are proud of their past and relish the opportunities that America as given, but do not go as to far as to saying that they are Americans.

I feel that for white people this is a whole other scenario. It seems that white people are proud that they are white, and most of them are proud of their ancestral past. (Whether it be European, Oceanic, etc.) Here at Penn State, it seems people often dissociate themselves from their family’s socioeconomic class, or location they live. But they too should be proud of their cultural background. Without it, they would not be where they are today.