Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Twelve

Hip hop can be used for a good cause.  Since hip hop is aimed at people rich and poor alike, it allows for a diverse spread of information.  It can provide insight to the rich and well off how hard the poor have it.  On the other hand it can also demonstrate that although the poor may have the same life, it isn;t to be glorified, and that leaving, is probably the best move one can make.  Take the rapper Game's The Kill for example.  The rapper is infamous for raps of hood figures and violence, and yet, todays, he raps of leaving the hood, using your mind, forget smoking, strive.  In fact, he goes on to say that if you dislike him for saying that, then so be it, but it's the truth. It's almost a double a double edged sword, aimed at the listeners and the executives of the industry alike.  Forget the hype, strive to do good for yourself and others. that's cool.

Social justice is the main goal of hip hop.  In the beginning, it showed deep insight into the hood, allowing many to open their eyes or relate.  Sure it's had it's ups and downs since, but now, it's beginning to migrate to something just as true once more.  Real raps are on the rise, of feelings, fears, goals, being real.

Hip hop has the ability to capture the voice of a generation. Take the rise of violence in hip hop for example,  it was synonymous with the terrorist attacks and the conflicts in the middle east.  Now, with the recession, music is beginning to take a more meaningful, introspective turn.
The song is called Radio-Inactive by a rapper named Blue Print.

He talks about how rappers are all the same nowadays, and they're leading a generation astray.  In reality, it's not about the money, girls, or the other hype.  It's about the hard work, the struggle, the drive.  It's through those challenges that we really come to recognize and respect hard work.  Not selling out or falling in line with other's wants, but to do you.  Personally, this is one of my favorite pick me up songs.  It's easy to fall in line, assume the role, please others.  It's hard to lead, take the path less traveled, do you, stay strong.  In the end though, it's the latter life choice that makes life worth living.

Executives can effectively block artist from finding an audience or even creating them, they just want to please existing once.  With the rise of the internet however, many rappers are finding ways around this blockade by offering free tracks online.  Personally, I couldn't be happier with this direction hip hop is taking.

word count 454

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week Eleven

Hip hop is perfect as it is able to really capture and project the lifestyles and dreams of the underclass ghettos of America. It is also able to vividly describe what how, what, and why these singers project themselves as they do.

Although initially it was primarily done to capture a lifestyle in a digestible medium for the masses, it evolved into a business.  Once executive realized how profitable gangster rap could be, they tok advantage of the system, and began pumping out the same music.

The majority of rappers are black.  They are sought after as they promote the message they are conveying.  The message being a struggle to survive and thrive in a society not really meant for them.  The consumer base however is predominately white.  Again, white people are almost preferred as the customer base.  The black rappers provide the whites with and insight.  The more gruesome the rapper, the deeper the insight.

Rap during the first decade of the century was predominately of violence and disrespect toward others.  The songs were mostly stories of tough upbringing, money, drugs, and murder.  It was just that however, a story, a simple escape for many white suburban kids to go to.  It was no different than a television show to let you mind wander to, to briefly walk a block in the shoes of these entertainers.

There are many rappers who are mainstream that do not embody the stereotypical gangster rapper.  Mostly because rappers who are tough and unfeeling are beginning to taper off, their act is stale and trite. Like a fad, it has come and gone.  Now rappers rap of vulnerabilities and hopes, dreams, failures  insecurities even.  It's all about what is popular, and thus the industry will provide.  Things are dragging out unusually long now because of the internet.  Free music and easy publishing and access to a fan base has allowed a much more free and directionless movement in which the industry can move.

Because rap at that point had evolved into something that was more about a superficial approach.  It was the music of clubs, rather than something you listened to by yourself in a room.  As he states, if it has a good beat, they'll dance.

Hip hop allows many people to see a life they are usually shielded from. It can actually bring people out of ignorance   Too much of it however can be damaging.

Women do have a bit of an objectified role, but there are woman rappers on the rise.
There are two sides of rapping, the presenters and the receivers.  The presenter can be behind his side and safely defend, but not until he steps into the listeners shoes could he see our side of it all.  It's all relative.   

word count 461


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Race, Education and Disability Post-Reading Questions

There are quite a few factors to misdiagnosed students.  First off, part of the blame is to fall on those doing the diagnosing.  How willing  is the doctor or teacher to really figure out what it that is wrong with the student?  Or is the overseer just going through the motions? At the end of the day, it comes down to what is expected of the child through the eyes of those judging him. If there person diagnosing him cannot see themselves working with the child, they may that much quicker to write them off as disabled. Race also plays a factor in how the child is diagnosed.  If the child was white, maybe the teacher or doctor, would spend a bit more time really finding the root of the child's learning difficulties.

If a white child has a hard time learning, maybe they're just need a bit more time with the material.  If a black child has the same issues, he may be more likely to be written off.  Perhaps because he is not expected to rise to anything greater, his disabilities are almost expected.

Depending on the ethnicity of the teacher, race can be a huge bias in terms of  how the student is diagnosed.  A white child may seen as more capable, and thus, a disability is seen as less likely to be attributed to said child.  A black child may be seen as already lesser, and thus, lesser learning capabilities are almost expected.

