Erik G. (FSW): The Wealthy vs The Poor

Ever since man was created back in early times, being considered wealthy was looked at as a gift, an opportunity, and even a privilege. Especially nowadays, being considered wealthy or rich is looked at as a separate class from the rest of the world. Now what is considered being wealthy? According to Dictionary.com, being wealthy means someone is rich, affluent, or having great wealth. It’s no doubt that being wealthy benefits a person in a number of ways such as luxurious houses, cars, education, etc. Many times a person can be born and already be considered wealthy just as a baby. This is because of the wealthy family tree that the infant might have just been added to. Whether the family has a very successful family business or they just got extremely lucky and won a Power-ball lottery worth millions. Regardless, being wealthy permits a person to be above the middle-class and most definitely the lower class; also known as the poverty class. Now what is exactly poverty, or in other words, “the poor”? Dictionary.com describes being in poverty as a condition of having no support, no goods, and little to no money or income. Being considered poor is being at the bottom of the totem pole. Most families in this category of class barely can make it in the world, some, living pay check to pay check; that’s if they even have a job for that matter. Some people living in poverty are most likely in deep credit card debt, and even if they try to get a job, are turned away plainly for this reason alone. According to the Federal Trade Commission, an employer can decide to not hire you based on any financial information you had provided to them or any financial information they find in a background check. This in turn, makes it even harder for the poor to get out of poverty. This alone is what separates the wealthy from the poor. It’s pretty obvious that a wealthy person has amazing credit due to having the money to pay off any payments. This allows the wealthy person to have an automatic advantage over the poor person. The poor person might just be a harder and more loyal employee than the wealthy person, but since their credit check is bad, the wealthy person will end up receiving the job most likely. The advantage in this situation blatantly goes to the wealthy person just because they have more money than the poor person. Now, when it comes to the educational system, money is also a necessity that a person must have if they want to obtain a college degree. Luckily, from grade school till the end of high school is free besides the taxes that citizens pay. But if someone wants to obtain an education after the highschool diploma, they will either have to pay out of pocket most of the time or get a full-ride scholarship. A student from a wealthy family entering college will certainly have no issue paying for college and obtaining a college degree if they put forth the effort. On the flip-side, a student from a poor family might not be able to go to college mainly because they will be trying to find work as soon as possible to help out their family in poverty. The student living in poverty will look at the costs of college and openly realize they simply won’t be able to attend. Eventually, and maybe even presently, the educational system will rule out poor students, not because of their inability to compete academically, but because their lack of being able to pay for the given education. In this situation, the wealthy is once again benefiting and winning because of their high class of wealth. It seems to be that the educational system is favoring the wealthy over the poor causing a sense of inequality and conflict between the different types of classes in society. The wealthy also have a form of power over the poor. This can be looked at in many circumstances. Firstly, people in office obviously have a lot of money and are looked at as more important individuals over poor people because of their image. The wealthy members in office are looked at to be more protected than a poor person on the street. Why? Because the differences in money. Let’s say both a wealthy person and not so wealthy person gets pulled over for a DUI. If any corruption at all is present in the police officer, he or she can bribe the poor and wealthy person for money to get out of a DUI. Who will end up getting a DUI? The poor person because they can’t afford to feed the officers corruption. This situation as well shows that the wealthy person has a higher power over the poor person because of their wealth. It goes to show that the people in poverty are almost to near powerless, while the wealthy class has an incredible amount of power. This power has the ability to easily obtain precise knowledge with paid education and a number of valuables; something that the poor has to work extremely hard for in order to achieve.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/wealthy

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poverty?s=t

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0157-employment-background-checks

Leopold-1

Ableism is a terrible form of discrimination that exists in society today. Even though it has been around for a very long time I have personally noticed that not many people know about it. When the word is used, eyebrows are often raised and mouths wince in confusion. When someone is being an ableist too often instead of trying to understand what they are doing is harmful, people would rather make excuses as to why they are entitled to feel/believe a certain way, and they will become defensive as to why they should be able to continue being ableist or using ableist phrases.

