The West Memphis Three

The United States of America’s law enforcement isn’t exactly known as the most trustworthy and reliable. In fact, cases of police brutality and unnecessary harassment is commonplace in many American cities. In the case of the West Memphis Three, discussed in the movie, West of Memphis, three teens’ lives are ruined because of inadequate police work. The law enforcers of our country hold biases toward racial groups and age groups, depending on what part of the country they’re in, that severely affects the efficiency of their work and the efficiency of their ability to protect the people

In the West Memphis Three case, three teenagers were arrested for murder. Damien Echols age 18, Jessie Misskelley age 17, and Jason Baldwin age 17. The victims, Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were all eight years old. They were found dead, bound, naked and beat in a creek. The police, almost immediately, decided the crime was part of a satanic ritual and arrested the three boys on the account that they were on record for being involved in occult activity.

With little evidence, the police turned to witnesses to prove the boys’ guilt, However, there were no witnesses. So the police took it upon themselves to create their own witnesses. A woman named Vicki Hutcheson gave a testimony in court claiming the boys invited her to an occult meeting at the creek the night of the murder. She later admitted that she was coerced by the police and the testimony was false. Misskelley and Baldwin were sentenced to life in prison and Echols was given the death penalty, although the three were released before it could be performed.

In later years, the case was studied more thoroughly. The alleged cuts on the boys from a serrated knife turned out to be post mortem bite marks from snapping turtles in the creek. Jessie Misskelley gave a confession to the police in 1993, clear and simple. It was later discovered that the cops held Jessie for over 12 hours in an interrogation room, bombarding him with fake stories and thinly veiled threats. What makes it worse is that Jessie had an IQ of 72, making him borderline intellectual functioning. He was a minor being questioned alone. Jessie stated that he was given his Miranda Rights but did not understand them. In the court, it was ruled that he did in fact understand them and knew exactly what he was saying in his brutal interrogation. The West Memphis police took advantage of a mentally challenged, seventeen year old boy and scared him into admitting to a crime he did not commit. All of this and more was uncovered by private investigators and hired medical examiners. These are just a few examples of the botched and biased police work done on the West Memphis Three case. The three teens were odd balls in their town which can be seen as a reason for a negative bias. In the end, the conclusion was made that majority of the police work was faulty but nonetheless, the citizens of West Memphis still believed it.

In our country, the majority tends to blindly accept whatever the law enforcers say. It’s a bias we have. We think that police officers are protectors of the people and the innocent. However, one cannot properly protect and serve if they have severe biases themselves. As shown in the West Memphis Three case, there’s a bias surrounding those who don’t fit the ilk of the majority of society. This bias is widely believed by Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were oddballs in their small town. They’re lower class teens from a small town and have a negative stereotype surrounding them. Trouble seeking, poorly raised, bored teens who seek something to do and end up getting involved in occult activity. These assumptions were made about these boys and, therefore, they were falsely accused of a crime they did not commit.

A term that’s been coined in the past few years is bias-based policing. It’s the idea that racial profiling is beginning to take over law enforcement. A study was performed, involving a race IAT, that had the following results; “Officers were initially more likely to mistakenly shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.(Gove )” However, the scientists who performed this experiment came to the conclusion that the bias can be fixed.  “After extensive exposure [for example, repeated trials] to the program, the officers were able to eliminate this bias.(Gove )” Our country’s law enforcement has spent years doing their job based on stereotypes. The bias has become so strong and prominent that IAT tests were performed, along with many more experiments to produce hard proof.

In 2011, the Supreme Court released the three men. 18 years and 78 days later, Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin were hardly given justice. Falty police work ruined 3 men’s lives and, due to country wide law enforcement bias, police have been unable to do their jobs. In order for police to properly bring justice to those who deserve it, they must be devoid of bias and see only the facts. They can not let their own personal opinions, whether they’re subconscious or not, cloud their judgement. In order for us to have efficient law enforcers, they must come to terms with their biases and correct them. Only they can fix themselves.


Bibliography

Gove, T. n. page. <http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2499&issue_id=102011>.


Intelligence is not determined at birth-Malcolm Gladwell's thoughts

   Ignoring his theories about success, Malcolm Gladwell's’ books reveal his bias in education and intelligence. He does not believe that intelligence is an inherent value. Instead, he believes that the gravity of education and a child’s intellect level is based upon the environment you live in, the opportunities given to you, and even your time of birth. He argues that these three factors are far more viable to make conclusions as to how success and education correlate, rather than just factors like race, gender, and social class. One of Malcolm Gladwell’s books that more specifically exposes his bias in education & intelligence is called Outliers. In this book, his bias on the outlook on intellect is enumerated. He believes that everyone isn’t given an equal advantage; only people who have been lucky enough to be framed into a system like school sooner than others and or given an abundant of opportunities as opposed to someone else, they are better off in the future.

         

         Malcolm Gladwell uses many central points that lucidly refutes his argument. One of them by which is called the Matthew Effect. This was a study explained in the book that was done by the sociologist named Robert K. Merton. Reciting the biblical verse Matthew 25:29 in contemporary text, ‘‘For to everyone who has {more} shall be given, and he will have an abundance: but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away’’(New American Standard Version 1995). Metaphorically, in education, this means that once an advantage is obtained, it accumulates until it becomes disproportionate for the opposing candidate. Malcolm Gladwell elaborates that early advantages in life invariably makes the difference between just how intelligent or unintelligent a child turns up being. We can take a further look at this by anatomizing the way the American educational system works.


         In his book ‘’Outliers’’, we will look at how Malcolm Gladwell views the American educational system. We all know that there is a certain stipulated cut-off date that determines when Children are allowed into Pre-K to start that first family-missing year of school. Boohoo, it’s time to go, but what if some children are not eligible for that first year? Because say that their birth date overarches the cut-off and they are denied access. The parents decide on holding the child back and when the time comes, they skip pre-k and put them straight into kindergarten; eventually the parents come to a consensus that they will catch up following the years of early learning and middle school. Indeed, they have minimized the qualm for having to start school without mom and dad and have more time to plan and prepare. However, things stay the same, and unfortunately they do not catch up and fall lower and lower down the chain of school, and accumulate disadvantages as they come in a year late into school.


         This is because the children who have been born before the cut-off and were eligible to start that first year of school had a definite advantage. Extra practice-they did not miss that first crucial year of instruction that children born after the cut-off already have. And they have already gotten into the flow of school, made a couple of friends and are probably already doing homework. Likewise, they receive the social and academic advantages of already being in school, and by the time those born after the cut-off get to the same vantage they’re in, like college-they are premature.  


        This shows Malcolm Gladwell’s bias because it is explaining that he thinks that America’s educational system is a widely equivocal factor in the way Americans turn out to be and that there is no group of geniuses or dummies. The educational system is actually what decides who will be better off or who will not be. There are numerous stereotypes that dumb people are just innately not intelligent, or that intelligent people are just primordially intelligent, this is critically false. And we see this by the way the Matthew effect portrays itself and Malcolm's bias. This is to say because the ‘’dumb people’’ are actually not dumb, but just a step-below the ‘’smart people’’ and missed out on a crucial year of school that would most likely be the deciding factor of how they are in academics and what they will be in the future. So your time of birth truly does have a huge impact on where you subsequently will be in America, because of the Matthew effect. It will strongly affect the American society and how we will develop the workforce of the world if there is no cultivation.




Asian is the New Black

When we analyze our country’s history, we reflect back on its prior state and compare it to its stance in today’s society. Take for instance, America’s racial system. Centuries ago, the Caucasian race was superior and every other color was considered subservient and barbaric. In today’s society, we are starting to see a vague glimpse of racial equality, but this improvement is being undercut by discrimination in government, education, the media, and even sports.

In the case of Jeremy Lin, he is discriminated against because he does not look he is a great athlete. Therefore, he was held back. The typical professional basketball players are either African American or Caucasian; rarely do you ever see someone who is Asian or of another race playing on the basketball court, let alone playing Division One basketball. That is the highest level of athletics that anyone can play. So when it came to Jeremy Lin becoming a professional basketball player, he had to fight a lengthy and strenuous battle to end out on the top, because people did not believe in him and were ready to put him down.

Jeremy Shu-How Lin is an Asian American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). To be precise, he is the only Asian American player to play in the NBA in the modern day era. Titled an All-State player, the Northern California Division II Player of the Year, and winning a state championship all in his high school career, Jeremy Lin did not receive any athletic scholarship offers. Mitch Stephens, a national columnist who writes about high school sports for Maxpreps said,“When I really looked at everything, everything a basketball player could do for himself individually, for a team- Jeremy Lin was the best player here. But yet, colleges weren’t clamoring for him. He just didn’t fit the mold.” Despite quite the reputation, Jeremy did not fit the mold. He did not fit into the role of the average basketball player because he was Asian.


Jeremy Lin’s dream school was Stanford University. He wanted to go there because he lived relatively close to it and most of all, it was a NCAA Division One school. He would go there and play with their team all the time, and he would always ask their coach, “What can I do to play for you?” But when he found out that Stanford wouldn’t let him play for their school, he went through a very frustrating process of trying to find a school that would let him play for their team. “I couldn’t even get some division three schools to look at me,” Jeremy said. His only chance to play on the college level would be at Harvard University, a school that isn’t really known for its athleticism, but rather for academics. “If I was black, I would’ve gotten a D-1 scholarship, but that’s my personal opinion,” Jeremy Lin told an interviewer for the making of his documentary, Linsanity.


Every year, tons of African Americans receive scholarships to play basketball. That is mainly because basketball is predominantly an African American and Caucasian sport. “People look at basketball players in terms of race a lot of times. Basketball is not considered an asian sport here in America,” said Kenny Blakeney, Jeremy’s assistant coach at Harvard . Because there were very few Asian basketball players in the NBA, his statement is true. Society does not view basketball as an asian sport because they don’t see it very often. And when they do see it, they don’t always respond in a positive manner.

While playing in Ameatur Athletic Union (AAU) tournaments as a young boy, people on the sidelines, and even players, would tell Jeremy Lin to take his self back to China, call him a “Chinese import,” or yell other racial slurs. When he went to college, things got worse. Spectators and teammates would call him a “Chink,” would ask, “Can you even open your eyes? Can you see the scoreboard?” When his team played on the road, in specific gyms in the Ivy League, people would yell racial slurs to him. Jeremy had a hard time when people would make racist remarks against him. “It was shocking to me to see racial talks in the Ivy League because you think that at that level, certainly in this supposed very academically, progressively, oriented group of schools full of asian students on their campuses, that would be something that was unthinkable, but it wasn’t,” Pablo Torre, a writer and reporter for ESPN reacted. Even when you least expect a group of people to be racist, there is a possibility that they can be.

When one of Jeremy’s coaches said he could play for the NBA, he was astounded. He thought of himself as a good player, but he did not think of himself to be NBA material. So when it was time for the NBA to draft new players, Jeremy would be present at the ceremony. As the speaker would announce the names of the lucky young men who were chosen to be on a team, Jeremy thought that the team that would he be drafted by was the Knicks. He knew that the Knicks were going to pick him because he performed extraordinarily on their work out. Once they called his name, he was ready to hug his family, run up to the stage to receive his hat, and catch the next flight to New York the following morning. But they called another name, not his. Phil Yu, a blogger for Angry Asian Man.com said, “I was hopeful, but to be completely honest, I was like, ‘Let’s just wait and see what happens.’ The things that I’m always interested in is race and the way discrimination always rears it’s ugly head. I was really just waiting to see which team would take the plunge and take this Asian American player.” No team dared to take Jeremy because they were afraid that it would mess up their image.


