Posts Tagged ‘society’

Combating the stereotype habit is just like any other tendency, or addiction. First you should understand how habits are constructed. Habits are just patterns followed repeatedly enough to where it’s almost second nature. It takes three characteristics to make up a habit; knowing how, knowing why, and having the drive to do so. If you can eliminate any one of these traits, you eliminate the habit.

If someone knows why people stereotype and wants to stereotype people, but doesn’t know how to stereotype, it’s not a habit.

If someone knows how to stereotype and wants to stereotype people, but doesn’t know why the do it, it’s not a habit.

If someone knows how and why they stereotype people, but they don’t want to, it’s not a habit.

I will be the first to admit that this is much more easily said than it is done. It is very hard to break people from the habit of stereotyping, just as it is for any other habit because it’s about reconditioning the mind to do something that took years to discipline itself into doing. However it is this simple and you can go about breaking the habit in different ways. You can counter any of the three with a new habit. Having to re-consider why something is done is an easy approach. Commonly, when people are exposed to new reasoning on “why”, they soon loose the drive to do something as well. The how and drive are the hard characteristics to topple, particularly the drive.

Even more, how do you break the habit of an entire nation and society? One theory that has proven effective is disaster. When 9/11 happened most people lost sight of what they saw in groups of people. Everyone lent a helping hand and pulled through the catastrophe. Most people lost sight of why and for a moment in history (until the blame game) people were united in an effort to help their fellow man and woman regardless of what they looked like. As beautiful as it was, it’s just not practical. We cannot have a catastrophe every month until the American people are conditioned. By then there simply wouldn’t be enough people to care.

In my opinion a more practicul start to the solution is attacking advertisers and the media. It sounds so rebellious but when you look at it, they play off the most stereotypes just to push what they’re offering on groups of people. Television networks like BET, Mtv, and LMN play on groups of people of race, age, and gender. Products and advertisers use ways to market toward people all the time. Is it me or is every product marketed towards African-Americans playing urban music in the background? It’s funny and holds some truth, like stereotypes, but look at how serious it is and it’s effectivness. I really hope I have shed some light on the subject and the small steps we can take toward helping the issue. It’s a shame America has so far to go in this struggle. My search for understanding on this subject is far from complete and if you feel I’m lacking in some of things I say, feel free to tell me.  Next time you have a chance, think of an ethnicity and what first comes to mind when you think of it, then talk to someone of the descent. It’s cool to see what you have in common in contrast to what you may already be conditioned to thinking.

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I asked a couple of friends to ask me a question about something they see in today’s world that they don’t sit well with. I’ve received good responses and I’m dedicating my next couple of blogs to shedding a different light on some of their views. One of the replies struck me because I hate the way the system is run and I chose this subject first. She writes “Ok, my most recent annoyance with the world is the fact that they are trying to eliminate music from schools. Choir, band, etc. I’m so pissed. In my opinion, music is very therapeutic. 90% of kids who come across a problem, or are just having a bad day, turn to music. They close their door and put on the radio. Some kids want to pertain music as a career. Without music in schools there will be total chaos. What, is it not “educational enough?”

I love music. It helps me cope with stress and just make it through my travels (bus rides can be very long). Music programs have been decaying in the public school system for years now and much of it has to do with funding, but there is more to it. So I do agree but I will use a different approach into what is happening. For those who see holes in my reasoning, please feel free to check me on what I say. This is solely based on my opinions and perspective.

Understand that the public school system is run bureaucratically. What that means is that the system is structured only be the most efficient at achieving their goals. The goal is to have the least amount of kids drop out and have the most number of kids go on to college. This sounds very ideal but I find it to be very idealistic because there is a dark undertone to the structure.

I’ve said in a past blog that public schools lack the unity of the school teachers, parents, students, and communities so if you want to read more on that I suggest reading that blog. https://b4barcus.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/the-problem-with-public-school/ I don’t want to touch on that again. What I see in this system, to get back on subject, is students are reduced to nothing but a number and a score. They reduce the passing scores on tests so more kids can pass such as the SAT and PSSA testing. This only gets students out of schools but it doesn’t mean they are prepared to face what lies beyond those doors and in life. Instead of preparing and educating the youth for life, all they accomplish is pushing these kids out their doors as fast as they can.

