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548 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Letter from an Inmate · 0 replies · +1 points

I believe that many of the lifers aren’t bad people, they just made a very bad decision or got caught up in something they didn’t fully understand which resulted in a terrible outcome. With that said I do not feel any remorse for them because it was their own actions that put them in their current situation. For many of these people, they are just trying to get by on a day to day basis. It has got to be tough to sit in a cell most of the day knowing that the only way you can leave is on a stretcher or in a bodybag.

548 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Letter from an Inmate · 0 replies · +1 points

Its quite interesting to actually hear a realistic take on prison life from someone such as this, who will spend the rest of their days there. He has fantastic writing skills for someone who didn’t finish college, which leads me to believe that perhaps a factor and force outside of his control lead him to abandon school. It could be a death in the family or something to that nature that they needed him to work rather than finish his education. With this fact known, I can venture to guess that his life was a difficult one long before he was put into prison. The stress of this type of life can lead all of us to snap, leading to much different results based on case and personality.

548 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Letter from an Inmate · 0 replies · +1 points

To realize that every day you are one day closer to your own death and the hope that in the afterlife you will find some type of freedom that society deemed you incapable of handling here on earth really has to change a person. This newfound religion or compassion or whatever you want to call it is enough to make the rival prisoner comfort the other after his son dies, or give up phone time so he can call his daughter on her birthday like what was described in the article.

548 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Letter from an Inmate · 0 replies · +1 points

When you read this man’s depiction of “life on the inside” it makes a lot of sense. The depiction that we normally see in movies is one of a rough life, between the inevitable prison yard fights and hard ass prison guards who are almost all crooked in some way, but this isn’t the case. The fact of the matter is that although these people have done horrible things, they are still human. They still have feeling s and thoughts and wants and desires. When you are a “lifer” with no chance of getting out, I’d imagine your thought processes change dramatically. You most likely want the best for your fellow man and to help people as some sort of redemption for your prior actions that landed you in this predicament.

549 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Christian Invaders - t... · 0 replies · +1 points

Very cool lecture, and for those who “didn’t get it” or were “offended” well tough shit. The whole purpose of the class is to get you to think outside of how you normally perceive things like truth and responsibility. This particular lecture did an awesome job of that. I wasn’t particularly shocked or anything at the lecture because I had heard a variant of it during my soc 001 class with Sam last year. I can remember back to last spring when I heard it for the first time and was blown away by the thought process. When you take a look at something from a different perspective you can reach an understanding and maybe even learn about a different culture. Anyone who passes Sam and his ideas off as Socialist really doesn’t get the point, and doesn’t really want to. As Sam said in prior classes, he actually leans towards the conservative side in terms of principle, which last time I checked wasn’t a socialist slant at all. If I was an Iraqi, I would without question feel some sort of sympathy towards the cause of the “terrorists” just like many colonists took up the cause of such terrorists as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Would I blow myself up? Probably not. But if my family or my property was in danger you bet I would step up because the cause I would be fighting for is one that I think is good and just.
The main thing is that I came out of the class affected; perhaps even a small bit different than when I walked in. It was a change in perspective and Sam made it clear what exactly he meant by saying what he did. I have seen the Jesus Camp documentary multiple times, and as someone who was brought up Christian it proves that there are fanatics about nearly everything. It’s disturbing and funny at the same time as someone from just beyond the perimeter looking in, but as someone who has never really had contact looking in, it can be frightening. As an average Muslim person living in Iraq or Afghanistan, this would scare the shit out of me. The only real conclusion that I can reach is that everybody thinks everyone else is just insane. Can we reach a solution? When we act like this, I don’t think that we can. Like I said this class encourages thought unlike most other college classes so when somebody actually has to think for themselves and apply concepts, they get scared and curl into the fetal position. This could be why my generation gets a bad name but who knows. More teachers should be like Sam.