Later, Jeremy did get signed with his home team, the Golden State Warriors, but he hard a hard time because they sent him to the D-League several times. The D-League is one of the lowest spots in the NBA; it’s basically a showcase for teams to recruit players. Jeremy said that it was the hardest time of his career because he really had to fight to prove that he was a great player. Then he was waived, or cut, after three seasons with the Warriors, so that the team would fill a salary cap for a supposedly better player. Two days later, he was picked up by the Houston Rockets. They cut him after only twelve days; on Christmas day. Then the New York Knicks signed him. But they did not let him play in the games, or even the practices.


When his contract was about to expire, the Knicks finally let him him play. That was when “Linsanity” took New York by storm. Jeremy was breaking records. He scored 89 points in three games, which was the most by any player in their first three professional starts since ABA-NBA merger in 1976-77. In five games, he scored 136 points, breaking Shaquille O’Neal’s 20-year-old record of 129 points. He also went to a “no name” to a “national phenomenon” in only two weeks. That is something that just isn’t common in the matter of that time period.


Despite his success, the racism surfaced again. The Asian jokes and stereotypes were surfacing all over the media. News reporters called him a “Chink,” they made fun of his eyes, and even David Letterman, the famous late night talk show host, got in a few jokes about his race. Jeremy’s Agent, Roger Montgomery said, “This whole thing shows how unprepared we were to deal with this culture in this context.” They were not prepared to address the racism in the country. “For many years, we had many stereotypes about Asian Americans, and now they’re all coming out like they’re no big deal. They are a big deal,” said one NBA spokesperson. Even though the media might have not looked at the racist remarks very seriously, it was a serious matter and it was not funny.


Today, the Linsanity has calmed down a little, as Jeremy Lin plays for the Houston Rockets once again. He is viewed as the underdog, who came out on top. Everyone was ready to bury him alive because he did not look the part; because he was asian. But Jeremy got through that difficult season in his life by looking to the sole thing that inspires him, God. Once he put his eyes on him, he had the strength to make it. So now Jeremy is finally getting his chance to shine and play his brand of basketball.


Yao Ming, a Chinese professional basketball player who formerly played for the Houston Rockets said, “In the NBA, there is already enough pressure from just playing in games, from the media, from the fans. Whether you like it or not, those pressures exist. I hope in the future, people see Chinese players as being in the NBA as a normal thing.” Hopefully, we will see an increase of Asian players in the NBA. Hopefully, we will see an increase of other races breaking records in all things. And when that time comes, we will know that we have reached racial equality. Something that can not be undercut by discrimination in the government, in education, in the media, or even in sports.


"Allbond Plane Investments Limited"

I made 57 million dollars in six months. Yeah. More than most of you would make in five lifetimes. And It was absolutely perfect. I was a God. A british model wife having, 3 million dollar car speeding, 64 acer house living God. No i’m not royalty or an athlete or a movie star, I made it in ways you couldn't dream of actually happening. And i'm not talking about one of those shitty rich man jobs either, like a Nuclear engineer or something that will kill you at 50. No. I’m talking about the fast life ladies and gentlemen, Sales work. Now I know what you're thinking, how the hell does a plane old salesman make 57 million in a one freakin’ year. That’s just it though I wasn’t just any lame salesman, I was the best salesman. My trade was airplanes. I started my career small of course, my company would buy out full price planes and sell them for less than they were worth in a firm called Allbond Plane Investments Limited. But then I realized why be doing the job I love and make 15% of a sale while the jerkoffs on the other end who don’t really need any sweet deals are buying million dollar planes for “less than they're worth”. I was on the verge of genius and this small idea changed my life forever.

They say when you're poor you hate the rich and when you’re rich you hate the poor, well I hated the rich, more than I wanted to make money. At first I was just determined to ruin these guys lives, you know? Make them spend billions and get a crap share on a plane in return. And the plan was simple, I would find a couple of high buyers for a plane worth around 500,000 then let those hags bid it out, bid until they're freakin’ pockets broke and when they did, I’d cut their share in half in return for mine and while they’d think they're getting a new plane for 750,000 in actuality they could be spending something around 2 million dollars. The first time I did it I made half what I sold the plane for, so I made something around 900,000 dollars. And yeah it was kind of illegal but no one gave a shit the guys I was scamming were already rich anyway. And besides there money felt better in my pockets. After a while it turned into a huge thing at the firm, before I knew it everyone was selling faulty deals, it was like I set a new trend or something. And after maybe a month or two everyone at Allbond Plane Investments Limited was filthy freakin’ rich. I lost sight of my goal to make the rich miserable, I became kind of rich myself, so I started screwing over all kinds of people, rich, poor, middle class, I didn’t care, if you were willing to buy a share on a plane I was going to give you the share of a lifetime. Literally, most guys actually spent their lifetime earnings on our planes but as long as there money ended up in my pocket I was a very satisfied man. Life became lavish, and I tried to keep it under control I swear I did but it just kept getting bigger and bigger. It’s like a whole new side of me came out, I became greedy and always hungry for more money. So I decided to expand, why only sell planes? Then I thought why only sell vehicles? So I got the idea to buy out other companies, small companies and let people invest in their products and that, that’s when we really took off. The next couple of days, I have to admit, were pretty memorable. For one I married this british model I saw at an jewelry auction, the same day I met her I bought the 6th largest estate in america, the next day I bought a personal yacht named after my beautiful wife Alisa and toured to every freakin’ island I could think of a week later. While I was gone I heard it was so out of hand back at the firm that no one on the outside world knew what was going on half the time.

I started using these drugs called “Lubes” just to keep up with the days. And with the Lubes came this care free attitude, like the shit we were doing wasn’t illegal, like when you're rich everyone below you isn’t important, and they weren’t important. To me. If you weren’t on my level then you had no right to be in my presence.

We spent literally 11 months on that yacht, just me, Alisa and all our personal servants. It was hell. Turns out supermodels are really annoying. When I finally got back from my “personal” cruise, there was a little surprise at my door step. It’s like they timed it perfectly too, I swear as soon as someone gets ahead in this world there’s always that one asshole that has to bring you down. Mine was officer John, Officer Freakin’ John what kind of last name is John anyway, or “Marten Martelli John”, that’s what he calls himself. There he was, asking me if he could come in and ask a few questions and I knew that translated into “Hands behind your back you're coming with us” but I had just had a half a bag of Lubes and wasn’t really in a state to deal with anyone. Especially not the police. We were sitting on the couch and that’s when the lubes really started to kick in. It got so bad John moved to the kitchen to talk to Alisa instead of me, said I was excessively touching his face and then I fell asleep or something. When I woke up Alisa said the police told her I was going on trial for Money Laundering and Fraud and that I could spend up to 20 years in prison if I lost this case. She was packing a bag as she spoke to me, I asked where she thought she was going and closed the door. She called me a good for nothing criminal drug addict who she isn’t going to jail for. I was yelling by this point, I grabbed onto her and screamed “Of Course you leave me when I’m down, fucking slezz how could you do this to me, huh? How now!” Then I proceeded to call her names like slut, whore, hoe. She didn’t care though, she wanted out and nothing to do with me. So she tried to move me from in front of the door. Reflexively I jabbed her in the stomach, but before I could realize what I had done I ripped open my pillow case holding my secret stash of Lubes and took so many I don’t even remember the rest of that night. But I do remember her divorcing me a week later. Taking full custody of our kids and almost half my money. What ever money I had left I tried to stash away overseas in Switzerland before my trial, but that didn’t work. Turns out Switzerland has the same harboring laws as America. Eventually I had to face reality, I mean all the signs were there. I was denied bale twice, and I shit you not my million dollar Yacht freakin’ exploded, yeah exploded. Kitchen accident or something killed six people. Anyway I figured karma finally came around to bite me in the ass. And why not, money had turned me into more than a asshole I was a monster. A monster facing 20 long years in jail, so how am I talking to you all today and not doing my time. Well my good old friend officer John made me a proposal. He said I could do as little as 4 years and all I would have to do is turn in a couple of my old buddies at the firm. You know? Like the guys who helped me start the whole thing. They called it “Police Suspect Cooperation” or something. So I did it, spent four years in prison and seeked to turn my life around. My theory is all people with good money will eventually change in one way or another and those who make anything less than more will be envious of those richer. I started in the second category I envied the rich, when I became rich I changed very much so. Today I seek to find common ground between the two. I want to know if there is a gray area, you know? A middle ground. And that’s why I’m here today ladies and gentlemen, telling you my story. Because I truly believe you find the unknown in the past and through telling you this, you may not know it, but I have made you subconscious to how you will treat the next homeless man you see or that star on your favorite TV show you want to be so much. That’s one of the great wonders of the human mind though. So I leave you all with this thought, would you rather be rich or poor?


Notes of a Dictator

                    Notes of a Dictator

By: Rosalie swana


May 2nd

“There is no such thing as government without power, there is no such thing as power without government.” I have not lied to the people of this nation, I spoke half of truth and half of promises. I wonder what it means to the listener, the people I speak to. Most believe my words because they fear a falling nation. Others only listen for the sake of having something new to hear.

July 20th

“ all nations are alis, all alis must be friends ”. America is a selfish nation, selfish nations are free deals. When you are young you are told that fair is the right way. I have learned that politics are not as simple. The expression that should be used is “ you have to give a little to get a little”. I have done just this with the United States I offered their military an opportunity, and whether it benefits others was not mine or their concern.Every politician knows that government is just a simple game of monkey in the middle. The players on either side gaining and the one in the middle staying in the middle. Most wars are two nations playing this game. Bombing the man in the middle forcing them to stay in the middle, there is no direction to go to or trust.


September 14th

“ We all love freedom, so vote for freedom.” Campaigns are art shows,  putting every poster and a few self portraits up and having people who take interest stop and stare. Not really knowing if any of this million dollar work will sell to the people. Dictatorship is less work. People with too many opinions have too much to say, but are only able to say so much. Opinions are not so good, they cause conflict and disagreement. I feel the best way of life is to agree or stay silent.

november 30th

I have interest in the citizens yet I try not to put myself in another persons shoes. I fear seeing myself in other perspectives. If I see from a lower class citizens eyes then I am poor. I truly believe that money is power, without money you can not earn education and most likely will not keep a steady job. Power is success, success is power. I was raised in a wealthy family, my mother and father were happily married. My mother did not have a job she stayed home to complete household tasks. My father had a steady job in politics. I was taught about politics as soon as I could walk, my father said I would walk in his steps. I have done so, in fact I have done better. I have power over any nation I choose, nations fear me others choose me for my promises and deals. I am true a politician, politicians are true.

I am a dictator and I dictate this country’s every move, I can tell them to kill and they will. I am a next generation Hitler, I am smarter though, I am genius when it comes to military. I have the right to bomb land I dislike to dust and no one is stopping me, I am a god.

january 19

Do people know why I kill, I do it for one thing…ownership of land. They weren’t using it for anything important, yes it was where they lived but were they using it get jobs, NO. They were poor I helped them by destroying their pointless land, it is one less thing for them to worry about. I’m not bad, I am great. That is the difference between me and hitler, he was great but terrible, yet I am great and powerful. There is a difference isn’t there? I help certain people, like people in politics.


march 25

I have become power itself, greedy narcissistic and deadly. I am a murder, I am a killer, I am death.  Politics are like poison, slowing killing you with each dosage. Am I selfish? Why can’t I see a difference?  I’m stained my heart has been tainted with American way. Fearful I am afraid, I have no one to tell. I have killed them all, I am a criminal. All of these companies are lie, Government is just a fancy work for propaganda. We tell these people that we are here to help them, we give them hope that they cannot afford. We tell them promises that we cannot keep, I am a liar. We choose to ignore them, treat them like they nothing. We keep them silent and ignore their screams, I can’t stop hearing their screams.There is no prison for politicians. I have only seen from my eyes, rich white and entitled. Men like me should not be put in politics, we only want thing for ourselves. They have never known freedom, we are free, free enough to kill. America will always hear their scream, they don’t care. I cannot wash this scum off my heart. I finally have placed myself into another mans shoes, I am macbeth. The blood on my hands will not wash away. The blame, the guilt, the greed, is all me. Power is a deadly thing, death is living but power is dying.

may 2nd

“We fear death, we fear living”. There is no where to go, no where to run or hide. I don’t want to be in this office, in this nation, I don’t with to be in this world. Have you ever felt sick of reality, have you ever wanted to leave and never come back, change your name and ways.To forget the past present and future, to just live. People only listen because they fear what they will miss. I spoke and they listened, but they were no listeners, they were victims of a power. The earth is big, and we are small. Hearts are small, greed is enormous. I am a dictator and I dictate our nations every move. I am fool and soon I will be a dead man. I am sorry that I am not you, I have always envied you.



