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

Before I trying to understand what the person was thinking and why they acted in a way they did, I'd like to talk about how the media have turned yet another story into a sensationalist crap storm. Similar to Jeremy Lin or a slew of other stories in recent memory the media has focused in on one incident that they are able to promote until they beat the story into the ground. I'm bored already by the story. What makes this one particular case any different than the thousands of incidents that happen everyday? I don't think there is any difference, but since other people are all excited to talk about it I'd be more than happy to share my opinion.

Although I wasn't there that night nor were any of us, I would bet that the guy who shot Trayvon had at least some preconceived notions around people of color. Sure the way Trayvon was dressed didn't help his case, but I think that even if he were wearing a nice suit there would have been some friction between him and night watchman. The confluence of circumstances of how Trayvon was dressed, racial prejudices against black people and getting caught up n the moment contributed to the end result. It's extremely easy to second guess decisions that are made days and weeks later and really hard for us to understand why a decision was made since logically the outcome didn't make sense. Although logically the outcome didn't make sense there are plenty of times that each of us have done something stupid in the moment that they regretted days later. The only problem here is the gravity of the decision that was made.

Overall I think that the case is being blown out of control when we really need to sit back and ponder why everything happened and what each person was thinking while in the moment.

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

I think that people tend to trust people similar to them in skin tone, background, etc than they do of other cultures. Since people do tend to side with their own color/race it creates a bit of an awkward situation when you see someone that might be doing something wrong that is of your race. I found it extremely interesting that the people who stopped while the white boy was sawing off the chain didn't call the cops even after he admitted to be trying to steal it. In many respects people don't want to get involved, but at the same I think that many people we're just looking the other direction because he was white. I'd like to say that I would have stopped or at least called the police, but in many cases I'd probably just keep walking and ignore the situation. The real question is how would I react to the black guy doing the same thing. I'm guessing I would probably have a similar reaction to most of the other white folks that were filmed. Going back to my first major point, people that are not familiar with another race/etc are more likely to be scared or cautious of that race and if they see them doing something that might be considered bad they would invest in pointing it out or calling the cops.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Voices Frorm The Class... · 0 replies · +1 points

Although my final decision wouldn't change I think that with the information gained through the semester I'm thinking differently about the situation. The problem with the white person giving up the land is that they also feel ownership to it. Since it has been passed down for many years through their family it would be very hard for that person to give it up. Ultimately, it's hard to blame a person 20 or 100 years later for something that someone related to them did.

A huge factor that we are also neglecting is that land changes hands and owners fairly frequently so what happens if the same people don't event own the land. The situations in reality are typically more complex than examples in class and thus making our decisions that much more difficult.

Now what if the person did show some compassion? It would be great to see the white owner or really any owner sharing with the original owner who is was stolen from, but the fundamental problem is that it's so hard to track ownership and lineages.

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

I think one of the biggest takeaways from this past Thursdays class was that everything is not what it seems. Constantly the news media and government try to curate and change the story that we hear and only by actually talking to the people in that country do you get the real story.

Since it's so difficult to actually understand and empathize with others we need to find news ways to allow that to happen. It's great to see how the internet is fueling this kind of free discussion and it's also amazing how societies have come together as a whole to make change. We are at an extremely exciting time in history where everything is changing so rapidly that it is extremely difficult to get to the top or innovate and with power of the crowd not only can we get the real story, but also we can collaborate on amazing projects.

I hope that others from the class took away that war isn't and will never be a simple black and white thing. Whenever you have people involved things always get a bit crazy and never go as planned.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - The Kiss Seen Round th... · 0 replies · +1 points

Clearly news media has lost all credibility. I can't help but yawn as I read articles like this. This reminds me of the Collegian's article that gets run every year about the LGBTA's kiss-out. If you want to kiss in public and aren't trying to kiss or harass me, you can do whatever you please. What confuses me about these types of situations are why people feel the need to exclaim their personal ideals in front of everyone to point of obnoxious. After a certain point is just seems like people are trying to feed the frenzy of news media and stroke their narcissistic egos. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should have been "We Don't Care, Do Your Job". In the military is doesn't matter if your gay, straight, bi-sexual, etc as long as you perform your job the expected standard. We are talking about war were people are required to shoot and kill other people. That's no easy task and I wouldn't want to force anyone to do it.

Lets look at the church incident. Seems like a private organization has the right to allow or deny any person not only entrance and admittance, but also services that it might render. The church is not a public organization in the sense that we all pay for it and if they decide to not perform a service for a person than that is their prerogative. At the same time, it seems that the manner in which the priest conducted himself was rather poor. I think he should have been more respectful to the situation considering she had died and probably not put himself in the position to make a decision but superiors of the church.

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

Isn't one the most fundamental economic principles is that the market demand drives supply. In general the population of State College is and has been predominantly Caucasian. Since the beginning of the University the town started as a rural farming town and has grown only due to the presence of the University. With the general community and majority of people being white it's no surprise that a majority of the businesses cater to white people. If there was a market for those services they would be provided.