550 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - I really want to know ... · 1 reply · +1 points

This is a kind of dumb question to ask. I don’t, especially after today’s lecture on slavery, have any idea how this class cannot change your mind on at least one issue or at the very least inspire some new thoughts to go through your head. The goal that Sam stated from day one is that he just wants us to think. I was sitting by this kid today, and he didn’t even eat the 2nd piece of chocolate so how can he say with a straight face that he has not taken into account anything that Sam has said this semester? One thing comes to mind, and that is that this kid is either arrogant or trying to be a hard ass. How many of us can honestly say that we knew that our cell phones and the chocolates that we love so much were all made with slave labor? It’s sad to me that people aren’t taking much away from this class. As a senior, this class has a special meaning to me. It is one of the top 5 classes that I have ever taken in my college career (one of the others being Sam’s soc 001 class) and one that definitely sticks with you. Sam and others like him who actually care and engage the students are a rare breed in collegiate academia. The class inspires change within you even though you may not notice. I can honestly say that even during the most innocent of conversations I find myself saying things that are extremely mature and that surprise my friends and family. The way that Sam’s class changes you is on an internal day-to-day type of level.
As for those who say that Sam just blames white people for everything and that offends them or whatever that’s too bad. White people deserve the blame. The Indians didn’t largely exterminate themselves and then sell their lands for pennies in exchange for reservations on their own. Black people didn’t enslave themselves (well, kinda) and then deny themselves the right to be called a citizen for such a long time. Truth is that white people have done all of these things and more. In a world where black babies would rather play with a white doll because they think they are prettier and nicer, how can you not place some blame on us whites? Discounting any wrongdoing by your ancestors doesn’t make any of these problems go away.
If this kid truly wants to get something out of this class, then maybe he should shut up during lecture and actually pay attention instead of bullshitting with his friends. Seriously dude, if you’re reading this, I sat near you the last few days and I could barely concentrate on what Sam was saying over your comments.

551 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - How Can We Ever "Win"? · 1 reply · +1 points

I disagree with the student who said she found some of the lecture offensive and not funny. This just proves that we are all in different stages of the spectrum. The way someone may look at this is obviously the way I look at it. I would say that I am in the Pseudo-Humanitarian stage, bordering on the Humanitarian stage, so this didn’t affect me in the same way it would affect someone in the Revisioning or Reversal stage. When Sam went through the pictures in the LL Bean catalogue, you could see that the people at LL Bean who are in charge of advertising thought it would be a good idea to throw some black and brown people in there so they wouldn’t be accused of discrimination. Let me just clear up one thing very quickly. I have never seen a black or brown person wearing LL Bean, or even in any of the various LL Bean stores that my parents have dragged me to over the years. Putting black and brown people in the catalogue is kind of like introducing a new white member of the Wu-Tang Clan; it just doesn’t fit and is kind of uncomfortable for all involved. Jessie Jackson is the same way. When Sam told us that he went to Appalachia for some town hall meetings, my first reaction was “why?” Jessie has done some great things for the black and brown team, but never really (at least in my mind) for the white team. In fact, this is the same dude who once famously called New York City “Hymietown” in reference to all the Jews that live there. This is clearly in reference to whites because the only Black Jewish person that I know of, Sammie Davis Jr., is dead and has been for some time.
The question posed was, “how do we win?” The way I look at it is that this is not a game, it’s not a competition. That being said it’s not really a victory in the traditional sense that we are after. We are after looking past a person’s ethnic background and their skin color and straight to the person behind the visual. The goal is to help people of all colors and backgrounds. Once you are comfortable within yourself, then you will be able to see past all of the visual aids and come to the aid of all peoples regardless of how they look and act. This is what we are all after. Sure, it’s a lofty goal but it’s the only plausible way to get to the same page on race relations. It’s not really all that much, but it’s something that can lead us down the right path.

552 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Is this just a few bad... · 0 replies · +1 points

Personally I think that the tea party’s most outspoken members are nothing more than common idiots who are easily swayed by fear mongers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. With that said nothing that these people do will ever surprise me. I base the claim that they are idiots on the fact that most of them have no idea what socialism is, because if they did, than they would have been extremely vocal about the patriot act and the illegal wiretaps that went along with it. They may have also been angered by the legal recount that was cast aside in 2000 when George W Bush was elected by the US Supreme Court rather than the people. But then again demagogues weren’t telling them to be angry, so they really didn't know what to think. These may have even been the same protesters who believed that Obama was going to personally come to their homes to take their guns. Either way it seems a bit odd to me that these protests and such hateful speech seemingly came out of nowhere.
I don't think that calling a civil rights leader and respected congressman a N**** proves to anyone that you are a logical individual with an opinion that we should actually respect. If you’re angry that's fine. Be angry in an educated way, using factual information and present that information in a clam manner, so that people take you and the argument seriously. It's a shame that the more prevalent members of this movement are kind of ruining it for the logical ones, but something in me says that this movement was never really about logic in the first place. Even Ron Paul, who the same people who support the tea partiers as logical individuals (Fox News) are the same people who wrote Ron Paul off as some insane old man. Ron Paul is the one who started the movement. Now that the Fox crowd has taken his longstanding platform, he is trying to distance himself from it. The whole thing is just insane.
One thing is for certain though. The tea partiers’ will go home on roads that the government deemed safe in cars that the government deemed safe. Then they may eat some food that the government has regulated the production of to make sure its safe. Then they will watch TV that the government has regulated so it is not containing harmful messages that their children may hear. When they shut the TV off they will sleep and their homes won’t collapse on top of them. Why? That is probably because the government has set building codes to keep homes from killing their occupants. Then they will return to the 40hr work week that the government has regulated their employers to, unless they go over, when they will be paid time and a half as the government has mandated. And they will complain about none of it.