You Should Buy an Audi

You Should Buy an Audi

An Analysis of How Advertisements Tell the Consumer to Live Their Lives

Anna Sugrue - Gold Stream - January 2014

In a world controlled by the media and powered by the consumerist, the advertisement is the ultimate weapon. This weapon manipulates the mindset of an individual, and thus has the power to change the mindset of a people. From Madison Avenue to Nazi Germany, human being have learned the secrets to this weapon, and have succeeded in reconstructing social systems to fit their own agendas. Hitler convinced people mass murder was okay. On Madison Avenue, advertisers convince people that satisfaction comes from a beach bod, a designer bikini and a bottle of Coca Cola.

Today, the advertisement relies on appealing to, and attempting to change, one’s sense of satisfaction. When you turn on the TV, or surf the internet, or drive down the highway, you are bombarded by images and information that tell you what you need to be happy. This car insurance will save you money, and that will make you happy. This resort is so relaxing, you are guaranteed to be happy if you go. The advertiser’s promise of happiness goes in hand in hand with one’s personal fear of obsolescence. If you do not get this car insurance, you will not be cool. If you do not go to this resort, your relationships will not be as secure. If you consume, you will be satisfied, if you do not, you will be nothing. Consciously or not, you take in these images and these ideas. If you are unhappy, you go buy a new outfit, or a get a new phone, or go on a vacation- hoping, and believing, that you will be better because of it.

To understand the extent in which advertisements shape one’s sense of satisfaction, I went on Hulu, and watched one of the most popular commercials from the Super Bowl last year. It was a 1 minute commercial for Audi, where a boy goes to prom. The advertisement starts with an unhappy teenage boy looking at his tuxedoed reflection in the mirror. His mom reassures him that “now-a-days, lots of people go by themselves!”. Disheartened, he makes for the door, but his dad stops him, and tosses him the keys to the Audi. Everything changes. The boy gets in the car and the engine starts and he is immediately alive, ready for the night. Music starts to pump and the camera angles change similarly to the movie Drive, where Ryan Gosling stars as a get-a-way driver. The boy becomes a badass. He parks in the principal's parking spot and strides down a dim high school hallway towards the Prom. He walks in, immediately finds a gorgeous girl (Prom Queen of course), and kisses her. Then you see the boyfriend. The ad ends with the boy driving down the road again with a black eye, looking happier than ever. “Bravery. It’s what defines us. Audi. #BraveryWins.”

The basic message of the commercial, articulated in Audi’s tagline, is that buying an Audi will make you brave. The advertisement guarantees satisfaction. By telling a relatable story, Audi convinces you that with an Audi, you are a fearless rebel, and without an Audi, you can not get that girl, you can not feel alive, and you can not be brave. The story is relatable enough that the goal seems within the reach of the consumer, but unreal enough that the consumer will never be fully satisfied. Because in reality, like John Berger says in Ways of Seeing, you will be $40,000 poorer and none the richer, regardless of what the advertisement told you.

Several characteristics of this advertisement are reflected in the consumer’s daily sense of satisfaction, mainly sex and money.

Sex is the simplest human urge. Fulfilling sexual goals is the clearest human pathway to pleasure and satisfaction. In the Audi advertisement, the boy grabs his crush in the center of the dance floor and passionately kisses her. Not only is Audi telling the consumer that a car will make them have sex, but the Audi is defining what it means to be sexy. The girl kissed him back. The boys confidence and bravery, granted to him by the car, made him attractive. Audi understand that the consumer wants to have sex, and tells the consumer that they need to be sexy. The consumer needs the sex and the sexy to be satisfied.

In Ways of Seeing, John Berger says that it is true money cannot buy happiness, but publicities strive to convince you otherwise. The Audi boy was obviously made happier after he drove a $40,000 luxury vehicle. The consumer is led to understand that consuming will make them happier. Thus, the consumer will not feel satisfied unless they spend money.

When the money is combined with the sex, the consumer is told that their ability to consume is directly correlated with their sexual ability. This further manipulates the consumers sense of satisfaction, making an unhappy human, but very happy advertisers.

The Audi advertisement, and all advertisements, manipulate the consumer’s sense of satisfaction to the point where they will never be satisfied. Because, if the consumer is satisfied, if the consumer is full, the consumer will stop consuming. Most consumers understand that they will never become the Prom boy, but they buy the car anyway, vainly searching for some kind of inner gratification that materials can never satisfy. True and complete inner satisfaction is hard to obtain, close to impossible, and the material world only makes it harder.

I feel as though I have had a clear understanding of how the media has an influence on one’s psyche, and John Berger’s Ways of Seeing certainly helped develop my opinion. I still do not know how the consumer can resist the advertisers subconscious maneuvers, or if the disturbing truth is ever going to be enough to make advertisers change their tactics. Companies like Dove are working to promote a positive sense of satisfaction, however much more needs to happen in order for the world to change.

So, in the end, I reside myself in sitting on the couch, with a can of Coca Cola, watching a boy go to Prom, and dreaming of something more.


Works Cited

Berger, John. "Ways of Seeing." Ways of Seeing. Dir. Mike Dibb. BBC. BBC, London, UK, 1972. Television.

Prom. Audi, 2013. Television. Hulu.com. Web. <http://www.hulu.com/adzone/450448>.

Notes of a Dictator

                     Notes of a Dictator

By: Rosalie Swana


May 2nd

“There is no such thing as government without power, there is no such thing as power without government.” I have not lied to the people of this nation, I spoke half of truth and half of promises. I wonder what it means to the listener, the people I speak to. Most believe my words because they fear a falling nation. Others only listen for the sake of having something new to hear.

July 20th

“ all nations are alis, all alis must be friends ”. America is a selfish nation, selfish nations are free deals. When you are young you are told that fair is the right way. I have learned that politics are not as simple. The expression that should be used is “ you have to give a little to get a little”. I have done just this with the United States I offered their military an opportunity, and whether it benefits others was not mine or their concern.Every politician knows that government is just a simple game of monkey in the middle. The players on either side gaining and the one in the middle staying in the middle. Most wars are two nations playing this game. Bombing the man in the middle forcing them to stay in the middle, there is no direction to go to or trust.


September 14th

“ We all love freedom, so vote for freedom.” Campaigns are art shows,  putting every poster and a few self portraits up and having people who take interest stop and stare. Not really knowing if any of this million dollar work will sell to the people. Dictatorship is less work. People with too many opinions have too much to say, but are only able to say so much. Opinions are not so good, they cause conflict and disagreement. I feel the best way of life is to agree or stay silent.

november 30th

I have interest in the citizens yet I try not to put myself in another persons shoes. I fear seeing myself in other perspectives. If I see from a lower class citizens eyes then I am poor. I truly believe that money is power, without money you can not earn education and most likely will not keep a steady job. Power is success, success is power. I was raised in a wealthy family, my mother and father were happily married. My mother did not have a job she stayed home to complete household tasks. My father had a steady job in politics. I was taught about politics as soon as I could walk, my father said I would walk in his steps. I have done so, in fact I have done better. I have power over any nation I choose, nations fear me others choose me for my promises and deals. I am true a politician, politicians are true.

I am a dictator and I dictate this country’s every move, I can tell them to kill and they will. I am a next generation Hitler, I am smarter though, I am genius when it comes to military. I have the right to bomb land I dislike to dust and no one is stopping me, I am a god.

january 19

Do people know why I kill, I do it for one thing…ownership of land. They weren’t using it for anything important, yes it was where they lived but were they using it get jobs, NO. They were poor I helped them by destroying their pointless land, it is one less thing for them to worry about. I’m not bad, I am great. That is the difference between me and hitler, he was great but terrible, yet I am great and powerful. There is a difference isn’t there? I help certain people, like people in politics.


march 25

I have become power itself, greedy narcissistic and deadly. I am a murder, I am a killer, I am death.  Politics are like poison, slowing killing you with each dosage. Am I selfish? Why can’t I see a difference?  I’m stained my heart has been tainted with American way. Fearful I am afraid, I have no one to tell. I have killed them all, I am a criminal. All of these companies are lie, Government is just a fancy work for propaganda. We tell these people that we are here to help them, we give them hope that they cannot afford. We tell them promises that we cannot keep, I am a liar. We choose to ignore them, treat them like they nothing. We keep them silent and ignore their screams, I can’t stop hearing their screams.There is no prison for politicians. I have only seen from my eyes, rich white and entitled. Men like me should not be put in politics, we only want thing for ourselves. They have never known freedom, we are free, free enough to kill. America will always hear their scream, they don’t care. I cannot wash this scum off my heart. I finally have placed myself into another mans shoes, I am macbeth. The blood on my hands will not wash away. The blame, the guilt, the greed, is all me. Power is a deadly thing, death is living but power is dying.

may 2nd

“We fear death, we fear living”. There is no where to go, no where to run or hide. I don’t want to be in this office, in this nation, I don’t with to be in this world. Have you ever felt sick of reality, have you ever wanted to leave and never come back, change your name and ways.To forget the past present and future, to just live. People only listen because they fear what they will miss. I spoke and they listened, but they were no listeners, they were victims of a power. The earth is big, and we are small. Hearts are small, greed is enormous. I am a dictator and I dictate our nations every move. I am fool and soon I will be a dead man. I am sorry that I am not you, I have always envied you.



Societal Biases

I consider myself to be a fairly typical American.  Well, slightly atypical because I grew up in a city away from the isolationist tendencies of the suburban culture that makes up the majority of America.  I realize that I embrace the very American conceit that I am pretty much in control of my beliefs - that I am the captain of my ship of consciousness.  But with just a little reflection, it becomes obvious that there is a fathomless ocean of prejudice, culturally determined attitudes, and peer pressures that my little ship of consciousness precariously tries to stay afloat on.  In other words, I am aware that there is a system of beliefs beyond myself that has helped to shape who I am.  


Even without taking the IAT test, I know that cognitive dissonance is ever present in myself.  An event that is most revealing is my response to my grandfather after his stroke.  My grandfather is an enormously erudite, cultured man, trained as a civil engineer and architect, who spent most of his adult life as a painter of marinescapes.  He is a man who knows at least something about everything, can easily talk about almost any subject, writes poetry, and has a wonderful sense of humor - a man that you could look up to and admire.  So it was a bit of a shock when, due to a massive stroke, he lost control of the right side of his body and his ability to talk and express his ideas clearly.


