Tuesday, April 29, 2008
In lieu of class discussion and lecture, we will attend the May 1st: International Workers' Day rally in Quarry Plaza from 12-2.
To get your attendance and participation points for the Thursday, you will need to write a two page response/synthesis paper. You should cite to one speech or tactic from the rally that is applicable to the course; then use least two readings/class discussions/hand outs/blog/presentations to explain this connection. As always, essays should be well written and proof read. Please use size 12, Times New Roman.
Due Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
I have always thought that being politically active was a crucial task that Americans should exhibit. When we live in a country that is “home of the free and land of the brave,” we should expect that at times this “freedom” will be questioned and compromised; as a country we should fight to make this freedom a little bit more bearable for everybody and not just one group of people.
What is freedom? Can it be defined? In class I defined freedom as the equal treatment and judgment of people; within the boundaries of this, people should have the right to do as they please when they want. However, freedom is not as simple as my definition. I believe that it is this universal difficultly to pin down just what freedom is that has caused so much distress in the United States.
In Anne Moody’s Book, Coming of Age in Mississippi, she talks about the first sit-in she was ever in and the violence that ensued. On page 26, Anne writes, in detail, about some of the violence that broke out during the sit-in, “Down on my knees on the floor, I saw Memphis lying near the lunch counter with blood running out of the corners of his mouth. As he tried to protect his face, the man who’d thrown him down kept kicking him against the head”. While Anne is attempting to protest peacefully a mob of angry white people attack her and the other protesters. After the protest “about ninety policemen were standing outside the store: they had been watching the whole thing through the windows, but had not come in to stop the mob or do anything”. She further notes that, “After the sit-in, all I could think of was how sick Mississippi whites were. They believed so much in the segregated Southern way of life, they would kill to preserve it” (pg. 267). I was a little shocked by Anne’s description of the violence that occurred and the sentiment of white people in the South. I always knew that during The Movement- that took place during the late fifties and sixties- that many acts of violence occurred. I would like to think that people would not kill a group of people based on the color of their skin. However, in this capacity and on a larger scale the act of repressing a group of people by belittling those with absurd laws and junctions that leads to violence has happened many times throughout history. The fact of the matter is that during this period white people felt entitled to having more power over black people; whether they felt threatened because they thought that by having equality for everybody that the “white race” would meet its demise, is a concept that has been mentioned over and over again, but I believe that many factors contributed to this rocky point in American history.
What I love about this period in history is the compassion and feelings that brought together all these people and formed, The Movement. The pureness of the struggle for Human rights is so powerful, yet a difficult task to complete. I believe that for this period of time and train of thought that the people involved in The Movement were the most revolutionary thinkers and performers. They acted on their instincts and attempted to make a difference. I feel that our current young generation is a very technical one that is not as politically spontaneous and passionate, but rather apathetic.
In the end I would like to think that “Everybody should like everybody else” as said by Andy Warhol. Not everybody is the same but this is what makes life so beautiful. I think everybody should strive to be their own individual because as we are confronted with violence, racist people, attitudes, and ideas we can use our individuality to fight these injustices.
I am going to postpone the due date for the second synthesis essay. This will give y'all some time to start work on your final project.
I will be posting the assignment for the second paper next Monday (May 5th) and the due date will be moved to Monday, May 12th at 12:00 NOON.
See y'all tomorrow!
Monday, April 21, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
It is not surprising that most would assume that a Freedom Fighter would be in favor for the establishment of justice and fair treatment for all. Before researching the term Freedom Fighter, many renowned figures came to mind, many who had taken major roles in the struggle for individuals’ rights. The unfortunate reality of Freedom Fighters is that the connotation is all perspective. Some who may undeservingly apply this label to their own social/political conflicts exploit the name in the eyes of others, yet to their own political mindset they are very much fighting for their freedom.
The current situation in global policy can be applied to the Freedom Fighter. Institutionalized racism continues to thrive through propaganda provided by the media, schools/textbooks biased family members, and the government. This is most apparent with the War in Iraq. The United States government, numerous schools, and the media manipulate the public to believe that America’s “Fight for Democracy” qualifies us to declare ourselves Freedom Fighters. In reality, freedom is in the eyes of the beholder. Obviously, many Iraqis feel we have no business invading their politics. Much of the information behind Iraq policy is conveniently left out of the picture, leaving citizens with a sort of “BIG BROTHER” fear. It is sick how our government continues to thrive off of instilling fear in its citizens. Iraqi citizens are continuing to fight their own civil war as the United States invades; only deepening sentiment between the religious groups and towards America/Democracy. Has America not learned their lesson after intervening in Latin America? Obviously not, the United States continues to treat the world and its own citizens as puppets. These connections can be drawn from global politics to Domestic education—everything revolved around capital/money and correlates in politics.