To step away from the subject at hand but for good reason I have to touch on American industry briefly (bear with me, it all comes together). America is in the “Information Technology” revolution. Our society is moving away from the industrial-labor society we’ve seen in the last century to the post-industrial society of today. We have moved from producing to servicing the world. What this means instead of back in the day where being in a skilled labor and physical jobs and make a decent living, we now work more with our minds. Our jobs have moved from factories to banks and marketing. These jobs require critical thinking and most importantly imagination.

That’s why, to me, music education is extremely vital to the development of the generations to come. I strongly agree with you in saying that schools may not see it being “educational” enough when all along it is almost fundamental to the development of a healthy mind in today’s society. When the youth feel individualism and expression, their imagination and horizons broaden. To bring everything together, music programs are very vital to developing the imagination and a sense of character in youth to better prepare them for the post industrial society we now live in. The problem then is with public schools being structured to pass kids through quickly, it may be seen as a “waste” to have kids involved in something that doesn’t generate good reports and numbers that schools want to show.

There is much that can be done to help with these problems, but to change the world we must first change ourselves. I hope I shed a little more light in the understanding of the issue, fixing it is a whole different issue.

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My dreamworld is absolutely amazing place to be…

My dreamworld is full of people who are independent within themselves and live their lives through character and not personality

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize that growing together is a greater path to effectiveness

My dreamworld is full of people who find it easier to lend a helping hand rather than point the finger

My dreamworld is full of people who look at failure as opportunity to help and not condemn

My dreamworld is full of people who recognize society as a whole and not specs of cultures occupying a space

My dreamworld is full of people who do not compromise

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of a different race holding hands and not be judged

In my dreamworld, I can walk down the street with someone of the same sex holding hands and not be hated

In my dreamworld, I can get a job based off of my skills and accomplishments and not my looks

In my dreamworld, I can send my child to public school and not worry about the quality of education

In my dreamworld, If you are from America, you are American, not a color or a statistic

In my dreamworld, we are united and we love it

In my dreamworld, American is an ethnicity

In my dreamworld, homosexuality is a preference and not deviance

In my dreamworld, skin color is just a biological trait and not a label

In my dreamworld, subculture is expression and isn’t frowned upon

In my dreamworld, people are heard and not just looked at

In my dreamworld, there is no majority or minority

The media in my dreamworld don’t make violence a commodity

The media in my dreamworld isn’t superficial

The media in my dreamworld isn’t in it just for the ratings

The media in my dreamworld isn’t lowbrow

The media in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of people

The government in my dreamworld communicates

The government in my dreamworld is transparent

The government in my dreamworld is run by the people

The government in my dreamworld isn’t in corporate America’s back pocket

The government in my dreamworld don’t underestimate the intelligence of its people

My dreamworld is full of people who communicate on a more personal level. Everyone is involved in society and it makes society effective. We are welcoming of difference and we seek to understand, even when we do not agree. We do not reduce ourselves to accomplish anything. We are a collective people who can take responsibility for our problems and work together to solve it. My dreamworld is awesome, but to take from the great George Carlin “…you gotta be sleep to see it..”

I know I am not alone on this subject. To me, what allows for some of the prejudice and slant views of groups in society from others is when groups “claim” certain things as their own. Come on, nobody likes that kid on the playground that wouldn’t share his toys. With that said lets tackle Black History Month.

Black History month was started back in  the late 20’s by Carter G. Woodson, a historian. It began as “Negro History Week” and soon became “Black History Month”. The month of February was chosen because Abraham Lincoln(Feb 12th), our 16th president, and Frederick Douglass(Feb 14th), an abolitionist amoung other things. The purpose for Black History Month was to explore the history of blacks in society because Woodson and others alike saw that blacks were misrepresented, overlooked, and neglected as a functioning part of society. Blacks were often seen as slaves with descendants on the low end of the social scale according to history books, so Black History Month was seen to combat these views and show that blacks had more contributions to society.