    Although he didn’t lose any of his mental capacity or his encyclopaedic knowledge, I noticed that somehow he sank in how others perceived him.  Even worse I noticed that I was one of those people who underestimated his abilities!  Somehow a person who can speak persuasively and with ease seems more intelligent than a person who cannot.  It didn’t seem to matter that I knew my grandfather to be a really smart man and loved him dearly, or that I knew that he was still all there and that none of his intellect had deteriorated.  A built-in bias was tinting my view of him.  Clearly an unconscious, automatic system is present that dictates my thoughts or the way I see the world.  It was not until seeing the way others acted around him, or the way they talked down to him in a demeaning manner, like he was a small child, that I realized my own bias. I realized that I, too, had to monitor myself to make sure that I didn’t let his current disabilities obscure who he really was in my eyes.  I cannot imagine a worse punishment than having someone treat you that way when in your mind you still feel the same. You have retained all your knowledge, but it almost torments you because you can’t express yourself through words, people make assumptions and place labels. People treat you as though you are lesser simply because you have difficulty articulating your thoughts.

This unconscious bias also affects how I see myself.  From an early age, I can remember how it feels to fail to meet my own expectations of perfection in oral and written communication skills. My older siblings were reading fluently, while I struggled to read a simple sentence. Granted that they were much older than I was, yet I noticed that some of my classmates were reading rather large books as well. I can remember my teacher telling me to keep at it and that I was improving and would eventually “catch up.” This was a double edged sword because it told me that I was lacking in a much-valued societal skill. I perceived that I was “not good enough.”  


What these memories reveal to me is that much of our respond to the world is not shaped by our private system of beliefs or values.  It is obvious that our society favors certain traits above others, that it has a clear and strict idea of what it means to be intelligent, and that it imposes strict criteria on us that we are forced to use to judge each other. We are rarely conscious of this system, rather, we learn society’s idea of the ideal person from our elders, parents, siblings, teachers and others from the time we are born.  We then measure ourselves and others by this impossible ideal for a lifetime, automatically making judgements without consciously knowing why.  We become our own harshest critic, punishing ourselves repeatedly for each perceived misstep.  


As I watched my grandfather struggle to regain some of his ability to read, to write, and to speak; I understood that the part of him that was the man I knew him to be - that sees the greater picture, that appreciates beauty, that understands people’s true intentions, that loves - that part is still all there.  My biases only create a separation that I don’t want.  Similarly, my anxieties about my reading ability only made it harder for me throw myself into every challenge and succeed, which is certainly something that I didn’t want to happen.  I reassure myself that, with work, these biases can be overcome, or at least managed. This may be a delusion, but I need to feel that I have at least a little control of my life.  


While our society imposes on us certain biases that discredit some individuals unjustly while putting undeserved importance on others, it is helpful to remind ourselves that these cultural biases can be overcome when they conflict with the core ideals and values that identify a community.  As the reading noted, we as individuals have an amazing ability to tolerate a fair amount of “dissonance,” but when the tension becomes too great, we are forced to respond even if we don’t want to.  If nothing else this should be reassuring and appealing to the that other American bias - optimism.  We put up with a lot, but then we use our consciousness to struggle and to change ourselves and the world around us.




  

So What..?

“So What...?”

- Basically a kid in a wheelchair and an african american kid get sent to the office for getting into a fight and they both have to explain their side of what happened. The principal takes the bias toward the caucasian kid in the wheelchair over the african american kid. Throughout the story you’ll see the change in dialogue the principal has when talking to each of them.



“Leave me alone, I’m tired of  this school! I didn’t do nuffin! Blaming me for stuff, always assuming.”

Michael entered the principal office along with one of the women from the cafeteria.

“Take a seat,” exclaimed Mr. Kregno.


Michael leaned forward to grasp the wheels of his wheelchair and pushed himself into the principal’s office.


Keyon lets out a small laugh.


“Guess you don’t have to take a seat Michael cause ya already got one everywhere you go.”


“Thats enough jokes boys, take a seat now. Now which one of you wants to tell your side of what happened first?”


Keyon immediately with no hesitation offered to go first.


“I’ll go I have no problem going first sir.”


“No Keyon, go sit outside. I would like to hear what Michael has to say first.”


Keyon grabs his bookbag and proceeds to walk out of the office.


“Whatever man.”


mumbles under his breathe.


“I offered to go first, what’s his problem I didn’t even do anything.”

Slams door


“Okay, so how are you Michael? I heard what happened are you okay?”


“Yes sir but..”


“But what, do we need to call the nurse? Are your legs okay?”


Michael begins to get frustrated by the amount of questions he is getting


“STOP OKAY... I started it , I started the fight not Keyon but me.”


“Oh stop it Michael you don’t need to cover for anyone it’s okay you won’t get hurt for telling the truth.”


“I just told you the truth, why don’t you believe me, its like people feel bad for me and assume that since i'm in a wheelchair I can’t do anything.  He got too close to my personal space and I wh him. He fell then got back up and tried to swing but was stopped. End of story, nothing more or less than that.”

proclaimed Michael with great emotions.


“There is no need to get mad. Michael if he hurt you just tell us we won’t tell him you told us. You’ll be fine just tell me the truth.” Principal Kregno stated


“Ughh, Fine believe what you what, I really dont care anymore!”


Michael storms out the room in his wheelchair but stops at the doorway.


“Just because you see a kid in a wheelchair don’t assume they can’t do certain things and as a matter a fact they could probably do a better job than you’re doing at your own job.  Im a human just like you are. We get mad and react just like normal people so don’t assume.”


“Calm down Michael you seem very stressed, why don’t you go to the nurses office and take a break.”


Michael leaves before Mr. Kregno can finish his sentence off.


“Can you please tell Mr. Keyon to enter the room now.”


As Keyon begins to enter the room he starts to rant.


“I should be in class right now like I ain’t even do nothing. I have class work to do, i’m not tryna get kicked outta school for something I didn't even doooo.”


“Mr. Keyon now that is enough. A kid is injured and it is the cause of your actions. Please take a seat and explain your side of what happened in the cafeteria.”


“Basically what had happened was I trying to get into the lunch line and this kid in the wheelchair decides to be funny and block my way. I tried to walk beside him but he decided to move his wheelchair toward my foot and pushed me while on his stupid chair. I don’t get why he keep getting all these special treatments cause he’s on that chair. I shoulda stole him while I had the chance. At least then I’d have a reason behind why i'm in trouble.”


“ENOUGH! I’m tired of your attitude, you’re going to be given a suspension of 4 days. Now I hope you use those 4 days to reflect on your actions.”


“What?! Whyyyy common I really didn’t even do nothing. Did he lie and say I did. I swear that i’m tellin you the truth. Please don’t suspend me from school, I can't get suspended my parents are gonna kill me.” Keyon says furiously as streams of tears run down his face. He then runs out the principals office and is told to go to the main office to get his suspension letter from the Dean of students.


Bias Is Not Always The Answer.

Bias is a big part of our world. Everyone is profiling each other based on our appearance or race. Stereotypes are another example of bias because people believe them and they spread all over. There are many things out there that make people of some race seem like they are lousy or weird. There are many examples of where innocent have been wrongly accused of crimes based largely on stereotypes and prejudicial profiling. Some examples of stereotypes and prejudicial profiling leading to unfair treatment of the suspects are the West Memphis Three case, the Central Park Five case, and the Stop & Frisk Program. The judicial system is here to help us, but it often uses stereotypes to profile criminals and these stereotypes often lead to false arrests, which undermine the effectiveness of the judicial system.

The “West Memphis Three” case demonstrates how prejudicial profiling can lead to false arrests and convictions due to stereotypical misconceptions, proving that bias undermines the effectiveness of the system. In the case “West Memphis Three,” the judicial system targeted Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr, and Jason Baldwin based on stereotypes. The police and the district attorney’s office accused these boys of murdering the three younger boys, Steven Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers because of the three suspects’ Satanic beliefs. There wasn’t much evidence that they had on these boys except finding the murder weapon behind one of the boys’ trailers, but they did not have DNA evidence to prove that any of the accused boys had used that knife. Nathaniel Rich, an American novelist and essayist, wrote about the “West Memphis Three” case and said, “The belief that the murders must have been committed by members of a cult was the foundation on which the prosecution built its case. It was, at the time, the most conceivable explanation for the extraordinarily grotesque details of the crime scene, where the bodies of the three boys, were found naked, bound, mutilated, and submerged in a shallow gulley.” The bodies of the three young boys were mutilated. One victim had his scrotum cut off and the skin of his had been removed.  Almost everyone in West Memphis shared the same religious beliefs: baptist. There weren’t many people who believed in satanism in West Memphis. These facts lead to the judge and jury convicting the three suspects because stereotypes had made Satanism a dreadful, violent religion. Stereotypes had made people believe that Satanists sacrifice people. Since the boys had been cut up badly and then a knife was found behind one of the boys’ trailers, it lead them to have a stronger belief that the boy committed the crime. These boys were also outsiders and considered weird by others in their town, and the stereotypes about Satanism made people think the worst about those who were different. The police falsely arrested these boys without DNA evidence and used stereotypical and prejudicial profiling to justify arresting them, which the court system including the judge and jury used to justify the convictions of these boys, thus undermine the effectiveness of the judicial system.

The “Central Park Five” case demonstrates stereotypical profiling based upon race leading to the false arrest of five boys aged 18 and younger proving that it is a problem that racial bias is so effective in getting a conviction. In the “Central Park Five” case, five boys are accused of raping a higher class white female jogger. Four boys were African-American and the other boy was Latino. These five boys were with a group of black males walking through Central Park hanging out and they started making trouble so the cops came. They caught these boys and brought them to the precinct. At the time, there was a lot of crime going on in New York City because crack was introduced and a majority of the people committing crimes were lower-middle class young black males. Eisa Ulen is a freelance journalist and has written for such prestigious magazines and newspapers such as Essence, The Washington Post, and Ms, and had written about the film of the “Central Park Five” case saying, “The film tries to establish that the police coerced these children, lied and told them they would be able to go home if they confessed, and told them what to say on camera about a crime they did not commit. It also presents an argument that the prosecutors ignored obvious discrepancies in the evidence used against the boys.” The detectives that were investigating the body of the jogger had stopped the police from letting the boys go because they believed the boys raped her. Stereotypes in that time had every black or latino male guilty of any crime if they were in range of the scene. The police did not have any real evidence to prove that these boys committed the crime, so they took advantage of them and made them confess to doing the crime that they did not do because the police assumed they were guilty due to racial and stereotypical profiling. This case proves that racial and stereotypical profiling is detrimental to impartiality within the judicial system.

Certain cities have adopted a program called the “Stop and Frisk Program,” which demonstrates the dangers of stereotypical and prejudicial profiling within the judicial system, often leading to false arrests, proving that this kind of program harms the effectiveness of the system. The “Stop and Frisk Program” is basically when police officers stop a person and ask questions and frisk them for any weapons, drugs, etc., because of suspicion. A group of young teenage males were walking to a basketball game and were stopped and frisked because they had been wearing scarves to cover their face that look liked ski makes, and also it was one of the coldest days in Philadelphia. A black teenage male from the group had been sexually assaulted when being frisked by a lady police officer. The female officer pulled his genitals so hard during a patdown that one of his testicles ruptured. He was charged for reckless endangerment of another person, simple assault, and resisting arrest In an article written by Aubrey Whelan, an Inquirer staff writer, wrote about the incident saying “Police say one of the students "caught the attention" of officers stationed near the subway stop. As officers approached, the group scattered.” Stereotypes made police to believe that any group of any race is always suspicious and in the situation above the police were caught by the attention so they believed that something was going on. They quickly made an assumption and profiled these kids upon their race and appearance and took action. This lead to the bias thinking of the police officers because of crimes before happening in groups, such as a flash mob or just vandalizing. Also there is racial profiling involved, even though the program wasn’t made for that, because black and latino are the vast majority of being stopped. The Stop and Frisk Program proves that stereotypes and racial profiling has taken over the bias of police officers.  