Race an LD are seen as pegs down in society.  In other words, once someone hears that you have a disability they already will begin to think differently of you even if they havent even met you.  Race, as we have seen, has this same inherent effect on people.  People may beging to form thought about your skills and potential even if you havent really done anything.  Stereotypes are all the same.  If you're dyslexic, then you can;t read at all.  Just like if you're black you steal.  They are stereotypes all the same.

Medicine can be seen as a scape goat to many of the problems we see.  Perhaps a child of color is very creative and has a massive imagination.  Something of this magnitude should be capitalized, and yet, if a teacher goes on to misdiagnose the child, he can be restricted to Adderal to keep him quite.  A potential artist is now confined by drugs to become normal.  A true waste of human potential.

Race and LD can interlock because they can be seen by outsiders as equal parts to a dovetail.  If they are colored, they are lesser, and thus more prone to disabilities of sorts.  This mistaken thinking can really overload the LD system and under equip people of color for the upcoming future.  Thus the vicious cycle repeats itself.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions: Week Six

To play the game of life as a white straight male is preached by John Scalzi in his blog Whatever as easy mode.  In other words, to be anything but is to raise the difficulty level for your life.  The darker the skin, the farther the slider goes from easy to hard on the difficulty scale.  The smaller minority you fall into, the farther you will be pushed away by the majority.

I see things a bit differently though.  In my opinion, to be a white male is to play life on the normal difficulty setting.  To be a minority is to try and achieve positions commonly held by white males in society is hard mode. Easy, on the other hand, is to be a minority, but to play the roles given to them by the others.

To explain, fitting into the puzzle is simple when you are the perfect piece for the spot.  It is change that is difficult.  To mold yourself into something society does not expect of you is truly hard.  To grow up in a ghetto with poor schools, lack of guidance  and terrible mentorship, it's easy to fall in with bad crowd, drop out, or resort to drugs as means to happiness.  It's a vicious cycle of life that spits out the same product it consumes.  Whites have had a head start in this country.  They conquered it with nasty tactics, and have been in control since.  As a result, they have been able to define themselves as the norm, while every other race has had to play catchup in a system created by whites, for whites.  Naturally, minorities are seen simply as supplemental to the process.  Not much is expected of them, practically cast off to carry menial jobs.  It would be easy to assume the role handed to them by whites, it's ultimately a cop out.  To break the cycle, and inject themselves into the system, become the round peg in the square hole, is hard.

So, if a minority can adjust his/her difficultly level, then could a white person?

I really do believe they can, in fact, I think a white person can possibly put themselves on the hardest difficult level of all.  This can be done by representing the minorities.  Not only are they becoming a round peg in a square hole in the only way they can, but they are immersing themselves with many people who are not like them at all.  This people may even resent them, be intolerant of them.  These people are social workers, whole hearted teachers in the ghetto,  supporters of civil rights that they are not apart of. These people hope to change the system, level it all out.  As of now, it may seem meek, but it had to start somewhere.

CherrĂ­e Moraga was a feminist poet who earned a master here at SFSU.  She specialed in her free writing about her chicana heritage.  Her work has been widely recognized, even earning her recognition and monetary supplementation by the United States artists.

Audre Lorde was a writer and poet, she was also a lesbian.  known for her rigid stance and outlook, she was even known amongst other feminists as an outsider.  She would die of cancer, but not before creating one of her most well known works, The Cancer Diaries.

In terms of political organization, a minority must have as wide of an umbrella as possible to really gain momentum.  By this i mean that it shouldn't splinter off into such a niche that it doesn't have a good foundation.  Strength in numbers rings true.  OInstead of a gay asian men organization, why not a gay minorities one?

Yes, privilege can be gained through race.  That being said, one can give up this privilege by sending themselves into a society not built around them.

Some questions I have:  Do women feel different then man of the same race?  Also, what are some of the differences they feel in society?

Word Count: 665


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions Week 5

Racism is generally known as a bad thing to be, just as homophobia is.  At it's roots, it displays ignorance, and ignorance is a trait of a foolish person.  Nobody wants to admit to being a fool or even allow themselves the opportunity to do so.

The commentators are simply trying to spout news making headlines.  After all, news is a business, and the more drastic the statements are the more viewers they can bring in, more viewers equals more revenue.  This isn't to totally dismiss what they have had to say however, as a half black president is still quite a step forward in the name of equality.  However I fear that the commentators only brought up his race in the light that Barack Obama had won.  Had he lost, I can't help but think that no one would have brought light to the fact that part of the reason was that he was black.  Dr. Apollon is right in stating we are in fact not post racial.  If we truly were, no one would have mentioned Obama's skin color, simply his qualifications and history.

I'd ask them to explain then what they look for in a person.  I wouldn't dismiss it however, if that's truly what the person does, who am I to say otherwise?  Is that type of person not what we should strive to be as a society?  Although chances are they are simply saying that to avoid any negative connotations, they may actually have parents who tried very hard to instill these values into them.

