Author:

https://www.youthvoices.live/category/civic-engagement/american-dream/

Selected Poems Of Langston Hughes

Selected poems by langston hughes 

The Selected Poems Of Langston Hughes makes me feel “educated” (in a sense)

 because of the quick turn it can take from appreciating life and the littlest things, too big issues like Racism and gender equality.  

I also appreciate the way he expresses his feelings towards everything, and gives you another way to view the world.

The poem that sticks out to me most is..

Tired 

I am so tired of waiting,

Aren’t you,

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind?

Let us take a knife

And cut the world in two –

And see what worms are eating

At the rind.

I picked this poem because of the different ways it could be interpreted. It can be referred to as global issues, everyone would care about. Or peculiar issues that apply to a certain group. 

I find that the best type of way to give a poem, A way so everyone can see it and understand the in debt meaning.

The rhythm it provides, gives you a 100 different ways to respond and think about.


The Intersection of Culture and Cuisine

When asked what the American cuisine is, many will respond by saying “french fries,” “hamburgers,” or “high cholesterol.” Others might insist that the American cuisine does not even exist. While the United States may be known for its greasy foods, it certainly does have a rich and diverse cuisine founded on the culinary traditions of peoples from all around the world.

As an immigrant-based country, the United States and its cuisine has undergone significant changes due to the rise and influence of different immigrant groups. Popular foods such as the “Chinese” fortune cookie and the English muffin were actually invented in America by immigrants. These food creations demonstrate how immigrants often blend their native cuisine with existing American ingredients in order to not only survive but also to integrate themselves within society.

Although often altered to match the new geographical and economic landscape, immigrant food holds a sense of familiarity and connects immigrants to their native land. Thus, food is essential to assimilation and acceptance for immigrants within American society because it allows them to retain their own cultural traditions while still providing a way to form a new identity that corresponds with American values and traditions.

The Italian immigrants of the twentieth century serve as a prime example of this phenomenon; many Italians emigrated due to national strife and came to the US, eventually responding to the American way of life by making changes to their cuisine in order to assimilate. A popular dish, spaghetti and meatballs, actually hails from the United States as “spaghetti, one of the only Italian ingredients available in the U.S., became more popular in the home to new immigrants who were adjusting to their new wealth of food and access to cheap meat” (Esposito).

As immigrants attempted to make money to support their families through restaurants, they were faced with a dilemma. The choice was to either change the cuisine that is central to Italian culture and become Americanized or refuse assimilation and thus fear rejection from the American people. Wisely, the immigrants chose to adjust their cuisine according to their circumstances, prompting their assimilation into society and subsequent rise on the socioeconomic ladder.

These changes laid the groundwork for uniquely Italian-American traditions that are currently a dominating force within the U.S. food industry. The development of Italian immigrants from outcasts to assimilated can be attributed to their willingness to modify their cuisine and culture to form a unique identity that balances both their native country and their new community. 

As Italian immigrants moved up the socioeconomic ladder, their cuisine was met with more acceptance which resulted in an Americanized version of their culture becoming profitable within the United States. As their upward mobility expanded, so did their social networks. “An Italian who became a lawyer in the 1950s may have begun to have colleagues and friends from mainstream America—and who may be more open to a new food when introduced by someone they know” (McMillan). 

The well known “Italian” company Prego was started by Bill Hildebolt and Campbell’s, an American firm. The brand was given an Italian name in order to further the illusion that the consumer is purchasing authentic Italian food when in reality, most of its products arose from Italian immigrant cooking rather than traditional Italian cuisine. This is an example of how immigrants allow the “Americanization of their cuisine in exchange for acceptance” (Cannato) and a unique Italian-American identity. As Italians continued to experiment with American food and their new identity, the social acceptance of Italian-American cuisine allowed Italian immigrants to achieve successful lives for themselves in the United States. 

The Americanization of cultures is not a new concept to citizens of the US. Chinese-American cuisine has removed some of the stronger flavors of traditional Chinese food in favor of a sweeter taste and American-Indian cuisine has introduced massive amounts of meat to a traditionally plant-based culture. These are just a few examples of the American habit of changing foreign cuisines in order to force immigrants to adhere to American culture.

The real question remains: Is this change doing more harm than good? On one hand, the modified cuisines give immigrants a clear path to assimilation and a more stable future in America. But on the other hand, there is a tendency of Americans to accept (and oftentimes claim) foreign cuisine, and then capitalize on the identity that immigrants have worked so hard to create. This includes American companies using Italian names for their brands and selling non-Italian food.

Although this capitalization by large corporations is dishonorable, it does promote culture and spread awareness for immigrants in America. The fact is that these unique cuisines formed by immigrants are essential to their assimilation. Foreign people are able to hold on to crucial aspects of their culture and cuisine while allowing them to adjust to American values and norms. 

Works Cited

Cannato, Vincent. “What Sets Italian Americans Off From Other Immigrants?” National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), www.neh.gov/humanities/2015/januaryfebruary/feature/what-sets-italian-americans-other-immigrants

Esposito, Shaylyn. “Is Spaghetti and Meatballs Italian?” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 6 June 2013, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/is-spaghetti-and-meatballs-italian-94819690/.

McMillan, Tracie. “How Italian Cuisine Became as American as Apple Pie.” National Geographic, 4 May 2016, www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2016/05/04/how-italian-cuisine-became-as-american-as-apple-pie/.


Unfair Treatment of Workers

The problem originates from major companies outsourcing their labor mainly to 3rd world countries.  From Brookings, “Foreign nations that wish to be granted free access to the world’s biggest and richest markets should be required to observe fundamental human values, including labor rights.”  There are good ideas and solutions out there, they just need to be uncovered and put into place. What I see as the biggest issue is how impacted people are by money. Using cheap labor drives the profit margins up and creates more earning.  

Without these wealthy influential people benefitting it would be shut down and these people would have fair opportunity.  The rich and companies are pushing for this labor to continue to increase profits and it’s inhibiting the solutions to this issue.  Independent   Institute says, “Over the past decade U.S. firms and their subcontractors have faced protests from student groups, labor leaders, and some government officials for employing sweatshop labor.” These places will need more than just a few protests to be improved and many of the people in power aren’t willing to fix it.
Another issue is the domination of large corporations.  For example, good on you  discusses how Nike has turned its back on many unfair practices and avoiding as much backlash as possible.


what is the American dream?

Anyone can be an American if they are willing to be respectful, unite for Justice and Liberty. This idea is expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance, as stated in the article “What Being American Means”  .There are several events in history that prove this point. The tragic events that unfolded on 9/11/2001 were followed by images of americans coming together from all different states to assist at ground zero. The picture of them putting up the american flag is a symbol of american patriotism. Military enrollment increased following 9/11, which is evidence of american creeds from the PBS documentary. 

Anyone, means you do not need to be of any specific nationality, speak a certain language, have the same religious, or ethic background. This is the article “What Does it mean to be an American”. Also I think being an American doesn’t mean we all have to believe in the same thing or look the same. Everyone comes from different cultures and has different beliefs about different aspects of the world, which makes them unique and a good American. I think people that eat different types of foods like, mexican food, indian food, and so on just shows their uniqueness and shows that they’re different, which is a good trait to have to be an American.

Americans all share the same goals in life. Every american is trying to be successful in life by working hard at their jobs everyday to support their families. Money and living in peace I think is the main thing every American wants in life, but that can be harder for different people in the world. We all come from different circumstances and different childhood experiences as we grow up. Some people come from a poor childhood and not good parenting growing up, which can be hard for them to live up to the american values and goals in life. As other people come from great childhoods and parenting growing up which makes their lives easier as adults. In the end all that matters is if you accept the american expectations in life,  willing to be respectful, unite for Justice and Liberty, you will be a great and strong American in life.


flag of U.S.A.

What Is the American Dream?

What is the American Dream? The American Dream is the prospect of freedom, choices and endless opportunity for all of those who live here. Anyone can be anything in America, and as the film American Creed says, “It’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you are going”. Everyone in America experiences this great dream everyday they walk upon this American soil, this great land of freedom, because the American Dream lives in every one of us.

The film American Creed does a great job of showing us American Dream in action from many different perspectives from many unique and different circumstances from within America. Dashing from a group of students, to individuals and families across the country, American Creed takes us on a journey  through the lives of many and how they are living the American Dream. Take Tegan Griffith from the film for example. Tegan had started serving in the U.S. Marines at age 21, flying overseas to fight for what our country holds dear. She says “Deep down inside I was pretty nervous knowing I was getting out and doing something that is the heart of what is important to my family, serving the nation during a time of war”. Tegan’s family have a deep connection to the military as many of them served for many years. This connection she says allows her to travel to anywhere in the country and always feel like there is a place she can call home. She feels a connection to the country as a whole and feels fulfilled because of it, and this is her American Dream.

Another story of someone living the American Dream in their own way is the story of Sherman Alexie. Sherman grew up on the Spokane Indian reservation where he and his family were in some financial troubles, as many of the residents on the reservation were poor and had a very low standard of living. Sherman learned to read at a very young age with much thanks to his father who loved books and would bring some home with him after work. Sherman had a sense of self reliance and a willingness to succeed no matter what anyone said to him. With a good attitude about life and a little bit of luck Sherman became a successful writer. He visited many schools to teach Indian kids to read and write and everything came full circle. He made a comment about his experience “I cannot recall a single time that a guest teacher visited the reservation” and this I believe is a key piece of his American Dream. Nobody ever came and taught him important lessons, but he was able to succeed and turn it around so that he was now the one in a position to teach, and that is exactly what he did.

Turning to the American Dream from the perspective of immigrants, take Jesus Jimenez’s story. When he was three years old he and his family moved from Mexico to Dallas Texas where he would call his new home for many years to come. While living in the United States of America, he has met and heard many people and their stories of the American Dream as immigrants. Many of the people he met worked tirelessly to reach a goal and a better future for themselves, or the people around them. One of the most common scenarios described in his article is immigrant parents working many hours per day to raise enough money for their children to go to college and have a better life than what their parents had. It is the sense of dedication and determination to reach a better life that embodies the American Dream, and a quote from Jimenez’s article encapsulates this sentiment very well, “The U.S. offers so many unique opportunities to have a better life regardless of ability, wealth, ethnicity or religion. We live in a country where, regardless of who you are and what your background is, if you have grit and work hard enough, anything is possible”.  This quote is very powerful because it puts the American Dream into words that we can understand, and into a message that we can follow.

In summary, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe in, all that matters is that in America anyone is able to empower themselves and overcome whatever obstacles that may lie in their path. America is a land of opportunity and freedom, rivaled by no other country in the world. From serving in the military, to growing up on a reservation, to immigrating and starting with nothing, as long as you live in America, the dream is still alive.

Sources:

https://www.success.com/an-immigrants-take-on-todays-american-dream/

Jimenez, Jesus. An Immigrant’s Take on Today’s American Dream, Success, 8 June 2017, www.success.com/an-immigrants-take-on-todays-american-dream/. 

https://www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/

Ball, Sam, director. American Creed, PBS, 27 Feb. 2018, www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/. 

http://www2.umf.maine.edu/mclp/wp-content/uploads/sites/91/2014/06/Lesson-1d-Superman-and-Me.pdfAlexie, Sherman. Superman and Me, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 1998, www.umsl.edu/~alexanderjm/SupermanandMebyAlexie.pdf.


What Is Life Without Risk

The book “Paper Towns” by John Green is a really interesting and captivating book with things people have or may have gone through in life. The book also adds a bit of mystery to it which keeps you hooked and still interested which you may not find often.

The First few chapters of “Paper Towns” by John Green might leave a reader feeling curious/hooked because so many things happen from the midnight trip to payback to sneaking into seaworld. It’s just very chaotic but not in a bad way. An example of this is on page 74.  “And before I could even say anything, the snake lashed out and bit her left ankle” This is so unexpected and crazy because they never expected this to happen to two kids who wanted to be adventurous and try something new and then this happened it’s just crazy.

We learn something interesting about one of the characters, Quentin on page 70 where it says: “Fine, but when SeaWorld, Incorporated, or whatever  sends a letter to Duke University  saying that miscreant Quentin Jacobsen broke into their facility at 4:30 in the morning….” This is typical of how this character acts in this book, so far. He often seems to be cautious and nt very adventurous. If you are the outgoing type of person you may not want to unless your goal is to break his shell.

After this part of the book, most readers probably will be looking forward to reading the rest of the book because you might want to know what happened after words and how things might change.  What’s probably going to happen next is after they get caught they leave on their way home and have some sort of conversation.


woman in gold dress holding sword figurine

Equality in America

What it means to be an American could mean various different things in this day and age depending on what specifically you’re asking about and who exactly you ask. There could be speak of freedom, personal identity, education, business, opportunity, and so much more. There’s also many factors that could influence the way someone perceives that question, and that’s exactly what I believe is key to being an American: one’s individualism. The differing of opinions and ways of thinking between Americans is precisely what makes it the country it is today. America has been esteemed as one of the most innovative and influential countries in the world, and as young Russian student Katya Gazetnikova describes it: “It is the main country in the world, all new technologies appear there, most interesting things, too,” (Gladstone). Personal liberties and freedom of expression have been the cornerstone of such innovation and economic growth, and people’s individuality and independence has been a key component of that as well.

Despite this, people’s differing opinions have also brought about much conflict throughout the course of history and, most notably, very recently. In light of current events, there’s been much violence due to those conflicting opinions. In a political sense, many people may think of the two parties and perhaps the upcoming election. In fact, the election in and of itself is a conflict to appeal to people’s opinions and to try and resonate with them to gain a vote, with the two parties being the two main contenders. Unfortunately, the conflict between parties extends beyond just the elections. Each party has acted more and more in their own interests and sticking to their foundational beliefs over working together for the sake of bettering the country. There’s been much debate about the Republican’s insistence to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the presidential election, going against her dying wishes to wait. As Thomas Nacey Jr. suspects, the Republicans are not very confident in the president’s chance at reelection and that might cause the loss of a Republican seat. All the parties ever seem to do anymore is fight and it’s somewhat shameful and even embarrassing as a citizen to see this sort of behavior in our leadership system.

Is that how other countries see us: a nation who can’t seem to stop fighting with itself, having a corrupt government and unable to achieve progressive accomplishments? How must they view us in terms of government scandals such as the Watergate incident, and recently even the president’s impeachment? How about when he encouraged police forces to violate protesters’ first amendment rights and cleared them out with tear gas so he could take a photo, about the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole?

“…Where will this end? It’s almost like a civil war,” and it might as well be (Gladstone). In fact, there’s been continued conflict over confederate memorials. Winning a battle for the abolishment of slavery then having to see statues erected in your own town that represents all that you’ve fought against can be seen as wildly inappropriate and offensive in many cases. “They were symbols of defiance, intended to let African Americans and the federal government know who was back in charge,” a symbol that could be seen as fearful and even as an attestment to white supremacy, causing much debate and conflict ever since they first started to be erected (Robinson). Currently, there are many people attempting to make progress and achieve equal rights and representation, yet there are others who are still looking out for themselves and trying to limit other’s freedom based on their own beliefs and self interest. “[America] goes around the world promoting democracy and human rights, but can’t enforce them at home,” and they’re completely right (Gladstone). America is a country founded on the idea of freedom and prosperity of the individual, yet freedom and equality for all is still being fought for in great strides to this day. While one’s initial response to the question “what does it mean to be an American” might be the idea of freedom and equality, there are many who can personally attest to that not being entirely true.

Works Cited:

Gladstone, Rick. “Dear America: We Watch Your Convulsions With Horror and Hope.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 June 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/world/americas/global-protests-george-floyd.html. 

Nacey, Thomas. “Letter to the Editor: Why the Republican Rush to Replace Ginsburg?” TribLIVE.com, 23 Sept. 2020, 9:00 a.m., triblive.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-why-the-republican-rush-to-replace-ginsburg/. 

Robinson, Eugene. “It’s No Surprise We’re Refighting the Civil War – It Never Really Ended.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 24 Aug. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-no-surprise-were-refighting-the-civil-war–it-never-really-ended/2017/08/24/fd9b2d00-88fe-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html.


signage on night

Immigrants in America

In the article, “Should America Still Welcome Immigrants?” I learned that immigrants are what keeps this country running. Immigrants have to accept the challenge of leaving behind their old lives to build new ones in America. This is something very difficult to do because they literally come with nothing and have to deal with the barrier of a forieign language. Immigrants help their new communities by caring for the sick and elderly, teaching students, building homes, and most importantly feeding the nation by picking crops and opening restaurants. Without immigrants the nation would not even exist. 

I think this is a very controversial topic. This topic goes in two ways you either welcome immigrants to America or don’t. I believe immigrants make this country, they are hard workers and always help out anywhere they can. Most of these immigrants are picking crops for the nation to eat. The jobs they find are never easy and come with lots of risks but they never give up. They care so much about their families and just want to have a better life overall. 

Do you think immigrants should be welcomed to America? 


How Much Freedom Do We Actually Have?

In the article, “Is Freedom in Trouble?” concerns about freedom has struck every nation into actually looking into the amount of freedom everyone has. Studies have shown that “in 71 countries political rights and civil liberties have declined”.

Due to this report, it has shown that only some nations have only improved their rights and liberties instead of all nations around. Other reports from the Freedom House have proven that there are nations that keep declining in their freedom status which shows that our world has yet to fulfill their founding promise. Freedom is slipping away from the nations that need it the most or that are lacking it, if the levels stay the same or declining any further nations will be in a deep hole.

I think that the level of freedom some nations lack is a huge crisis as freedom is one of the most important factors that help lives grow and improve. The lack of freedom can in fact contribute to the loose of hope in communities which can start problems internally.

What is your opinion about the lack of freedom in nations?


Should America Still Welcome Immigrants?

In the article “Should America Still Welcome Immigrants?” by Wendy Feliz and Congressman Paul Gosar inform others if immigrants should be welcomed in America or not. Felix writes that America should welcome immigrants and her reason was that America should since it was built by immigrants. Immigrants build a business, feed the nation, raise a family, and build homes. Gosar on the other hand disagrees with Feliz. He writes that American workers don’t need competition from immigrants because due to COVID many Americans have lost their jobs and are currently struggling. He believes that American business should ask Americans who are jobless instead of immigrants. 

In my opinion, I think that America should welcome immigrants. Most of the immigrants that come in are working in the fields, going into construction, or clean houses. Americans don’t want to work in those jobs. I don’t understand how some people think that American workers don’t need competition because it’s the jobs that they don’t want to work in. Do you really think that Americans would want to work in the heat and in the freezing cold? I don’t think so.  


America; All Unique But All One

In American culture, there are many different values, cultures, and creeds that shape the way we all exist as Americans. All of these factors are influential in creating traditions, societal norms, and unique viewpoints on issues we face today. At the core of the American Society, people having different values, cultures, and ideals all shape the American Identity of everyone being unique.

Values are the fundamental beliefs that a person holds and impacts people’s actions. Some values that are often consistent with the American peoples are individualism, equality, and achievement. People like to take pride in their work and what they have built for themselves, and at that, be proud of their individual accomplishments and achievements both in work and in the family. Equality is also a strong value held among many Americans. As we see more and more issues becoming uncovered it is still a clear problem that does not have a simple solution. Equality has been an issue that many people have fought for since the very beginning of our country, and yet it is still a problem prevalent in today’s society. As stated here in a paper by L. Robert Khols on American Values, “In secular terms, this belief [equality] is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life” (Khols). Equality deems that every American should share equal opportunity. This does not mean free success, however. Theoretically, we should all share equal chances for opportunity and success. I think that the value that is above all others is equality and shared equal opportunity.

Personal culture is a lifestyle within your family or that is impacted by you or your family’s past. We all use our history and the country’s history to make decisions on life and what is correct. According to William Patterson University, “People need to develop a sense of their collective past. Events in the past have made us what we are today” (William Patterson). This means that when people look at their collective history, they can find a sense of similarity with others, bringing unity to the people. Other cultural values that vary by the person are religious beliefs. As said here, “Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.” (Fagan). Both Religion and History are important pieces that connect to make one’s personal identity. 

Identity is what makes everyone who they are. No Americans share the exact same history, background, or beliefs, resulting in a broad spectrum of different personal identities. However, because we are all Americans, we share some of the same core values such as equality for all and the importance of family. Because of this, we are all united as one, the American People. That is our shared identity.


Golden Gate Bridge during daytime

Challenging America

We are repetitively being told by schools and politicians to have pride in our country and its values. Values of freedom, individualism, equality, patriotism, and a fear of government corruption. Being American means sharing these ideals and values. But America’s biggest struggle is upholding these values into law and life because of the failure to spread information where we should. 

 In the song “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, John sings about citizen’s inability to make a change in America because we are dependant on the information that politicians and media tell us. So, we have to wait for other people to solve problems for us. This is not supposed to be how things work, especially in a free democratic state. The people not having enough independent voice of what happens in our government directly translates to a slow and tiring process of fixing problems and upholding values. 

This problem is also used as a solution in songs like “This Is America” by Donald Glover. In this song, Donald is using the media to spread information and awareness about problems being ignored that are important to solve to uphold American values. Another example would be the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, where the artist tells the story of a school shooter, which is a common problem in America. 

Using these platforms to spread information is extremely important, but we would not need to rely on songs going viral for the spread of ideas if public schools, politicians, and media took on these challenges themselves, as they are meant to. These challenges can be overcome, but it is important that we continue to fight for our values. 

Works Cited 

“Childish Gambino – This Is America.” Genius, 6 May 2018, genius.com/Childish-gambino-this-is-america-lyrics.

“Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks.” Genius, 14 Oct. 2010, genius.com/Foster-the-people-pumped-up-kicks-lyrics.

“John Mayer – Waiting on the World to Change.” Genius, 1 Aug. 2006, genius.com/John-mayer-waiting-on-the-world-to-change-lyrics. 


Statue of Liberty, New York

Defining The American Dream

“The American Dream” is a term we hear often as Americans, but what does it really mean? Does it mean you have the highest-ranking job or have the most money? We come to find out that it is actually quite the contrary; the American dream is the quest for happiness and success that can be found in our country. 

In the article “In Search of the American Dream” by Jonas Clark from the Atlantic, we learn the origin and original meaning of the term “The American Dream”, Clark states that the term has nothing to do with money or success like we have come to associate it with today. The term was originally coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931 (Clark 1), the term had nothing to do with money equating to success, and everything to do with finding happiness. If we look at the original meaning of “The American Dream”, we can see how our values have changed over the years. We used to equate happiness to success, and now all we place value on is money and material goods. As Americans, we have twisted this phrase into what it is today, and completely lost the original meaning.   

In the New York Times article “ What Do You Think Are the Beliefs and Values That Define American Culture?” by Jeremy Engle , we see a recurring theme of meritocracy. A meritocracy is a person or group of people who achieve great success through hard work and talent, rather than social class or money. We can still see many examples of meritocracy in our society today, but far fewer than we did a hundred years ago. This theme and way of thinking have been washed out by our societal standards of success.  

The main idea in the film “American Creed”, a PBS documentary, is that everyone can achieve great things if they work hard; regardless of their background or social class. In the film, we hear from many different people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and social classes. They all have incredibly different stories, but the main ideas are always the same; they all got to where they were by hard work. Most of the people that were interviewed were from underprivileged backgrounds who didn’t have many resources, or were just ordinary people, but they used what they had and found happiness. Happiness to them didn’t include large amounts of money, or the highest ranking position at their job, it included doing what they love and making a positive impact. 

This brings us back to the original meaning of “The American Dream”; the idea that success comes from happiness. This is one of the greatest ideas that our country was founded on. To be American means to take the opportunity you were given and make something great out of it.


Statue of Liberty, New York

The Flaws of the American Dream

The American Dream, having a great job and a perfect family in an admirable house with a white picket fence. This is a novelty item in the United States, something that everyone wants to have. A shiny golden token that anyone can obtain if they have the work ethic. It is the land of equal opportunity as they say, but it is not truly equal. America on the outside has much promise until we see the deep-rooted: racial injustice, economic disadvantage, and education. 

Within the numbers, it is seen that minorities have higher poverty, unemployment, and overall lower salaries. The unemployment rate varies across races Edith Rasell says, “unemployment among African Americans is generally twice as high as for whites while the rate for Hispanics is 50% higher”. The unemployment rate shows why the poverty rate tends to be higher in minorities. The other issue is that when minorities can find work it is lower wages than whites. The best jobs they can find are labor jobs that can barely financially support one person. The excuse people give for minority unemployment is that they are often turned away from jobs because of a lack of education.

Education in minority families has many setbacks. The children of these families grow up in unstable households, they do not have the same support systems that many white families have. They live in a single-parent household where their mom or dad is always working. They do not have the luxury of coming home and being able to ask their mom or dad for help on homework. In school districts with more support when the kids have issues at home the teachers can give that student extra help. These inner-city schools are not bringing in enough money and cannot afford to devote extra time to specific students.  A PBS documentary says “Education became the holy grail”(24:03). It is the fastest way out of a hard situation. Those kids are supposed to make it out with education but fail because they did not get an equal education. 

The American Dream had to work for it to be so broadcasted, and of course, it worked. In my own family, they traveled from Germany to America with nothing. They worked hard and now their future generations are successful. Even though they made it to the American Dream, that doesn’t make it consistent. Shawn Carter says “less than 1 in 5 Americans think they’re living the full American dream”. The American dream is a sales pitch for America, that it is a ‘land of opportunity’. It resembles American values in hope and freedom while also showing the dark side of America when you see that only 20% of people experience that dream.

All Americans want to be able to claim their American dream success story.  People of color coming into the country are automatically at a disadvantage. They cannot earn the same amount of money as white people. They often start in low-income areas where they earn even less. While even their future generations do not have the same opportunities because of education that is not equivalent. The American dream will not be attainable by everyone until everyone is equal. 

Works Cited

“American Creed.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 27 Feb. 2018, 

www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/. 

Carter, Shawn M. “Less than 20% of Americans Say They’re Living the American Dream-Here’s 

Why.” CNBC, CNBC, 19 Sept. 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/09/19/less-than-20-percent-of-americans-say-theyre-living-the-am rican-dream.html. 

Morsy, Lelia, and Richard Rothstein. “Five Social Disadvantages That Depress Student 

Performance: Why Schools Alone Can’t Close Achievement Gaps.” Economic Policy Institute, 10 June 2015,www.epi.org/publication/five-social-disadvantages-that-depress-student-performance-why-schools-alone-cant-close-achievement-gaps/. 

Rassel, Edith. “Race and Economic Disadvantage.” United Church of Christ

www.ucc.org/justice_economic-justice_race_race-economic.


closeup photo of U.S.A. flag

Being American

The meaning of being American means so many different things to so many different people and to every single person it means something different. To me personally being American means having freedom of speech and being able to protest for what you believe is right. It’s equality of people so that one gender or race isn’t below another which we still need to improve but it’s getting there. Being American is being able to vote for everything from who the next president will be to if your city is going to get a new sewer system. It also means having friends and family there to support you in any way you need. It means that you can be anything you want to be no matter your background If you work for it. In the article Superman and Me the author Alexie Sherman was from a low-income household and his family lived paycheck to paycheck. He and his family were Spokane Indians, and Indian children were expected to be “Stupid” and most of them gave into that expectation in the classroom but then outside of the classroom they were themselves and they could do many of the things they couldn’t in the classroom. Alexie refused to fail and be “Stupid” so he read everything from newspapers to books and he worked hard to learn so he could achieve what he wanted and originally he wanted to be a pediatrician but then he became an accomplished writer (Superman and me). Alexie was able to do that because he worked hard for what he wanted and he didn’t let his background, expectations, or anything else get in his way. Being American also means that even if you weren’t born an American you can still be an American. Being American doesn’t put you in a box of what you have to be or what you can and can’t do. Being American lets you be whoever you want to be, you could be a doctor or a plumber or even a cosmetologist If you worked hard enough for it. Being American lets you have the opportunity to have your own personal American Dream. My great grandmother Johanna Pouls experienced the American dream and she worked hard for it, she came to the United States at the age of 19 from what was Chechslyvakia at the time in 1926. She was the last out of her family to come over before her were her siblings and some cousins. Before she came over she lived in a war zone during WWI and after she came over to the US she met my great grandfather and they got married. She worked as a maid and she also was a cook in the hospital my great grandfather was a milkman. While they lived here they had three children Mathew, Sandy, and my grandpa, Jim and they worked really hard to get where they did and if they didn’t they wouldn’t have achieved their version of the great American dream (Scott Pouls).

Being American means so many things, but one of the most important things is that you have a world of opportunities waiting for you if you work for them. You can create your own personal American dream with those opportunities and it doesn’t matter where you came from or what your background is.

“Superman and Me”, Alexie Sherman, Los Angeles Times, April 19th, 1998. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12rJKFRehuPOxcLIE19cIlrevnMio8nPZncGOc5PAupw/edit

Pouls, Scott October 17th, 2020.


What Does It Mean To Be American

What does it mean to be American? I believe the answer to that question is relative to whom you ask. I started pondering that question and got stuck, so I asked my mother what she thought it meant, and she said:  “I’m proud to be American. It’s a place that allows me to be who I am, to practice my religion without fear, it gave my family a better opportunity. I’m the first in my family to get a higher education, but yet my dad was able to become successful by working very hard. We have the freedom to move, and to live. Is America the perfect place? No, but it’s one of the best places there is to have a life.” After hearing this I first thought being American meant having freedom, but that belief soon changed. 

Baseball Manager Joe Maddon stated in the documentary “American Creed” “I think being American is about coming together, everyone enjoys the freedom we have created but with that freedom comes the responsibility to maintain it.” (American Creed.) I then realized that my original view did not look at the whole picture; being American means more than just having freedom. 