The judicial system is a great system that we have and it helps the people in our world, but the people of law enforcement makes it seem an unfair system. There is much racist and stereotypical profiling from the officers. Because of these false arrest and accusations, the lives of people are ruined.


So what...?

“So What...?”

- Basically a kid in a wheelchair and an african american kid get sent to the office for getting into a fight and they both have to explain their side of what happened. The principal takes the bias toward the caucasian kid in the wheelchair over the african american kid. Throughout the story you’ll see the change in dialogue the principal has when talking to each of them.



“Leave me alone, I’m tired of  this school! I didn’t do nuffin! Blaming me for stuff, always assuming.”

Michael entered the principal office along with one of the women from the cafeteria.

“Take a seat,” exclaimed Mr. Kregno.


Michael leaned forward to grasp the wheels of his wheelchair and pushed himself into the principal’s office.


Keyon lets out a small laugh.


“Guess you don’t have to take a seat Michael cause ya already got one everywhere you go.”


“Thats enough jokes boys, take a seat now. Now which one of you wants to tell your side of what happened first?”


Keyon immediately with no hesitation offered to go first.


“I’ll go I have no problem going first sir.”


“No Keyon, go sit outside. I would like to hear what Michael has to say first.”


Keyon grabs his bookbag and proceeds to walk out of the office.


“Whatever man.”


mumbles under his breathe.


“I offered to go first, what’s his problem I didn’t even do anything.”

Slams door


“Okay, so how are you Michael? I heard what happened are you okay?”


“Yes sir but..”


“But what, do we need to call the nurse? Are your legs okay?”


Michael begins to get frustrated by the amount of questions he is getting


“STOP OKAY... I started it , I started the fight not Keyon but me.”


“Oh stop it Michael you don’t need to cover for anyone it’s okay you won’t get hurt for telling the truth.”


“I just told you the truth, why don’t you believe me, its like people feel bad for me and assume that since i'm in a wheelchair I can’t do anything.  He got too close to my personal space and I wh him. He fell then got back up and tried to swing but was stopped. End of story, nothing more or less than that.”

proclaimed Michael with great emotions.


“There is no need to get mad. Michael if he hurt you just tell us we won’t tell him you told us. You’ll be fine just tell me the truth.” Principal Kregno stated


“Ughh, Fine believe what you what, I really dont care anymore!”


Michael storms out the room in his wheelchair but stops at the doorway.


“Just because you see a kid in a wheelchair don’t assume they can’t do certain things and as a matter a fact they could probably do a better job than you’re doing at your own job.  Im a human just like you are. We get mad and react just like normal people so don’t assume.”


“Calm down Michael you seem very stressed, why don’t you go to the nurses office and take a break.”


Michael leaves before Mr. Kregno can finish his sentence off.


“Can you please tell Mr. Keyon to enter the room now.”


As Keyon begins to enter the room he starts to rant.


“I should be in class right now like I ain’t even do nothing. I have class work to do, i’m not tryna get kicked outta school for something I didn't even doooo.”


“Mr. Keyon now that is enough. A kid is injured and it is the cause of your actions. Please take a seat and explain your side of what happened in the cafeteria.”


“Basically what had happened was I trying to get into the lunch line and this kid in the wheelchair decides to be funny and block my way. I tried to walk beside him but he decided to move his wheelchair toward my foot and pushed me while on his stupid chair. I don’t get why he keep getting all these special treatments cause he’s on that chair. I shoulda stole him while I had the chance. At least then I’d have a reason behind why i'm in trouble.”


“ENOUGH! I’m tired of your attitude, you’re going to be given a suspension of 4 days. Now I hope you use those 4 days to reflect on your actions.”


“What?! Whyyyy common I really didn’t even do nothing. Did he lie and say I did. I swear that i’m tellin you the truth. Please don’t suspend me from school, I can't get suspended my parents are gonna kill me.” Keyon says furiously as streams of tears run down his face. He then runs out the principals office and is told to go to the main office to get his suspension letter from the Dean of students.


Central Park Five Analysis

Jamie Turner

1/21/14

         Central Park Five Analysis

The Central Park Five wouldn’t have been an impact on our society if it weren’t for the media’s biased opinions and corruption.


The Central Park Five is the story of five teenaged boys, all of whom are either latino or black who were falsely accused for the rape of a woman jogging in Central Park.  This meant that five innocent boys were robbed of their childhoods while a rapist remains on the streets.  That really annoys me.  I watched a documentary called “The Central Park Five” to get more information on this investigation.  Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Kharey Wise, and Yusef Salaam were the five boys charged of the rape and assault of Trisha Meili who was referred to as “The Central Park Jogger” until the release of her book called “I Am The Central Park Jogger.”

It all started as a normal night.  These five youths didn’t really know each other too close before this.  A group of about twenty five kids were going to hang out at the park.  As the night went along kids in this group were getting into some trouble like harassing a couple on a tandem bike, assaulting a homeless man, and throwing objects at passing cars.  The cops came after word got out about this mischief and even though these five kids weren’t taking part in these acts they were still brought in to the Central Park Precinct.  Later that night a bloodied and abused woman was found on the side of a jogging trail.  These five boys were kept a little longer for investigation.  All of which were hispanic or black.  Despite the lack of evidence these boys were forced to confess to the crime on tape.  They were all tried and sent to prison until years later when the real rapist confessed to the crime.  The boys turned into men were free, but no they never really got the justice they deserved.

One thing the documentary talked about is that the media focuses on black on white crime more than any same race crimes.  Around the same time this is happening there was a white man who raped and killed a white woman but that never made it to the news or the daily paper.  If my biases decided which crimes were and weren’t publicized then I’d have to say I wouldn’t focus on a specific crime.  In my opinion any crime is a crime no matter what ethnicity you are.  I also think that it isn’t good to talk about specific crimes because nowadays too many things happen in a single day for us to keep track.  I’d at most put the crime or crimes that impact the community at a large on the news or in the paper because that will catch the eye of more people because it’ll affect more readers.

Something that really bothered me with this story is that there was no research done on any of the evidence.  When all was said and done with the young men someone made a timeline of what happened that night, when it happened, and where.  The string of mischief the Central Park Five boys were involved with occured on a totally different part of the park than the rape of Trisha Meili.  Why couldn’t they have looked at that before?  They did a DNA test on the kids but the DNA didn’t even match up so how on Earth are they still guilty?  I have a feeling the detectives on the case probably thought “Group of black and latino kids?  It has to be them even though they had no idea any of this happened.”  If the detective thought the way I think then Those boys would’ve just gave me contact information and I would have expanded on the case a little more before I drew a conclusion to whom it was.

The corruption in the Central Park five case is astonishing.  How can the authorities get away with making these kids read a scripted confession to a crime they were unaware even occurred?  How did they get away with this after it was revealed it wasn’t even them?  I’m not sure what that would be called but I’m pretty sure it is some type of felony.  That is definitely my biggest problem with this case.  If I were a lawyer defending one of the five innocent kids in this case I’d do whatever it takes to reveal the corruption in this case and get my client the peace he deserves.  

What happened to the Central Park Five was really horrible but I think people got carried away from the real problem.  A woman was brutally raped while she was just going for a jog.  In my opinion the victim should be the media’s first priority.  This woman was basically left for dead and was in critical condition at the hospital.  I know at some point  I heard someone say that Meili thought she was in the year 1952 when it was actually 1989.  That is some serious damage to a person!  Our society needs to do something to calm crime down.  What is the point of just murdering someone?  How could a human being think that is fun?  I think this country needs to do put more money into Mental Health care rather than building new sports arenas and malls.  I’d rather have a safe environment than have nice stuff, because then if people are more mentally stable they can contribute to the growth of our community.

So as you can see I have some very strong opinions on the Central Park Five.  I’d highly suggest watching the Documentary because I’m sure this piece is full of my own biased opinions that I am too accustomed to to realize they are not neutral opinions.  Now I thought race played a big role in this case because I don’t think I would have ever heard of this case if it were a group of white teens.  A good point made in “The Central Park Five” is that the media makes black men out to be a hostile species of some sort.  So I think the biggest problem in cases like this is that the media plays a huge role in how we look at the situation.  Everyone has a freedom of speech but if you’re going to call something the news then at least give the news to us from a totally unbiased opinion.

Jhonas Dunakin Food Project

  • Ingredients 
  • 2 lbs fresh tuna
  • 1 lb yuca, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbs sunflower oil
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 8 cups of water
  • 5 cilantro sprigs
  • Salt to taste
  • Analysis
  • Ensebollado is a typical traditional Ecuadorian dish famous for it's ability to cure hang overs. Fish is high in protein and reduces your risk of atrial fibrillation. Yucca root which is native to South America has the ability to reduce diabetes symptoms, arthritis, and contains anti oxidant properties in addition to it being delicious both boiled and fried.  
  • Personal Reflection

Diet directly correlates to the amount of diseases and disrupts normal bodily functions. Humans have evolved to eat more vegetables, less red mets, fats and sugars since their really rare in nature but we can mass produce those things. Those kinds of foods are addictive since they give humans lots of energy quickly, which would be good if we were hunting and gathering everyday. But today we have machines to do the tough jobs and we just typically sit on our couch and watch tv, so our body stores the energy for latter, which than creates obesity because of the daily consumption. Obesity can cause heart diseases, liver problems, diabetes etc. 

Our modern world is very free market and the demand is very high for foods like meat, dairy, and sugars. Companies take advantage of that and supply those things since they're very additive to humans and make huge profits because they're consumed at high quantities. High quantities of consumption of meats ruins health and changes cultures of countries that are being westernized. Also specifically in the US everything has a soy or corn ingredient because it's subsidized so heavily to stay competitive in the free market for the purpose of the use as ethanol. But it's so cheep it can be used as an ingredient in cheep foods that directly correlates to ill health. 



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Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.52.44 PM

Bias Police Brutally



“The police show their bias when they… ” use excessive force with a suspect if they do not follow direction when told partially towards young african american males.


In the Leon Ford Jr. incident the police officer pulled him over for a routine traffic stop. He  was  stopped for 19 minutes they demanded that he see I.d. One of the officers,  Office David Derbish, who walked onto the right side of the car began to search it. He assumed to believe that Leon was in possession of a weapon. Leon was then asked to get put the car three time.  When he did not move one of the police officers began to violently pull Leon from his vehicle. In the  moment of fear Leon drives. Officer David Derbish, who is in the car,  shot him four times in the torso & the car crashed.


Leon Ford Jr.’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, say “they hoped he would have died so he couldn’t live to tell the truth” .  Also his attorney Monte Rabner, stated “ It’s clearly police procedure that if you see a gun and you think the individual has a gun you draw your gun and asked him out of the car …. there way distant for him from the on set,  if you look at the beginning of the video just from the time he would take his license from him it was not just taken like a normal human being it was ripped from his hand.”  This says that the police already have a bias set. That because he is a young african-american male that he is a automatic suspect. There they treated him like a suspect. According to attorney Crump a normal traffic routine stop takes 7 minutes, yet Leon was pulled over for almost 20+ minutes.  “Not only he was unable to see his parents and on his death bed but he was shackled to the bed & paralyzed.” stated Attorney Rabner.