One example of this from a personal experience is a time I was a passenger in a friends car, in frustration with the other drivers, the friend calls out “they are being retarded”. Not only is this not describing the poor driving skills of the drivers my friend was frustrated with, it is grouping every single person in a group of disabled people in with those who simply annoyed my friend because they were not following the rules of the road properly. A better word she could have used was “impolite” and due to what the other drivers were doing, this word would have actually made logical sense. Another example is one that I have heard far too often, in which one does something that is either accidental or silly based off of their general demeanor, and they call themself retarded for doing it. While the word retard is not the only ableist word that is often used to either vent frustration, it belongs to many words that have been used throughout history to describe people who are simply different from everyday society, sadly when this is pointed out, and despite multiple lists that can be found on the internet of other words that can be used instead, people will try to justify their use of the word, and sadly sometimes claim that asking them to use other words is “policing their language” or even going against their freedom of speech. A third example is much more extreme and is based on a large misunderstanding within society when it comes to disabled peoples and either their caretakers, friends, or sadly even family. The physical abuse that exists, whether it is abusive practices, to the murders of disabled peoples and the murder apologists who take the side of the murderer because it must be so much of a burden to care for a disabled person. Much of the time the people who are spreading murder apologist messages on top of using the media to sensationalize murders are people who have large audiences which only causes more of a conflict toward disabled people in society due to the continuance of the all too common belief that they are a burden.

Beyond poor word usage, ableist beliefs, and murder apologists there are ablecentric actions which exist every day, microaggressions that disabled people often have to hear due to the ignorant viewpoints or the common misunderstandings people will have due to the negative paradigms society has taught them throughout their life span so far. This is a normative push from general society that if one does not fit, they do not belong. This comes along with ideas which are accepted on a general scale based on what non disabled people can do, and how when one who is disabled tries “hard enough” they can do it too, or they “seem normal enough” to pass as normal. Ideas like this completely fail to acknowledge access to buildings, etc , but also erases identity by denying a disability or implying that one who is disabled should use “person first language”. When confronted by the quote “The only disability in life is a bad attitude” Stella Young eloquently defends with “The reason thats bullshit is that no amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. No amount of standing in front of a bookshelf radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille”. More importantly, ideas like “being positive” are a hinderance and at large a complete misunderstanding created by able society that hides a terrible message in some fancy and sparkly sounding words. Those words, despite how fancily they are wrapped in a kind warm smile are also only pushing further oppression and ostracization of those in disabled communities, sometimes even going so far as to attempt to hide ones disability by implying that one should “smile more” considering the action of smiling may camoflauge a disability which is making someone uncomfortable to be in the presence of. Too often unknowingly when people try to use a kind phrase, or a complement it is actually a microaggression, people who belong to groups of people of color, LGBT, women, or any other marginalized group in society are more than likely familiar with the term. The definition of Microaggression according to www.northwestern.edu is “the brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group”. A personal example that I hear often is when I open up about my disability I hear “but you don’t look disabled” and to top that one off “but you are so pretty, I just cant believe you have a disability, it must be easy for you to get by”. While I am simply annoyed by these quotes, often microaggressions can cause psychological issues and are harmful to peoples well being.

From a retrospective viewpoint ableism is alive and well in society, even thriving in some areas with inaccessibility to parks, stores, etc. Abled people will defend themselves to no ends to be able to continue using a derogatory word even though the US government has deemed the word offensive. And that discrimination as a whole towards disabled people can be life threatening. These points are only a small fraction of the social issues that exist in the discussion of disability as a whole.