The American Dream is a wide spread concept in America. Essentially it means that with enough hard work and perseverance you can achieve anything you set your mind to. In the article “Superman and Me” the author talks about how he worked harder than everyone around him when it came to reading and writing, and he eventually became a professional writer. He states “…I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky. I read books late into the night, until I could barely keep my eyes open. I read books at recess, then during lunch, and in the few minutes left after I had finished my classroom assignments… A little Indian boy teaches himself to read at an early age and advances quickly. He reads ‘Grapes of Wrath’ in kindergarten when other children are struggling through ‘Dick and Jane.’…Despite all the books I read, I am still surprised I became a writer…” (Superman and Me). Essentially he is telling the story of how even though he comes from a family of not very strong readers or writers, he still worked very hard on his own skills and eventually became an author. With this in mind I reflected and added on to my own definition of what it means to be american and moved on with my research.

 I then stumbled upon a New York Times article under the “Shared Shorter Choice Readings” where they interviewed teenagers about what it means to be American. One student had this to say,”Well people ask me how are you American? Or how are you Muslim-American? The answer is there is no one way, I am me and that is the most American thing about me, it is to be me unapologetically day in and day out. People need to look out for each other more to make sure they can be themselves every single day” (What Does America Stand For). This resonated with me because he didn’t just talk about freedom, but rather he expounded further upon that idea by talking about the freedom to be who you want to be, and helping others become who they want to be. 

After hearing many different perspectives, my personal understanding is that being an American means having the freedom to choose your path in life, and be the best person you can be, having the opportunity to use hard work and perseverance to move up in the world, and looking out for the people in your community to make America a better place for everyone so they can be themselves.

Cited Sources: 

“American Creed”, Kennedy David, Maddon Joe, PBS, PBS, February 27th 2018.

https://www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/

“Superman and Me”, Alexie Sherman, Los Angeles Times, April 19th 1998. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12rJKFRehuPOxcLIE19cIlrevnMio8nPZncGOc5PAupw/edit

“What Does America Stand For? We Asked Teeenagers.”, North Anna, New York Times, Aug 23rd 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/opinion/what-does-america-stand-for-we-asked-teenagers.html?mcubz=0&_r=0


United States Capitol

What To Do About the Senate?

It can largely be agreed upon in liberal circles that the Senate is an antiquated institution that requires immediate systematic overhaul… although query wether that would be the case if they were in control of the Upper House of Congress. Regardless, what is not particularly divisive is the assertion that the Senate is not a body intended to represent the people directly. The point of contention, rather, is wether or not this is a crisis 200+ years in the making. It is no secret that the original intention of the Senate was to represent the will of the States… it was not until 1913 that citizens even voted for their Senators; before then, the State Legislatures held that duty. But now, 100+ years later, the effects of this change are beginning to catch up with us. But what to do? Some, like Hans Nole of Vox, advocate for ‘demoting’ the Senate to an advisory position of less power. https://www.vox.com/2018/10/13/17971340/the-senate-represents-states-not-people-constitution-kavanaugh-supreme-court

Others believe the time to abolish the Senate has come. https://nowcomment.com/documents/235877 Not only is this a position held by leftist political commentators, but bills have already been introduced by the House to do exactly that.

What to do about the Senate is hardly a new problem, but in our age of unprecedented political action and uproar, it seems a question our generation will be forced to answer sooner or later. What exactly the right course of action is, however, is for now a question for each American to answer for themselves.


U.S.A. flag

To be Free and to be American

Many people have many different interpretations of what it means to be an American. Some may think that being American is being able to do whatever they want. Others may believe that being American is having their own rights and following their own values. However, amongst all of these responses, the one thing that remains the same is the idea of freedom. This is a value that, throughout history, has been entitled to all citizens of the United States and has been one of the main characteristics of what it means to be American. 

One famous government document that grants freedom to the citizens of the United States is the Bill of Rights. The first amendment grants people the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. These are rights that many people value as an American. For example, in the Sherbert v. Verner Court Case, the Supreme court ruled in favor of Sherbert, who was unjustly denied employment benefits just because she wasn’t able to work on Saturdays for religious reasons (“Sherbert v. Verner”). Sherbert went all the way up to the supreme court to get justice and to protect her right of freedom. This shows how much she values her freedom. It is a right that is given to her as an American. It is a value that she wants to uphold. 

Another thing that supports the idea of American freedom is the concept of the American Dream, the hope of a better future that people wish to have as an American. Some may think that this concept in itself is too idealistic, nonetheless, this has been something that has motivated thousands or more people to immigrate to America seeking opportunities and freedom. For instance, “migration from Mexico to the United States has been largely driven by low-skilled, unauthorized workers seeking economic opportunity” (Zong and Batalova, “Mexican”). This shows how many Mexicans immigrate to the United States in search of opportunities. The American Dream is something that believed to attainable by many. Therefore, many people do see America as a place of opportunity and freedom. 

Last but not least, many works of writing support the idea of America being the land of the free. One work that supports this claim is the poem Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes. In this poem, Hughes talks about how America was a place that promised equality, freedom, and prosperity, yet none of those values have been truly upheld for everyone (Hughes). This poem may make it seem like America isn’t a place with such values, but the fact that he pointed out that not everyone is able to equally enjoy those values shows that those values do exist. America is a place with those promised values.

Although many people do see America as a place of freedom, some people do continue to argue otherwise. Nevertheless, those who continue to believe and fight for such value show that America is a place where freedom is very important. Therefore, freedom is a value that makes an individual an American. It is what defines what it means to be an American. 

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. “Let America Be America Again”. Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/147907/let-america-be-america-again. Accessed 7 October 2020.

“Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963)”. Justia, https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/374/398/. Accessed 7 October 2020. 

Zong, Jie, and Jeanne Batalova. “Mexican Immigrants in the United States.” Migration Policy Institute, 11 October 2018, https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/mexican-immigrants-united-states-2017. Accessed 7 October 2020.


closeup photo of USA flag

What Does it Mean to Be an American?

Being an American is always staying open-minded and welcoming to others. America is filled with so many different people and different beliefs. So, it’s super important to have those two traits. Another definition would be that being an American means you have many rights other citizens in other countries might not have. According to the 2018 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, the United States admitted a total of 44.8 million legal immigrants. The main reason why so many immigrants came to America was that it was perceived as the land of the free. 

American Culture consists of many other cultures. They’re all equal and many Americans celebrate different cultures. According to Western Illinois University. A characteristic of American Culture is equality. Everyone gets treated equally. An example of equality would be waiting in a school lunch line. No matter how different you are, everyone gets treated and served equally. 

Some key American values would be Liberty and Self Government. According to Working Scholars. The definition of Liberty is “The freedom of people’s speech”(Troolin para 3), as an American, we have the right to call things out that might not be right and not have any disciplinary actions taken upon us. As stated in Working Scholars. The definition of Self Government is that “Citizens control how their government is run.”(Smith para 6), such as voting for a president. This is a very important value because the government controls the people and the people can inform the government what their key interests are and what actions need to be changed. 

 A very important American Creed would be Egalitarianism. As reported by Merriam Webster. The definition of Egalitarianism is “A social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people.” Which means everyone should have an equal opportunity. This is very important because everyone deserves an equal opportunity. Opportunities wouldn’t be fair if everyone didn’t have an equal opportunity.

All of these online sources that I have mentioned above. Show that being an American can mean many different things. They all have different definitions of what being an American is. Yet, they all tie together to make one big answer to the key question. What does it mean to be an American?  That question has many answers and there isn’t just one right answer but, as I stated in the previous paragraphs, being an American means you have Freedom, Liberty, and Equality. Being an American comes with many benefits and challenges. But there are so many more benefits than challenges.

Works Cited

“America’s Core Values: Liberty, Equality & Self-GovernmentStudy.com, study.com/academy/lesson/americas-core-values-liberty-equality-self-government.html.   

“Egalitarianism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/egalitarianism. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

“Western Illinois University.” Basics of American Culture – Western Illinois University, 2016, www.wiu.edu/global_education/activities/americanculture.php
“Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.” Department of Homeland Security, 6 Jan. 2020, www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook.


To Be American

Jack Guggemos

Mrs. Reed

American Lit

18 October 2020

To Be American

What it means to be American is different for everyone. Everyone has different views and beliefs. No two Americans are the same. What it should mean to be an American is to have freedom and to not be judged by who you are as a person. As of lately I know it’s not the same. I found in multiple articles that the U.S is losing what it had or what it should be and isn’t as great as people say it to be. Take a look at what Trump has said to the public, take a look at his past. I know I shouldn’t make this political but isn’t that where it all starts. The one person who’s leading us, the one person that this country is supposed to follow.

 Some of the things Trump has said are unbelievable. He believes foreigners should not be in this country when all of us are foreigners to this country. It shouldn’t matter what we look like. In Nick Gass’s article he stats something Trump said in an interview which is “ I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it” (Gass 14) ,  Trump goes on to say “Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that” (Gass para 14). This doesn’t just relate to black people too, close to 20% of the U.S is foreigners. How does it sound that the person leading this country is saying things like this. He’s racist. He makes people feel there not supposed to be here and that they don’t belong. How can one person support this? Everyone, not just immigrants or someone with different colored skin should be ashamed to be called an American

Another big part of America is the thought of if you have money then you’ve won in life. In an article by Jeremy Engle he talks about and says “Success is more important than happiness” (Engle para 2). That one really stood out to me because I know so many people believe this. That money and success will buy you happiness and that it’s more important than being happy from something you love. For some people it might be like that and you know what, that’s great for them but a lot of people can’t go and do whatever they want whenever they want. A hobby for example or maybe you have a tradition that you love to do no matter the circumstance. Life is so much more than money. I personally believe that and yes I know kids this age probably don’t or shouldn’t think about those things. But for me, I have. I have some things that make me so much happier than I think money ever could. American values or beliefs are out of line because of what we are taught at a young age. 

A big one America deals with or is said to be a huge part of us is equality. The first paragraph kind of covered this but that was more political and beliefs in that viewpoint. Stated in the University of Portland handbook it says “all people are created equal” (University of Portland Handbook para 3) which is from the Declaration of Independence. From the beginning we’ve had these rules or laws that say we are all equal, but it doesn’t translate over to the real world. It’s just a saying us Americans use. Look at the Three-Fifths compromise that was created. Three whites would count as five African Americans when it comes to voting.  It shouldn’t be this way, I don’t see why it’s so hard for some people to accept others just because they’re different. There’s no room for racism in this country, or anywhere. It’s just really sad seeing things like this happen. We need to do more as a country to show to people that were all equal we can’t just say it.

I think that America’s beliefs should be what they first were said to be. We have all the right stuff down on paper but it doesn’t correlate over to the real world when it’s in use. Like I said before in the Declaration of Independence it says “all people are created equal”. If everyone followed this and used it this world would be different in every way. Every country would be better than what they are.

“American Values and Assumptions.” American Values and Assumptions | University of Portland, www.up.edu/iss/advising-services/american-values.html. 

Engle, Jeremy. “What Do You Think Are the Beliefs and Values That Define American Culture?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Apr. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/learning/what-do-you-think-are-the-beliefs-and-values-that-define-american-culture.html. 

Gass, Nick. “The 15 Most Offensive Things That Have Come out of Trump’s Mouth.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 9 Dec. 2015, www.politico.eu/article/15-most-offensive-things-trump-campaign-feminism-migration-racism/. 


Being an American is not Always as Amazing as it is Explained to be.

Featured image from (https://www.delawarepublic.org/post/australians-plan-weekend-rallies-solidarity-us-black-lives-matter)

For many people America is an amazing country where people have free will and can be anything their heart desires. They have rights to protect them, a government that cares about them, and the privilege of feeling safe. These people typically view America with great pride and patriotism. I am not those people and neither are most Americans. Being an American is not always as amazing as it is explained to be.

Though America has more to offer than many other countries, it is quite far from perfection. Perspective plays a huge role in how we see the world. A white male has a much different perspective on life than any one person of color, or woman. Also, age plays a factor. Different generations go through different things that shape their lives and ideals. 

In my mind, America does not have a defined culture of its own. Our culture is just a mix of multiple group’s cultures. Many would refer to our country as a “melting pot in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct flavors to American culture.” (Zimmerman 5)  Other countries cultures are typically full of food, celebrations, clothing, and more. America food is “hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meatloaf” (Zimmerman 14).  Most of the things we eat aside from our unhealthy American food, are (or are derived from) Mexican, Asian, Indian, and Italian cuisine. Something we do have is national holidays such as labor day, memorial day, presidents day, and more. These are things that many people celebrate nationwide and they often get a day off of work or school for these occasions.

American creeds are deemed as an accurate representation of our country, These also go hand in hand with our values. Some things that are emphasized are” life liberty and pursuit of happiness” (U.S. Const. Preamble) and “a perfect union… established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity” (Page 1) This take on the American creed was inaccurate because even our country stresses these matters continuously, they do not occur for everyone. This leaves our country an unfair and judgemental place. Discrimination against groups of people is, and always will be an issue because it is impossible to make everyone see the importance of equality. There will always be those crooked people only here to poison the world with their messed up ideals. When power is given to these types of people they can do a lot of damage, and since our justice system continues to fail us justice is hardly ever served. 

Overall, America is a country of broken promises, and despite how it is portrayed it is not as amazing as it seems for every inhabitant. There are many changes needed to happen in order for America’s reputation to precede them. We need to offer the values we continue to worship as our policy to everyone despite their demographics. Though this will never be a reality, we need to continue to fight for freedom and equality in order to get our country as equal as it possibly can be. 

Work Cited

1.“The American’s Creed.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/documents/creed.htm. 

2.“The U.S. Constitution: Preamble.” United States Courts, www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/us. 

3.Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 July 2017, www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html. 


closeup photo of USA flag

American Freedoms and Values

To me being American means many things and different things to every person, but right now most of them aren’t very good. We seem to argue over everything, not being able to come to an agreement (1). We preach ideas of freedom and independence, then blatantly take it away from groups of people (2). We still mostly hold to our ideals and people in America can still have opportunity and freedom. If you know what your American dream is then it’s possible to achieve it (3).

Our congress is notorious for arguing about every little thing and taking a long time to function. People in congress will say no to completely reasonable things, that both parties will talk about wanting, just because it’s being proposed by the other party. Take for instance the Covid-19 stimulus package. The first stimulus check showed how quickly congress can work if people will just agree, but the second round of relief has been put to on pause as both parties argue about how much money should be given and to who, as american people lose their jobs and lives because of this pandemic, both parties are just waiting away trying to make sure their party’s views come out on top. Then they blame each other for the delay “However, these also failed, with each side blaming the other for the delay.”(Jarvis 5).

Our country has many ideals and freedoms, most of them are written in the bill of rights. As most people know, the first rights are the freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceful protest. Obviously some people in the government have missed these because lots of police and the president himself have ignored BLM’s protesters rights as they try to protest something unjust. Sure there has been some looting, but there are also  stories of unmarked police abducting protesters. Then there is this story of hundreds of police officers charging at a group of protests and even people not protesting. This is a horrible example of people in charge talking about rights and freedoms and then taking them away without any consequence. This all while a pandemic is going on too.   

There are many bad things about being American right now and there’s a lot that we have to work on, but there still are some good things about America. Everyone’s still free and opportunities are still sound. The film American Creed showed this, it showed people enjoying the freedoms of America and the opportunities of it. As long as you know what your American dream is you can work to achieve it. The part of the film with the principal saying that her American dream was teaching and spreading knowledge, really made me think about what the American dream is, instead of some predetermined idea of how to live it’s just the general goal of everyone in America. That goal can be different from one another but everyone still has one, and every one has the ability to try and achieve their American goal. 

It’s weird being an American right now, it’s weird living in any country right now, but with how American rights are being treated and how our government and population are split with arbitrary party lines, I just don’t feel that we’re very united right now. We still have some things to be proud about, but at a lot of times being American just feels ugly. What does the rest of the world think about us? The United States of America fighting each other in the streets? Fighting each other in congress? It feels so wrong to me.    

Works Cited

Jarvis, Jacob. Second Stimulus Check Mired in Congress Six Months After Trump SignedFirst,www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/second-stimulus-check-mired-in-congress-six-months-after-trump-signed-first/ar-BB19sJSi. (1)

Kesslen, Ben, and Matteo Moschella. “NYPD Officers Charge at Group of Protesters and Diners, Arresting People on Sidewalk.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 28 Sept. 2020,www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nypd-officers-charge-small-group-protesters-diners-arresting-people-sidewalk-n1241216. (2) 

“American Creed.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 27 Feb. 2018, www.pbs.org/video/american-creed-ikwuqf/. (3)


American Values and Beliefs

To be American means to be free. Americans’ beliefs consist of many freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. These are evident in the founding documents like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and The Articles of Confederation. Some of the values of Americans are equality, liberty, and self-government. These values are told through the Declaration of Independence. Americans used these values and beliefs to justify breaking away from Britain. These values and beliefs were always important to the American people. Different texts like The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The Constitution show beliefs and values such as equality, freedom, and liberty were always important. Although we are far from obtaining some of these values they are still important are values and beliefs that every person should believe in.

The Declaration of Independence explained why freedom, equality, and liberty were important to the American people and why they wanted to break away from Britain. In the Declaration of Independence, it explains how Britain was holding these unalienable rights from the American people. Several times it explains how these rights were being violated by Britain. This document was written because the American people believed they could get these rights by breaking away from Britain. These values were obviously very important to the American people because they went to war for these rights.

The Constitution has many articles aimed at equality and freedom. The first 10 amendments or The Bill of Rights guarantee the American people specific rights pertaining to freedom and liberty. Although the amendments that guaranteed equal rights didn’t come until a lot later they are still in The Constitution. This document makes it evident that the values of freedom, equality, and liberty are very important.

The Articles of Confederation wanted equality, freedom, and liberty for the whole country but was more focused on states. Under the Articles of Confederation, the states had more power than the central government. Even though states were more powerful than the central government it still guaranteed freedom, liberty, and equality for the American people no matter what state they were in. The Articles of Confederation were not a really effective way to govern the country but it still showed that freedom, equality, and liberty were important and rights everybody should have.

Although equality is mentioned in all these documents and is a big part of American history it still isn’t fully achieved. If everybody had the same rights full equality could be possible. Equality is still an important value and we should still strive to achieve it as a whole country. These 3 documents still show how important these 3 values are and why they are important to the people.


COVID 19 and The American dream

Does our country still provide the promise of prosperity regardless of circumstance? Is it still possible to achieve the American Dream? Have recent events concerning COVID 19 changed the American dream? These questions all revolve around the definition of the American dream in today’s society. What you decide to make of your American dream comes from your background and can be heavily influenced by those around you. The American dream can be seen in three sources including The Opportunity Atlas, Barack Obama, Knox College Commencement Address (2005), and The American Dream is Alive and Well: NYTimes Opinion (2019). These three sources clearly show evidence of the American dream 

The Opportunity Atlas shows how the community that individuals live in influence how successful they are going to be in life. Depending on what neighborhood you grow up in can decide your future relating to how much someone growing up in that neighborhood is going to make. For example those who grow in Atlanta Georgia are only projected to have a household income of 27k compared to 35k average in New York City. These statistics show how starting off in a lower income household will set you in a different path than someone starting in a higher income household. The American dream will then change for individuals in both scenarios because those with lower income will have to work harder to accomplish their American dream while those with more income will not.

Lastly, “The American Dream is Alive and Well: NYTimes Opinion” shows information gathered that proves that the American dream is going well for almost all Americans. Most Americans nowadays believe that they are already living the American dream. The most important example is, “Instead, 85 percent indicated that “to have freedom of choice in how to live” was essential to achieving the American dream. In addition, 83 percent indicated that “a good family life” was essential”(NYTimes 1). This quote shows that most Americans are happy with family life and freedom of choice to fulfil their view of the American dream. The American dream is up to the individual to choose it and how to live it.


Dear Grandma

It was the summer of 2015 remember? You got the news that two of your grandkids were coming to Mexico. My mom told me that you were happy to finally meet my sister and me. 

The first time I saw you, you had a huge smile across your face ready to love us to death. But as much as I was excited I felt lost. I didn’t know anyone and I had already gotten closer to my dad’s side of the family. When you came I was having so much fun with my cousins I didn’t want to leave. You took us to see one of my many tia’s and I noticed my new cousins. They just stared at me and didn’t say one word to me after we exchanged hellos. None of them were my age. They were either too small or too grown up with kids. Then we went to your house where my mom took her first steps and also where she was literally born. 

I was becoming bored. I had nobody to play with and everyone was just going for the clothes I bought. That’s when I asked you when could we go with my other grandma and you told me in a bit. We didn’t really spend time together because shortly after you had us taken to our other grandma. 

I knew there were days I was supposed to go with you but I would remember how bored I got last time. So I decided not to go. That was the last time I saw you. 

Summer of 2016 we went to visit once again but this time I was ready for all your love. 

But when we got there my uncles told us that you were in the hospital because you weren’t feeling well. All I wanted to do was to see you and hug you and say how sorry I was for being a brat. My uncles said that it was no use taking us to the hospital because they wouldn’t let us in to see you. I told myself it was okay, that you were gonna be okay. That I would just tell you how sorry and how much I love you next time we come. 

It was still summer of 2016, I was coming home from school and saw my mom sobbing. I asked her what was wrong and she didn’t answer me. My dad said, “ Your grandma has passed away.” And at that moment I felt my heart shatter. 

You were supposed to tell me stories about my mom when she was little and how my grandpa was the most loving man. I felt like this was my fault I took you for granted and now I have lost you. 

I still think about you every single day, I think about all the what if’s, but I know it won’t change anything. I know you are with grandpa now and I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss you and wish we were here. You will always be in my mind and heart. Thank you for leaving me a piece of you within my mom because every time I see her I see you. I know you will be keeping safe from up there. Until we meet again. 

With love,  Joceline


America Means Contradiction

When it comes to thinking of America, many turn first to the past ideals of this nation. This approach is seen in the show “Newsroom” by Aaron Sorkin, when the protagonist Will Maccavoy states, “We sure used to be (the greatest country ever). We stood up for what was right.” This argument is incredibly shallow and lacks complexity of historical detail. Was America standing up for what was right when they implemented genocide against Native Americans or created the instiution? Or if you are talking about recent memory, was the U.S. standing up for what’s right with the coup of a democratically elected Prime Minister of  Iran in 1953? However, there is some sentiment that I agree with. The Constitution, the enfranchisement of previously disenfranchised groups, and the steady progress towards bigger and better things seems to be at least partially true. Although this source is attrocious in the erasal of genocide and past harm, there is slight truth to be extrapolated from it.

On the flip side of the coin we see a source that tells honestly of the past harms of the nation. Russel Means stated in a statement to the U.S. Special Comittee on Indian Affairs, “with blatant genocide of (Native American) traditional people, we have less than 50 thousand people left.” This quote speaks for itself. A disscusion of what America is should not, cannot, ignore the genocide that made the creation of the country possible. This was, disgustingly, missing from the first source.

In my opinion, America means contradiction. The freedom of speech and beautiful things that exist today in America have come at the cost of hurts so great they can never be healed. To say America is or ever was great is to be woefully and indeed racistly naive. To say America is a place only of suffering is to ignore the beauty and rights afforded to its citizens. The imperfect, broken, painful path towards something better is America, with all its contradictions.

Photo by Tumisu (Pixabay)


Lack of Education Inside the Juvenile Justice System Creates an Endless Cycle

In some schools, counties, or even states, there is a direct school-to-prison pipeline. Students who, more times than not, are already struggling in school are sent into detention facilities, or detained at home, where they receive little or no quality education. Sierra Mannie investigated this idea, but with a more specific lense. She wrote an article for The Hechinger Report titled, ‘Chronically Absent: Is Quality Education Possible in Juvenile Detention in Mississippi?’ She started with one young man’s story, 19-year-old Jelin “Jay” McChristian. McChristian was held back in school multiple times and never finished 9th grade. By the time he was 17, he was in his second year of 9th grade. He was detained by the state and taken out of school. By the time he was released, it was summer and he would be starting 9th grade again, this being his third time.

Mannie wrote, “A 2006 Justice Policy Institute report, “The Dangers of Detention: The Impact of Incarcerating Youth in Detention and Other Secure Facilities,” says 43 percent of incarcerated youth nationally receiving remedial education services in detention did not go back to school once they got out, and another 16 percent went back to school but dropped out after five months.” These are more than just statistics, they show how these detention facilities impact students’ likelihood to graduate, or to continue their education at all.

In a letter from the Departments of Justice and Education, then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and then-Attorney General Eric Holder it was said that “For youth who are confined in juvenile-justice facilities, providing high-quality correctional education that is comparable to offerings in traditional public schools is one of the most powerful-and cost-effective levers we have to ensure that youth are successful once released and are able to avoid future contact with the justice system,” Selina Merrell, an education consultant for Mississippi detention facilities says that she has seen success, though, and it comes from one particular program: positive behaviour interventions and supports system, also known as PBIS.

On average it costs $153,300 a year to confine a single juvenile in the state of Mississippi, most of whom are rearrested within the next year. With PBIS, however, the likelihood of rearrest goes down significantly. McChristian never had to opportunity to be part of the PBIS program due to the detention centre he was in not using it. Some have said that this is due to the cost of the programme, however, in the long term, spending the money to educate kids, saves the state from spending money to redetain the students.

McChsritian dropped out after his release and is currently working independently to get his GED. He intends to go to Mississippi State to become a therapist.

juvenile hall photo


To Leave or Not to Leave

Immigration and refuge have always been part of America’s history. There is not a person in the US that does not have an immigration story somewhere within their family history. For some, it may be a grandparent who has immigrated from another country and had gone through Angel or Ellis Island. For others, it may be terrifying stories about how they ran away from a poverty-ridden country with no money and only the clothes on their back. The one thing all of these people have in common is the hope of living The American Dream.

In this day and age, it is very difficult to find any sort of news that doesn’t revolve around America’s immigration status. Unfortunately, America’s status is not for the better. Thousands of people are being shunned away from our country because they are “illegal aliens”. On June 17, 2019, President Donald Trump tweeted on his Twitter account that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be removing the millions of people who were illegally living in the United States (Trump). This is only one of many examples of the prominence of illegal immigration within our country.

Times in which the United States has had increased refugee numbers include WW2, Vietnam War, and the Cuban revolution. However, within the past few years, the number of legal refugees has dramatically decreased and the number of illegal refugees has dramatically increased. This is mostly in part of President Trump’s travel bans and refusal of immigrants. By limiting the ways that people can seek refuge in the US we are increasing the potential for more illegal immigrants. 

These are not the values that our country was built on. Our country was brought up on the promise that even if you are not an American born citizen, you can still acquire American citizenship. Other countries think of America as the embodiment of freedom. In the news, they see all of the great things that we have done for the people of our country. But then, they see all of the horrible things we are doing to those of other countries in the world. 

Many have compared America’s refugee camps to internment camps and concentration camps. These camps are the places that our government is putting those we are denying access to. Those living in these camps only have the hope that they can be transferred to another country that will accept them. Like internment and concentration camps, American refugee camps consist of buildings made of brick and concrete, close quarters, and very little amounts of clean water. These camps are disease-ridden, very cramped, and consist of very few smiling faces.

“How? How can this be happening? Have we learned nothing?” Grandmère mutters under her breath as she reads a copy of International News. You see, Grandmère is a holocaust survivor who can’t believe that innocent people are being put into the same conditions that her friends and family were put into (“Present Day”). The more horrors that come to light showing what refugees are going through in the United States camps show that a history we promised to ourselves, as well as our ancestors, would never happen again is happening as we turn our backs to it, out of sight out of mind.

The American Dream used to be as inscribed on the statue of liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”

Emma Lazarus

The American Dream now is ‘keep your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.’

This is how those who are trying to seek refugee are thinking. They are going from one extreme to another extreme. In both cases, neither is the preferred.

Every American has an immigration or refugee story in their families. The only question is, when are the stories going to be about prosperity like they once were, instead of stories of camps, starvation, poverty, and death.

Godoy, Mario A. “Trump Tweets Impending ICE Raids: Families Hurt.” Godoy Law Office, 16 Oct. 2019, godoyolivieri.com/trump-tweets-impending-ice-raids/.

Kerwin, Donald. “How America’s Refugee Policy Is Damaging to the World and to Itself.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 19 June 2018, www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/19/how-americas-refugee-policy-is-damaging-to-the-world-and-to-itself.

Lazarus, Emma. “The New Colossus.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1883, www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/colossus.htm.

Trump, Donald (realDonaldTrump). “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.”  17 June 2019, 9:20 PM. Tweet.

University, Duke. “Refugee Camps: Poor Living Conditions and Their Effects on Mental Health.” Refugee Mental Health, 28 Mar. 2018, sites.duke.edu/refugeementalhealth/2018/03/27/refugee-camps-poor-living-conditions-and-their-effects-on-mental-health/.

“Present Day.” White Bird: A Wonder Story, by R. J. Palacio, Random House Children’s Books, 2019, pp. 198–204.“Refugees in America.” International Rescue Committee (IRC), 2019, www.rescue.org/topic/refugees-america.


Americas Hope

The book BullyVille presents a real-life event and also what happens in many parts of the United States. When it comes to what it means to be an American, we would start with mature examples, but in this book, we are dealing with kids. Early on, kids do not focus on equality, justice, and the golden rule, but we can see how some families respected or came together during 9/11 to stay strong like how one of the American values is unity. In school, the inner literacy systems don’t affect much of the actions happening to expect for those who honor and obey it, but without that literacy that we learn in school, we would not be able to communicate when needed like in emergencies. Literature helps of appreciate cultures, beliefs, and understand humanity explained, “All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us address human nature and conditions which affect all people. These may be the need for growth, doubts, and fears of success and failure, the need for friends and family, the goodness of compassion and empathy, trust, or the realization of imperfection”(Sahr, The Odyssey Online). After 9/11 the values of American strengthened in the field of foreign protection with an increase in security in airports evidently shown with the creation of the TSA, “The TSA has slowed the process of getting on a plane, requiring all passengers to pass through security checkpoints before going to the gate”(Seaney, FareCompare). We see that the head of Bulleywell honored other family’s death which is a sign of American justice. In this quote, Bart celebrates Thanksgiving which is an American Holiday tradition/culture that is celebrated all over the United States to symbolize nature’s productivity, “I loved the feeling of walking into Gran’s house on Thanksgiving. It was always warm, too warm, and it always smelled awesome. It smelled like turkey of course, but mixed with the other dishes: paste and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, fried calamari — all sorts of delicious food that Gran could never get through her head weren’t part of your typical basic American Thanksgiving”(Prose 134). 9/11 definitely influenced how we think about foreign security when it comes to terrorism. Bart changed when he went to Bailywell and not for the better, in American values, change is one of the innovative things to do, but sometimes it is not for the better. One of the American values, equality is present in many parts of the United States which is money, but money doesn’t solve education issues or how smart you are like in this quote, “That was back when not-so-great grades were problems, back before we knew what problems were. She’d tell Dad that if only I went to someplace like Baileywell if only we could afford to send me there, I’d be interested in school, engaged(her word). Harvard would be practically begging me to go there”(Prose 36). It is important to get good grades first because money is usually not a problem if you can get perfect grades, but the mom thinks its just stories people make up. Many colleges offer different amounts of academic scholarship money based on your achievements, “However, accomplished students, even if they are not at elite status, can still earn partial-tuition scholarships or private scholarships”(Eneriz, Investopedia). Having said, how would the United States prevent a terrorist attack that isn’t specifically enforced? This book presented many parts that lack American Values shown by characters inside the book, but also at the same time included experiences and traditions that make up American culture.