On January 7, 2013 was the coldest day since. Darrin Manning  was taking the Broad Street & Girard to play in a school  walking home from school, says Victoria Joyner, school chief executive. Manning and teammates left the subway wearing hats and scarves, provided by Victoria Joyner. According to police   A boy was sexually assaulted by a female police officer. He was walking home from school  & the officer stopped him. He was told to remove his scarf so he can be ID. A surveillance camera that caught the police officer in the act changes every 10 seconds, so it’s uncertain as to what really happened. One segment of the video shows Darrin being pushed against the car. In the another clip it shows what officer Ramsey says “ a struggle with officers”. Another segment shows Manning being surrounded by police officers. When the female police officer began to pat-down search and pulled his genitals. During the pat down the female officer grabbed Mannings testicles. She squeezed them so hard that it ruptured. He was then arrested and kept in jail for 8 hours. He was then released and taking to the hospital where he had emergency surgery. As a result he is under watch care of a doctor. As told there is a possibility that he may not be able to reproduce. Although he is the victim he is now being charged with reckless endangerment of another person, simple assault and resisting arrest.


I disagree with how the officer went about this situation because you should never put your hands on no one. My bias about this is that you shouldn’t put your hand against anyone. She should have not put her hands in his private area. That is something you are taught in first grade - third grade. You were taught that when someone touches you, you tell an adult. In this case because young Darrin  Manning was being sexually touched/assault by a police officer, someone who you are suppose to trust, is now being charged with  reckless endangerment of another person, simple assault and resisting arrest.

Food project

Ingredients:

Light cream

Grated Cheese

Chicken

Artichokes

Pasta

Garlic

Oil

Butter

 

Directions:

Cut chicken into fourths

Heat butter and oil and garlic

add cream after a while

add grated cheese

Boil Pasta

MIX all in bowl

cook artichokes

Add them to bowl and mix

Completed

Nutrients: 

All together a serving would be up to 200 calories, it's not the healthiest foods but it's all natural, we use the freshest cream they have in the supermarket, the cheese added is only 20 calories

The artichokes we buy fresh and cut up i'm not sure the calories but it's fresh and not from a can

The chicken we get the breasts and nothing else and we get the fat out of it with a knife and we cut them into fours and and taking out the fat gets rid of 40 callers from the 100 calories from the pack so the chicken lis only 60 calories 

 

Analysis: What iv'e learned is that it doesn't matter how many callers something is to be healthy but where it comes from, i'd rather have a 200 calories home cooked meal than a 70 calorie Mc Donald's burger, because of how un natural it is and what it's made from, so even though my food is technically more un heathy, it's not because it comes from a legit place.



Tyanna Pleasant!

Ingredients

  • 2 jars of Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic & Onion- 125 g
  • 1box of Barilla spaghetti noodle. 56 g
  • 1lb of Cargill ground beef
  • 3 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of sugar

Procedures:

  1. Start by boiling a tall pot of about 4 cups of water.
  2. Next, add the pasta to the boiling water. As you add them, break them in half. It would be easier to put them in there in sections, and not all at once when breaking them up.
  3. Meanwhile, as the noodle are getting soft inside of the boiling water, start to cook the ground beef in a pan, make sure you have the top. Chop up the beef up with a spatula so it wont burn, after about 5 mins, add the top and tend to the noodles but keep your eye on the beef so it wont burn. Keep chopping it from time to time.
  4. Check the noodles, take one out, taste it and determine if it is soft enough for you. 
  5. Once the noodles are done, check that the ground beef is all brown, you should not eat any red meat because its not cooked all the way.
  6. Drain the beef once its all done.
  7. You then mix the beef with the noodles, add the sugar, 2 jars of Ragu, and the garlic. Mix together very well so that each noodle has sauce on it! And ENJOY!

Analysis

This meal is 95% processed and each of its ingredient starts of from a raw plant or vegetable, but eventually goes through a process to get the delicious taste it has. The 5% is from the minced garlic which came from actual garlic cloves from a Farmers Market. If you ate this everyday, you could be in risk of having heart disease and diabetes. This meal gives off a lot of fat and salt from the ground beef and the sauce. Without moderation of this meal, you could get diabetes or high blood sugar. The added sugar makes this meal less nutritious. Sugar in the sauce plus the added sugar is unhealthy. 

Since most of the ingredients was commercially grown, it had a negative impact on the environment. A cow had to be killed, which decreased the CO2 it produced and let out into the air, while making the sauce, chemicals had to be sprayed on the tomatoes, then to smash the tomatoes up into a sauce like structure was most likely done by machines which released gas into the air, Im not too sure about the pasta was made, but I do not think it have a big negative impact on the environment, the making of the sugar used some type of machinery to crush it up into small grains and I don't think the garlic had a negative impact on the environment. The ingredient that may have traveled the farthest to end up in your meal is probably the sugar. Most of the U.S’s sugar comes from the Caribbean. and the tomatoes comes from California. The beef comes from different farms in Canada and the U.S. 

Overall, this meal cost $12.82 if you buy each ingredient from ShopRite. Which is not bad when comparing it to buying spaghetti when going out to a restaurant which will be about $15 dollars or up. You also will know that it is safe and you know how its being cooked and how is cooking it because you are making it at home. It is also better than going out and buying it because you can modify it yourself so that it tastes just how you want it to. 

Personal Reflection

What I learned this unit, that I do no eat as healthily as I should, and I could eat so much better. I buy a lot of the foods that are processed without even thinking about where it came from or what happened to it for it to taste so delicious. I help support these farmers who do this to these animals and spray all of the chemicals on out vegetables and fruits to make them larger. I also learned that some of the animals are being treated harshly and in live in conditions that are not suitable for their life and they are not expected to live long. The foods go through a long process and is genetically engineered to grow faster than they are supposed to naturally. I think that the biggest problem with our food system is that lots of people don't know, or think about how their food first started out as. I think because it taste so good, and it meets their expectations in food, such as a big size. Changes I could make to my food choices is to look at the food labels and remember what I learned this unit. The biggest impact of these changes on me would be, I will become healthier, it will reduce my risks of diabetes and cancers or other health deficiencies that could come later in life from eating these foods. I am willing to make some changes, but I do not think I will commit to making all of them.

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Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.03.54 AM

Ilker Erkut BM

Ilker Erkut

100% Percent Sure

Have you ever been in trouble with a group of friends and you know you are wrong and change the story to save yourself?  Well I have done that a good amount of times and I am going to be explaining the biases of objective truths. I know everyone has been here at one point in time where they did not want to get in trouble, so they would change what really happened so that the adult or person in charge couldn’t give punishment because they did not know who did it.  Also I have the point of view of someone telling the truth but still getting in trouble because of the other person lying.  Sometimes lying isn’t the smartest thing to do because certain people do not take the time to find the real culprit.  In the end everyone will get punished and then your strategy of using objective truth will fail.  There are many time where it is a good thing to use as well

One personal time when I had to deal with objective truth was when I was in middle school.  I remember getting into a little scuffle.  I did not start it or even really protect myself, I just wanted it to end before either of us got in trouble.  But we ended up getting caught and going to the deans office.  

“So tell me what happened”  said the dean

“___ attacked me for no reason.  I tried to get him off rather than fighting back so I did not get in trouble.  I never fought back” I said trying not to get in trouble again that year.

“Ok, lets hear your story ____” said the dean

“He said something racist to me and I was offended so I fought him” he said lying.

In the end we both got in trouble and his plan did not work.  I felt very mad because it was all very unnecessary.  But I knew either way we were going to get in trouble.  I took the punishment and we became friends a long time after that.  

I thought of this moment in my life again when I read the short story “In The Grove.” I thought it was very accurate to how many situations get played out.  If there are no witnesses than there is no case.  “Yes ... without taking his life. I had no wish to kill him. I was about to run away from the grove, leaving the woman behind in tears, when she frantically clung to my arm. In broken fragments of words, she asked that either her husband or I die. She said it was more trying than death to have her shame known to two men. She gasped out that she wanted to be the wife of whichever survived. Then a furious desire to kill him seized me.”  This quotes really spoke to me because it basically sums up my essay.  Its one of the quotes that I found in the story that came close to the topic of my story.  She made him choose whether or not to kill the husband or kill himself.  He decided to kill the man because he in the situation he did not want to die.  Also the women was not even known as a culprit in the investigation because the investigation was for her husband.  So they immediately looked at everyone else as the bad guys and her as the victim.

The main reason people lie is to not suffer the consequences of what they have done wrong.  It could be to save someone from an unwanted truth.  But most of the time its because they realize what they did was wrong and they know if they accept the punishment it will not be worth it.  Telling the truth does not always bring out the best result.  Also lying might save them from being judged.  If what you did affected someone else or a group of people than those people might judge you for it.  So why not just lie?  I even think that it is inviting and inevitable.  You almost know someone is going to change the story around to save himself.  Its ment to happen in almost every situation without a witness.  Thats when people start getting into race and stereotypes.  The spectators or people around the scene will most likely pick the person that looks like they would cause a problem.  The biases people have are towards clothes, race and language use, such as slang.  That is how a lot of people get away with things.  They act really nice and mature and trick peoples minds.  They make it seem like they are the victims.  These are some ideas of where bias gets put into play and some situations.

Have you ever been in trouble and did not want to get punished or judged because you did not realize how much drama your action would cause?  Well I have been through that a good amount of times and now you know one of my best stories.  I have also proved my point with a quote from the story that gave me the idea to write this essay. I know everyone has been here at one point in time where they did not want to get in trouble, so they would change what really happened so that the adult or person in charge couldn’t give punishment because they did not know who did it.  Also I have the point of view of someone telling the truth but still getting in trouble because of the fact that the other person lied.  Sometimes lying isn’t the smartest thing to do because certain people do not take the time to find the real culprit.  In the end everyone will get punished and then your strategy of using objective truth will fail.  There are many times where it is a good thing to use as well.  I hope that you have learned from my personal essay.  Do not judge anyone or believe anyone till you have 100% facts that you are correct.



Crash

In today’s society, the media portrays a different perspective of a story. People often stereotype racial identity based on what media tells the public and how people of colored skin portray themselves. Based on these actions, the mindset of racial stereotypes and prejudices, one is bias and judges towards another. In the movie “Crash,” there are times where a character had to face racial stereotypes and prejudice which caused a chain reaction of bias. Racial stereotype and prejudice brainwashes the human mind into confusion between reality and their own biased opinion. 

As the movie develops in the beginning of the movie, a car accident occurred between two different racial identities, an Asian woman  and a Mexican woman. The Asian woman blamed the Mexican woman for causing the accident and claiming that it was the Mexican lady's fault. She said, "Mexicans don't know how to drive, she braked too fast." The Asian woman used her own bias opinion on how a Mexican person drives because of the way she views Mexican people. She thinks they are not able to drive. Another example on how stereotype affects her perspective is when she told the Mexican woman that, "I'll call immigration on you, look what you did to my car!" The reason why the Asian woman has this perspective is because society often jokes about Mexicans hopping over the border, which also means that they are not legal citizens and that they can be deported back to their country. This scene allows the viewer to understand how the Asian woman used her bias towards the Mexican woman based on that stereotype she has towards her. The asian lady uses this stereotype against her and accuses her of wrecking her car when really it wasn’t her fault. 

Throughout the movie, another scene occurs between the owner of the a gun shop, who is a White man and a Persian family. The daughter and father discussed whether or not they wanted the gun in their own language. The white man became impatient and he yelled, “Yo Osama!” Due to the previous terrorist attack that happened during September 11, 2001, the owner felt some type of way because the group of people that attacked America were Middle Eastern people. Knowing about the accident that happened on 9/11, the owner stereotyped them as terrorist and used the word Osama towards the father. The white man also told the family to get out of the his country because he is biased toward Middle Easterners and the effect of that changed how he viewed the Middle Eastern family. He made many references to the twin towers and the planes crashing event to make them feel guilty about the tragic event. The white man took the tragic situation and was prejudices toward the Persian family because of his frustration of what happened in 9/11 and the fact that it was caused by Middle Eastern people.