Erik G. (FSW): Cheating in School

Almost everybody has cheated at least once in school whether it be on a simple quiz to even a major exam. Students are actually pretty smooth when it comes to finding ways to cheat in school and not get caught. Cheating is known to be pointless because even though you might pass those one or two tests, you won’t retain the information because you never studied it to begin with. According to Lawyers.com, some students on repeatedly instances of cheating can get suspended or even expelled from the school all together. Just because a student cheats, doesn’t mean they’re a bad student or even want to cheat. Sometimes, they have no other choice. A student realizes the importance of passing a class but might live in a poor family where they can’t pay to obtain a tutor or educational coaching on the subject. This in turn forces the student to cheat in order for them to pass the class. Another reason a student will cheat is because of being under pressure. Whether it’s pressure from their family to keep straight A’s or if they play a certain sport, they have to keep a certain grade level. Sports take up a lot of time as well as school work; In order for the student to keep on playing sports, they cheat on homework and tests so their grades remain high and they can focus on the sport and not have to spend time on studying. Another reason that a student will cheat is because they’re lazy and don’t enjoy school so they cheat their whole way in order to pass. School is looked at as being pointless and boring enough to a lot of students so they see no harm in cheating. Due to new and improved technology such as phones, cheating is even easier than ever.

http://education-law.lawyers.com/school-law/cheating-at-school.html

Erik G. (FSW): Homeschooling

Many parents choose to homeschool their children because of a number of reasons.  One reason might be because they are over protective. They see and hear the dangers about shootings that go inside of schools so they would rather teach their children at home in a safe and supervised environment. Another reason a parent might homeschool their child is because the parent was also home-schooled while growing up and they feel like it would be best to continue the pattern. Another reason a parent might homeschool their child is because they feel like they can obtain a better and more focused education while at home rather than in a public school environment. As much as these reasons can be justified to a certain extent, many teachers might feel like homeschooling isn’t the best. Homeschooling, according to Wikipedia, is defined as an at home education rather than an education received at a public or private school. One teacher might argue that homeschooling doesn’t allow the child to grow into the social norm of going to a public school like the majority of society does. A teacher has the right to argue that if a child doesn’t get the opportunity to be involved in public school events, they can miss out on a lot of important memories that later they can look back on. A teacher can also argue that homeschooling can cause social anxiety disorder because the child isn’t around other humans and interacting with society on a normal basis. Instead, the child is to remain at home by themselves to learn; which might not be a bad thing, but humans are talkative creatures and should express their ideas to other humans. To obtain the title as a educational teacher one usually has a degree in education or another related field, am I right? A teacher might also argue that parents aren’t qualified in the educational field to the proper extent to be able to teach the correct way. This in turn, disables the child form proper learning and remembering techniques. Some teachers teach a certain way, or a number of ways because students have different learning styles. If a parent tries to teach one way and it doesn’t work for the child, they might not know how to teach another way or the proper way for that matter. The child will not know to study and remember information unless they self-educate by using Google or Youtube to learn how to study. A problem with this can be that the child ends up getting distracted on the internet. Yes there are distractions in public schools such as peer pressure and girlfriends, but homeschooling can add distractions just as easily. Lets rewind back to what was stated before about the homeschooled student missing out on public school events. Not just pep rallys and school dances will they miss out on, but also the mandatory P.E. classes. According to the California Department of Education, physical education is put forth so that students can learn the health-related benefits of exercising regularly and the skills it takes to obtain a physically healthy lifestyle. P.E. permits the students to get a guaranteed set amount of time to be active and get their blood flowing. Homeschooling on the other hand isn’t involved with that unless the parent makes their child play outside. P.E. also helps students obtain strong and positive social skills, and allows students to learn how to cooperate with other students. A teacher will argue that homeschooling doesn’t allow these type of social skills to be developed because of the lack of verbal communication while at home. All in all, homeschooling can certainly have a successful output, but public schooling is a social norm for a reason; so that students can interact with each other, learn social skills, responsibility, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling

http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/pe/physeducfaqs.asp

Ragin- Hate Based Activism or is it Just Colorism?

I’m sure you already know what this post will most likely be about and by now you should be pretty knowledgeable on what kind of journalist I hope to be one day. As most of my posts are about the black community, this one is as well but from a slightly different perspective.

Recently, rapper Kendrick Lamar got engaged to his long time girlfriend Whitney Alford aka the luckiest woman in the world. After the conscious rapper made the announcement, as expected, tabloids started buzzing in attempts to be the first to break the news. Along with social media, tv stations, radio stations and various other forms of communication some “activists” also felt the need to include their two cents.