I can see the importance of Black History Month during those times of extreme social stratification. I almost seems necessary to show the world that looks down upon you that you  have and have contributed more to society. Times have also changed and I don’t see the importance of Black History Month anymore. I can see the people running over the hills with pitch forks and burning stakes looking for me so let me explain a little.

First, calling it “Black” history month is a politically incorrect phrase. Remember, Black is terms of race and not ethnicity, so shouldn’t Black history month include Jaimaicans, Haitians, Barbadians, Africans, ect? My point is when you say “Black” let us not only mean “Non Hispanic African Americans”

Second, I can only say off of my experiences in the schools I attended, Black History month wasn’t really taught or shown to us. You would only see a couple of the same faces highlighted every year such as Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Malcom X to name a few. We all know who Martin Luther King Jr. is and what he preached but I don’t know many people my age who can interpret his dream and tell me what it means to them. How many young people know what Malcome X stood for? The famous faces are highlighted but not taught.

Third, many people say Black History should be taught 365 days a year. So why celebrate a month? Just intigrate learning Black History into social subjects, which to my knowledge is done anyway.

My point is part of the problem with ethnicity prejudices in America is groups of people claiming or calling something their own. Though it may seem as if it’s a celebration of heritage, which I don’t deny that it is, it creates major separation in the American society. So my answer is create a “Cultural History Month” or “American History Month”. Let us celebrate all the great cultures and ethnicities that defines the United States! Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, German, Irish, African, Cuban, Japanese, Haitian, Indian, Brazilian, Native American, Mexican, Polish, ECT, and what ever ethnicities you can think of. Throw all of them in and embrace the history of all the people that make America the great country that it is.

One of my favorite socials topics of discussion is the subject of “race”. To me, race had only benefited a select few people who tried to sort out the world from a biological perspective. Everyone one else, including myself, should drop it and walk away. Most people don’t even know what race is. Do you really? Don’t second guess your thoughts now because I’m going to tell you exactly what race is. Race is a socially constructed category made up of people who share biologically transmitted traits that people of society consider important. Most of you are saying “duh”, so I’ll ask my next question. What is ethnicity? Here’s a clue, its not race.

In the nineteenth century biologists tried to “organize” the world’s diversity by constructing three distinct racial types. People with light skin were and fine hair were called Caucasoid, people with dark skin and coarse hair were called Negroid, and people with yellow or brown skin with distinctive eyelids were called Mongoloid. Categorizing can be damaging and harmful. Simply because there are no “pure” people in any society. Within the categories there are even ranges. For example a Caucasoid could range from very light, such as in Poland, to very dark, such as southern India. Same goes for Negroids and Mongoloids.

To answer “What is ethnicity?”, ethnicity is a shared cultural heritage. My religion, my cultural celebrations, my common ancestors, my language define my ethnicity. The great thing about the United States is that we are a multiethnical society. Our cultures mix and it creates an array of colorful pictures for everyone to learn from and grow together. I personally have many ethnicities in terms of distinct common ancestors, language, and cultural traditions. But I’m considered one race because of my physical  appearance that is important to society. This is why, to me, race is stupid. Over generations here in America, the genetic traits of other races have mixed in people making a big gray area. Most of us genetically classify with multiple races. So the real question is in the last part of the definition of race, the classification of physical traits that are important to society. Race is here because we put it here. It’s like Santa, if you don’t believe in him, he doesn’t exist. Though you will hear many people say race isn’t important (and it is becoming less meaningful in American society) people are still sensitive to people’s racial background. The main reason society makes race important is because it creates a hierarchy. We then classify races to be inherently “better” than another. Trust me when I tell you, there is no scientific evidence linking genetics to races being better than another.

We construct the reality of race and ethnicity. Often individuals will play up or play down cultural traits to fit in or stand out in society. I think most of us have fallen victim to that at some point or another. Martin Luther King Jr said it the best when he said to judge not by skin color, but by the content of character. The truth is we all belong to the same species no matter what color you are. I believe we will one day get to a point where race wont matter and we can all enjoy the “American” culture.

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What car company sells the most bought car in America?? If you guess, you will probably still get it. For the few who may be scratching their heads I will tell you. It’s Toyota and Honda. With the way the U.S. auto industry is falling apart its no wonder they are on top if your just thinking about this. However, there is more to why Japanese automakers pump out their the way they do so that they are reliable and are a good value within it’s class.