  At the climax of the movie, a scene occurred between white police officer who was off duty and a African American male hitchhiker. When the officer came across the African American male, he offered him a ride. During their ride, the African American man saw a statue in the officer’s dashboard, he realized that he had the same statute in his pocket and chuckled. This scene causes the officer to say “Is there something that’s funny?” The African American man replied, “People.. man, people.” “People like me?” the white officer replies. The white officer took it to offense based on his race. The statue represented and meant something to the officer. However, the officer thought that the African American man was mocking him because he was white. Upset about the situation the officer pulls over. The officer says “Get out now!”As this scene escalates, the the African American reaches into his pocket to show him that he has the same exact statue. However, the officer misjudged, thinking that he is pulling out a gun and the officer shoots him. This shows a stereotype between these two characters because the officer is out in the field and base on the people that he arrested, are people of color. His duty made him use his bias perspective on how he think a black person is going to act upon in that situation. Without knowing anything much about this person, he hardly thought twice before he pulled the trigger and killed an innocent person. This shows that its your brain, its your thoughts, the thoughts of judgements that leads you to unfortunate situations. 

The scene that took place in this movie is very similar to something that happened two years ago in Florida. Trayvon Martin had a hood on his head, a bag of Skittles and Arizona tea in his pockets.  A man named George Zimmerman shot him saying it was out of self defense. Trayvon Martin was an innocent teenage boy who was now dead. There are police reports about George Zimmerman saying Trayvon Martin was going for his gun. It turns out that Trayvon Martin was unarmed. This connects with the scene in the movie because George thought that Trayvon Martin had a gun and was reaching for it, so in self defense he shot him. His bias against black people made him expect Trayvon to have a gun. In police reports George Zimmerman said “They always get away.” In this quote I think that Zimmerman is being bias towards the African American community because he is referring to blacks and how they get away with crime.He is saying that blacks are the only ones who are criminals. Zimmerman was a security guard for a gated community so he probably ran into situations with other blacks which caused him to be bias towards Trayvon Martin, thinking that just because he was black, that he was like every other black person. Also, Zimmerman said and compared “Martin to someone who looked looked like a thug or criminal.” The bias that Zimmerman had towards blacks based on racial stereotype made him think that because Trayvon Martin had his hoodie on, or maybe because he was black that he was a criminal. Zimmerman was simply being prejudice towards Trayvon Martin because he was black and those racial stereotypes got into his head which caused him to judge someone innocent.  

Racial stereotype and prejudice brainwashes the human mind into confusion between reality and their own biased opinion. People are not fully aware of what racial stereotypes and prejudices can do. It can change one’s perspective on someone and quickly judge them. These are some of the worlds most common mistakes repeated everyday by everyone.  

Sources: 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-shooter-teenager-gun/story?id=16000239 http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/18064-up-to-no-good-the-racial-profiling-of-trayvon-martin-abdulrahman-awlaki

Wounds of Waziristan

Huzaifah Malik

Wounds of Waziristan

He dragged himself through the doors. Waqas threw his bookbag on the floor, and slumped his throbbing body onto his Charpai (a traditional bed made out of wood and woven rope). As he heard the slow whirling noise of the fan above him, Waqas began pondering about how difficult his life had become.

Waqas moved to the other side of the room, and sat on the cold mud floor. His mind was overwhelmed as he thought about his life and the life of the rich people. His thoughts started to drift to two years ago, good discipline throughout the 6th and 7th grade. But gradually everything changed. He took a deep breath, and leaned his head against the wall with closed eyes, trying to fight the flashbacks. His paralyzed father and his feeble mother. Waqas stood on his toes as the floor was too cold for his bare feet.

He went to his courtyard, and started plucking some red juicy apples. His cold and numb body was softened as he felt the warmth of the sun. Suddenly, he heard a whirring sound and saw a weird kind of thing flying in the air which threw fire in the direction of his house. He shivered and fell down, he groaned. The houses shook, the dust flew, and the ground trembled. There was smoke and debris everywhere. Everyone was crying and screaming, asking “Why do these drone attacks kill our people.” He was hit from behind and wounded. Everyone knew that there would be a second strike. He tried to get up, but he fell down right there, and thought he was dying “I am dying, save me!!”

He collapsed on the ground as he felt the shocking pain. Screeching and groaning with agony, he squirmed about on the ground, clutching his body. The strong pain engulfed him and his pain came out in rasps. It was a calamity for him. He vaguely heard somebody but he could not reach them.  

After a couple of hours, a brawny man heard his pain and rushed towards his bed in the hospital. He bent down over Waqas and tried to converse with him.

“How do you feel right now?” said the man.

Waqas tried to open his mouth, but was unable to utter a single word. He checked his bandaged legs and said slowly, “Your back and legs were hurt, God has kept you alive.” Waqas wanted to ask something about his legs but he could not speak, some words seemed to be stuck on his palate. The brawny man had moved to another bed to see the other victims who were also harmed by the dreadful drone strike. Waqas noticed a little boy with blood-soaked bandages on his legs and arms, who was laid on a bed next to him and a ventilator machine was connected to his nose. There was also an old man in the room.

Were these real people or just ghosts? Waqas was unable to figure it out. Suddenly, Waqas sensed a rough touch on his face. The old man was bending over him. His face was etched with wrinkles and his cheeks were sunken in. His caresses were coarse, but they were reviving him as rain drops freshened the dead and dried land.

“Where were you?” he asked him.
“I was in the courtyard plucking some apples when the plane, which hovered in the sky threw out hellish fire.”

“And where is my family? My mom, dad, two little sisters, and a brother…” said Waqas.

“Rescuers only found you breathing.”

Deep shudders grasped Waqas’s torn body. The old man clasped his shivering body in his skinny arms. After couple of minutes, it seemed perpetual, he released him from his grasp, and sat on the edge of the bed.

“My mom used to console me and I would forget my worries. I used to discuss all of my problems with her. Now who is going to wipe my tears. She was like as the saying goes, like a treasure of prayers.”, said Waqas

“I had a tall son just like you. He had studied at Cadet School. We were going to a graveyard to bury my uncle’s son. His car was hit by a missile. I found his body parts and charred clothes,” stated the old man. “Now everyone says that we are vicious! People are independently-minded! Never believe these words. We don’t control our destinies. The small hills illuminated by the full moonlight, the echoes of birds tweeting in the valleys, and the cherish noises of rain spreading coziness in the air are no longer ours.” said the old man.

“Why aren’t we independent?, Waqas asked.

“My small village is nearby, Miran Shah in North Waziristan. When the Afghan war started, the government needed our help to fight with strapping forces on the other side of the border. Money was poured out to recruit agents. Paved roads and bridges were built all over to connect impassable areas. Power grids were installed to buy the loyalty of people. Our houses were filled with smuggled things: refrigerators, TVs, tobacco, blankets, minerals, weapons, and even food.” said the old man. Deep throated sounds of gut wrenching pain, emitted by Waqas, broke their conversation. A few minutes later, the old man continued.

“Ah...it was all fake. It changed our society, but in a negative way. Very few people became wealthy, and a corrupt/criminal economy was created. They didn’t see the other side. Education institutes were not built to educate our kids and no factories were established to employ our young men, so they remained engaged in the felonious arms of such business, making and smuggling both goods and drugs.”

“Who brought these drones into our land?” asked Waqas, while looking at the boy with blood-soaked bandages on his head and legs.

“My dear son, war in our land is as traitorous as passes in our dusty mountains. As the moon goes through many different phases, so does this war. These drones came into our skies when a superpower of the world began fighting with certain militants in our land. But these little robots can’t differentiate between us and them, between our schools and their hiding places, and between our houses and their chambers. Our blood has been shed and we are called fanatics. We know that the judiciary system is available all over the world to provide justice for the people like us. We are helpless and uneducated therefore we have no voice.” said the old man.

“How will this war end in our country? asked Waqas.

“By telling kids like you to fight for your own right; by getting knowledge, by cleaning our land of evil elements that have turned us into scoundrel. My son, believe me when I tell you that we have been fighting for a long time, but not scoundrel. We could differentiate between righteousness and evilness, between light and darkness. Now, my dear son, we need that peace and happiness. They have wrecked havoc on our lives and happiness. We must rise from the ashes.”

I Am Who I Am


“I don’t know what I should do.”

“Maybe you should just tell her…Telling the truth always work.”

“I can’t. She won’t look at me the same, Candice.”

“Listen, if you love her, you need to tell her. It’s better to tell her now so neither of you guys get hurt, Sean.

I can’t accept this. I know who I am, and this is not who I am. My girlfriend…Well my fiancé will expose me if I tell her. My mother seems proud that I finally found someone. But I’m not happy. I can’t be with someone who I’m not in love with. My name is Sean, and I am a 25 year old gay man and no one knows. I don’t like too say that I am gay because that’s not who I want to be. I love women, but I can’t find them appealing as I do with men. The only person who knows this is Candice. Candice is my best friend, and has been since college. I can’t accept who I am for multiple reasons. One being that I feel like I am doing something wrong. I know that I am doing something because when I watch television, there’s always someone judging someone who isn't heterosexual. Therefore, I too am being judged. Secondly, the places I’ve been and the environment that I grew up in do not accept gay men. All throughout my adolescent years, I went to a Christian school. I was taught that being gay was an abomination to God. Lastly, it goes against all my beliefs and I know that my parents would be highly disappointed in me. My father looks at me with so much pride in his eyes. I am the oldest of three boys. He told me that I am the example. I know my mother wouldn’t mind too much, but she would be upset that I’m not following God’s law.

“Yeah, you’re right Candy, but I know it’s not the time.”

“When is it ever the right time, Sean?”

“…Uhm is that a trick question?” We laughed

“You’re an asshole, but I gotta go. See you at work tomorrow.”

I love Candice. I think she’s the only person that I really can depend on. She loves me without a shadow of a doubt. She’s been there for me since day one. When I first came out to her, she was shocked, but excited. She told me that she always wanted a gay best friend. Surprisingly I wasn’t even offended by her comment.

“Candice, can I tell you something?”

“Yeah. Shoot.”

“What if I told you that I was gay...?”

“I would be excited! Are you?”

“Yes, I mean sort of...”

“Why do you say sort of?”

“Nevermind...”

That was freshman year of college. I couldn't believe I had finally told someone. I couldn’t even believe that I had told someone that I had only known for about four months.  was something about her that said I could trust her. She was so sweet, but yet so feisty. I loved that about her.

“Good Morning Adam!” I said as I walked into the office.

“Hello, Sean.”  He said with a chuckle and a wink.

Adam. Adam is my co-worker. He’s gay. Most of the people I work with are anti-gay. Adam was not one of them. If anything, Adam embraced who he was. I envied that, but it also made me attracted to him.  

“How’s life?”

“It’s good. Same old, same old.”

I was really thinking shitty as usual, but I wouldn't tell him that. You see, most of the people that I know that are gay are judged. If not by family, by society. No one seems to care or think that they, I mean we, too have feelings. Especially, my boss. His name is Aaron.

“Sean, In my office. Now.”

“Here I come, Sir.” I was nervous as I walked into his office.

“So...Can I have your work phone, please.

I couldn’t understand why he needed to see it, but I gave it to him anyway.

“Did you know that the messages you receive come to our database?”

“No...”

“Of course you didn’t. I’ve been looking through the computer and I saw a message that peaked my interest.”

“And what was that?” I said.

“Here you read it aloud for me.” He handed me the phone

“‘Hey you little gay bird lol’”

“Can you read the reply?”

I felt the tears in the back of my eyes. They were seconds from running down my cheeks. I knew this was coming, but I didn’t know that day would come so soon.

“I’m not reading anything else. Do you have a problem?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. You’re fired.”

“Why?”