Works Cited

Seaney, Rick. “9 Ways Airport Security Changed Since 9/11.” FareCompare, FareCompare L.P., 22 

Aug. 2017, 

https://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/9-ways-security-has-changed-since-911/.

Prose, Francine. Bullyville. HarperTeen, 2008.

Eneriz, Ashley. “How Much Can a Student Win from Scholarships?” Investopedia, Investopedia, 18 

Nov. 2019, 

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/121015/how-much-can-students-realistically-get-scholarships.asp.

Sahr, Breanna. “7 Reasons Why Literature Is So Important.” The Odyssey Online, The Odyssey 

Online, 16 Oct. 2019, 

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/7-reasons-why-literature-is-so-important.


The Choice to Leave

In the last couple of years, there has been an increase in deportation and voluntary departure. “Voluntary departure allows you to leave the United States within a certain time period on your own, rather than under a removal order” (Bray para. 5). According to the data from the Justice Department that was obtained by the Marshall Project, the number of monthly applications for voluntary departure doubled from 2016 to 2018. It also reached a high in Oct. 2018 with 4,192 application (Monthly Applications for Voluntary Departure). Why has there been such an increase in immigrants applying for voluntary departure? There are multiple reasons for this change, such as not being able to receive a green card, not enjoying their life in America, and fearing they may be deported by the US government.

People trying to immigrate to America leave the US because they have trouble getting a green card or they do not like the life they have in America. Many immigrants who live in the US are poor and have to work very hard to find jobs and make money. Some are not allowed to work, so they have to find jobs that can pay cash. They also have to go through the long process of getting a green card which takes many years. Many of the immigrants applying for a green card do not get approved. Behold the Dreamers, was set during the Great Recession in 2007. At this time, many families were struggling to make ends meet. “Papier is not everything. In America today, having documents is not enough. Look at how many people with papers are struggling. Look at how even some Americans are suffering” (Mbue 246). Although Americans have an American passport and papers that immigrants wish they had, they are still struggling. The Recession affected everyone in America. Some people are born in America who live in poverty. Immigrants then have to fight with them for jobs and welfare. People born in America will get priority over those who are trying to immigrate here. “I don’t like what my life has become in this country. I don’t know how long I can continue living like this, Neni. The suffering in Limbe was bad, but this one here, right now … it’s more than I can take” (Mbue 245). Jende and his family had to struggle to make money. Jende worked two jobs every day. He would leave early in the morning and come home after midnight. He made barely enough to afford to pay for their bills and to feed their children. He found living in America very hard. He thought of what his life back home would be. Jende’s situation is similar to other immigrants who have to make a tough decision if they want to stay in America or leave. Although America has many opportunities it also has many hardships that some immigrants are not prepared for.

Another reason why people trying to immigrate to America leave is that they fear they may be deported by the US government. If you do not get a green card from the US government then you will be deported. Some immigrants choose to leave voluntarily instead of being deported. Leaving voluntarily is better than getting deported because it makes it easier to re-enter America. “If you are deported, you have to wait years to apply for a visa to re-enter the United States, but those who leave voluntarily don’t have the same wait” (Thompson and Calderón para. 8). When you are deported it is much harder to get back into America because you were considered an illegal immigrant and have a longer waiting period until you are allowed back into the US. But at the same time if you choose to leave voluntarily then your immigration case will be closed and you would not receive a green card. The number of people trying to get green cards is so huge that our immigration system has trouble monitoring everyone. They are trying to close more immigration cases to keep up with the current demand for green cards. Immigration judges have offered voluntary departure to close cases quicker instead of dragging them on with multiple appeals (Thompson and Calderón para. 10). With the big push from Donald Trump on the deportation of illegal immigrants, judges and ICE officials have been trying to get illegal immigrants out of the country faster. Voluntary departure is very helpful because the government does not have to pay for them to leave the country, and they do not have to forcefully remove them. Because of this ICE officials have been making the push for more voluntary departures. “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increasingly gone after immigrants who have no criminal backgrounds—those who are more likely to qualify for voluntary departure” (Thompson and Calderón para. 10). The government wants to lower the number of illegal immigrants and voluntary departure helps make the process quicker. So the government will keep pushing for people to choose voluntary departure.

In conclusion, the sudden push for the deportation of illegal immigrants has sent many returning to their home countries in fear that they may be deported. They rather go willingly than be kicked out of a country which if they are deported may take years for them to be able to reenter the US.  After they leave, some apply to come back to the US legally. For others, America may be a distant memory as they try to rebuild their lives in their home countries.

Work Cited:

Bray, Ilona. “Voluntary Departure vs. Deportation.” Www.alllaw.com, Nolo, 5 Mar. 2015, www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/voluntary-departure-vs-deportation.html.

Calderón, Andrew R., and Katie Park. “Monthly Applications for ‘Voluntary Departure.’” The Marshall Project, 2019, www.themarshallproject.org/2019/05/08/more-detained-immigrants-are-giving-up-court-fights-and-leaving-the-u-s.

Mbue, Imbolo. Behold the Dreamers: a Novel. 4th Estate, 2017.

Thompson, Christie, and Andrew R. Calderón. “’Voluntary Departure’ Applications Surge Among Immigrants.” The Marshall Project, The Marshall Project, 8 May 2019, www.themarshallproject.org/2019/05/08/more-detained-immigrants-are-giving-up-court-fights-and-leaving-the-u-s.


Immigrants in America

The United States is known as a melting pot – a country with different people, “Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2017, there were 11.2 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from there, accounting for 25% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (5%) and E1 Salvador (3%)” (Radforce, Para 9), the immigrant population is still increasing nowadays.

Why do immigrants come to the United States? Immigrants are here for a couple reasons: democracy, freedom, and equality. Throughout history, the United States of America has been deeply related to immigrantion. The United States has been made up of immigrants since the very beginning. For many years the United States has opened its doors to people who are searching for freedom, equality, religious protection and more opportunities for a better life and pursue their own American dreams but there are still face a lot of challenges. So here comes the question: “What does it mean to be an immigrant in America?”

One of the top challenges is the language barrier. Language barrier can make everything difficult. For the aspect of their child’s education, it is hard to the immigrants to go to their child’s parents conference. Also just like the language problems, cultural barriers affect every aspect of life for immigrants, it can cause a lot of misunderstandings, for example, from my own experience, sometimes it is hard for me to figure out people are real angry or just joking, I understand the conversation but the serious face always makes me doubt myself, is that real angry? Some stereotypes are happen based on the cultural misunderstanding.

In the book American Born Chinese. It is a graphic book written by Gene Luen Yang. The character Chin-Kee behaves in ways of many American racial stereotypes of Chinese in terms of accent, dress, hairstyle, physical appearance, eating habits, academic performance, and hobbies in the school, which makes Danny who was American born Chinese worries about his image at school. This experience caused him to reject his Chinese culture but eventually he found his identity again due to his time with Chin-Kee.

Throughout this book, the question. “What does it mean to non-white be American?” and “What does it mean to be an immigrant in American?” come in my mind again. These two problems are mutually reinforcing. This book talks about the stereotypes of Americans to Chinsese, the main character Jingwang lived in Chinatown during his childhood growth,which is a symbol of American Chinese. To the immigrants in America it is different meaning to be an American through daily life, different habits, different cultures and different backgrounds, even maybe different thinking for one thing. The author uses Chin-Kee who come to the United States from China to visit Jinwang every summer to make a contrast of Jing Wang, shows the different between American born Chinese and native Chinese, and the difference between American born Chinese and other white-Americans. Furthermore it is a symbol to show the life between the White-Americans and immigrants by graphic. This aspect helps address the essential question of “What does it mean to immigrants be American?” because life is a challenging to asking who you are and who you want to be in life. 

The immigrants used to be considered as taking Americans’ jobs. President Trump come out the new immigration policies (Raise Act) to improve the U.S. economy and the job market. “He has called for a crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying they ‘compete directly against vulnerable American workers.’ He promises to cut back legal immigration with new controls he says would ‘boost wages and ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first’” (Preston Julia, para4). “Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, takes an upbeat view, saying immigrants contribute to the economy whether they are here legally or not, by providing labor for American employers and opening businesses that create jobs for Americans rather than taking them” (Preston Julia, para5).

Over the years, America has become more diverse and accepting as a melting pot. Diversity is one of the signs and symbols of the United States which is a nation combines with difference and accept difference, that is enough. More and more immigrants come to America to realize their dreams and exercise their precious freedom compared to where they used to live. 

Citations

Radford, Jynnah. “Key Findings about U.S. Immigrants.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 17 June 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/17/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/.

“RAISE Act.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAISE_Act.

Preston, Julia. “Immigrants Aren’t Taking Americans’ Jobs, New Study Finds.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Sept. 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/us/immigrants-arent-taking-americans-jobs-new-study-finds.html.

“The Great Immigration Debate: Immigration in Your Backyard.” SGR Law, https://www.sgrlaw.com/ttl-articles/40/.


Will You Vote Now?

A huge debate within the last couple of years is how can we get everyone to use their privilege to vote. After the 2016 election, many Americans were not happy about the result. It showed that the electoral surveys were not accurate enough for what the people wanted. That means that not enough people voted, but how can we change that? We the people can change that by educating the citizens of the United States about our political issues and how to change them. That way they are able to make the decision of who we want as President. 

There are many ways we can fix the lack of voting in America. A great way to start is by getting everyone registered to vote, because once you are registered you are able to have a say in the government and political system. The mail in ballots are a great convenient to help get people to vote. Next you must give people incentives to vote, which may be giving out stickers that say, “I Voted”, or giving out donuts to all of those that vote. Most importantly we need to educate people and keep them informed on current politics, so that they are able to help America unite when the elections come and help overcome our very serious political issues. One of the most important issues right now is police brutality and the more people that know about it the easier it is to make a change in our country and help prevent problems like these. 

Many Americans want to make a change in the government or our country, because not everyone agrees with everything. One way people can do that is by voting. Many representatives have an incentive for why they are running and have specific ideas on how to help our country develop. If we the people vote for the people that are going to fix the problems that we want to be fixed,  that can also help our country develop. This will lead to more people getting involved with our government. We need everyone’s voice to be heard, so that not all of the votes are going towards one person, because the people who vote agree with him, but that may only be 50% of America and they may all be wealthy. But for the rest of Americans, they may want someone else, but if they do not vote, then we will not be able to solve problems like that. 


Is the American Dream dead?

The “American Dream”. The dictionary definition is “the aspirational belief in the US that all individuals are entitled to the opportunity for success and upward social mobility through hard work.” (Dictionary.com)  We hear that term often, but for every individual, it means something different. For some, it’s imaginary, not real. It’s eluded them and left them in sorrow. For others, it’s their glorious tale of going from rags to riches and for some it’s still just a dream. They work every day to make their American dream come true, whether it’s to be a doctor, a teacher, a professional athlete, a millionaire or anything in between, yet it still escapes them.

In 2018 The New York Times partnered with the American Enterprise Institute to conduct a survey of 2,411 Americans about the American Dream. In this survey, over 80% of people claimed that “to have freedom of choice in how to live” and “a good family life” were essential to fulfilling the American Dream. On the other end, only 16% believed that being wealthy was essential to the American Dream.

The main character in Jim Thorpe The Original All American, Jim Thorpe, became a success story of the American dream. Thorpe became one of the greatest football players ever and now even has an award named after him. Every year the “Jim Thorpe Award” is given to the best defensive back in college football. However, like most, his road wasn’t easy.

Thorpe grew up bouncing between different schools and being away from his family for long stretches of time; only Thorpe was Indian. The schools that Thorpe attendedwere meant to assimilate Indians into American culture. Students were beaten for using their native language or their old names. This didn’t end up being the best environment for an Indian like Thorpe to thrive in. 

This challenge along with many others didn’t slow Thorpe down, however. He faces many other challenges throughout the novel, and if you’re interested in finding those out, you should read the whole book.

For Thorpe, the American dream was real, as real as it could be. Unfortunately that is not the case for everyone. 

From an economic standpoint the American dream of working hard to get what you want or of being creative and making your own business is coming to a stagnant halt. Mark Manson in “The American Dream is Killing Us” states “In fact, it’s now the opposite: now there are millions of hardworking, intelligent people who are living from paycheck-to-paycheck and are stuck in jobs with few opportunities for advancement and little hope for the future.” 

Thorpe’s story-tailed path of his American Dream took place in the early 1900s. Manson wrote his article about the downfall of the American Dream in 2016. Is it possible that American Dream is nearly impossible to achieve in the modern day and age? Or perhaps does the possibility of fulfilling the American Dream depends on what you believe fulfilling the American Dream truly means.In 2018 The New York Times partnered with the American Enterprise Institute to conduct a survey of 2,411 Americans about the American Dream. In this survey, over 80% of people claimed that “to have freedom of choice in how to live” and “a good family life” were essential to fulfilling the American Dream. On the other end, only 16% believed that being wealthy was essential to the American Dream.

The historian James Truslow Adams invented “the American Dream” in 1931 (Anthony Brandt). Is it possible that the phrase and idea that has shaped a significant amount of american culture has died not even 100 years after it was created? Is it more possible that it’s only died to those who have given up on listening to it’s heartbeat, no matter how faint at times, and moved onto other things?

Works Cited:

“The American Dream.” AMERICAN HERITAGE, 1 Nov. 2019, www.americanheritage.com/american-dream.

Bruchac, Joseph. Jim Thorpe, Original All-American. Listening Library, 2008.

Engle, Jeremy. “Do You Think the American Dream Is Real?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Feb. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/learning/do-you-think-the-american-dream-is-real.html.

Mark Manson. “The American Dream Is Killing Us.” Mark Manson, 19 Jan. 2019, markmanson.net/american-dream.“What Does The American Dream Mean?” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, 29 Oct. 2019, www.dictionary.com/e/pop-culture/the-american-dream/.


The Oppression of Freedom

The land of the free and opportunity, the United States of America. It was established on the ideal of freedom and equal representation. The land of the free and opportunity, the United States of America. It was established on the ideal of freedom and equal representation. Freedom has a vast number of definitions depending on the person you ask to interpret it, but it will be based around “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action (“Freedom”).” Americans take their rights more for granted as time passes. Without our rights, life as an American would change. Less than two centuries ago, America was not the land of the free for many. Slavery has tainted society to this day with discrimination against people of color because they were treated as if they were oxen or mules. Slave owners tried to justify their actions using philosophy such as Darwinism. This created a society where the color of one’s skin defined how relevant you are as a human. Through many decades of struggle, slavery was abolished, but racism is still prevalent today. America has learned to improve American rights through the observation of mistakes by itself and other countries. Although all Americans are not represented equally depending on race, gender, and social class, hard work and determination will guide us to broaden our horizons; soon, everyone will live in a unified community.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr tells the story of how life was during WWII and told the life of a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and a smart German boy, Werner. The book illustrated vivid pictures and described the struggle that real people experienced in this discriminative war against the Jewish people.  The story of Werner showed the desperation the German people were tackled and showed why the German people were so adamant to follow Hitler and his racist approach to society. As the story progressed, it showed the pain that Werner felt towards following the orders of Hitler. His relationship with Marie-Laure showed Werner’s sympathy and how he was forced to fight as a Nazi. During WWII, although the Jewish people were the majority that had their rights and freedom taken away, the German people had no other choice but to follow Hitler’s approach to improving the economy. Many people blamed the whole German population, but the only people who had the freedom to choose to do this unforgettable insurrection against society were Hitler and his fellow advisors and commanders. All the Light We Cannot See portrayed all the perspectives, with many overlooked by the majority, of the people involved in WWII and showed the trials that everyone went through, not just the Jewish people although they had to endure discrimination.

Similar to Nazi Germany, America, during slavery and the Jim Crow Laws involved the bigotry towards a certain minority group. Many countries looked up to America and wanted to follow what they did. When America revolted against the British to gain their independence, the bravery of the Americans encouraged the French citizens to overthrow their corrupt government. But America, like every other country, has its faults. “‘America had, by a wide margin, the harshest law of this kind,’ Whitman says. ‘In particular, some of the state laws threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage. That was something radical Nazis were very eager to do in Germany as well (Little).’” You can see that, like many other countries, Nazi Germany looked to America as a role model to base the Nuremberg Laws off of. The Nazis knew that the Jim Crow Laws took it too far and even said: “that American racial classification law was much harsher than anything the Nazis themselves were willing to introduce in Germany (Little).” With many countries that look up to America, it can cause good and bad situations depending on how they use our experience as the land of the free.

Today we still struggle with having an equal opportunity for everyone because of the trauma of the past. According to Daina Ramey Berry, many people believe that slavery occurred a long time ago, but it has only been two or three generations since that time. Ideas and concepts that were acceptable before are not morally and ethically acceptable today. People prefer to choose the easiest way out of hard situations. To fix the past, the majority want to forget it, but this way has many flaws. It can leave people hurt, especially the one who tries to forget. It can be arduous to learn about these times of inequality, but the way to fix societal ideas is to understand where these racist remarks uprooted. Berry explains “they were bought and sold just like we sell cars and cattle today. They were gifted, deeded and mortgaged the same way we sell houses today. They were itemized and insured the same way we manage our assets and protect our valuables (Berry).” Life as an African-American has been significantly influenced by racist deeds such as slavery and the Jim Crow Laws. Europeans created slavery to assist the efficiency of the production of goods, but it is not morally and ethically right to force people to work and punish them if they revolt. Many ideas were deemed as acceptable in the past, but as times change, peoples’ ideals also fluctuate.

In conclusion, freedom is one of the most important values that Americans take for granted and cannot live without. Our ancestors struggled with the problems of not having the same rights that we have today. But our society is not equal and has some groups of people favored rather than others. Everyone should help contribute to the problem we have because the only way to improve is to collaborate and build a better future together. A better future is created by learning from and fixing the mistakes of the past. The future lies ahead, waiting for us as a whole to progress and fix our mistakes.

Works Cited

Berry, Daina Ramey. “American Slavery: Separating Fact from Myth.” The Conversation, 11 Oct. 2019, http://theconversation.com/american-slavery-separating-fact-from-myth-79620.

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See: a Novel. Scribner, 2014.

“Freedom.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/freedom.

Little, Becky. “How the Nazis Were Inspired by Jim Crow.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 16 Aug. 2017, https://www.history.com/news/how-the-nazis-were-inspired-by-jim-crow.

Image from https://www.onyxtruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/to-exist-is-to-resist-630×421-620×400.jpg


Should Trump be president?

In my opinion, Donald Trump shouldn’t be president again for the negative impact he has given us. For example being extremely racist towards immigrants. Trump made border between Mexico and U.S higher and even hired more patrol agents. Also policies who are in charge of restraining immigrants have received domestic abuse and sexual assaultment. Also these policies separates migrant children from their families. Trump as a president has said very racist things about people of color and immigrants, and on public hasn’t talk with respect manners. Why would we want Trump again if we need a president who treat us equally?


The American dream in Death of a Salesman

“What are our American values?” And “What is the American dream?” Are very important questions in this country. Arthur Miller gives his answer to these questions in the book Death of a Salesman. Miller states “if Willy’s is an American dream, it is also a dream shared by all those who are aware of the gap between what they might have been and what they are.” 

Death of a Salesman is focused around Willy Loman a father and a salesman. As Willy is getting older he starts talking to himself and loses his riches and respect from others. In the beginning the Loman’s were seen as the perfect American family but throughout the book the truth is unveiled. Willy, the father, begins talking to himself and fighting with his sons Biff and Happy. The sons are no longer the hot shots that they used to be seen as. Happy is an assistant to the assistant buyer in a department store. Although he has a successful job he still dreams of moving out west with his brother which they often talk about. Biff doesn’t have a job like his brother and is more focused on moving out west. Just like in Of Mice and Men their American dream was to live off the land. After a big fight with his father Biff makes plans to ask an old friend and businessman for a job. After the meeting Willy and his sons met to share the news, which wasn’t as good as they originally hoped. “Then why’d you go?” “Why did I go? Why did I go! Look at  you! Look at what’s become of you!” This Biff says to his father after breaking the bad news that he didn’t get a job. Towards the end of the book their values get skewed, they all start to care more about money and reputation that they are now seen as somewhat crazy. 

The definition of the American dream is “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S., especially by working hard and becoming successful”(Merriam-Webster). Throughout the book it is thought that the values and “American dream” is having money and being well liked. At the end of the book it is proven that all the obsessing over money and being well liked is not all that matters. Without giving away the ending, I can say that although some can see that in the end there is more to life than money others cant. “He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smiling back-that’s the earthquake.” Others were even able to see and understand Willys values and dreams. The book takes place in the 1940’s and sense then people’s values have changed. Now things like happiness is more important than money or looks and what others think of you. 

Works Cited

“The American Dream.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/the%20American%20dream.

Fichandler, Zelda, and Arthur Miller. Death of a Salesman. Penguin Classics, 1976.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Penguin Books, 2017.


Dreaming Big These Days

In America throughout history, we address the idea of dreams, that build the country up from where it started to what it is today. Although our society continues to be built on dreams, they have been altered through failure sometimes or other things in order to fit a change that has occured in a time period or situation. The reasons for these changes in a dream might be different, but one thing is common with them all, which is probably in part a reason why people are attracted to come to America. By allowing failures and mistakes that change our dreams to teach us lessons, American’s can continue to grow and achieve new dreams that are born from the ashes. 

Now, failure is believed to be a bad thing, but that isn’t always true, especially in American culture. It is an opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes. In Brian Scudamore’s article The Art of Overcoming Failure and Dreaming Big he states, “Failing forces you to reevaluate where you’ve been, think on the spot, and learn to pivot”(Scudamore, para 9). From this quote, you can see that failures pushes you to take action, causing a need for a new dream to take its place. Your old dreams might have failed, but if you learn from the failure and alter the new dream to make it better, then growth and success can still occur. 

In John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, we see a major example of this through symbolism. In the book, Steinbeck uses the red pony, also known as Gablein, as a symbol to demonstrate how dreams and failures affect people. For example, Jody, the main character, has the dream of having Gablein and riding him everywhere. This dream allows us to see how dreams motivate Americans to work harder and try their best at things. However,When addressing the other part of symbolism about the pony,  we see the effect that loss and failure have on a person’s ability to dream again or their work ethic. When Gablein falls ill and continues to grow sicker, Jody feels a deep sense of regret, embarrassment, and failure. This causes him to fear doing anything like it again in case he messes up. Even though this affected Jody, instead of allowing it to control him, he used it as a lesson to try harder in everything he does so it will have a better outcome hopefully next time, demonstrating the belief of many Americans of never giving up.

Throughout American society and History we can see different examples of this too. For example, Walt Disney. Disney failed many times before succeeding with Disney World including his first animation company going bankrupt (Asbury para 5). Or what about Thomas Eddison? He invented the light bulb, but it took him nine thousand attempts to do so (Asbury para 4). As you can see, many famous people tried and failed many times to achieve their dreams and ended up succeeding in the end. All it takes is a little determination and learning from mistakes to get them there. 

You can also see the positive effects of failure in people of today. For example Aly Raisman, the two time Olympic gymnast for the USA. In her autobiography Fierce, she talks about how people didn’t always believe in her because she was an underdog. One line that I think really relates to this topic from her book is about building yourself back time each time you fail, no matter how many times it takes. She states, “But I worked ferociously, pushing myself so hard I would eventually catch up. Struggling, falling behind, and climbing my way back became my normal” (Raisman 28). Her experience shines a light that shows that she has failed many times, but instead of giving up she got back up everytime and eventually achieved her dream.  

Failures are often considered to be a bad thing, but that just isn’t the truth. While they can be disappointing and hurtful at some points, they also push us to change our dreams and learn from our mistakes in order to improve. This gift that failing gives us in terms of dreams is an amazing thing and should be more encouraged in our society today. 

Works Cited

Asbury, Neal. “The American Dream and Why failure is Part of the Solution.” ManzellaReport.com, 11 June 2015, http://www.manzellareport.com/index.php/u-s/1009-the-american-dream-and-why-failure-is-part-of-the-solution

Steinbeck, John. The Red Pony. Penguin, 1933.

Scudamore, Brian.”The Art of Overcoming Failure and Dreaming Big.” Forbes.com, 26 March 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2019/03/26/the-art-of-overcoming-failure-and-dreaming-big/#1f6757541eee

Raisman, Aly. Fierce. Little Brown and Company, 2017.


The Bullets you Shoot

Everyone has a different definition of being American, although many of us can agree that being American is about three main ideas: freedom, equality, and a chance at achieving your dreams. The Hate u Give being American is a much more complicated thing. Here you have a community of people who are discriminated against, poor and live in a crime-filled community because of an endless cycle of discrimination. Since the main characters of the novel are African-American who live in one of the poorest parts of their states, we get to see that the words people associate with being American do not apply to everyone. 

One big thing people say when talking about what it means to be American is equality. Yet the novel centers around a young man named Khalil who was killed by a white police officer simply because the officer thought the hairbrush in Khalil’s hand was a gun. A quote that sticks out to me is “Yet I think it’ll change one day. How? I don’t know. When? I definitely don’t know. Why? Because there will always be someone ready to fight. Maybe it’s my turn.” (Thomas, 443). This quote refers to ending police brutality and how it’s Starr’s (the main character of the novel) turn to fix the broken system. The book the Hate u Give is about racism, police brutality, equality, poverty, and other things that are very important to the world and its people today. Police Brutality is a real-life issue, and it’s not the only kind of discrimination so many people face. As I mentioned earlier, poverty is a cycle, and often racial groups take up the majority in low-income communities and receive poor education. “Studies have found that graduation rates are generally associated with positive public safety outcomes and lower crime rates for communities” (Education and Crime). The characters of this novel deal with poverty, poor education, and therefore crime and higher gun rates. 

This book is very important to today’s world. African Americans and other minorities are killed at a higher rate than their white counterparts. “According to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, over the course of a lifetime, black men face a one in 1,000 risk of being killed during an encounter with police, a rate much higher than that of white men” (Santhanam). Therefore, this book is very important for today’s members of the nation. In order to completely be a democratic nation, the people must be able to understand the problems in today’s world and promote the change to fix it. The Hate u Give helps people become less ignorant about what’s happening today and allows those people to make their decision on whether or not to recognize this problem and help promote change. 

Overall, however, America is built on being a democracy, therefore, we must at least attempt to learn about what’s happening in this country. “Democratic values support the belief that an orderly society can exist in which freedom is preserved. But order and freedom must be balanced.” (Democratic Values – Liberty, Equality, Justice).  For the world’s news being at the touch of today’s population, we do not make well-informed choices on what to ask for in this country if we do not actually know. If we want to use democracy to achieve the ideals of freedom, equality, and achieving the American Dream, we must make sure everyone gets equal access to their basic rights and that we pay attention to what is happening, and not allow such a large group of people to be mistreated based on their race gender, or sexuality.

Works Cited

“Democratic Values – Liberty, Equality, Justice.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org/gov/1d.asp.

“Education and Crime – Criminal Justice – IResearchNet.” Criminal Justice, criminal-justice.iresearchnet.com/crime/education-and-crime/4/.

Santhanam, Laura. “After Ferguson, Black Men Still Face the Highest Risk of Being Killed by Police.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 9 Aug. 2019, www.pbs.org/newshour/health/after-ferguson-black-men-and-boys-still-face-the-highest-risk-of-being-killed-by-police.

Thomas, Angie. The Hate u Give. Balzer + Bray, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.


Cops for Injustice

One concept that has been paved in American minds is the American Creed. The American Creed includes the ideas that lay the foundation for American culture, traditions, and beliefs. The main moniker we have been given is “the land of the free”, however, is that truly an epithet America deserves? After reading the novel The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, I can confidently say that America is not worthy of this title. Multiple statistics and personal anecdotes visibly reflect the absence of this belief.

A recurring problem that has plagued the country is police brutality, especially towards minorities like black people. In the story, Starr, the main character, suffers a loss of her friend, Khalil, due to police brutality. This scenario isn’t too far off from the real world. Justin Feldman, a social epidemiologist at New York University School of Medicine, claims that “the number one thing it comes down to is a lack of accountability by police departments, both legally and politically” (Khan, 2019). This is proven clear by the fact that about 1 in 1,000 black males are killed at the hands of police at a repeating rate, according to a recent analysis on death from police officers, along with many other minority groups, such as Native Americans or Latinos (Khan, 2019). This not only highlights a large number of Black people who are being oppressed, but also negligence of action on the government’s part to stop this oppression.

There are multiple other statistics that show an obvious amount of injustice towards black people. Data collected over 20 years in Missouri from the ACLU showed that black drivers were stopped 85% more than white drivers and had also been shown to have been given disproportionate force with these black drivers (Wilcox, 2018). The NAACP collected statistics that reflect a series of these kinds of injustices. For example, African Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, but the imprisonment rate of African Americans for drug charges is almost 6 times that of whites. The website also said that African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of white people, and, in 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population (NAACP, 2019).