Historically speaking, African American individuals and White Supremacists both played major roles in the Civil Rights Movement. Both groups fought against the government in very different ways. African Americans rebelled against societal norms, seeking to change the meaning for race in the eyes of the public forever. Although the most famous movements are generally non-violent, African Americans and non-racist white supporters took violent action as well. These violent acts qualify those fighting for Civil Rights as Freedom Fighters according to the common definition. It is ironic how fighting typically implies violence, yet violence is viewed as “wrong” and freedom as “just”. Hand in Hand, the words Freedom and Fighter together create a word that can be skewed to define a hero or a terrorist depending on the source.
I am not by any means sticking up for White Supremacists; rather I am noting that I found it interesting that members of the KKK could be more deserving of being called Freedom Fighters than those supporting the right. White Supremacists chose to fight the government by exploiting the law and the human rights of African Americans. Yet, the government allowed this unjust action to take place and continues to allow/encourage less obvious essentialized views of race and politics.
One day, while they were living in Milwaukee someone threw a firebomb into their home. Herman was six and ran away from the explosion, however his infant sister was unable to escape the attack and was sadly killed. The family was devastated and Herman’s parents realized his family would never live peacefully in the United States and they moved back to Germany, the country of post Nazism.
The United States was unfortunately not holding up the motto of the “land of the free.” Ironically, the U.S. which citizens took pride in the country on being a free democracy which over through Nazism in Europe was unable to overthrow racism in its own country. Tyson said, “The land that produced Hitler seemed safer for a mixed-race American family than the nation that had lifted up Martin Luther King Jr. Herman grew up there on the army base, an American but not an American…” (Tyson, 306).
It is so terrible (or ironic?) that Herman’s parents were more accepted in a country which slaughtered six million Jews and six million other so called “degenerates” than in America! This unfortunate truth reminds me of the experience Paul Robeson had with America.
Paul Robeson, a black multi talented man and civil rights activist, and Soviet Union advocate frequently went to the Soviet union and Western Europe and was extremely impressed by the more equal conditions of race in Europe. Robeson was highly supportive of the Soviet Union because he felt that America was much more racist than the Soviet Union. Robeson was quoted saying, “that the country [Soviet Union] was entirely free of racial prejudice and that Afro-American spiritual music resonated to Russian folk traditions. “Here, for the first time in my life ... I walk in full human dignity”. Furthermore, Robeson felt that this was the first time he felt like a man “with a capital M” because it was the first time that he felt respected in a country and not a subordinate citizen (Lecture 1/24/08, Hirsch).
I think America may be less accepting of different races than other Western countries and many Americans either do not know or choose to ignore this about our history and our present life. Through Herman’s experience as a child in an interracial family we can see how backwards and horrifying our United States history really is and still continues to be today. For example, while interracial couples may be more accepted today (through celebrity couples, media, etc – Heidi Klum and Seal, and Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons) we still have a long way to go regarding equalities in the United States (regarding, immigrants, undocumented immigrants, religion, race, gender, etc).
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It is truly a selfish decidedly ignorant attitude, which provides the basis for the spinelessness that Baldwin either equates to, or thinks lesser of, then wickedness. By choosing to “go with the flow,” of the society or culture, we are making a conscious decision to NOT decide. It is along the same lines of citizens of the world not making an effort to buy non “made in China” products and in effect support the Sudanese genocide. By not choosing to buy local or other worldly goods, it is not an innate wickedness that is being perpetrated, but a spinelessness to do anything different. The culture of the South that Tyson writes about is one that decided to stay segregated, and ignorant. What social revolution that still needs to happen everywhere, not just in the South, is the idea that Tyson was raised on, that, “if you didn’t take a stand at all, you weren’t much of a man..” (64). I admire the parenting Tyson received that gave him such a strong basis in basic humanistic respect in, at his time, such a backwards town and region of our country. His father’s reasoning, that every man, woman, and child is equal in the eyes of God, is interesting in the sense that racist white preachers of the same era used the same bible, yet were able to come to completely different rhetorical ideas about race. As Dagny spoke about in the previous post, it is really through education that people become empowered and can hopefully overcome their own ignorant and hateful spinelessness syndromes.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The more I read and think about the paragraph on page 39 of Blood Done Sign My Name the more it turns my stomach and pisses me off. When I think about the segregation that Tyson describes in the book, I cannot help but think about the segregation I have experienced in schooling. I think it is interesting that so many people relegate segregation to the South, when I have seen the same actions and the same result from my schools in