553 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - What to do about "whit... · 0 replies · +1 points

I think that some of the history that is more brutal should not be taught to children because of the possible reactions to the graphic details. I do think that the truth of race issues should be hinted at from an early stage for the children, but with just some of the more violent parts left out until they are old enough to handle it. The current problem is that the facts aren’t really discussed until high school or even college and they come in with close succession that it is impossible not to feel some type of guilt about the whole thing. Maybe if the teachings are spaced out a bit more, then the white students can form a better opinion of what happened, rather than be blindsided which leads to the guilt that we all feel. There is just an overwhelming amount of guilt at one time that it makes white people feel kind of awkward around black and brown people.
Another thing that could help would be to acknowledge the wrongs that we have done and make the pilgrims and Indians story go away. In reality, both groups were scared to death of each other and anyone with a bit of common sense and rational thought can see exactly why. When the largely sugarcoated or even fabricated stories are proved to be false it makes us reconsider nearly everything we were taught about the past, and just makes the situation much worse. I can say that I feel weird hanging out with a group of my black friends because I feel guilty about something that I had no part in and happened long ago. With that said I still feel guilty about the lingering effects that affect my friends to this day. This guilt gets us nowhere and not talking about it doesn’t help either but it is this stalemate which is the current situation that we find ourselves in.
It is crazy to think that the whole reason why there is a weird feeling between whites and black and brown people is because of history textbooks being censored. All of these larger ramifications come from something so simple and that could be changed relatively easily. It would be interesting to do some sort of study where you integrate a newer textbook into a school and see how it affects the kids and their views on race relations. This whole situation is even more difficult for me because I went to a small school with about 4 black and brown kids in the entire district. It’s really no wonder why the state of our relations are in the condition that they are and have been for so long.

554 weeks ago @ Race Relations Project - Prom or No Prom: Just... · 0 replies · +1 points

How does this make sense at all? The Itawamba County Agricultural High School is in the middle of one of those battles where all you can do is just shake your head and say to yourself “really?.” Candice is guilty of being herself in an unforgiving and extremely backwards area and she is being persecuted for her natural orientation. I would be lying if i didn’t say that the first thing that popped into my mind while reading this piece was that the story happened in the “bible belt” with a bunch of rednecks in charge of her school. Ill back off that stance a bit, but this seems like the most logical answer to me. What is the big deal? If Candace and her girlfriend want to go, let them. And don’t cancel the prom for the rest of her class to prove a stupid point. This does nothing but make her out to be the bad person because of something she has no control over. Further dividing the citizens of this town and now a global community does nothing but hurt those involved directly with LGBT issues. Its stories like this that make the rest of the modern world think poorly of Americans and it’s unfortunate because most of us don’t agree with what the school board is doing to her.
I also like that her parents are staying firmly behind her the whole way and are speaking out in their own right. Hopefully this will gain some momentum in the town to maybe get some sort of a petition signed to oust those school board members who are so close minded and spiteful. I don’t expect anybody to change overnight, but at the same point I do expect people to give more things a chance. They school board is punishing the straight students just as much as they are punishing the lesbian couple who they are refusing the right to go to prom. How exactly do they think that the community will throw a prom type get together for the students? I’m sure that the popular kids will go to somebody’s house to drink, then each click will follow suit and the town will have a bunch of drunken teens on their hands which is much better by comparison than having two people of the same sex attend prom together. The school should just eat their words and treat all of their students equally. I would be willing to bet that she is not the only LGBT in the school and this whole ordeal is only making it harder for other LGBTs in the school and in the area to cope with their personal situation which is unfortunate.