Mere numbers cannot make up for personal experience and trauma. Josh Bills was casually living life in Missouri until he was approached by five police officers due to a call about a “black man; black clothing”. Although cooperative, he was forcefully pinned to the ground having his head smashed to the concrete. He was held in jail for two weeks and had lost his job (Wilcox, 2018). In California, Stephon Clark was a Black Muslim who was shot and then killed by a police officer while in his grandmother’s backyard for having a cell phone. Weeks after, Saheed Vassell was shot dead by four New York Department police officers during the anniversary of MLK’s death. The officers had turned off their body cameras and he was shown to have been merely holding a metal pipe (Yasin, 2018). 

This is the reality for many minorities living in America. Many of the struggles they go through are focused on in The Hate U Give. Police brutality is an idea that completely discredits the American Creed and shames American beliefs. This wrongdoing can end up ruining many of these already oppressed people’s lives and is something that has been hiding in the shadows as dark as the skins of the people the police officers have been targeting. We must address these problems that have hindered the lives of black people for an undeniably long time. Even though the intent for cops was to be people who enforce the law and bring justice to those who break them, the reality seems to be that they actually oppress people of these rights–even when these people are the ones who need these rights and support of the law the most.

Works Cited

“Criminal Justice Fact Sheet.” NAACP, www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/.

Khan, Amina. “Getting Killed by Police Is a Leading Cause of Death for Young Black Men in America.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2019, www.latimes.com/science/story/2019-08-15/police-shootings-are-a-leading-cause-of-death-for-black-men.

Perry, Catherine D. “Judge Orders St. Louis Police to Immediately Change Tactics and Protect the Rights of People.” ACLU of Missouri, 29 Dec. 2017, www.aclu-mo.org/en/news/judge-orders-st-louis-police-immediately-change-tactics-and-protect-rights-people.

 Thomas, Angie, and Henriette Zeltner. The Hate u Give. Cbt, 2018. 

Wilcox, Gillian. “Police Brutality Against Black Kansas City Man Caught on Video.” American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union, 12 Oct. 2018, www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/police-brutality-against-black-kansas-city-man.

Yasin, Huma. “Racial Injustice in America Is Worse than You Thought.” Racial Injustice in America Is Worse than You Thought, TRT World, 11 Apr. 2018, www.trtworld.com/opinion/racial-injustice-in-america-is-worse-than-you-thought-16644.


Contraction and Corruption in Our American Beliefs

American beliefs and values are what this country is built on and how we unite ourselves as a nation. Yet, everyone’s American values and beliefs differ so it is hard to define “what are our American values”. When this country was founded,our main goal was freedom and the right to live independently . This is what I believe is the core American value is. However, that concept is not carried out by the American people for people of color which leads to the racial inequality, and bias today’s nation. 

Although this country was built on freedom, there are other key factors it was built on, such as racial inequality. When the Constitution was written African people were considered ⅗ of a person.  The 1830 Indian Removal Act which forcibly moved Indians from their land to make room for white settlers. There was the 1790 Naturalization Act which created an opportunity for European immigrants yet, not any others. Racism and inequality built into the history of our country. Rules were bent so that people could get what they wanted for them to thrive but not everyone. Freedom was only available to some and not others from the start of this nation. That form of inequality and racial bias still affects our society today.

Racial bias plays into our day to day lives. There is something called “development bias” which essentially means “impediments that block access…to those resources necessary to develop and refine their talents but that are conveyed via informal social relations”(Loury). People of color haven’t been given the same access to certain things as white people have because certain resources haven’t been available to them. Black men make “.87 cents to every white man’s dollar” (PayWage). With that wage gap they are not able to give their family they same set of resources as a white man can and that will continue to affect future generations with this never ending toxic chain. Many people to either not do anything about or not  acknowledge it is as a whole.  

So how can we claim we have freedom for all, when all you have to do is take a look at our nation and that that is not true. People of color are not being given the same opportunities as white people. America was a country built for white people to succeed. So, how can everyone be truly free and live independently America if we are not given the same opportunities?

Works Cited

Loury, Glenn C. “Why Does Racial Inequality Persist? Culture, Causation, and Responsibility” Manhattan Institute, May 7th 2019

“RACE-The Power of Illusion” California Newsreel, 2003

Ayers, Michaela. “Racial Wage Gap for Men” PayWage, May 7 2019


Diversity in America

“This is America: a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light, in a broad and peaceful sky.” I agree with former President Bush that the United States is extremely diverse. Therefore, the importance of diversity in all academic and public spaces is a belief held close by the government and most Americans. This mindset has been supported for decades by our nation’s laws, judicial system, and civil rights activists. The fact that the leaders of our country have begun to support more diversity legally shows how committed Americans and our branches of government are to this newer American value.

One of the first examples of the push for diversity in public spaces was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The Civil Rights Act put a stop to Jim Crow laws that had been institutionalized for years, especially in southern states. President Johnson’s actions clearly showed that he supported having an end to segregation, and a lack of diversity, in public places.

Another example of how the government got involved in a lack of diversity was during Brown vs. Board of Education. The Supreme Court ruled about a legal need for diversity in public schools. The ruling was that racial segregation violated the 14th Amendment in the Constitution. This Amendment prohibits states from denying equal protection to anyone, and students of color weren’t receiving as high of a quality education as the white students in their areas. This shows that almost a century after the 14th amendment was ratified, the law was still being enforced to promote diversity and equality.

Finally, examples of a non-government-involved person promoting diversity occurred in several instances during the Civil Rights Movement. One of the most prominent civil rights figures was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King mentions many of the United States’ founding documents, including the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Declaration of Independence. He tied everything together very well because he mentioned that even though the government has put acts and laws into place to support equality and fairness, life still wasn’t fair for many black people in the United States. Thankfully, the quality of life for African-Americans in the U.S. has improved significantly in comparison to how it was in the 1960s.

In conclusion, diversity has been promoted by government leaders, civil rights activists, and average citizens for several decades of our nation’s history. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act to stop the Jim Crow laws in the south. This significantly helped to stop segregation, and therefore promoted diversity in public spaces. Also, the Brown vs. Board of Education court case outlawed segregation in public schools. Promoting equal educational opportunities to all students, no matter their color, caused a great deal more of schools to have a more diverse population. A positive impact of this is that when kids are introduced to other children that don’t look like them, they grow into better adults who are more likely to promote diversity wherever they go. Finally, civil rights activists like Dr. King spoke directly to public masses about the importance of diversity and equal rights. The significant push for diversity has been incredible, but there is always more progress that can be made in the United States of America.

Works Cited

Duignan, Brian. “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 10 May 2019, www.britannica.com/event/Brown-v-Board-of-Education-of-Topeka.

eNotes Publishing Ed. eNotes Editorial. “‘I Have a Dream’ Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, www.enotes.com/topics/have-dream-speech.

History.com Editors. “Jim Crow Laws.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 28 Feb. 2018, www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/jim-crow-laws.


What it means to be American

What does it mean to be an “American”? An American is someone who has values like equality, or beliefs like the American dream or a sense of American creed. Across American culture, there are several examples such as in the Declaration of Independence, and even books like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. 

Equality is a value that Americans should have. The Declaration of Independence states that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”(US 1776). This says that all Americans are equal and that everybody should be treated the same way. If we as Americans treat each other equally, we can see the good that everyone brings to the U.S. as a whole. 

A belief of the common American is that of the American dream. The idea of the American dream is that in America you have the chance to dream big and earn wealth and live happily in a nice white picket fenced home. There are people like Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian, who have done well from their poorer upbringings and have done well for themselves in life. 

American creed is summed up by “I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies”(The American’s). stated by William Tyler Page. It is like American nationalism, you have to find pride in your country no matter who is there. If we do that, then we can see that everyone is American, no matter their color, gender, religion, it doesn’t matter if we all love and support each other in this country.

If we can see that everyone has values, beliefs, and American creeds, than we can see that we are all American. No matter how diverse we as U.S. residents  may be, we are all still just Americans.

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York, Little, Brown and Company, 2007.

The American’s Creed, www.usflag.org/american.creed.html


Are our American Values lost?

American values most important to the continued development of our culture are Social Equality and Equal Opportunity to obtain basic human needs. The United States has historically been called the melting pot of the world. People of numerous different ethnicities, cultures, and religions founded the United States in search of a place where all would be accepted. This rich diversity has set the stage for an equality focused society. 

Social Equality is one of the most important values because it is a belief that we all share and strive to earn as individuals. Everyone in the world would like to be treated with respect. When a group of people who are bound together by a common religion, race, or belief feel as though they aren’t being treated fair it’s their right to do something about it and change the way the American culture views their demographic. For example, in the nineteenth century women didn’t have the right to vote. They proclaimed that they were not being treated with equality since men could vote and women could not. They took action by creating The Declaration of Sentiments at the Seneca Falls convention in 1848. The Declaration of Sentiments was similar to the Declaration of Independence in which it describes the rights of Americans and their grievances against their oppressors. The Declaration of Sentiments, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, states  “He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.”(Women’s). Women demanded the right to vote so they could be represented fairly in politics and government, similar to men. Women of this Convention stood for equal representation between the sexes within their society. The right to vote symbolizes that every voice matters and can make a difference. When Social Equality is threatened the citizens of the United States have the power to change the law. 

Secondly, Equal Opportunity to obtain basic and essential human needs is also a value and belief worth speaking out for along with Social Equality. These needs include safety, law and order, governmental stability, economic stability and shelter from the elements (McLeod). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a committee that focuses on fairness in employment and oversees the protection of the Equal Opportunity value. The EEOC is in charge of enforcing legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The Equal Pay Act was created “To prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.”(United). The Act puts men and women on an equal base for economic opportunities by ensuring that people can not be paid more or less because of their gender. If men and women are both paid the same wages then they have an equal opportunity to compete for jobs, housing, education and social stability.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is another example of Equal Opportunity protections. The Civil Rights Act prohibited “segregation in public places, and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin”(History). This act was important because it not only prevents gender discrimination but racial discrimination too. The Act puts all Americans on an equal playing field to earn jobs. Equal opportunity is important because it supports the idea of Social Equality and it sets the tone for how we as Americans treat each other.

Unfortunately Equal Opportunity to access human needs is not being extended to immigrants today. Michelle Obama said “Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it… and he wants everyone in this country to have the same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.”(Transcript). Though Americans are all different we are all deserving of respect and the chance to achieve the American dream no matter where we come from. 

We as United States citizens need to face the inequalities in opportunity and extend them to all. If we abandoned our core values then we are abandoning the American creed that each one of us is created equal and deserves the opportunity to achieve our highest potential. 

Works Cited 

History.com Editors. “Civil Rights Act of 1964.” History, A&E Television Networks, 4 Jan. 2010, https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-act. Accessed 15 October 2019.

McLeod, Saul. “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” SimplyPsychology, SimplyPsychology,https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html. Accessed 15 October 2019.

“Modern HIstory Sourcebook: The Seneca Falls Conference, 1848.”Fordham University, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/senecafalls.asp. Accessed 15 October 2019.

“Search.” Citation- Report of the Women’s Rights Convention, Held at Seneca falls, N.Y., July 19th & 20th, 1848 – UW-Madison Libraries, University Wisconsin- Madison. https://search.library.wisc.edu. Accessed 15 October 2019. 

“The Equal Pay Act of 1963.”U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, USA.Gov, https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa.cfm. Accessed 15 October 2019.

“Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech.” NPR, NPR, 5 Sept. 2012, https://www.npr.org/2012/09/04/160578836/transcript-michelle-obamas-convention-speech. Accessed 15 October 2019. 

United States. Department of Labor. Office of the Solicitor. Legislative History of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Amending Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as Amended, Public Law 88-38, 88th Congress, H.R. 6060 and S. 1409. Washington :U.S. G.P.O., 1963.

Woman’s Rights Convention (1st : 1848 : Seneca Falls, N.Y.). Report Of the Woman’s Rights Convention, Held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19th & 20th, 1848. Rochester :Printed by John Dick at the North Star Office, 1848.


Why Education Fails

As Americans, we believe that schooling is one of the most important values and rights that define us into who we are today. Without education, we would not be capable adults in our society. Or does it leave us clueless to a great deal of information that makes leads us to a successful life? Many schools do not prepare students for assimilation into the adult world. Although some schools have extra classes that teach some of this knowledge, it is not required for students to take these classes. Because a limited amount of schools have these advanced classes, many students do not opt to take these viable classes. After high school, students usually go down the path of getting higher education in college. This leads them into thinking that you cannot be successful without higher education and putting themselves into debt with loans. The same level of education is not available to everyone because it can be based on one’s culture or social class. Education helps you learn the basics of living in the adult world, but it should focus more on teaching fundamentals that are more important to our daily lives. Does education prepare students for the future? It teaches us important lessons like collaborating with peers, reading and writing, and basic arithmetic. Our American culture is created and learned in school where many different ethnicities intermix. But students struggle in the real world because some higher education can hurt more than it helps and people struggle to find a suitable education to ease the stress of adulthood.

A lot of students struggle when they are introduced to a more independent life. Our whole life we have depended on our parents or guardians. The main fundamental that education is built upon is getting good grades. Because of this, students are not aware of the outside factors of real-life that impede their success. College is where students learn how to take care of themselves without the help of others. It introduces us to many aspects of living that we did not experience in our comfortable lives at home. But education leaves various elements essential to living as an individual. “Many people that graduate college do not know how to pay their taxes. Most do not even know what the different type of taxes are (Reddy).” According to Neel Reddy, schools do not teach students enough about concepts like taxes and are oblivious to many other aspects of being an adult. This leads most alumni down the road of debt and misfortune because they are not aware of these conditions they never had to deal with before. For most of the people that went to college, they would have to pay off student loans. When students start college, they rarely understand how expensive college is. 

Although college is important to achieve better jobs and goals, it forces many undergrads to believe that college is the only definitive path to success. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates dropped out of one of the most prestigious schools, Harvard University, and pursued their dream to become some of the richest people in the world (Rampton). For most college dropouts, this does not happen. But a tiny percentage could be at the top without a college education. Some people also believe that because they have a college degree, it guarantees them a good job. College helps you become better suited as a job candidate, but it does not mean that your degree will completely prepare you for a specific job. “In 2011, 1.5 million, or 53.6% of college grads under age 25 were out of work or underemployed. And for those that do have jobs? 48% of employed U.S. college grads are in jobs that require less than a four-year degree (Guise).” This quote from Guise shows that college is not everything and that experience in your field of work is more important than education. Alumni still struggle with a college degree and the student debt and the stress of finding the right job are catastrophic to one’s wellbeing. The first thing that students focus on is how they will pay their student loans. These problems delay the success that everyone strives for. While school is important to an extent, everyone has a different experience as a student.

Each school system is different in the nation. Some schools have better resources than others, while some only have the basic prerequisite classes of high school. Many students are privileged to have classes at their schools like APs, computer science classes, libraries with a wide variety of genres, and personal computers given by the school district. These are privileges that we take for granted that many other students in the world dream of having. Being students in America, most find it very hard to picture ourselves without the assets we have today. Whenever we lose a pencil, we think nothing of it and get another pencil from home or pick it up at the store. But there are children in the world that marvel about finding a used pencil on the ground. “‘In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,’ as segregated schools are ‘inherently unequal (History.com Editors).’” From this quote, in the U.S., schools cannot use segregation and schools began to integrate. But now, schools are not segregated based on race but are based on social class and where you live. Although it is not as wrong as it was a hundred years ago, schools still do not give equal opportunity to their students.

In conclusion, education is flawed, but we, as a society, have done a lot to improve it so far. It is hard to create a good school system that would benefit everyone equally. Schools need to work on improving the individual to be a better person for society than focus on how good their grades are. Because it forces students to get good grades to pass, they are indirectly taught to think inside the box to “play it safe.” They get in the habit of getting by with an average grade on the test rather than learning the material. But this way of dealing with problems will not help you later in life but hurt you in the long run. You cannot partially pay your taxes or just work hard enough to get by. College is another reason people believe that education is the only reliable way of being successful. After high school, an individual usually goes to college and assumes that society will hand a job to them after they finish. The only thing certain after college is the debt one will be in from student loans and taxes that you have never heard of. Including higher education, everyone has a different encounter in their school system. Many students in the U.S. take their privileges for granted and do not understand what they have. Equal opportunity is not very prevalent nationwide because schools are better suited to teach students than others. Education is one of the most important aspects of life that contribute to a better future for the entire world. Without adequate schooling, there would be nothing that would create the children of the present into the adults of the future.

Works Cited

Guise, Stephen. “How School Trains Us To Fail In The Real World.” Medium, Mission.org, 11 Oct. 2017, https://medium.com/the-mission/how-school-trains-us-to-fail-in-the-real-world-a67f6ed69be5.

History.com Editors. “Brown v. Board of Education.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/brown-v-board-of-education-of-topeka.

Rampton, John. “12 Of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs Who Dropped out of College.” Mashable, Mashable, 22 Sept. 2016, https://mashable.com/2016/09/22/12-entrepreneurs-who-dropped-out-of-college/.

Reddy, Neel, and Johns Creek, Georgia. “Reasons Why the School System Is Flawed.” Odysseyonline, Johns Creek, Georgia, 14 May 2018, https://www.theodysseyonline.com/reasons-why-the-school-system-is-flawed.

Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/ifpri/28406705766


History Told Us What We Should Be

People from around the world and in the United State strive to achieve what’s recognized as the most important aspects of the American Dream: Freedom and Equality. To be an American means different things to each person who lives in the United States. The United States is known as a melting pot – a country with different people, but all are here for a couple reasons –  democracy, freedom, and equality. Throughout history, Americans have and are still struggling for freedom and equality everyday.

In the beginning of history, people came to this new land in search of freedom, valued beliefs, and for a new life from Great Britain after a long and tough journey. Great Britain still controls them in this oversea land. Some of the representatives were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who advocated for freedom and equality for people. These men came out with The Declaration of Independence, which was a document created to tell Great Britain on why the colonies were going to be separated from them. It was about the beginning of American freedom. The Declaration of Independence said: “We… publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, aimd of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the State of Great Britain.” This proves that the colonists in the land have been longing for freedom and equality to get rid of the unfair control from Britain. This also proves that America was created to be a base of Freedom and Equality since it’s beginnings.

We do not just pursue liberal democracy, we also want equality in terms of daily life for the people of America. As time goes by, the society developed and Native Americans died because of land conflict and disease, but Americans need more productive force, so some European colonizers transport a large number of Africans suitable for plantation labor, thus forming the plantation economy of slavery of America. In the American Civil War in 1861, in order to reverse the situation of the war, Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation, which legally decared the abolition of slavery. Since then, African Americans have been fighting for the change of racial discrimination, and some people even gave their lives for it. Martin Luther King Jr. said “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” in the I Have a Dream Speech.  It calls for the freedom and equality to different races in the United States with a powerful and encouraging public speech.

Today, we are still exercising our rights of freedom and equality. America has always been known as the land of freedom and opportunity where people from all over the world come to pursue the American Dream. We are given the power to elect our president. We, the consumers, decide what we want to purchase. We also have the right to freedom of speech, to protest, and say whatever is on our mind. We speak up for social injustice and accept our differences around us. We have a rigorous and fair legal system to make sure everyone is equal before the law.

All of these documents and examples support that Freedom and Equality are the most important aspects of American Dream.We regard Freedom and Equality as the symbol of the United States according to the actions of the people who built this country. History is also a good way to recall who we are and define what we should be. We, the Americans, a symbol of Freedom and Equality.

Works Cited

“The Declaration of Independence: Full Text.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/.

“The Emancipation Proclamation.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured-documents/emancipation-proclamation.

Martin Luther King I Have a Dream Speech – American Rhetoric, https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm.


The Electoral College Is Broken

I believe, and so do many other people I know, that a key value to american culture is the ability to make your own decisions. Decisions that range from the most basic parts of life to the most advanced parts of society. I would like to talk about one of the decisions that is most important to us, voting. More specifically, how we vote for a president, what role the electoral college plays in that, and why the electoral college causes more problems than it solves.

In order to understand the problem the electoral college is causing, we must first understand the electoral college itself and why it was created in the first place. The problem began when the founding fathers were writing the constitution. They needed a way of electing the president that satisfy a variety of constraints. After months of debate and brainstorming, their solution was the electoral college. There were a few reasons why creating this entity was their solution. One, if the count of votes was based purely on the popular vote, the south would always be at a disadvantage because of a higher population in the north (Goldman). Two, it would be difficult to get a decisive popular vote based on the entire nation (Goldman). The electoral  college solved these problems by giving the power to individual states not individual voters. .

There are some more points that are also worth noting to understand the electoral college. For one, it was largely the brain child of Alexander Hamilton, who proposed the idea of the electoral college. The way he saw it, electors would be educated people who would be able to make a good decision about who should be president (Epps). This was to be the solution to the problem of how a president was chosen. It is important to know this because it explains why a president can win without a popular vote. In fact, when you are voting, you are basically voting for an elector, who then votes for the president on your behalf (Epps). This system is essentially still the same today, with some changes to address certain problems with the system.

Now we come to the problems themselves. The first, and most noticeable, is one that has already been mentioned. A president can get elected without winning the popular vote. This has to do with something called “winner takes all”. This situation means that if a presidential candidate wins a state’s popular vote, they win all the electoral votes from that state, regardless of how many votes they actually won by in the first place (What). For example, if a state has twenty electors and a candidate wins the state with eleven of the twenty votes, they receive all twenty votes. Another problem, although rare, is that electors do not always vote based on the vote of the people who put them in (Electoral). This means that your vote many not actually count for anything, because your elector might choose to vote differently from the popular vote.

This next point comes from Jack Rakove of Stanford University. In an interview by Corrie Goldman, Jack Rakove had this to say about the electoral college, “I believe the existing system has two fundamental – I wish I could say fatal – flaws. One is that it violates the one person, one vote rule, which should be the proper rule of a modern democracy.” Here he brings up the point that people are not directly voting for the president, and so the one vote does not seem to matter. As he states, the one vote principle is a rule of modern democracy, meaning that the electoral college is an obsolete solution, as it was created to solve a problem at the very beginning of our nation’s history. Jack Rakove brings up another issue in this interview with regards to what are called “battleground” states, “The second problem is the whole battleground state issue … This problem would disappear if we had a truly national election with one electorate and votes counting the same wherever they were cast”. This shows another fatal flaw. Because of the “winner takes all” style of electoral college voting, some states matter more than others and are worth more for a candidate to put time into pleasing. 

The question is why does the electoral college still exist if it has so many flaws? There is one main reason for this. People don’t want to go through the amendment process that would be required to make the changes (Goldman). States would rather just make their own rules because it is easier than going through the process of changing the Constitution, which is considered to be too much work. However, considering all of the flaws in the system and that there are professionals saying it should be changed, this is definitely an issue that should be considered worth the time and work required to fix it.

Image from: https://www.history.com/news/electoral-college-founding-fathers-constitutional-convention

Sources:

“Electoral College Fast Facts.” US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, United States House of Representatives, https://history.house.gov/Institution/Electoral-College/Electoral-College/.

Epps, Garrett. “The Electoral College Was Terrible From the Start.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 Sept. 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/electoral-college-terrible/597589/.

Goldman, Corrie. “Why Do We Still Let the Electoral College Pick Our President?” Why Do We Still Let the Electoral College Pick Our President?, Stanford University, 18 Apr. 2016, https://news.stanford.edu/2012/08/20/rakove-electoral-college-082012/.

“What Is the Electoral College?” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html.


The Importance of Freedom to the American Creed

Everyone values freedom. Nobody wants to live in an oppressed country. Specifically, people of minority races have been fighting for equal freedom in America. They earned the right to vote and slowly earned equality. Today, America is a melting pot of different cultures. We have come a long way in terms of equality and freedom. If we fail on these promises of freedom and equality, then we would not be following the American creed. To follow the American creed, everyone must have individual freedoms to stay true to the founding documents and the original purpose of America.

American was built because Europeans, who were living in America, did not want to be a part of the European government anymore. They were tired of paying taxes without having any representation in the government. The people living in America decided they wanted everyone to have the freedom to vote. In the beginning, this right only applied to white men who owned property, but as time went on, it developed into everyone being able to vote. In America, our freedoms are protected from the government; they are not allowed to take away these rights. The purpose of America is to create a country that immigrants could come to and get a better life by escaping their governments and old lives.

The founding documents expressed the idea of freedom. The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” (US 1776). This meant that everyone was supposed to be equal. At first, this was not true, because it only applied to white men with land, but now this right applies to everyone. The Bill of Rights was created to give Americans freedoms such as the right to assembly, freedom of speech, religion, and press (US. Const., amend Ⅰ-Ⅹ). This protected our freedoms from the government. The government is not allowed to take away these freedoms. In “Creed & Culture in the American Founding”, they stated that the founders relied most notably on ideas by John Locke and David Hume to create the documents (1). It goes on to say that the American creed is expressed through the statement, “All men are created equal” (2).  America was founded with the idea that everyone should have rights and freedoms. John Locke and David Hume believed in enlightenment ideas and natural rights. John Locke helped create the Liberal government. So our government was built on new ideals of freedom and less government involvement.

Some issues we are having that bring us further away from the American creed are the deportation of illegal immigrants, racism, and discrimination. America is supposed to be a place for immigrants to come and get a better life. Recently, we have been limiting immigration and deporting people. Another student, Briana H. said, “The Statue of Liberty is no longer a beacon of hope for many” (1). This means that people do not see America as a place of hope anymore. People are being turned away from our borders. America has changed from having open borders to having closed borders. America still has racism and discrimination. Although a lot of people in America have changed their minds about race, there are still white Americans who view other races as inferior to them.

If we take away this freedom, then we are taking away what it means to be an American. America was one of the first countries to promise freedom through founding documents. America was created so people could have freedom. We need to protect our American creed by staying true to these freedoms and values. America would be a very different place if we did not have individual freedoms.

Work Cited

H., Briana. “The American Identity.” The American Identity – American Creed, National Writing Project, 27 Feb. 2018, writingourfuture.nwp.org/americancreed/responses/120-the-american-identity. 

ISI Archive. “Creed & Culture in the American Founding.” Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Think. Live Free., Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 8 Oct. 2014, isi.org/intercollegiate-review/creed-culture-in-the-american-founding/.

The Declaration of Independence. Sec. 1

United States Constitution. Art./Amend. I-X

Featured Image from Media Library


America vs Estonia: Why are people from other parts of the world so fascinated with America?

I have a friend, H, who lives in a small country in Europe called Estonia. She always talks about coming to America. Whenever her parents ask her where she wants to go on vacation, her first response is always, “America”. Whenever anyone asks her what she wants to be, or where she wants to live when she is older, she always says, “I do not know what I want to be yet, but I want to move to America.” This has caused me to wonder: What is so special about America? Why come here? I personally have never been to Europe, but whenever my parents ask me where I want to go on vacation, I always have a different reply. Sometimes it is a different state in America, sometimes it is somewhere in Europe, and sometimes it is somewhere else in the world. Whenever anyone asks me where I want to be or where I want to live when I am older, I automatically say “I do not know what I want to be yet. As for where I want to live, I do not know for sure which state yet, but maybe New York or Illinois?” I have never even thought of moving outside my home country. So why is H so set on coming to America? Why do I only consider staying in America?

Ever since America was founded, there have been many documents such as the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to protect us. Americans have freedoms such as: freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, etc (US Const. amend. I, sec. 1-5). The government also protects its citizens on many levels. For example, the state government employs police, who protect us from danger, and the federal government protects us from financial problems such as having no money, with programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). These are all American values that are part of our American creed.

Estonia shares most of these values as well. So why does H still want to move to America when she is older? Her main reason is the culture of America. So many different people from different backgrounds and different parts of the world all come and live side by side in this melting pot. That is one thing that really distinguishes America from any other country. In Estonia, most of the people there are Estonians whose family and ancestors have lived there for many years, and everyone knows each other. H wants to experience living in a city where you can meet new people everyday. 

There are also more opportunities in America. America is 217 times bigger than Estonia (United States is about 217 times bigger than Estonia). About three Estonias could fit into Michigan alone. Imagine how many more types of businesses and jobs there are here. Also, in Estonia, schooling is very different. In H’s class, there are only five people, and they have all of their classes together for up to eight years. At Okemos, there are about thirty different people in each of our classes. There are also fewer colleges in Estonia, and jobs are more competitive and limited than in the US. 

Our values, cultures, and beliefs that make up our American Creed are really attractive to foreigners who may have different ways of living and want a change. People want to come to America because our American creed is attractive to them. What do you think are some other reasons that people from other countries are so eager to come to America?

Works Cited

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2000. Internet resource. Accessed 15 October 2019. https://www.cms.gov/.

“Size of United States Compared to Estonia.” MyLifeElsewhere, Accessed 15 October 2019. https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/country-size-comparison/united-states/estonia.

United States Constitution. Art./Amend. I, Sec. 1-5. Accessed 15 October 2019. https://constitutionus.com/.

Featured image from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Estonia_USA_Locator.svg/250px-Estonia_USA_Locator.svg.png


Why are Founding Documents so Important?

Americans all have different cultures that bring us together.  No two families have the exact same beliefs and values, and that’s what makes our country so unique. However, what we can all agree on as Americans are that our founding documents essentially bring us together as a community of practice.  

Founding documents such as the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation are well respected across all of America.  Documents like these define our country and set boundaries for us. Without these, nobody would be able to agree on how our country should run. They make sure that everyone is able to give their input on subjects that aren’t agreeable to everyone.  As said in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  The Declaration of Independence also ensures that everyone has the ability to access their natural rights by stating that everyone has  “God-given rights” of “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness”, as said by the National Center for Constitutional Studies.  Passages like these give Americans hope that they can achieve their dreams and follow their personal beliefs and values.  They also open the door for citizens to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them in order to follow their American dream. 