Out of all of the news that I came across, “Dark Skin Activist” Rashida Strober was the only one to post negatively regarding this topic. She writes, “well, well, well would you looky here! ANOTHER FAKE CONSCIOUS M*THER F*KER EXPOSED. I will never support him nor his music with one dime of my money and encourage all dark skinned women not to either!”

This is just a piece of gossip to most people, but for the trained eye this is a clear case of color-ism hidden behind the “activist” blanket. Strober was offended because the woman that Lamar has chosen to be with is not dark enough for her liking which she feels takes away from his credibility and worthiness of being a black artist and role model for hip hop community and culture. She is committing the same crimes as she accuses light skin black women of doing all the time.

The outdated distinction of individuals based on the shade of skin is an outdated method that should have never been put in place at all to begin with. The long rants across social media and the teasing that many children face during school is proof of the lasting effects of slavery and segregation on black people. If you take a look at the time line of blacks in america, black people have only had about “equal” rights for somewhere around 12% of the time spend in North America. Being what is seen as “completely free” is somewhat of a new adjustment for minorities and people of color so it is very easy for some to still be dealing with issues that seemed to have been of the past.

Colorism exists in it’s own way among many different cultures and people from around the globe, I see the most evidence of this within black communities and the Spanish speaking islands of the Caribbean. In my opinion this is just as bad as traditional racism only there are no laws in place to promote this system of judgement and it is usually done among one’s own race. Either way this is a disgusting act of hate. I do not believe that these types of people should be able to live outside of the label of being a racist that people who discriminate on such a level are stamped with because of being from an outside race. I believe that colorism should be combated and looked down upon just as racism is.

Ragin- Who Is African in America?

So, I recently watched the CNN documentary “Who Is Black in America” and my world shifted. For years I have been at the center of many racial discussions whether I was the topic or one of the people speaking on it. I have had countless questions asked to me, many horrible things said about me and hundreds of assumptions made of me whether they be right or wrong. At the beginning of this class I recall the class being asked questions on what makes one person black and another white. These questions are ones I’ve asked myself throughout my whole life, questions I know very well and have answered differently nearly every time I’ve been asked them; reasons why every single one of my posts will probably be about race in one way or another.

The reason for an estimated 86% of these questions comes from ignorance of the people around me. People often times get words like race, ethnicity, nationality and culture mixed up and sometimes use them interchangeably. As many times that I have had to take standardized tests and fill out tedious job applications and medical records, by far the part that I cringe at most often is the sight of the little box or circle next to the words “black/African American” that I am assuming is there for people like me to fill in.

The problem I have is with the sub categorization of black Americans. Who really is African in America? I have a very hard time believing that all African Americans are black or considered black by those who they come in contact with. We are forgetting about the many Egyptians that most people wouldn’t even consider to be black and the 4,586,838 white South Africans who were recorded to be living in the country at the time of the 2011 census. If those people were to now come to the US and seek citizenship, would the now have to check the box that says “Black/African American” or are they just white? At what point do the people who have been in North America for centuries and that in the scope of things have just recently gained human rights obtain the right not to be sub categorized or “half Americans”. When can I get out of the box that I was born in? When can we recognize that everything labeled “politically correct” isn’t necessarily so?

Like most people in my opinion should be, I am proud of every drop of blood that runs though me however, I am not fond of being labeled something that I am not as an act of segregation. I do not believe it is right that there often times few other options aside from being white, non-white/Hispanic, black/African American and Pacific Islander as if the dotted lines and “tear here” sections really need that much room on the paper. I also think that it is completely insane that Raven Symone (regardless of how ignorant she may be) is criticized constantly and being called racist for not identifying with the “African American” stereotype that is often times placed on her.

I am a black woman by soul and I’m sure that I have some great, great, great, great, great, great, greats that resided somewhere in Africa, but can someone show me the line I need to stand in to obtain my American citizenship? No sub categories needed.