“You’ve been late several times, and we don’t need you anymore.” He coughed out.

“Is that you’re way of saying it’s because I’m gay?”

I didn’t even mean for that to come out, but it did. Shit, I was proud of myself.

“...That’s not what I said.”

“You didn’t have to.” I said.

As I started to walk out his office, I heard him mumble, “Faggot.” Did he really just say that. The next thing I remember was me flipping over his desk. He deserved it. I didn’t notice all the attention, but I do remember the nest thing that came out of my mouth.

“I’m not a faggot, but I’ll say that I am a gay man.”

All heads turned. The two faces that caught my attention was Adam’s. He looked happy. Relieved to be exact. His face said the he always knew. The other’s was my fiance. She had a look of shame on her face. I didn’t want her to find out that way, but I couldn’t help myself.

Later on that day, I invited my fiance over. When I told her as to why I went along with the engagement, she was really calm about it. I could tell ther I had hurt her feelings, but I could also see that she was happy for me.

“I’m really sorry, Hun.”

“I still care about you, Sean. I’m really glad that you’re happy now.”

“I really appreciate that you care.”

After she left, I started to reflect on myself. I realized that it doesn't matter what others think about me. I have to live with myself. Everyone’s not going to have their own minds. I know that there will always be people who can’t accept who I am. Yeah, I may be jobless, but I’m happy. After all, that is what gay means right?

Pigs Don't Whine


The sweat from her palms had seeped through the cheap, blue nylon. She’d been clenching the bunched cloth for a good ten minutes, her hands tensed and prepared. Every muscle along her forearms was flexed, and they all stood at odds to each other, as if each one was attempting to flee a sinking vessel. Perspiration gathered in tiny domes along the planes of her vanilla skin, and trickled in tiny rivulets down the muscular ridges. I remember one drop, which had pooled in the crevasse of her inner elbow, magnifying a dense cluster of her characteristic freckles. I was transfixed with that dot, that miniscule refugee from a body convinced that in the next several seconds, it might die. There was no simple explanation for that bead of moisture. It was more than the product of the searing, sweltering heat. It was not simply some biological response to the adrenaline, pounding through her mind and surging through her veins. There was something vile about it.

As if lubricated by that same perspiration, Anne’s eyes slid to her watch. The glowing digits flicked away, counting down towards zero. That was Anne. Everything in order, everything in its place. Flying in was a nightmare with this amateur drill sergeant. This had always been her idea, spreading the word. The idea had never needed a proposition, and the entire club had been talking circles around it before she finally brought it up. A flight to Kabul International Airport. An anxious night spent in a cramped hotel room. A rented Jeep outside a mosque, just after noon. A burqa. No tops. It really was any college feminist’s ideal spring break. Of course, it had all seemed so distant from the somewhat-dank futon couches of the air-conditioned lounge space under Werther’s Hall. It had never been real. This was crushingly, indisputably, impossibly real.

Just as the gravity of our situation permeated my mind, the LEDs in Anne’s watch fluttered into dormancy in a flash of milliseconds. I closed my eyes. As if from awfully far away, the Adhan snaked its way out of a speaker system that had clearly stood through a few presidencies. Deprived of vision and bolstered by a semester of creative writing courses, my mind went to work. In the dark, I could see those ancient words, dancing forth from ancient places, inviting everyone around into God’s arms. They smelled like camel sweat and felt like sand.

“It’s so whiny.” Dani sighed from the front seat.

Anne glanced at her, away from the growing crowd of congregants. “Whining is the sound that chauvinistic, discriminating pigs make.”

Pigs don’t even whine.

Continuing with her mismatched agricultural allegory, she gave me my queue “I think enough sheep have gathered. Time to blow some minds.” I nodded, and despite any misgivings, I tugged the canopy draped over the ribs of the Jeep free. With desert sunlight blanketing our naked chests, we stood. I raise a sign, Dalia raised a megaphone to her lips and Anne raised the burqa. Worshippers turned, agape. Eyes widened and a cry of shock competed with the farsi message crackling through the megaphone. “The burqa is discrimination! The burqa is bigotry! Women are humans too! Respect for all humans! End the oppression of the burqa!”

She tore the burqa then. With a giant, terrible, scratching sound, Anne tore it down the middle. First a hushed pause, then outrage. Like hyenas they sprang on us. With dull, reverberating thuds rocks collided with the Jeep and with our skin. Some shattered, some fell. We fell to our knees and car jumped forwards.

The car swerves and I see a tiny dome of scarlet pooling in Anne’s vanilla elbow. She swipes it away with the strip of blue cloth she still clenches, “Those dirty fucking pigs cut me!”  


***


We’d been back for four days and the campus was abuzz with word of our trip. Anne’s smugness was validated by a congratulatory article in the local paper, and the adoration of everyone in the Human Rights department. I’d dismissed my doubts as little more than momentary apprehension, and was content to live the liberal arts school dream. On today’s agenda, situated between Studies in Lesbian writing and Social Action and the Academic Essay, sat an interview with a local riot grrrl zine called FemNow. I’d never pick one of those publications up, but I’d certainly tell you I had if you asked. We sat, waiting for our interviewer in a small room off of the library. Minutes passed. Anne checked her watch. Dalia and Dani joked about a recent lecture. I picked at a scab on my elbow. Suddenly there were five of us in the room.

Her back was straight and her eyes were harsh. Shrouded in endless black fabric, the rest was a mystery.

Anne was quick to her feet, “Is this a joke? We protest the burqa and you come to interview us in one?”

“No,” the stranger retorted, “you are the joke, if you can spend thousands of dollars on airfare to protest something you can’t even recognize.” She gestured to herself, “This is a niqab, and you are a closed-minded bigot.”

I began to consider that perhaps the interview was a ruse. If it was, Anne was yet to catch on. Her eyes narrowed. I could see that she would regret whatever she was about to say. Anne had spent so long perfecting the art of feminism. It was, to be perfectly honest, all that any of us really knew about her. “How dare you wear that and claim to be a feminist? You are a slave to the oppression of men!”

“How do you claim to be a feminist? How can you stand there and assume that I am some subservient wench? Every day I choose to wear this, because this is how I choose to associate. No one is forcing me, and no one is controlling me. I am not brainwashed or ignorant, simply because I chose this garment over another. You are narrow-minded and ignorant, not me. You are brainwashed into accepting biased views and prejudice, not me.”

There was a hushed pause. Her gaze shifted from one of us to the other. With an air of premeditated determination, she drew a copy of our article out of her sleeve. Beads of perspiration glistened on her wrist. Her eyes met Anne’s, and with a shattering, decisive motion she tore it down the middle. Before the shreds of literature fell to the ground, she was gone.

Anne turned to gather her bags, “What a fucking pig.”

Music To My Ears

Music; we all know what it is and I'm sure that it most likely plays a big role in your life as well as it does to mine. The way I look at it is, if you have a specific genre or type of music that you like, then you are normal! Everybody should have their own taste in everything, and no matter what you like to listen to you are no different than anybody else. However your opinion on this topic may be biased, and you have to be wary of this. Independence only sprouts from realization.

I haven't always felt this way. Until I had an eye opening experience the summer before I made it to high school. My best friend at the time, Steve, was meeting me at the spot where we always met. “Yo Angelo!”, Steve greeted me with a weird look, one by which I could tell that something was up. “Hey man.”, I simply replied. From then on that hot summer day was a game changer to me. As we walked around the neighborhood I offered to put some tunes on. He agreed as usual. This is where the red flag went up. Normally Steve and I would jam out to the same type of music, rock, but that day just had to be different. I put on a song that we both liked, and Steve wasn't happy with it. “Angelo you definitely need some diversity in your music taste.” Those ten words hit me hard, that moment was when I realized I had a bias. A bias toward rock n’ roll.

Although, a short while after that, I found myself talking to Steve less and less, and it made me wonder. “Is my bias so strong, that it could tear friendships apart?” Deep stuff, but I decided that since it was my personality and that I might as well leave it alone, and go with the flow.

I’m not the only one with a music bias though. A while back when I would go to concerts like all the time. I was in line at the TLA (Theatre of Living Arts) waiting for admission into a rock concert. When the person behind me began to play some music. Hip Hop, Rap, R&B whatever you wanna call it. I did not like it. Neither did my friends, who turned around and asked the guy, “Why are you even in line for this concert if you're listening to rap?” The man just looked at us in disbelief. That’s when I realized. Even if we’re in line for a Pierce the Veil concert, people are allowed to listen to whatever they want to. Wherever they are. No matter what anybody has to say about it. I also realized there, that without hesitation I would have said the same thing to that man.

Music or no music we're all still human. And if you think about it we're not that different. Most of us just like to be different sometimes, and that usually involves bias. Just like Steve when he told me that I needed some diversity in my music taste. Either the people around you or somebody that you are close with will usually point it out to you.  Every single one of us has to realize that if you have an opinion on something, like I do with Music, it sometimes is better to just not say anything. Or at least think about what you're going to say before you say it.

After finding out and realizing that I had a bias, I decided to see if there was any other biases that I was hiding. I found one taking the Gender Science I.A.T. test directly from Harvard University. I learned that I am slightly biased toward men over females. Now that I know this, I can better plan ahead for someones else’s bias and mine colliding in an unorderly fashion. The more knowledge you pertain about your own bias, the better.


Jamekea's Food Project

Pasta Salad

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Rotini Noodles, 1 red pepper, 1 yello pepper, broccoli, salad seasoning, italian dressing, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Directions:

Step 1: boil water for 20 mins
Step 2: prep vegetables; dice red and yellow peppers
Step 3: add rotini noddles into water
Step 4: cover pot for 20 or until rotini noodles are fully cooked; check occasionally
Step 5: boil another pot of water with broccoli for 5-10 mins; broccoli should not be fully cooked
Step 6: turn off pot with rotini noodles once fully cooked
Step 7: pour noodles into  mixing bowl
Step 8: turn off pot with broccoli
Step 9: add broccoli into mixing bowl with rotini noodles
Step 10: add diced red and yellow peppers into mixing bowl; stir it all together
Step 11: add Italian dressing
Step 12: sparkle Parmesan cheese on top
Step 13: sparkle salad seasoning on top
Step 14: put top on mixing bowl
Step 15: Shake mixing bowl
Step 16: sit in refrigerator until cool
Step 17: serve

Analysis:

All the ingredients in my dish is healthy and good for you. I used fresh products and made the whole dish from scratch so that way I knew what was going in it. This dish isn't necessarily organic because I used rotini pasta noodles however the vegetables I used are. The red and yellow peppers and broccoli was made natural without any harsh chemicals. This dish is something I really like but since some people like to put crab meat in it, which I'm allergic to I wanted to make it my own by not adding crab meat. Plus crab meat really isn't organic and healthy. And this is a really popular dish in my family. 



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Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 7.48.22 PM

During this course I learn more than I was expecting to learn. This was a really interesting class and I enjoyed it a lot. In this class I learned what my larger role in the food system was, how a baby’s brain develops, neuroscience about criminals, etc. I wan’t expecting to learn how a baby’s brain develops or the effects nutrition and nurture has on a person for their lifetime. I learned that I have a huge role to play in the food system because I’m the one eating the food and I eat what I eat eats, which was something I didn’t really think about before. It got me thinking about changing the way I ate but then again at the same type I didn’t really find another wrong with the way I eat. Since we all are going to die anyways there’s no need to really try to eat better.

During the course of the class, I had some ups and downs and I got frustrated at times because I didn’t understand what was going on. However I was to overcome the obstacles I had and fall back into flow with the rest of the class. I ending up doing all good both quarters and I have the grades to prove it. This was one of the best classes I’ve ever had, it was interesting and thought provoking.