“Communities of practice are people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Ettienne Wenger).  Not everyone has the same traditions, religion, culture, or beliefs, but the majority of Americans share the same major goals. According to L. Robert Kohls, some of those common values are equality, efficiency, and individualism.  Without all of us Americans coming together, these larger goals couldn’t be met and our country wouldn’t be much of a nation. We work together to ensure that we stay true to our founding documents and to make sure everyone has a voice.  

Personally, I care greatly about making changes about larger issues such as gun control, sexual assault, abortion, and climate change. Not one person can make these issues go away, but if the people who want to see a change stood together, we can make this country and maybe even the world a safer place. What’s so important about that is that we are lucky enough to have those rights to make a change regardless of age, gender, economic status, or race. A large reason why other countries look up to America is that our citizens stand up for what we believe in and we have no reason to be afraid to do so.  

Core documents are what brings Americans together for the better.  They guide us to become better citizens and work together as a community of practice to keep the country running the way we, as Americans, want it.  Why wouldn’t Americans respect our founding documents?     

Works Cited

“America’s Founding Documents.” National Center for Constitutional Studies, National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2019, 

https://nccs.net/blogs/americas-founding-documents/americas-founding-documents.

Kohls, L. Robert. The Values Americans Live By, MSU, V] https://msu.edu/~mandrews/global/americanvalues.pdf.

“The United States Bill of Rights: First 10 Amendments to the Constitution.” American Civil  Liberties Union, ACLU, 16 Sept. 2015, 

https://www.aclu.org/united-states-bill-rights-first-10-amendments-constitution.

The United States Constitution. Amend. I.

Wenger, Etienne. “Communities of Practice: A Brief Introduction.” June 2006.


Our Values, Our Rights

To be American is to take part in your country, it is to support your country even when some may fight against it. Our culture is based on many others that came before ours. We incorporated a little from the Native American cultures, a little of the old British ways, and we added a little of our own ways. Every culture is based on the ones that came before them.

We as Americans value our freedom, security, and positivity. Freedom allows us to walk down the street whenever we want and buy products off of our supermarket shelves. Security allows us to know that our borders are protected. It also allows us to know that we will have a paycheck from our job that will allow us to buy the milk our family needs. We know the milk will always be on the shelves at the supermarket that we know is right off of the road that goes towards the house that we live in. Positivity is for when we don’t know if we will have our freedom or our security the next day. Without all three of these things working hand-in-hand, our society would be living in fear of what is to come.

In the Pledge of Allegiance, we end saying “… for liberty and justice for all” (The Pledge of Allegiance). Now we can interpret this in many different ways. Some may think of it as we have the freedom to do whatever we want and that they will always be protected. Others may think of it as how they are being oppressed because of the many rules they have to follow in order to gain their freedom.  This is why we, as Americans, value our freedom because there are others, both in our country and in other countries, who are fighting for their freedom and fighting to be recognized.


Do American Values Apply to Native Americans As Well?

Can we, as the American people, agree that some important values include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  Most likely. However, can we all agree that everyone, including Native Americans, have the ability to pursue these values? Throughout history, Native Americans have not had the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness due to social and economic discrimination as well as mistreatment by the United States Government.  In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, the protagonist Arnold Spirit Junior struggles with his identity and dreams because of the hardships he goes through.  Alexie is a Native American himself who grew up on a reservation and personally experienced oppression. My father is also Native American and has faced racism during his lifetime as well.

These patterns of mistreatment have unfortunately been around since settlers came to the Western Hemisphere.  We celebrate Columbus Day each year, but is everyone aware that the first day Columbus arrived in the East Indies he ordered six Natives to be captured as his servants (History.com)?  This was just the beginning of a racist policy against Native Americans. Many years later, after the French and Indian war, the French were forced to give up their land in the Americas to the British.  However, Indians were outraged because “‘They had no right to give away (our) country; (we) were never conquered by any nation’” (Faragher 170). Soon after this, a British military governor named General Jeffery Amherst reversed previous customs including gift giving and supplying ammunition to the Natives.  Many were left starving without ammunition to hunt (Faragher 170). The Royal Proclamation of 1763 claimed that “‘The several nations or tribes of Indians with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed’” (Britannica). Colonists were outraged over this proclamation because they thought that since they had won the French and Indian war, they would be able to expand into western territory.  So, in an act of rebellion, a mob of Pennsylvanians known as the Paxton Boys “butchered twenty Indian men, women and children at the small village of Conestoga” (Faragher 172). Twenty four years later the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 stated that “‘The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians. Their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent’” (Faragher 250). However, the government was not able to prevent settlers from moving westwards during this time.  Many natives lost their homes and lives in the hands of white Americans. 

In the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Arnold struggles with self esteem, identity, and pursuing his dreams due to his impoverished lifestyle.  Arnold’s vision of happiness is leaving the reservation. He is beat up regularly, his parents are alcoholics, his sister feels meaningless, his best friend has abusive parents, and unsurprisingly in the midst of all of this his family is depressed.  Arnold wants to have a better life than what he has become accustomed to. So, he decides that the first step in pursuing his American dream is leaving the school on the reservation to go to the all-white school, Reardan, twenty-two miles away. Once he gets there, he is immediately ostracized by students and staff because of the color of his skin.  Roger calls him many names such as “‘Chief’ or ‘Tonto’ or ‘Squaw Boy’” (Alexie 64). Also, the first time he meets the school secretary, Melinda, Arnold feels like she is judging him. “(He) couldn’t tell if she thought the reservation was a good or bad thing” (Alexie 58).  Experiencing encounters like this on a daily basis would be deprevating to one’s self esteem!

Sherman Alexie describes the inequalities and racist thinking that was ingrained into the minds of young Indian children, specifically in school.  “We were Indian children who were expected to be stupid. Most lived up to those expectations inside the classroom but subverted them on the outside. They struggled with basic reading in school but could remember how to sing a few dozen powwow songs” (Alexie).  He also mentions multiple times that his teachers were non-Indian. This reinforces the cycle of poverty and discrimination on the reservations. The teachers should be Indians from the reservation because they can make money and improve conditions for their families, teach Native children sensitive topics of history from their perspective, and be a positive authority figure that the students can identify with.

My father is Native American as well and has ancestors in both the Cahullian and Cherokee tribes.  He has experienced racism throughout his lifetime, but he described a few moments that especially stood out to him.  In sixth grade, my father went to school in San Lorenzo Valley in California. He was assigned a project where he had to pick one of the Spanish missions and describe the history of it.  However, he had learned from his family, specifically his grandfather, of how missions had negatively affected Native Americans. So, in class, he told his teacher that he was not willing to do a project on the mission system and explained why.  He was then sent to the principal’s office for disobeying the teacher, received a detention, and was told that his grandfather was a liar. That same year, his best friend Mike (who was Caucasian) received a call home to his parents from their teacher.  The teacher warned his parents that my father was a “bad influence and that Mike should avoid him because he will bring Mike down” (Thompson-Orsua). Then in seventh grade, my father was at a friend’s house when his friend’s father asked him what his last name was, and my dad said his name was from Native American and Mexican heritage.  My father was then told to get out. He was never allowed to go back in his home again. Between the summers of seventh and eighth grade, my father changed his last name from Orsua to Thompson (the name of his second father), and things drastically changed for him. It changed the way he was treated at school by both students and teachers, he was happier, his grades improved, and he felt like he was part of a community and not an outcast (Thompson-Orsua).  Unfortunately, the lesson he learned at that time was that he needed to hide his identity in order to be accepted.

Although common American values include some of those outlined in the Declaration of Independence such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Native Americans have not been able to pursue these because of an unequal society.  This has been a pattern throughout history. People such as Sherman Alexie and my father, along with characters in novels such as Arnold from the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian have experienced racism that demonstrates the fact that not all Americans value these rights for all people.  Hopefully someday Native Americans will no longer be socially discriminated against and will have the same opportunities as other Americans.  Because an equal society- should be a major priority for America.

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman.  “Superman and Me.” Los Angeles Times, 19 April 1998.

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. First ed., Cornelsen, 2007.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Proclamation of 1763.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/event/Proclamation-of-1763.

Faragher, John Mack. Out of Many: a History of the American People. Sixth ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011.

History.com Editors. “Native American History Timeline.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Nov. 2018, www.history.com/topics/native-american-history/native-american-timeline.

Thompson-Orsua, Charles. Personal interview. 13 October 2019.


What it Means to be an American

What does it mean to be an American? You could do a survey of one-hundred people asking this question and there’s a good chance you would get close to one-hundred different answers. In a way, that itself answers your question. To be an American is to be able to come from many different backgrounds, races, cultures, languages, and places, yet still have the same opportunities.

No matter what you see when you look in the mirror and no matter where your ancestors were born, in America you have the opportunity to fulfill your dreams. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian we see this clearly. Junior grows up on a reservation that seems to crush dreams and suck the hope out of people, however he still is able to make something of himself. He was able to get the opportunity to go to Reardan and do his best to fulfill his dreams. In America everything is possible if you work hard enough and want it enough, no matter where you come from.

A big reason that Americans have so much an opportunity no matter their background, is the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights provides Americans with the right to protest, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and many other significant rights. This is a privilege for Americans as some, if not many, other countries don’t even have half of those basic rights!

We also saw this in Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie. In Superman and Me Alexie describes how he grew up and a few things that lead to his future as a successful author. Despite growing up on a reservation and having unfair and prejudice teachers, Alexie managed to become an author. He read and read and pursued what he loved. He made his passion his profession. Now Alexie goes to reservations and tries to help Indians read and be inspired and make the most of their opportunities in this country. 

While America in theory should be a utopia, it isn’t. Having the Bill of Rights along with other laws and legislature, helps build a foundation. However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still challenges. 

In America all creeds, cultures and orientations are accepted, for the most part. While unfortunately America isn’t perfect, as nothing is, there are still some prejudices that exist. While these prejudices exist, so do protests. In America you have the right to peacefully protest and stand up for yourself. We see this all the time both recently and in the past.

In 2017 the biggest protest in the United States took place. The 2017 Women’s March had 3,300,000 to 4,600,000 estimated participants (List of Protests in the United States by Size). That is significantly more than the first protest that took place in the United States in 1773 now known as the Boston Tea Party. 

This shows that as time goes on, more and more Americans are utilizing their right to protest. This is a true value in American culture that has impacted the way our country has been shaped significantly. This leads to America constantly changing and developing. The growth of a country due to its citizens is something truly unique and special and proves that Americans make America what it is. 

Bibliography

Alexie, Sherman. “Superman and Me.” Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 1998.

Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Cornelsen, 2009.

Carbone, Nick. “Top 10 American Protest Movements.” Time, Time Inc., 12 Oct. 2011, content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2096654_2096653_2096692,00.html.

“List of Protests in the United States by Size.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Oct. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_protests_in_the_United_States_by_size.

Photo: YouthVoices Media Library

US Constitution. 


The Importance of Freedom and Equality

Equality and freedom are two of the most important values in America. Equality is to have equal opportunities and rights in life and freedom is to be able to make independent decisions or have different ideas. Many laws have been passed for these values which have affected citizens greatly in their lives. Because of the laws passed, more races and people have had less discrimination and more equal opportunities. So, to be an American is to strive for equality and be free.

Equality has been a major hurdle to overcome throughout America’s history. Earlier in our history, blacks were afraid of whites due to the gap of rights between them and the harsh consequences of angering them. However, since then, many of our documents and laws ranging from the Declaration of Independence to the Equality Act are focused on having equal rights for more types of people. The Declaration of Independence reads that, “ …all men are created equal…”(US 1776) and in the Equality Act, it states that, “It is the purpose of this Act to expand as well as clarify, confirm and create greater consistency in the protections and remedies against discrimination on the basis of all covered characteristics…” (Cong., sec 2). These show that equality is a goal the nation has been striving to achieve since gaining independence and that many steps have already been taken for it.

Freedom has been another area of focus. Many of our documents and laws, like equality, have been directed at this. For example, the 13th Amendment is focused on making slaves free. Because of this, it led them to become citizens and have the right to vote too. Having the right to vote meant that they now had the power to help elect a representative. Freedom also plays into the role of what we can and cannot do. In the first amendment, freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly are given. Because new amendments are so hard to pass, being that ⅔ of the House and Senate must agree and ¾ of the States, shows how important freedom is to the country and the people, especially since the authors thought freedom was so important that they listed many in the first amendment created.

Equality and freedom are important values and are present every day in America. These have helped construct the society known today. Without them, the nation would discriminate unfairly against other people. Overall, these two values have shaped what it means to be an American and society.

Works Cited:

Cicilline, David, Equality Act, 2019

Lincoln, Abraham, 13th Amendment, 1865

Jefferson, Thomas, Declaration of Independence, 1776

James Madison, Bill of Rights, 1791


Are you an American?

I believe in America. My friends and family believe in America. My entire school believes in America. But what do we believe in? What does it mean to be an American? Are there strict requirements to be an American? I believe that there are none. I believe that America holds its ground on freedom, whether it be religion or culture. I believe that you can be whoever you want to be in America, and that the idea of freedom is the idea we should all believe in.

Where do these ideas stem from? Beliefs are ideals that you are confident are true. I connect the word ‘beliefs’ with the words trust, faith, and confidence. These words are the main themes that branch to even more words, like freedom, prosperity, joy, that can connect with our own society. One or maybe many of these words are words that people have to believe in when coming to America. 

Many people come to the United States in search of freedom of any sort, such as freedom of religion or freedom of speech. Some are in search of wealth and prosperity: the “American Dream”. Others just enjoy the thrills or the leisure of the US. All of these are possible only by believing in our fellow citizens. We, as Americans, live in a society where fellow citizens depend on each other to make the right choices for their future as a whole. Only through trust and courage can we continue to live in this large and diverse community.

Essentially, those who believe in the American creed are dreamers. They are the ones who dream of having things they don’t have in their environment. Of course there are already citizens that can dream for wealth, but those citizens are the ones who already enjoy their rights. Not only is America a place where dreamers gather, but it is also founded by dreamers–dreamers who came in search for territory. America was built on immigrants and their ideas that would keep developing into the foundations of America.

Although America has faced great obstacles in the past, we still are hindered from internal problems. These problems mostly have roots in our current society and politics. These politics have greatly divided the American people and set a controversial stance on what standard values should be. Yoram Hazony, author of the “The Virtue of Nationalism”, states that, “it’s American nationalism that the U.S. needs right now. Never in our lifetimes have we seen America’s various tribes so divided, so intolerant of one another, so quick to delegitimize and even threaten violence” (Hazony 2018).

The Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation that funds political research, asked a series of questions that were asked to different political parties in 2011, 2012, and 2016 to see where we are as a nation. In many of the reports, the Republicans who supported Trump were much more firm on their stance of exclusiveness on American identity.  Many of those supporters believe in requirements such as speaking English (80%), having European ancestry (30%), being born in America (63%), or believing in Christianity (69-72%).

Some people may argue that America has its own kind of culture based on what the majority believe, and that following that culture is what makes an American. However, even with moves to restrict new immigrants, the US Census Bureau says a new immigrant moves to the US every 33 seconds–exemplifying how culturally diverse the country is. The US is also known as a “melting pot” due to its influences and form from various cultures. There is also no official language, according to the US government, and, although 90% of the population speak English, 300 non-English languages are spoken throughout the nation, as stated by the Census Bureau. Religion is also dominated by Christianity with 71% identifying themselves with the religion, according to the Pew Research Center in 2017. There are also many traditions that are connotated with America, such as the numerous holidays celebrated, foods, like hot dogs or hamburgers, clothing brands, media, and sports. Are these all things that are a part of the American culture?

Yes. All of these traditions have a part in American culture, but another key part of American culture is cultural openness. Numerous times have I mentioned that America is the land of freedom, and I intend to believe that America will stay that way. It is also true that I mentioned the standing opinion of American identity exclusion, however, the conclusion of the Voter Study Group from the Democracy Fund found that the exclusion of American identity, based on its study on religious exclusiveness, has decreased significantly and had been continuingly decreasing. This signifies that the nation, as a whole, continues to grow more open to diversity.

Overall, my final verdict is that there are no strict rules for anyone to have an American identity. The people that make America represent the characteristics of bravery, courage, and liberty. But those people that make up the country are people who can either come in search of this dream or are already born into the warmth of freedom. It doesn’t matter who you are, for as long as you believe in America and what it promises, then you exemplify a true American.

Works Cited

Hazony, Yoram. “How Americans Lost Their National Identity.” Time, Time, 23 Oct. 2018, time.com/5431089/trump-white-nationalism-bible/.

Vavreck, Lynn. “The Great Political Divide Over American Identity.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/upshot/the-great-political-divide-over-american-identity.html.

Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 July 2017, www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html.


Freedom and Equality

When I think of what it means to be American the first things that comes to mind are equality and freedom. America really prides itself on being a free and equal country but how true really is that? With the writing of documents like The Bill of Rights, The Emancipation Proclamation, The Declaration of Independence, and The Equality Act equality and freedom have been a main focus. Nowadays people interpret the rights to things like freedom and equality different than when the documents were written and everybody has different opinions which is a major part of the problem today. 

In The Bill of Rights the first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”(U.S. Const. amend I). A lot has changed since 1791 when The Bill of Rights were written, because of that, the details that go into the first amendment are not agreed on by everyone. In a recent survey taken by the constitution daily it shows the difference in views between teachers and students. “Teachers, at an 85 percent rate, are more likely to blame the Internet for causing “hate speech,” compared with 70 percent for students” (Bomboy). As an example, when it comes to digital news and media adults are likely to have different views than teens, because of the difference in age and their way of life. That proves that over the years people’s views change and everyone can’t agree on the same things. 

The Equality Act states “all people should be free from discrimination regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or national origin”(Sosin).  Even with The Equality Act people are still discriminated against because of who they are. With the Equality Act being passed in 1974 the LGBT community is still fighting for the equality they deserve. In 2016 a gay nightclub in Orlando was shot up killing 49 people. (Ellis, Fantz, Karimi, McLaughlin). In 2013 a man was shot to death by a man who followed and harassed him yelling anti-gay slurs as he walked down the street in New York.(Lartey). In 2014 an openly gay rapper was attacked in a New York City subway station.(Crowley). Even with laws protecting LGBT and equality in general specific groups of people are still discriminated against because of who they are. 

Freedom and equality are two major points that go into what it means to be an American. How free and how equal are we? Everybody has different views on rights and American values which makes it hard for every single person to feel equal. There is nothing we can do to give everybody what they want but the people and the government can help to try to make America as equal as possible. 

Citations

“Bill of Rights.” Bill of Rights Institute, billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/.

Crowley, Patrick. “Rapper Jipsta Returns After Surviving Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Talks Support From RuPaul, Willam & Pandora Boxx.” Billboard, 3 Aug. 2017, www.billboard.com/articles/news/pride/7889674/jipsta-rapper-returns-support-rupaul-ban2oozle.

Fantz, Ashley, et al. “49 Killed in Florida Nightclub Terror Attack.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 June 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/index.html.

Lartey, Jamiles. “Mark Carson Murder: Jury Finds New York Man Guilty of Anti-Gay Hate Crime.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 9 Mar. 2016, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/09/elliot-morales-guilty-new-york-hate-crime-anti-gay-shooting-west-village.

Nico Lang, Kate Sosin. “The LGBT Equality Act Began Life in 1974. It’s Still Waiting to Be Passed.” The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 13 Apr. 2019, www.thedailybeast.com/the-lgbt-equality-act-began-life-in-1974-its-still-waiting-to-be-passed.

“Survey: High School Students, Teachers Differ on the First Amendment.” National Constitution Center – Constitutioncenter.org, constitutioncenter.org/blog/survey-high-school-students-teachers-differ-on-the-first-amendment.


Diplomacy Is the Key to American Success

At a time when the United States is under development and facing corrupt relations, global public opinion started to emerge and our reach to other nations around the world was becoming more openly discussed. The need for foreign connections was growingly more important. Now, diplomacy is vital to this country’s national security and foreign acceptance and should be strongly positioned by our leaders.

Extending foreign boundaries builds connections to diverse constituencies in other countries. The U.S. uses methods like broadcasting to academic exchanges to enhance American leadership and global competition. If the U.S. can fulfill our core values, then our nation can function peacefully and safely. Maintaining national security is important to lower foreign tensions because it would result in the outbreak of war. One way of achieving this is to spend more money on diplomacy and less on military spending. This was also caused naturally, “The neglect and distortion of American diplomacy is not a purely Trumpian invention. It has been an episodic feature of the United States’ approach to the world since the end of the Cold War”(Burns, Foreign Affairs).

Building connections with other nations also brings foreign acceptance home. Such as how American culture — sports, education, technology, architecture, style, cultural platforms, economy, and art — has made a change in perspective in the world of the United States. Exchanges in these fields attract those who are politically aware of foreign involvement. It is shown here that diplomacy has impacted our nation positively, “Specifically, we argue that U.S. leaders’ credibility in the eyes of foreign publics is critical in shaping attitudes toward U.S. foreign policy. Empirically, we show that the effects of such visits were initially significantly large and positive”(Levine, Global Ties U.S.).

America’s core values and beliefs have been passed down since the Constitution and two of the most important values are the way America extends our reach to other parts of the world that greatly impacted our public safety and acceptance to foreign culture and influence by building connections and exchanging practice fields.

Works Cited

Burns, William J. “The Lost Art of American Diplomacy.” Foreign Affairs, Foreign Affairs Magazine, 1 May 2019, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-03-27/lost-art-american-diplomacy.

Levine, Melin, et al. “Public Diplomacy Is America’s Best Foreign Policy Tool.” Global Ties U.S., https://www.globaltiesus.org/member-home/advocacy-resources/764-public-diplomacy-is-americas-best-foreign-policy-tool.

Goldsmith, Benjamin, and Yasaku Horiuchi. The Journal of Politics. Vol. 71, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Hawkes, Timothy, and Timothy Hawkes. “The Art Of Diplomacy.” Training In Leadership

https://traininginleadership.com/blogs/blog/the-art-of-diplomacy.


What Being American Means

Although some might say that to be American you have to have been born here, or have citizenship here.  But I believe that anyone who lives here, and participates in American culture is American, whether they’re a citizen or not. The video titled “Newsroom”  examines the idea of how America has changed, and how the country used to fight for moral reasons, but that’s changed.  This shows that America used to actually care about things for the right reasons, but their motives have changed.  

I believe “American” should represent the idea of equal opportunity for everyone, because so many people come here for better opportunities, however not everyone is given them.  In the video titled “Russell Means Speech to the Senate” Russell Means talks about how Indians aren’t given any rights and are not treated as equally as other white Americans.  “American Indians suffer under a system of dual citizenship, that is U.S citizenship and Tribal citizenship, maintained by the BIA.” This shows how American Indians aren’t given the equal rights that they deserve.  

American Literature can be defined as literature that is taught in America, about America.  The article titled “My Life as an American” embodies the idea of being “American” because he wasn’t a citizen, but he had to act as though he was one for his whole life, and he learned what being an American is like.  “American Literature” is a reflection of what has happened in this country.  


I Stand With Angela

The Alabama Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) rescinded the Fred Shuttlesworth Humans Rights Award from Angela Davis because she does not meet the criteria after a letter was sent from the Holocaust Education Center. This letter was expressing concern because Davis’s support for the Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) on the protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. There is speculation that as a result of this affiliation, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) felt that Davis did not meet all of the criteria and the award presentation has been cancelled. The award should not have been rescinded because of her outspoken support of Palestinian rights and she deserves that award.

It is completely nonsensical for a civil rights organization like the BCRI to revoke a nomination because someone supports the civil rights of a particular race. In response to the award being taken away Davis said “I have devoted much of my own activism to international solidarity and, specifically, to linking struggles in other parts of the world to US grassroots campaigns against police violence, the prison industrial complex, and racism more broadly”. This furthers my position, Angela Davis is an educator and activist who played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement, she is mostly known for association with the Black Panther Party and wanting justice for Black people in America. The current events that is happening in Israel is shameful. Along with human rights violations to the Palestinian civilians, racism against African Migrants is currently happening. Now shedding light on the situation, 60,000 African migrants have arrived in Israel since 2006, fleeing unrest in their home countries. While trying to settle into the “Holy Land” they face all forms of discrimination, and is branded as “infiltrators” by politicians and Israelite activist. In the video, “Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land”, you can see that Israelites are yelling out racial slurs and many other profanities. This is the topic that Davis had talked about and has caused controversy in the human rights community. However, this is a matter of oppression to the Africans that is settled in Israel and as a human rights activist, remaining oblivious to this is an issue. Davis did the right thing speaking out on this situation.

Some may argue that Angela Davis does not deserve this award. Her speaking out on the violation of rights is controversial and people must have felt that this situation should have never been brought up. However, in response to this Angela said “I don’t know whether I enjoy being at the center of the controversy; I think I’ve had my share of controversies in my life. But I’m happy to assist in the process of encouraging more discussion on racism, on anti-Semitism, on justice for Palestine.” It is morally unjust for this topic to be taboo and the discussion of Palestinian rights should be happening more often.

In conclusion, Angela Davis is a powerful activist who believe in the civil rights of all people, not just regarding the black community. The Jewish Voice For Peace tweeted: “To argue that Angela Davis is unworthy of a civil rights award is beyond shameful. And to dance around the fact that it’s due to her outspoken support of Palestinian rights makes it outrageous.” This was completely unnecessary especially given the current events that is happening in Israel.


Deportation

I have chosen to write about deportation because it has been an ongoing issue for a long time and it’s currently worst nowadays with our current president. It is an important issue for me because it may affect the families of people i know  and is affecting tons of families every day. It is a big issue that separates children from their parents and ends up destroying families by also not getting a chance to stay here in the U.S. for a better life. This issue impacts people because it separates immigrants from their families when they get deported and may ruin their lives. It is problematic because it is also a racial thing because immigration targets mostly hispanic people because they are seen as the people with no papers and illegal. When someone ends up getting deported they are forced to leave behind loved ones. Also in many cases the person that gets deported have to return to dangerous environments they were trying to get away from and most cases it results in rape, kidnapping, torture, or them getting murdered.It is necessary to take action because each year too many people get deported back to their country they were trying to get away from to seek a better future and not be in danger.

 

Our current president is trying to build a border wall to not let immigrants come in.A solution would not be to build a wall because everything is racism towards the hispanic people and they deserve to also be in this country. They should not be getting deported for just being in this country doing nothing wrong. My blog post is to set awareness of how deportation is a serious issue and the large amount of people that get deported every year causing family separations and sending them back to a dangerous life. There is a big amount of immigrants in this country and they are all looking for a better life and they don’t deserve getting deported for no reason.  It connects to the immigration things we have learned in class and all the political things that can relate to this.


Xenophobia Is a Real Issue–Particularly in America

One of the many problems that society faces today is the rise of xenophobic and anti-refugee sentiment. This is a particular issue in the United States in recent years, because the Trump administration is undeniably anti-immigration, especially concerning the migrant caravans traveling to the Mexico-United States border, in response to which President Trump has sent troops to the border. Supporters of this action might argue that it is a merely a precaution to keep dangerous people out of the country. However, the majority of those making up this caravan are not criminals, and most are in fact families with children. This viewpoint of immigrants is dangerous, because it creates a narrative that all foreigners (especially those from less developed countries) are dangerous criminals who must be prevented from entering the country at all costs. In Orwell’s 1984, this kind of thought led to the kind of zealous anti-foreigner that allowed Oceania to bomb boats full of refugees and film it for entertainment purposes. Although real-world society will hopefully never reach this kind of fever pitch, fear-mongering about refugees and foreigners is very much a real occurrence.


One possible partial solution to this problem is simply education. Knowing the truth about what refugees may do to the economy, or about what people are fleeing from, or about whether refugees are really a “threat to society”, would show citizens that although there are still valid concerns about immigration, the strawman being presented by many is not true. One of the ways this can be implemented is insuring the use of free press, and pushing more people to be vocal about the true nature of the issue. Another implementation is informing students about the issues. Social studies classes could inform students of the numbers: how many people are immigrating, who they are, and how they are treated here. If children, teens, and young adults can be taught about immigration early in their lives, they can grow into more informed citizens. Schools should not be leading students to any conclusions, however. They should be presented with clear evidence and form their own opinions about refugees and immigration.


In the end, people’s concerns come from valid places. It’s a gut fear, that people coming in from outside might push the current residents out, or take their jobs, or cost too much money to take care of. But these fears shouldn’t stop citizens from considering what immigration will truly do or bring to their country, instead of being convinced by fear-mongering done by people who just want more power. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”.


Rags to Riches

My independent reading book, The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Greatest Players by Clayton Geoffreys, talks about LeBron James story about going from rags to riches. He grew up in rather unfavorable conditions. He and his mother moved from couch to couch and never had anywhere stable to live. Lebron faced all types of adversity growing up. He was an incredible athlete at a young age and once he got to high school, he was offered to come to play basketball at a private Catholic school. He accepted the invitation under one condition, that his friends could with him and attend the same school and play basketball with him. This was a rather impressive action on Lebron’s part because his town was rather segregated and so all the black kids went to one school and all the white kids went to a different school. Lebron James’ story is a great example of the American Dream and making it from unfavorable conditions. He now is worth upwards of $440 million(Anderson). Now that Lebron has made it he has gone back into his community and donated millions of dollars and he even started his own school which supplies at-risk children with free outfits, shoes, bikes, books, backpacks, multiple meals during the day, and transportation to and from school if needed.

Throughout my research, I learned that many celebrities don’t actually come from well to do families and one person who stood out to me was John Paul Dejoria, he is now an entrepreneur worth billions. His net worth is around $3.1 billion dollars (Ioannou). Early on in his life, he grew up in Los Angeles and never had much. He says that he remembers giving a dime to the Salvation Army when he was a kid, even though he and his mom didn’t have a lot of financial stability, she told him that there are always people who have it worse than you do. He started an extremely successful hair-care company that generates billions of dollars each year but at one point he was going door to door around Los Angeles selling his product. He is a great example in the business world when it comes to changing your circumstances from unfavorable to highly favorable.