One way to look at it is the American auto industry has been in the “Bigger is better!” mode for many years now. Back in the late 80’s Japanese auto makers decided to gear their lineup of vehicles towards the smaller and more fuel efficient line. As a result, their cars improved on the fuel efficient and quality without compromising the size. It’s easier to see that by now you have a good, reliable, fuel efficient car such as the Accord and the Camry. Not to take away the thunder of the U.S. auto industry by any means, they have made their fair share of good, sturdy, and reliable cars and trucks. For a while the Ford F-150 was the most sold vehicle in America until Honda stepped up. Where I think the U.S. industry may have made the costly mistake is by making their cars big and tough without switching the technology more towards fuel efficiency. Now we have gas guzzlers in time where gas is just becoming affordable again and MPG ratings play a big part in the buyer’s decision making process. It’s somewhat easy to understand how the F-150 was overthrown by the Accord in the popularity contest. But what would happen if looked at it from a different angle? Maybe they produce more bought cars because their society is run differently. I think it’s worth talking about.

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The Beef with Labels

Posted: February 10, 2009 in Social Talk
Tags: , , ,

I like to talk about things often seen but not discussed too often. Social inequality in all forms is a big one for me. Maybe it’s because I am a minority myself but I feel that until we have social equality, we cannot be an effective society. It takes lots of unconventional and challenging thinking for people to simply understand other perceptions even if they don’t agree with them. I present my thoughts and views and hopefully with your thoughts, we can achieve common ground for prosperity.

I want to talk about the titles we give people of different backgrounds. I’m talking about the whole “black and white” thing. I am of African and Hispanic decent and it’s common for me to be recognized by the label “Black”. Though I’m only 22, I’ve often heard people speak of Blacks often complaining of what they are called and the name changes every 20 years. From negro to Afro-American, there has been many names over the years but there I feel there is a reason for it always changing: all the names have a stereotypical underlining and it creates separation.

Of course “Afro-American” is absurd in stereotyping a hairstyle besides trying to put a hip swing on “African”. “Negro” is just a half step away from the N-word so lets throw that out. To be honest I think (though its been rejected also) “colored” makes the most sense of all the names. “African-American”, to me, only applies to people who just immigrated from Africa to the US. They deserve the title once they gain citizenship. “Black” is just the new take on “colored”. How people want to be referred to as Black and not colored is beyond me. Black is usually associated with “bad” and “evil” in media, literature, and media, but by today’s standards, it also means urban.

I don’t know who blurred the line between “Black” (as in a specific American) and “Urban” (as in the hip hop culture) but they did a good job at convincing everyone else it means the same thing. I often hear people say to others of a different ethnicity “You’re trying to be Black” or “You’re not Black enough”. I think what people mean to say is urban but I understand it’s easier to just say Black instead of thinking about the connotations of your words and choosing them a little better. What happens as a result is your usual stereotypes because now there is no distinction between the Black culture and Hip Hop. I’m not saying that the Hip Hop revolution isn’t part of the Black community, but it’s not the only thing that makes it up.

So what works: Is it easy to just call every person of color “Black”, or just call everyone American, or how about “Nothing at all”? Last time I checked, I am American just as much as the next person regardless of their background. I can personally say I’ve heard accounts from friends of people from other countries referring to Americans as “Americans” because that’s how they refer to each other by the society they live in, no matter what color their skin happens to be. Why is it hard for us to not label each other? Far too often do I see “groups” of people separate from each other. It’s saddening that we appear to be the most diverse country to other nations, but when you really take a look we’re just a bunch of separate groups. Maybe the first step to a more diverse American society is to stop the group labeling. I don’t want to come off as if we aren’t a diverse society making great strides to equality. We have come a very very very very long way but the journey is far from finished.

No matter what “American” you are we are all American none the less. If you are like me and you were born here, grew up here, speak the native tongue, and live by  the American norms then you are American just like me. We all have more in common than we think. What do you think? Does anyone of any other ethnicity see or have these problems? I would love to hear what you have to say.