A great example of demand changing supply is the explosion of Chinese and Asian cuisine restaurants in the State College area. In the past 5 years the number of students, professors, graduate students, etc with Chinese backgrounds has been expanding rapidly. As a white person, I really like seeing the diversity of dining options and also a community being served properly.

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

One of the most iconic anecdotes our mothers taught us as we grew up was not to judge a book by it's cover. Unfortunately, the point that Sam brings up in this discussion is that even thought we may try we do exactly what we were taught not to, judge a book or person by their cover. Furthermore he illustrated the point that once we know what their race is or gender we make assumptions and give certain groups advantages based on those assumptions.

What is truly interesting is that it seems to be human nature for people to judge something before they really know it well. For example, the single most influential thing in getting people to download your app on Apple's app store is how the icon looks. Real research shows that the more well done and pretty the app logo and design the more likely it is to be downloaded, no matter how useful. More than ever the focus on how something looks correlates to the success of it. Websites, Apps, companies, etc are spending millions of dollars on making something pretty and not focusing on the utility of what their product or service does.

Apple is a prime example of this concept. Their product design, which entices and intrigues people is a huge focus for the company. Luckily, they also focus on the utility of their services and really create amazing products that have both aspects.

Back to race, what if companies started censoring names and gender of applications until they pass the first or so rounds of weeding out. This would allow for a lot of those biases to be circumvented since the first impression in neutral to your gender or ethnicity.

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

Race is really a confluence of factors that are not always visible to our eyes. Some people identify with different attributes and things of meaning, which really only correlates to them. Whereas when we typically make judgements about some on as to what race they are we typically use the knowledge that we have. Mostly commonly that knowledge is what we see with our eyes so our first impression is skewed because of this. On top of skewing our first impression people typically associate with the ethnicity that they are raised by or lived around. For example a white man with descendants of europe might claim ethnicity to mexican or hispanic if he grew up in a city with many hispanics. I think the previous point was discussed well by Professor Richard's during the last class.

Some of the other major factors in ethnicity or how someone associates with a race could be based on ideological values, how they think, or even who they associate with. Most importantly though it comes down to how you feel and think. If you choose to be a certain way and have lived with that group or race then I think you could ostensibly argue that you are that race. Skin is only a very small part of what makes up the entire human body.

Although Sam wasn't raised muslim or middle eastern he could identify as one of them. This could be for a number of reasons, both in regards to time he has spent with them or how he feels he aligns with their way of life.

In summation, ethnicity extends beyond the boundaries of your physical appearance and goes into so many different internal nuances that make everyone unique.

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

With the current situation at Penn State as it is there are definitely quite a few lessons to be learned from the months of chaos that have been going on. One of those stems from the media inflaming the situation to a point where they have more news and then more news creates more news. The attitude of first to publish vs fact-check and be right are thrown out the window. A fantastic example happened this past Saturday when Joe Paterno was announced dead, even though he was still alive. What made it even more perplexing is that when CBS decided to steal OnwardState's news they didn't even cite them as a source. They stole the information even though they had no leads or information. Only after that blew up in their face did they retract their statement and then cite the source. The major lessoned learned from this is that you can't trust the media to report the real story, only stories that align with whatever agenda they have and that even though it might be CBS or ESPN reporting it you need to fact check their 'facts'.

Another huge takeaway from the situation was that those in leadership positions have no leadership. When the chips were down and thousands had amassed at Old Main after Paterno's firing, no one from the University was to be found. Not a single member of the board of trustees or administration had the guts to stand their and be responsible for their actions and the publics outcry for them leave. I can remember vividly chants of "fuck the trustees..." over and over again until the entire crowd went down town and rioted. This takeaway directly ties to my next, which is that no one had a plan. Nothing. No idea of even a plan.

Even the simplest thought that students might riot or be upset when you not only fired Joe Paterno, but also Graham Spanier apparently never crossed the minds of the board. Even the simplest of plans prior to that night would have saved the University thousands of dollars, not to mention cut down on the insanity that ensued after the firing. So next time you find yourself in charge of a $4Billion company try to have at least some sort of a plan.

12 years ago @ World In Conversation - Questions from Class · 0 replies · +1 points

When you step back and think about what the American dream really means to people, it's actually different for every person and every family. When immigrants come the country in many cases they leave everything behind and bring only a few things with them and thus the American dream of having several kids, a nice house in the suburbs, a dog, etc is extremely appealing to them.

Being a second generation son of a German immigrant it's very easy for me to point to these types of things as what my grandparents and parents worked for. They wanted a better life for us and worked hard to get it. The ideal of a merit based pay scheme is exactly what they learned and strived on. The harder they worked the better off we were.

As a second generation family member of immigrants, it's not so simple. I grew up with more luxuries than my parents did since I was able to benefit from their hard work. For me the American dream has changed, not disappeared and that whatever or where ever I end up I need to be providing society with social benefit. That means starting companies that are focused not just on making money, but are also social ventures in that they help the world do better.