Another athlete I read about was Jimmy Butler, he probably had the most astounding story out of all the people I researched. He was homeless at thirteen and ending moving in with a friend(Friedell). He was guided by his coach at the University of Marquette. The heartbreaking reason that he was kicked out of the house was that his mother didn’t like how he looked. Needless to say, Jimmy had a very rough childhood but made it out of a small town in Texas. He is now playing basketball in the NBA and makes upwards of $15 million per year. He is a living American dream who has made it in life through American creed. He probably wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t worked hard and had a goal.

My friend Armen’s family was featured in an exhibit in the library at our school. His family fled Azerbaijan and now they own a bulk food store in Lansing. They fled because being Armenian was dangerous in the 90s and they were a target of violence. He has told me that it wasn’t always easy for his parents when they first arrived in the United States and that they had to overcome many different obstacles. I am still friends with Armen to this day and his family is now making a good living. They had a dream when they came to America and they worked hard for it, and now they are doing well and giving back to their community.

All of these people have something in common, they came from the bottom and worked hard to change their circumstances. Lebron James and Jimmy Butler would not be in the NBA if it wasn’t for endless hours in the gym. John Paul Dejoria and my friends family would not be where they are if it wasn’t for working hard in the business work and starting a company or store. All of these people wanted something and went out and got it. Some people might argue that they might have made it from hard work and luck. There is some truth to that because some people work very hard their life and never move up in the ranks. The argument to that is that the meaning of success varies from person to person. To some, being successful means going to a good college and getting a good, high-paying job. To others, being successful means being happy and mentally and physically happy. These people have shown that through hard work you can be successful in America.

 

Works Cited

Anderson, Joel. “LeBron James’ Net Worth as He Joins the Lakers.” GOBankingRates, Toggle Navigation Back, 1 Aug. 2018, www.gobankingrates.com/net-worth/sports/lebron-james-net-worth/.

 

Friedell, Nick. “Butler’s Unlikely Path to NBA Stardom.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 25 Nov. 2014, www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/11931211/jimmy-butler-unusual-path-becoming-star.

 

Geoffreys, Clayton. Lebron James: the Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Greatest Players, an Unauthorized Biography. CreateSpace, 2015.

Ioannou, Lori. “John Paul DeJoria Went from Homeless to Billionaire by Following 3 Simple Rules.” CNBC, CNBC, 22 Dec. 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/john-paul-dejoria-went-from-homeless-to-billionaire-following-3-rules.html.


What Defines Us As American?

 

One thing that defines people as American is freedom of choice. America is built upon the idea that all people have rights that cannot be take away, and that everyone has the freedom to choose what they want to do with there body. The book My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult illustrates this well. The author tells the story of Anna, a 13 year old girl with a sister, Kate, who is diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Annas parents, Sara and Brian, had picked her embryo because it was a perfect match to Kate, who needed an organ donor in the family. Anna has always felt that she had no control over the decisions that were made in her name, only that she had to do certain things that would keep her sister alive. From the day she was born she was never given the option of not donating her bone marrow or platelets. Picoult writes, “‘ Isn’t it true that someone had to physically hold Anna down to get the needle in her arm?’ Sara looks at Anna, closes her eyes. ‘Yes’”(Picoult 295). As she grows older she realizes that she deserves the right of choice, and files for medical emancipation from her parents. Given that she is only 13 years old, shows how early kids are being taught American values and culture.

There were also lots of examples of how the freedom of choice was not an option for a lot of citizens in the documentary.”American Creed”. In this film, Leila Janah talked about Dumas, Arkansas, and how they don’t have access to things that people would think that everyone has such as internet, cell phone coverage and cars. In the documentary, she states, “And then you go to a place like Dumas and you see that opportunity is not equally distributed in any way”(Janah American Creed). This inequality in equal economic opportunity causes a plethora of problems for the people living in Dumas and countless other cities all over the United States. All of these economic issues limits the choices that the residents of these cities have. For most of them, they have lost hope of ever being able to get out of the town, because so many generations before them haven’t done it either. Although many parts of the United States are progressing at a rapid pace, their lack of access to technology in Dumas also prevents people from being able to find work to support themselves and their families. All of these factors add up, and make for a suffocated environment.

When immigrants tell their stories of how and why they came to the United States, many of them mention that they wanted the freedom of choice and the opportunity to do things that they weren’t able to do in the country that they previously lived in. They also want a better life for there children and other family members. One immigrant, Marisela, shares her story, and says, “I grew up to be a police officer, wanting to be able to prevent crimes in my city, New York, like to what happened to my father. I thank America for the opportunities that it has given me and will be forever grateful”(Marisella, Immigrant Stories). She moved to this country with her mother seeking a better life, and later got to be someone that she never would’ve had the chance to be if she had stayed in Guadalajara, Mexico. Another immigrant, Emilia, states, “They had no idea where I would be at 22, but it was thanks to them that I was born and raised in a place with unlimited opportunities”(Emilia, Immigrant Stories). There are countless other stories like Marisela’s and Emilia’s, and they are all great examples of American Creed and what America stands for.

Equal Opportunity is what makes America different from other countries. This the value of equality is represented all around Americans. In fact, It is even written in the Constitution. The 14th Amendment states, “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, of prosperity, without due process of law, nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”(USE Const., amend XIV). It is important that this was added into the Constitution, because it was one of the main reasons that America became a country in the first place. The colonies wanted equal representation in the monarchy, and say over the laws that were passed over them. This amendment was also added to the Constitution in response to the Civil Rights Movement, and makes sure that everyone is treated equally and fairly. It states that everyone is subject to the laws, and no individual is above them.

Another lens to look at freedom of equality and choice thought is the American Dream, and how it has evolved over the years. In the early stages of America, the American Dream was something that every American wanted for themselves. It meant economic opportunity and freedom. Now, the things that the American Dream stand for have drastically changed. In his article, “The Transformation of The ‘American Dream’”, Shiller states, “Instead, in the 1930s, it meant freedom, mutual respect and equality of opportunity. It had more to do with morality than material success”(Shiller The Transformation of the ‘American Dream’). Now, the American Dream is more about having a nice house, and social prominence. All of these changed values take away from the economic freedom that once existed. It makes home ownership a large burden, and makes supporting a family an impossible task. This is another example showing that even though the United States prides itself on freedom for all of its people, there are still long strides that we have to take to truly reach the American Dream.

 

Works Cited:

“American Creed.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/program/american-creed/.

“My Immigration Story.” My Immigration Story, myimmigrationstory.com/.

Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper. Washington Square Press

Shiller, Robert J. “The Transformation of the ‘American Dream’.” The New York Times,            The New York Times, 4 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/upshot/the-transformation-of-the-american-dream.html.

US Constitution

 


How Power Was Obtained

Sam Carrier
Mrs.Reed
American Lit 1st Hour
29 October 2018

The United States is an extraordinarily influential country as it was built from nothing and proceeded to acquire a military and economic system that would leave you in awe. This power was secured through the U.S citizens willingness to do whatever it takes to further the development of our country as John F Kennedy asked for when he said “My fellow Americans,ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
America has become a prosperous nation with a prestigious economic system and a strong military but did you know it is the strongest country in the world ? According to IMPROB the U.S is the strongest country in the world as a single states economy could be ranked in the top 10, “ The economy in California alone produces about $2.5 trillion. Assuming California was a country, that number would have made the California economy one of the top six in the world.”, this clearly shows that a combined economy of all fifty states would be a complete and utter super power.
War is a frequent reality in our world as enemies are plotting against the U.S constantly which is why a military is clearly necessary. This begs the question what are you willing to do for your country ? Walter dean Myers touches on this question in his novel Invasion.Here we learn about a group of soldiers who are willing to fight against the Nazi’s for the sake of our country but this war significantly exceeds expectations as they are asked to fight in Normandy. To fight for America you have to maintain a sense of patriotism, you have to believe that America is worth fighting for and if it comes to it dying for.

IMPROB, Quinn. “Top 10 Most Powerful Countries in the World 2018.” Improb, 23 July 2018, https://improb.com/top-powerful-countries-in-the-world/
Myers,Walter D.Invasion.Scholastic,2013.Hardcover

Kennedy, John F. “‘Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You…”.” JFK Library, 1961, www.jfklibrary.org/learn/education/teachers/curricular-resources/elementary-school-curricular-resources/ask-not-what-your-country-can-do-for-you.


Equal Opportunity

Equal Opportunity and Equality are the roots and soil of America. The Institutional Equality Office of University of Oklahoma defines Equal Opportunity as “The right of all persons to enter study and advance, in academic programs on the basis of merit, ability and potential without regard to race, color national origin, sex, etc.”(IEO). Although it applies to education it can also apply to jobs and the workforce. In America you can chose to be who and whatever you want. Only you can decide the path you will take and America gives every opportunity for you to do so. People travel from all over the world to have this chance at a better life. They travel for a better life not only for themselves but also for their next generations. America is the land of new beginnings and greater chances. But it has not always been this way. In the past people of different races, religions, and genders have seen hard times trying to achieve their dreams and goals. In the past many people of different backgrounds didn’t have much of a chance in greater opportunities and weren’t granted this gift of equal opportunity. It may seem like all this was back then but it wasn’t as long ago as we think.

In X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz daughter of Malcolm X, Malcolm has to face the challenges of the real world. Malcolm grew up in Lansing Michigan with his siblings and his single mother. His mother and father always told him and his siblings that they could be whoever they wanted to be and that all they needed to do is chase their goals and get an education. They would tell them that education is power and power is education. Malcolm’s father was lynched when Malcolm was only six years old. Malcolm believed everything that his father told him and worked hard in school. He knew that he wanted to go far in life and told his English teacher that he wanted to be a lawyer. His teacher told him that his goal is very unrealistic and that he should go for a carpenter because that’s what a black man would do. “I’d always been colored, but now I saw the walls that came along with it. Thick and white and holding me in place.” he goes on to say, “I thought about Mom, passing as white at all those jobs, burying her blackness beneath the way she looked. Trying to get us the things we needed. Things we couldn’t rightfully have.” (Shabazz 53). Malcolm realizes that education is not the path that he wants to take. He recognizes that there is no equal opportunity for him to achieve his dreams and that everything his father had told him was a lie. With this thought in his mind he decides that it’s best to save up his money and head to Boston.

America back in 1940 wasn’t the best place to be as an African American male. Although you were free, you couldn’t be able to be what you wanted. Many African Americans couldn’t get an education because of the color of their skin and were denied in society. Many were employed and jobs were given to whites instead. They weren’t able to pursue what they wanted and were limited to jobs that whites thought would best fit them. In the article “Black Workers Remember” the author Jacqueline Jones discusses the hardships and discrimination that black workers had to go through. “Unlike their white counterparts, who often began working menial tasks and then progressed to different departments and better paying jobs, blacks remained in “black” departments regardless of their age, skills, or experience.” (Jones). Many struggled to find jobs in large cities and many were unemployed until WWII. During WWII lots of white males had to enter the draft leaving jobs open for blacks. “ While black workers continued to face discrimination in employment in World War II, substantial numbers worked in war related industries, often in jobs previously closed to blacks.” (New York Times).  This gave them the chance in earning money for themselves and finally getting the opportunity to make a living. In X: A Novel Malcolm makes his way to Boston and decides that he wants to get a job because getting an education isn’t an option anymore. He gets his first job at a club and polishes people’s shoes in the bathrooms. Malcolm starts to see the world around him and he thinks back to his father’s teachings. He thinks back to all the things that his father would tell him about pursuing his dreams and getting an education. Now he believes that none of that is important to him and that everything his father had ever told him were lies. He turns to the streets and starts to develop terrible characteristics and thinks that he is on top of the world. He meets a white girl one night out dancing and they go out into inner Boston. She knows that it’s not safe because of Malcolm being a black male and she is afraid that they could get caught together. Three white males see Malcolm with her and get into a fight with Malcolm because of his skin color. Because of this Malcolm realizes that no matter what he does or where he goes he will still get discriminated against.

Even though there were jobs open for black people during WWII many workplaces would still hire white people before they would hire blacks. Although this was a major step towards progress many black people had lost their jobs after the war. Many had to go back to low paying jobs and didn’t have as much privilege of getting an education as whites did. America has progressed a lot since those times and we have accomplished to learn from each other and to love one another. Even though we aren’t perfect still, everyday we progress and our different values and cultures make up our great country. We have learned to accept each other for who we are in a very short time and I think that that is a very great thing. People from all over the globe and people with different ethnicity have made America such a thriving country. This ability of equal opportunity and ensuring an education for yourself and the next generation is an amazing thing and a great gift. Despite all the hardships that have came with the past it is certain that our future as a country will be bright and filled with people of different races,religions, and cultures with one common goal of success together as one.

 

Work Cited:

Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon (2016) X: A Novel, Candlewick Press

Author Unknown (2018) Black Workers Played Role on the Home Front https://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/25/opinion/l-black-workers-played-role-on-the-home-front-796992.html

David L. Boren (2017) What is Equal Opportunity? http://www.ou.edu/eoo/about

Jacqueline Jones (2000) Black Workers Remember  http://prospect.org/article/black-workers-remember

 


Final Response: “Mind Games”

     Americans value their freedom and independence. People come from all over the world to live in America and strive for the “American Dream”, whatever that may be to you. The American Dream is different for everyone. For some it is coming to America in attempts to escape war on their home turf, maybe it is opening a business of your own or even getting an education at a high level school.

    In America we believe in education. It is believed that with education comes opportunities and with hard work you can be successful. The U.S is having more and more success with educating their kids with more than “84%”of kids graduating from high school each year says The Condition of Education . Schooling is something Americans value because it can be a gateway to a better life.

    Equality, independence, and freedom are all things that are part of America’s culture. Most Americans believe in equality and equal rights no matter your race, gender, or sexual orientation. Martin Luther King said in his I Have a Dream speech, given in 1964 “ I have a dream that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Independence is also important to American culture because it allows people to speak their minds and voice their own opinions, where in other countries people would be prosecuted for that. Freedom is really what contributes to the American Dream. It is what people come to America for, you are to use your five freedoms given to you in the constitution.

    In Mind Games written by Charles Arthur he talks about his work ethic. Charles came from almost nothing, he  didn’t have a father, money, or a house. Charles looked at every situation with a positive attitude and never lost hope. He worked hard on academics and pushed himself with every endeavor he undertook. He took the American dream to a whole new level. He was motivated in school as well as in  sports. Because of his hard work, he was able to get a scholarship to college for track and field. After college he worked towards the Olympics, once he qualified, he continued his hard work and ended up winning the Olympics. Charles worked hard and appreciated what he had every step of the way. No matter how little he had or how discouraged he felt he never gave up.  Americans value many things, freedom, education, hard work, and independence. All of which contribute to achieving the American Dream.

 

Vanyo, Brian, et al. “The Origin of the American Creed.” Human Events, humanevents.com/2013/02/01/the-origin-of-the-american-creed/.

 

“What Do Americans Value? | Information for Refugees and Immigrants.” Refugee Center Online, therefugeecenter.org/resources/american-values/.

 

Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “American Culture: Traditions and Customs of the United States.” LiveScience, Purch, 13 July 2017, www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html.

 


Americans and Their Values

What does it mean to be an American? Americans live in America, but there is something deeper than just location, something that binds all Americans together regardless of their race, gender, birth country, or other demographic. We share values with other countries, human values, we value friends, family, and community, but there are some values unique to Americans. This American spirit is what makes America a great place to live. There are many values shared by people all over the country, and their combination is what makes up the American identity.

“I do not have to be what my father was. I do not have to obey my father’s rules or even believe everything he believed. It is my strength as a human that I can make my own choices of what to believe and what not to believe, of what to be and what not to be” (Herbert). One of these American values is that of self-determination. You may love your friends, your family, your community, but they can’t control you. You have the right to do what you want to do, as long as it causes no harm to others. Not even the government can take away that right. The quote from Children of Dune at the beginning of this paragraph really captures that in writing. It’s saying, people around you do not define you. Only you can decide who you are.

This sense of individualism, of one’s absolute right to not be controlled by others, it’s also exemplified in the Bill of Rights. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”. You can act on your own rights, just don’t infringe on others’. American President Abraham Lincoln is thought to have said “Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins”. We, as Americans, value our self-determination, but afford other people that same right.

Another American ideal is that of religious freedom. Americans can have any religious belief or none at all. We also have a separation of church and state. In the Constitution, it says “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”. This shows that not only do we value this today, Americans in the past also valued it. Children of Dune has some scenes that really show what is so valuable about religious freedom, and what could happen if it is forgone. In the novel, people do not have religious freedom. “Breaking a law becomes a sin” (Herbert). The fact that they don’t is just one way their government oppresses them. Religion plays a role in everyday life and politics in Children of Dune. Herbert shows us the danger of a unified church and state, and I think this really highlights why we, in America, have this distinction. In the book, religion is often exploited to benefit power-hungry groups. One organization routinely infiltrates young cultures and inserts its own beliefs into the growing society. Some characters play off the religious beliefs of others for their own gain. In America, people are free to believe anything. In Children of Dune, the corrupt and powerful combination of church and state allows political actors to control your beliefs.

We as Americans also value our democracy. We all have a vote. In Children of Dune, however, hardly anyone but the rich and powerful get a say in the government. And while this helps the rich and powerful stay rich and powerful, it doesn’t make life nice for everyone else. The vast majority of the people are in poverty. They live in overcrowded city conditions, in squalor. America is great because everyone can vote, no matter how much political influence you have. Children of Dune gives you a lot to think about. The way that its governmental system is set up makes you wonder, what if we lived like that? A society without freedom, without free speech. If you say something against the emperor, you will be executed. Imagine if you would get executed for saying you don’t like the president. The government in the book is almost the opposite of what we have in America, but that’s why it helps us think. Herbert, an American, shows us the potential consequences if we lived in a different society, one that doesn’t share our American values.

Americans accept and allow for all cultures because indeed America is made up of many different cultures. That’s another reason why America is so amazing. People come here from all over the world. For many people, America is an opportunity. The possibility of a better life. Immigrants take a big chance when they come here. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”. People who come here, with enough hard work and determination, can be successful. Whatever that is, whatever success means to them, they can do that, be that. Immigrants from all over the world come here to improve themselves and to prosper with the rest of us. Immigration makes us one of the most diverse countries. People share their thoughts and ideas. We can engage in constructive debate and learn from each other and the vast array of opinions.

These American values are why people came to America in the first place. They left the tyrannical monarchies of Europe and came here, to an unforgiving wilderness, so that they and their families would be able to live for themselves, not having owed subservience to a king. They fought a war of independence. They created a radically new form of government, and it worked. Today people still come here, seeking new frontiers. America attracts people that share its values, and they share their values with us. Those are American values.


The American Dream

 

Rags to riches. Started from the bottom, and now you at the top. That’s what most of us dream of. The United States is filled with opportunity. No matter where you came from or where you started, you can end up in a good place later on on your life. That’s the reason why so many immigrants want to come here and start a new life and make it better for their families. Examples of these would be people from the trenches or projects, or the bad parts of town who made it out and into the music industry, or really good actors that came from nothing but now worth millions. In America, it just feels like everything is possible. “All people have an equal and inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of their own happiness” (Amadeo, 15).

In the 1920s, it shifted from the Founders’ dream of opportunity to the acquisition of material things” (Amadeo, 6). Let’s take a minute and think about this for a second. Do you really want to be working in a 9 to 5 job everyday of the week, or do you want freedom? Personally, I’ll take the second option. After all, to be American, means to be free.

Sources:

  • Michels, Eva. “What Is the American Dream?” The American Dream – What Is the American Dream?, Eva Michels, america.day-dreamer.de/dream.htm.
  • “What Is Your Definition of the American Dream ?” HYPEBEAST, HYPEBEAST, hypebeast.com/forums/off-topic/110451.
  • Amadeo, Kimberly. “What Is the American Dream Today?” The Balance Small Business, The Balance, www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-american-dream-today-3306027.
  • https://www.vogue.com/article/met-gala-2017-migos-jewelry-red-carpet-bling


What does being an American mean?

What does it mean to be an American? What is our american Creed? Ask different people these questions, get different answers. I believe that being an american should be about two words, liberty and equality. To show this, I will link all of my main claims to the Declaration of Independence, one of our defining documents.

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal” (US 1776). This is a very powerful line from the declaration of independence, and one of my favorites. It shows that equality and equal opportunity is one of the values america was founded on. Now although it is true that we haven’t always lived up to this value, Americans throughout history have pursued it and guided society to make it a more equal nation. This brings us into the american dream, The belief that in america, no matter who you are, where you’re from, you can make it in america if you work hard. This is equal opportunity. There are so many stories of people like Andrew Carnegie who came from seemingly nothing and became extremely successful. Now a lot of people would disagree with this, but I think it is more true in america than any other country. 

They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (US 1776). America was founded with the idea that everyone is born with inalienable rights. These rights are not given to us by the government, rather we just naturally have them. Many of these are liberties. There is a reason that we are guaranteed these liberties. America was born out of an oppressive government, people wanted to make sure government didn’t violate these rights. That’s why they wrote the Bill of Rights, to protect the people from government.

Americans have embraced this concept of freedom. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “it’s a free country” at some point. Throughout american pop culture you’ll see it everywhere, if you look close enough. Songs such as Rockin’ in the Free World by Neil Young, are examples of how people have excepted freedom as part of america.

If you look at the constitution, you see a document seemingly paranoid of government. The idea that government had rules and worked for the people was relatively new at the time and it had everything to do with individual rights. These were also a very new thing to the world. These values are baked into the very fabric of our nation, a nation born out of freedom.

 

 

 

http://www.wallpapers13.com/american-flag-bald-eagle-symbols-of-america-hd-wallpaper-high-definition-1920×1080/

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

http://thrasherswheat.org/fot/ritfw.htm

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/carnegie/aa_carnegie_subj.html


Diversity and Strength in America

What does it mean to be an American? That is a great question because there are so many perspectives and answers to this question. To me being an American means that you have freedom. We often take our freedom for granted not realizing how lucky we are because not everyone has much freedom like us. The U.S. is a great place to grow up because everyone is equal for the most part. Some main American beliefs and values include democracy, freedom, equality. Many people come to America because they have a dream. Some people want to become rich and famous while some want to just have a better life than they did before. Americans fear the unknown. For example, some of us fear immigrants because we have been told they are terrorists, murders, or rapists. Even though this is not true some of us still chose to believe it because we don’t know any better. Those of us who are slightly educated know that this is not the case for the most part. America has overcome so many obstacles.

For example, 9/11 was an attack on the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers represented how great and strong America was. In an article called How New York City Rebuilt Anew After Its Darkest Day by Alina Selyukh, she talks about the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani promised that “We’re not only going to rebuild, we’re going to come out of this stronger than we were before.” The 9/11 attacks impacted many people but we bounced back so after. America has also overcome war and we are “Back to Back World War Champs”. One of the greatest challenges we are facing right now is public shootings. They are becoming more and more prevalent in our society and now that they happen so much there could be one and we wouldn’t even know about it because they happen so often they are not even breaking news anymore.

I think the biggest influence on American culture is social media. For example, in an article called There were over 12,000 poison control calls for people eating laundry pods last year by Christopher Ingram from the Washington Post, he talks about how this dangerous trend became popular. Eating these was one of the dumbest trends ever but people did it to gain online fame. Some other examples of the American dream include song lyrics, the constitution, and our free unrestricted media.

In a video and article called, What Does America Stand For? We Asked Teenagers by Anna North of the New York Times. Everyone around the country had different views on what does America stand for. Some of the teens were very conservative and some were very liberal. It shows that America is very diverse and everyone has a different perspective. America is an amazing place with an array of different people.

 

 

Works Cited

Ingraham, Christopher. “Analysis | There Were over 12,000 Poison Control Calls for People Eating Laundry Pods Last Year.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 16 Jan. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/01/16/there-were-over-10000-poison-control-calls-for-people-eating-laundry-pods-last-year/?utm_term=.467ee31f027f.

North, Anna. “What Does America Stand For?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Aug. 2017, www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000005313156/what-does-america-stand-for.html.

Selyukh, Alina. “How New York City Rebuilt Anew After Its Darkest Day.” NPR, NPR, 8 Sept. 2016, www.npr.org/2016/09/08/492960193/how-new-york-city-rebuilt-anew-after-its-darkest-day.

Photo Link: http://thethinkering.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_image_full_node/public/field/image/diversity.jpg?itok=h0Cv9pWQ

 


What Values Define the People of America?

There has been a lot of discussion about what “American Values” are. What the things are that make us Americans. I believe that the core american values are opportunity, equality, and freedom of voice. These are the things that make America the country that it is.

Opportunity is an important part of american culture. One of the reasons that people immigrate to the United States is to have more options for occupation, housing, etc. They also come so that their children can have the benefit of choice when it comes to what path they want to take in life. In “Let America Be America Again”, a poem by Langston Hughes, he states,”But opportunity is real and life is free”. In America, children are taught at a young age that they can be anything that they want to be, and this quote represents that. In fact, opportunity has become one of the main themes of children’s movies and books. There are also programs in my own high school that show you a variety of different career options, and allow you to choose your classes to fit the path you want to pursue. The concept of opportunity is a defining point for America.

Another American value is the freedom of voice. One of the reasons for the Revolutionary War was the fact that the people in the colonies had no say on what laws were passed over them. The Framers of the Constitution made sure that America respected the opinion of all citizens, and didn’t fall back into the ways of the Monarchy that they had escaped. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press…”(U.S. Const. Amend. 1). In the United States, everyone has the basic rights that were listed in the quote, and no one is above the restrictions. This freedom one of the main components of what makes us american.

The last american belief is equality. There is a lot of debate surrounding equality currently. People have lots of opinions on if the government is doing its part to make sure that their is equality between all citizens. “Equality is everyone having the same worth…Equality is a lofty goal our country still strives for.”(What Does Equality Mean To America). For many people, equality is something that has been instilled in them since they were children. There are lots of programs that promote and teach that equality is something that everyone deserves.

These 3 values, opportunity, freedom of voice, and equality are key to American creed and culture. These are the principles that this country was founded on, and examples of them are all around us.

 

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. “The Life and Work of Langston Hughes.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 1 Feb. 2018, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again.

LII Staff. “First Amendment.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Legal Information Institute, 10 Oct. 2017, www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment.

Chaganti, Anika. “What Does Equality Mean To America?” The Odyssey Online, 30 Aug. 2017, www.theodysseyonline.com/equality-america.

Image From: http://cherwell.org/2016/11/11/americas-values-will-survive-president-trump/


The Current Change of the American Dream

I believe that there are many American beliefs and values but none are more important to the current common population then striving for the American Dream. The American Dream isn’t the same as it used to be, it has changed a lot since the term was originally coined in the early 1900s. Originally it was all about having land, living in a free country, having family and friends which is what the song God Bless America talks about as it praises our country (Berlin). However, now I feel like it’s more about having the most wealth. If you have noticed most people in our generation care about their money and what they can buy, and less about their value of life and their families. Not everyone is like this, there’s a good majority that is still old-fashioned, but if you are observant you’ll notice that many decisions are towards increasing wealth. For example, students in schools looking at their futures decide to journey on a path that will lead them to a job that pays the most, instead of a path that leads to something they really enjoy doing. Also, with sports betting recently becoming legalized (Tackle). That’s just another way people will try to make money without getting into trouble. In addition, you commonly see people (mostly teens) who have to have the newest iPhones, the designer shoes, and the Gucci belts, especially because companies such as Nike are targeting the youth “Figure out not just who their customers are now, but who their customers are going to be in five years, 10 years and beyond” (Wolken).  but none of that really matters in the long run because it isn’t going to contribute to your future success to America or their true happiness. The majority of the current population is chasing money instead of the values and beliefs that grant the most happiness in life.

 

 

Works Cited
Berlin, Irving. “God Bless America.” Scout Songs, 1938. www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/godblessamerica.html.

“Tackle the Rush to Sports Gambling.” Christian Science Monitor, 30 Aug. 2018. SIRS Issues Researcher, www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2018/0830/Tackle-the-rush-to-sports-gambling.

Wolken, Dan. “Just watch it: Nike’s Colin Kaepernick TV ad is inspirational, not controversial.” USA Today, 7 Sept. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2018/09/07/nikes-colin-kaepernick-tv-ad-inspirational-not-controversial/1223106002/. 

Photo by Chancy Rendezvous


Our American Values

America is a land filled with opportunity and new beginnings. Everyone can pursue what they want and can live their life as they please. There is a lot that goes into our American values, creeds, beliefs, and culture. I believe that getting along together and supporting each other is important for our American values and day to day life.

These days not a lot of people get along and it feels like there is a lot of division with all the stuff that is showing up in the news lately. We have to learn to understand each other and try to see or put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We have to learn that we are all one nation and it doesn’t matter what race you are or what religion you believe in. It is important that we learn to love each other and help each other achieve our goals as a nation. We all want to be treated fairly and equally and its time that we put that fourth.

In the article “ What Do American Values Mean to You?” the author Caroline Gilpin says, “You cannot define Americans by what they look like, where they come from, whom they love or how they worship. Only our democratic values define us. And if we lose sight of this in our conduct at home or abroad, we jeopardize the respect that has made the United States the greatest nation on earth.” I believe that if we learn to love and care for each other we could make anything possible and achieve our biggest dreams and goals as a nation. 

Everyone works hard towards their goals and wants to achieve their dream. This is part of the American culture and our creed. In the article, “What the American Creed Means to Me” the writer says ,”The best way to better achieve the vision that is shown in the American Creed, is to see past the difference and work together towards the prosperity of the nation as a whole. By working together, it is possible for so many things to be done and the vision that the American Creed illustrates can be reached.” (Matthew R.) We all want an equal opportunity and be able to live freely and independently. We as Americans are very diverse and everyone in America has a different background and a different story. Everyone is unique and different in their own way and should be treated fairly. In the article “Key American Values” the writer of the article states, ” America’s population reflects remarkable ethnic diversity. More than 20 percent of the population of two major cities, Los Angeles and new York, were born in another country. ” (Unknown) We value helping each other and being there for each other. We help each other reach our goals and guide each other into a better tomorrow.