Then those parents are simply pretending to be open minded about races.  Their true colors are certainly showing.  The free lunch program is designed to ensure children come and stay in school.  There will always be undocumented immigrants, it's impossible to stop completely.  However, we can facilitate them, educate them, incorporate them into society  and make them a functioning part that gives and participates all the same as a middle class white man.  However, we must get the ball rolling somewhere  if not at the lowest, most basic level, elementary school, then where?

The best way to teach kids to be tolerant is to be raised by parents who are tolerant themselves.  That's why I don't wish to challenge anyone who claims to be completely colorblind.  They may very well be, and have begun a transformation process that our country as a whole so desperately needs to go through.

Diversity doesn't in most cases doesn't mean an equal balance of portions, rather, it means the proud incorporation of other races in a mostly white community.  When people try and exemplify their indifference to others, they end up amplifying their division of society onto others.  I'd like to point out what Morgan Freeman has said about race, and the best way to deal with it.

Word count 475

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post reading questions for week 4

Section 1:  Explain in laymen terms the concept of structural privilege.
Structural privilege is not unlike living in a first world country, in fact, it very much the same thing conceptually.  Those fortunate enough to be born and raised in the US for example cannot begin to fathom life in Liberia.  Just as someone like myself wouldn't really be able to fully grasp the personal effects and repercussions of being white.  Now, it's easy for me to dimiss behavior of those born in a third world country as barbaric or grisly, simply because I couldn't imagine the situations where they're actions would be justified.  Take again Liberia for example, something along the lines of 50% of the population ins some of the major communities have resorted to cannibalism at one point or another during their lives.  On the outside it's easy for me to dismiss these actions as disgusting because food is pretty much always within reach.  Even if I didn't have money I could find myself at a shelter with a cot and a warm meal thanks to our government.  This is the same that can be said about whites.  Some reasoning just can't be adapted because of how well privileged they inherently are.  A white mother may not understand why there is such a distate for law enforcement amongst minorities, if anything, the only reason you should fear the law is because you're breaking the law, or so she may presume.  In reality, a minority may avoid the police because of harassment by local law enforcement simply because of skin color.  The white woman simply has it easier because she's white,  and that is the gist of  structural privilege 

Section 2: The structural Privilege that I possess.
I have some privileges, such as the availability of scholarships.  There are quite a few scholarship funds set up for hispanics, especially for those who wish to attend school on the east coast, where there is a smaller presences of the hispanic community.  It does have downsides.  A few times when people have met me, they have remarked that I look different then they had imagined, as many times that person simply had nothing but my first and last name to run off of.  I've received a ticket nearly every time I've been pulled over.  My white friends on the other hand have been pulled over more than myself and have been let off nearly every time.  

Section 3: Accuracy of Black Girl Dangerous' view on Reverse Racism.
I do agree in some aspect about her viewpoints upon how silly reverse racism is.  She approches with a tongue in cheek tactic that drives the point home.  I like how she subtly points out all the things that would essentially need to happen for the reverse racism notion to ring true.  On the other hand, not all races of color have endured all that she has listed equally if at all, so it's a bit of a trade off.  In reality, I feel that white people simply won't understand what's like to be victims of racism to structural privilege.        

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pre-Reading Questions for Week 4

Privileges can be gauged by how much a particular society takes for granted.  I can go to the kitchen, pull food out of the fridge, look up a recipe online, cook the food on stovetop and enjoy it to an episode of Blue Mountain State that I pirated of the Internet.

Someone in a third world country, except perhaps the pirating, could do hardly any of this but they'd do that with guns and not keystrokes.

Yet I myself have seen the other side, at least to me, and been left dumb founded by how streamlined those who are more privileged then I lead their lives.  No need to cook, there is a maid.  No need to pirate, just pop in one of the DVD’s from box set that was received last Christmas.

It's all relative, and sadly, only during situations where you can compare and contrast to your own life are you able to have made the foundation on which we judge one another shoddy, unethical.  How we stack up on a resume can be made or broken by our last name.  This is the cut corner of personal perception.  This can also play into an advantage; Smith may be favored to Martinez, Brown to Ng and so on.

Ultimately, racism is an attempt to oversimplify something that frankly has no common denominator.  Yet, everyone I've gotten to know well has displayed a bit of racism at one time or another.  I believe it to be human nature above all, we look for patterns wherever we can, even when it's not applicable. 

 I do believe that in the business world, being white is certainly a pro.  However, at least in my social experience, being white is almost boring, safe, normal, and a cop out.  I've had a few white friends that vie to be tan year round, have an ethnic background or culture, or simply wish to be more interesting.  

I believe this to be the shift in viewpoints of our time.  During early America and the reconstruction, to be white was to of the elite.  Now, it's too standard, at least from my viewpoint.  I truly believe that this is how racism will be muted, as cultures blend and mix.  Once the distinctions aren't so cut and dry, assumptions can't be as quickly, thus justly forcing a deeper analysis as to how or why someone would do something.  

Word Count 403