“By using the term ‘African-American’ to refer to black people, columnists, readers, TV hosts and commentators perpetuate and embrace Jim Crow racial stereotypes, segregation and historical distortions. … Africa is not a racial or ethnic identity. Africa is a geographical identity.” – Charles Mosely

Signed, An American from Ft. Lauderdale Florida USA

Erik G. (FSW): Should speeding be against the law?

Well, should it? Speeding, by law, is not a criminal offense. Criminal offenses are those that involve criminal activity such as doing drugs, selling drugs, murder, etc. Some people speed for a multiple of reasons. A person might speed because they’re late to work or even a wedding. Does this make them a criminal? Absolutely not. They’re just trying to get to their desired designation faster. A person might also speed because of self-enjoyment. For example: A person has worked hard for years and finally are able to buy that quick dodge charger. This in turn, enables them to want to speed on an isolated road or any road for that matter. Does this make them a criminal? No. They’re just trying to get a new dose of adrenaline and an adrenaline rush. Adrenaline is known to release stress hormones and release tension. According to the Huffington post, adrenaline allows someone to be aroused and permit them to be more awake, focused, and aware. So no wonder why someone speeding for their own self-enjoyment is considered a stress reliever and fun activity. It’s inevitable that speeding will happen on a day to day basis so is it necessary to hand out incredibly high speeding tickets? Or should speeding be allowed? In Germany, their is a highway system called the Autobahn or in other words Bundesautobahn according to Wikipedia. In some areas there are no speed limits for certain vehicles. This was originally created so people can get to their designations quicker. Obviously though, it can be looked at as a fun time with your pals to not worry about getting that high speeding ticket. Now on the flip side, speeding while intoxicated is a very different story. While someone is intoxicated their reflexes and response system is much slower so speeding in this scenario should remain illegal as well as the present laws. Now if speeding was turned legal, then maybe law makers could only permit to be on certain roadways. I.e. roadways that aren’t crowded or that are considered highway. Like I stated before, speeding is a non criminal offense and doesn’t make a person necessarily bad; so rather than law enforcement writing tickets to speeders and wasting time, they could be using that time responding to a burglary or murder. Both sides win because the speeder doesn’t pay 300 dollars, and the law enforcement officer is out stopping actual serious crime. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/19/adrenaline-cortisol-stress-hormones_n_3112800.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobahn

Jeffrey Valcin: Labels of Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements

Would you want your kids to have serious health conditions due to the fact of false advertisement of labels? No! I would think not. Health claims are made all through the United States, but nothing is never done. The FDA says that any foods or components of a product has to have a relationship with the label that is put forth. The risk of health related conditions, or diseases is killing our population let alone infecting it with false food labels and dietary supplements. Dietary supplements on the other hand can cause long lasting effects on your body if the right amount of nutrition is not circulating through your body you should stop using it and bring it to the attention of the FDA. We should outline some circumstances that will exercise the use of labeling to enforce the new regulations of labeling. This is necessary because it does not enforce the current regulation they came up with. Nutrition also plays a role here as well in false labeling. The level of nutrition that is in foods and supplements should contain the following levels of free, high, and low to compare how many nutrients is present within the product. Characterizing these food labels and supplements can make a difference from eating something that does not suit your health nutrition.

Jeffrey Valcin: Impact on Globlization

Today was the hottest day in Florida, might sound like a typical day the temperature was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and you want to know the crazy part it was the middle of January. Globalization has made a tremendous impact on the weather due to the fact of all the pollutions we are burning. This is not just happening here but it effecting everyone across the earth’s ocean as well. The type of things we can do is to use more fuel efficient cars and use alternative sources of energy. Studies show from fuel economy that 1.7 million greenhouse gasses are released into the earth’s atmosphere ripping the ozone layer apart. A gallon of gasoline makes 20 pounds of greenhouse gases, so it would make since to buy a car with good gas mileage, using law carbon fuel, and the regulars that saves time and money, which are walking, biking, and using public buses to get around. Also an alternative source of energy would be to use more Nuclear power plants instead of cold power plants, which may as much reduce global warming.
This is a solution we should bring as an option to save our economy from global warming.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/climate.shtml