 

work cited

Caroline Crosson Gilpin (2017) “What Do American Values Mean to You?” link -https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/learning/what-do-american-values-mean-to-you.html

Matthew R ( 2018) “What the American Creed Means to Me” link – https://writingourfuture.nwp.org/americancreed/responses/258-what-the-american-creed-means-to-me

Author Unknown (2013) ” Key American Values” link – http://www.umsl.edu/~intelstu/Admitted%20Students/Visitor%20Handbook/keyvalues.html

 


America: Land of Immigrants

To be an American is to accept all Americans. America is “…The home of the free…” (You’re A Grand Old Flag) Our country was founded by immigrants. They were fleeing an oppressive government. People on the Mayflower came over so they could practice any religion of their choice. Americans fought the revolutionary war because they wanted democracy, not a king. Immigrants from all over the world come here seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Anyone can come here and live the American dream. We accept each other and learn from one another because we are all immigrants. We share the values, the core morals, that form the makeup of America.

 

For many people, America is an opportunity. The possibility of a better life. Immigrants are taking a chance when they come here. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” If you come here, with enough hard work and good spirit, you can be successful. Whatever that is, whatever success means to you, you can do that, be that. Immigrants from all over the world come here to improve themselves and to prosper with the rest of us.

 

Immigration makes us one of the most diverse countries. People from all over the world share their thoughts and ideas. We can engage in constructive debate and learn from each other and the vast array of opinions.

 

However, in recent years, I feel we have gotten less tolerant. It seems like whenever you turn on the media, you just get a headache from the bad news. We need to learn how to work together and stop blaming each other for problems. We can talk through our differences, we don’t need to argue.

 

As Americans, we believe in freedom and equality for all, no matter the country of their origin. “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” (Declaration of Independence), this is the main concept of our laws. As time went on, this statement came to include people of color and women. That was the logical next step in the idea. But the core is the same, equality.

 

Works Cited:

You’re A Grand Old Flag, George M. Cohan, https://genius.com/George-m-cohan-youre-a-grand-old-flag-annotated

Martin Luther King, Jr., https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/martin_luther_king_jr_105087

Declaration of Independence, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

Image Source: https://www.colourbox.com/image/3d-small-people-on-a-planet-earth-isolated-on-white-background-image-3471015


Policing Immigration

Immigration may well be the hottest issue in the United States today. Some people want to build physical walls to keep illegal immigrants out. Others want to welcome them with open arms. However, the issue of state and local police helping or hindering ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents’ agendas has implications far beyond how many immigrants get deported.

One of these implications is whether or not someone will call 9-1-1 to report a crime. In some cities, illegal immigrants can be deported simply for calling the police. In Washington, a man who called for help was taken away from his family to be deported when the police came. Wilson Rodriguez called 9-1-1 because he saw a man trespassing on his property and looking in his car and house. The officers who arrived on the scene ran Rodriguez’s name and found an ICE warrant. The officers took him to a detention center and handed him over to ICE who refused to release him on bail. Rodriguez had no criminal record, but police officers felt the ICE warrant equated to an arrest warrant even being an illegal immigrant is not a crime but a civil violation. These stories make illegal immigrants hesitant to report crimes that they see because they could be deported if they have an outstanding ICE warrant.

In an effort to ensure all people feel safe reporting crimes, some states and counties have limited how and when the police can question immigrants in regards to their legal status and when Police can hold them for ICE without a criminal warrant. These locations are called sanctuary cities. Many people believe that in these cities immigrants are protected from deportation. This is not the case. They are actually just cities that limit cooperation with ICE to protect illegal immigrants who have never committed a crime or have only committed minor crimes. They still deport people who have committed major offenses. This measure helps to ensure that all crime is reported because illegal immigrants feel safe to call the police.

But other locations have partnered up with ICE to deputize their officers to enforce immigration laws. Pennsylvania does not have a relationship with ICE but also has no regulations regarding questioning immigrants. This has led to illegal immigrants with no criminal records being deported because they were passengers in a car that got pulled over. In one case, two men were just outside a store when they were questioned and detained because they admitted that they were illegal immigrants. This is worrisome because it gets into the issues of racial profiling and warranted stops.

While some people argue that ICE cannot handle all the illegal immigrants on their own, the answer is not to involve local and state police forces. The police are there to protect the people in their jurisdiction and they cannot do that if there are people who are afraid to call and report crimes. They also have many more important things to do then pull Hispanic people over to see if they are undocumented. Not only is this type of behavior unconstitutional, but it is also a waste of police resources. The tax-paying citizens of America are being put at risk when the police deal with immigration. Fewer resources being devoted to actual crimes and fewer people willing to come forward and help makes non-sanctuary cities more dangerous for everyone. If ICE cannot handle the number of immigrants, the government can hire more ICE agents. But there is no part of “protect and serve” that includes deporting people who have done nothing criminally wrong at the cost of not protecting nor serving the people in the community.


Is minimum wage too minimum?

“Should the federal minimum wage be increased?”There are good arguments for both the pros and cons side of this argument. I am arguing that yes the minimum wage should be increased although the cons arguments were quite good. The cons arguments mostly had to do with companies and people being unhappy with profit and costs. The pros arguments were mostly about lowering the gap between pay and the economy. https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm In my reading, I have found that there are good arguments for both sides of the question. For the cons side, most people are concerned about it causing job losses and raising prices for customers. Some corporations will no longer make a profit because they will be paying their workers more than they can afford. As salaries go up so will the prices of good and that will result in consumers paying more for their goods.  This may lead to a further economic downfall in the future. https://www.theperspective.com/debates/businessandtechnology/raise-minimum-wage/

For the pros side of the argument there were some equally good arguments, I am choosing to argue on the pros side. I am doing this not because one argument is better than the other, but because of personal bias and my belief that this would help people and our economy. The money given to the employes will go right back into the economy because the working class is the main consumers. Raising wages will reduce income inequality because the people making minimum wage will earn more per year reducing the gap in pay. It will also benefit the children of poor families by making it easier to integrate into schools. They will have the same supplies and opportunities as other kids. https://www.theperspective.com/debates/businessandtechnology/raise-minimum-wage/

 

Other sources: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/pros-and-cons-of-raising-the-minimum-wage-2062521


How I can support myself?

So I ask how I can support myself, while I feel lazy sometimes and I don’t want to do anything but if I have to support myself I have to also wake up and follow my dream.

It is interesting to me because it’s very very important to me to experience difficult and hard work else you get fed up. When you feel this way maybe you will give up achieve your dream. That means I have to charge myself by stimulating or learning from someone who has failed and how he passed that difficulty to be a success. In other words I will say I should hearing who had failed more than who had success because I could learn from who had failed because I will I appreciate the correct the mistakes he got. I will keep working ‘why not I can’t’ perseverance makes a success.

I will describe all that I already know about it, the success is not inevitable but it knocks between you and him.  At the end let’s see who will win, it means that if you fail in class or a goal that you don’t get yet. It doesn’t mean you are a loser. The loser means when you try one time or to two times and then you give up ‘this means you lose’ the success doesn’t come from one try or two. everyone who had successful he does fails many times, for example, like there is a famous man, his name is Thomas Alva Edison, ‘he made the light bulb’ Do you know how many times he fails? one-handed times to get successful! He is never giving up. I will say when I fail I will try again and try again and again even one hundred times I will attempt until when I get it, for a successful is not easy and at the same time is not impossible.

 


This Is America

Besides the obvious scientific and structural advancements, only one thing has really changed amongst the generations :

We now live in an America where people of color are seemingly given glorious amounts of political influence and control over their lives.

Otherwise, we still live in an America where the school to prison system isn’t a theory but our reality.

We still live in an America where young black boys are afraid of cop sirens, not because of the trouble they may be causing, but because they know they aren’t seen as more than targets.

We still live in an America where predominantly black schools receive significantly less funding.

We still live in an America where white is considered right and black is just inappropriate.

We still live in an America where natural is no longer natural, where surgery and enhancements are as casual as racial slurs.

We still live in an America where hate lives in our society as much as blacks live off of EBT and WIC programs.

We still live in an America where mouths and eyes close in the face of injustice but phones are always present.

We still live in an America where we are policed by those who care less about the jurisdiction and more about protecting their own.

We still live in an America where we love America but America doesn’t love us.


Black Success in Weeksville: Incline or Decline?

Recently in Current Events, we´ve been studying Weeksville. At first I thought about the project buildings wondering why we learning about old project buildings. When I read Weeksville Tours, I started to think why is this so significant to my teacher? After watching clips it made me want to learn more about it. I know that many people feel that this isn’t important, not knowing the difference between the center and the projects. After doing this study, I think this topic is serious and it helps the youth know how this came about.  For example, I read that James Weeks created this community where colored people were in charge of everything from business to property.

One thing that I know for sure about Weeksville is that even though colored people were restricted from a lot, they fought and was rewarded with Weeksville. Prospering through the odds. Now I’ve studied my share of US history and personally, it’s really interesting to me how I don’t learn enough about colored achievements. How I know mainly about slavery, civil rights and other actions taken by colored people. I don’t hear enough about the good. Hearing about Weeksville gave me more information that I can share with others.

I did some research on Weeksville. This one article, “The Inspiring Story of Weeksville, One of America’s First Free Black Communities,” provided a lot of information and opinions on James Week. Some felt like he was a strong successful individual. Others felt he couldn’t have done this all by himself. ¨Weeksville had become a successful community of more than 500 people, boasting more opportunity for homeownership, employment and success for its black residents than any other part of Brooklyn, and well beyond.¨ This statement didn’t really surprise me all that much, but it did make me feel relieved. Only because it really shows that we can surpass anything we put our mind to. Although it was successful, the original was destroyed, a cemetery was removed for the now Eastern Parkway, houses were destroyed. Little is left of the original.

In another source that I looked at, on Blackpast.org, “Weeksville, New York (1838– ), there was this one statement that made me shake my head in disagreement with the writer. It was: “Even though the community existed until the 1930s, it was overtaken by the growth of Brooklyn and almost forgotten amidst urban renewal plans of the 1950s when many of its old buildings were replaced by newer structures.” This is untrue because Brooklyn didn’t mess up the structures entirely. There are still original buildings left. Things were removed yes, but not everything.

All this makes me think that everyone wants a negative response to colored people being successful. In history, many hated this. I feel like that’s why it declined now, many didn’t want to see its uprising.

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images


Roots

My Great Grandfather, Lewis J. Minor, is proof that the American Dream is real. Just the son of an Irish immigrant from Tipperary, he turned his love and passion for chemistry into the L.J. Minor Corporation from just $6,000 capital and ended up selling this corporation to Nestle in 1983. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, my grandfather held onto his ancestry and never forgot where he came from, and these roots have been passed on through the generations and into my family. My sisters and I represent my Great Grandfather and his immigrant family from Ireland by practicing in the traditional art of Irish Step Dancing, and although we all identify as Americans, it is important that we know who we were before we were Americans. Each and every person’s roots define them and make up a part of them that can never be taken away, a part that makes being a citizen of this country special because the country is diverse. Everyone’s from somewhere, and that “somewhere” tells a story for each and every citizen, a story that could never be traded for the world.

My story started in the late 1890s when my great-great-great uncle Timothy Hughes gave up his poor life as an Irish farmer and decided to make the journey across the pond, entering the United States of America through Boston, Massachusetts. After finding work in Boston (mostly in factory labor), Timothy decided that the bustling city life was not for him, and he pursued his new-born American Dream of owning and running his own business. He stayed in Boston for 2 years and earned enough money to finally move to the little town of Ishpeming, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, where he built from the ground his very own mercantile business. Although it doesn’t sound like much, this success story of an Irish immigrant shows the true beauty of the American Dream. Sure, a man who just hopped off a boat from Europe is not an American, but that matters not to the all inclusive “Dream” that so many of us have grown up learning about, that so many of us desire will come true for ourselves one day. For Timothy, who was really just an Irishman fearing discrimination and hostility from native-born Americans, the dream became owning an American business and contributing to the growth of the nation so deeply loved and acknowledged by all those who had heard endless stories about the amazing things that happened in this strange land, this strange land where the people make decisions, where the people have a voice that tells the government what to do, where the people are given a right to dream as big as they can and an opportunity to make that dream come true. No, my great-great-great uncle did not come from America, but that did not prevent him from living his American Dream, a phrase that will never only be applicable to those that were born in this country. The American Dream is a belief that anyone has the ability to achieve anything that they want while living in this country, and it is reached through the hard work and dedication made possible by the nation that we live in and all the statutes established under it that guarantee us our rights. If it weren’t for this ideology, my ancestors would have never found their way to Michigan, and I likely wouldn’t be here today, which is why it is so important to myself and to everyone else living in any place on Earth to always remember and be thankful for our roots.

Lewis J. Minor was born in 1914 in Harbor Beach, Michigan, to Kathleen Hill (who had just immigrated from Tipperary, Ireland) and Ernest Minor. A first generation American and the foundation of my family in America, he quickly learned just how far one could go in this country if enough work and dedication were put into everyday life. His favorite phrase to say, and he had quite a lot of them (not to mention all the limericks and jokes he inherited from his Irish mother), was one that has stuck with me my entire life, one that he lived by and that led to the beginning of his successful career as an entrepreneur. The phrase was simple: “any job, big or small, do it right or not at all.” Since the very beginning of his life, he had applied this saying to any profession or small wage work that he had done, beginning as an employee for a man who sold balloons on the street. At just 12 years old, Minor realized that he would profit more if he were to buy the materials himself and sell them to customers rather than having to forfeit some of the money he acquired from sales to his employer, and therefore he began selling his own balloons in order to gain the most revenue. After graduating high school, Minor decided to attend college at Michigan State, then known as “the Michigan State College”. On his transit to East Lansing, rather than taking a bus or a train, my great-grandfather decided to hitchhike in order to save money for tuition and housing. Upon arrival, he moved into a 30 tenant house on Albert Avenue — a street that is 1.5 miles away from where I currently live. At college, he studied chemistry, and immediately after graduating began working on food formulas for many different companies, such as LaChoy Chinese Foods. During World War II, Minor created formulas for canning bouillon for the army — a key development for cheaply and easily feeding soldiers overseas. It was during this time that Minor had the revolutionary idea to start his own food manufacturing company in which the process of making stocks (broths that are used for seasoning soups and sauces in the restaurant business) was simplified in the form of Minor’s bases (highly concentrated versions of the stock that reduced cooking time by upwards of 16 hours). He rented out an 18×20 foot room that was inside a pickle and mustard plant and had only $6,000 invested by himself and two others into this business. From here, he began the process of turning his dream into the L.J. Minor Corporation. He quickly bought entire ownership of the company from the other 2 investors and began to use chefs as his salesforce after 2 years of slow business, a change which rapidly increased sales and profit by more properly putting his goods out on the market. In 1957, the formerly small food-based company was officially patented as the L.J. Minor Corporation, and my great-grandfather had fulfilled his American Dream. After selling the Corporation to Nestle in 1983, Minor donated $7 million to Michigan State University to be put towards always having a professional chef on staff at the University, paying homage to the college that started the dream that would become the legacy of himself, my family, and all the ancestors before him.

Lewis J. Minor started his very own business from an idea so revolutionary that everyone in the food industry will recognize his name. Sure, it’s sometimes fun to say your relative started a multimillion-dollar industry from scratch, completely changing the way restaurants and other producers made food, but to me, he’ll always be my great grandpa before any of that. He’ll always be the man that went out of his way to come and watch my sisters and me perform our Irish Step Dancing at the East Lansing Folk Festival, he’ll always be the man that told me an innumerable amount of stories about his mother’s life in Ireland, he’ll always be the man that showed me just how important it is to remember my roots. I am an American, my sisters and parents and grandparents and great-grandparents are all Americans, my great grandpa fulfilled his American Dream through hard work and dedication, but before that, before we were all Americans, we were Irish. We came from a small island in the Atlantic Ocean and traveled over 2,900 miles to this country full of dreamers, full of opportunities for these dreamers to make their desires become reality, and we’ve been here ever since, leaving our mark on our new country of America, yet never forgetting our origin, never letting go of our ancestors who worked so hard to prove that the American Dream existed, never letting go of our roots. I am proud to call myself Irish, but I am even more proud that being Irish is part of what calling myself an American, a true American, so special.


DACA: Dreamers Path to a Clean Dream Act

 

The issue is about DACA- Deferred action for Childhood arrivals. It was a policy made for children who were illegally brought into the country providing them with a work permit and a temporary status that protected them from deportation. The policy was made by Obama and the so called DREAMERS were safe up until this year that Trump ended DACA leaving many DREAMERS with their lives on a limbo since they can’t renew work permits nor can they do anything if the work permits already expired.

I am very passionate about this issue because DREAMERS are all over this country not only are they people that we know but they are teenagers just like us. They have gone through the same things, they have fought to get an education and to provide for themselves and their families. The fact that they contribute to the economy and try to do everything they can to stay within the law. The thing is that now many of these teens are left with their lives hanging by a thread because now they are not protected against deportation nor can they get a work permit anymore. Without this people my age and older can’t work and live in fear every day of being deported and separated from their loved ones. I believe that these children and their families were just looking for a better future for their kids and yes they did enter illegally but that does not make them any different compared to us. They were born and raised here, this is their country and that shouldn’t be defined by  piece of documentation , we’re all here to truly pursue that American Dream.

I knew a lot about the issue including the benefits and how the DREAMERS were affected by the ending of DACA. Additionally, I also knew about the 3.6 million Dreamers in this country and how currently approximately 800,000 people are enrolled in DACA. Doing this project I was able to learn more about the amount of current DACA recipients living in our country throughout each state. I also learned more about the Clean Dream Act as well as the amount of groups and awareness that this topic has and how many people support it. I was also very impressed by the youth and how persistent they are, they haven’t stopped fighting for congress to do something regarding DACA and it’s hopeful recipients.

 


Unequal Pay

Unequal pay has been a severe conflict since forever. Many people thought that by 2018, this would not be a problem. Yet, this is a problem many women are facing everyday. As a women, I hope this problem is solved soon. Which made me look into this topic even more. Before starting this project, I knew that women and men are seen unequally because of stereotypes. According to social norms, women are suppose to stay home and take care of the household and their children. However, men are supposed to be working and earning money for the family. Even though it is 2018 and women with the highest educations are getting jobs, there is injustice present because men and women are unequally paid despite having the same amount of education. Additionally, this is not a recent problem because this conflict/injustice has been occurring for so long that there are associations and ideology formed such as Feminism. After working on this project, I learned how laws were passed to ensure that men and women were getting paid the same at the same workplace. One of this law is called the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that was passed by John F. Kennedy.

 


The Lies of Multi Level Marketing

In an article by Robert L. FitzPatrick, the president of the Pyramid Scheme Alert and co-author of  False Profits: Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes, he offers some insight into the lies that multilevel markets generally produce to justify their work ethic.  The first lie he lists is that “MLM is a business offering better opportunities for making large sums of money than all other conventional business and professional models.”  He then provides historical evidence to show that multilevel markets almost always result in a losing financial proposition.  A great example of this is the 1995 case of Excel Communications, a former MLM giant.  The company reported to regulators that it had an 86% turnover rate of distributors and 48% drop-out rate among all customers.  This ties into how these markets tend to classify their distributors as “active” and “inactive” to obscure these dismal numbers.  The payout and investment portfolio records are then only disclosed to the “active members” to keep these discrepancies out of the public eye.  

In the same article, FitzPatrick examines the strategies and schemes used to make multi level marketing seem appealing to potential investor recruitments.  This is done by numerous forms of fortifying rhetoric and experiences.  These types of companies will hold recruitment meetings in lavish destinations with top notch service to the potential investors.  They associate the wealth and comfort that they experience during these meetings with what they “can earn” if they become a part of the recruitment process. These meetings are strategically engineered to psychologically fortify the company’s model within the minds of the recruitments and can have an intoxicating effect on the individual.  Multi level marketing can present itself to the investor in the most sneaky, methodical ways in order to appeal to the wants and goals of the investor.  

Another misconception that arises from this system is that “friends and family are guaranteed to be lifetime customers and support” if an individual chooses to be a distributor for one of these markets.  This is another methodical tactic used to recruit more and more individuals which results in the infectious spread of investor recruitments.  If one person becomes involved with a multi level marketing opportunity, they are likely to recruit those closest to them; friends and family, to become investors below them in order to meet their recruitment quota.  This results in the involvement of more and more people, spreading like a contagious disease from person to person.  

Another lie that is listed in FitzPatrick’s article is that multi level marketing presents an opportunity for personal freedom and human growth.  FitzPatrick states, “MLM marketing materials reveal that much of the message is fear-driven and based upon deception about income potential. Solicitations frequently include dire predictions about the impending collapse of other forms of distribution, the disintegration or insensitivity of corporate America, and the lack of opportunity in other professions or services. Conventional professions, trades and business are routinely demeaned and ridiculed for not offering ‘unlimited income.’ Employment is cast as wage enslavement for ‘losers.’ MLM is presented as the last best hope for many people. This approach, in addition to being deceptive, frequently has a discouraging effect on people who otherwise would pursue their own unique visions of success and happiness. A sound business opportunity does not have to base its worth on negative predictions and warnings.”  This shows the ethical holes involved in manipulating the human brain to build a corporate giant.  It is not morally, or ethically sound to take advantage of individuals’ want to achieve success.  It is a violation of business ethics and should not be classified as a legal practice in the United States economy.


More then just education

In one of my earlier post “Why memorization doesn’t work” I addressed the issue that in the US education system we are essentially expecting kids to mimic the teachers words rather than learn or want to learn.Ben Orlin, author of “When Memorization Gets in the way”, explains “Some things are worth memorizing–addresses, PINs, your parents’ birthdays. The sine of π/2 is not among them. It’s a fact that matters only insofar as it connects to other ideas. Although some things are essential to memorize to understand a broader concept memorization is not how we are to learn the concept itself. Because of this we aren’t preparing the future generations for their future which should be the ultimate goal of any school.

After further research and an interview with Patrick Lambert, Principal of Judge Memorial High school, I realized school is just more then just education. Preparing us for our future entails more then just the knowledge we receive on an annual basis. “Our goal is to develop critical thinkers before they leave, of we haven’t done that then we have failed” Lambert explained. He wants us to grow not only academically but physically spiritually and socially. Preparing us for our future is more then just being able to get good grades, he understands we live in a system that we can’t change but doing the best he can to prepare us students is his mission statement. Lambert also explained that he had all the teachers read a book about this exact topic to encourage teachers to instill a love of learning and to notice the improvement itself rather then the individual grade.

Another crucial aspect is your character, Lambert pointed out. This is where the growing spiritually comes in, us as people not only in the workforce but basically everywhere else. Being upfront about ones character or teaching students how to live a good life whatever that means to them is a difficult thing to do as a public institution. “Being a private school we have that advantage of being able to be upfront about sensitive topics as such” according to Lambert. It’s something he encourages all schools to at least attempt at doing. Of course Judge is not a perfect school either we have much room for improvement and the students will say its the worst, “but if you ask an alumni ten years from now how they feel they will say they were too lucky to have an opportunity as such”. Its not just education that will get you through life but being able to grow physically spiritually, socially, and academically is what we describe preparation to be.


“Legal Good, Illegal Bad”

Recently in the news, we have seen a lot about the arguments between parties and members in the same party about the ending or the keeping of DACA. The most recent government shutdown that lasted about 2 days in January was caused by the disagreement of parties on the pressing subject. Trump and the Republican party compromised with the Democratic party that he would legalize all under DACA if Democrats would agree to fund the wall and end the visa lottery and “chain migration”. When presented with two compromises to the bill, 37 Republicans voted for legalization of “Dreamers”, more border security, and reduction of legal immigration. However, only 8 voted for not legalizing Dreamers, more border security, and more legal immigration.

There is an irony in Trump’s compromises and in his ideals of immigration. By legalizing “Dreamers”, who are undocumented, he is lowering the immigration of legal, documented immigrants. Furthermore, Trump never actually uses the term illegal/undocumented immigrants when talking about immigrants. However, he sure has a lot to say about where they come from. His controversial statements about Mexico and Latinos are just one example of the racism behind this irony and confusion of immigration under the administration; the Muslim ban is another. The administration does not support immigration of any kind, legal or illegal, of people (mostly darker-skinned) from developing countries, such as those in predominantly Muslim or Latin-American countries. “Trump replaced the legal-illegal distinction with one that turned out to have more resonance on the activist right: The distinction between white Christian immigrants and non-white, and non-Christian ones.”

In a book called “White Backlash”, the writers cite a poll that shows that 61% of Americans believe “illegal immigrant” is only referring to those of Latin-American descent, however, statistics show, only a quarter of Latino immigrants are undocumented. In a research study conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, “it found that Republicans were only three points more likely than Democrats to want to reduce immigration from “predominantly Christian countries” and only seven points more likely to want to reduce immigration from Europe. By contrast, they were 33 points more likely to support reducing immigration from Mexico and Central America and 41 points more likely to support reducing immigration from ‘predominantly Muslim countries.’” The findings behind this clearly show that the issues behind the arguments of illegal immigration in today’s society can be rooted and based on racism and xenophobia.

Hypothes.is: https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-the-new-gop-crack-down-on-legal-immigration-reveals/553631/


How Multi Level Marketing Has Failed in the Past

This article by Stacie Bosley and Kim McKeage examines the diffusion of multilevel marketing and the risk of pyramid scheme activity.  This article closely examines the case of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing in Montana, a trade company that was notoriously shut down after multiple state level lawsuits involving Montana, Texas, and North Dakota.  This company started out with two individuals who sat at the top of the pyramid and made millions by recruiting more and more investors below them.  Their business outline worked to where eventually, the new recruitment investments would pay for the preceding returns that were due to the investors who came before them.  This scheme continued and worked for years until almost 94% of the entire company was making less than a dollar, or in debt to the incorporation, on average every month.  This dramatic gap can be seen in the figure one diagram, where it is ironically presented as a pyramid.    This scheme boiled over promptly in a series of court cases that resulted in the complete liquidation of the company.  In the Montana v. Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing Inc (2010) court case, Montana stated, “FHTM is not a multilevel distribution company, but rather a pyramid promotional scheme because the compensation each participant in the program receives is derived primarily from obtaining the participation of other persons in the program and not the sale of goods and services.”  This was a very intriguing find because it shows how easily a business can slip into this type of scheme that can financially stunt or ruin so many individuals.  

Reading deeper into this article, it explicitly differentiates legal multilevel marketing from the pyramid scheme and how diffusion is intended to happen within these corporations.  The correct “legal” mode of diffusion works in a way that the newly recruited investors get paid their return from the net earnings of the company, rather than the investments of new recruitments.  This is a sustainable form of multilevel marketing, however, it more than always never works out that way.  Greed is usually the culprit of why companies choose to use non renewable forms to pay new investors, and it creates a never ending domino effect of everyone trying to cover themselves.  That is why multi level marketing is such a dangerous game, because it can easily turn into a legal, let alone moral nightmare.  This begs the moral question of whether these business platforms are really worth the risk involved.  Many of these markets are still thriving legally today such as NuSkin, Doterra Essential Oils,  Rodan + Fields, Scentsy, and many others.  Here is a list of the top thriving companies that fall under this category today.  Many of these markets fall under legal regulations, however their distribution platforms show that they are still extremely reminiscent of the Pyramid Scheme.  Many of these companies have had numerous issues and lawsuits with the Federal Trade Commission, yet still continue to operate today.  In the 1990’s the FTC led multiple investigations into Nu Skin enterprises for advertising false income amounts over their product distributors.  Recently in 2016, NuSkin was sued by China in a Utah State Federal Court for operating a “suspected illegal pyramid scheme” which resulted in a $45 million dollar settlement for the corporation.  Later that year, the same company was involved in bribing a Chinese official to allow them to continue operations in the country.  Granted the company’s thriving success, the morality of their work still remains utterly questionable.  Nu Skin is not the only large scale corporation that has run into trouble with legal constraints as these.  It is a constant issue for this industry which begs the question of how ethically correct it is to allow them to continue.  


The Ponzi Scheme and its Connection to Modern Day Business

I came across a very informative source while browsing the Gale database.  This link should lead to my annotations I made while reading this article via hypothes.is. This source gives an in depth look at the original Ponzi scheme formulated by Charles Ponzi.  This scheme was first used in Boston in 1919 with a postal coupon system that made the founders very wealthy.  The article talks about turning monetary means into a devalued currency, which then essentially forces people to partake in the buying of a product.  I found this to have a resemblance to the tangible product flow that is involved in multi level markets.  These similarities have sparked inquiry on the ethicality of this business scheme in the past.  The Ponzi scheme and the pyramid scheme are two different schemes altogether, however they both work in similar ways.  The Ponzi scheme somewhat inspired the pyramid scheme some years later.  In both of these marketing formulas, there is a set “guarantee” of return to the investors within an allotted number of days, (in Ponzi’s case, investors were guaranteed a 100% return within 90 days).  The reason his scheme was considered fraud is because the money he used to pay the investor’s returns came purely from the investments of new recruited investors, rather than postage sales that the company made afterwards.  This shows how plans like these are bound to fall apart for the bottom recruitments eventually, because the scheme can only stretch so far until it breaks and can’t support the influx of new recruitments.  These schemes often corrupt investors with more and more greed, as it soon becomes visible how they can end up with a large sum of cash by recruiting more and more people below them, as their superiors did to them.  In a way this business scheme is much like a cult of success.  There arises an intense sense of competition within the business that drives investors into abandoning all of their previous moral obligations to get ahead and make more money than those below them.  

Another interesting piece of information that I found in this document was that many Ponzi schemes still live on today while staying under the radar of business regulations.  The place that these schemes still mainly operate is on the internet.  These markets can still prove to be sustainable today, but only if there exists a cooperation among investors to not liquidate their shares and they stay under the radar of the federal regulatory eye.  This article also stated, “Economists increasingly describe any situation as “Ponzi” when it involves payout obligations that can be met only through borrowing against future income.”  This provides a modern day understanding of these business platforms and how they can be harmful to investors at the bottom.

This article is very enhancing and relative to my ongoing research on multi level marketing and how they resemble schemes such as these.  The detail provided about the Ponzi scheme added another dimension to my research in connecting the pyramid scheme and multi level marketing.  A quote that connects these three pieces states, “ Pyramid schemes are one variant of the Ponzi scheme in which the earlier in the scheme a participant signs on, the greater that person’s share of excess returns.”  This summarizes what I am trying to get across in my research paper.  It is startling how reflective each of these schemes is to one another and it is hard to draw the line where legality and morality become an issue.  I do not personally believe that slapping a different label on something and changing a few of the minor details can make something that is considered fraud, a commonly practiced business platform in modern day society.


“Having the College Money Talk”

In the article Having the College Money Talk, author addressed some questions and suggestions that every family need to consider before they make any decision about colleges. Money is one of the biggest factors of making the choice. On average, a four-year education at a public university will cost approximately $78,000, which includes tuition, fees, and rooms; the amount of money for a four-year education at a private school is more than double of public’s. However, how much a student pay depends on his/her family’s financial situation, the student’s academic record, and other factors that influence how much a school offers in grants and scholarships, both types of free money that don’t need to be paid back. Net price – how much a student pays after subtracting scholarships and grants – is the true cost of a university. According to a new Consumer Reports nationally representative survey of more than 1,500 student loan borrowers, “44% of those who have left college say they have had to cut back on daily living expenses, and 28 percent have had to delay major goals like buying a house and 37 percent put off saving for retirement. The financial impact is so daunting that 45 percent of borrowers say knowing what they know now, their college experience wasn’t worth the cost”.

Although student loan is the fastest way to make college affordable, it may not be the best way. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “the average starting salary for a person with a bachelor’s degree is $50,000. But if you don’t know what you want to pursue as a career, be more conservative, he advises. If you earn $50,000 after graduation and borrowed that much, expect to pay about $555 per month under the standard 10-year repayment plan, assuming a 6 percent interest rate. Annually, that’s about 13 percent of your salary toward your loans”. First debt payment is due six months after graduation on most federal student loans which means that student needs to find a job quickly right after they graduate. One of the suggestions that the author gives is that students should avoid private loans. Otherwise, it is likely that the total amount of loans that a student talke will exceed the salary he/she expects to earn annually in his/her early years so that it is even harder for students to pay off their debt.

Furthermore, parents and students need to think outside of the box. “One mistake families often make is assuming that their state university will be the most affordable option”, says Palmasani. But actually, some private colleges, even highly selective ones, can be cheaper than state schools, too. “That’s because public colleges generally award smaller and fewer scholarships than private colleges, which may have richer endowments”, says Zee Santiago, director of college counseling at the Collegiate Institute for Math and Science high school in New York City. “With cutbacks to state funding, state schools don’t have the money to give out that private schools do,” says Santiago.

 

Citation:

Donna, Rosato. “Having the College Money Talk.” EBSCOhost, Consumer Reports, Aug2016, Vol. 81 Issue 8, p35, 5pweb.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=65c2afd3-55f7-43a3-a7e5-0889167e170d%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=116189498&db=tth.

Accessed 14 Feb. 2018.


What can we do

If you’ve read my last two posts you’d know a few problems, I see, with the US education system. In “What kids can do” by Ronald Wolk he points out ways to deal with these problem and ways certain schools have been trying to counter act the lecture style of learning. The whole idea that sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture is out of date and has been failing recent generations due to its lack of engaging the student. “Students will learn more and remember more of what they learned if they learn in real world contexts, which also reduces boredom and disciplinary problems, stimulates more parental involvement, inspires self-confidence and responsibility in youth, and motivates them to learn.” Wolk explains. The best way to learn how to do something is to do it, and teaching kids to learn how they will be learning with their job will benefit the students so much more then just learning how to calculate angular velocity.

Wolk mentions that, “John Adams echoed the thought when he said, “There are two types of education: One should teach us how to make a living and the other should teach us how to live.” Our current education system is doing neither very well.” I’m not saying to completely dismiss the idea of lectures in a classroom. The lecture style teaching is still necessary for basic everyday knowledge such as reading and writing, and is the most efficient way of teaching multiple people at a time. The benefit comes when we replace lecture with learning, the only way to learn how to do is by doing. According to psychologist Joseph P. Allen teenagers are primed for action and easier to understand through physical work due to them hitting physical peak when young, teenager bodies crave work activity which schools, sadly, do not provide.

The Met school in providence, Rhode Island, is one of few schools trying to incorporate real world skill building into their curriculum. “Students gain real-world experience especially through internships that span at least a semester but could run a year or longer, and through individual projects that they design and carry out.” Wolk explains. Every week for two days, at least, the school provides the students with individual mentors to help guide them on a career path or teach them basic life skills like applying for a job. These students end up repaying the community for all their help, with a project that benefits the community  in a way the student seems fit. One young woman decided in her first semester that she wanted to be a secretary, so she interned in a physician’s office as a file clerk. She became interested in medicine, so her next internship was with a physical therapist; then she spent a semester working in a hospital emergency room. She needed to know science, so The Met arranged for her to take courses at nearby Brown University. These internships help guide the students on a clearer path of what they want in their future.

However there are problems with this model. Some students may take advantage of the freedom granted to them and not grasp the opportunity, which is their fault and their’s alone but does not bode well for the school. Is it worth dedication so much time to molding the students in such a way that is frankly a gamble and an expensive one none the less. I think schools dont have to follow the exact model The Met uses but i think all schools should have a common goal of making the student as prepared as possible for the real world.

 

 


Multi-Level Marketing and its Uncanny Resemblance to the Pyramid Scheme

In business, there exists a competitive craving to be smarter, faster, and bigger than everyone else. This urge stems from the initial experience of success that has the ability to intoxicate people. If success isn’t approached with correct moral and ethical judgement, this infatuating addiction can prove harmful to the parties involved. This is how notorious and successful businessman Bernie Madoff became involved with one of the most systematically thought out forms of stock fraud; otherwise known as the pyramid scheme. This scheme works exactly as it sounds; like a pyramid. The top investor recruits individuals who will “make money” beneath them if they promise to recruit more investors that will “make money” beneath them, and so on. This scheme works and eventually makes a never ending pyramid of investors that only make money if they recruit more and more investors below them, however the issue is that the pyramid can’t go on forever, and there will be investors sitting at the bottom of the pyramid who will fail to make any money at all while the few people sitting at the top of the pyramid will make exponentially increasing sums of money that stem from the empty promises of the bottom level investors. This practice has now been criminalized and landed Bernie Madoff the title of one of the most notorious criminals in history as well as a 150 year sentence to federal prison. This is where the concept of multi-level marketing comes in. This business concept begins with few individuals who have a product that they want to sell. They then recruit a larger group of individuals below them to sell that product. This group of individuals then recruits more sellers below them and the cycle continues on and on while the original sellers make more and more money. In short, the largest group of sellers at the bottom of the scheme end up with a closet full of products that they are unable to sell while the individuals above them make copious amounts of cash. This business scheme holds an uncanny resemblance to the investment scheme discussed earlier. The only difference is that only one of them is considered illegal in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. So if these two business schemes are essentially the same thing with different labels, what is it that separates them in legality?

I found the information very useful in this article by the Better Business Bureau.  The hyperlink provided will take you to my hypothes.is annotation of the document.  It blatantly states the red flags of multi level marketing schemes that closely resemble the pyramid scheme, or Ponzi Scheme.  I found it intriguing how close the qualifying criteria for legal and illegal forms of this marketing seem to be.  This article sparked inquiry about how companies can find legal loopholes to disguise unethical marketing schemes as enticing financial opportunities that comply with legal business regulations.  I believe this document shows how easy it is for corporations to advertise misleading and many times, fruitless schemes to recruit individuals into their market.  The article does state that not all multi-level markets are to be considered “scams,” however many of these product distribution corporations fall into the notorious category.  

I found another article very intriguing.  This government document gives an overview of how certain corporations target young marketing and finance students as recruitment candidates for their products.  It provides numerous guidelines for these students to see if they are being recruited into legitimate market opportunities and not fraudulent organizations.  It examines the risk involved with these types of sales positions and the precautions that should be taken before considering them.   I found this very helpful in showing the main demographic that is at risk when it comes to these types of schemes.  

I am looking forward to researching more on this topic and examining what it is that makes these schemes fall on the spectrum of legality in the eyes of the IRS, and United States Corporate Law.

 


Confronting Illegal Immigration to Make It Easier for the U.S. and It’s Immigrants

In order to confront immigration and it’s problems, we must identify why most illegal immigrants come to the U.S. Most Mexican Illegal Immigrants, for example, come here with no intention to settle permanently. Most illegal immigrants come to work for money for their families back home to send to them. They also earn money for themselves so that by the time they think their family has enough money to live happily and well-off enough in the foreign country, they can go back to their families. I have an uncle who is doing the same thing. He left his family in Mexico awhile back to California to find work. This way he sends money back to my cousins, his children (and their children). He is planning to go back in a few years when he has enough money. My father, when he first came to America, also had to leave his son, my brother, in Mexico while he went to make money for his family and himself.

Another reason immigrants come to this country is a high demand for unskilled labor. The only people willing to do most unskilled labor is immigrants, so they come to take on that job to make money for their family and themselves. “Immigration aides the U.S. economy by providing workers to fill gaps in the labor market. Immigrants tend to fill occupations where the gap between the supply of workers and the demand for them is greatest, typically in the highest- and lowest-skilled jobs. That hourglass shape of the immigration labor pool complements the native workforce, where a much larger share of workers falls in the middle range in terms of skills and education. As a result, immigrants do not typically compete for the kinds of jobs held by the vast majority of American workers. Instead, they migrate to those segments of the job market where most Americans are over- or under-qualified.” Illegal immigrants help the labor force and the economic system because of their low wages and their numerous unskilled jobs. America’s unemployment even decreases during immigration booms: “During the long boom of the 1990s, and especially in the second half of the decade, the national unemployment rate fell below four percent and real wages rose both up and down the income scale during a time of high immigration levels. According to a study by the Council of Economic Advisers, household incomes rose strongly from 1993 through 1999 across all income groups, including the poorest one-fifth of American households. The poverty rate fell by three percent during the 1990s, and almost 10% among African-Americans. Those remarkable gains occurred during a decade of large immigration inflows, including low-skilled workers from Mexico.”

Now the solution to this is brought up by the article “Confronting the Problem of Illegal Mexican Immigration to the U.S.”. This solution, in my opinion (though based on facts of the matter), is a great compromise between those for and against illegal immigration; this way it will be a win-win situation between the two sides, the country, and the illegal immigrants. Griswold says there should be a legal and easy way for illegal immigrants to come in. Then “A temporary work visa (TWV) should be created that would allow Mexican nationals to remain in the U.S. to work for a limited period. The visa could authorize work for a definite period–perhaps three years–and would be renewable for an additional limited period; permit unlimited multiple entries for as long as the visa was valid; allow complete mobility between employers and sectors of the American economy; and entitle the holder to ‘national treatment’.” The number of visas should keep up with the demand for labor from the U.S. This mobility allows the economy to change if demands change for labor supply as well, therefore benefiting immigrants and the U.S. There should also be a program for illegal immigrants in the U.S. to get their papers faster and more efficiently than just applying for it and having to wait 20 years for it. They do not gain automatic permanent residence, however, they would still have to go through the program and through all the steps, rules, regulations, and fees that the program would set up.

There are many cost-efficient ways to do what is morally right: helping illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and immigrants coming here to become residents or to get the right to work. The least cost-efficient way to achieve decreased illegal immigration would be to build a wall. Therefore, if illegal immigration is such a big topic and such an urgent matter to take care of, then there needs to be more talk about how to help these people rather than only pushing them away.


The Misconceptions of Illegal Immigration

In my recent research for my topic on whether or not illegal immigration benefits society, I found a few articles on the viewpoint of how illegal immigration is and has been beneficial to the United States and it’s society. One of the articles talked about how “dreamers” those enrolled under DACA are Americans. Many people believe those under DACA should not be protected under this service and are not beneficial to society, even though those under this program did not choose to come here illegally as children, their parents did. The author of the article responded to Trump’s insensitive remark when he just had to say “Americans are dreamers, too.” The writer of the article retorts, “Yes, Americans are dreamers – and dreamers are Americans. If only we had a president who understood as much.” America is known as the “land of dreams” and is seen as a place where people can be successful and follow their dreams. But when it comes to immigrants of color, many believe they are not part of this same ideal, therefore they are not American. However, those who come here, come here for a better life. They come here to dream for a better life for their children, as any person in this country has done, as every person (except Native Americans) in this country is a descendant of immigrants. This country is built on immigrants and immigration. Colonialism was itself illegal immigration that harmed a native-born society. However, the illegal immigration today does not harm the native-born population.

Another article gave the suggestion that the United States should have open immigration policies because of the actual benefits to the U.S. economy that immigration brings. People have this misconception that illegal immigration hurts the economy more than it helps. The article talked about many economic benefits and standpoints. For example, “In 1989, the U.S. Department of Labor reviewed nearly 100 studies on the relationship between immigration and unemployment and concluded that ‘neither U.S. workers nor most minority workers appear adversely affected by immigration.’” Studies show that immigrants actually are America’s biggest group of entrepreneurs. They fuel the economy through consumerism and feeding their wages into the economic cycle. “1) They expand the demand for goods and services through their own consumption; 2) They bring savings with them that contribute to overall investment and productivity; 3) They are more highly entrepreneurial than native-born Americans and create jobs through the businesses they start; 4) They fill gaps in the low and high ends of the labor markets, producing subsidiary jobs for American workers; 5) Low-wage immigrants may enable threatened American businesses to survive competition from low-wage businesses abroad; and 6) They contribute to increased economic efficiencies through economies of scale.” Another article called “Illegal Immigration: Myths, Half-Truths, and a Hole in Trump’s Wall” (using hypothes.is) highlights the fact that, as mentioned earlier, the benefits of immigration outweigh the harms. “A billion here, a billion there [to pay for illegal immigrants’ education and health care]–these are all big numbers. But that is only one side of the equation. The workers also bring significant economic benefit to the country. Take Texas, a state with one of the largest populations of immigrants who crossed the border illegally. A 2006 report by the state comptroller estimated they added $17.7 billion to gross state product, including contributing $424 million more to state revenue than they consumed in government services, such as education, health care and law enforcement”

As everyone knows, at the beginning of Trump’s presidential campaign, he said some cruel things about Mexican immigrants. For example, he said Mexicans are bringing rape, murder, and other crimes into the U.S. However, according to this article, ” these “illegals” commit far fewer crimes per capita than lesser educated, native-born Americans. They do take jobs, but they also create more jobs for Americans. They use some social services, but a lot of that is offset by how much they pump into the economy. The aggressive enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has given rise to an organized crime network that smuggles people across the border, often while subjecting them to rape, kidnapping and even murder…  the violent crime rate in America dropped 34 percent, and the property crime rate fell 26 percent. That same report found that Mexican immigrants–including those who entered the U.S. legally and illegally–had an incarceration rate in 2000 of 0.7 percent, one-eighth the rate of native-born Americans of Mexican descent and lower than that of American-born whites and blacks of similar socioeconomic status and education.” If anything, illegal immigrants are mostly victims of violent crimes by citizens in this country.

The biggest problem with illegal immigration is the misconceptions and racism behind it. Yes, the majority of immigrants are Latin American, but this majority is the majority of our laborers that pick fruit in fields for less than minimum wage, that build your houses and buildings, that mow and remodel your lawns, etc. Yet, these immigrants are the only ones to be called out, when there are immigrants from many countries in Europe of white descent that come here illegally or overstay their visas and may not even work as hard as illegal immigrants of color. Illegal immigration is not the problem. Ignorance and lack of education on the topic are the problem.

 


Middle-income students’ struggle

In the article “Middle-income students at higher risk for student loan debt than their poorer peers”, the author pointed out that children who born in middle class have greater pressure on paying off student loan debt than those who born in lower class or upper class because the families of these young adults make too much money for their children to qualify for adequate financial aid benefits, but not enough to afford the rising costs of tuition, room, and board, and additional university fees such as book fees, meal fees, entertainments, etc, especially during the era of continuously rising tuition and growing demand of daily needs for college students. So, many students from middle income family chose to go to a cheaper university or colleges which offer them scholarships instead of going to their dream school.

Among those who incurred student loan debt, Houle found that “on average young adults from middle income backgrounds, whose families earned between $40,000 and $59,000 annually, left school with over $6,000 more in student loan debt than their low income peers whose families made less than $40,000 per year. Similarly, students from somewhat more affluent middle income backgrounds, whose families made between $60,000 and $99,000 annually, racked up nearly $4,000 more in student loan debt than young adults whose families earned less than $40,000 per year”. Comparing with those young adults from upper income families, who will likely be supported or helped by their parents, will have a lower student loan debt than those who are in middle class. Statistics shows that “on average among those who incurred student loan debt, students whose families earned $40,000 to $59,000 annually racked up over $12,000 more in student loan debt than their peers whose families earned between $100,000 and $149,000 per year, and over $17,000 more in student loan debt than young adults whose families made more than $150,000 annually. Additionally, students whose families earned between $60,000 and $99,000 incurred, on average, $10,000 more in debt than young adults whose families made between $100,000 and $149,000 per year, and $15,000 more than young adults whose families earned over $150,000 annually”.

In conclusion, because of all those “unfair advantages”, students from middle income family have a higher risk for student loan debt. However, young adults from middle income backgrounds are not the only subgroup of students at increased risk for incurring student loan debt. For example, Houle found that young adults whose parents had less than a college degree had a higher risk for student loan debt than young adults whose parents had a college degree or more. African American students were also significantly more likely than their white peers to rack up student loan debt. In addition, he found that young adults with single parents or step families were more likely than students whose biological parents were together, to incur student loan debt. Colleges students are struggling to find high wage jobs in today’s highly competitive society since they want to pay off their student loan debt quicker. This phenomenon  forces young adults to begin their careers at an increased risk of default and penalties for missed payments. Moreover, students may change the major that they are not interested in into a more popular major so that they can find high paid jobs easier in the future which ruined the purpose of college study.

 

“Middle-income students at higher risk for student loan debt than their poorer peers.” Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week, 8 Sept. 2012, p. 583. Student Edition, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A302841894/GPS?u=pioneer&sid=GPS&xid=fef63d34. Accessed 9 Feb. 2018.


How mental health is viewed, and how society addresses it

In my reserch, many things about mental health have become increasingly obvious. It is a far more prevalent problem than anyone can imagine. Many people who suffer from mental health disorders are seen as “weak” or “emotional”. Most, if not all, people know someone who is effected by mental health. But mental health can very often be ignored, or pushed aside. Teenagers and youth especially are seen as dramatic, and many people seem to think that teenagers dont understand that “It’s natural to feel sad, down, or discouraged at times. We all feel these human emotions, they’re reactions to the hassles and hurdles of life.” This is a direct quote from a government website concerning mental health in teenagers and youth. This is found to be incredibly condescending. When students are faced with the hardships of mental health, they want honesty, even if that honesty can be hard to deal with. Most teenagers know at least one person who has either attempted to or has taken their life, or has hurt themselves in some way. This is becoming increasingly apparent with the higher amount of fluidity from social media and all of it’s outlets.

Mental health issues are almost a “gateway drug” or an incentive to lean towards the underage ( or legal ) abuse of drugs, alchocol, or many other unhealthy and unstable practices that can hurt the person, their friends and family, and possibly even society itself. My research has only further proved my thinking. But there isn’t a lack of motivation for change, and becuase of social media shining a light on the increasing problem, more people are becoming aware of it, and are trying to change it and fix it. Even recent organizations such as the #metoo movoement, Black Lives matter, and Time’s Up are groups who want to change the ways people are thinking, and with to improve the way that people are thinking and behaving. This feeling of not belonging, or having unjust discrimination contribute heavily to the mental health problem.

 

Society has such a strong hold on the mental health of the world. How can one feel a level of safetly if they aren’t safe in their own enviornment? The United States has seen a decrease in Gun Control an increase in deaths by shootings. In many nations, child slavery is a part of everyday life. Why do we not strive for change? Why is there still hurt and struggle, despite the plethora of technology and ideals that the world has developed. Why are we still in danger?

 

My research page:


When does a person become an adult?

Basically, there isn’t a whole lot of reasoning behind the ages put into place in America allowing certain privileges and taking away others. The legal age of adulthood is 18, yet the drinking age is 21, and you can’t rent a car until 25. These various ages are mainly results of different lobbying groups over time. The adult age of 18 came around when the Vietnam War protests were going on. The legal voting age was lowered due to the national unrest, but so was the age for being a legal adult. Young people felt that if they were old enough to to be sent off to war they were old enough to vote. The 26th amendment was passed, allowing citizens to vote at the age of 18.

Is 18 the right age? At 18 young people are expected to quickly gain a ton of independence, although there is a whole lot that they may still not know. For kids with subpar upbringings this can be an especially hard leap, as they may not have the same mentoring that a child with a more stable home could have. Kids raised in foster care systems for example are expected to care for themselves upon turning 18, and can no longer receive aid from the state. There is a time in each person’s life where they have to become self sufficient, but there is a range of ages for when a person will be prepared for this transition. High schools teach students many things, but often times real world subjects such as paying taxes, applying for jobs, and managing a budget are looked over, leaving students to either learn on their own or rely on their parents to continue to help them.

Another major consideration is the brain development of a young person. Today we know that the brain isn’t finished developing at 18, and that some parts aren’t finished developing until around 25. The areas of the brain involved with rational and long term thinking are still forming in teens, differing them from older adults. This relatively new information makes it hard to decide when the legal age of adulthood should lie, but it seems as if rental car companies are doing something right. So the question lies – should the age of becoming a legal adult change?


Dear Leaders of America

Dear Leaders of America, 

    DACA is a Barack Obama approved policy that benefits nearly 800,000 immigrant children who came into the United States “illegally.” The program has many requirements like: No felonies/misdemeanors; applicant must have lived in the United States since June 15, 2012 and entered the U.S. before 16 years of age and must be under 31 before June 15,2012. The benefits of the program include a SSN, drivers license (in most states), ability to build credit, granted work permits, temporary relief from deportation, and removal of obstacles to attend college. The program is not FREE; there is a fee of $495. Work permits need to be renewed every two years, so you will pay the fee as the initial application. If DACA immigrants are following the rules, why doesn’t the government make a more stable plan for us to eventually obtain citizenship?

It can be easy to deport 800,000 children, but what are the effects on the children when they return to a country not familiar to them? I came to the US when I was 4 years old. I grew up all my life in Austin and I love it here. Even if I was not born here, it feels like home to me. I know how to speak, read, and write in English and I know more about the United States than my home land Mexico. I am not what some call “traitor” because I didn’t turn my back on my country; I was innocently brought here at a very young age. I didn’t know I was breaking a law, and I didn’t know this was not my home. But now 16 years later here I am graduating from high school and living my life in the place I call home because I don’t have anywhere else to go. If I get deported I don’t know what Mexico’s living lifestyle is like and how drastically my life will change. When DACA was introduced, I was excited because the government was finally listening to our voices and concerns however as good as DACA hopes to help we need a more stable plan for children to be legalized and protected from being deported. Overall I agree with the DACA policy requirements but I want the government to prioritize the immigrant children and find a resolution to all this controversy.

In my future America I want to see the government find a solution to make legal immigration happen.  I want to see America prosper and open their doors to immigrants in need. I want to see children being protected and helped when they most need it. I hope ya’ll take some time to consider finding a solution to the immigration problem in America. Thank you

Sincerely,

Noemi Mora


what my future would be like in 20 years

In 20 years I will hopefully be a major architect out in Europe and be surrounded by my family and some of the people I consider close to me. A normal day would be me going to work as an architect. A typical day at my job would be checking out blueprints and start making buildings according to them. Hopefully I would get to work on  corporate buildings and other significant projects. Such as building a stadium for a soccer team. Another part of my job would be going to places where there is a high level of poverty and helping out the people and making houses for them and teaching them simple building techniques. At this point in my life, I would be more happy with what I would have accomplished. I would be living a dream. Me achieving this would hopefully inspire children not only my kids to work hard, but for other kids, that may think that they are  not capable of becoming an architect that it is possible as long as they put hard work and dedication into it they would be anything. That’s what a day in my life would hopefully look like in 20 years.


My Amazing Future

 

   I have so many dreams and goals in my life and everyone in this world has dreams to start and to complete.My dad worked hard in his life to make me and my brothers happy, and one day I will return his hard work and make him, and my mom feels good and enjoys the rest of their lives together.I will help my brothers and sisters with there schools and money to support them to finish college because college is expensive and they need to receive help from someone. I’m here to help my family and also poor people. My job is to work at my dad store I want to buy a franchise and buy businesses in Oakland and help out the poor because very little do. I would invest all of my money to the mosques and make more people smile because of what I had been through. There is a sign that says you only sympathize with a person only if you had been through it. My dream is to make all the poor people feel like people want to help them because sometimes they feel worthless. When people see help coming towards them, they start to feel wanted in this world. Then my family is a big part of my life. My career is in the future a doctor and also a businessman.


Miracles

   They ask me who I do it for, and most people expect to hear, “For myself”. I do it for the people that never had a chance. I lost my sister when she was one years old, and I lost my brothers to the system when they were young. So all I ever dreamed of doing was to get my brothers back and help troubled families before it got too late. Now I own a Business helping foster kids and families in need.  I created this program called Hope to keep families together. Giving classes to parents to help build better and stronger bonds with their kids and give any advice needed. Classes for children to learn how to cope with their tempers and feelings and how to talk to their parents about anything and everything. Opportunities and support for foster youth to have a bright future.

Well, today is the first annual opening. I am so nervous. All I could think of while I was getting my hair and makeup done is, “I finally did it, I finally made it.” I looked up and stared at myself in the mirror and tried to keep myself from crying. I was so proud of myself. Then my two little brothers ran into the room and hugged me saying it’s time to go Ate (Big Sister). Seeing them happy warms my heart. I got up and was ready to start this journey. When I walked out all I saw was beautiful people and so much light coming from the flashes of people’s phones. I knew nothing can stop me now. I had my little brothers on the side of me, my sister in my heart, and a huge pair of scissors I was ready to cut the ribbon.


Do you want minimum wage to be raised?

The minimum wage in the United States is normally $7.25 an hour. This makes it very hard for people to make a living especially if they are trying to pay for housing and food on their own. There are many different situations that can leave people in debt. A big problem we see is single parents trying to support their children. If they are working at a job that only pays minimum wage, there is no possible way they could support their family.

In the US people are frustrated with the minimum wage especially when the costs of everything surrounding us are rising. If you are fortunate enough to grow up in a household with two parents that have good jobs, you may not have to worry about this problem. However, in our day and age a lot of children don’t have this kind of support. Reading this you may think that the only people being paid minimum wage are teenagers but three out of four minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old. And even worse is that a full time worker making $7.25 an hour makes less than $300 a week. To find even more statistics like these, the article Minimum Wage Increase helps explain the positive and negative parts of raising minimum wage.

The reason why many are against raising minimum wage is because it will make it harder for bosses to start off “entry-level” workers that may be working for the first time in their life. The article Proof That Raising the Minimum Wage is a Bad Idea dives deeper into the reasons why it would be a poor decision. Also, they have conducted a few studies on this and found that the hours for lower earners will be cut and new jobs for younger employees will be harder and harder to find. It would be a lot harder to get into businesses because everyone would be fighting for the hours.

I would love to hear others opinions about these circumstances and compare if it is only younger people seeking a higher wage, or also middle aged people. I think this is a topic that is causing problems in our country right now and it needs to be solved.


DACA

DACA is an acronym that stands for the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals. It is a program put into place during the Obama administration that allows children of immigrants, who themselves are not legal citizens, to keep getting the education and employment in America that they deserve as humans with natural rights. The Trump administration wants to rescind DACA, which could upend more than 600,000 people. About 690,000 young adults are currently in the DACA program and there are 34,000 additional first-time applications. To be eligible, applicants had to have arrived in the US before age 16 and have lived there since June 15, 2007. They could not have been older than 30 when the Department of Homeland Security enacted the policy in 2012. DACA recipients have been able to come out of the shadows and obtain valid driver’s licenses, enroll in college and legally secure jobs. They also pay income taxes just like any American citizen. However, the program does not give them a path to become US citizens or even legal permanent residents. Fortunately, under DACA, Dreamers, the term for those in the program, were able to apply to defer deportation and legally reside in the US for two years. After that, they could apply for renewal. The Trump administration put an end to new DACA applications in September and accepted renewal applications for another month which means that if Congress doesn’t act, starting March 6, as many as 983 undocumented people could lose their protected status every day, nearly 30,000 people a month, on average, for two years, as DACA permits start to expire.

“To target these young people is wrong because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama wrote in a post. “It is self-defeating because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people and who we want to be.”

“It’s wrong because it’s bad policy that solves no pressing problem and raises new ones. It’s wrong because it’s irresponsible, passing the buck instead of offering sensible solutions for immigration reform. Most of all, it’s wrong because it’s cruel to send these young people to places many of them have never lived and do not know. For them this is home. The United States is their home,” Bill Clinton said.

“Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America,” Biden tweeted.

Getting rid of DACA hurts the economy as well. A report from the Center for American Progress found that 87 percent of DACA beneficiaries are using their work permits and 83 percent of those working also attend school. Besides lost tax revenues, American businesses would face billions in turnover costs, because employers would lose qualified workers whom they have trained and in whom they have invested. “Why would you take people out of the work force, who are part of the system and paying taxes?” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told the New York Times that five years after DACA is repealed, the U.S. gross domestic product would be $105 billion lower than if DACA were to remain in force. “Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions” if DACA is ended.

Rescinding DACA is not a legal requirement, and is wrong on many levels. It is wrong for our country to push out Dreamers for a choice that was not theirs. They did not choose to be born in a country that was oppressing to their families, and they did not choose to immigrate to a new country when they were just young children. They deserve the same human rights as any legal citizen, and they do not deserve to be deported to a land they do not know, a land they can not call home even if they were born there.